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Ready, Set, Go…

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Today I outlined the last two novels in my trilogy that I never thought I would write as I originally thought it would be a stand alone novel. Its interesting the things that evolve when you write everyday.

I am gearing up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. At this point I am ready to write even though it doesn’t start for several more days. I have built worlds and even done some research. Not a lot but definitely more than I did for my original novel.

Before November I discovered an interesting way to outline to get started. I was anxious about attempting something as big as a novel, never having done it before. Generally, I write flash fiction and there is little need to plan out a story like that so this was big for me and I kept looking for all of those “secrets” to writing a novel. I wanted to be prepared. Somehow I stumbled onto Dan Wells through his youtube video’s. You can find them here: Dan Wells on Story Structure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmiqQ9NpPE

Through watching these (more than once) I was able to give myself a general outline or at least a direction to go in. It wasn’t hindering in the least, though my story has busted out of my original plan for it.

His basic premise is that you should have at least an idea for your story and always begin at the end. He states that you need to know where you are going in order to write how you get there. There is also a midpoint, a couple of plot turns and a couple of pinches on your MC that turn up the heat. I would recommend that you watch the entire series of five videos. I plan on watching them again before April gets here just to help get things moving again.

Whether you are a planner or a pantser (writing by the seat of your pants), having a good idea to begin with is probably a good place to start. If you are wondering where to go from there, check out Dan’s talks on Story Structure. It may help bring some of those thoughts that have been floating through your mind to order and the writing will flow from it.

Avoiding

writer-605764_1280I love writing. I think about it, I dream about it and I do it.

Except when I don’t. Except when it becomes another chore to be completed. Except when I will do anything to avoid writing at my desk. I mean Facebook has never looked so good.

Creating a blog has been on my radar almost since I began writing seriously. By writing seriously I mean: writing every day at a scheduled or mostly scheduled time, setting goals and actually submitting work.

Building a blog was something I knew nothing about. I’d seen blogs I liked and ones I didn’t but had no idea what I was in for.  So I did what I normally do, research. I began looking into the how to’s and the why’s of building a blog. I signed up for a class which has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I’ve learned a lot and a curse in that I have so much more to learn and to understand about this side of the writing life.

The good news is I have a blog I like. I like the layout and so much of what is there. Yet I am still struggling. Struggling to find my words and to convey them clearly. Struggling to know the right path to take to be a successful blogger. There are so many different way a person can build their business. I have discovered it truly is a business and quite serious at that. For me it has become about pressure. And when pressure builds in my life I tend to avoid. Everything.

Today is a day of honest avoidance. Sometimes just naming it helps. I’ve been avoiding so many things about my writing, not just about my blog and I’ve finally owned that today. I have been making excuses for myself about my inadequacies as a writer. That inner critic has been hard at work and I’ve bought it. It happens to everyone.

In my under pressure avoidance, I’ve also let some normal things slide. Well, not today. While I was avoiding my desk and the butt in chair technique I normally apply, I did manage to get a few things done:

Laundry

Dishes

Changed sheets on my bed

Cleaned my room

Knit a few rows of a blanket for a friend

Online shopping for more books – as if I need any more see this post

Its been a productive day.

The good thing is that while I was avoiding the writing, I was still writing. This also happens to a lot of people. In the middle of the pile of dishes I was working through, I found the words for this post. I finished that work before sitting down to write and magic happened.

I don’t think I am alone in this phenomenon. I’ve heard other writers talk about doing other things when the muse just won’t show up and the words won’t come. I believe we all need this down time because if anyone is like me, the everyday activities never get done if all I do is focus on my writing. Then, I’ve discovered I don’t work as well in the midst of clutter. Its a double edged sword.

So it has been a productive day. My house no longer looks like a tornado ripped through it and I’ve gotten my writing done for the day. I’d say a job well done.

Challenge: What do you do when the words just won’t come and nothing else is working?

Organized Chaos?

“We stayed at home to write, to consolidate out outstretched selves.” Sylvia Plath

This quote which I read in this book, Dancing on the head of a Pen by Robert Benson,[amazon text=Amazon&asin=1400074355] spread through me like wildfire. I work full-time so I don’t have a lot of time during the week. I do write but I save a lot of my planning and heavy stuff for the weekend. Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve had a Saturday to myself.

My plan was to stay at home for the weekend and work on my blog and other writings. I am reading this week at writers group and need to edit. However, this is my office space currently:

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And this:

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Here is another angle:

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I find this an unacceptable place to write. There is no flow, no creativity. I’m not sure how many people need space, not just in time but square footage. I have a decent sized office with lots of shelving but no real horizontal space.

This has become my new goal for this weekend. To create more desk area though I love my antique secretary, I just need more. And less clutter. No one can write with this much clutter.

I’ve done a bit of searching and have found that for the most part, a writer’s desk is sacred space and therefore useless clutter isn’t allowed. Books, works in progress, pens and other paraphernalia but relatively clean spaces. Which means the clutter I am working in currently must go.

I am finding that this process of reducing clutter and planning for better workspace is sparking my creativity. As a matter of fact, this blog post is being written as I sit with my space in process.

My plan for the weekend is to continue on the office and work on edits along with some serious blog planning. If some creative words appear, I will still be here, amid the clutter and mess.