Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The IWSG is now in session

"Grab your coffee and a chair. I'm afraid if you smoke you'll have to go out on the porch. Has anyone got the minutes from the last meeting? Oh right, Shirley took them and she phoned and told me that she's quit the IWSG. She's not writing anymore. She's taken up becoming a tax accountant - less stress. Well, we might as well just jump into the meeting proper then. For you newcomers this is how we do it - we do a check-in and share with each other what has been our obstacles to writing and how we overcame them or (like Shirl) fell prey to them.  Maybe you'd like to start, Ernest? Then you can go out on the porch and smoke - I know you want to."

"I didn't have any obstacles. I wrote. The novel was in me. Like the bull. I conquered it. I am a man."

"Ooookay, Ernest. Thanks. Please use the container out there for your butts. How about you, Theodor?"

"One book, two book, find a hook. Do I like green eggs and ham? No. But I like to find a publisher in my hat. I am rich, rich I am."

"Well, that seemed straight-forward, Theodor. Seems you struggled with some of your plot elements but overcame them in order to satisfy your public. Very helpful. How did it go with you this past month, Agatha?"

"I simply had to find out who had killed my writing habit. I knew it was one of the people who had come to the village fêtes  on Midsummer's Day. Was it the vicar? He had told me that I needed to spend less time on my writing and more with the other church ladies getting ready for jumble sales. Lady Pomeroy was also a likely suspect. She felt that it wasn't lady-like of me to push sales, that I should sit quietly and let some man do it for me. Or was it that Belgian twit who told me I wasn't clever enough to write? I finally figured out who done it. I'll tell you after our meeting when we all meet for a sherry in the drawing room."

"Goodness, Agatha! You do make a mystery of everything. Very well. How about you Mr. Ondaatje?"

"Michael was working late into the night on his manuscript when he saw the woman wearing the WW2 ambulance driver's uniform steal across the lawn. She was holding the hand of one of the patients and they were whispering in a sort of elaborate code about a painting found in an alcove on the third floor of the estate the hospital had annexed. He left his desk (one he'd put together out of old lawn furniture) and slipped downstairs to see if he could join them for a conversation, or perhaps a bit of a bomb disassembling, or sex. He wasn't quite sure..."

"Hmm... Michael, interesting. I'm sure you'll share more when you get this plot worked out."  and whispers to others, " I'm not sure why Michael refers to himself in the third person, are you?" 

"Well, that's it for today's meeting - unless anyone else has anything to add. Oh! Silly me - I forgot to check in. It's all going as well as can be expected under the circumstances and considering everything that has happened. I'm doing my best to get off my case and onto my side. Well, not onto my side but on my side. Oh, bother. Meeting adjourned. See you all in November."

Friday, October 2, 2015

And we all fall down...

I'm behind in my writing goal. I'm not sure how far behind because I'm not sure how long it will take me to do the fix - but I haven't kept up my resolve to work an hour a day. My excuse? My darn shoulder. It isn't even that it hurts so much more when I'm at the computer, but that I am tired all the time.  My medication hasn't kicked in yet and not sure it will - and then not sure what is next if it doesn't do the trick. I get home from work and pretty much flop. I have kept up my meditation practice (if I don't I'll be crazy as well as in pain so... ) but I haven't been drawing very much or writing at all. I did revise the first two chapters and I have a further revision in mind for that part of the book that won't take any time but the ending - the big fat ending that needs so much - I haven't touched.

My plan (now) is to try and write this weekend - I'm not doing anything else except for a visit to my mother-in-law at the home. No going out, no having folks in - just writing. If I can manage that for the next two weekends I should still be able to meet my goal of having it ready by the twentieth.

How are your writing (or any) goals going?

See you on Wednesday for the monthly meeting of the IWSG! It's not too late to sign up - such a swell group.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

And Next

There is always a 'and next' in life. My 'and next' at this moment is to dive back into my novel and rework the ending again. I need to polish the new beginning chapter (which should take about three or four sessions of writing max) but I know how that will be done. It was a new beginning and so rougher than the rest. Enough said on that. The big 'to do' is the ending - the ending includes the chapters that lead up to the climax, the climax, and the chapter that follows that event. I sent my mentor the reworked ending a few weeks back and now we've had a nice long juicy conversation about it. He loves the new beginning but the new ending - not so much. Nothing has been lost with this process though. I rewrote the ending because he and I both agreed that it was a tough call and I needed to explore a different way to work it. I was happy with the new ending but for the wrong reason. It was clever. Clever is so friggin' dangerous, wha? It was clever but it wasn't true and he caught that. True is what the first ending was. It was true but still needs a lot of work. I need to spend more time so that I will be sure that although everyone might not like what happens, they will understand it is inevitable. Confused? Don't worry - it doesn't need to make sense to you - just me right now. I think the couple of people who have been with me on this journey will get what I'm about and the rest of you will have to wait for the novel to come out.

