Sometimes I find myself putting a whole lot more time and energy into a project than is warranted. Something about this image caught my attention and I kept experimenting with the editing tools, wondering if there was greatness hidden within. I eventually stopped when I reached this point:
January 12, 2021
Not because I believed I’d finally unearthed any inherent greatness, but because this version pleases me. But to be honest, so do these:
I seem to be walking a very thin line between creativity and procrastination today which is not necessarily great. Or productive.
Root hairs of leek. November 20, 2020.
Plucked from compost pail
composed an artsy still life
next stop the worm bin
Black-billed Magpie in open space. March 31, 2020.
This morning, for the second day in a row, I got up and ran on the trails.
Black-billed Magpies perched on yucca alongside the trail and flew ahead of me as I chugged along, bringing smiles and lifting my spirits.
I’m excited to regain the strength and endurance I’ll need for the many fights ahead on behalf of the people and planet.
Day by day, I’m inching closer to FINALLY understanding my protagonist in my new novel project. That’s the good news. The bad is there’s a very good chance the 4k words I’ve written thus far will end up in the trash and I’ll be back to 0 words. However, I’m feeling more solid and at peace with this newer understanding.
While knotty writing problems sometimes amp up my frustration, they also take my focus and provide a refuge from our current (and future) reality. Hooray for an inner creative life!
House Finch. November 27, 2019
Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art. ~ Frederic Chopin
I just finished reading a young adult (YA) novel that was recommended as a good example of multiple point-of-view (POV) characters. The book recommendation came weeks ago as I debated whether I wanted to write my new project in multiple POVs rather than my usual first-person, but I just got around to reading it. It’s a very good book and I’m glad I read.
Except. One of the POV characters in the book has a home situation and coping strategy that very closely mirrors how I’m writing one of my characters. AND, there are some general similarities to the plots.
Photo by Lucas Pezeta from Pexels
Panic! Doubt! OMG, should I stop reading this? Do I need to rework my character? Rethink my plot? Drop the project altogether and buy a sailboat or take up harmonica lessons?
Well. As mentioned, I did finish the book. And the panic has (mostly) subsided because the draft I’m working on isn’t a YA but a middle-grade (MG) which means it’s for different readers. Plus, the book I read was published in 2012. So, I’m putting on my big girl pants and resuming my project.
I will admit, however, it was very unsettling to come across a reflection of something I thought existed only in my mind.
I’m brainstorming and jotting notes for a new middle-grade novel, and sometimes feel slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities for this story. Is it this? Or that? Here or there? There’s so much to consider.
This photo of me feels like the perfect image for this stage in the process and I’m posting it here as a reminder to myself: infinite possibilities are a gift.
Rustler Gulch Trail, July 26, 2018.
May I continue enjoying the creative journey as much as I did that wonderful hike. May I continue embracing the infinite landscape of my creative mind.
The biggest emotion in creation is the bridge to optimism. ~ Brian May
You’ve spent the entire day in revision mode, staring at a computer screen.
Time for a cool cloth and some yoga.
Revision is all about keeping in mind the big picture and the many, many details that go into creating that big picture. Because a novel is kinda like a forest, which is nothing without its trees.
Hike in Staunton State Park, Oct 13, 2017
For me, when I ‘discover’ a story,
there is a feeling of buoyancy and clarity,
perhaps similar to early morning out on a prairie highway,
when darkness lifts and reveals
the outline of farmhouses and copses of trees in the distance.
~ David Bergen
Image from Pexels.com
I’ve started working again on a project that I put on hold in 2012 because I didn’t feel equipped to do it justice. I’m still not insanely confident about my abilities (after all, I am a writer), but I’m pushing ahead.
Last night my Writing Roosters critique group got together, and one of the members spoke of her current process as she drafts another book in a series. She said that for her, outlining and research could turn into a form of procrastination, and that it was important to just get writing and trust that that other stuff will sort itself out along the way. I realize that isn’t a new concept, but it was one of those right-comments-at-the-right time things, and it went ping in my brain.
That’s exactly where I’ve been with this project; reacquainting myself with the characters and plot, doing more and more research. Thinking I had to get most every detail nailed down. Obviously, that’s false. Because as it says in STOP THAT BALL! : Could this go on all day and night? It could, you know, and it just might.
One of the best read-alouds EVER!
So today I stepped away from the outlining and research rabbit holes, and started writing. I didn’t get a whole lot of words down, but I accomplished more than page numbers.
Take that, Steven Wright!
To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.
~ Akira Kurosawa
Yes, I absolutely agree with Mr. Kurosawa. Art calls for the unflinching truth. However, sometime’s I’m with Zoey and just want to avert my gaze. Sometimes it’s just too damned much to process.
I don’t think the goal is, ‘How big a star did you ever become?’
I think the goal is, ‘Were you able to express yourself?’
And if you’re able to say yes, in any field, you’ve won.
If you paint, write, do mosaics, knit –
if it’s solving that part of your brain saying,
‘I need to do this,’ you’ve won.
~ Albert Brooks
Guess what? Today was a win!
To be clear: I didn’t get an Emmy. I just like the look.
Last night’s concert with Shovels & Rope and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats filled me with joy and admiration. I’m not a musician nor have I ever played one on TV, but I felt a kinship with the people on the Red Rocks Amphitheatre stage.
Why? Because as I watched and listened to all those talented musicians, I understood on a gut level the work they’ve done. They’re creative people who have put in years and years to get where they’re at, and they’ve enjoyed glimpses of triumph and then been dragged down low. They’ve been discouraged yet kept going and when something wasn’t working, they tried something else. Every one of them took chances and eventually triumphed.
I want to be like those musicians when I grow up.
For a long time I mostly resisted watching those “Inside the Episode” segments that seem to be all the rage in cable shows. They come on after the episode to supposedly give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into that creative world. But one “insider” bit I’d watched had the show’s creator saying stuff about the characters that was so obvious, it felt like talking for the sake of talking. (I’m looking at you, Lena Dunham.)
Zippy and I have recently started watching a show we really like, and thought we’d give the “insider” thing another try. We watched a few of those segments and enjoyed getting the creators’ take on what they were trying to accomplish. However, the last one I watched was especially valuable for me as a writer.
The creators/writers talked about an interaction between two of the characters and said the one character acted selfishly and purposely put down the other character. That wasn’t my take. I’d interpreted the first character as being a bit clueless, but also truly coming from a good place. I’d still liked and rooted for her until I got the insider treatment which has now warped my sense of that character.
My two takeaways:
1) Stop watching “Inside the Episode” segments
2) I can’t control how readers will react to what I’ve written.
There’s intent and then there’s interpretation.