Monday, June 4, 2012

The Time Thing

About the time thing... finding time to write... living the lives we need to live... taking care of responsibilities... I don't want to go to scarcity thinking. No matter what we're doing, our time here is limited. We know that.

I have faith that the newish job is the right thing for me right now, and I'm wondering if having less time to write might also be the right thing for my writing.

The main character of the WIP has been surprising me. He's been louder, more direct and changing in ways I hadn't envisioned. For me, right now, I'm wondering if he's growing, morphing, rounding out, becoming a better, fuller character because I'm spending less time on him. Jeb has more space to grow.

We'll see how this goes. For right now, I'm enjoying the surprises.

How about you – do ever have a sense that some of the best time for developing a character is time away from writing?

(view from home... space...)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Realignment... still with coconut

Last year, while considering people to come onto a project, one friend tried to dissuade us from someone because he had too much going on. "No. He's perfect," said another. "Those with the most going on know how to get things done."At the time I paused and considered the wisdom. A year later, I hope to see that truth.

My cool 20 hour/week job has become 30 hours. All's good, the communications work for homeless families important, the people I've met amazing.

My YA fiction writing... I generally start days with an hour of writing and I've been meeting my realigned goal of a chapter every two weeks instead of every one. And my coconut coffee has become sacred. Early Tuesday morning I grind the beans and cinnamon the coconut milk for a longer pre-work writing session. And Saturday... a long luxurious morning to afternoon of writing.

It's interesting how we structure our writing lives. I love writing. Even when I'm stuck, it's relaxing. And the coconut coffee... It keeps bringing me back to my writing table.

What do you do to keep you at the writing table?

(not coconut coffee, but still...)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time, Space & Enthusiasm

I hadn't planned on taking a break... but now it's four months since my last post. Life happens... And because of that writing happens.

A fantastic agency that provides housing to homeless families asked me to do part-time communications. Seriously, a fantastic agency. We recently received a letter from a kid happy to live in a house because now he can shower and he no longer smells at school and he has friends.

Much of my work these days is for the agency, but the enthusiasm from that work is contagious. I thought ROMEO, ROMEO was finished, but I've gone turbo on a rewrite and a new query. And I'm jazzed to be back at JEB KNOWS. And Our Spirit marketing gallops in new directions.

Because of the communications job, I have less time to write... which means I have more space between what I write... which refreshes my editorial perspective... and builds my enthusiasm.

I love enthusiasm. Communications on behalf of parents and kids who have been homeless, writing for the YA audiences who will someday read my work, building the Our Spirit audience... it all works together.

Time, space and enthusiasm... I think I'd put those on my coat of arms if I had one.
(image from dryicons)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And Now?

My two year blogging anniversary is almost here, so I'm asking... And now? Where am I? What have I learned?
  • Give it time. Last spring I queried ROMEO, ROMEO, then let the novel rest for a few months. When I went back, I could see it needed tightening.
  • Say only what needs to be said.  
  • Have faith. Truth is, I thought I'd be closer to publication. Isn't that what we usually think? What keeps us going?
  • Write every morning.
  • Get little things out of the way.
  • Listen. I started two new websites this year, neither which I'd planned, but which seemed to ask to be cultivated, GOT BETTER and ROBERT GUTHRIE III.
  • Love the process. Writing helps me feel alive. 
Now I'm off to write. Planting seeds, nurturing, weeding, pruning, harvesting... the whole deal.

(photo of fields from Lee Mann Photography, king of Pacific Northwest images)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Year of the Water Dragon

I like to think of January as a comfortable build-up between western and Vietnamese new years, which explains why I'm now posting my 2012 Writing Resolutions.
  • Finish epilogue short stories of six characters from the ROMEO, ROMEO novel, January
  • Write a chapter a week of the novel, JEB KNOWS
  • Complete first draft of JEB KNOWS by July 1st
  • Return to the resolution table in July
There's more I'd like to plan for: a novel I outlined two summers ago; the third book of the LUCKY trilogy; upcoming films for Our Spirit. So... I acknowledge those projects, but hope for the wisdom to let them germinate without demands from me.

In Vietnamese astrology, a year of the water dragon is often dynamic. Cool. I like high-energy and lots of projects. But it's also known for being balanced, the water not quenching but easing the fire within. 

That seems like wisdom.

(illustration from Hilo Living blog)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Bliss the past two weeks has been coconut milk in my coffee. Coconut milk warmed beforehand on the stove with cinnamon.

Um, and that has what to do with writing?

Happiness. The happiness of stirring dark cinnamon into the white, white milk. Of pouring the milk into the coffee. Of taking first, second... and all those sips. Of gulls squawking outside as I drink and write. Right then I know that all's good. All's exactly how it's supposed to be.

My favorite poem, Coconut by Paul Hostovsky, heard on The Writers' Almanac with Garrison Keillor, is about the decision to look for happiness.

That's all we can do. What we ought to do. For me that's writing. Which also means slogging away at the business stuff necessary for a career.

So, as I try to get inside happiness, I'll drink my coffee with coconut milk and write and know that I'm on my way.

And you? How do you get inside happiness? 
Coconut, by Paul Hostovsky

Bear with me I
want to tell you
something about
it’s hard to get at
but the thing is
I wasn’t looking
I was looking
somewhere else
when my son found it
in the fruit section
and came running
holding it out
in his small hands
asking me what
it was and could we
keep it it only
cost 99 cents
hairy and brown
hard as a rock
and something swishing
around inside
and what on earth
and where on earth
and this was happiness
this little ball
of interest beating
inside his chest
this interestedness
beaming out
from his face pleading
and because I wasn’t
happy I said
to put it back
because I didn’t want it
because we didn’t need it
and because he was happy
he started to cry
right there in aisle
five so when we
got it home we
put it in the middle
of the kitchen table
and sat on either
side of it and began
to consider how
to get inside of it

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Squawker II

I need to reread my original post about Squawkers. Need to feel it more deeply.

There's still an inner circle squawker who's behaving badly. And there are the query squawkers. To be clear, the query squawkers aren't exactly squawking. They're polite in their passes of novel #1, or silent... But it feels like squawking.

What do you mean you won't represent my novel? Don't you get how well-written, emotionally immediate and compelling to the niche market of gay YA readers it is? What do you mean you don't want to be part of my success?

Deep breath. This is the industry. This is how it works. And it's not been that many. I'm a cautious querier.

Sigh. My ITunes "Peace" shuffle is helping. Breathe.

I gotta get back to enjoying the squawking gulls.

How do you maintain peace?

(photo: "Welsh + Gull",