Thursday, November 26, 2009

Joy project

I know that sounds lame, but it's only the working title of my latest work which was inspired by last week's moment of clarity. I do have a real title in mind, but we're in the early stages of courtship and I want to make sure it's the real deal before making introductions.

Hmm, somebody needs more sleep....

Ahem.

Anywho, I love having this new perspective on things. It's really given me a lot to think about, and I'm already excited to see the finished product. I will be working on some of my other stuff as well, so I can (hopefully) finish up several things at once. Ideally, I'll edit and polish this fire-in-my-belly book to send out to agents, and then edit the others while I'm waiting for responses. I want next year to be a great one!

I do plan on putting up a progress meter for everything I've got going on in case people (hi mom!) are curious about what's up. Mind you, I've also been planning on hanging pictures in my house *cough*since last year*cough*, washing the kitchen floor, steam cleaning the carpets, and giving the bathrooms a thorough cleaning...Just sayin'.

Besos!

P.S. I hope all of my U.S. friends were able to have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Epiphany

Caveat: please keep in mind that this post is written with the utmost hopes for eventual writerly success (Writerly success? Who's penning this blog anyway?)

This morning, while my mind hovered in a semi-conscious state - you know the one where you're aware that you're no longer asleep, but you can't really move yet? - it came to me.

I don't get many flashes of brilliance, so when they do hit, I try to sit up and pay attention (umm, except that I didn't literally sit up because, like I said, my body hadn't quite woken up...)

I've been going through a bit of an identity crisis as a writer (I discuss my multiple novel personality disorder here), and even though it was brought to the forefront by a post earlier this month by Aprilynne Pike, it's something that I've been struggling with for a good year and a half. Of course there's nothing wrong with struggling, as it fosters personal growth, but frankly, I was getting a little annoyed with myself for not being able to figure it out.

It's not like it's the end of the world or anything, but I'm looking at this in terms of a future career, so it's important to have a plan and a platform. Also important, is the ability to self-promote. Even if I manage to swing some huge book deal (hey, it could happen) with a budget for publicity (umm, too much? Just go with it, k?), I will be expected to do as much as I can with whatsoever resources I have at my disposal. And yes, I'm aware of cart-before-the-horse syndrome, but I promise that in pondering the possibilities, I was only trying to discern what I was capable of doing (or willing to do, for that matter).

So, what does this have to do with my early morning epiphany?

Well, this morning, I saw things more clearly than I ever have, and I understood the path that was going to lead me to eventual success. {Remember, we're working on the assumption that if I'm any good at all, I will be agented and published at some point in time.} Obviously I don't know the exact time frame, but now that I've seen the way all of my different projects fit into the larger picture, I have peace of mind* and can focus on putting my best foot (pen?) forward.

I'm one of those people who needs to know why they're doing something before throwing myself into it, and this little identity crisis was getting in the way of my writing. I've been torn as to which avenues to pursue, which made the writing in my current WIP lack focus and clarity. This new knowledge has left me free , and I can stop standing in my own way!

Okay, so what about my YA novel that I've got with several agents already? Well, I have to admit that I was blown away by the amount of requests I did get, especially considering that it was a genre I never even thought I could write in.

I'm still waiting on a few responses, but I'll really be surprised if they amount to anything because agents are looking for the promise of Next Big Thing, and this book is a little quieter than that. Which is okay. I have two more projects that are high concept, but they're a bit of a departure from my usual interests, and I haven't been sure I'd want to break out with them, nor have I quite got the chops to write them to their full potential yet, so it doesn't matter anyway.

Pre-epiphany, it bothered me to be so choosy - after all, just write any book worth publishing because an agent is an agent, and a book deal is a book deal, right? But I don't feel that way. There's a time and season for all things. Even books. And, um, agents. (Work with me, people.) That said, I've been very careful in selecting agents who represent multiple genres (you know, since I've got multiple novel personality disorder), so even if someone does see something great in my writing and wants to take me on, I'll be in a good place. I don't just want any agent; I want the best agent for me.

