Friday, September 30, 2016

Dreaming and Procrastinating
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Jamie’s quotes last week were for the most part short and sweet, but inspirational nonetheless. My favourite of the bunch was this one:

You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills.
~ Jim Rohn

Pretty straightforward, right? I look at writing as a learning experience, one where we strive for constant improvement. We aim high, dream big, and build the skills we need to reach our goal. But if we’re not willing to learn, then we need to dream a little smaller.

Often writers are accused of being nothing but dreamers. I take that as a compliment. Dreams, fueled by our imaginations, are where we get our inspiration. We dream big because that’s what it takes to succeed. And we continue to learn so we can keep up with our dreams.

In contrast, the quotes I used over the past week seemed to be on the long side, and as none of them seemed to go along with the quote of Jamie’s for the week, I went with the one I liked best:

As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.
― Paul Rudnick

It’s a well known fact that writers make the best, or maybe that should be the worst, procrastinators. But I have to wonder why this is. We must enjoy writing, otherwise why do it at all? So of course I did some research to see if I could come up with some answers.

It’s human nature to put things off. Sometimes we’re not even aware we’re doing it. But just as there are many different ways to procrastinate, there are many different reasons why we do.

Often fear is one of the most common reasons why we procrastinate. We have a fear of looking bad or foolish when we don’t reach our goal. A fear of failure. But sometimes we also have a fear of success. Success comes with its own pressure of having to do better next time, of perhaps stepping out of our comfort zone.

Another reason we procrastinate is that we’re perfectionists. As long as we don’t finish something, then we’re not risking others seeing something that’s less than perfect.

Hand in hand with perfectionism is our tendency to judge ourselves too harshly. We don’t like what we’ve written so we put off finishing it, or even working on it. Maybe we’ve received some unfavorable criticism in the past so now everything we write is suspect.

Sometimes our procrastination stems simply from a lack of time management skills. We convince ourselves that we need a big block of time and have only little blocks, or we get a big block of time and don’t know what to do with it. So we put off the writing until a more auspicious occasion.

Or maybe we’ve just been working too hard. It can be draining to work on something that has very little return for the hours we spend on it. Procrastinating can give us a much needed break, but it also makes it more difficult to get back into the writing habit.

It’s not easy to overcome procrastination, especially once it’s become a habit, but here are a few things to try:

Try to find a distraction free area to work in. Turn off that phone, disconnect from the internet. Maybe find a place outside the home like a coffee shop or library so you’re not tempted to clean house instead of write.

Set some realistic goals. Not something like “I want to write a best seller” or “I want to be as rich as J.K. Rowling”. These can backfire by putting too much pressure to succeed on yourself and make you procrastinate more. Instead, make a list of the reasons why you should write instead of doing anything else.

If time management is a challenge, try breaking the writing process into manageable chunks. Write a single scene, or even a single paragraph, at a time. Set a timer and write only until the time runs out. Give yourself a daily word goal. Once you’re back in the habit, gradually increase the length and duration of your daily goals, but remember to keep them reasonable.

Reward yourself on a regular basis. Finished that chapter? Meet some friends for coffee. Wrote 500 words a day for an entire week? Treat yourself to a movie. I bought myself a book that I don’t get to read until I finish the edits on one of my WIPs.

Make yourself accountable to someone else. Maybe it’s a writing buddy, maybe it’s a family member, but if you have someone who checks in with you on a regular basis, it will help you stay focused on the finish line. Maybe you can even join a writers group that will give you positive feedback.

You may not ever completely eradicate your procrastination, but with time and effort you can keep it to a manageable level.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writing Vs. Rewriting Vs. Editing

Wandering Wizards is really starting to tick me off. As I’m sure I mentioned before, I wrote the first half of it during NaNoWriMo, but I wrote it with only a vague idea of what was going on because it was part of a series and I hadn’t finished the book before it. And now I’m paying the price.

There were changes to be made; it was almost a whole new book. But silly me, I thought it would be faster/easier to incorporate as many of those 50,000 words into the new version than to just start from scratch. And yeah, a lot of what I’d written can be used pretty much verbatim, but a lot of it can ... not.

