Friday, October 27, 2006

Results of first writing session

So last night we had our first writing session. I am so pleased with the results.

Melly - goal: editing and writing 500 words. Result: 90%
R - goal: coming up with 3-5 scene ideas and write smthg up on each. Result: 100%
T - goal: finish reviewing my NaNo outline and to make the difficult changes I know are necessary. Result: 100%
L - goal: 500 words in new short story. Result: 100%.
M - goal: work on character development, further story building, read over/edit existing section. Result: 100%
S - goal: wiring a certain year of memoir. Result: 100%
Nienke - goal: work on outline. Result: 100%

We'll have another session tomorrow morning. That's Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET if you want to join.

I will let you in on a secret, Nienke and I had two sessions prior to starting the group. I had written over 1,000 words in each! Yesterday I needed to edit what I had written so I set a smaller word-count goal. But I know that I can do about a 1,000 words an hour and that makes me absolutely ecstatic and I'm so thrilled with how this is going.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First Writing Session Tomorrow!

Well, response to my latest post has been quite positive. Nienke had posted on her blog too with similar response. Seems like we're all struggling with the same problem - discipline.

So I went ahead and started a public Google Group: Writing Session.
I think that means anyone can join, but let me know if you have difficulties.

Also, I scheduled the first session for tomorrow, Thursday October 26 at 8:30 Eastern.

If you're interested, go join the group and see more on your only responsibilities:
- Post goal
- Write for an hour
- Post achievement

I will try to aggregate the results after the session and publish them.

I hope you join and have fun.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Discipline, again and again, but Melly and Nienke have a suggestion

I have an idea.
Actually, I came by the idea due to a good friend whom most of you know. Nienke from The Writing Life told me the other day, "Let's do a writing war. Let's meet and write. This way we would simply have to," she said.
So we did. We met online, clocked the time, and after an hour we said - how did it go?
She made some serious advance in her outline; I had written 1,036 words!
We were ecstatic.

So I was thinking... Most writers often complain about lack of discipline. Why not try and inject some discipline into us?

Here's the idea:
Nienke or I will set up a group in, say, Google or Yahoo! or something.
We won't talk about writing in the group, but we'd write.

Here's how I think it might work:
- We'll "meet" twice a week at set times, let's say (this can all change). For example: Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 p.m. ET.
- Before 9, all participants will post their goal for the hour-long-session. Examples:
  • - My goal is to write 500 words.
  • - My goal is to finish chapter 4, or that complicated fighting scene
  • - My goal is to work on the outline for chapters 11-20.
  • - My goal is to find a market for my latest short story and submit.
You see, very specific goal.

- Then, at 9:00, I'll sound the bell and everybody would start working.
- The session will be an hour-long and at 10:00 I'll sound the closing bell. Of course, you can continue working.
- After the session has closed, all participants will send me a quantifiable success rate. 0%-100% of goal accomplished. No reasons, no excuses. Just goal and success rate.
- I'll compile the results and either post it here on our blogs, or in the group.

So what do you think?
Is that an idea that's already been done somewhere?
Is it completely retarded?

If you think it is a good idea, then tell us if you would like to participate and what would be good times for you.

If we get a move on it, we might be able to have it ready for NaNo.

Now it's up to you.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Preparing for NaNo, or, How to write successfully

Lately, as NaNo approaches, I've been talking to friends and reading writers' blog posts about their own preparation for NaNo. I've noticed that many are trying to be plan ahead so that they wouldn't get stuck or something of the sort come November. Usually, this getting ready includes creating outlines, organize scenes, think thoroughly of their characters etc.

Talking to or reading about what other writers do in order to prepare for NaNo tends to almost always make me feel awful. See, I never do these things, I never prepare and when I read how many have their outlines ready or what not, it makes me feel guilty as I'm sure I should too. But it's not me. I sort of write from the hip -- if you'd allow me to tweak the expression -- seat-of-the-pants method, just let it flow, organically. (Maybe that's why I don't like books about writing, none of their methods ever worked for me).

