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Day One! Hope everyone is having fun so far. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo you are keenly aware of what today signifies. Of course, we are still coming down from a national sugar buzz (actually, I think today is National Eat Candy Day) but for many of us crazy folk, this past weekend/week/month has been all about preparing for “30 Days of Literary Abandon.” Last night, I was watching the time zones count down and I realized that I was somehow set to Pacific time. I wouldn’t have been able to update for 3 hours. Glad I caught it, though I still was on when the West Coast hit midnight. It was like NaNoNewYear’s! So we are all in now, and the fun is only beginning.

So, the good news is, I read over last night’s (this morn’s?) 2000 words and I still like them. I know that a lot of NaNoDieHards say I should not read back or proofread, but um, sorry. If I don’t feed the Inner Editor, she gets mean. I have set myself a daily 2000 word/day goal and I am determined to use NaNo to get into the very good habit of writing every day. I am still writing today, so I will already be ahead. We have to drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving and it would be very nice if I was past 50K by the 25th. Though I do love the rush of the final two day catch up. :)

I liked Nicole Humphrey’s idea to taper down the writing so you can end on Day 30 with only 1 Word. When we start NaNo we often have been holding back the writing flow, so it all comes out in a rush. Then we hit Week 2… Some folks write towards 100,000 words which is closer to an actual novel length. [BTW: 50K is pretty short for a novel unless it is middle-grade or some genre paperbacks.] I am not that ambitious this year. But I will win! :D

I am participating in the NaNoBlogger blog hop and will be visiting every single one of those blogs, at least once! My favorite part of NaNo is the connections we make. I can write alone anytime. So, I welcome visitors, writing buddies and cheerleaders! I am going to blog about NaNo, but not every day. I will be on Twitter for word sprints and pep chats.

I am also using the Beta version of Scrivener for Windows, so I need time to learn that program.  I studied their tutorial and demo last week, but did not write in it until last night. Before midnight, I made an outline, using their cool corkboard feature, and laid out the chapters as I envision them. Then I was ready for Chapter One. So far, I like the program. I have been hearing praises of Scrivener from writers who are Mac people for a while now. I was very excited when I heard they were going to have a Windows version available next year. If you want to test it out during NaNo they have a Beta download. All winners of NaNoWriMo will get 50% off the final version in January, which makes writing 50K worth it, imo. But using the Beta version is fun. I am fastidious about backing up, ever since a nasty incident with a college thesis paper. They want us to report bugs and I will be sending a note about the ‘spelling’ feature they have which is very quirky. I know, I know, I am not supposed to be editing…. It’s a sickness, really.

I leave you with a musical interlude. I love the many other creative projects WriMos produce and this was one of my favorite things last year. Write on, y’all!

[Before the climax? Is that a term? Will have to look that one up :) ]

I am about to write the climactic scene. This is the first scene I pictured in my mind way before I started writing this book. It actually feels a bit intimidating because I have thought about it so much. Maybe too much. As I’m sure many writers learn, it seems like nothing comes out in black and white quite the same way that it began as a thought in my mind. Sometimes it is better than expected, sometimes it is not quite what I wanted to write, so I have to work on that part more, and sometimes, many times, actually, the words just flow and what comes out is completely unexpected. So, as I prepare to write the Big Scene, I am almost anxious to see what will be the result.

I have discovered that sometimes the best way for me to skip over the anxiety of what to write and the “perfect” words to use, is to try timed writing. I was happy to see it suggested in this guest post on Writer Unboxed. I firmly agree with Rebecca Hargreaves’ comparison of writing to breathing. Sometimes we just have to take a breath and rush onto the writing process until we find our flow and the right words come to us. Timed writing lets me cram in a writing session when I know I have to do something else in an hour, and it has also helped me figure out my average output. I have no excuses if I know I can get over a thousand words out in an hour. Plus, I have serious issues with my nagging Inner Editor, who hates bad spelling, and my Terrible Typist who always types tehy and teh. (Seriously, what is up with taht?!) If I stop and go back to fix every mistake I see, I will never finish this thing.

