Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Day But Today

I got the creative bug this weekend...Friday morning actually.

I was listening to the Rent soundtrack...well, just one song that I owned's the Finale B (lyrics below), so it's a mash-up of the best parts of the rest of the musical...and I just had to get up and paint! So I did, thinking I'd do one painting and put the lyric that inspired me in it. (Yes I paint, but I'm a writer first, so words can feature large in any form of art I do).

Well, there are no words and there are four paintings and I bought the entire soundtrack. It was a crazy, beautiful, inspired morning.

There is no future
There is no past
Thank God this
Moment's not the last

There's only us
There's only this
Forget, regret or
Life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way
No day but today

I can't control
(Will I lose my dignity)
My destiny
(Will someone care)
I trust my soul
(Will I wake tomorrow)
My only goal
(From this nightmare)

There's only now
There's only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path, no other way
'Cause I die without you

I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)

I die without you
(No day but today)
I die without you
(No day but today)
No day but today

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: Camp NaNo edition

Hi everyone! It's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. Anyone can join, so hop on over to the IWSG page for more information and sign up! You won't regret it. Support, encouragement, we all need that, right?

So I don't really have any complaints this week. Which... is huge... usually there's something nagging at me. But I'm letting it all slide off my back right now because it's July, which means it's time for Camp NaNo!

I've been participating in NaNoWriMo for a few years now, and I have to say I always thought those "Camp" kids were kinda crazy. Why in the world would you need/want to do it again in the middle of the year?

Well, I've been bitten by the Camp NaNoWriMo bug, y'all. I had a good idea and a challenge from my podcasting co-host Merianna, and here I am getting ready for Day 2! (Oh, there's an insecurity... have I ever mentioned on here that I podcast weekly about publishing and writing? Check us out: ThinkingOutLoud)

But I'm no newbie, not anymore. I have an outline, a character sheet, and WriteOrDie to get me to my MODEST goal of 30,000 for the month. Not pushing it, just enjoying it... taking the story from start to finish and leaving the rest for revisions.

And we'll leave the insecurities to the revision process.
How is everyone else this month? Did anyone else even consider Camp NaNo this year, or was that just me?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice Party

I love California. It's been 9 months now and I still love being back in Cali. One reason why is this lovely group of women that I can share magic moments with... moments like these.

I threw a Summer Solstice Party tonight, and we had a blast! I'm so blessed to be able to share magic, food, and fun with these wonderful ladies.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Only you can know

Hi! It's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex Cavanaugh. Seems to be the only blog post I can be reliably certain of writing. Well, that's ok. If you're an insecure writer, like me, and you're dying to find a group that will boost your spirits, this is your lucky day! Hop on over to Alex's blog and sign up, then start posting! We're happy to include you.

Feedback. Reassurance. That's what this group is all about.

Positive feedback is awesome. So is the reassurance that you're good at this... that someone wants to hear your story. That someone else cares the way you do about your characters.

But a lot of times you don't get that kind of encouragement until you're near the end of the project. So what do you do while you're in the middle? In the throes of stress and anxiety, wondering whether you're just a hack who can't even cobble together a basic paragraph...?

Me, I do a lot of avoiding, of hiding from my work and finding anything else to do to make me feel successful, confident, better about myself. On the one hand, that works, because I don't have to feel those horrible crushing feelings that the fear of failure causes in me. But on the other hand... there's still this novel sitting there... waiting to be written. Waiting for me to return to it.

At some point you have to make a decision. You can do this. It's your story. You have to tell it. Is it worth it in the end to go through the pain of self-doubt, to struggle with the fear of inadequacy? Only you can know. Only you can say. Your characters, your story... it's yours. And even if you find that the feedback is less than positive and the reassurance is thin at best, you're the only one who can tell it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Working stuff out

I've been quiet for a while, I know. I'd offer a better excuse, but really the only reason is that I haven't taken time to sit down here and write anything. That includes creatively as well as blog-related. I hope that I will get back on the wagon, soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, I've been spending lots of time hunting my monsters in different ways... like this one: I ran Bay to Breakers yesterday!

