Day 323 – Longing to write

Day three hundred twenty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Book two is limping along, slowly but surely. Lately I am too drained at the end of the day to write much. Life is busy. Work is demanding and stressful. I curse the day job. Except for the regular paycheck, I curse the day job. Well…except for the regular paycheck and the continuous conveyor belt of delicious writing material laid out before me, I curse the day job.

All right, I admit it. As much as the day job adversely affects the time and energy I have left in a day to write, it does have its benefits. I get ideas for stories all the time. Some of my experiences are so wild and colorful and unexpected and puzzling and crazy and just plain interesting, I can only defer to the old saying: “you can’t make this stuff up.”

It’s the stuff great stories are made of. It’s too good. And some day I will write about as much of it as I can, in the context of fiction and complete anonymity for those who may be connected to the material. Until then, I long to write. The ideas keep coming, and I long to write about them.

Someday, I will.

Day 266 – First chapter, new adventure

Day two hundred sixty-six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

So far, writing the new book has been a delicious experience. I can’t get enough. When that is the case, writing every day comes as naturally as brushing my teeth. But oh, so much better. I am letting my creativity flow without limitation, without hesitation. It’s so freeing and lovely, it makes me smile to think about it. I’m getting close to finishing the first chapter and I’m as happy as a bee in clover.

It’s a new adventure, for sure. And it is quite different from the other book about which I have blogged. This is a story of human experience. It isn’t a thriller and it isn’t related to the law. It is about the female. She. Her. Woman. Girl. And where she fits into the world. And what the world does to her. The biggest difference from a writer’s perspective is that I am writing this story in the first person. It’s more creatively and emotionally driven than I expected. I like it.

It is good to be in a more positive, creative mode again. I aim to keep it going as long as I can. I am a happier person when I can write freely. That is my sole purpose in writing this book. Nothing else; I just want to write it.

Day 169 – Ignore that reluctant inner voice and just write

Day one hundred sixty-nine of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,500

I got a late start tonight. I will admit I was reluctant to try to get into writing that late. But I did. And the words flew onto the page. This was yet another example of how pushing through those moments of “I can’t” or “I don’t feel like it” or “I’ll put it off until tomorrow” really pays off. Just write. It is that simple. And look at what happened. I jammed out 1,500 words and the story took an awesome turn I wasn’t planning on. Tonight was definitely one of those times when writing fiction was thrilling, fulfilling and just plain fun. Like I used to do before I started this project, if I had listened to my reluctant inner voice and bailed on writing tonight, I would have really missed out.

As for the turn in the story, **SPOILER ALERT.** Do you remember that character I introduced in a post for Day 137, an older gentleman named Lyndon? I mentioned him again in the post for Day 153 when I talked about him parting ways with the main character. Well, he’s back. In a surprising turn, he and the main character are together again. And it’s great. I couldn’t be more thrilled about his return and I think it improves the story line. I’m excited to write more about Lyndon and Skylar’s current adventure tomorrow.

And when that reluctant inner voice returns some day, I will immediately ignore it. It will never cheat me out of a great writing session ever again.

Day 161 – Writing speed shouldn’t be a factor

Day one hundred sixty-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 160 and 161: 1,500

When I first started this project last July, in addition to word count I kept track of the time I spent writing each day. I wanted to do this for two reasons: 1) to get a feel for how much time I could make for writing each day; and 2) to learn about my writing efficiency. After about a month or so I stopped keeping track. Although the information I collected was valuable, once I saw my patterns I didn’t really need to know more. I had no intention of trying to improve those patterns in any formal sense. Specifically, I didn’t want to focus on my writing efficiency because when you commit to writing every day, you don’t make a race of it. Speed shouldn’t be a factor, and for me, it isn’t.

But tonight I wrote 1,000 words in a short amount of time. Much faster than normal. I appreciated that efficiency since I started late. I didn’t force myself to write faster than normal, it just happened that way. As most writers (and artists) know, sometimes the creative flow comes out like a fire hose. Other times, it’s a trickle. Which is why I believe that writing speed shouldn’t be a factor, ever, because you can’t force the flow.

Day 142 – Getting what you want out of the story

Day one hundred forty-two of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,300

So. Much. Fun. I started Chapter Seventeen tonight after ending Chapter Sixteen in suspense last night. I thought about it often today, my fingertips itching in anticipation. With the kids in bed and husband home after working late, I finally got into it after a long day and it was hugely satisfying. Even more satisfying was getting what I wanted out of the story.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times lately that I’m nearing the end of this book. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the plot is circling back and characters are being reunited just before the end of a long struggle through dangerous adventures. Writing that moment – when two main characters finally reach each other after being separated and unable to find each other for an agonizing period of time – was like having dessert. I couldn’t wait for them to be together again. They couldn’t wait to be together again. And when they finally were, it was…pretty awesome. I’m so jazzed about it I have to share a little snippet – pardon the raw, unedited feel of it:

“Skylar!” Thomas immediately took off at a run toward her. With awareness in the moment that felt more out-of-body than the wildly visceral experience it actually was, Skylar stumbled toward him through the deep snow like a weak-kneed drunk. Never so happy or relieved in her life, she felt like she needed to vomit or cry, or maybe both, as they reached each other and embraced with a driving force that would have dented a Buick.

