Category Archives: Life thoughts

Writing and Romance, Part Three OR How I Got Back to Writing

So, while I will still stand by my view in my last blog (we’ll call it Part 2) and the one from earlier that shall now be referred to as Part 1, I will amend that having real romance in your life is a big freakin’ perk!

It is.  I guess it had been so long since I had any romance in my life that I forgot how yummy and wonderful it is and how it can make you feel… Silly me.

Recently, my writing was in a slump.  My imaginary friends were giving me the silent treatment.  Not a word… almost like when I was married.  I was a little overwhelmed and confused about a few things.  Then several things happened within a short time span.

First, I was reading a lot of articles about changes in the industry and started rethinking my writing goals.  Second, I read an article by Diana Gabaldon where she said (and I paraphrase) that you should write like no one will ever see it.  That makes sense because then you’re free to let your story be what it is without boxing it in from the get-go and you can be fearless with honest emotion.  Third, I had a conversation with my CP (who’s also one of my best friends) about what was going on and she always, ALWAYS, helps me find clarity in my life and in my writing.

And finally, I met a wonderful man who brings much to my life.  A man that sends me texts.  Nothing earth shattering – just that he is thinking of me.  That is romance, my friends.

When the thought of someone brings a smile to your face – that’s romance.  When you can’t wait to talk about nothing – that’s romance.  Size, shape, age, color, and gender have nothing to do with it. Connection is all that counts.  And, it is a revelation.

The culmination of these events has wrought a change in me and I am a happier, better and more productive writer due to it.

While imagination is good, and getting that feeling vicariously is better, I will now say that the real thing is best.

2012 is going to be a great year… and it is starting off write!

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Filed under Creativity/ Inspiration, Life thoughts, Writing in general

My Life Is Getting In The Way of My Life

While I find great value in the things I do that are writing related, they do take away time from my actually writing.  I am Secretary for three different writing groups, I judge for writing contests, I critique and/or edit for friends, I am assisting with our local romance writers conference, and many other things.  So, while I am investing in my career through networking and leadership positions, it does take time away from when I could be writing.  It’s a sacrifice I find worthwhile.

 On the non-writing front, I have other huge commitments that take a considerable amount of time and effort, but that I also find hugely rewarding to me personally.

 Then there is my writing which is also a top priority commitment. 

 And, somewhere in there I have to find time for family, friends, business, romantic relationships (less so at the moment, I know), and relaxing Clancy-time (I’m a movie / TV show junkie so that’s a lot of time and it’s NFL Season).  All in all, my life is getting in the way of my life.

 All of you can relate I’m sure as everyone has to balance a variety of activities.  I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to over-extend myself and get worn out.  I’m a little worn out now, in fact. 

 That worn out feeling in not particularly conducive to my creative mojo.  Regardless, I have to find ways to balance these things, squish out enough hours in the day to do all I need to do, still sleep, and be creative whether I am feeling the mojo or not. 

The hope is that at some point, I’ll figure out how to not over-book my life, so I can have one too.  I made these choices and I’ll survive them.  Heck, I’ll thrive because I think I like the pressure, but I do think I could juggle a little better or choose a few less balls to throw in the air.  I’m trying to work smarter so I don’t have to work harder, but I’m not sure I’m succeeding.  If you’re handling it all better than me, please share?

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Emotions are our Trade

I watched a movie the other day called Bigger Than the Sky.  It was about a guy finding himself through community theater.  At the beginning, he was a recently dumped, yes-man at work, uninspired, friendless, boring frump who seemed invisible to himself and others.  He auditions for a play at the local community theater despite having no experience and gets the lead as Cyrano de Bergerac.  Through the course of the movie, he meets another girl, makes some friends, quits his job and finds out he can be a leading man in the play and in his own life.

 It wasn’t a great movie but it was a really good one, and it did have John Corbett, Amy Smart, Patty Duke and Sean Astin in it.  But more importantly, it resonated with me.  It will stay with me.  I realized half way through it, I had seen it before years ago, but it had not made the same impact then.  I had not been going through the same process then either.

 When I really started writing full time a year and a half ago, I was a closed off, emotionally stunted, relationship-challenged, hopeless romantic trapped in a jaded cynic’s body.  People for decades had been telling me to tear down my walls and let people in, to be vulnerable.  I rolled my eyes and said I was perfectly happy as I was – thank you very much.  When I decided I wanted to write for a living, it didn’t take long to figure out that if my writing was ever going to be great, it needed to be emotional and vulnerable.  But, how do you write that when you aren’t living it?  Answer:  you can’t.

 So, I have spent this year tearing down walls, opening up, exploring sides of me I didn’t know existed and becoming the most authentic me I can become.  Am I still a work in progress – yes.  Do I still have a long way to go – hell yes.  But, am I already a better writer for it – most definitely.  Sometimes, I feel like a walking wound, crying all the time.  Feeling raw and exposed is not the most comfortable place to exist, yet I have thirty years of pent up emotion waiting to be expressed, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it takes time and a lot of energy.  I’m glad though.  I’m happier, calmer, and more at peace within my own skin than I have ever been. 