Along with a lot of little changes, there were a couple of big ones. One of these changes involved a crucial piece of information that was found near the beginning, and then repeated later on with no indication we’d read it before. Would it be better left in the beginning or later on? Decisions, decisions. I spent about a week changing and re-changing the beginning to set up the inclusion of the crucial information later on, and then started reading from the beginning, and ... almost immediately ran into another section that needs to be changed, this time to agree with something I wrote in the previous book.

Man! And I thought the previous book was the story that never ends! Although I guess it’s not the story itself, just the writing of it that seems never ending.

So why, you may ask, don’t I just soldier on and finish the darn thing, then go back and make changes? Because that’s what I did with the previous book, and the editing was a nightmare. Changing stuff as I go along is more like just a very bad dream. LOL

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,811 words total
Not bad if I do say so myself. Although I missed last week’s update post so the word count is from the week previous to that. But this past week not only did I get all of my posts done, they were up on time. Mostly.

0 words total
Still haven’t been doing the reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately, but at least I’m keeping track of them. I finished a boxed set of SEAL action/romances on the Kindle - man, were they good! If you have a chance to read anything by Sharon Hamilton, do so. You won’t be sorry. Then I found another from that series and kind of devoured it in one sitting. And I finished A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain - it was a nice change from all that SEAL action. ;-)

0 hours total
While I did get some editing on Elemental Earth, it wasn’t as much as I’d planned. But any progress is good progress at this point. I even went so far as to buy myself a carrot -- the latest Lynsay Sands book. I'm not allowed to read it until the edits are done. I’ve come up with a vague idea for the cover, too. I just lack the PhotoShopping skills to make it happen. ;-)

New Words
11,752 words total
Before you get all impressed with the large number (for a change) remember that we need to spread that over two weeks. And I have to be honest here and admit that some of those words were already written, just needed some judicious editing.

Weekly Goals:

Last week (or two):
Did not finish editing Earth.
Did not start An Elemental Spirit.
I surpassed my 2,000 word goal for Wandering Wizards, but only because it’s been two weeks since I updated here (again).
This week:
Continue, if not finish, the edits on An Elemental Earth.
Minimum of 2,000 new words on Wandering Wizards.
Start catching up on my book reviews.

Since it’s really the only thing I have going on at the moment, once again the excerpt is from Wandering Wizards:

The hour was growing late and it was decided they would stay the night as Aracelia’s guests and start off in the morning. While Howard and Aracelia chatted amiably about magic, Ellen remained quiet at dinner that evening. Without her anger to sustain her, she was finally feeling the impact of what had happened.

“You are troubled,” Kaelan observed.

“I was just thinking that my parents must be going out of their minds with worry,” she said, picking at her food. “I didn’t exactly have time to let them know I’d be going away.”

“I’m sorry,” Howard said, looking a little guilty. “I should have told you what I was up to.”

She waved him off. “What’s done is done.”

“Perhaps I could get a message to them,” Aracelia said thoughtfully. “I am sure I would be able to open a portal small enough for a wind imp to slip through.”

“A wind imp?” Ellen asked.

“Each of the elements have creatures linked to them. A wind imp is the most useful of the air elemental beings.” She sent one of the servants for a quill and paper.

“This is so cool!” Ellen said, dipping the quill into the small bottle of ink. She wrote a deliberately vague message to her parents about a sick friend who desperately needed her help, apologizing for the short notice and asking them to let the boutique where she worked know that she’d need a leave of absence.

When it was dry Aracelia folded it carefully and summoned the wind imp. It was smaller than the letter the elf gave it to carry, invisible but for an indistinct outline of its body. “Hold the image of your parents’ home in your mind,” she told Ellen.

Ellen did as she was told and Aracelia muttered a gutteral sounding incantation under her breath. A small hole opened up in the air in front of her and the wind imp, carrying the letter, slipped through.

Ellen couldn’t hold back a smirk.

“What?” Howard asked her.

“Gives a whole new meaning to the term, ‘air mail’, doesn’t it?”

