Sunday, November 24, 2013

what november looks like

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This is what the weekend has looked like. Words, read and written. Cozy blankets, warm tea. Wind blowing outside, snow flakes falling. This is what November looks like for me, its essence. 

That book, Tell The Wolves I'm Home, is one that I will not soon forget. I highly recommend it... I finished it within 24 hours. I cried rivers while reading, and then I had to turn to my own writing and spill words and I wasn't sure I was capable of the task. After reading such a well crafted novel... it was an intimidating feat. But the old saying is true, reading good books makes you a better writer. And so even though I hear all the time that people don't have time to read, make time. It makes you more thoughtful. Gives you depth. Makes the world seem smaller and larger all at once. We all have stories in us, and they deserve to not only be written, but read. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

mid November ramble

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It's mid November, can you believe it? I certainly can't. The other thing I can't believe? I've stuck with nanowrimo. As of today, I've written over 30,000 words (less than 20k to go before the end of the month!!) I'm confident that I'll do this. I'm also confident that what I'll end up with will be a very bare bones, surface level draft of a novel, and I can't wait to take it deeper in 2014. 

There's a few things that have happened this month. My son turned seven. SEVEN. Seriously... I don't know how that happened. One day he was all swaddled in a sweet little blanket, the next he's holding onto a skateboard and watching videos on Youtube on how to do skater tricks. There was a weekend visit from my parents, and then on his actual birthday we went with my inlaws to the Boston aquarium. There was some ray and shark petting {for real!}, turtle gazing, interacting with some crazy snake skins, it was a very exciting day. My daughter and I were diagnosed with Lyme disease last week {If you're on instagram or facebook, sorry for the repeats of all this!} We're fine, we're getting treatment, our cases were caught early so we should be just fine. But man, I'm tired. And she's a bit not herself. But it's good, we're getting better and our bodies are healing and life is starting to look fairly normal again! 

And through all of that, I kept writing. This is kind of huge. I've always been one who readily abandons things. Quite frankly the only things I've ever really stuck with are my marriage and motherhood. Two very good things to hold onto, but you get my point. It's a miracle I graduated college without changing majors. I'm going to start darting around subjects so let me preface this with, if you've been a long time follower you know from the last blog that I stopped drinking nearly four years ago. I've got a crazy addictive personality, and I used alcohol in the worst ways. I haven't written about it on this blog because it's not a struggle that I face every day. I call myself a recovering alcoholic more for my safety, so that I can't turn back one day and say "yeah, I'm done with that" because for my health and my families I know I never need to drink. Ever. {see, a safety net from abandoning being an alcoholic, I did learn from my mistakes!} But I'm not in AA, I don't have to fight urges every day, I've found some inner peace and life is really good. That being said, it's interesting to me that I can trace so many of the qualities I dislike about myself to when I started drinking. Like the abandoning of things, when they got hard. 

So, for example, this whole writing thing. Every time I got close to it, I'd push it away. I've wanted to write stories since I was tiny. I filled journal after journal with elaborated stories about my own life, and totally fictional stories as well. In college I had so many hopes of doing real writing. Any writing, and then, well, I got distracted. When I would start getting close to writing after I had kids, I'd start drinking. And now, what's super interesting, is that I distracted myself for the last two or three years with constant knitting. Weird, but I think it's true. I'm not saying I've been addicted to knitting, but I've definitely let myself get carried away with it instead of spending time on what I've always wanted to do. Knitting comes easily to me {unlike writing, damn it's hard...}, but I'm a project knitter, not a knit for the love of knitting knitter {I wish I was, but as I'm realizing... I'm not...} I've had to cut my knitting time back to hardly anything, and when I have picked up the needles it hasn't been as enjoyable as I remembered. I'll always knit, don't get me wrong, but I don't know that it will be nearly the amount that I have the last few years. 

Back to the real train of thought. This last month I've been writing in moderation. I say moderation, because there's a certain word count I strive for every day, and I don't want to burn out so I haven't really gone beyond that each day. Slow and steady has been my mantra. And folks, it has worked. I've never been a slow and steady person. This is a huge breakthrough, awakening, whatever you want to call it. 

I've got more thoughts on this, and how it all kind of relates to reading Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, and how themes have been emerging from the tidbits about others lives that have given light to my own process and decisions my daily life... but I promised two little kids I'd read a few chapters of The Big Friendly Giant... But I had to get this out of my head. 

This November is going down in the books as being incredibly memorable. Inspired. Challenging. And maybe life changing. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

it's all happening

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On Friday I started writing my nanowrimo novel. This is for real, people. I just surpassed my word count for the third day in a row.

It's only been three days, but I've already learned so much.

I've learned that my process is to reread from start to finish what I've already written. I might change a word or two, fill in a blank - a name that I couldn't think of for example. And then I begin. I simply write. Sometimes {like today} it is slow, but it always comes if I show up. Things are happening. A story is coming together. Characters are shaping and themes are emerging.

I've also learned that a coffee shop writer I am not. I like to be at home, spread out, comfortable. Where I can pace about if I need to, head to the kitchen for leisurely snacks and water breaks. Curl up in my bed and sit in the bliss of flannel sheets and sip tea from a favorite mug.

I've learned that I feel as good after a writing session as I do after exercising. It's just a bummer that writing doesn't burn as many calories as a good work out...

I've learned that I have time for writing. MUCH more time than I realized. So much so that reaching my word count hasn't been an issue. On a school day, on a family outing day, on a day when I squandered an hour at a coffee shop by myself and then spent three hours chatting with a friend, came home and picked up the house and watched a football game and then, only after the kids went to bed, I found time to write. And I met my goal.

I've learned the more I write, the more I want to write.

I've learned that good or bad, this book is being written. The goal when I started was to reignite a love of writing, to start a practice, and it is happening. We watched Almost Famous on Friday night, and the phrase that keeps ringing in my ear is "It's all happening" and it truly is. The thing I've said I always wanted to do - I'm doing it. And it feels right. It feels good.

Stay tuned my friends, and get ready for various updates throughout the month. It's all happening...