I like Write or Die as an online tool (especially on Kamikaze mode!), or word sprints with a writing buddy. Most of the time I just use the clock, choose a set time or word-count goal and then start writing, without stopping to think too much about it. Of course, there is usually something I need to fix or take out later, but most of the time I have found that I end up with a pleasant surprise :) So here I go, off to Write or Die the scene that will change my MCs entire life. Yay!

Happy Summer! At least I hope it was. I  hardly can believe it is the middle of September. I am still catching up with Back to School.  Though I have been in absentia here, I am staying in my writing flow, and I am returning to the blog *soon* (Who knows? This could be the day!). I know this has been said before, but it’s true! I have been channeling my writing time and energy elsewhere this summer because my “spare” time was rare. Most of my summer was a blur of work, kids and heatwaves. I did do some good reading and, yes, tweeted away a few hours of my life. Well, more than a few. Some of those hours were my most productive though. I’ve found fabulous information and inspiration from people I have connected with on Twitter, including the community at YAlitchat. I even attended a virtual writing conference (which was “Fab-u-lous!”) which I learned about on writer chats. WriteOnCon was an amazing whirlwind of activity and information, mostly from pros in children’s publishing, but with plenty of publishing insight that most writers can use.  All for free! Next year’s conference is being planned already, and I highly recommend interested writers check out the archived information and forums.

I am almost done with this WIP and looking forward to going to a Real Live writing conference next month. I registered for the James River Writers Conference in Richmond, VA. I’m really excited and, of course, anxious at the same time. Fortunately, I feel well prepared from everything I’ve been learning online and in my own studying. The writing community here, there and everywhere is one of the most amazing facets of the entire vast Interwebs that I have discovered. I never cease to be amazed at the resources, outlets and support that I find.

This Fall, I plan to revive this blog and focus on sharing what I have found, and learned, as well as connect more with the networks I have online. This blog is going to go through more changes, just as I am. I remember when I started blogging, I thought of it as a learning process, starting in order to learn more about Blogging, in general. I liked reading other blogs, and as a writer, I wanted to understand more about the medium and try my hand at it. Like many writers, I turn to books and articles to learn about any topic at hand. I also like to practice new skills and improve my writing as much as I can. So, I jumped into blogging and learned even more about myself and my goals as a writer.

I have seen some chatter around town about what the term “writer” actually signifies. Apparently, the question is whether one must be published in order to actually call oneself a real writer. Personally, I don’t think so. And that’s not just the non-book-published writer in me speaking. I can’t really speak for non-writers, but I venture to guess that they truly feel a different way about writing than people who choose to write, no matter what the reward. I know that I will always be some form of writer, because I always have been. I have turned to writing as my most comfortable form of expression, since I learned how.There are people I know who scoff (or shudder) at the idea of writing for anything other than a grade or payment. Even if they were capable of stringing the standard 5 paragraph essay together in school, they feel they have done their time and they do not write much more than business proposals and emails. Or not. Isn’t there something to be said for those of us who want to write, not just for the results, but for the act itself? The closet poets, daily journal-keepers, aspiring novelists, and, yes, bloggers? We are definitely writers~aka, people who write.

Well, all that being said, there is still the fact that one cannot call oneself a blogger and not actually blog. I saw my “Last Post” listed under a comment on someone else’s blog and I was embarrassed. I also realized how much I miss it when I visit some of my favorite blogs and see what they are up to, and what I am missing. I considered throwing in the towel, but I hate throwing anything perfectly good away before I have done all I can with it.

I have found that I put my writing into different focus depending on what is happening in my life, which projects are most important, the changing seasons, etc. Hence, my struggle to finish a simple coherent post tonight, when I know I really should be writing the climactic scene of my YA. I admire writers who can write several different types of projects at a time. I’ve been able to juggle better before, but I do have extra baggage and duties these days that don’t involve books or words. And they keep getting bigger.

