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Where Do I Write?

I’ve seen several posts on WP and Blogger, and Twitter #writingspace about the writing process, where writer’s write, and what their favorite things are or what inspires them. When I was in college I wrote in between classes, at the coffee shop, at the cafe, outside at a picnic table on campus, in my bedroom on my bed, at my desk…You name it. But that was homework, research papers, etc. Things have changed over the past 15 years.

Once I started taking my writing seriously instead of just thinking of it as a dream deferred, a hobby, or a creative past-time I began dreaming about having a writing shed, or at least a room of my own. And for a short while that happened, but alas I am now back in a main part of the house, which is fine when I’m home alone, but not so great when it’s not just me at home.

My red and wood desk, and my husband's desk. with bookcases...

My red and wood desk, and my husband’s desk. with bookcases…

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to "our song" on for my husband.

My red bookcase, and the curtain I wrote the lyrics to “our song” on for my husband.

Above you’ll see a few pictures of the writing room I had for a brief period of time. Once my son finishes college (since the military thing didn’t work out for health reasons) and gets a full-time job I’ll get my writing room back, or by then we’ll be able to afford a wooden shed so I can convert into a writing cottage.  But for now, where I write is in the living room.

The pillows on our couch match my writing space...

The pillows on our couch match my writing space…

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

This is actually clean considering it's Camp NaNo

This is actually clean considering it’s Camp NaNo

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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in Home, Life, Writing, Writing Room, Writing Space

 

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Writing, Procrastinating, and Life, Oh My

I’ve been busy,..busy writing, busy procrastinating, busy living life, busy with roller coaster ride that life just sometimes is…Truth is, I think I got burned out on all of the technology and social media stuff, and decided that if I was really going to take my writing seriously maybe I needed to concentrate on the actual writing part.

I participated in July’s Camp NaNo again, won, but had to drop my word count goal because not only was my grandson’s 2nd birthday in July, but my 47th birthday was in July…My husband took me to the beach for the weekend and we went to Medieval Times and had a blast, even took our picture with the princess. I was enthralled with the whole experience. Neither of us had ever been, and we really did enjoy it. I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone, and have been.

But that’s not what this post is about. Being a writer is often a lonely, surreal, and somewhat draining way to spend your time. At least for me it is. I cannot write when my family members are hovering around, or when even just my husband is hovering. I cannot write when there is loud music or the television is on and it’s something I’m remotely interested in. I need quiet, or at least light background noise. If I listen to music it is usually instrumental, or extremely mellow music, unless I’m trying to conjure a certain mood, memory, or sensation then I usually listen to classic rock or movie soundtracks. To avoid distractions when I’m writing, I often listen to Rainy Moods

And if the noise, chaos, and distractions from being part of a family aren’t enough there’s also social media. FB, Twitter, etc…I found myself becoming more and more distracted by all of that… I needed to take a break. I found myself wanting to write posts on WP and on FB, wanting to Tweet, but refrained. I did post a few pics every now and again to FB, wished a few people Happy Birthday, but to tell you the truth, I got a lot out of the brief time I spent away from so much social media. I’d begun to procrastinate when it came to writing… Perhaps it was writer’s block that started my path of distraction, I’d go to the Reader in WP and see what other’s were posting, I’d go to FB, I’d go to Twitter… The more I procrastinated, the harder it was to get back into my own writing.

I went out on the road with my husband several times, and during those trips I didn’t have access to internet, my laptop didn’t want to work right (I desperately need a new one), and while I was out on the road I wrote with pen and paper. Jotting ideas down, bits of dialogue…edited what I’d already written and that time with pen and paper helped me creatively.

Life’s ups and downs, and turns sometimes take us on exactly the ride we need to be on in order to get to where we need to go. I am a better writer now. I’ve learned that I don’t do well unless I have some balance. Social media, branding oneself, and getting yourself out there is great, but it won’t work if you never get your novel finished. And finished my novel comes first… It has to, or it will never happen and all the social media, branding, and getting myself out there will be for naught because I might write but I’ll never become an author.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Family, Home, Life, Writing

 

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Finally something I can feel really good about

I finished April’s Camp with my required word count, but didn’t feel good about the novel at all. It was forced. Headed in a completely different direction, the characters were trite, the words weren’t meshing with the concept I had. I wasn’t happy with it, not at all. But I learned a great deal from the process. I learned that I’m truly a plotster. I need to plot the main ideas, and let the rest flow, otherwise I’m trying too hard and the words don’t flow. No matter which way I’ve tried, I’m mostly a panster who needs the basics to stay on track but plotting makes my skin crawl and my brain freeze.

