Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting In The Mood

Hmmm... I hope your mind isn't in the gutter right now ;).

No, I'm talking about getting in the mood to write.

I know some people have their own special routines... making tea, putting the kids to bed, watching a few episodes of their favorite shows... others just hop onto their computer or flip open their notebooks and let the words flow.

I don't have a special routine--I just try to write any spare moment I can find.

And while there is absolutely nothing specific that I do, sometimes when I'm stuck, it helps to clear the area around me. Paper somehow manages to pile up in skyscraper-like stacks in choice spots along my desk. Goodness knows where it comes from.

An uncluttered work area usually steers me back on track when I find myself not in the mood sometimes. Clearing the clutter clears my mind so to speak, and reveals the window when the ideas get trapped (we'll delve more into this on Monday).

It may be purely psychological, but I think it helps. Sometimes we all need a little nudge, a little motivation. Even when it comes to things we love.

Even if the nudge is served warm with a nice helping of procrastination on the side ;).

What sorts of things do you to get into the mood to write? Do you need to do anything at all? Do you follow a specific routine? Do you find having a routine helpful?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Social Network

Or maybe I should say networks.

They exist in all forms, shapes and sizes...each promising to be bigger and better than the next, the solution to every communication and connection dilemma you could ever dream up.

Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+.

And to date, how many have I joined?

Exactly ONE. And this is it.

To all of you who have an account on each of the above (and others), AND manage to keep them up to date, I have such total and complete respect for you. You guys are super ninjas. I know how hard it is. I struggle with just the one!

But I do plan on joining Twitter soon, and possibly Google+ because it just looks so darn cool.

And of course, as writers (or any other artist or business person), they help us to build our platforms, which is what we're supposed to be doing from the get-go. Meeting the right people, growing an audience, spreading the word, promoting what we do...

But in truth... they do connect people...the ones travelling the same path, the ones searching for answers or support, the ones who just want to share. They do bring us closer together. They do offer new means of communication. And they do allow us in to keep in touch in an age and world where lives can get too hectic to have a nice long chat over the backyard fence to find out how "so and so" is doing today.

How many of these social platforms have you joined? Did I miss any crucial ones? And how do you manage it all!?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can You Smell That?

Smell is one of the strongest senses tied to memory. Nothing transports you faster to days long ago than a whiff of a long forgotten aroma from your past.

The smell of a new car. The wet pavement after a summer rain. Fresh bread baking in the oven. A field full of clovers. The first snowfall of Winter.

For me, it's the smell of a book, and the places where they come from. There's just something about the smell of a library or a bookstore. Whether it be the musty aroma of hundreds of novels that have passed through thousands of hands over the years, or the crisp scent of pristine tomes just hitting the shelves, it's the unique smell that you can only get from hundreds of books situated in one room.

It's like... magic.

I remember when I was younger, I used to make my dad come and sit with me in the library while I sorted through and eventually picked about 15 - 20 books to take home for those three glorious weeks. When I hit my teens, I used to make my parents drop me off at the giant bookstore about fifteen minutes away from my house while they did groceries.

And regardless of where I was, when I was amongst those books, time just disappeared.

When I hear that in the future bookstores and libraries will cease to exist, it just about breaks my heart. I know in this day and age, it's much easier to order your books online or have them directly downloaded to your e-reader, but nothing, absolutely nothing, beats walking into one of those sanctuaries and re-escaping to your childhood.

To this day, every time I hold a book in my hands, I can't resist taking a quick sniff of those pages...

What are your favorites scents? Which ones transport you back to your childhood? Do you have a strange obsession with the smell of books too?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

I have two day planners. One was given to me, and the other I bought. I love them both, and herein lay my dilemma. I wanted to use them both. Both have great features unique to each - the dates even extend to the end of 2012.

I spent a good couple hours of this weekend ripping both planners apart and shuffling things around (and this was no easy feat, mind you--the pages are completely different with the holes in varying places). I then put the whole thing back together to my liking.

The result?

The PERFECT planner. MY perfect planner.

Sure, it would have been easier to just go with one, and suck it up, or even just buy a new one. But I'm very particular - I know what I want - and I found it in both.

