Monthly Archives: March 2011
Today’s prompt is:
feels like my first night
I toss and turn
and my bed feels cold without you.
This isn’t how it was supposed to be.
I was supposed to see you more;
now I will only see you less.
I don’t think you know
how hard this is for me-
and a bitter part of me hopes
it will be just as hard for you.
I will never have to spend another night alone.
Today’s prompt is:
The village that they took me to was peaceful and unlike anything I had ever seen. The temple of Unity was the largest building in the whole town, and Ahkmar’s temple was all but abandoned, a tiny shack. There were no gold or silver coins, but the people traded with cloth and beads and food. At the center of the market there was a fountain with a beautiful woman pouring water into a large marble basin. We passed through the town and onto one of the farms. Two men were working in a field full of pumpkins and squash.
The farm itself was a big blue house with a huge porch. Two arm chairs and a coffee table sat on the porch. Nobody was in either of them. The woman knocked on the door and immediately began tapping her foot with impatience while the man stood next to me in silence. After a couple of moments a woman who was perhaps a foot shorter than I was and half a century older appeared at the door. She looked at the couple and then looked at me and raised her eyebrows.
“Where did you find her?” the old woman asked.
“We found her by the pond. She said she has left the city in search of a new home.”
“You should have told her to go to the next one,” the woman said, her voice growing cold.
I cleared my throat and stepped forward. “But I do not want to go to the next city.”
There was a long silence as the woman looked me up and down, evaluating me by some standards I did not know. She clicked her tongue a couple of times and I winced-perhaps they would send me away after all. Then she smiled.
“Then come in, my child, and tell me your story.”
It would appear that St. Patty’s day celebrations got in the way of writing a proper blog post for today. I apologize for this interruption in our routine and I hope you will enjoy the series of posts I’m currently working on.
In the meantime, how do you celebrate St. Patty’s day?
My writing has hit a low point over the last couple of weeks. It would seem that it took a blow after I finished Moonshadow’s Guardian. The story had me completely entranced, and I’m already eager to begin the first rewrite. Currently I am playing the waiting game-with plenty of school work to distract me in the meantime-because I know that you should never start editing right away. However, rewrites are going to begin sooner than I originally planned; I need to rewrite this story, to make some very specific changes to it, to get it out of my system.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Known, as much as I love the story, will have to take the backburner for now. I know that I cannot currently give it the attention and time that it deserves. When, as a writer, you are told that you must write every day and move quickly from one project to the next, this kind of thing can be hard to admit-even to yourself. But it’s important to remember that every writer is different, every writer’s needs and strengths are different; there’s no one way to go about becoming an author.
Keeping this in mind I’m not going to yell at myself for not accomplishing much on the writing front this week; instead I’m going to do some research-reading a new book I bought about castles-and then jump right into the rewrite of Moonshadow’s Guardian.
Fiction isn’t the only thing that’s been hard for me in the last couple of weeks; the blog posts which were plentiful in my head at the beginning of the year seem to have dried up. I know I want to start a new series of blog posts for Friday mornings, but I have no idea what to focus on or where to begin. Sometimes writing really is like pulling nails, both on the fiction front and on the non-fiction front. Sometimes it means you have to push harder; other times it means you have to take a break.
As a blogger I have one advantage that lots of other writers don’t; I can ask you guys what I should write about next. This is my first poll and it will be up for a week. Come back next week to find out the results-and to see my shiny new series of posts.
Today’s prompt is:
Write about a time two of your characters (or more) were walking through a forest and encountered a vicious animal
Please post the first sentence of your response.
As writers we are told everywhere, in books and all over the web, that to succeed we must write every day. This is true to a point. Being a fiction writer primarily, I am letting go of the idea that I need to work on one of my novels every day. Going to school and having lots of friends-with a bigger social circle than most other writers I know-means that I don’t have time to write every day.
It’s very easy when you miss a day or two-or a week-to bring yourself down, to feel guilty about not writing. All the time we hear that serious writers work at their craft every day, that they apply butt to chair and work until their fingers hurt. Certainly full time writers should write every day or at least almost every day, but for the rest of us, it might not be plausible.
All of that said, if you want to be a good writer, you do need to put a fair bit of time and effort into your work. The trick is to find the right balance so that you can write regularly without getting overwhelmed. It’s particularly tricky when you also work full time, have toddlers, or go to school-whether that be high school or college or sometimes even elementary.
So how do you find balance? I haven’t perfected it yet, but I’ll show you what I do.
Thinking in Goals instead of Times
Each week-okay, most weeks, I fall off the bandwagon sometimes-I decide what I want to do that week. For instance, next week I would like to put up three blog posts, finish the mythology and history for Some Secrets Should Never Be Known (henceforth known as SSNK because I’m too lazy to type it all out every time), and write the first mini-essay of my history class. When I think about my productivity for the week, I look not at how many hours I spent writing, I think about what really matters: what I got accomplished. I don’t give myself specific times to do things because I know I’ll miss at least one of them and get discouraged.
This week I didn’t really get any fiction writing done, but I did do some journaling, which leads me to my next point:
Journaling Counts Too
Since I only really write fiction, I can’t do what some other writers do and switch to a nonfiction project when the fiction gets tough. But I do journal-not every day, but enough-and that counts as writing too. If for whatever reason you can’t seem to finish the next chapter of your book, sit down with pen and paper and start writing about your life. Journaling gives you a space to write out your problems and work them out in your head-as stress is the main cause of ‘writer’s block’, in my opinion-and it gives you a place to write freely, writing whatever you want, because nobody’s going to judge you.
If you didn’t spend the day working on your book, a page or two in your journal will keep your writing muscles strong-besides, you might get an idea to continue your story or even start a new one if you just sit down and write whatever you please in a journal.
Give Yourself A Break
Remember that nobody’s perfect, and the more you beat yourself up about missing a writing day, the less you end up actually writing. Remember that it’s perfectly normal to get burnt out at the end of a novel-or even a novella-and that taking a day-or a few days-off isn’t a big deal. Give yourself a break. And perhaps if you haven’t been writing, it’s time to seek some inspiration-something that can be found anywhere if you look hard enough, especially in the nearest park.
I still don’t get as much writing done as I feel that I should, for a number of reasons. But with these strategies I’ve managed to accomplish a fair bit. Everybody falls off the bandwagon sometimes; the most important thing is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take a little time for yourself, and then jump back into the writing game. And whatever you do, don’t forget to take time to do things for yourself-it’ll save you a lot of sanity.