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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Holidays and a New Year Upon Us

November is gone and I am thankful that I have a rough (very rough!) draft of a new novel for my NaNoWriMo efforts. The month went way too fast, but I finished just under the wire with a little over 52,000 words. I’d hoped to reach 60k, but I’m not too sad since I at least made the minimum. The book will need lots of work and lots of patience, but I’m pleased to have something I can work with. I’ll be excited to begin the process, but it’s just going to have to wait until January.

I have the final edits to do for Finding Home (set to release in April!!) but I’m also going to put those on hold until January.

I want to enjoy the holidays. I want to spend time with my daughter and be in the moment. I don’t want to wake up on January 2 as she goes back to school after break wondering where the time went. She’s growing up too fast as it is, I need to put on the brakes and really be present in each moment. I know we have years of memories left to make, but these, her teenage years, will be gone in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to miss them. So I’m going to put my novels on hold til the new year. Not that long. I still have an article to write this month, so I need to concentrate on that too.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I wish you all much joy and peace in the coming year. I have lots of writing ambitions for the coming year, and there are so many great books waiting for me to read them.


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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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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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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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Big Plans for 2017! The Writing Continues…

While my writing is going a little slower right now than I would have liked, I am making progress, so I’ll take it.

I finished the second draft of my latest novel, Finding Home, and now I need to let it sit a few weeks so I can come back with a fresh eye and a will to fix all the holes and redundancies.

While I wait, I’m working on the final two stories that will complete the book of short stories that I started almost two years ago. The stories still need revision, but once the final two are written I can go back and work on the editing and rewriting. Some are farther along than others. I’m hoping for a mid to late 2017 release date for this one, Thoughts from Chaotic Minds.

I’ve also started roughing out my next novel idea. I’m jotting notes, doing character sketches, and a bit of research. While fiction, the book will center around an ADHD/Anxiety Disorder heroine. I’m really excited to write about her! She’s a lot spunkier than I am, and I like that about her! 😉

Summer is coming to a close and school will be back in before I know it. My daughter’s vacation has absolutely flown by and high school awaits her. That will be one more interesting journey for us!

In the meantime I plan to keep writing and to enjoy the few weeks we have left!