Archive for February, 2012

Just Write It!!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Why have I been so silent, you might wonder? Clearly writing wasn’t on Lara’s list of New Year’s Resolutions, right?

Not so. I’ve been working on my second novel. While that sounds impressive, it is not. My first one has been relegated to the electronic equivalent of a shoe box tucked under my bed.

But the new novel? I’m currently very engaged. I had the idea for it back in June 2009. But I set it aside as I was focusing on the first novel.

In November 2011 I started “hearing” the voices of the new set of characters in my head.

Watch the wisecracks that I know are circling in your collective heads right now.

It isn’t uncommon for writers to have the characters “speak” to them. It also isn’t uncommon to start dreaming about the characters or to have breakthroughs during those hazy moments before you fall asleep or right after you wake up.

I had 15,000 words when I started writing on this novel, working title: Entangled.

Since the beginning of January I’ve added another 15K to the word total and I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself.

I went to my Writers Group last night and get rashers of grief because I’m not presenting them a cohesive story. Like: Point A, Point B, Point C….etc.

I don’t write that way. I know some people do. But I don’t. I write in scenes between two characters. Or snatches of dialogue that I suddenly hear while I’m listening to the book’s Playlist. (Yes, my most successful writings have a Playlist.) The scenes or snatches of dialogue may be miles apart in terms of where they’ll ultimately land in my novel, but hey: I’m getting the word count up there!

So last night, I’m super shocked that even though I’ve doubled my word count I’m being chastised for not writing in a linear fashion. What. The. Heck.

“Finish the novel, Lara. Commit and write it. You have a great ‘Chapter 1’. What happens next??”

Uh…..

I have a history of starting things. Then I lose interest. In my work life I’ve learned to hire someone who complements that strength. I am the idea person. I love new stuff. I can brainstorm and generate new ideas for days!

But about halfway through a project I become enamored of a ‘new shiny thing’ and I’m off.

I always make sure I hire what I call, a “Closer:”someone who loves task driven work and gets great job satisfaction out of marking things off their lists. These people are a tailor made for my own brand of Lara-ness.

Given that I can’t afford to hire a “Closer” in my personal life, I suspect my family regularly has money changing hands when I start a new project or a hobby. “How long will this one last?” “The last XYZ thing only lasted 6 months.” “Nah. This one isn’t strong. I wouldn’t give it six weeks!”

But I decided this novel was going to be different. THIS novel I was going to finish.

Someone posted a Steven Covey quote at work: “Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.”

Someone else pointed out a chapter in Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell which talked about the difference in being “interested” in something and “committed to” something.

As I examined my pile of unfinished projects (personal life, remember) I could see the difference: I’d been interested in lots of things. Committed to almost none.

Both of these messages struck a chord in me and as the old year drew to a close and a new year was fresh on the horizon, I decided I was committed to writing this novel and I was going to schedule my priorities.

Sleep and I aren’t the best of friends. I do my best sleeping between 3am and 10am, which of course , doesn’t work with most corporate jobs that begin around 8am.

It was really digging deep to arise an extra hour early to write. But I made the commitment and so far, I’ve followed through.

My word count is up. I feel very accomplished, like I’m pursuing my dream. Overall I’m just happier! All is wonderful in my world.

Until I arrived at Writing Group last night.

Really? Really? You want me to what? FINISH something? I don’t know HOW to finish a novel. If I knew how to finish a novel do you think the first one would be gathering dust on my hard drive???

I stomped out of that group last night, huffing and puffing like a mad 5 year old stomping her foot. I don’t get it. Why wasn’t what I’d been doing enough?

How dare they?

I drove home, muttering under my breath…okay, cursing loudly.

Slamming into the house, Mr. J’s eyes widened and the cats cowered a little.

“It went that well?” he asked.

Glowering at him, I relayed the evening’s events. The betrayal I felt.

“I don’t know how to finish anything!” I ranted. “It’s not like I know how to write a beginning, a middle, and an end. I mean who does that??”

“Toastmasters,” he said. “I think you’ve given a few speeches in your time.”

Not the point.

“What about some short stories? I know you’ve finished a few of those.”

Not the point.

“What about your blog? Now you can’t really argue with me on this Lara,” he said. “You put them out on the Internet. Like cockroaches and Cher: they’ll always be there.”

Okay. He might have a point.

But it isn’t like beginnings, middles and ends come naturally to me. I have struggled with endings. I’ve struggled with middles. Arrghhh.

I have suffered for my art!

Or at least (recently) I’ve yawned a lot.

“Who did these people in my writing group think they are, anyway???” I wailed, not ready to give it up.

Silence rings in our household (only because I made Mr. J mute the TV).

“Yes,” he parroted back: “Who do they think they are?” His right eyebrow raised like Mr. Spock’s and I narrowed my own eyes. We both knew the answer:

“They” would be the chick who has been PUBLISHED. THREE TIMES.

“They” would be the guy whose plays are about to be produced in one of the artistic meccas of the Midwest.

::HEAVY SIGH::

This morning I dragged out of bed. Booted up the PC. And began the following document:

“Chapter 2”

Wish me well.

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Posted in LJ's Story, Tangent |