Who Am I? Why Do You Care?

I am a woman on a journey. Where I'll end up is yet to be discovered.


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First Draft Euphoria

I love the first draft of a new story when the characters are surprising you with their thoughts and their little quirks. It’s fun to discover who they are, the facial expressions they make, what they can’t stop giggling at, and all the things that make them unique. It’s interesting to learn what makes them angry  and what they fear. I think I love that most about writing – the discovery.

Last night I hit 20,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel and I’m really excited about that. I feel the story slowing down in my mind now, and I know the words will come a bit slower and that’s okay. There are so many things about ADHD that I would love to portray with this character that I think I’m going to have a very hard time going back and cutting scenes when the time comes. It will be difficult to choose what gets to stay in, as I know I will be tempted to leave scenes in that don’t necessarily propel the plot along, just because I like them. Thankfully, those are decisions I don’t have to make yet. Right now I can just enjoy the sensation of words freely flowing.

It’s been a stressful week personally, and while I always knew writing calmed me, it hit me this week just how much better I feel after a writing session.  I can’t think of anything but my story when I’m writing. It’s my escape. It’s nice to be able to do that for just a while each day, especially when so many things around me seem to be spinning out of control.

So here’s to first drafts and discovery – to quieting that swirl of chaos and getting lost in words. There’s nothing like it.


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Writing Novels and Being Inspired

I’m just about 10,000 words in to my NaNoWriMo novel plus pages of character sketches, notes and scene ideas and other random stuff I need to remember about my plot and such. I’m not really a planner – I don’t have a detailed outline I just have my beginning, I know how it all ends and I have notes and ideas for the middles. I do make lists of plot points that can’t get mixed up, but other than that I guess for the first draft I let the characters tell me their story however it unfolds and then I go back and make sense of it all later on. Works for me. When it ceases to work I will try something else.

Anyway, the story I’m writing is pretty fun to write. I have an ADHD main character and this is the first time I’ve attempted to do such a thing. I have to say, I LOVE HER!! I am so excited to tell her story. I’ve not been this excited about a story in a while. Although I have ADHD, I have little in common with my heroine, (except maybe a penchant for metal music,) although I do see a little of my daughter in her. I didn’t set out to do that, it just sort of happened. Also probably because of my own ADHD and Anxiety Disorder, I am beyond excited to be writing this story. My heroine impresses me with her determination and tenacity. She makes me laugh quite a bit, and she’s just plain fun to write. Her mind is a shimmering whirlwind and I can barely keep up.

I hope that sharing stories like this one – bringing heroes and heroines to the forefront that may have different abilities, can help to inspire, educate and end some of the stigma floating around out there.

I wondered if I would be able to switch gears between the editing of Finding Home and be able to dive in to this new, and very different novel. So far so good. I think this is a story that has been clamoring to get out for quite some time.

My main character doesn’t get everything right. She’s quirky, chaotic and nervous. She’s witty and smart. She’s someone I would love to be friends with. And for a while at least, I am…

I’m about to to fall asleep at the keyboard here, so I hope this post makes at least a little bit of sense. I’m calling it a night, but I’ll be back at it tomorrow and with any luck the hyperfocus will kick in and I’ll get in a good day of writing!!


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November is for First Drafts

Some of you may know that I’m a fan of NaNoWriMo. I know people who love it and people who think it’s absurd – but personally I was hooked from the time I heard there was such a thing.

The first year I participated I had no idea if I could finish or not. I wasn’t used to putting out that many words in a month. Writing had always taken a back burner to everything else going on around me. I wrote whenever I found some time. Doing NaNo that first year taught me something. It taught me that if I wanted to be a writer, I had to stop treating it like a hobby. I had to make time. It’s not always easy to do and sometimes I don’t succeed. But now, for the most part, there is writing time carved into each and every day. I learned that first November that I was more than capable of writing at least 50,000 words in a month.

I’m smart enough to know those words written with wild abandon in November are just a first draft. There’s lots of work to be done in the months following November if I really want to turn those words into something, but getting that first draft out is monumental. It’s vital. You can’t rewrite or edit words you have yet to write.

I was grateful to NaNoWriMo for helping me see I could do it. So it just naturally happens now that I think November is the month I have to write a first draft. Maybe it’s the ADHD in me, or the slight OCD, but as October winds down, I find myself giddily anticipating the new draft I will write in November. It’s a ritual now.

I’ve been at work on Finding Home. I’ve been re-writing and changing, editing and polishing. It’s not quite there yet. BUT – come November first, Finding Home will be put aside as I write my next first draft. I’m okay with this. I still have time on Finding Home.

I’m excited about this new draft. It’s a quirky story with an ADHD heroine. Something I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time. It’s going to be loads of fun to get inside her head.

This evening I’m getting ready to sit down with Finding Home and work on those edits. But come Tuesday, I’ll be joining the masses for NaNoWriMo. The fall air is screaming that it’s time to write a new book!

The best part about being a writer, or any other creative pursuit, is that I get to do so on my own terms. We all have our own ideas about how it should be done. We all find our own writing rituals, quirks, schedules, and philosophies. It’s a craft we get to bend to our own needs and desires. I love that about writing.

So good luck to any of you that are doing NaNoWriMo this year -especially any first timers! I hope you meet (and exceed!) your goals. I hope you have fun, and I hope you learn something about yourself along the way.