Ahh. Now that is getting what I wanted. And the story still has more satisfying moments to come.

Day 130 – Robotic skeletons in the closet

Day one hundred thirty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 600

Does it ever feel like you’re writing the skeleton of a scene? You know – all frame and no substance?

I’m writing a scene that has turned into dry dialogue and stiff action. I keep stopping while writing to try to write the next sentence better. To give it more substance. But it isn’t working. The scene is nothing more than a robotic skeleton, rigid and awkward.

I won’t let myself go back and read it because I don’t want to get bogged down with trying to re-write the scene now. Early on in this project I made a pledge to save all editing for when the entire first draft of my manuscript is done. But I can tell you without a doubt that this particular scene is not good and needs major work. Later. Remember the mantra: Write now, edit later. For now, there’s a robotic skeleton in my closet.

Day 127 – Timing isn’t everything

Day one hundred twenty-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 700

The flow was disjointed for me tonight. My problem? Timing. Not real world timing, but timing within the story I am writing. I started a new chapter that is partly a re-telling of a scene from another character’s perspective. It is more of an overlap of two scenes, but the point is to tell it from two perspectives. That’s where the difficulty came in. Getting the timing right was harder than I expected.

These two characters are having different experiences in the scene, with the first being actively involved and the other being an observer. They enter and exit the scene at different times. That’s all well and good, except for making the timing work with the rest of each of their respective stories. They each came from somewhere doing something, and after the scene they each have somewhere to go. The timing of all of this is just plain tricky. It made writing the scene twice equally tricky.

I decided to just write the scene now and fix the timing later. It’s not the best solution, but it’s a solution I can make work. It won’t be the case in the end, but for now, timing isn’t everything.

Day 109 – Where to go from here

Day one hundred nine of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 400  (Words for Day 108: 1,000)

Yesterday I jammed out 1,000 words but didn’t blog about it. Now I wish I had, because tonight I struggled to write. I was ready and willing, which is half the battle, but when I sat here at my laptop and tried to get things rolling, I stalled out. The thing is, I know exactly what’s the culprit. It’s the story.

Let’s face it. When you’re story is rich and interesting, you don’t stall out. When it’s experiencing a lull in content, you just might have difficulty getting words on the page. That’s where I am at the moment. I’m at a loss for where the story is headed. Even more so, I’m unsure of how the story is going to get there. And this, I’m finding, is not much fun. Frustrating? Yes. Fun? Nope. All I want to do is fix the problem and get back to exciting, fun writing.

But how? What does a writer do when the story is failing her? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m hoping some of you do. For now, I think it’s time to pull out the ole’ outline to regroup and refresh the ole’ memory.

Day 106 – In like a lion, out like a lamb

Day one hundred six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 900

I felt in a good flow from the moment I started writing tonight. The first 500 words came easily. As most writers would agree, sometimes the flow just happens. Then something strange occurred. As I wrote, the flow seemed to dwindle. The next 400 words came much, much slower. It usually is just the opposite for me. I usually start out slow but then pick up into a nice steady pace. Not tonight.

One reason for this flip in productivity is the fact that I kept nodding off every few minutes. Not helpful. Another reason is the content of the story. I reached a moment in the book where I really did not know where to go with it. I staggered. Not being sure-footed in the direction of the story definitely impacts one’s flow in the writing. But one must push on through. So I did, albeit slowly.

Because I left the story like a lamb tonight, I decided to stop mid-sentence. I have never done that before but have read that some writers prefer to jump right into the middle of a sentence when they start writing each day. I’ll let you know how that works for me tomorrow.

Day 83 – Writing longhand is quite a different experience

Day eighty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,250

What I wrote today turned out to be a combination of pages I wrote longhand last night and what I added as I transcribed today. I didn’t have my laptop last night so I went the old school route and pulled out a notepad. I sharpened a nice No. 2 soft lead pencil and sat down to write like I used to do long ago. It was wild.

Until last night, every page of the book I am writing has originated by me typing into a Word document. To experience writing longhand again was eye-opening in many ways. First, it was tiring. My hand literally got tired and cramped. I had to shake it out and stretch it several times. Second, it was slow. I couldn’t get the words down as fast as I am used to when I type. My thoughts were outrunning my hand’s ability to scribe by a mile. Third, it was more connective. Something about the smooth motions, curling the letters and designing the words on the page gave me a deeper connection to them. It was like I was creating the words at the same time I created the story.

It was a cool experience. But to be honest, it isn’t one I will likely repeat too often. Having to transcribe today what I had written the day before put me in the position of editing while I wrote. If you have been following my blog you know this is something I have been working hard to avoid. I simply couldn’t avoid it today when I was typing the words from yesterday because I had a day of perspective to see weaknesses in the writing. I couldn’t type those parts as they were. I had to change them. So I edited and tweaked and typed. Everything turned out well, but it definitely took away from my free-flowing writing time.

As always, its validity rules the day: Write now, edit later.