Carol Collett

Life as I know it

Archive for the category “Writing”

#2017WritingGoals

So my personal goals are set for the year. But my writing goals have been in limbo. Until Thursday night, anyway. During my somewhat weekly writing meeting with Kaye I pretty much defined my #2017WritingGoal: I want to have a submission ready manuscript in one year.

Big freaking goal.

Gulp.

Double gulp.

But, when I break it down into smaller goals it looks like this:

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Still a HUGE FREAKING GOAL. But it’s doable. Not easy by any estimation, but doable. Actionable. Within my control.

Let’s do this. What are your #2017WritingGoals?

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Neil Gaiman and a Year of Mistakes

So, I’m participating in a life coaching program called Creative Alchemy Passion Plan by Kathy Kawalec, who is, oddly enough, a dog trainer. She participates in open level sheepdog trials with her border collies.

Today, one of the members of the group posted a quote attributed to Neil Gaiman. I found his original post here.

The part of this post that my fellow creative alchemy student mentioned is this:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
This works in so perfectly with my current daily devotional subject of fear. The specific devotional is a 14 day plan on Bible.com called Fear is a lie. In today’s reading the writer argues that fear is a learned response in some cases, therefore can be unlearned. The writer says the first step in unlearning fear is to identify individual fears.
Failure, you could say mistakes, topped my list. But Mr. Gaiman’s reading gives another way to think of failure. As, well, not failure. But a mistake. A learning tool. Something useful. Another way to approach the task at hand. Or not approach it. Maybe the mistake will lead to a wonderful discovery.
My favorite line in Mr. Gaiman’s quote above is this: “Whatever it is you’re scare of doing, Do it.” 
Does fear inhibit you in pursuit of your dreams? What techniques do you use to just do it afraid? How do you break the hold when you feel fear has you in its grip?

The Slow Road or Adjusting on the Fly to a More Realistic Goal

So on October 2 I started out on the #FirstDraft60 challenge started by Kaye. You can check it all out on her blog. The planning month went okay-I wasn’t too far behind, really.

But when Kaye and I met for our weekly writing session last Thursday we both admitted that neither of us was comfortable with the November 30 deadline to complete our drafts. This gave rise to an adjusted challenge.

Welcome to #FirstDraft120.

Sigh…big, huge sigh. This, this is doable.

Sunday, Kaye posed some questions for reflection. They made me think. One thought was that my answers might be a little too much for a simple comment on her post. I think these are good questions for any goal adjustment, not only writing. Just tweak the questions to fit the situation.

So here are Kaye’s questions and my answers.

1. How was your writing going before the challenge’s end date was extended?

Honestly, slow. And difficult. Not flowing at all.

2. If you weren’t going to meet the original end-date goal and knew you needed more time, but had that date of November 30 hanging over your head, how did that make you feel?

Stressed and defeated. That simple.

3. Now that we’re taking more time for this challenge, how do you think that will affect your writing-both your writing time (work) and your writing craft (story)?

I think my writing time will be more relaxed which typically leads me to be more productive and creative. Hopefully this will help the story come to life a little more in my mind.

4. What are you looking forward to most about having more time to write? What do you think will be the most challenging about the extended deadline?

I’m looking forward to less stress and more relaxed writing. The pitfall for me will be, as always, procrastination.

Do you have a goal or deadline that you know you’re not going to meet as originally planned? Do you have the luxury of giving yourself more time? How might you tweak these questions to help you explore that option?

Sunday Reflection on #FirstDraft60

Every Sunday Kaye posts some questions for reflection on her blog. You can check out today’s post here.

Today’s questions made me think hard about this challenge/project and about what place I want writing to have in my life. So I thought I’d share my answers here.

What are your key responsibilities that cannot be put aside for writing? 

  • Marriage
  • Day job
  • Pet care (although I do have help with this-I get home before Daniel so must take the dogs out and feed them-that takes 30-45 minutes as soon as I get home)
  • Housework (again, I have help, but Daniel can’t do it all, though he will willingly do more)

What priority does writing take in your life? 

Writing is important to me. Has been for years. But for so long it has scared me, so I pushed it to the back of my life even when I said I was working. But now I’ve released all those old expectations. Now I just want to write for the sake of writing. So writing is important to me, but not the most important thing.

What would you be willing to give up, for just 30 days, in order to have more time to write?

  • Riding the train (I learned over the summer I don’t write well on the train-my good intentions fail miserably-I often doze off or read on the train)
  • Mindless TV watching (you know how you turn on the TV just to have background noise but end up binge watching old episodes of Law and Order SVU that you’ve seen 300 times already instead of doing what you intended to do)
  • Getting home from work earlier (so giving up the train would get me home about an hour earlier-tested this out last week-what if I take that hour to sit at Panera close to the hospital and wait for traffic to thin out a bit and write)

What are some obligations and commitments you currently have that you can reprioritize and/or reschedule in order to build more writing time into your daily schedule and give your writing the priority in November?