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Progress! Finding Home.

With a bit more determination and maybe just a bit of luck, my new novel, Finding Home will be out in the spring. I’m excited. And just a little scared. I still have some work to do but I think it’s coming along nicely. I spent today editing/repairing holes/rewriting bland sentences and got through 23 pages! Pretty productive if I do say so myself!

This story has been with me for a very long time in one form or another. It’s changed a lot since its initial conception, but the heart of the characters has remained the same. I’ve been drawn to this story for some reason, even while I was working on other things – but it demanded to be written. I’m glad I finally got down to business and put it on paper.

I love this time of year! Maybe it’s the routine of the school year which I find somewhat comforting, maybe it’s the promise of cooler weather, or maybe, just maybe it’s the anticipation that November and National Novel Writing Month will be here soon. I can’t help it, I love NaNoWriMo. I love the feel of a brand new story to write and November always seems like a good opportunity to get out a rough first draft of a new story. And this year is no different. I have my idea in place, so all I will have to do come November first is put aside my editing for Finding Home and let my new characters lead the way for a while.

 

I’m glad to be in a more productive frame of mind right now. Things had been going, well….slowly, but my brain seems to be revving back up again. Phew!


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NaNoWriMo Wins

Excuse me for one moment while I jump up and down. I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT!! I finished NaNoWriMo with days to spare. I actually finished day before yesterday, which I was quite happy about, given my false start and my re-do. While I had originally made it my personal goal to write 70,000 words, I was happy when I hit just over the 50k mark.

As far as first drafts go, it is as horrific, messy, disconnected, redundant and awful as they come. However, it has a beginning, middle and an end, so when I wrote the last scene and came in at 50,136 words, I went ahead and claimed my “win.”

The great thing about NaNo is that it reminds me of what is possible when I am determined. I actually hadn’t been writing very religiously lately. I have a few projects started, but I wasn’t giving my writing the attention I need to. I was in a rut of sorts…a non-action kind of thing where I thought about writing an awful lot, I just wasn’t doing any.

I have no idea if I will be able to turn this story into something viable or not. I’m not sure that it is that good. I’ll let it sit a week or two, then go back and see what I can do as far as a second draft goes…add more depth, flesh out my characters, clean it up and see if it looks like it’ll make the cut. I don’t know yet. For right now, I’m honestly a bit tired of the characters and their story. I think my main character whined a bit too much. That will have to go in the second draft.

But I did it. Right now, that’s good enough for me.


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Going Nowhere Fast. And Starting Again

I tried. I really did. But the novel I was working on for NaNoWriMo just wasn’t going anywhere. I weighed my options and dove into another idea. I’m not saying this one is going much better, but I’ve muddled through and I’ve gotten a little over 40,000 words. I’m going to finish this thing.

First drafts are supposed to be horrible, right? First drafts tell us what we are writing about. Second drafts start to turn that into a proper story. So all I am asking of myself at this point is to get the words on paper, or screen as the case may be, and keep at it. It doesn’t have to be a good novel. It can be a bad novel; a very, very bad novel. I just can’t stop.

Part of the creative slump is the fact that I tried switching to a genre I normally don’t write. I wanted to try something new. I’m not sorry I did. It just takes time to switch gears.

Paired with what I wrote on the first novel, I’ve written about 60,000 words this November. Not bad. I could paste that all together and feed it into the word counter to claim a “win.” But I’m not. For me, I want to have a finished product. I can’t use pieces. It may need a lot of work, and it may never really work, but end of November I will have a completed first draft.

Time go get writing.


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NaNoWriMo Flounderings and Flailings

I was super excited about the start of NaNoWriMo. I really was. Then I had some health issues flare up. I’m doing much better right now, but my writing has certainly taken a hit. I know it’s only seven days into National Novel Writing Month and I still have time, but somehow not feeling good seems to have just sucked up all my creativity and left me with a blank mind.

All the words I’ve gotten in over the last few days, which isn’t very many, are so incredibly boring I could scream. I write a scene and then sit back in disbelief and ask myself who in the world cares?? I just sit there with my fingers hovering over the keyboard and the story that I thought I had is unraveling  before my eyes and has left me with nothing.

Seven days in and I have two options. Keep at it and write every boring word in the hope that at some point something will spark, or at least in the end I will have something I can work with, OR I can switch streams altogether and reach for another idea. I’m leaning toward muddling through no matter how slow it is in the hopes of remembering why I wanted to write this story in the first place. Who knows – maybe this is one of those ideas that just isn’t going to pan out. I won’t know unless i try to see it through to the end. But it’s not a good sign when I’m boring myself to sleep.

Maybe when things settle down and some of the stress goes away I’ll find my pace again. With my daughter’s trip to the emergency room in October (and me holding my breath to see what the ambulance and ER bills were going to come out to), and now all the time I’ve spent in doctor’s offices over the last two weeks, among a few other things that have me all uptight, well….that can stifle one’s creativity I’m sure.  I know one thing. I’m not giving up. I can do this. If I write 50,000 unoriginal, boring, and monotonous words, well, I’ve still accomplished the task of writing every single day and getting the words on paper. They may be unfit for human consumption, but they will be written.

I’m off to look at my story and decide whether to keep at this one or dive into something new.

Decisions Decisions.