Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy New Year

It's been a while since my last posting. I was away for a few weeks for various family events, but I'm back.
You may know or have noticed that today is the Jewish New Year. You don't have to be Jewish to take advantage of this autumnal time of renewal and a fresh start, a time to take stock and renew goals and resolutions. I've always mentally operated on a school calendar, even since I've been out in the real world. I love buying new "school supplies" even when I'm not in school -- pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. I love the smell of them, the feel, the promise of new beginnings and fulfilled ambitions, as well as a time to learn something new. I may or may not take a writing course this fall, but either way, I'm going to organize my time around a new semester, setting aside time for writing, time for walking, time for reading, and time for just musing. For me, it's important to allow myself time to just sit or walk and see what comes to mind, what ideas I come up with.
I end this posting with some good news. One of my short stories will be included in a forthcoming anthology of pieces by Washington, DC area women. I'll keep you posted.
Enjoy the fall and keep writing.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Good News and A Legitimate Cause for A Break

The Good News: I finished up the short story I was working on and submitted it to a contest. That makes me feel like I'm keeping myself in the program. Also been keeping up with my journal, not every day but regularly. I also have been allowing myself some think time in terms of planning and have come up with a few new ideas. So even though sometimes I feel a bit shaky about where I am in my writing career, I like to remind myself that there's life in the old girl yet.
Now for the Legitimate Cause for a Break. I will be away for two weeks for a combination family function and vacation, and I will not be taking my computer with me. I will see the sights in Wyoming and enjoy seeing family and friends. I'll have my 3x5 file cards with me for ideas (I find them very useful), but I'm not going to focus on writing. I hope to return refreshed and reinvigorated. I'll publish the next post on Aug. 19th.
Hope you all are having success or fun or both.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week 3: I got the old buzz back!

Well, I committed to working on my short story on three different days, and I have done so. It was on day 2 that I looked at a paragraph I'd just written and thought, "Wow, this is good," and then I got the old writer's rush. It was great! I know this is a temporary state of mind, but it reminded me why I've always been so passionate about writing. I've also been faithfully writing in my journal almost every day. Do I think everything's all fixed now? No way -- but I'm encouraged. You can't call yourself a writer if you're not writing. The corollary of that is if you are writing, you may not be writing something award-winning, but you're doing what you need to be doing.
One of the things that's helped me get my groove back is swimming. I used to walk or do the treadmill for exercise, but in the Spring I hurt my ankle so had to give up that kind of walking.
Fortunately, I live near a pool but hadn't swum for years. I was surprised at how much I've come to enjoy doing laps almost every day. It reminds me of summers when I was a kid, and as an adult I appreciate the serenity in gliding through the water.
Anyway, I still have THE ISSUE on my mind, and I can only concentrate on the writing for an hour or two a day, but it feels like progress.
How are you doing?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 2-- It feels good to be getting back into it

I'm a day late in this post--DSL down on Maine island (don't ask).
Good news! I've written five out of seven days--all in my journal, but I wasn't
writing at all before I started this project. In addition, as part of the Women's National Book Association Great Group Reads project, my assignment is to read 22 books from
April to August. (I have five to go.) After I read each book, I write a brief assessment of it on our private blog. This isn't a book review--just an indication of the book's suitability for book group discussions. However, since I do write book reviews from time to time, it's a good way for me get a head start on any book I may decide to review.
The ISSUE is still on my mind, but I'm trying to compartmentalize. As you know, this isn't easy, but even writing about one's life issues is writing and gets the juices flowing.
So now it's committment time.
Between now and next week, I'll write five out of seven days in my journal AND work three days on my short story. This is a bit scary, but there iit is, written for all to see.
Feedback please.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Week 1 OR Why did I start a blog just before the holiday?

Okay, so you can tell from the title of this post that I wasn't able to follow through on my commitment to write on at least five of the last seven days.
Let's discuss-
I did write on three of the five days, so I did something. I re-edited and added to the short story I've been working on.
I wrote in my journal on three occasions.
The negative:
I am on an island in Maine. There were several festive activities over the holiday weekend.
We had overnight company yesterday.
I've been thinking about THE ISSUE about which I evaded elaborating on in the last posting.
Are these excuses? No way.
Are they reasons? Yes.
Why, you may ask, am I emphasizing the POSITIVE? Because in all the good writing workshops I've attended and lead, the instructor has each participant focus on what's working first, then on what needs work. This is my philosophy in dealing with myself and others.
So--instead of beating myself up about what I didn't do, I'm focusing on what I did accomplish and committing again to write five out of the next seven days. It will mostly be journal writing because I'm leaving the island for a few days. But that's okay. When I get back on Monday, I'll work on my story as much as I can until my next posting.
How was your week? Any suggestions for me? I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Conquering Chaos 101-A Writer's Journal

OK, this is my first time as a blogger, so bear with me. I've been a writer for a number of years, but, like many of you who may be new to writing or just need to read about someone else's writing problems, I thought it might be helpful to both of us for me to journal my progress with its ups and downs and talk about possible ways of circumventing all the excuses.
For years I pretty much stuck to a schedule, usually spending 3 to 3 1/2 hours in the morning at my desk. Was every moment creative/profitable/intensely focused? Of course not. But even with the daydreaming, trips to the kitchen for coffee refills, phone calls (yes, I answered the phone), etc., I managed to get a masters in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins, get a couple of short stories published, come in as runner-up in a short story contest, and (no small feat) write a novel.
Yes, I'm patting myself on the back, and for good reason. For the last year and a half, with the exception of a few book reviews, I've written almost nothing new, and I need to remind myself what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.
Why, you may ask, have you been so stuck? Good question. There have been specific issues in my life which have interfered with my creative processes, but whatever yours are, they're just as valid. Family problems, boyfriend/girlfriend problems, frustration in getting published, medical problems, even, god forbid, the death of a loved one. So it really doesn't matter what my specific issues have been. The idea is for both of us to get back to it.
So today I'm committing to you that I will write every day (or at least 5 days during the next week), even if only in my journal, which has been spotty to say the least.
While fooling around on my computer this morning to get myself in the mood, I found a very old, very short short story that obviously needed a lot of work before I could submit it anywhere. I've seen that story many times in going through my files, but today, for whatever reason, it peaked my interest. So I worked on it for an hour and a half and took a break for lunch. I thought I'd watch some Wimbledon on TV after lunch (yes, I'm one of those people who likes to watch tennis, and no, I don't play), but I actually had the urge to work on my story some more!
Can you believe it? I can't. Why that story? Why today? Who knows.
Hint: I think the fact that I gave myself permission to just fool around getting organized at my desk took some pressure off.
Anyway, I'd love to read about your situations. Maybe we can have a dialogue.
I'll check back in with an update next week.