Shoring up the old year

A lot has happened this year. My arm has mended, my writing has resumed, I’ve read a few books and I’ve joined a little writing group.

What about posting here? Well, this blog was intended to reach out to others who might want to discuss writing or reading. However, I never promoted it well, so I essentially chat with crickets. Not that I mind crickets, but shouting out in the vacuum of the internet only works if you have something useful to say and others know about it. I’m afraid I’ve failed on both counts: being useful and advertising.

Will I continue here? Yes, but I will try and set up a schedule for posting useful content, meaning items that help with writing, small story snippet posts, and (should someone stop by) asking for interaction on ideas and insights.

pen and notebook

Here’s hoping 2018 was a good year for you, and that you will ring in 2019 with fresh ideas to fill those blank pages, insightful reflections that improve your work, and the gusto to try things outside your comfort zone so you can grow in your craft.

Good reads and writing update

I’ve finished a few good books since my last post on reading:

  • The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language, a non-fiction book by Mark Forsyth
  • The Martian, a fiction novel by Andy Weir
  • The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, a non-fiction book by Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick
  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, a daily book of stoic philosophy co-authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
  • Jurassic Park, a fiction novel by Michael Crichton

Sadly, this list should be three times as long for that time period. Writing has definitely put a big dent in my reading time.

On a writing note, the sequel novel is going well at 84k. I would be thrilled if I could guarantee the first novel will be published in August and this one out in May of next year.  We’ll see.

Writer’s block? Or intimidation?

I broke my arm in the middle of a full scale writing assault on a novel. The entire time I healed, I dreamed of the time I could write again. I worked hard to get the use of my hand back.

So when I could finally, painfully hold a pen again, I rejoiced. But when it came to writing on the story, I hit a wall. Not physically, but mentally. I avoided scribbling out ideas because I was afraid the words wouldn’t come back, that I’d lost the drive. I started doing anything – from rereading favorite books to re-watching well-known movies to reviewing scenes I’d already typed in and edited to death – to put off the story. Blank pages stayed blank.

Now blank pages usually mean writer’s block, but to me, there’s no such thing. Those characters, that story, is still lurking in my brain. Rather than writer’s block, this might be a case of intimidation. Blank pages can be pretty fierce, after all. I think I’m seeking perfection, which is strange because no rough draft I’ve ever done has been perfect. Maybe I’m remembering my former days of writing so fondly, I’m forgetting how much work writing really is.

My arm and hand are not perfect, but with work, they’ll improve. Same goes for my writing. It’s time to pick up the pen again and carry on.

Asking a writer why

Asking a writer why they write is like giving a mouse a cookie. It might not go where you think it will.

A quick search found this article quoting 23 authors on why they wrote gracing the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio site. There were some weird and fascinating reasons, but like any question, the answer depended on who was asked. Every author had a different reason.

Now I’m not an author but I do write, and I write for the love of the story – bringing it from the initial ideas that won’t go away to the best draft I can produce. It’s a challenge.

What about you? What makes you set pen to paper? Or hit those keyboards? Or, if you don’t write, why do you read stories? And what’s your favorite kind?

The creative life

A friend of mine crafts weekly posts she calls Writerly Ways. She often begins them with real life situations that circumvent her writing efforts and she ends them with nuggets of wisdom (links) on story crafting, publishing, editing, blogging, etc.

I look forward to these because they inspire me. She’s facing setbacks but keeps going. Not only that, she offers a helping hand to others.

One of the links she shared this month was an article by Grant Faulkner: Fortify your New Year’s resolutions.

Faulkner writes, “Step into any preschool and observe the unbridled creative energy of kids as they immerse themselves in fingerpainting, telling wild stories, banging on drums, and dancing just to dance. They’re creative types because they breathe.”

We lose that as we get older. We let things sidetrack that creativity. Maybe that’s why resolutions are so popular.

January ends at midnight tonight. Rather than focus on what I didn’t check off on my to-do list this month, I’ll celebrate what I did. Despite all the problems, the ups and the downs, I breathed, I thought, and I wrote.

That makes my life just a little richer, though it may never put a penny in my pockets.