The good news is that I see this as the end of it - and I am happy to spend more time here because I see that I'm nearly finished. Yes. Nearly finished and it will be published. Oh - I don't know by who and by when but I know it. And that, my friends, has me over the moon.

Now, how can you help? You can help as you always do by witnessing my plan. Just knowing a couple of sets of eyes will fall on this will help me get back on the horse and finish this thing. So... a plan. Here it is:

1. I will work an hour a day on weekdays (all I can offer while my job is on) and as many weekend hours as I can.
2. I will be completely done by October 20th and sent off to my mentor. Why that date? Because that is a year to the day since I met my mentor at the writers' retreat called Piper's Frith in Newfoundland - found my voice and went back atter. And I like the roundness of that. It gives me 29 days to get it done. However I am leaving on the 17th for Ottawa so chances are I'll be finished before I go. I hope. Nice to have a date though.
And this is out my window. Well, it isn't there now but one like it will be back I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

And it's off!

My latest revision packed her little bag and flew to New Brunswick yesterday. I pushed through on the long weekend and was so glad I did. I'm sure there is still more to do - a lot more - but I wanted my mentor to see my new ending soon. If he thinks it works I'll go back to refining it - as it hasn't had the polish the rest of the ms has had. I also want to add about four thousand words to bring it up to 80 thou - a reasonably sized novel. I don't want it sold as a YA (necessarily) so don't want to send that message.

Now what should I get up to while it is away? I have a short story that didn't win a contest so think I might start sending it out. I might haul out a hibernating ms - True or Feckless - both have been tugging at me lately. NaNoWriMo is happening in November. Do I want to participate? Maybe. But not with anything new, I don't think.

My life is pretty consuming right now with work. School has begun here so I will be spending many afternoons there, as an outreach counselor. I LOVE the school so this is good news. I'm thinking of ways to magnetize kids into coming and talking to me. They are getting used to me already (I was there twice last week). I usually bring art supplies and just sit and draw until they wander in and then encourage them to join me. Keeping the hands busy allows the heart to open and the voice to speak I find.

I'm having a health problem which is getting me down - it is arthritis - no need to keep it quiet. It is affecting my sleep and mobility so I'm rather freaked out. I might have to get fierce with it - no alternative means here. That means no acupuncturist, no excellent massage therapists, no holistic types. Also no health food store or good gym. Gah. So, as with everything, I'll have to make it up. I do sweats every chance I get, which usually makes me feel initially worse but later seems to work.

I also have a trip to plan. I am going to Ottawa to see my sons, their gals and my newest grandson. I haven't seen him in over a year. I saw the other three that live in Halifax, this summer, and while that isn't nearly enough it will have to do. I look forward to Ottawa, a city that I lived in for a long time. I love the National Art Gallery and also the Museum of Civilization. Restaurants, movies, music! Yay! And I might get one of my kids to take me to this crazy spa for a day. It has 8 saunas, I don't know how many outdoor pools, with waterfalls, steambaths, infinity pools. That might be just the thing. I won't do what I did last time though - jump into the freezing plunge baths. That my arthritis doesn't like - I love it though. Contrast. So, a week with family and culture should be a real boost.

That's it for now. Back to work!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good News is Welcome Too at the Insecure Writer's Support Group

I'm not a discouraged writer as I write this. I still want to feel the support of my peeps in this group, but I'm just saying - I feel pretty darn great. And it isn't that I've heard from a publisher or an agent. It's not because I can quit my day job and focus totally on writing. Michael Ondaatje hasn't offered to mentor me. It isn't any of those things. It's simply because I have been working on a revision of Bright Angel and I stopped for a couple of months for reasons I don't need to go into, and I went back atter AND I solved a big problem in what feels like a brilliant fashion. I didn't lose it - my focus, my connection with the story, none of it. I let it sit and ripen while still doing things that feed my creative heart - drawing, putting on a show, solving work dilemmas by thinking out of the box. When I went back in and got to the problem point (right near the end, sometimes called 'the climax') I fought it tooth and nail. I got tired and weepy and said it was okay as it was. And then I lingered longer. I stayed with it and pushed through and low and behold, while I was meditating, I got it. I could sing it from the rooftops - I feel like I'm a character on one of those Viagra commercials - or like I took off too-small hiking boots - I mean relief. R.E.L.I.E.F.  - you know what it means to me - sock it to me sock it to me... etc.

It is so exciting to make that breakthrough and to remember 'in my time' not anyone else's. In my time.
Thank you and carry on.
This is the One Thousand And One post.