pantser quote

Cut twenty-five. Take one hundred and seven. Just Kidding. I have no idea of how many starts and stops, beginnings I’ve trashed, or WIP’s I’ve put in the back of the computer closet in order to get to a place where I feel really good about what I’m working on. What feels like the ONE, Just call me NEO. Seriously though, I’ve got at least thirty folders pushed to the side on my computer that were the beginning of a novel, only to find it just didn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because I was trying to be the kind of writer I thought I should be instead of the kind of writer I am.

Current Work in Progress

Current Work in Progress

Now I am finally at a place where I feel really good about what I’m working on. The first idea that came to me over two years ago, when my then fiance was telling me I could do it, that he believe in me, and there was no reason why I couldn’t write a novel (he’s read my poetry, I’d told him about my short stories and how I used to write but put writing on the back burner because of …well various reasons, but mostly because I allowed what others said to influence me, to negate my own feelings of self-worth and my dreams). That idea stayed in the back of my mind, with each and every WIP I started and tossed it was right there poking and prodding its way to the surface of my conscience saying, “Excuse me! You’re on to something here…Go with it! Find your way!… Excuse me! It doesn’t matter what others think or do, it only matters what you can do and are willing to do…”

Writing on a bad day

I stopped second guessing myself halfway through April’s Camp and started writing so I could figure out what worked best for me. I’d found myself reading books like “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing,” or “Save the Cat,” along with various other writing books, and I realized that I’d backed myself into a corner of starting but not finishing because I didn’t have the right kind of plan, because I was so focused on the outline or the plan or the process or the genre or the rules or the structure…that I’d lost my great idea. I lost my way because I was constantly second guessing myself as a writer.

Happiness

I’ve written about this before. I’ve written about the differences between plotting, pantsing, and somewhere in between. I’ve written about my ideas, my inspiration…I took a break from blogging, writing, etc after Camp. I needed a break. I needed to figure out where I was as a writer, what I really wanted to do, what kind of writer I wanted to be, and whether or not it was something that was a pipe dream, a hobby, or something I truly felt called to do.

untold story

I am a writer. Whether I ever publish a novel or not, I’m a writer. I’m not a plotter/planner/outliner, though I wish like hell I was. I’m not a full blown pantser either. I need some organization, some planning, or I’ll go off on tangents, which is par for the course with ADHD, and I’ll never finish or if I do it will need more than a shovel for editing, but a bulldozer.

After much thought, inspiration, and soul searching I’ve finally found that sweet spot in my writing. My happy place as a writer. At least, I’ve found what works for me. Maybe this time it will work, and I’ll manage to write my way through to the end with a novel that I don’t feel is forced, drivel, or not worth the ink and paper to print to edit.

 
 

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Writing and ADHD

I have ADHD. As a writer, a person, a mother, a wife… (the list continued)…ADHD is both a hindrance and a blessing. Why? How? WAIT A MINUTE… I thought only children had ADHD. You’re an adult.

adhd comic

Yes, I’m an adult and I have ADHD. I’ve had ADHD since I was a child. I’ve had it for over forty years. My brother has it. He was diagnosed when we were children. I wasn’t. Why? Because I could sit still. He couldn’t. If I were doing something that interested me I could sit still. Therefore, I couldn’t have it. WRONG, but we’ll get to that later.

In grade school my report cards were awesome, all except the conduct portion, which always read: Does not pay attention in class. Talking in class. Paying attention to the reading group while in the math group, vice versa…Looking back on it, all the signs were there. But back then, in the early 70s the H in ADHD meant you had to be Hyper to have it, and since I wasn’t Hyper, like my brother who couldn’t have sat still if his very life depended on it, I just needed to “do better,” try harder, PAY ATTENTION and FOCUS. I found ways around things. Coping skills that worked, for the most part, for me. I love to read. I can sit and read for hours, but I also read multiple books at a time. I am a multi-tasker. Books are one of the few things I could finish.

Unfortunately, the moment I get bored, lose my focus, find a better idea/project/etc I drop whatever I’m doing and go on to the next thing, the next idea… And they’re always such great ideas. Sometimes I get involved in multiple projects at one time. Reading isn’t enough, I also take pictures, draw, write, decorate, scrapbook, etc… I don’t always have follow-thru. Finishitis. I can’t seem to finish all the things I start. There’s just not enough of me, of my focus, my attention, my creativity or my memory for me to finish everything. So if it is really important to me I don’t stop until I am finish.

