Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just Write

I have to say this somewhere, and I don’t want to write it in my NaNo, because that would be cheating on word count. I need my pre-writing pep talk. I need my pre-writing babble. I need my pre-writing slap in the head.

Just write.

It doesn’t matter what you write. Do not be afraid of the blank page or the chapter that is to come. Do not be afraid if it is bad. Do not be afraid if it is good because then you will be afraid that you will ruin it. Do not be afraid of what it means in your life or about who you are as a human being.

Just write.

Take it one letter at a time, one word at a time. Each word leads like a stepping stone to the next. And the next.

Just write.

Trust in the process. Trust in the writing. Trust in the…whatever it is that allows you to create something from nothing. Trust in yourself.

Just Write.

Your job is to commit to writing. Your job is to sit down at the computer (or notebook, or typewriter, or journal, or whatever) and show up as a writer. Your job is to do what you said you do and just write. Your job is to ignore all the fears and insecurities that pop up when you are afraid of something that matters—and just write. Your job is to do it for yourself no matter the outcome.

Just write.

You are the hero of your own story…. and this, this life, this writing, this is it.

Why Be Creative?

I’ve been thinking about why it’s important for mothers to be creative, and have decided that maybe it’s not important. Art, writing, music, etc is not what fires everybody’s soul. Some people love physical activities or the outdoors, or reading, or giving back to the world, or heck, even money. If that’s what gets them going, then that’s what they should be doing for themselves.

I pick art because I’ve been doing it forever and have studied it and taught it and does something important for me personally. But really, what I think is important for mothers is to have SOMETHING outside of children, family, home, partner in which they can feel successful and productive. Something that gives the spark back to them because they do it for themselves, because it feels good and makes them feel good about themselves. Something that gives them purpose, outside of being a mother.

We are mothers, but we are, first and foremost humans. Should the mother in us overwhelm the human?

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in the living when you have small beings running around who are looking to you to feed them and clothe them and play with them and keep them out of trouble. It’s easy when you look around at all the duties you have to say, “well, I’ll just do all this, because I have to, and then maybe someday I’ll do something for myself.”

But the more often you put off that self-duty, the easier it is to keep putting it off. There’s just so much to do. But taking care of yourself and your passions, having a purpose makes it so much easier and more joyful to take care of all the other little things that are required of moms. And it fills us up so we have more to give our children.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I think we've hit the slump

I’m not feeling very excited about writing a novel or about NoNoWriMo. Looking at everyone’s posts about their progress, it seems a lot of us are having the same problem.

The first flush is definitely gone. It’s a little depressing. Now it’s about getting down to work and plugging away, whether you like what is happening on the page or not.

It’s a struggle to open up my Nano file and start writing. No more adrenaline, no more ‘can I/can’t I hit my minimum?’ It doesn’t quite feel like a joyful game that I’m playing, anymore. Is this why I’m feeling this way? Now I’m thinking of all the other things in my life I am not giving attention to. Fears about writing a bad, boring story are popping up. Insecurity. Thoughts that I’ll never be a novelist, never get published, never make this real. Shouldn’t I be taking care of things that might make my future more secure? Is writing a pipe dream?

Oh boy.

All right. Time to get some perspective. This is part of the process. It is. It can’t all be racing along at light speed. The natural fears and insecurities of living WILL rear their ugly heads. Life has a rhythm. Sometimes it’s up sometimes it’s down, and you just have to ride out the down points.

Writing a novel is hard, just like anything worth doing. And it’s an incredible commitment. There have to be adjustments and difficulties and points where you don’t really want to be tied down to this thing you’ve promised. Do we just power through these points with gritted teeth until it starts to get happy again?

I guess so. And it’s normal. Normal, normal, normal. Breathe deep and continue on.

Friday, November 03, 2006

12,517 Words in NaNoWriMo by Day Three. Tell me to Shut Up.

I’ve been doing really well. 5456 words on the first. 4550 words on the second, and today 2511 words. All above the minimum word count. All leaving me far above the mark needed if I want to finish, but…

I just got so lazy today. I had given myself the unofficial goal of 5,000 words a day, so slacking off when the baby went to bed instead of writing, it made me feel bad. Did I happen to say that the word count needed to meet the goals of NaNoWriMo is 1,667 words a day. Not 5,000. Not 2,511—like I wrote today, but I still feel bad about it.

I do this. When I get into something and commit to it, I throw my entire self into it. When I really want something, my standards are far beyond what normal people ask of themselves. I get all perfectionist and intense.

It’s good because I get somewhere, I do good work. (In this case, “good work” means word count, not good writing.) But it’s bad, because when I fall short of my perfectionist standards into the realm of the merely human but still good, I start feeling bad about myself.

I know what I’m doing. I’m in a good place, just being a freak. So, shake it off mamacita. Shake it off.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Word count, word count, word count

I wrote 5,456 words today— before 4:30 pm. And after I hit five thousand, which was way over my goal, I gave myself permission to do some other things. I don’t mean play with the baby, this was when he was still sleeping. I set up a graph system so that I can visually track my progress (I’m a visual learner), I read some helpful hints on doing this NaNoWriMo contest, I went on the web and looked around for a while. I even made a writing date to meet with another writing mom in my neighborhood. That last is such an unexpected bonus I can hardly believe it. She even writes Fantasy.

Now, the little one is asleep, and I am watching television. Granted, it is my America’s Next Top Model and Lost night, but I feel good allowing myself that treat.

I feel good also for so exceeding my initial goals. I think this is going to be a lot easier than I first feared. I mean, I’m not getting cocky about what a great writer I am. I just think that the word count is not as formidable as I thought. There were definite moments when I was writing where I could scarcely bear the excrement on the page… but luckily, I had the word count to worry about, and smothered my internal editor.

That’s one of the main purposes in setting myself this challenge, let me tell you. I need an exorcist for the evil internal editor. I still don’t know that when I look at what I have written in December there will be anything salvageable, but I’m going to not think about that now. I am just going to focus on the writing.

Even more than that, I am going to have faith in myself.

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