Thursday, September 14, 2017

Deadline


I made a commitment to myself for completion of this draft. Then I thought maybe I would complete it earlier due to vacation. Which didn't happen and I'm working with that being okay, because I was on vacation. And it's okay to have non-productive times (at least that's what I've been told *smile*).

Now I'm looking at my deadline coming on fast and I wonder how I will ever make it.

I'm not sure how, but I will try. I want this draft done before November because I want to work on something else in November (NaNoWriMo).

I've made significant progress in the past several month - but I have much to do. Sometimes I'm excited by the prospect of everything I have to do and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I think I should just give up..

Don't tell me I need to consider that option; I really don't want it except in the moments where I wonder how I will ever get ahead and get it published.

I will.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pace

photo from FineArtAmerica
Thinking about pace today.


I just returned to work after three weeks off.


The first weekend was spent in a writing workshop. Three days at the Oregon Gardens Resort with the fantabulous Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi Shoemaker and all of the incredible Corporeal Writing participants willing to dive into Eros, Heat, Summer writing, reading, being present. This was a wonderful experience, again. The best way to start an elongated time off work.


Then I spent two plus weeks traveling to, from, and being in Taos, NM. Part of my heart is there, pieces of soul connect. I don't know if I could live there full-time and yet a few days away and I'm tugged back. Maybe. I don't know. But that doesn't matter.


What matters is that this is the first time in a long time that I let down, over a period of time. There were little calls back to my other-day life: a little bit of theatrical interpreting, and I was (still am) participating in an online manuscript workshop. Those were all fine. I successfully avoided most work emails. It was an unproductive time, which in this case, is good. Really good.


Then I noticed, back here at work, pace.


It hasn't been a super fast pace most of the day (t was a little, for a while). But I hadn't realized how much I had taken in the Taos pace. I know there is one. But, wow, I really did fall into that pattern.


I could like it.


At least for a while.


Noticing the difference. And maybe I need more of that more often.


Maybe.


Pace. and Space. and Sky.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Check in - self-inspiration

Summer 2016 Corporeal Writing Seasonal Workshop. photo by Domi

I can't believe it is now August 10th. And don't you hate it when people start off a conversation like that? I do.

But, it is.

So - I just posted my final 10k submission in the manuscript workshop for this round. That is 30k words of my book I have shared with others. And on which I have received some really good, helpful, insightful feedback and perspectives.

I've also gained insights into the project. Revised and re-visioned significant pieces. Written new sections and taken things out. It feels like it is coming together.

I also signed up for the Winter Intensive. That online workshop in the Literary Kitchen with Ariel Gore, with daily assignments and feedback to keep my writing moving and active during that distracting and potentially triggering holiday time. And I signed up for the Winter Manuscript class. This will be the first time she's taught it in the winter and I hope to have the entire draft at the next level and ready to "take it on home" with that workshop. I hope.

That's where I'm at. Oh - and I am going to the Corporeal Writing Summer Heat writing workshop this weekend, again at the beautiful Oregon Gardens Resort. I loved it last year and I know I will this year, as well. Love it and am nervous and ready to go to that place with my writing, again.

Writing. Revising. More writing.

And trying to build some loafing into my schedule. Because loafing helps with creativity and brain and body require some down time, too. (And that was in our weekly assignment this week in the Kitchen; but I do need it anyway.)

The project is moving forward. Yes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Revision Is Hard (for me)

*
I am in a 12-week manuscript class and we just passed the halfway mark.

It is an amazing experience with Ariel Gore at the helm, and a group of skilled writers with so many good stories to tell. There are writing exercises, prompts, feedback, reading other authors' words, resources Q&As, and more.

It is very helpful and my project is moving forward.

Moving forward and away from me and I chase it and I catch up and more comes along and I see many possibilities. Building that onto the revelations and experience at Writing by Writers Methow Valley retreat/workshop in May, which built onto Corporeal Writing workshops with Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi, which built on earlier workshops with Ariel in the Literary Kitchen.