For example, a few months ago I got it into my mind to paint my step-daughter’s room. Spoke to Mr. Rockstar/Truck Driver about it. He liked the idea. He’d seen what my daughter and I had done with what was my son’s room turned into my writing room now turned back into my son’s room looked like after it was finished and he liked it. So we went to Wally World and bought the paint, an extra roller and a trim brush and headed back home. We moved furniture around, covered furniture, put paint tape on the trim, etc, and started painting. After the walls were finished, the ugly brown paint on the antique dresser looked even worse. I had an IDEA!

Why not use the left over paint from the wall in the writing room/son’s room, that beautiful turquoise color, and paint the ugly brown dresser and the worn, scratched nightstand. After all, her new comforter set had that exact shade of turquoise in it, plus the sheets and pillow cases that came with the comforter and shams were turquoise and white. Perfect! So then we painted the dresser and nightstand. WAALA!!! We went back over the missed spots on the wall and called it a day. Eight hours later. My poor husband. I was ecstatic and exhausted at the same time.

Before

Before

After

After

Writing is hard work, at least for me. It’s fun. It’s my passion and an outlet. But my writing process is probably a lot different than the average bear’s, I mean writer’s. For example, it has taken me over  seven hours just to get to this part of the post. Why? First I got distracted by my husband, and laundry and the dishes. Then we had to go pick up dinner… Wings and fried rice from the local Chinese Food restaurant Than I ate dinner. Then I watched a movie. At the end of the movie Mr. Rockstar was asleep and I remembered I had to finish this post, but what I really wanted to do was watch another movie. While writing the post I had to find the right picture, then I had to find the information I wanted, then I had to check my email, then I had to check on something else, and get something else to drink. I got distracted by, oh look, it’s a squirrel.

I’ve tried outlining, using post-it notes, making lists, using Evernote and OneNote. I’ve tried using a Filofax to stay organized, I’ve tried inspiration boards and corkboards, I’ve tried all kind of things to try to help me focus, stay focused. To help the writing process. To tell you the truth, as I write this I have five tabs open–this is one of them. One of the others is an article “15 Signs You May Have Adult ADHD.”  One of the other tabs is Larry Brooks’ StoryFix, Another is Camp NaNoWriMo to remind me that I need to post my word count, which reminds me that I should actually be writing my novel not taking over seven hours to write one blog post. WTH am I thinking? Oh, wait a minute… I’m thinking about writing, bicycles, getting another glass of soda, how I need to go pee, I need to get back to my novel, I need to finish this damn post, I need to see how much a new Wii Remote is, and Squirrel!

And that’s just a small portion of what I go through everyday when I sit down to write. Caffeine helps. I don’t do medication. I’ve been there, done that. And yes it would (most likely) help, but I can’t deal with the side effects, Neither can the people around me because the side affects cause other problems like depression, anxiety, diminished creativity, etc… Instead I have found that sometimes the best thing I can do is roll with it–when I get an idea I write it down. Hopefully I have my little “idea” notebook with me or nearby. If not, then I try to find a piece of paper. My desk is covered with post-it notes and index cards with ideas written on them. If I get distracted by a post-it note I’ve already written on, or if I can’t find a piece of paper, then chances are I’m going to forget my brilliant idea, and later on when I’m trying to remember it I won’t be able to, but I could tell you about how I felt in the fifth grade when my teacher Miss Bush (Mrs. Whittet after she got married) began reading Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot,”  (And yes, I remember her name, but no I can’t tell you the big idea I had five minutes ago because I didn’t write it down.)

I forget things.I have one of those three picture frame holders with four hooks for you to hang your keys on. It’s hung on the wall right beside the front door. I hang my keys there 99% of the time. The other 1% I put them on the kitchen counter or in my purse. If I do not put them in the same place all the time then I’ll spend a bunch of energy and time looking for them. My desk looks similar to the picture above, only I’ve got a ton of colored post-it notes scattered across mine. I call it creative clutter. I know where everything is, but I’m not sure anyone else would. My ex husband has OCD and I drove him crazy with my creative clutter. Mr. Rockstar, however, gets me. He’s laid back enough that it’s not a big deal to him. He finds it adorable that I go off on tangents, and most of the time he gets my logic. Most people don’t.