The pair of them laughed while the others at the table remained mystified as to what was so funny.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wild and Weird
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

For a change, I chose one of the longer quotes Jamie sent me last week. In fact, this was yesterday’s quote:

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you can't catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. As the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, "Simba!"
― Annie Dillard

And isn’t that just the problem I’m having with one of my drafts lately? I let it sit for too long and now it’s gone feral. And taming it back into submission is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

While I’m an advocate for letting a finished draft sit for a couple of weeks before you go back to edit it, you really don’t want to do this while you’re still working on it. Granted sometimes you run into a roadblock of some kind where you get frustrated or blocked or have to rethink the entire story and have to set it aside for a while, but the longer you do this, the harder it will be to get back into it.

My own quote for the week has absolutely nothing to do with Jamie’s:

You know, it's hard work to write a book. I can't tell you how many times I really get going on an idea, then my quill breaks. Or I spill ink all over my writing tunic.
― Ellen DeGeneres

Okay, you might wonder why I chose this particular quote. It’s because of the image it evokes - the quill and the writing tunic. Though I haven’t written poetry in a while, I used to write a lot of it. What’s the first image that springs to mind when you think of a poet? Are you seeing the emaciated figure in the flowing poet’s shirt, using a quill and ink to scribble on parchment in a lonely attic? I see a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting, or maybe one by John William Waterhouse - very dreamy and romantic.

I love reading about other writers’ writing habits. Barbara Cartland (author of over 700 books), for instance, always dressed to the nines and reclined on a divan while dictating her novels to a bevy of secretaries. Mark Twain wrote lying down in bed. So did George Orwell, Edith Wharton, and Truman Capote. Victor Hugo wrote naked.

On the other hand, Ernest Hemmingway liked to write standing up, as did Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, and Lewis Carroll. Wallace Stevens wrote his poetry on slips of paper while walking. James Joyce wrote most of Finnegans Wake using crayon pieces on cardboard while lying on his stomach in bed.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote his final drafts on separate pieces of paper made into a running scroll with sealing wax. John Steinbeck wrote his drafts in pencil and always had exactly 12 sharpened pencils on his desk. Vladimir Nabokov composed on index cards. Alexandre Dumas wrote in blue for his fiction, pink for non-fiction, and yellow for poetry.

The list goes on and on. Let's face it, we writers are a pretty strange bunch.

So ... what are some of your weird writing habits?

Friday, September 16, 2016

What’s Your Excuse?
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

You can always tell I had trouble picking the quotes for the week when I’m late with this post. Once I decide which quotes I’m going to use the rest of the post seems to just fall into place. Unless, of course, I pick a quote and then change my mind, which happened this time.

I started out with a different quote from Jamie from last week, but I had a lot of trouble expressing why it stood out for me. Darn you Jamie for making me think! LOL They were all good ones though, and this one was my second choice:

What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you - what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind - you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.
~ Jeff Bezos

This certainly applies to me - the “complaining isn’t a strategy” part. Not that it stops me, but complaining about something is almost counter-productive. All that time spent complaining about the spanner life threw in the works would be much better spent working on a solution - how do I fix this?

Life rarely runs smoothly - how boring would it be if it did? There are going to be ups and downs and unexpected events that impinge on your schedule. Instead of bewailing your loss of writing time, you need to face these changes head on and learn to work with them or around them. If your writing is important to you, you’ll find a way.

My quote for last week kind of dove-tails into Jamie’s, because aren’t excuses born of complaining?

Fiction was invented the day Jonah arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale.
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Talk about your excuses! It ranks right up there with “the dog ate my homework.”

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a champion at making excuses. Why haven’t I been writing? It’s too hot, too cold, the stars aren’t in the right alignment.

To be perfectly honest, for the most part excuses are just a way of covering up sheer laziness. Like my excuse from a couple of weeks ago for not writing: it’s too hot and the bathroom renovation is too noisy. Well yes, that was true. But the hubby was home doing the renovating that week, which meant the car was home. There was nothing stopping me from driving to the library to get some writing in. Not only would it be quiet there, it’s air conditioned.

Excuses are the gateway drug that leads to more dangerous things, like procrastination. It’s too hot to write, I’ll put it off until it’s cooler. I really want to write, but I have to do seven loads of laundry first. I’d like to write but my family needs me. And once you start putting it off it gets easier and easier for other things to become your priority.

Homer Simpson said, “I wasn’t lying, I was writing fiction with my mouth.” That pretty much sums up what writing fiction is all about - getting paid for telling lies. And the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from writing are just the excuses that keep us from getting paid.

