Yearly Goals- A month early

new-years-eveI know I’m more than a month early, but in order to achieve my goals, I have to be sure which ones I want to accomplish. As a writer, accepting a project is a big deal. To draft, edit, and improve a story takes time. Not minutes or hours, but days, weeks, and even months. Is the project worth the time I must invest?

I can’t say I’ve ever made a wrong choice. I’ve written novels that weren’t published, but each project was a learning experience, so I don’t feel like I wasted time.

I started a new project a few months ago. It is a longer story with a more complex world, so it is taking me longer than I thought it would. Yes, I am learning as I go. However, I have another project that is beginning to surface. I’ve tried to suppress it, but I don’t think I can.

This means if I take on this new project, it will take time away from the current story. It won’t stop, but will take more time to finish. It is a shorter story, and less complicated. No way could I try and write two ubber-complex stories.

As I plan what I want to accomplish for the New Year, I have to look at this past year. Did I use my time wisely? Did I accomplish everything I could have? My honest answer is NO. I failed to write as often I could have. That means if I work to take advantage of all my time, I can do more.

I can have my cake and eat it, too. I know that is pretty lame and cliche’, but you understand what I mean. I can continue working on my current project, and begin work on this other one. In order to do that, one must be a priority, and the other is second fiddle. That one gets worked on after I have worked the number of hours I planned for the first project.

I have to remember to set aside time for leisure and resting. I have to allow myself to accept changes that are beyond my control and not allow guilt to interfere with my life.

As long as I record my progress, I can continue to evaluate my progress.

To Thanksgiving shop, or not.

wild turkeyOn Thanksgiving we are supposed to be…um…thankful.

It seems everywhere I look, one person or another is complaining about stores opening on Thanksgiving. It’s unfair to those that have to work. It’s fueled by greed. It’s horrible.

Wait a minute, I thought on Thanksgiving we were to be Thankful. Be glad you have a job. Be glad that the economy is so good most of us can go out and spend money. Be Thankful……. I can write for hours things we can be thankful for, but I’ll cut this paragraph short. You can fill in the blanks what YOU are thankful for.

I know we all want to be with our family and friends on this important day to celebrate. In the real world, we can’t control everything-including large corporations that know they need to bring in the money while there are people wanting to spend. Big corporations answer to shareholders that demand a large profit. They aren’t about to turn down a chance for more earnings.

Many people have jobs and they are required to work. Doctors, nurses, those in the travel business, policemen, firemen.

Are these people giving up Thanksgiving? NO

They celebrate on another day, or before or after work.

Why can’t people be flexible and celebrate around work schedules without complaining? After all, that is what the season is about. Being Thankful.

Feel free to comment. I’ve already seen I am the minority in my thoughts on this.

To answer the title of this blog, NO I don’t shop on thanksgiving. I prefer to buy online, but I am not about to tell someone they shouldn’t shop on that day. If they want an item on sale, I urge them to buy what they want and save money. And I am not about to make them feel guilty for what they choose to do.

The Thanksgiving spirit isn’t confined to one day a year. I urge people to embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and be thankful that we can choose to be happy. We can also choose to celebrate on any day. My family of police officers, nurses, air traffic controllers, and Postal workers (they may not deliver mail on that day, but sorters are required to work) are celebrating on the 22nd.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nano and why its not for me.

ancient authorsI love the idea of Nano. It pushes writers to accomplish something they want and need to do. Write stories.

I would love to write an entire novel in one month. It isn’t that I can’t write 50,000 words in a month. I can do that easily. I just can’t write words for the sake of writing them. The faster I go, the longer revisions take. The longer they take, the greater the chance that I will get frustrated or bored with the idea of the story. Trust me on this. I have many novels that I have started and never completed. (I swear I’ll go back to them one day)

I thought I would be ready this year if I outline and plan. I planned, plotted, and outlined for 2 months. I’ve written the first scene probably eight times. I’m about to go for the ninth time.

I can’t imagine continuing with a story if the beginning isn’t set. There are no small fixes. When I fix something later, like thoughts, it seems goals and motivations change. Then, everything after that scene changes.

Good Luck to everyone Nanoing this year.

I’ll write at least 50K this month, but I’ll write my story my way. I’ll write a scene as many times as necessary in order to get it right. The good news is that the first scene is always the hardest. Once I get that one down, the rest usually falls into place.