On a lighter note, I was telling my hubby about my epiphany and he had the oddest look on his face the entire time, so I was starting to feel really self-conscious and prepared myself to hear that he thought I was stupid and should maybe just forget about my dreams of becoming published. So I asked what was wrong (cringing internally at the possible answer), and he said, "I think this is the most you've ever talked since I've known you, and I'm not sure how to process all of this information. But it sounds good to me."

I had a good laugh, and took it as a good sign that I'm this excited. If nothing else, it makes me feel good to dream a little (okay, a lot). I love having something to work toward, and honestly, the reward is in the writing. It has to be, because it's a tough, subjective business, and I understand the reality of it. Still, I hope for the best. What else can I do?

Besos!

P.S. Is anyone else tired of reading the word epiphany? I really should've consulted a thesaurus. Sorry 'bout that.
P.P.S. I reread this post, and thought (in my most Heath Ledger Joker voice) "Why so serious?"
P.P.P.S. This has to be pretty boring, but I hope you'll come back to visit my blog anyway!
*Love that song by '80s Canadian group Grapes of Wrath, except for that one swear word I wish they had left out. Why do bands do that?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Evil Body Clock;

I really didn't appreciate being kept up until 3 last night. And what was up with the twitchy legs? That was a surprise, and something generally reserved for late pregnancy (a state I've not had the pleasure of enduring for almost 7 years). I know you may not care that I really don't have time for a nap today, or that being this tired usually triggers a migraine that lasts for days, but could you cut me a little slack?

You knew I was dead tired. You knew I had to get up with the kids this morning to get them off to school, and you knew that I like to give them a pleasant start to their day (which is generally oh so much easier to do on a full night's rest). I even went to bed at a decent hour so I could wake up refreshed and non-hag like.

But no, now I have to face a very long day culminating in several piano lessons, 2 soccer games, and 3 other children's activities. And did you forget that I'm still homeschooling #1 and require a few operational brain cells to do so?

Also, while we're on the subject of cerebral activity, I know it may not take much brain power to tackle this mountain of laundry, but I would appreciate having enough neural synapses to be able to remember whether or not I put in the detergent.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to get some stuff together that #1 can do without the aid of her zombie mother.

Sincerely,
Tracy

P.S. Never mind about the whole laundry thing. The power just went out, so I can't do it anyway. I had to steal someone's wireless just to post this entry (why is their power working???). You've turned me into a thief! I hope you're happy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Shiny new idea syndrome

Why is it that the second I commit to finishing one novel, I get eight different ideas for stories? And not just stories, but characters, plot, the whole nine yards!

What about the current novel I'm trying to finish this month, you may ask? Yeah, not the same kind of inspiration going on there. The night before last, I had a dream about my current WIP. Actually, it was more like four separate dreams rolled up in one, and the result was the same - it was going nowhere! I'm trying to figure out if the universe is trying to tell me something, or if I'm just doing it to myself. The jury's still out on that one.

In any case, I was not happy to wake up feeling like everything I had done would amount to nothing*. After all that time and effort, I want something great to show for it (well, I'll take mediocre with potential for greatness - it's just a first draft, after all).

That's not to say I'm giving up - it's an awesome idea and I know the story holds tremendous potential, but you can bet I'm re-evaluating my ability to tell it the way it needs to be told. I knew going into it that it was a tricky story, and while it pains me to admit it, perhaps I'm not quite there yet and need more time to become the writer that can do the story justice.

That said, part of me really wants to push ahead. I enjoy a challenge, and hate to let a story get the best of me. It's just words, darn it, and how hard can it be to string a couple of sentences together? On the other hand, I want to do a good job, and I feel like it's easier to start from a good first draft, rather than something that's only "meh" and have to go in and try and fix a bunch of major plot points, etc.

Have any of you writers out there encountered this? I know everyone has their own sort of process, but I'm curious to know - what did you do?

Besos.
*And I may or may not have been really crabby that whole day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No writer's cramp allowed

Still having trouble accessing the Nanowrimo website. Apparently, the site doesn't like my internet connection. It doesn't matter though, since I'm writing the remainder of this novel by hand, and it's rather difficult to keep track of word count while doing it that way.