As writers, we can research jobs and places from the comfort of our home thanks to the internet.  We can fake it well enough the reader may never know we haven’t done that job or visited that place.  We can’t fake the emotions though.  We have to put ourselves out there in order to draw the reader in with us.  It’s worth it though, isn’t it?  If we can touch someone with our writing?  I think so.  What say you?

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Filed under From this Reader's perspective, Life thoughts, Writing in general

A tumultuous July come and gone. And I… must… write….

So, I won’t bore you with my medical issues or depression that overtook July and somehow put it in a time warp because I am shocked by how fast, and yet incredibly slow, July passed. 

The writing that was making such great strides came to a shuttering halt and has not really picked up yet.  But today I have hope.  I’ve made some changes in my life, both physically and mentally so that I am in a much better place.  Can I just say exercise is hard, I’m not a fan, I’m doing it anyway, but boxing is fun.  

I can only think I am taking my story in a wrong direction or I’m in the wrong POV currently because otherwise, the writing would be happening.  So, I’m going to try changing the POV and see if that helps.  If not, I’ll have to reassess the story line.  There should be no excuse for why I cannot finish this short story.  It’s a SHORT story.  I know they can be harder to do well – but even getting a rough draft done would be a huge accomplishment at this point. 

I have noticed that I use my email and the internet as excuses to not write.  I think I should schedule time for that and only indulge in it at those times.  If I was being smart, it would not be first thing in the morning since I am most productive then.  And yet somehow, it’s the first thing I do and then hours pass and I’ve done nothing.   This is my job.  My only damn job and I would fire me if I was my boss.  So, I need to pull my head out, go to work and make ny boss proud.  I am an over-achieving competitive person by nature, so I need to use that to my benefit instead of indulging my lazy, apathetic side. 

Keep me on my toes, my friends.  Dog me if I’m not working.  Challenge me.  And I’ll challenge myself as well.  If you need the favor returned – let me know.  Thanks

 

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A Writing Retreat

So, when I first knew my local RWA chapter was having a Spring retreat for our writers, I can’t say I was super excited about attending, but felt I needed to go because I’m part of the board.  I can’t write when I’m around people, so I figured it’s not going to be a productive weekend, but once again – boy was I wrong.  Those who know me, know that me being wrong is not uncommon. 

I am rooming with four other writers, two I had never met before and two I know well.  I’m having the best time, not just with these four incredible and open women, but with the other twenty women in attendance.  We are having conversations I wouldn’t have expected, getting to know each other better, and finding kinship.  We are a diverse group from all walks of life talking writing, relationships, life, and ideas.  I feel rejuvenated, inspired, motivated. 

Writing can be a solitary activity and we need to connect once in a while, we need to re-evaluate why we write, and know that while we as writers create alone, we are also part of a bigger community that is supportive and helpful.  Romance writers are a true community that support each other, celebrates each other’s successes, and knows that success for one is success for all.  

The personal journey I am currently on is because I want to be a better writer.  Things I won’t do for myself or others, I am willing to do for my writing.  I am grateful that I felt compelled to be here, because it has been an experience I will remember.  And I’ll be back.  It’s not just networking, it’s building relationships, learning new things, and bonding with creative others whose spirits understand my spirit.

Friends, if you have a chance to go to a retreat, writer or otherwise, do yourself a favor and do it.  Embrace the experience, open yourself to some creative, emotional, ideational pot stirring that spurs you to new concepts, and inspires you continue your down your individual path.

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Filed under Life thoughts, Writing in general

When to Pull the Plug

Ever started something, invested a ton of time into it, and then at some point it seems like you hit a wall?  It’s hard to figure out when to pull the plug.  You’ve spent so much time on it (whatever that IT is) that you feel like you’ve wasted it all if you quit.  But, going forward is just wasting more.  Grrrr.  What to do?

It’s a tough decision, friends.  And perhaps you feel foolish for spending as much time as you did on it, but you were hopeful, right?  Nothing wrong with that.  And perhaps, the next time, you’ll figure it out sooner.  We’re ever hopeful, right?

My son and I are going thru this together right now.  He and his girlfriend are/may be breaking up.  And the poor guy feels like all the love/time/money he spent on her is now wasted.  I just spent over a year on a manuscript that I am shelving.  And I feel like all the love/time/effort has been wasted.  But wait… what if IT isn’t a waste?  What if it’s just all part of the process?  What if it’s one more step in the right direction?

My son may be completely heartbroken, but IT wasn’t a waste because he learned a lot during their several years together.  He learned how to love another person, how to take on responsibility, how to not be selfish.  He grew up and matured as a man.  And, all of these experiences including the heartbreak have shaped him into a person that is better prepared for his next relationship.

I may be frustrated, but IT wasn’t a waste because I learned a lot about my craft, that I can do editing and rewriting, that I can finish a story, that I can take criticism and rejection positively, that I am fully committed to this career.  I’ve grown as  a writer and my next story will be even better, and I will continue to grow so that I am prepared when I finally get published.

You’ll figure it out too – just remember to take all the good out of IT that you can find.  Learn, grow, repeat!

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