The whole tangent thing is something that is a constant issue when writing though. It’s either a blessing because it leads me in a great direction, or it’s complete rubish and wasted time and effort and will have to be cut when I edit. Not such a bad thing when it comes to NaNo but a bad thing when it comes to my actual content. So now that I’ve told you a little bit about my writing process and my ADHD, if you have adult ADHD or think you might check out this link.

Have a good one!

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Home, Life, Mental Health, NaNoWriMo, Writing

 

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Writing, Day 5/30, and new keyboard

My new keyboard

My new keyboard

First let me start off by saying I just got the Adesso True Form Media Ergonomic Keyboard (delivered by FedEx). I love it. It’s taking a bit of getting used to. The reviews were right… It feels more plastic than rubbery, it’s loud when you type–click, click, click (which is fine with me because now I sound like I’m writing–I love that sound. The click of keys. It’s one of the things I miss about using a typewriter). And if you don’t know where your keys are without looking at them it wouldn’t be the keyboard for you, not really. I had been using my son’s keyboard because mine had keys that stuck, the labels were worn off of half the keys, and one of the keys was broken…Once my son came back I had to get another keyboard. I decided to go with one that would reduce the chance of carpal tunnel. Now that I’m writing full-time I’ve noticed that either my neck and shoulders hurt from hunching over the keyboard or my wrists hurt… Now that I’m typing the way you’re supposed to, with my hands in the correct position (which I should have been doing all along but with the flatter keyboards it wasn’t comfortable even with the little foamy thing I bought to help)…I find that I actually sit up straight while using the keyboard, I guess it’s because of the position my hands and wrists are in, the fact that I no longer have to lean over, but it’s much more comfortable. Happy writer over here!

My word count on the left; my cabin's word count on the right.

My word count on the left; my cabin’s word count on the right.

This is the next thing on my list of things that make me happy. Word Count… Wooo Hooo! I’d gotten a little behind schedule Thursday and Friday because I was finishing Save the Cat and filling up my corkboard with index cards, some of which I’ve now color coded. I’ve got the literal corkboard with index cards to use when I’m tired of being at the computer but I want to look over things for my novel, or I just need a different perspective. Sometimes the physical act of writing out things with a pen, color coding the index cards, or going through the index cards themselves helps me figure out something I’m missing or just not seeing when I’m at the computer. Don’t get me wrong, I use the hell out of Scrivener’s corkboard. It’s one of my favorite parts of the software, but I grew up writing with a typewriter, a pad and pen or pencil, and index cards. Sometimes when I get stuck I go back to “old school” stuff. But today I kicked ass, and I’m not done yet. Right now my total word count is 9,666 (don’t freak out because of the number, I’ll be adding words soon enough), and out of that total I wrote 2,208 words today. Kicking ass and taking names. I’m also working on a few of the minor character’s sketch sheets because those characters will be introduced soon. I’ve already introduced her mentor and her sidekick, though that’s just in passing reference because the sidekick is her mentor’s daughter. MC is just now finding out about her heritage, powers, and her destiny… One of the major themes of the novel is the whole Predestination versus Free Will thing. Since she’s a Nephilim she has the powers of an angel, and the soul/free will of man. She has to choose to fulfill the prophecy. She has to choose to be the Peace Bringer. (I love all these trope terms… They really help me flush out the beats I need to go through in order for her to fulfill her role as a hero, as well as the prophecy).  I’m not one to follow the rules though, so my MC, the (unwilling) hero of my story is a female. One of the Watchers is a female angel. The secondary antagonist is a red haired, green eyed male Nephilim who has chosen the side of the Fallen. The mentor is a Southern woman, a psychic, and is educated but has the Southern drawl/slang…She knows who she is, where she came from, and unlike the unwilling hero/MC she doesn’t feel stuck in a small town in the South or ashamed of being from the South. The MC has a long bumpy road ahead of her, but she’ll get over her fear of being stuck in a small town in the South, learn to appreciate the camaraderie that comes from being part of a small town along with the pitfalls–everybody knows everybody and their business (but the helps her because when someone new comes to town everyone knows it–grapevine of gossip).