  • Easier meals and/or weekend meal prep
  • Write at least two hours per day while we’re on staycation the week of 10/31-that should get me a good head start

One thing I’ve recently realized is that I’m okay if my dream of being a traditionally published novelist never happens. I used to think I would die if that never happened. But I have no control over that. What I can control is my work, my writing. And I’ve realized that writing for its own sake is worthwhile for me. But a haphazard approach is not. Therefore, I’m taking this #FirstDraft60 challenge seriously, putting myself into it, and learning to enjoy the journey instead of looking toward the destination.

Writing is Hard and Frustrating and I Can’t Make Myself Stop

Sigh…that moment when you realized you antagonist has a more interesting story than your protagonist. Head-desk to infinity.

Thankfully I’m still in the early planning phase of Kaye’s #FirstDraft60 so hopefully I can get this all worked out.

Or I could just make the antagonist the protagonist…

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First Draft in Sixty Days

It’s time!!

During October and November I’m joining my friend, Kaye, in a writing challenge to complete the first draft of a novel by November 30. We’ll spend October planning and November writing.

If you’re interested in joining the fun check out Kaye’s day one post here.

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

Blogging seems to be my nemesis. Not sure why. But I’m picking back up where I left off.

Just wish I could do that with the story I was working on in July. Frankly, it’s a mess. Really. A hot, stinking mess. I don’t even want to look at the file, let alone open it. So I haven’t opened it. Since July.

Sigh.

But here I am. Starting right where I sit.

When Writing is Hard

This week writing sucks. I hate my story. I hate trying to make the plot work. I hate even thinking about it. I don’t want to even look at the file.

But I wrote a little bit today anyway.

I had to.

I’m a writer.

What do writers do when writing is hard?

They write.

Sunday Round Up and Goals for Next Week

Last week was mostly a bust. At least after Wednesday. I did meet my word count goal of 4k words by bedtime Tuesday. I actually had over 5k! I did blog three days. But on the work out front? Big old fail. I did do my back PT exercises one day and about five minutes of a yoga video one day. But I was sick most of the week with a sinus infection.

So, let’s move from the land of unmet goals to the land full of possibility, AKA next week.

  1. I want end Friday with 10k words on my Camp NaNo project.
  2. Thirty minutes of yoga three days during the week.
  3. Walk thirty minutes three days during the week.

No reason I can’t meet those goals.

 

And, speaking of Camp NaNo, we have an awesome local leader who has planned many events for us throughout the month. Unfortunately I’ve only been able to attend one event. This morning she had us to her house for yoga and write. Three of us participated. We spent about forty five minutes doing some very gentle beginner yoga. Many years (a couple of decades actually) ago I practiced yoga on a daily basis. I realized today how much I miss it.

After yoga we did a thirty minute word sprint. So awesome to write with friends. Great fellowship.

 

Friday Favorites

Today I have two faves to discuss.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

First up let’s talk about Camp NaNo. For writers the whole NaNoWriMo phenomenon can be either supremely inspirational and motivating or completely overwhelming. The concept is simple-write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel in one calendar month. The big National Novel Writing Month is November. Writers from around the world gather in person and in NaNo chat rooms to challenge and inspire each other to write, write, write. The mantra for many participants is BICHOKTAM. It means butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly. Personally, I love it.

CNW_Participant_Square

So where does Camp NaNo come in, you ask. Good question. So for those who either can’t get enough in November or who can’t participate in November or who just want a little less intense version, Camp NaNoWriMo comes to the rescue. But for Camp NaNo, participants group together in cabins, private groups of writers who cheer each other on. Each participant has to create a project and set a goal. It works with the user’s main NaNo log in info. It’s up to each cabin to create their own activities, meet-ups, virtual write-ins.

This July my goal is 20,000 words on my kitlit project tentatively titled For the Love of Grendle. Yeah, I stink at titles. Seriously.

The cabin I’m part of rocks. I don’t think any of us are writing the same genre. We’re a mixture of age groups. Some of us are unpublished while some are published. But we’re all cheering for each other and celebrate even the tiniest of successes.

Honestly, I think I’m having more fun than in NaNo of 2014 when I wrote like the wind and won a few days before the end of the month. I suspect I’ll be a fixture in Camp NaNo world.

Wine in Grocery Stores

Now, let’s talk about wine. I’ve never been much of a drinker, since college, anyway. I have three remaining of a six pack of Guinness I bought probably four or five months ago. And, Guinness is my favorite beer. But on July 1 a law we voted on a couple of years ago became effective. Grocery stores can now sell wine. I haven’t bought wine in years. Not because I don’t like it or have anything against it. Just don’t like to drive out of my way to make another stop at a liquor store. When I did the shopping on July 1 I decided to support the law I voted in favor of and buy a couple of bottles of wine at Kroger. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening. And, hey, wine (in MODERATION) offers several health benefits. You can do a Google search for that one. There are a bazillion links.

Wine

What are you particularly enjoying right now? Have you discovered a new product or service you’re excited about? Share in the comments. And if you have any wine suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

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