Writing is like a Tootsie Pop.

Mr. OwlDo you remember the old commercial of Mr. Owl and his proverbial question? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?

People are either lickers, or biters. Yes, I’m talking writing. Most of the time I am a licker when it comes to writing. I take my time, I dwell, thinking and doubting. I wonder which direction my characters take, which clothes they wear, which setting is suitable, what inner turmoil fuels their reactions, etc…

The only problem, at this pace, things can go stale–writing and Tootsie pops. If you sit there and hold a Tootsie Pop long enough the wind will dry it out, losing the taste, dust or bugs land on it, not to mention your hair will get tangled in the sticky mess. Yuck!

If I allow my doubt and questions to creep in my writing, I may not finish. I wonder whether this was the right flavor. I want to wrap it up in the paper, put it away, and grab another flavor.

The only problem, once it is licked and the wrapper goes back on, it sticks. It is hard to remove and go back to that same old story. Wait, we’re talking lollipops, right? It is the same with writing.

If I want to write a story, I have to take a bite. A big bite. I have to get to the core of things and quickly. Once I take that big bite, then I can stop and chew. I can savor the hard candy with the soft chewy center. The flavors mingle and something new emerges. A taste I never imagined when I chose the flavor in the beginning.

Remember, the beginning has to be fast for a great experience. Just because you took a bite, doesn’t mean you are required to swallow. Stop, savor, and experience. If you chose the pop with the gum in the center, you can chew for a long time.

As I stated at the beginning, I’m naturally a licker, but I’m trying to be a biter.

What kind of Writer,  or Pop-eater are you?

Tricks of the Trade

SK quoteAs much as I love Stephen King, I have to disagree with this statement. It may be correct for most writers, but the fear of publishing a poorly written story motivates me to keep working on a story long after I have gotten the story line down.

I hate labels, because many times it is an incorrect way to look at something. At the same time, I am quick to relabel something if it will help motivate me.

I never say, “I’m writing, or I’m editing.” Both words sound like work to me. I imagine myself confined to my chair, forcing myself to get words down, or constantly autocritting those words. Yuck!

I love to “Storytell”, and “Perfect”.

Both those words create a picture of a finished product of what I want. I aim for a well crafted story that readers will love. I just happen to be the one there to dictate the story.

Are there any silly tricks you use to accomplish your goals?

Third time is a Charm

determinationIt seems that everything I do, I have to do it three times before I get it right. I used to get frustrated, irritated, and want to pull my hair out. Who has time to do everything three times?

When it comes to writing, I don’t mind. If anything the first time I learn about my characters and the setting. The second time I work out the plot holes and problems. By the time I write the scene the third time, I’m excited. I’ve improved everything at least three-fold.

Lately, I wrote a scene and thought, Wow! I don’t need to rewrite that. But, I did. And, I improved it.

Sure, I’d love to be the writer that can crank out the stories at a rate of 10,000 perfect words a week, but after a bit of thought, I’d rather be the writer that “Wows with every Tale Told!”, even if it takes me four tries.

Quest for Health

I’m a yo-yo dieter. I have been big and thin numerous times, sometimes in the same year. I am tired of it. I’m more tired of being sluggish, bloated, having headaches, feeling achy joints and all around unhealthy. I have no one to blame but myself and I am ready for change.

A few years ago, I found the Wheat Belly book by William Davis, MD. It’s a lengthy book explaining millions of reasons not to eat anything made with wheat. I decided to go wheat free and I successfully avoided it for two months. I felt wonderful and I lost weight.

So why stop? It’s wheat. Not exactly wheat when I eat, but pizza, cakes, cookies, pancakes, bread, and a long list of things we crave on a daily basis. The thing is, when I am not eating wheat, I don’t crave it. I can just as easily pass up that piece of ‘Death by Chocolate’ cake.

I’ve been slowly going wheat free for almost two weeks. I feel better already.

I’m not going to ‘Diet’. I’m sick of dieting. I go on a diet and I never see the end result because I stop losing weight and I get discouraged and disappointed I didn’t get down to 165. I haven’t been that in the past decade. Or, I lose weight, but the result is that I have no energy, my hair is thin and stringy, and I just look malnourished.

I’m going to go on a “Challenge”. X days, or 1 month and lose all I can, and then eat normal with no guilt. I’ll work on the details and let you know the results.