small town quote

One of the things I really liked about the Beautiful Creatures was that the author’s nailed what it’s like living in a small town. Where I live is a rather small city/town and the natives often call it the pit because once it sucks you in you never get out. I grew up in Charleston though, which is large city compared to where I live now, but still growing up in the same place, with all the same people, means everybody knows you, who you’re related to, where you live or at least the neighborhood you live in… Sure there were people I didn’t know by name in the back of my neighborhood, or who had just moved in, or who didn’t have children…but for the most part I knew my neighbors and I felt like I was part of a community. The MC wants to be anonymous. She wants to get out of her small town, move to the city, experience life without being judged or labeled a black sheep or feeling ostracized because she’s different. What she doesn’t realize is that you can be alone in a room full of people, just as well as be alone in city full of people. She’s always known she was different, always felt like she didn’t fit in, she’s finding out why that is, and it’s not just an internal thing. She is different. (Hell, we’re all different, but that’s a topic for another day.)

So I’m off to finish the chapter I’m working on. which is my CATALYST chapter. Happy writing! And have a great weekend.

 

 

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Camp NaNo Day 1

So I’m coming right along with my novel for Camp…3226 words on Day 1. Not bad for the first day.

I spent part of today organizing my physical writer’s bible. I’ve printed out several things over the past few months–writing resources, outlining info, detailed character worksheets–and I needed a place to store them, in an organized manner, instead of stuck in various drawers of my desk. Now that I’ve moved my desk to the living room, there’s no way I can continue to have the creative clutter I had on the desk when I was in my own writing room. I dream of having a writing shed/barn/cottage/ in the backyard one day, but for now I’m in the living room….

Book cover, Save the Cat, notebook, etc

Book cover, Save the Cat, notebook, etc

This is actually clean considering it's Camp NaNo

This is actually clean considering it’s Camp NaNo

Thought I’d share what my desk looks like while I’m at Camp….IIt’s much cleaner since I’m in the living room now.

 

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Cover for Camp NaNo Book and other stuff

I am so excited….A fellow NaNoer made the cover for my book for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo which starts tonight at midnight (only 1 hour and 15 minutes away for me)… And I love it!!!!!

My cover… I saw this pic while looking through Deviant Art and she got permission from the artist to use it. Isn’t it amazing! How it turned out! The pic itself! I love all of it! It looks like a real book cover. I am just so excited!!!!!  (Makes me feel like a bonafide writer!!! Once again I’ve changed everything at the last minute! SIGH!!!

bonafide writer mug

I can’t seem to help myself. I’m using almost the same premise. I’ve changed the character’s names, and the title of the series but not the title of the book. I’m in the process of changing the whole outline to fit the revamped premise and characters… Double work, maybe, but I was reading Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat and realized what I had wasn’t going to work, not the way I wanted it to. Thus the changes. I’m okay with that. It means working on my outline at the last minute, but I’d have been doing that anyway, at least now it will be the right concept, theme, etc for what I want. I’m happier with it now, even though it means more work. But I found a great outlining video over a year ago from Katytastic that if you’re interested in learning more about outlining using the 3 act structure from Snyder’s Save the Cat, or outlining with Scrivener in general, it’s a great start.

Isn’t that the great thing about WriMo though?… You sort of need just a little pantsing to make it fun… At least for me I do. I’ve gone from a pantser to a plotster so I guess I have to throw some pantsing in there somewhere or it’s not fun for me.

I’m in a cabin now, with people near my age bracket (last time I ended up in a cabin with a group of NaNoer’s around my children’s age, which wasn’t really a good thing for me since they are between the ages of 25-14)…I’m happy about that. And our living room is finally finished… YAY! I no longer have my writing room… BOO!! But my son has his room back. He was injured while at bootcamp. He’ll be able to recycle in the next 6 mths, but he has to heal. While he’s healing he’ll be going back to college and is thinking about going in the reserves (Navy or Air Force) instead of going in the Army full time (Can’t say I’m unhappy about that–I’m all for serving our country, but I believe in working smarter not harder and the Army and Marines are definitely in the work harder category).

The pillows on our couch match my writing space...

The pillows on our couch match my writing space…

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

Red bookcases and desk go well with our updated look.

So here are the pics of my new writing space… Instead of being in the dining room we decided to completely rearrange our living room so that I could have my own little space. We painted the walls, moved everything around, and put our pictures in completely different places so that I could have this space. My husband ROCKS!!!! (Now I just need to paint the hallway and we’re done with the khaki/taupe color and it’s off to figure out what color to paint our dining room and kitchen. I love how our new living room looks.

Ok, I have less than 1 hour so let me get back to outlining. Happy NaNoing and have a great night.

 

 

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