In Medias Res

I’m feeling in the middle right now.  Of a lot of things. And why am I writing? Probably because people want connection and conversation and to feel like they have community and like minded people around them. And I’m a people.

Every time I think of restarting a blog, I freeze because I feel like I should explain where I’ve been or try to catch up on things. But I’ve decided I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to write. Like a good novelist, I will start with the current action and filter in the backstory as it’s needed and pertinent.

So right now, I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo. (That picture at the top of the page is my novel notebook.) Of course. It’s November. I’m doing things a little differently this year, though, mostly because I’m signed on to a Habitica challenge for NaNo. Writing and updating the NaNo site are on the Dailies list, and I can’t stand losing any digital points for not completing my dailies, so I am actually writing every day. I don’t usually write every day, even for NaNo. This is turning into an interesting experiment.

I don’t know if I could ever be an every day writer all year round. But this challenge has given me a better idea of how to structure the way I write. For the challenge, you can check that you’ve done “some words” although the goal is to get the full 1,667 each day. I added a “reward” where I pay 100 gold coins for days that I write but don’t meet that goal. And it’s working really well. I’m ahead on word count and getting some good writing sessions in. And this made me realize that the way to get writing to be a stronger habit is not to schedule it for certain days of the week or put it in the non-daily habits list so I get points for it whenever I happen to get around to it. The way to do it is to put it on my Dailies list but give myself the option of buying a day off from writing. I like my digital points, and I know I won’t pay coins too many days in a row to skip, so I think this will really prod me to sit down and write more regularly even when I don’t feel like it.  The only thing I need to decide now is what a writing session will entail. I think it’s going to be word count oriented–that’s working really well for me.

Another thing I’m doing, although I’m just starting it so not exactly in the middle of it, is reading Shawn Coyne’s The Story GridThis is going to be especially helpful for editing. So far, from a brief overview and watching the YouTube videos, this looks like an excellent system. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.

I’m also in the middle of a lot of life. Trying really hard to find a way to make my house organized and welcoming for myself and maybe even for visitors. Bringing a new kitty fully into the family (and there’s this third lovely boy in the backyard whom we feed and who is now letting me pet him, and I don’t know what to do about that sweetie). Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Figuring out health stuff. So much, but life is always like that I guess.

I’m also not in the middle of a book. I just started a new one today–The Tower by J.L. Bryan. It’s the ninth in the Ellie Jordan series, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. They had some fabulous settings and fun ghosts, and they’re fast and fun reads. This one is looking to be the same. It breezes along and pulls me right in.

This is the stuff I want to talk about here. There are so many books I’ve read and loved, but I can’t go back and try to catch up, so I’m going to go forward. And I’ll talk about writing. And probably exercise as I attempt to be a more healthy and mobile author. So much to talk about. Not all today, though.

Retreat!

McMenamins Edgefield

McMenamins Edgefield

Saturday, I got the opportunity to go to a day-long retreat with PDX Writers at this glorious place (McMenamins Edgefield).  It was such a welcome break from the ordinary–it was just the thing right now.

I got really lucky–I’m unemployed right now, so I wasn’t going to be able to go to this, but I got a scholarship.  It felt like such a wonderful luxury.  This is my second writing retreat–last year when I was employed I was able to go to the PDX Writers weekend-long retreat.  I’m thinking I need to schedule in more regular breaks from the everyday for myself–it doesn’t have to be a fancy retreat. I could do something like this for myself now and then. I think we should all do this–our writing will love it!  And doing something different is a great way to shake up the writing and get things moving.

During the prompted writings I got some character work done on someone who’s been living in my head for a while and has lots of stories to tell.  In the afternoon, we had free time for walking, thinking, writing on our own. I got some planning done for NaNoWriMo, so I think I’m ready to start tomorrow.

But that’s tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll be back writing about NaNo throughout November. For now, here are more pictures of the lovely writing escape. I’m off to get ready for the trick-or-treaters. Happy Halloween!

 

Glimpses of a day of writing

Glimpses of a day of writing

 

A Writer’s Day, October 22, 2016

words-volume-2-a

This is the first installment of a new thing I’m trying out–rambly, chatty reports on my writing life. I’m hoping sharing what I’m doing will get me doing writing things more regularly.

So this is a little bit of two pieces of my writing life. Notebooks and writing practice.

Last year I decorated the cover of the composition book I was doing hand written exercises in, and I liked it so much I decided I need to do that for all of them. I decided to call them “Words”  and number the volumes. It seems appropriate. I just started volume two a couple of weeks ago on my birthday.

I started Volume 2 at a writing group I participate in sporadically, PDX Writers (I started the last one at their Fall retreat last October–it’s becoming a tradition).   I really love PDX Writers. Even if I only get to a Saturday workshop once a month, it’s a real touchstone in my writing life.  It’s a place where I feel welcome, where people remember my name even when I’ve been away for a while. And most importantly it’s a place to share my words and hear everyone else’s words with no judgement, no pressure, nothing but words of encouragement.  It’s fantastic.

The Saturday workshops are drop-ins–relaxed and rich with prompts and great readings. Today’s was extra special, though.  PDX Writers bases their workshops and retreats on the Amherst Writers and Artists method, and today’s workshop was part of a fundraising event called Write Around the World.  Amherst writing groups all around the world used the same prompts to do their writing today so we got to be part of a worldwide event.

One of the best things about going to a Saturday drop-in is that I always come away feeling excited about my writing.  Tonight I’m writing about here to keep the enthusiasm going.  Tomorrow, I am going to work on some NaNoWriMo planning, and that needs plenty of enthusiasm.  And M&Ms. But mostly enthusiasm.