No, it isn’t some new alien tech speak. It stands for National Novel Writers Month.
For 30 exciting days in November, people around the world join in the common goal to write their own novel. The end goal is 50,000 words. They don’t even have to be perfect words. You could even write a story about glow in the dark lava sharks in a hollowed out volcano, just sit in the chair and put fingers to keys!
So, it is almost 3am on the first day of Nano. I just finished typing in my scenes and have 7,890 words.
I’m pretty pleased with my new story. As I was typing I realized my male lead needs a name change. In the rush and excitement of my first Nano event, I used the name James Clemens. I’ve been obsessed with the pacing of my favorite writer, James Rollins/ James Clemens and his name slipped into my story. A definite change! First thing in the morning, if I can sleep. The story is spinning in my mind 🙂
If you are curious about Nano, the web site is http://www.nanowrimo.org/.
Recently, I bared my soul to my writing group, and once again started the process of giving and receiving feedback. It is a tight-rope every writer navigates in the process towards publication.
I posted the opening scenes of my ‘Fairy-Tale’ on our group board and held my breath as the members read my story. Initially I created the story, to fill in some gaps for myself while I was world building. Every lost and mysterious world has myths and legends. Who hasn’t heard tales of Atlantis or Shangri-La? So my world, Chamoura, needed some myths and legends of its own.
Around the table at Starbucks, we took turns, reviewing what each of us had offered up. Eventually it was my Fairy-Tale’s turn for feedback and I did my best to sit back and take it all in. I lead this group so I didn’t want to be the cougar mama defending her cub. One member said he hated the main character and wished he had been murdered in the first scene. Someone else liked it. As I sat there listening to the lively conversation over the table, I actually surprised myself. These characters must have struck a chord for such a reaction. I wasn’t handed a list of typos and grammar issues with the ‘nice job’ and a ‘See you next time’ dismissal.
Just as I tell the other members of the group, my suggestions on your work are yours to do with as you wish. If they don’t work, then ignore them. And, I get that option as well. Did the feedback have validity even though it stung? Yes. Did my inner critic go on a tirade about what a lousy writer I am and I should quit? Nope. When I first started my inner critic’s voice was louder and had more emotional weight.
Today, I know that I can not please everyone that reads my work and I do not want to even try to do that. I have to remember that each reader comes to my story with their own filter they read through. That filter is their life experiences, beliefs, memories, and values. Each person is going to see my characters through that filter.
I find value in the feedback, all the feedback. It may sting, but it also pushes me to be a better writer than I was yesterday. All good writing is in the RE-Writing, and I am grateful I have people in my life, ready to offer me the slings and arrows that push my writing to be better!
Thanks to all of EAC for making me a better writer!!!
Writing breathes in every corner of my life. Stories steep in my imagination every moment, day and night. So it is a natural conclusion that other parts of my life sneak into my writing. And, when my life is thrown off balance the repercussions are reflected in my writing life.
The first signal the scale was teetering off balance was the avoidance to typing up my novels. I excused it away instead of attempting to find a solution. I filled my days networking and socializing. Stir in a major family crisis and my daily life was spread thin like jam over toast. I was overwhelmed as the scales toppled with task lists, emails and a full calendar. My morning pages became stiff and sluggish.
Thankfully, I am surrounded with angels watching out for me in the form of amazing friends. One very special friend advised me to take a deep breath, ground myself, and take one step at a time. My translation was to ‘unplug’ (from the internet, the phones, and the schedule) and take a mini retreat. Writers retreat to the woods all the time to finish a novel and commune with their muse. Conveniently I live next to acres of wilderness. My house is hugged by trees; so it was quite easy to pick up my camera and my dream catcher notebook and go for a hike. Sunshine filled days gently guided me back to my ‘Me-ness’ and quieted the panic and confusion. My life was feeling more in balance, the writing flowed and the joy filled every fiber of my soul with buoyancy. However, my resistance to typing remained.
Time to check in with my ‘Wellness Angel’ of a friend, Diane. She is a certified Holistic Health Coach, http://www.dfskinwellness.com/ and would know how to ease the resistance. We talked for a bit and I explained how typing was cold and sterile for me. She asked if I was aware when my least creative time during the day was and immediately I had the answer, mid-afternoon. (The times I schedule social activities and errands and email.) She advised me to schedule the typing time in that slot so I felt less conflicted about the loss of creative energy. Could it be that simple? I pondered the suggestion as I drove through the mountains toward home. It was another gorgeous sunny day in the Northwest, something I treasure, and it seemed like a waste to spend it in my office typing. Drifting in my window with the sunlight came the simple notion of typing outside. I could feel the corners of my mouth turning up. Laptops are portable; no one said the rule was to type at your desk! Then there is the bliss of living in the woods where WiFi can’t reach me, even on my deck.
The Borg had it right, ‘Resistance is Futile’. Resistance abated. Balance restored. The past few days I have been HAPPILY typing my novel amongst the birdsong and sunshine and living one page at a time.
I have been lost in the world of TYPING for the past few weeks. It isn’t one of my favorite things to do. In fact, I would lump it with a visit to the dentist and preparing to move; one of those things that have to be done and just can’t be avoided.
I create with pen and paper. It’s a tactile sensation as the creative energy dances throughout my imagination, courses down my body, and scrolls gracefully to the paper. Typing is cold and mechanical. It contains no energy, no excitement, but plenty of typos for my fumble fingers.
The bookshelf is stacked over my head with notebooks full of my stories. My writing group challenged me to put my stories, 9 novels, into the computer. Difficult to argue with the logic, as it will be one step closer to publication than it is now, hidden away on my shelf. Some people struggle with writer’s block, I struggle with TYPING.
Tahoma is patiently waiting for more time in the spotlight, investigating the supernatural being at the bottom of his river, and learning from Princess Angeline, even while I bang the keys and progress with my typing of other stories.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to bring the creative energy to typing?