So ... what’s your excuse?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Update ...

Have you ever noticed how Sundays just seem to pop up out of nowhere? Well, they do for me anyway. I missed my update post completely last week and this week it was my movie review post. So ... what happened?

Well, I missed the updates post a week ago because I really had nothing to update. I only got half my weekly blog posts done over the last couple of weeks (my Monday and Friday ones), and only a couple hundred new words added to Wandering Wizards.

Now granted the last couple of weeks have been busy - we’ve had visitors a couple of times and hubby took a week off to get a start on the bathroom renovation (I say “start” because this bodes well to becoming a never ending story). The bathroom in question is across the hall from my office, and it was impossible to focus in even my secondary office (the living room) - do you know how noisy a renovation can get?

And let’s not forget how insanely hot and humid it was for the last couple of weeks. I’m a winter person thru and thru - humidity is most definitely not my friend. It makes me lethargic and ill and sucks the life right out of me.

But the biggest impediment to being a more productive writer was a singular lack of motivation. Staying motivated to write is difficult at the best of times. There’s little to show for it so people don’t consider it a real job. And even for a lot of professionals the pay isn’t that great. The inner motivation needed to get you (and keep you) writing is greater than for any other job and these last few months it just seems to be more of a struggle than usual.

It’s cold comfort that I’m not alone in feeling this, I have a whole slew of writers sites I surf to on a regular basis and it’s surprising how many of them are feeling the same thing. One author posted that she was going to take a few months off to gather her scattered thoughts, another just stopped posting - right in the middle of her serial story. A lot of sites the posts are few and far between.

So. How can we better motivate ourselves?

1. Take responsibility for your own actions; acknowledge that you’re the only one that can do this. The world is waiting for your story and only you can tell it.
2. Create a deadline and stick to it. Mark it on your calendar.
3. Set a daily goal - a word limit, a number of pages, a number of hours - something to strive for.
4. Get rid of distractions - phone, internet, TV - unplug the electronics and hide away if you have to.
5. Find a carrot - set yourself a mini-goal and reward yourself when you reach it.
6. Find a writing buddy - you can egg each other on.
7. Find a time and place that inspire you - everyone has a time of day where they feel more creative, and the perfect setting will help persuade you to write.
8. Make yourself accountable - tell family and friends what you’re doing and let them be your cheerleaders. At the very least you won’t want to let them down.

I think I need to print out this list. ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,239 words total
This is kind of an unfair total. Though I only counted my regular four posts, one or two of them were a couple of weeks old. Overall I think I was up by about 100 words.

0 words total
I set aside Lord of the Flies for a bit, but I’m halfway through Inkspell and I’m on the third of a boxed set of SEAL action/romances on the Kindle. I think I may have read a couplf of other books on the Kindle, but I forgot to write down the titles and/or authors. I’m also about halfway through this book I found in the stack beside my chair called A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain - I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but it’s pretty interesting.

0 hours total
Out of sight, out of mind - I tell you what. The sad part is, there’s not a lot that has to be done before Elemental Earth is ready to be set loose on the world, I just seem to be having a bit of trouble doing it. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing - once I’m finished it I’ll have to come up with a cover. And I have no clue what to use as a cover. ;-)

New Words
3,444 words total
Ha! Fooled you. I bet you thought I’d have no words to report, didn’t you? Well, the week the hubby was off, the writing urge was strong but the noise was too distracting so I only got about 500 words done. The rest of the words were kind of in a burst of a couple of days that petered out as quickly as they appeared. I also started what I think will probably be a flash fiction piece. I have the beginning and the end, I just need to work on the middle. And I suspect it’s going to be a creepy little story (as most of my flash pieces are).

Weekly Goals:

Last week (or two):
Did not finish editing Earth.
Did not start An Elemental Spirit.
I surpassed my 2,000 word goal for Wandering Wizards, but only because it’s been two weeks since I updated here.
This week:
Revive my interest in An Elemental Earth.
Minimum of 2,000 words on Wandering Wizards.
Work on new story, tentatively titled Frog and Scorpion.