And it got me thinking. This is the same approach we take with our writing.

We hear it time and time again: the easy way isn't always the best way. By taking the easy way, you may end up cheating yourself out of what you deserve.

You deserve the best. But it will be hard work. You may have to rip those pages out and put them back together time and time again. Then do it all over from the beginning. Until you have the perfect work of art. YOUR perfect work of art.

Yes, it will take longer, but it will be worth it. It's always worth it in the end.

And just remember, you should never, ever have to settle. Reach high and reach far. Use what you've got and turn it into gold. And never give up.

So tell me, how many times have you reconstructed your MS until it was perfect to you? Did you ever take the difficult road with something when the easy road was right in front of you?

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Hogwarts Will Always Be There To Welcome You Home"

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I was late to the Harry Potter game.

So to recap...

While I'd watched the movies over the years, I only got around to reading the books last summer. I even had it in my head that the movies must be better than the books because they were THAT good.. How could anything top them?

For the other three people who don't know, I was wrong my friends... If you think the movies are good, the books are a trillion times better. I read all 7 books over the course of two months.

I couldn't put them down. I just COULD NOT PUT THEM DOWN.

I read every spare second I got. I summoned every last ounce of will power that I had to not sneak peeks at them during work hours. My day was spent thinking about when next I'd be able to re-escape back into the world of Hogwarts.

But this is the feeling you get from reading an incredible book with an equally incredible story. And while you will almost never find me without a book in my hands, it had been a long time since a story moved me that way.

I only saw the final movie four weeks ago, on the very last day it was playing. Because I just didn't want it to end.

But in truth, it never really ends, does it?

The stories that touch your heart stay with you forever. They become a part of you, and like the best kept of promises, re-enter your life from time to time... to bring a smile to your face... to remind you.

What books have you read recently (or in the past) that had a profound impact on you? Which ones did you have a hard time putting down?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finding Your Passion

If someone had told me ten years ago that I'd be trying to make a career out of writing, I would have risen one very disbelieving eyebrow.

I mean... I love to write. But come on, a writer?

Everyone knows there's no money to be made in writing. Writing is something you do in your spare time (on the premise that you actually have any). A silly side hobby for the dabblers.

It's just for FUN.

I mean... isn't that what they always say?

And how can you possibly write a whole novel? Isn't that, like, 400 pages?

My life has taken a lot of unexpected twists, yet through all the ups and downs, the one thing that remained constant was writing.

Without even realizing it, it became my truth. It resurfaced as my drive. It thrived as my passion. The more I wrote, the more I wanted it. The more I STILL want it.

And you know what?

I finished that novel. I wrote the 400 pages. I found the time. Because when it's something you truly love--you always find the time. Even when the only opportunity appears at 2:00 a.m. after a sixteen hour work day, and you've finally gotten the baby to fall asleep.

Because passion like that comes from deep within. It's what keeps you moving forward, moving towards your dreams. It's what makes you dedicated. And as long as you hold on to it, anything is possible.

Is there money to be made in writing? I don't know. It isn't the most clear cut profession.

Is it rewarding? Being able to touch someone with your story? The feeling you get watching the words fill the page?


And I guess that's what makes it all worth it, isn't it?

And just for the record, we shouldn't always listen to what "they" say. ;)

So tell me, what made you realize you wanted to be a writer? When do you find time to write?

Monday, September 12, 2011

WiP Update

Wow. I can't believe how much time has passed. We're almost at the end of another year.

As you know, summer just sort of took over my life during the last little while. Between work, writing, numerous family get together's, writing, work, writing, work... did I mention writing and work--blogging fell to the wayside.

I've been visiting over the last week, and quite a few people have taken temporary hiatuses as well.

But alas, September is here, and it's time to get back into the grind.

So. To get things started, I wanted to give you a quick WiP update.

Where things stand now:

I'm just about at the end of a major revision/rewrite which I hope to fully complete by the end of this week. After that, I will be doing another minor revision round of things I've highlighted, and then print the whole baby out for final edits.

What about you guys? How are things going with your WiP's? What has everyone been up to? Any interesting summer stories?