Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Favorites 7/6/12

Favorite Song of the Week
"In February" by Delay Trees - Special thanks to Jason (and I suspect Tuuli too :) for recommending this Finnish band. This song is a great addition to my current WIP playlist. It perfectly captures a mood I'm trying to write for my main character.

Favorite Dream
David Grohl gave me a pixie haircut using a razor. Not quite the Stephenie Meyersesque dream that would inspire a novel and catapult my writing career. That's what I get for sharing my "worst haircut ever" story with my sis-in-law recently and watching Foo Fighters videos last Tuesday night.

How sweet is this little sleeping chickadee?
Favorite Summer Moment
My 8-year-old loves to go out in our backyard and explore after dinner. The heat of the day has subsided and it's quiet, except for the birds calling back and forth to each other. Often, I join her and read or write outside. Last week we watched two chickadees hop around a spruce tree on the other side of my fence in my neighbor's yard. After a while, the pair flew down to the fence, hopping from the pointed top pickets to the horizontal rails. Then one chickadee nestled itself in the corner between the post and the top rail. We watched it, amazed at how after a short time, the little bird appeared to be sleeping. And sure enough, the other chickadee did the same  in the corner of the next post. As twilight approached we left the sleeping birds and went inside. They've repeated this ritual every night since. Moments like this: Gold.

Tell me about your favorite anything this week.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Word in Front of the Other: IWSG

If you saw this badge in your blogroll yesterday and today, you'll know that it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I think I need to add my name to the official Alex list because I missed a couple of months, but I'm posting today anyway.

I'm in the infatuation stage of my latest WiP. Head over heels with my first chapter!

Instead of jumping right into to my ms this time with only a couple of character names, I thought about it a lot. I listened to music, wrote a lot of notes and let the ideas simmer. I've had this idea inside me for such a long time that knowing where to start overwhelmed me. I did have a couple hundred words written down from when I first attempted this last fall, but soon realized that this was not where my story needed to start. But where?

To answer that question, I needed to know not only where I wanted to start but where and how I wanted this to end, and how to get there. Actually, I had a pretty good idea on how it was going to end, but there was a huge, wide gap in the middle.

Until last week. Again, the music. I can't explain it, but somehow the story poured out as I listened to "Simple Song" by The Shins and "The Pretender" by the Foo Fighters to name a couple. Before I knew it I had a long list of plot points that I could easily organize into an outline.

Three things have helped me in this starting over process:
1. brainstorming and solitary thinking time (something that I have now that the school/work year is over)
2. an outline identifying my starting point, my ups, downs, and turning points, conflicts and resolutions.
3. reading books on writing - I want to emphasize here that I wasn't looking for any answers or shortcuts, but rather wanted read the experience of others. I learn so much by reading about other author's journeys and feel inspired to find my own way.

I just finished the first chapter and want to jump for joy. I'll admit I was afraid of where those first words would come from and if the rest would follow. And they did. Because you know what? I'm a writer and I love to write.

If you're doubting yourself and feeling insecure, I'd like to recommend a book I'm reading now called Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg. It's encouraging and reminds us that we write because we find joy in the act of expressing ourselves with the written word. Sometimes there are times  in our lives that take us away from our writing. Sometimes it's a short time while we finish a project, study for exams, take care of sick children, etc. Other times it's a long stretch - 9 long months for me - and we wonder if that same joy will return, wonder if we'll remember how to write, and wonder if it's worth starting over.

Let me assure you, if you're meant to be a writer, it's worth it. That familiar pull to spend an hour on the computer or with my notebook, the satisfaction of writing a 500 word scene without blinking and then reading it back and thinking, "Damn. This is pretty good." There's nothing like it.