Monday, March 8, 2010

Word by Word

Part 1
We have another writer in our midst. Sophia recently won first place for the county for her grade in the Georgia Young Authors contest. Tonight we attended the school board meeting where she received her certificate. She's entered in the district contest and we're anxiously awaiting news about that. When it's all done, perhaps she'll let me post her story here. She wrote it all on her own, allowing me only to proof it for spelling and punctuation. I am so incredibly proud of her.

Part 2
I used my new writing schedule today, but I can see modification is needed. Waking up on time would be a good start, but perhaps I ought not go crazy.

I did do my morning pages, even if it was in a helter skelter fashion. I wrote about one third of a page then switched to capturing a dream I had. (Nan, you were in the dream). I could not escape my usual morning duties. I retrieved the brown bag lunch items from their super secret hiding place, managed the feline input and output, tossed in a load of laundry and made coffee. I went back to writing morning pages as soon as everyone left. Once complete, I worked out, drank a protein shake (blech!) and had a shower. Finally, nearing 9:30 a.m., I sat down to actually work on my manuscript. Right now, that consists of reading it aloud to myself and editing it.

It's closer, but it ain't no cee-gar. As much as I hate to do it, I'm moving my workout to later in the day. That helps me to write when my mind is less cluttered. A stringent limit on my online activities will be a major factor in getting work done. I'm moving my online allowance back to 1 p.m. or even 2 p.m. The time not spent checking Facebook, refreshing my twitter page (are you happy now, Utah?) and opening window after window of authors and agents blogs is the best gift I can give myself. Of course, things will get tricky when I start to research agents, which is done mostly online. I'll fret about that later. For now, I'm busy being sick of this story and the sound of my own voice.

Part 3
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Craig posted videos of Lev Yilmaz's work on his Facebook page. To illustrate their quality, I can tell you that they inspired Sophia who has been off and on cartooning. Nathan laughed out loud at them (a rare thing for a 14 year old boy when his mother is in the room). They cracked me up, too and there wasn't any potty humor involved. That is a mark of true genius.

In a lovely bit of life symmetry or as an example of how our world continues to shrink, Nathan Bransford, a literary agent whose blog I read, posted a Lev video over the weekend. After having to own up to my own procrastination, I found it both amusing and, well, honest......

Now I have to go drink a couple of shots of tequila to get inspired.


  1. Congrats to Sophia on her award! :)

    And ah yes, the morning pages--I used to do them dutifully every day. I liked doing them, actually. :)

    But then I decided that it was more important to squeeze in a workout every morning. So now it's like, what's more important, my health or my creativity? (Lately it's been neither--it's been sleep--but I'm going back to the morning workouts--I guess health is a pretty important thing. :) )

    Still, I miss my morning pages sometime...could I--God forbid--get up even earlier in the morning? Wait a minute, what am I trying to do to myself? *hee hee*

  2. Congratulations to Sophia. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, no?

  3. Lisa -

    My creative writing prof told us that the importance of writing at the same time each day is to train ourselves to write at the same time each day. He said it didn't matter what you wrote, but you had to write (or try) for a given amount of time. He strongly urged us to only try for an hour to start.

    Research shows that patterns develop into habits after about 2 weeks of being consistently enforced. This includes weekends, by the way... so choose a time that works for you; you shouldn't have to get up early for it (or stay up unnaturally late) because you will see it as punishment.

    So... sleep till your normal time, get the kids outta the house, unplug for an hour and have fun. Do it for a couple of weeks and see what you think. If you enjoy it and if it feels comfortable, then expand to 90 minutes a day.

    You CAN stay off of Twitter for an hour, right? You can scrub the floor after an hour, right?



    PS - Congrats to Cupcake for the win! That's a big step.

  4. You're totally becoming like this little writers community.....whole lifestyle change. And yes, now you have to hit the booze....:)

  5. Congrats to Sophia. Maybe should be your ghostwriter....kidding.

  6. A literary legacy! Congrats to Sophia!! And congrats to your creating a container for your writing. I have to do workout and writing in the a.m. so I can do slothing and online activities in the evening. But writing schedules are as varied and unique as writers.

  7. Congrats to Sophia.

    You'll find a writing, workout, lifestyle schedule you can live with. But backing away from the interwebs is key.

    I'm a big Lev fan.

    Write on, Sister, write on.

  8. Another writer? Um, I'm sorry, but there are cubicles that need filling. Let's drop this whole creative expression of the human condition gig, k?

  9. That's so cool that Sophia got an award for her writing. How proud you must be.

    Meanwhile, make the time for yourself. It's true it will become a habit you'll look forward to. Well, I don't actually look forward to staring at a blank sheet of paper but maybe if you wrote a word or two.. and erased them.. and then stared at the marks. Ooops, there I go drifting into an unrecalled past when people used to write on the stuff.

  10. Sophia, You Rock!

    Lisa, Always take Tengrain's advise, if for no other reason than that he's almost always right.

    There was something else, but I've forgotten it now. Oh, now I remember. Don't stay off the twitter. There are contacts to be made there.

  11. Yay, Sophia! Yay yay yay! I hope she lets you post. I would love to read it.

    And I am all for the tequila shots.

  12. Yay, Sophia!! That is incredibly cool.

  13. Firstly, congrats to Sophia! All your children are so talented but I'm not surprised!

    Your post title reminds me of a really nice little book by the excellent Anne Lamott - Bird by Bird. It's about writing.

    Best to you,


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