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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Writing is the Most Amazing Difficult Thing you will Ever do

I was on a good roll with the editing of Finding Home. Life happens sometimes though, and the writing time that gets set aside each day finds itself being pushed aside. That being the case I’ve gotten very little work done this week. I sit here tonight staring at my WIP and thinking of how far I have to go. I read a bit and cringe thinking how awful it is. But you know what? It’s on paper. It’s out there. I can work with it. And it’s there because I started.

Starting is sometimes the hardest part of writing. It was especially that way when I first began to write seriously. I was so afraid to put pen to paper, thinking what if this idea turns out to be garbage? What if it isn’t good enough? What if it isn’t what I envision it to be? All those thoughts racing through my mind threatened to stop me in my tracks before I even began. But then I realized that yes, it was going to be garbage and that was okay. If you are going to learn to write, or if you are going to hone your craft and get better – you must write. It’s okay if those first works never see the light of day. If they help you to find your voice or teach you discipline or help you to get better – those awful first works serve their purpose.

I’ve  said before I do not believe in being an “aspiring” writer. If you are putting pen to paper (or keystroke on screen) then you ARE a writer. Published or not doesn’t matter. If you write you are a writer. Own it. Be proud of it. Just make sure that before you put your work out there that it is the best work you can do. Make sure it’s something you can be proud of. And if you ARE aspiring; if you have not begun because you are afraid that the idea in your head isn’t going to be good enough – you are only hurting yourself. We write because it is a passion. We write because words and worlds consume us and demand to be recorded. We write because to not write is agony. Writing is hard. Writing is hell. Writing never gets easier because with each new first draft you begin at the beginning.  As writers we are just twisted enough to enjoy the torture.

Do you know what? That first recorded idea ISN’T going to be good enough. But what are you gaining from never writing it? You can’t move past that first bad draft and become the writer you aspire to be if you don’t write. It’s as simple as that. To improve you must practice. You must write. Write the drivel. Don’t be afraid of it. Write it and move on to better things.

And that first draft? A first draft is always just that. A first draft. Its supposed to be awful. You aren’t human if it isn’t! But that first draft introduces you to your characters. It gets them out of your head and on the page. Learn from them. Let them tell you all their secrets. Get them all down. Then you get to decide how to deal with them. Second drafts. Third drafts. Fourth drafts. Each one gets you closer to the ideal world you created in your head. Don’t be afraid of writing garbage. Don’t be afraid of the first thing you ever write being crap.

Sometimes we all need reminding that we really don’t choose the writing life. It chose us long ago. Sure, we can ignore it. We choose to sit down and empty the words onto the page, but I think we do so more because it is a compulsion than a choice. Those years I spent not writing seemed hollow. I was ignoring the very real call of what I was meant to do. I was born to be a writer, but I will never get to be the kind of writer I wish to be unless I do one simple thing. Write. With each story, with each new draft I hope I get just a bit better. I hope I learn something new about myself every time I sit down at the computer or sit down on the back porch with a cup of tea and a pen and paper.

I’m not where I want to be. Not by a long shot. I have much to learn. But I won’t learn it unless I dive in and do it.

So today I’m telling you to write. Just write. Don’t worry about how it’s going to turn out. Don’t worry about it not being what you envision. Just get started. Write.


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A Book In a Month? What?

A little something about me:  I am an extremely disorganized person.  It’s true.  In my mind I have pictures of everything neat and tidy.  I clip pictures out of magazines of creative ways to organize.  My Pinterest board is full of organizing ideas.  In my head I’m good at it.  In my head my house looks like a model home.  In my head.  Reality is a bit different.  I’m always running in circles, I don’t finish a lot of what I start, and organizing remains only a beautiful dream.  My daughter and I have been known to pick through a laundry basket for a week in order to get dressed, emptying the basket without ever folding or putting anything away.  I’m a procrastinator.  I bounce from project to project without finishing them.  I want so desperately to be I different in these areas. 

What does this have to do with writing?  Well, for one, it’s hard to find writing time when you always have a to-do list a mile long.  It’s also hard to find the computer in all the clutter.  It’s hard to find paper when you forgot that you used the last of it and haven’t bought more.  I love writing with all my heart and soul.  I believe I was born to write.  I love words, I love books, I love the smell of paper.  Libraries and book stores make my heart beat just a little faster.  My unfinished projects however, are not only limited to household chores and maintenance.  I START stories all the time.  I get an idea and am crazy about it.  I can’t wait to write about it.  I get started and things get in my way.  Another idea comes to me.  I get excited about it and start writing it.  Suddenly, I’ve abandoned project A for project B.  It happens all the time.  I am a prolific beginner of stories, I just don’t always get to the end.  I can usually maintain momentum to finish a short story, but a novel?  I’ve written a couple of truly awful ones, but I have scores of ideas for others that have faded away after the first chapter. 

I vowed to change all that when I started to write seriously again.  I vowed I would be a better, improved writer over the one I was twenty years ago.  Yeah, well, so much for hoping.  I still abandon projects at whim.  When I started hearing people talking about the upcoming NaNoWriMo, I had to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.  I will admit that when I first heard the term I had no idea what it was.  After visiting the website and getting some information I was intrigued.  Was it even possible to write a novel in thirty days?  Could someone as undisciplined as me possibly do it?  With a smile, I created an account.  I have no idea how close I will come to 50,000 words, but I knew it was the perfect challenge for me.  I love that first sensation of writing with wild abandon.  Can I keep it up over the course of a month and finish what I start?  We will see. 

I am hoping to learn something about discipline with this challenge. I am hoping to show myself that if I plan and organize my time (and my office!) that I am capable of seeing a project through to the end.  I can get from “Once upon a time” to “the end” successfully.  I want to write, and I don’t want it to take me years to finish a single project.  That’s okay if the subject matter is that difficult, or that much research is required, but other than that, it shouldn’t take me another twenty years to put out another book!

I have visions of emerging at the end of NaNo with the thrill of accomplishment in my heart.  I have visions of learning that I CAN balance life, writing, single parenting and a day job.  I also want to show myself that I can accomplish things if I just push myself a bit harder to succeed.  Like I said, I have no idea if I can do this.  I have no idea how far I will get.  I’m pretty excited to see!

I’ve pulled a story idea from my file and thought over the plot and the direction I want the story to take.  I know what I’d like the characters to learn.  I have never been one to work out a detailed plot outline.  I’ve always jotted down my ideas, some problems and some character information and went from there.  Yes, my writing style is as disorganized as I am.  Now I only have to wait for November 1st so I can get started on it.  In the meantime I feel I better clean the house and freeze some dinners! 

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You can connect with me through Twitter @KristiLazzari, through email at KristiLazzari(at)gmail(dot)com, and on my Facebook page (just click that handy “like” button right there on the side of this page!) I’d love to hear from you and maybe make some new friends!

Feel free to leave some comments here too — I like comments!