It’s That Time Again!

It’s camping season again. Camp NaNoWriMo, that is.

camp-nano.png

Fun with other writers in virtual cabins, brainstorming with each other, cheering one another on, virtual bonfires and s’mores, writing by lantern light…All the things to love about camping except pesky bugs.

This session I’ll be working on editing and revising book two in my Whispering Pines mystery, Abby’s Retribution. I got a new position a little more than a year ago where I work, which has given me a more satisfying day job. But it came with a price. I have less time to spend on my passion of writing and less creative energy. That sacrifice makes the months of Camp NaNo (April and July) all the more important to me.

Camp NaNo is a month of sheer writing bliss. You can set your own goals in increments of time (minutes, hours, etc.), words, lines, or pages. You can write a new novel, a series of short stories, poetry, or revise a work-in-progress. Basically, anything goes. If you’re interested but still want to know more, you can go to the website. If you decide you want to participate, go to the website, create your project, shoot me your user name, and I’ll send you an invite to my cabin.

Happy creating!

NaNo Coffee Mug

We write to taste life in the moment and in retrospect. Anais Nin

The Act of Writing vs. Being a Writer

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A lot of people write and a whole lot more have the desire to write. If you’re writing, you are, indeed, a writer. If you have the desire to write but haven’t actually put pen to paper–or fingertips to keyboard–you haven’t crossed the line yet from dreamer to writer. That being said it’s never too late to start. Here’s proof.

I wrote a post a while ago about finally calling myself a writer. And while that was a huge step for me, this past month it has come to mean even more. Sometime in this past month I began to realize that I’m not a writer just because I like to write. That would be akin to calling one an alcoholic just because s/he likes to drink. But rather, I couldn’t imagine my life without writing. Writing is so much a part of my desires and my life, that without it, I wouldn’t feel complete.

Pen

Examples that drove that point home to me are:

  • If I don’t write–and lately that means every day, at least something–I feel empty of the positive and consumed by an intense need to release that creative energy.
  • When I’m at work or play and when I’m not writing, I find myself studying people and their mannerisms, behaviors, word choices, etc., creating characters in my head.
  • When I’m on a road trip, whether it’s five miles or five hundred, I take in the scenery as if constructing the setting of my next novel.
  • The world is my creative playground.
  • I cherish my writer’s notebook like it’s another limb and it goes everywhere I do.
  • What others say about my love of writing doesn’t matter; it’s important to me.

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, he recommends getting motivated by writing a statement of purpose. I chose to do that and it is readily visible on the first page of my writer’s notebook. Mine begins as his does and then branches off a bit. My statement of purpose reads:

Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep writing no matter what, to learn everything I can on the craft, and to strive for my words to make a positive difference to even just one person. I am a writer.

What are your writing aspirations and dreams?

Carpe Diem

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Anaïs Nin

 

“C” is for…

 

cre·a·tiv·i·ty

[kree-ey-tiv-i-tee, kree-uh] 

noun

1. the state or quality of being creative.
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination: the need for creativity in modern industry; creativity in the performing arts.

I LOVE #2.  To transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns…to create new ideas, forms, methods…

Transcend means to go above and beyond what’s traditional.  It drives my adrenaline into high gear as if I’m breaking the rules, yet not doing anything illegal.  (My day-job is in the legal field, I can’t be doing anything illegal.  And my Judge is none other than Christ himself–I wouldn’t want to purposely disappoint Him. 🙂 ) But I would be lying if I said being untraditional didn’t make me feel just a little bit…rebellious.  And I have to admit I was always the one who loved the narrow college-ruled notebooks but would get a little thrill from writing outside of the lines or in the margins.  Or I would strive to color inside the lines so I could get the teacher’s praise, but would get that familiar little thrill when I colored things colors no one else would have thought of.  It was a moment by moment guess which would emerge, the perfectionist me or the creative me.

Although, perhaps that’s more befitting for the other “C” word–CONTROL.  Oops–wrong post. 🙂

We creative types are prone to dancing to the beat of our own drummer, so maybe that’s how creative writing got it’s name.

Today I will strive to create amazing words and to color outside the lines.

Creative-Pablo Picasso

Peace to you.

Banishing Routine – Sometimes

My Adidas

I recently read a blog post by Katherine Valdez  called Cross-Training for Writers, and it got me to re-think my writing routine.
While I thrive on routine in most areas of my life, writing is the one thing that sets me free from routine that can suffocate living.

Creating stories is an escape from the real world of routine and from keeping all things on a schedule.  Not that the real world is bad.  On the contrary.  But my need to control the real world around me isn’t healthy.  And, in essence, creating a routine, making sure all things fall into place, is a means of control.

Writing gives me an escape from that control, because once I start a story, outline or not, it seems to take off with a mind of its own.  My characters develop their own stubborn personalities and develop as they want to rather than how I had planned.  Or My favorite pen runs out of ink and I have to use another.  Or my computer battery isn’t charged and I need to sit at my desk near the charger rather than camp out on the sofa or floor like I had planned.  Yes, I realize I could move the charger, but that would be too logical. 🙂

But I digress…

Katherine’s blog post made me think about how my writing life can even become mundane and a chore, rather than a joy and an escape, if I make it routine.  By feeling like I haven’t really written if I haven’t put a set number of words on the page or clocked a certain number of minutes at my computer.

Or telling myself I can’t really count it as writing if I’m not working on a piece in order to get it published.

What I’ve come to realize in exploring this area is there are so many creative ways to create.  Why try lock oneself in a box of expectations we place on ourselves?

Doodling/sketching is a creative outlet.  And that sketching exercises an area of the brain that is different from writing.

Mentally creating story lines, character traits, scenes, etc., while watching a movie or reading a book exercises the thought process part of the brain.

creativity

Listening to conversations on public transportation, in cafes or coffee shops, at work or in the park,  catching snippets of conversation, the tone of a voice, etc., teaches us to be attentive to our surroundings.  To listen like a writer, exercising yet another part of the creative process.

Reading books/blogs/articles/magazines/websites on writing teaches us what works and doesn’t work.  However, just because something didn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  One thing that does work for the majority, however, and would be wise to follow, is the advice to be persistent and never give up.

Never stop trying. Never stop believing. Never...

Just as cross-training in exercise works different muscle groups and keeps the interest alive, cross-training in writing exercises different muscles and keeps the excitement of the process alive.

All is Grace.