Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keeping Perspective

I took a little trip this weekend with my husband and five-year-old daughter. We stayed in a hotel on the 9th floor, and we got to take the elevator up. The kind with a glass back, so you can see out into the open central area of the hotel. Wasted space, for sure, but pretty awesome view.

Having 5-year-old with us changed everything. She was jumping-out-of-her-skin excited to be staying in a hotel. And Oh! The elevator! And it was so high! And then to glass wall in our room looking out over the city, and we could practically see everything from up there! We pulled out the couch bed and squee!! It's a couch! And it turns into a bed, and she got to sleep in it all on her own!! Plus she had her own tv! Then we ate breakfast there, and SO EXCITING! And look at all the blueberry muffins, and Wow! A waffle maker that turns over???

Everything was new and an adventure.

And her excitement was catching.

But let's imagine we stayed in this SUPER EXCITING hotel for a year. . . Yeah. Even for Girlie, the place would lose it's charm, its newness. It would not be the same.

Now imagine that we stayed the one night then when back home. And in a year, we spent the night at that hotel again. . . . WE'RE BACK! And remember the glass wall? The view from our room? And ohhh, the waffle maker!

This is the same with writing. First drafts are so cool. Everything is so exciting! And getting to the end of the story is an adventure. It's new, and fresh, and I just want to spend all my time with it.

But when it comes time to revise, I will lose the fresh perspective if I don't take some time away from it. It will become mundane. Same old. Hard to tell one chapter from the next. And didn't I like this once upon a time?

It's hard to put something aside. Especially something you love. But a little distance can go a long way in giving perspective. In remembering and rekindling the love we had for something.
Do you take time between drafts?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wise Words

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope you all have a great day, as we remember the wisdom of a man who understood the power of love.

Monday, January 12, 2015

When We Know Too Much

Some of you may know that for my day job, I do translation. French to English. An interesting phenomenon I've noticed is that sometimes my brain doesn't register when there is both French and English on a page I'm supposed to translate. I'll keep typing away, and a couple paragraphs later realize what I've done.

In fact, several year ago I was doing some interpretation for a small group. It's a pretty tricky fete learning to talk and listen at the same time. Anyway, there I was spouting off the English as the speaker continued in French when suddenly they stopped and looked at me. The people I was interpreting for stopped and looked at me.

"You don't have to translate the English for me. I already understand."

My brain hadn't registered when the speaker switched from French to English! Presumably because I understand both languages, and to my brain it's all the same. I understand it.

Writing can be like this too. When we write a story, we know everything there is to know. We know who the secret bad guy is. We know what terrible things are going to happen. We know how it will all resolve itself. We know.

Which is why it's sometimes hard to know what is coming across to our reader. The experience is completely different for someone who doesn't know. Things that may seem obvious to you, aren't necessarily obvious to your reader. Or perhaps something you wanted to be sure your reader understood is coming across all too loudly for them.

This is why we need beta readers and critique partners. This is why we can't do this writing thing alone. Sometimes we just need someone to stop us and tell us, "I already understand."

Do you use beta readers and critique partners?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

So I popped off for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and then the boat left the dock without me, and I missed all of December. Family and Writing (Well, revising, but same whatever).

My writing space
Anyway, it's the new year, and we've had the discussion of Resolutions vs. Goals, so today I'm listing a few GOALS (nothing so wishy-washy as a resolution for me, thank you very much!).

1.      Write 5 days a week. I don't write on Sundays, and I need some leeway for the other 6 (I'm all about not feeling cramped). However, to keep myself from the path of insanity, I'm adding this: I get a smiley face for as little as ONE page (written or revised). For the record, I usually do more, but this keeps my mind free from feeling weighed down by the burden of it. It lets me enjoy. Oh yeah! And I'm giving myself 1 month of vacation, too. It's only fair. Yeah I'm weird. But I'm totally owning this.

2.      Finish revising my 2 WIPS (Works in Progress). After spending all of November and December revising, I am confident this is doable. (Assuming I really stick to goal #1). ;)

3.      Finish a first draft of a new book. I have the book in mind, and it's actually started. I can do this. I can!

4.      Write at least two picture books. I wanted to just say one. But I want to push myself a bit. Plus, after my September class, I'm really excited to do this. It might be a summer thing, but I have at least one idea ready to be developed. And just maybe I'll take that class again to help me along. J

5.      Attend at least one writing conference. Okay, I'm taking the easy way out here, because I'm all signed up for LDStorymakers in May. But we all need at least one gimmee, right?

And I think I'll stop there because all of that will keep me plenty busy. So how about you? What are your goals (writing or not)?