Possibilities for strengthening my writing, making words clearer and the stories pop and sizzle and feel right.

And, still, I am not daunted by the new material. I am excited to work in lost or forgotten details. To take a couple of found threads of my stories to weave them together. To work with memory and storytelling and, well, you'll have to wait and see. I am excited to make changes.

Once in a while that little critical voice comes along which whispers (or yells, although its voice is losing power) that I can't/shouldn't/won't/don't dare write this thing into completion. It brings up doubts and fears and old confusion of responsibility and truth and wonder and forgetting.

The forgetting is the harder part. Forgetting is easy and it used to be that forgetting happened without notice, without any signal, and celebration or achievement slipped away, too. Not just the hard stuff but the good stuff, too. It all slipped away between a blink and a breath, shut in a room far away out of sight out of thought. Never happened in the consciousness.

But it did. But it didn't.

Now things don't slip away so easily. Now that critical voice is quieter and sometimes it gets lost in the successes and the stories and its stories have lost a lot of their power. It's good.

It's not easy. And when I go through these stories I've written and am writing. When I relive them and remember and the sensations run through me, through my corporeal being, the trick is to let them pass through and not get stuck.

But doubt doesn't go away that easily. It may never be totally gone for me. The goal is to quiet the doubt and the confusion, and let confidence and skillful means take the lead, the louder voice.

While I work on the stories of times when confidence and skillful means meant basic survival.

Revising the stories for flow and word choice and pacing and clarity. Revising heartbeats and breath, movement and stagnation, making room for readers. And me.

It may be hard, but I'm on it.

And I'm doubling down on the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. If you haven't read any of these stories, there is a ton of context missing. Just trust me - meat and mashed potatoes are in the revision.

This really was in my fortune cookie tonight!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tick tock tick tock

*
I am a real writer.

Yesterday I received a rejection of a story I submitted in April. I thought it was about time for a response and, yes, the email arrived. Thanks but not this time.

Rejections are good. It means my writing is out there. Slower submission process than I'd like. But my writing time is mostly spent on the Work In Process (WIP), reading the writing of other authors in the 12-week manuscript online workshop, doing quick writes and writing exercises for the same workshop.

So, writing time is spent more on writing than submitting. Which is fine. But this was my last piece out and my goal is (somewhat sadly) to always have one piece submitted somewhere. Which means that my options are: find a place to send that particular story; pick another story and find a place to put it; or find a place I want to submit to (where I think my work will fit) and then find a story I've written that fits (or can fit with editing).

So. Rejection = successful writer.

Today I had some hours stretching out before me. After dropping S off early in the morning (hey, 8AM is early for me!) and having the rest of the day to myself until 3:30, ( was going to write.) I had Big Plans.

And I have 10k words due tonight before midnight, plus the rest of a writing exercise.

I did spend a lot of time in front of my computer. A lot. I took a couple of breaks from my writing-screen-staring. But mostly screen-staring, with moments of writing.

It is possible for me to submit the 10k words that I have as they are. I identified the section I am going to submit last week. Then I changed my mind and wanted to put in two other pieces, which meant pulling out a bunch of words. Which I did, but I had to write a brief explanation to fill in a gap.

I did get some rewrites done. Oh, because I was 222 words over the limit. So I have to at least get it under 10k. I cut a bunch of words, enough words. Then I had to do some rewrites to strengthen that story. And now I'm at 10,400. Sigh.

And how much did I get tightened and rewritten and stronger from the 26 pages? Two. Two pages.

Sometimes the time and the writing energy don't coincide. Or maybe it was because I was up too early and not optimal sleep in an unfamiliar bed.

Or.

Whatever. Dinner in 30 minutes. Then I have to return to the writing and see if I can give the whole thing one pass for basic clean up before I submit it to the workshop before 11:45 PM tonight (giving myself a little flex room in case of problems with the intermittently disappearing WiFi in this hotel).

I will commit to identifying either a place or a piece for my next submission before the end of this week.

And I will submit 10k tonight regardless of the status. After all, this is a manuscript draft class, not the finished product.

