A Little Love

So I’d meant to post this on Valentine’s Day, and then things got hectic. But it’s still February – we may as well call it the month of love – and it’s never too late for a little love, right?

A Little Book of Kisses

In the celebration of love of this month, I am reminded that I love my job(s) and I am incredibly lucky to lead the life I love. Love for my family and friends and fellow writers! Love for the wonderful people who encourage, support, and make my writing possible.

Happy Valentine's Day

A Valentine’s Day present I made for my amazing boyfriend. I’m all about embossing these days!

Valentine’s Day was a great reminder to celebrate all of the things and people that I love, not just one day a year, but every day.

Open Book of KissesI am chugging along reading the YA/NA books I picked up at the library. Three and a half down, six and a half to go… I am trying desperately to finish them before March begins, as that is the official NaNoEdMo and several members of my writers group and I are having a little competition to support each other in getting in as many hours of editing as we can, perhaps well beyond the 50-hour mark.

So far, I have had no brilliant ideas for my ending. The books I’ve read do have the common triumphant end, though I have seen lovers dying and series where the drama just drags out. For some reason I feel like if I manage to read all ten books (and maybe the two others I’ve got a library hold out for) then I’ll have what I need to make a miraculous revision when I finally get down to it.

I’ll admit, I’m frustrated by the time it seems to take in between each draft to get myself geared up and ready to revise. So far it’s worked well – each revision has been drastic and something I’m proud of – but I do wish I could shrink the process, the same way I’ve been shortening the time it takes to finish a draft. But since the subconscious doesn’t work that way, I’m working on relaxing and allowing it to do its thing, and in the meantime, devouring these books.

To finish my 12-book goal by March 1, that’d be approximately two books per day, and I’d have to do nothing but read, which isn’t going to happen. I’m sad about this. But I’m going to just read as much as I can before I jump into the revision and then see if I can’t read and write at the same time… Here’s hoping 50 hours in a month will be easier the second time around!

D4 Done – Happy Holidays!

Holiday Snowmen

Did I mention I finished the 4th draft of my novel? Yes, I did, earlier this month. It took 5.5 weeks. This is amazing, especially since the previous drafts each took 6-7 months. NaNoEdMo is to account for this, of course, and also I think the book is actually, finally, coming together.

xmas tree!

After profuse congratulations, my mentor talks to me about “the next draft.” This is the cycle, again, and my reactions are the same. I don’t want to hear it. This draft is it, I think, it’s as good as I can make it. A friend of mine worked diligently with her writing partner on a television pilot for months – years? – and they would send out drafts and get comments over and over again. Eventually, she told me, their readers said, It’s good. It’s done. Send it out. I hope one day my mentor will say this to me. (The little voice in my head goes, but when? When? When?!) Of course, he may never say this. I’ll have to make that decision myself. How will I know it is done? That is a whole other conversation.

Yosemite snow

My mentor also suggested I watch “Gossip Girl” – this is homework I don’t mind. The main piece of advice he has given for this moment is to relax, recharge, and refill my creative cup. I am in Yosemite with my family on Christmas Eve, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

yosemite

A Halloween Story

Happy Halloween! This year I went to San Diego with a bunch of friends to celebrate and the costume theme was “Disneyland Rides.” Four of us dressed up as characters from “Toy Story” – Emperor Zurg, Buzz Lightyear, a green alien, and Rex (if you haven’t seen the Partysaurus Rex short yet, check it out!).

Disney knows how to tell a good story. “Toy Story” – original! They say that every story has already been told… and yes, I guess you could say that we already have stories told from the point of view of toys (The Nutcracker, for example; “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”). I remember reading a scary story when I was a kid about a killer teddy bear. But no one has ever done a toy story in quite this way – and Disney has made three movies, not to mention numerous shorts, each arguably better than the last.

Creating original, brilliant stories is no easy feat. Forget about original, creating a brilliant story isn’t easy. All right, forget about brilliant – even creating a story that’s good isn’t easy.

My self-imposed NaNoEdMo begins tomorrow and my reigning thought is, What the hell was I thinking?! I’m not ready for this! What if I can’t do 50 hours in a month? What if I can’t do 20? This is stupid and it was my idea anyway so I can just say I’m not doing it. Okay, done. Not doing it. Phew.

No, I’m not really backing out. I’m doing it. At least I’m going to give it my all and try.

Today I decided to “practice” and I spent 3 hours revising short stories. It was a positive experience because I had fun and it helped me think, Yes, I can do this. I don’t know if I can keep it up for a whole month… but it’s really only 1.67 hours per day, right?

The key to this, I think, is not getting caught up in the deadline. Practice some forgiveness – if I miss a day, don’t hound myself, just move on and see where I can put more hours the next day.

Basically, if you don’t see any posts from me through November, you’ll know why.

Holidays 2011

For Christmas and Chanukah, I received several books, which I am very excited to read! The holidays have been crazy. I spent three days cleaning, preparing the house for guests, and then the family arrived – grandmother, aunts, uncle, four boy cousins ages 8, 5, and twin almost-2’s.

            In the madness, I still made time to write.
            One evening during dinner, I had a brief conversation that went like this:
Aunt: When are you getting up? Are you writing every day?
Me: I could skip for Christmas. It’s one day.
Uncle: But if you skip one day…
A writer himself, among other things, my uncle knows how easily one day can become two, or three, and so on. And how hard it can be to start back up again, once you break your rhythm.
My family worked around me, allowing me to keep my vacation schedule: sleep late, write. They got the kids out of the house in the morning, and we all met up around lunchtime.
A friend of mine, home for the holidays, has a family full of doctors. He got lecture after lecture about the things he should be doing right now. How he should be spending his time, the way he should be focusing, the classes he should take. He wants to be an artist.
Families – so full of love and joy and togetherness around the holidays, also come with pressure and stress. I am so lucky to have the love and support of mine. I’m grateful for this gift.