Monday, January 23, 2012

Plan B

My plan for the beginning of 2012 was to begin writing the first draft of a new YA novel. I'll call this Plan A. I had already written the first 1000 words or so and two friends read and critiqued it for me recently. They spotted some areas that needed improvement and I'm grateful for their keen eyes and brains. As I read their comments, I realized that instead of just writing without a direction I needed to step back and plan a bit. I don't need a detailed outline but I'm definitely NOT a pantser.

This leads me to Plan B. I want the strength of this story to be in two areas: the relationship between my MC, Jude, and her sister, and the relationship between Jude and her two best friends. To do this I want to really ponder the personalities of these five characters before diving into the plot. I believe that the story will come to life if my characters are well formed with their own distinct voices. To do that I need to spend time getting to know each character, and so for the first time I'm going to try some character exercises and go from there. Seems pretty obvious doesn't it?

I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my previous post. Your support, ideas, and encouragement have lifted my spirits and given me hope that I can work through this. Once I have a mini profile on each of these characters, I'm going to use Cloudpic's suggestion of using my senses to bring these characters to life.

And if this doesn't work. I'll try Plan C...once I figure out what Plan C actually is :P

How do you bring your characters to life?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting Out of My Own Way

I didn't want to post about this topic because it meant having to admit something that I've been avoiding.
I'm not writing.
I don't have writer's block, I just can't start.
Why, I'm not sure.
I'm hoping by the end of this post, I'll know. Right now there's an invisible shield between me and my notebook and I can't break through.
It's paralyzing and it scares me. What if I can't shake it off? Should I just give in and stop pretending that I'm writer?

Let me back up.

Before the holidays, during the fall, I wasn't writing because my brain was drained, so to speak. My days were filled with emotional stress and an exhausting schedule; usually until 9 or 10 at night. Sure, I could have squeezed in some writing time, minutes here and there, but the quality would have been crap and it would have meant sacrificing sleep -- that's one thing I can't afford to do. I need at least 6 hours to function as a good wife, mother, employee, friend. In fact, there were a couple of times that I sat down at the computer and literally fell asleep at the keyboard. Now that the holidays are over, there's no reason why I can't find time to write. Yes, my schedule is still tight, but the winter months are generally easier - not as many commitments. Emotionally, I'm in a much better place and so, I could write almost every day and make some real progress on my WiP. But I'm not.

My writer friends, and familar names around the blogs I follow, are making huge strides in the their journeys. They're finishing their first drafts, their nearing the end of revisions and almost ready to query. Some have been querying or are taking steps to self publish, and some have even signed with agents and are or will soon be submitting to publishers. I'm so proud of how far they've come and excited that they are closer to reaching their dream. But I feel like I'm not moving forward at all.

Did you ever have one of those dreams where you were running and running but couldn't move forward? I used to have those dreams as a kid and I'd wake up in a panic. That's how this "whatever it is" feels like.
Right now I'm stagnant. It would be easy to just let the writing slide but I know the longer I wait the harder it will be to go back. And I can't help feeling ashamed. All the advice, and it's good advice says, "Just write. If you want it bad enough you'll find a way to struggle through." All the pep talks in the world should motivate me. But I can't. Get. Past. Myself.

I'm not looking for an answer, a "there, there" pat on the back, or sympathy. One of the reasons I didn't post this sooner is because I didn't want to sound like a lazy, whiny wannabe writer looking for attention. And truthfully, I thought that I'd be able to pull myself out of this funk. I try to keep my blog light and upbeat but then I'd be pretending to be someone I'm not. I'm not there right now (in my writing life) and I'm worried.

I guess I'm blogging about this because I need to know if others are going through this too. How are you dealing with it? Have you been here? Did you give up or fight through?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blank Slate *(IWSG)

Just a few thoughts that came to mind while reflecting on 2011 and looking forward into 2012.

2011 is behind you.
memories, honey sweet, bathe in them
let them linger into the future
memories, dark desolation, let them fade, wash away.
they no longer have power over you

2012 is here, a fresh beginning.
full of hope, renewed energy
a second, third, or 10th chance
whatever is needed
ready to greet your dreams.
let them unfold, take charge, carry you away.

For a complete list of *Insecure Writer's Support Group participants, click on the side image which will lead you to Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions and Where to Put Them

Not there! Sheesh.

 I have nothing against resolutions.
In fact, I make them every year: self-examination, goal setting, plans for the future, how to live as a better person. And I will do that again this year, pondering the ways I feel I need to stretch and grow as a person.

 Usually I write them down; in a journal or last year, here on the blog. But this year, the only written resolution I'm making is this...

...and it's going right on my computer.

My plan is to take each day as it comes and do my best. The rest is icing on the cake.

Happy 2012 to you all!