Okay, back to it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Next 10k

*
I am preparing the next 10,000 word submission for the Manuscript workshop in the Literary Kitchen. I can't believe we're through the first month already! The other writers are inspiring, the feedback and writing is helpful; and Ariel's feedback and the writing exercises are awesome, as always.

This 12-week workshop is exactly where I need to be right now.

And it's working.

I am a little surprised and happy to say that I am having a hard time identifying the next 10k words to submit. Not because I have to write it all before next Monday. I currently have 98k written - some of that will go away, others words will be added. But I want to get feedback on some a couple sections as part of the 10k and I want the sections I submit to make sense and. I love having this problem.

I identified what I was going to submit on Tuesday and pulled it together in a separate document to edit. But last night, as I was falling asleep, I realized that there is one section with - um, something special, I'll leave it at that vague description for now - and there are several other instances of that special treatment in the book. I want to include another of those special sections, which means I have to remove something else to keep under the 10k submission requirement.

I can do that.

And I love having this problem. This workshop makes me happy and I am making a lot of progress on the book which, I admit, I might not have gotten to yet.

Thank you, Ariel. Thank you, all of the Wayward Writers in the Literary Kitchen with me right now.

Okay. Back to it. (Well, back to it after I'm done with work tonight.)

[My Bitch Media totebag arrived yesterday, which was a gift for upgrading my monthly subscription. So, of course, I wanted it in the photo. Look at my manuscript now! So pretty and colorful and so much good information in those dividers and notes on the pages.]
*

Monday, June 5, 2017

Manuscript Update


I was about 1/3 of the way through reading the manuscript when I took this photo.

I have completed reading all 429 pages of that manuscript. Don't worry, it won't be that long when it's published. I knew there would be some duplication of information or even copy/paste errors - but I thought there would be more. There are about 20 pages in total which are near exact stories. I say "near exact" because there have been some edits on those pieces, or small sections form within removed or moved. But those 20 pages are less than I expected.

Which is good news and, oh boy!

I do expect there to be a lot cut in the edits and some rewrites. I do still have a couple of gaps which need the stories written to fill. I will.

This is also printed double-spaced, 12 point font with extra margin on the right for notetaking.

I have also written my assessment of where the project is right now.

And am working on my Hopes and Intentions for the manuscript workshop which starts at the end of this week.

Next up will be to identify and prepare 10,000 words for submission to the workshop, since I volunteered to be in the first group of submitters. My 10k words are due next Sunday, June 11th.

A couple of months ago I set myself a deadline to complete this draft of the manuscript by the end of October 2017. Wow! I am actually putting that information out into the larger atmosphere. There it is.

And I do think I will hit that goal this time. I may even get it done a little early, thank you to the wonderful manuscript workshop I am about to embark on with Ariel Gore and some fabulous writers in the Literary Kitchen.

Here I go!
*

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm Excited to Jump into Editing

*
Five days : writing and writers, in the middle of nature as far as your eye can see, fed and caffeinated and watered, extraordinary faculty.

With particular thanks to Pam Houston for starting Writing by Writers (and for making one of the sites at Methow Valley)


Huge thank yous to Lidia Yuknavitch for being, and for being present with our group of 12 and helping us find ways to make our work stronger, for your support. And thank you to my workshop writing partners, Sheila, Kristin, Chelsea, Taylor, Arielle, Ellie, Rochelle, Bridget, Marcie, Cindy, Chanel.


I know it was an especially good writing workshop when I come home excited to jump into revisions and rewrites, which includes not only the editing I knew I had to do, but two more threads/themes I need to go back and incorporate throughout the project and some questions I have to answer.


Next up isr Ariel Gore's Summer Manuscript online class, which begins in three weeks. Currently printing the full manuscript to begin final prep for that. So, more editing!

If you know me in my writing life, you know that "I'm excited to edit" is not usually in my vocabulary. Which is how i know this is the real deal - that the gems from Writing by Writers are true and that the timing for Ariel's manuscript workshop are spot on.

*