Back to Wandering Wizards for the excerpt this week, because I really don’t have enough of the new story written to extract anything from it yet:

A slight scuff on the path made her turn her head. It was without surprise that she saw the elf Kaelan approaching. There was something about him . . . it wasn’t just that he was so beautiful, or that he seemed to find her fascinating. It was something else. Something she couldn’t put her finger on. Or maybe the truth was she didn’t want to put her finger on it.
“I’m sorry,” he said as he drew closer to her. “I did not wish to intrude.”
Damn. Even his voice was beautiful.
“It’s all right,” she told him. “You’re not intruding. And actually, I’d kind of like the company.”
He sat down beside her on the bench leaving just the right amount of space between them. Once seated they were on more of an even level, so to speak.
“Are you having trouble sleeping too?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered honestly. “I cannot help but wonder what has happened to the elves of the Wild Woods Realm. Different possibilities keep running through my mind.”
“And each one worse than the last,” Ellen finished for him.
“This is true. I thought perhaps some time in the garden might clear my head.”
“Then perhaps I’m the one intruding,” she told him. “If you’d rather be alone . . .”
“No!” The flush on his face was apparent even in the moonlight. “That is, I would much rather talk with you than be alone with my thoughts. But tell me, Mistress Ellen, what thoughts were you thinking that had you looking so serious?”
“It’s just Ellen,” she told him. “And I was thinking it seems that everyone else is just dripping with magic - everyone except me. I feel the odd man out.”
“Ah,” he nodded. “I know the feeling well. I, too, have been curse with a lack of magic.”
“Really?” She was surprised. “I thought elves were magic in themselves?”
He smiled at her. “Alas, no. And it is this lack that has made me the odd man out as well. I have three brothers and a sister, all, as you say, dripping with magic.”
She thought about it for a moment. “It must have made it very hard, growing up in such a magical household.”
“You have no idea.”
“Oh, I think I do. I have five brothers, all of whom take after our Irish mother - they’re big and brawny and every one of them a ginger.”
“A ginger?”
She grinned. “They have red hair. Not only am I the only girl in the family, I’m also the only one who takes after our Chinese father.” At his confused look she said, “Asians are smaller in build with straight black hair and a tilt to their eyes.”
“I think your eyes are beautiful - dark and mysterious, holding the wisdom of the ages.”
“I . . . thank you . . . I--” she broke off what she was going to say, blushing.
“Surely you have received many compliments on your eyes,” he said, with a teasing grin.
“Yes, but no one’s ever accused me of them being full of wisdom,” she said dryly. “Certainly not any of my brothers. In fact, they’d probably say just the opposite.”
He laughed outright at that and she was mesmerized by the sound. How anything could sound so musical yet masculine at the same time was beyond her.
“Are you the youngest in your family?”
She nodded. “Yes, and that just makes it worse.”
It was his turn to nod. “I, too, am the youngest. When I realized I could never hope to compete with my siblings with magic, I begged my father to allow me to learn to fight. He was not happy, though he gave his permission. He had hoped I would follow in his trade as a silversmith, but without magic my work would be mediocre at best.” He shrugged.
“My father runs a dojo - it’s like a school for the martial arts,” she added at his confused look. “When I was five years old I begged to be allowed to learn, but it took my mother putting her foot down before he’d teach me. She told him that the world was not a safe place, especially for a woman and that one day I’d be a woman out on my own and by then it would be too late to teach me.”
“A very wise woman, your mother.”
“She has her moments,” Ellen said with a grin. “Anyway, I’ve been taking lessons ever since. And if I’ve had to work extra harder than my brothers, it’s because I wanted to make sure I could beat them.”
“And can you?” he asked.
“All but one of them,” she said with satisfaction.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Of Imagination and Trees...
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your BEST BUD. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

It’s kind of unusual for Jamie and I to send each other quotes for a week that have nothing in common (other than their writerly inspiration) but that was the case last week. Her quotes, in particular, were really good ones, despite the fact she thought a couple of them were repeats (only one of them seemed familiar to me).

It was a tough call, but of the quotes she sent me I finally picked this one because it’s one I can relate to:

Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.
- Ann Patchett

I spend a lot of time in my own head, maybe too much, but it’s an interesting place to be. Just like reading, writing can be a wonderful escape. In fact, it can be an even better escape than reading because you can mould the world you escape to into whatever you wish.