I love writing by hand. It's a tactic I often use when I'm fighting a bout of writer's block. The change in medium is often all I need to get the words flowing again. For some reason, pondering while chewing on the end of a pen is conducive to creativity. That's not the best part though. The best part about it, is the feeling I get from putting pen to paper. It's a much more intimate experience than tap-tap-tapping on the computer. Quiet and introspective, like writing in a journal. It's empowering, really.

I'm not about to abandon my computer anytime soon, but sometimes I need to feel those words flow from me directly onto the paper. I like to scribble things out, cram extra paragraphs into the margins, and have the words tumble out so quickly that I can barely keep up. Writing becomes a kinetic experience as much as a mental one. If only it burned more calories, it would be perfect...

As an added bonus, I can tote my notebook to kids' soccer games and appointments. I can curl up anywhere and everywhere, or sprawl out on the floor with the cat. Oh, and I don't get distracted by the internet (oh, internet, I heart you).

Do you like writing things out by hand too?

Besos!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to me, I'm a hundred and three

It's my birthday this week, and for once I know what I want: to be done the first draft of this zombie manuscript. I already know that's not going to happen*, so I've given myself until the end of the month to finish. That's when I realized I should've signed up for NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Many writers use this as a way to kick start (or finish) a WIP, as the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. This is a major feat, and I had decided not to participate because...because...uh, well, I can't really remember why, but I'm sure it was a really good reason**.

Anyways, now that I've become determined to complete this manuscript this month, I figure I ought to receive some sort of recognition for it. Maybe it's not too late to sign up (it's not like it costs anything), but I can't tell for sure because I haven't been able to access the website. Must be all those people entering their stats or something. Even if I can't sign up, at least I've challenged myself. I'll keep ya posted!

Have any of you ever done nanowrimo? Was it a good experience?

Besos!

*My backup wish is for this super cute winter coat in this lovely shade of blue, but that won't be happening either because I'm not getting a present this year so we can go on a vacation to somewhere warm and likely crawling with H1N1. Don't be jealous.
**The term lazy comes to mind.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I want it all...mostly...um, I think?

Aprilynne Pike has a really good post here about goals and some of the reasons why people write books. It really got me thinking, and I realized that I hadn't set a particular goal for myself as far as my writing career. Yes, I've dreamed, but that's not always the same thing as setting a goal for the future.

So the wheels started to spin...

I started to consider the YA novel that's on submission with agents at the moment, the stories in progress, and some of my other ideas. I have a fun idea for a middle grade series that I've sort of dabbled in. I have a high concept YA zombie comedy/romance that is my current WIP, and the YA SF/dystopian I've begun and outlined (albeit loosely). I also have this children's fairy story niggling at the far corners of my mind, wondering when it's going to have the chance to shine forth. And there are the 2 non-fictions (yeah, I'm nerdy like that) that I've already got a good start on.

That's when I realized my problem: I don't know which kind of genre my break-out novel ought to be! I have multiple novel personality disorder* and it ain't pretty.

So what do I do? After all, it's very common for a writer to be pigeonholed into a certain category once their first novel comes out. Have I written a novel in a genre I could be happy writing in for the rest of my days? I honestly don't know. Without the benefit of an agent (for now, at least) to tell me where my strengths lie (and which story has the most potential), it can be difficult to know which direction to take.

However, the direction doesn't matter much if I don't know where I want to end up, now does it?

Well, I've got an awful lot of soul-searching** to do (um, or at least a little bit...) In the meantime, I'll just try and write the best novels that I can. I have a feeling my strengths and preferences will make themselves known in due time, but trying to set some concrete goals for myself certainly wouldn't hurt.

Besos!

*I think I may have come across a new disorder, so does that mean I also have to decide if I want to publish in medical journals too?? I'm so confused...
**Sheesh, as if writing a novel wasn't hard enough - now I've got to think of all this other stuff?