I do tend to work on several projects at a time, but they usually complement one another. I am currently in my KidLit phase. I cannot stop thinking of  ideas and writing opening pages or sketches for future projects. I am working on a Young Adult novel now and I have several more in various stages, as well as the picture books I have written and am  currently submitting. Sadly, other channels of my writing flow are stagnating these days, including this blog, other sites I supposedly write for and my poetry. I can comfort myself with the knowledge that those words will return to me someday.

I will always be a writer, but now I am on the path to becoming an Author. For that is what I truly want to be. Authors have always been some of my favorite people. When I was young I felt like I truly knew and understood who Laura Ingalls Wilder was. Authors seem to be our extended friends because they tell such great stories. I always imagined that I would get along famously with my favorite writers. We would be able to talk and laugh and regale each other with witticisms and tales for many hours, if not days spent on dream literary vacations. In reality, I would probably get tongue-tied and go into a secret panic attack; I am so much more verbal in writing ;)

I did get a glorious opportunity to meet Margaret Atwood last Spring (which I meant to blog about, natch) and despite my desire to tell her how much her writing has meant to me (particularly CAT’S EYE and her poetry), I ended up blurting out that I follow her on Twitter. As trite as it sounded, this at least brought a smile to her face and we did have a mini-chat about the wonders of that social network. I will never be a writer of her magnitude, but she and other writers I love inspire me to use my ability, and desire to write, to improve the world, whether providing information or entertainment.

This post is in serious danger of becoming too long and full of personal drivel, which I have promised to avoid, but I did want to check in and do some dusting. I am going to be focusing more on what I call Writer’s Flow, as well as the condition of Writer’s Block. There are a ka-jillion great writing blogs out there that can guide you to better characters and query letters. I will surely link to some of the ones I find helpful, but I am still a virtual student too, so all I can really share is my own experience and what has helped me. I did attempt to start a separate Book Blog about an eon ago, which did not go far, but I will be using that to share non-writing books and literacy info I find.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me and I hope you will return to see the next phase of my Writer’s Flow :D

Just a quickie because I want to share this link with the world. I recently discovered a group on WordPress called ReadWritePoem (see sidebar) and I just jumped at the chance to join yet another network. Seriously, it seems to be a  good network for poets and poetry lovers to gather. I am still checking it out and setting up camp, but I love what I see so far. I may even get the gumption up to submit some poetry :)  So, then I followed a link to a blog because the name “I Was Born Doing Reference in Sin” made me literally LOL, and I was fortunate to read the newest post called Why Do I Write from a poet named Arisa White, which is what I want to share. Definitely some very good reasons there i.e:

It is truly, the times when I feel safe. Free to take risk, to emote, and to be led by imagination without fear.

I believe we all have our own reasons, and some are more personal than others, but she has definitely summed up some of my own feelings. Hope you enjoy!

One of the wonderful things I have found in my wanderings is  a site called Write Anything right here on WordPress. I am actually surprised I have not seen them before.  Six writers from different genres, styles and countries take turns blogging about all things writing, including their own experiences and advice. I definitely recommend new writers check it out. I was drawn there on Wednesday by the catchy-titled post “Handling Rejection and Criticism” by Annie Evett. Each writer blogs a certain day, but Fridays are for us! As a creative writing exercise, Fiction Fridays offer readers a prompt and a place to share your results. This is my first participation, with the prompt being:

Start your story with a game of hide and seek.

They recommend writing for at least five minutes, without editing. As soon as I began, my daughter started a pots-and pans-band and then my mother called, and then…well, everything I do takes longer. And apparently my environment does contribute to my writing. Also, I still have that nagging constant editing thing going on. So, I already broke the “rules”…oh well. I know it is awkward to read, but I am trying to practice the second-person voice for a character in the incomplete NaNoNovel. So, please bear with me. It’s a quickie :)

Fiction Friday: Hide and Seek

You know in a way that you are taking advantage of the situation, but you cannot help mentally reveling in your own genius. You even give yourself extra points for insisting on adding the one-way film to the windows during last summer’s renovation. Brilliant. You can see them taking turns passing by, calling the only name they know you by, but they still have not found you. It has already found the others and now they’ve ganged up to find you. You’ve got five minutes, tops.