I think all writers have a secret place in their heads they can go to. Maybe it’s to escape the daily grind, but maybe it’s the place where we generate our ideas. Or maybe it’s the place where we can have a drink with our characters to see what they have to say.

While I don’t have an imaginary friend to take tea with, I do enjoy having adventures in my own head. My imagination can keep me entertained for hours - when I’m bored, or trying to relax, or trying to fall asleep. It’s like a movie on continuous play in my mind and I’ll refine it with each pass. Sometimes I refine it to the point where I just have to write it down, but sometimes I just let it go.

Now, I have to be honest here. I didn’t like any of my quotes from last week. After staring at them for a while, I finally had it down to two. I ended up picking this one for the simple fact it was the shorter of the two:

When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

You can never go wrong with a quote from Stephen King. ;-)

And you know, he’s right on with this sentiment. As writers we do spend an inordinate amount of time on the trees - the little things, the details, of a story. But once we’re finished we have to step back and look at the big picture, to make sure all these little pieces come together to create a whole.

You start with the forest floor, that consists of leaf litter and soil. For the writer that means sifting through your thoughts and notes, casting about, then settling on an idea.

Next comes the herbaceous layer with the seedlings and non-woody plants. Here the writer begins to flesh out the idea he or she planted, watering it with care and nurturing it.

Then we have the shrub layer filled with immature trees, shrubs, and animals. This layer adds detail to the forest, just as you begin to add detail to your story.

The understory contains trees that aren’t quite mature; they’re close, but still have some growing to do. This is the revision stage, where things aren’t quite right yet and need to be polished.

And finally we have the canopy of the tallest oldest trees, exposed to all the elements, and protecting everything below it. Your story is finished and ready to be exposed to the world. This is the culmination of everything that has gone before.

So ... what kind of forest will grow of the seeds you plant?

Friday, September 2, 2016

A View to the Journey
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud.  But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

One of the things you’ll often find me checking out online is where other writers write. I also enjoy learning other trivial stuff about other writers, but where they write will keep me going for hours. There’s such a variety, some of it unique and some just plain weird. You can have a look at a few of them yourself HERE.

Jamie’s quote this week seems to fit right into this:

The ideal view for daily writing, hour for hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do, cloudless if possible.
- Edna Ferber

Edna’s got the right idea. Staring at a blank wall or a cloudless sky is the fast track to boredom, and when you’re bored that’s when a writer’s vivid imagination is a blessing. With nothing to distract you, you’re going to be making stuff up on your own. Of course she died in 1968, so she never had the internet to deal with. ;-)

But I know for myself the writing goes much better in my office than it does in the living room (my two regular writing places). Even when I can resist the lure of the internet, the living room still has that other pesky time-waster, the television. My office does not have a television in it, and the view out my window is the unchanging house across the street in the winter, and the leaves of the birch tree in the summer. Good for staring at as you contemplate your next words, but not exactly distracting. And let’s face it, no one gets distracted as easily as a writer. Or maybe that’s just me. ;-)

My quotes were rather long this week, but when it came to choosing a favourite I was stuck between the two shortest ones. One had to do with a way to write, the other more about a reason to write. I finally went with the latter because it seemed to speak to me in a louder voice:

You know, they ask me if I were on a desert island and I knew nobody would ever see what I wrote, would I go on writing. My answer is most emphatically yes. I would go on writing for company. Because I'm creating an imaginary — it's always imaginary — world in which I would like to live.
― William S. Burroughs

Having chosen that quote, I find myself strangely tongue-tied (so to speak) when it comes to explaining why. These days pretty much anyone can write and publish a book. And with the right promotion it can become a best-seller. But would they bother if they knew no one would ever read it?

I don’t think success is necessarily measured in dollars - although who among us wouldn’t like to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? I think real success is measured from within, that feeling of satisfaction you get when you complete that novel or story or poem. Maybe it sells, maybe it doesn’t, but the point is you did it.

I’ve published several books and the reason they haven’t sold more than they have is because I am very lazy when it comes to self promotion. But I keep writing anyway. I have all these words and ideas in me and they need an outlet. So whether anyone sees them or not is a moot point - I’ll keep writing until I run out of things to say.

As Harry Kim on Star Trek Voyager said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”