Oh, I know that we've been through this a million times before probably, and if you recall, I always say the same thing - each writer should do what's good for him/her. Writers should use the tools they feel make their writing better. These tools just happen to not work for me.

So, I'm sorry to bring this up again, but NaNo preparation made me do it.
By the way, don't get me wrong, I do prepare an outline, but usually after I've started writing and after I'm done a few chapters. I also write notes about my characters, but again, not before, only while I write; things I want to remember about my characters -- either things I've already mentioned, or things I want to later mention and so on.

I even remembered reading a post Tambo wrote from a few months ago because I agreed with it so very much. Tools, not rules, she calls them. Editors don't care how writers write and writers are the only ones who know what works for them. Hear, Hear!

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

One of my turns coming on

Uploaded on Aug 30, 2006, by jzakariya
I feel,

Anyone not living in a place where they literally dread the winter, will probably not relate to this post, although it's not just about the weather. Or maybe it is.

Cold as a razor blade,

The weather is turning here. The degrees are plummeting.
This Thanksgiving long weekend, though, is supposed to be nice, and we're planning a trip up north to see the leaves turning, the autumn, fall colours. That's about the only nice thing that is happening now.

Tight as a tourniquet,

I've been working hard lately and I've been really tired too. This could be a lingering effect from the war, but it could also just be normal. I do feel as if I have less time though.
Hubby and I have been doing what most people in this weather do around this time of year, prepare the house for winter - isolation, I mean, insulation, furnace, windows, evestroughs etc... everything we need to do before turning in for winter hibernation. I dread the winter.

Dry as a funeral drum.

The first thing I notice, this time of year, is that my hair turns flat. The jump and curliness are gone. This weather sucks me dry. I hope the dryness remains on the surface; I hope it doesn't reach my brain. I hope I don't find myself in a month planted in front of the TV until summer returns.

So you better believe it. I sure know it.

One of my turns coming on

I don't know what kind it would be. I hope it's the creative kind, not the depressive kind. I hope it's an active kind, not a "blah" kind. Maybe NaNo will turn me around from whatever winter mood I know I'll be in, help me through the first month of winter and make it all more bearable. I hope.

[[I also hope I don't get sued by Pink Floyd for this... More importantly, actually, I hope I didn't offend any Pink Floyd fans, I can understand if you're mad, I might have been too if I was reading, not writing this.]]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wishes vs. Goals

It's funny, but I never thought about it until today. It makes sense, obviously, but I just never thought about it before.

I have hopes and dreams, just like anyone else. Wishes. I have no disillusion that that's all they are.

Some of these hopes and dreams I do want come true though. I try to achieve this by establishing goals. Some wishes, I don't. They remain in the realm of hopes and dreamland.

It's especially relevant to my writing.

I actually never hoped to write a bestseller. I never even hoped -- and it might come as a surprise to the few who have known me a while -- to write a critically acclaimed novel.

I did, still do, however, hope to sustain myself from my writing. I didn't, don't write fiction for that purpose, I write it because I like writing, but I hope. That one day. Maybe.

Because I have hopes I believe might be achievable, I set goals. You can all imagine what they are as I'm sure most of you have similar ones. In short, these goals amount to 'write and publish.' And I did, do. Both. Not to the extent I had hoped, but that's just it, that was a hope.

The goals I set are accomplished. Then, perhaps it's time for a new set of goals. Perhaps it's time for a new set of dreams too. Shouldn't we always try to aim higher than what we intend?

Why did I start thinking about it? Because of the way I write my current WIP. Somehow, I'm much more relaxed about it. I think that's good, it helps. I don't stress myself too much if don't write. And when I write, I enjoy it so much. I even write in bed in a journal. It's the best think that could have happened to my writing, I think.

So I can't really control my dreams, they're quite subjective. But I can control my goals. Maybe instead of aiming higher, I'll just stop aiming; have no more goals. Does that make sense?

Does everyone feel the disparity between their writing goals and their writing wishes? Does it affect the writing process?

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