Leaning back with a sigh, you wash off the nagging guilt with a reminder, “It was their idea in the first place, I am doing nothing wrong.” It works as a mantra, echoing back from the tiles as if your conscience has its own public address system.

With eyes closed, you watch the colors dancing and try to focus on the sound of bubbles popping. The tenth cry of “Ready or not, here we come!” snaps you back to attention less than a minute later. That one was pretty close. Peeking again through the window, you are startled when you see It peering suspiciously in your direction. The tell-tale sloshing sounds louder than possible when you slide out of view. It echoes back, ominous in the sudden silence which you break with a laugh. Now you are just being ridiculous.

“But I may as well enjoy it while I can,” you tell the tiles, leaning back into the warmth again. Half a minute of bubbles is all you get to hear before the feet start thumping down the hallway. And you smirk, eyes still closed when they pound on the door.

“Mom, we know you are in there!” the nine-year-old is starting to sound just like you.

“Ready or not! Ready or not!” the other two are chanting. You can picture them jumping up and down behind her.

“Not!” you say, stretching your legs out and watching the suds slide trough the stubble. Maybe next time.

“Come on, Mother,” says the darling on the other side of the door. With another sigh, you lean forward and pull out the plug.

When you open the door, she is shaking her head, arms crossed, looking more like your mother and the twins are wrestling on the floor.

“We found you!” one of them squeals when he sees you standing in the doorway in your robe.

“What took you so long?” you ask with a smile, pulling your daughter into a big hug, while her brothers grab onto your legs.

“You’re It! You’re It!”

“Okay, then,” you say with another smirk, “You hide somewhere in the house, and I’ll go in my room and count to a million.” That should give you time to dress.





I’m struggling. I admit it. The only thing flowing out of me these days are low-paying online articles and that’s more like a trickle. I keep making deals with myself, that when I finish the income-producing work, then I can get creative. More often than not, though, I’m sapped after a day of kid rearin’ and service workin’. And I let myself get sucked into the online pleasure dome of social networks and blogs, etc. I admit I would rather read someone else’s great post than write my own mediocre one. Fortunately, I do find something worth seeing, and even learn a thing or two in my virtual escapades. I have been playing on Twitter more often, and definitely finding as many inspirations as distractions. And you know I like to share, because what is better than an excuse to procrastinate more? A: a reason to write, of  course :)

  • This link came across through someone’s tweet a few weeks ago and for some crazy reason appealed to me, so I saved it in my quick post sidebar (which has become something of a catchall for links and blog ideas.)…A post called 6 Tricks for Writing when You Don’t Feel Like It on Writer Unboxed which is a great collaborate blog for “genre” writers (btw, no offense, but I thought everyone wrote in some genre, but apparently that term has become common now for mystery/sci-fi/fantasy/etc writers)
  • One of the coolest developments born on Twitter are the tweet chats that are occurring regularly. Anyone can contribute or follow just by using the #(hashtag-yes, just like on the trending list, but better)… there are topics for just about everyone, including book chats (i.e. #followreader is mainly book bloggers and Tuesdays @ 7pm EasternTime is #TuesBookTalk) and writing chats like #writechat (Sundays 12-3pm PT), which is hosted by Writing Spirit who also has a very helpful and inspiring blog.
  • Speaking of hashtags, there are several writers can use, both to keep up with other writers and to keep oneself on track, including #writegoal, #amwriting and #writetip. I have found several new resources and blogs to read by checking out these lists. Warning, though, Twitter has been discovered by spammers, and they know how to use the tags too. I suggest going to interesting tweeters, then checking their actual blog/website link before adding them to your list. And do not hesitate to block obvious spammers. They deserve it.
  • If all else fails, I can ensure my place in literary culture simply by submitting a piece to the National Gallery of Writing. In conjunction with the National Day of Writing (October 20, 2009) this project is open for groups and individuals to contribute any form of writing (within specific limitations of course, this is sponsored by English teachers). Schools and classes are forming their own “exhibits” but submissions range from scientific essays and memoirs, to stories and poems. Frankly, some of the best pieces I have ever written were for English class, so maybe I should dust off one of those. :) Write on y’all!