Bay Bridge, Morning, San Francisco.

Don't know who this Jack was, but he was excited. I'm on the right.
Next to the bunny...

Friends! Getting ready to run!

I never thought I was a runner... never thought that one day I would run more than 7 miles and still have any energy at the end of it... Apparently that's only mental! Because after working toward it, training and making myself get out there, even when I was nervous and less than confident in myself, I succeeded!

No I wasn't the best. I didn't WIN the race, but I ran it. I finished it. I finished well. I'm hoping to translate some of the lessons I'm learning through running about myself and my will power to the other areas of my life that I love and care about (like my art and my writing).

I'll go into more detail on some of those lessons later... they'll be worth unpacking here, I think.

What do you challenge yourself to do? What puts you out of your comfort zone and teaches you something about yourself?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: It's never enough

If you've never heard of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, you should check out this great community of writers here! Join and share your insecurities and encouragement with others on the same journey. The amazing Alex Cavanaugh started it all.

I get bogged down, find myself stuck inside my own head trying to convince myself I'm not a writer, or that I'm no good at it so I just shouldn't do it... If I was a writer I'd HAVE to write every day and I don't... or at least I convince myself not to... so I must not be a writer, right?

It's so easy to think of all the reasons that I might not be doing enough, or capable enough to follow my dreams, to succeed as a writer or as a freelance editor.

Well, this week, the fabulous Anne Rice wrote ... almost directly to my insecurities via her Facebook page. Thanks Ms. Rice.

I've often said there are no rules for writers. Let me share the WORST AND MOST HARMFUL ADVICE I was ever given by others. 1) Write what you know. 2)You'll have to polish every sentence you write three or four times. 3)Genius is one tenth talent and nine tenths hard work and 4) You're not a real writer if you don't write every day. --- ALL OF THAT WAS HARMFUL TO ME. ALL OF IT. IT HURT AND IT SET ME BACK. ----- So I say again, there are no rules. It's amazing how willing people are to tell you that you aren't a real writer unless you conform to their cliches and their rules. My advice? Reject rules and critics out of hand. Define yourself. Do it your way. Make yourself the writer of your dreams. Protect your voice, your vision, your characters, your story, your imagination, your dreams.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG: Finding courage in the midst of failure

It's not easy to fail repeatedly. It's not possible to fail repeatedly if you only try once and let your failure keep you from ever trying again.

I'm having a frustrating experience this week. I used to have a hobby aquarium... 4 years ago before all of my life got put on hold and we moved to Connecticut (I call those the Dark Years, that time in Connecticut...). When I had my aquarium(s) I kept angelfish. They were beautiful and so happy in my tanks that I had two mated pairs and produced a LOT of angelfish fry to trade back to my LFS (Local Fish Store). One might say that for a hobbyist, I was an expert.

So now that we've been back in California for 6 months, I decided to fill up my aquarium again. I spent a month preparing, cycling my tank, doing water tests and changes as needed to get things just right. Then I brought home three BEAUTIFUL little angels to live in my tank happily together.

That was Friday. Today is Wednesday and I am down to one. That's right. TWO of those angels have died in the past five days. I'm mystified. The LFS owner is mystified. I'm crushed and disappointed, too... and doubting my skill/experience. How could this happen??

I find that writing is a lot like fish keeping. There's a fragile, almost mystical balance we're all looking for. When it's good, we find that place where our characters thrive, where our agents think we're brilliant, where our novels touch lives and inspire others to write as well. And when it's bad... woe is us! We might as well give it up!

I'm in that bad place right now... both in writing and in fish keeping... and I keep reminding myself that only by making mistakes can I learn and grow... and that even though the disappointment of not getting it right is physically painful and emotionally crushing... trying again and getting it right is worth the effort. In the matter of fish keeping, I've been there before. In the matter of writing, I am trusting the experience of others.

Does anyone else out there feel this way?