Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How We Go

A quick post before driving to the ferry. I LOVE these Washington state ferries. So smooth, so fast. Mountains behind us, islands beside us. I'm sure it'll be a great few days on Orcas Island... but all I want to do is write.
I try to work at least eight hours a day. Three to five is the fun stuff – writing and editing novel #2 and maybe working on scripts. The rest is industry research, correspondence... the stuff I have to do. The thing is, the fun stuff is really fun. I don't need a break from writing. I know these next few days will be beautiful. Hiking and all that feeds the soul... But so does writing and that's all I want to do right now.

So, how not to be a jerk and to appreciate everything and everyone and yet also write? Swiss cheese will be helpful (working within the holes of time around us), but still...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carried Away

Kinda going with the flow means embracing the writing journey and seeing where it takes me. This is the opposite of what I used to. I used to force things. Finish that first damn novel (currently known as novel 0, may it rest in peace...) Produce that damn film even though I don't believe in it anymore... Start that damn book I've been outlining forever... This blog is leaving that in the past. So far so good on this going with the flow thing, this relaxing into my writing.

But last week I got carried away by the flow.

Writing-wise, it was a great week. My goal is a chapter a week on novel #2. Midweek I worried that I wouldn't make it, but I hit a wave and rode it out the rest of the week. I finished the chapter and love it. It's got an unexpected double-whammy finish. (Unexpected by me... in my outline it ended more simply.) And it's nothing compared to how the next chapter will end. So what's the problem?

I wrote and wrote and ignored other things on my weekly to-do list. Now I've been doing email triage and generally scrambling to catch up. And it's Wednesday, shouldn't I be further along on the next chapter?

What's the balance between riding the wave of inspiration and getting other things done? But I think last week was worth it. I love the new chapter and a wave just might be building for the rest of this week. If only a wave could help me get to the other stuff, too. How to do it all?

(photo from Australia's planetsurf)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is It Acting?

There's very little autobiographical about my official YA novel #2. It's about a kid who gets in a lot of trouble. Exponentially more trouble that I've ever have. What's strange is that at the moment it's so easy to write. I've known kids like this. That helps. More than helps – without them I wouldn't be able to wrap my head around the story. But sometimes the thought pops up. Who am I to write this? But... we don't have to be the people we write about. We just have to write well.

Is it like acting? We don't ask actors to have the experiences of the people they're portraying. They just have to do the job. To see the humanity in their character, to understand motivation and to deliver authentic performances. That's good acting. It's also good writing.

So I'm feeling that the pressure is off. Well, the who are you pressure might be off. But the pressure to do it well is still there. That's appropriate if it keeps us honest, committed and effective.

So here's to another day of work. Of feeling free to write whatever we're called to write, even if it's channeling someone or something completely different from who we are. Is the life of a writer great or what?

Friday, July 9, 2010

In With the Best

Thank you, Heather Kelly, for interviewing me on your fantastic Edited to Within an Inch of My Life blog! I'll be stopping by throughout the day to answer questions.

Heather is my crit partner extraordinaire. Though I've moved coasts, we still Skype weekly. My writing is so much better for her. Again, 10,000 thanks to Heather!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Power

I've been meditating for years. In high school I took a meditation class on the second floor of the school church in the interim between fall and winter sports. Years later my first job after college was teaching English in Japan and every Saturday I sat for a couple hours at the moss garden of a zen temple. But I never understood when peaceful people said when sitting just sit. When eating an orange, just eat the orange. When opening the door, just open the door. Wasn't it good always to be thinking? So I was a thinker.

Last week... so many years later... I think I finally kinda got it. When writing just write.

Yes, I do believe in preparation and forethought. Novel #2 that I'm currently working on began years ago as a character sketch and a 20 page synopsis. I'm glad I put the thought into it then. But I didn't do anything about that novel until now and it's very strange that it's suddenly so easy to write. I think this might be because I've gotten out of the way of the story. I'm not over-thinking. I'm just writing.

Is that the power of just?

For me, focusing on just one thing doesn't mean that I'm working on just one thing. Just one thing at a time. When taking a morning walk, just take a morning walk, which is different from what I would usually do - refuse to end the walk until I'd figured out how to get a character to the next plot point. When walking just walk. When writing just write.

The quieter my mind, the easier it is to write.

And the easier it will be to answer questions for Heather Kelly's Friday blog where I'll be interviewed about my writing and Our Spirit, the nonprofit I started to help gay/lesbian youth.

Thank you, Heather! As everyone knows, she's awesome, a blogger extraordinaire. She's also the best crit partner, and I know the world will be a better place when her novel is published. I just know it.