I am sorry that I have been absent for so long (if anyone was looking)…Let’s just say that I hit a speed bump, not a block :) But I do know that the first rule of writing is: Sit Down and Start! and that if at first we don’t succeed, try, try…you get it. So, here I am tired, humbled and maybe a bit more determined. Today is the first day of the rest of my yadayada…
normal_book1jkrfanAnd what a great day in literary history it is! Joanne (K) Rowling was born today, July 31st and she also gave her famous protagonist the same birthday, so some people call this Harry Potter Day. I don’t know if they need their own holiday (?) but it is a good day to apply pen to paper and get back into the flow.
Personally, she is one of my inspirations as far as success stories and admiration of style and skill, as well as, darn it, personality. When I first discovered the Harry Potter books, I was a single mother, struggling through a bad separation and divorce, temporarily living at my parents and waiting tables while also trying to finish my degree and maintain a healthy relationship with my 5-year old son. My British, reading-teacher mother actually bought the books to read to him while I worked dinner shifts, but reading at bedtime was one of our Favorite Things, so one night I read a chapter to him, then could not stop after he fell asleep. I had to go back and start the wondrous journey all over. Despite being tired, stressed and a literature major for goodness sakes, I was enthralled. That was in 2001, the boy is 13 now, and we love all things Harry Potter.
I admit to being a bit of a fan, as in fanatic, when it comes to Rowling and her amazing Wizard World. Hearing her own story only cemented my obsession. {btw: if you have not yet seen the documentary A Year in the Life with JK Rowling, you can view it on the ABC site.  i cried. } She was at a low point in her life, divorced with a young child who depended completely on her and an idea for a story that apparently would not leave her head (a feeling I know well). I think that millions of people would agree with me when I say, “Thank God, she wrote it down.”
I believe that her story, both the fictional and the biographical one, epitomize the answer to the struggling writer’s question “Why write?”  A: You never know, it may just change the world.

ADDED Aug 7: Since I have been in a Potter mood this summer and the books are always fun to read, I am definitely signing up for this challenge at Galleysmith. If you haven’t read the series yet, well, of course I recommend it! And if you have, then you may want to listen to the audiobooks, which is accepted for  the challenge. You have almost a year to complete it and yes, there are prizes. But, of course the biggest reward is the joy of reading, right? ;)  Sign up by August 15th to be entered for the prize drawings!

Thank you to Danielle over at Calliope’s Pen for bringing me back from my down swing. I guess i was burnt out after all of that forced creativity in April. I did finish the Poem-A-Day Challenge, writing several obviously rushed pieces in the last few days. Then I volunteered to read through not one, but two days worth of poems for Poetic Asides’ blogger Robert Brewer, who was under enough stress. It was a lot of poems. And a good lesson in itself. I feel more confident in my poetry writing now, but also know I still have a lot to learn and improve. Just when I was thinking I should give up on the novel writing and concentrate on other things, I was struck by another idea for yet another story, the kind where you wake up from a dream anxious to write it all down before it is gone again. That always feels good :) So, even though I have not been on here, I have not been totally slacking, and I am working on getting back in the flow again. I still do not have  a job though. I guess we can’t really have it all…

PS: I am planning on doing a bunch of reviews in June, because I have also been reading [natch!].

I am checking out the Build A Better Blog Challenge at Problogger.net, not that I am a “problogger” but it cant hurt to get some hints on blogging. I really like the medium/genre and have been looking into how I can actually incorporate it into my career. Not here, of course. This is still my personal flow page :)
So the first step entitled Write an Elevator Pitch, is to develop a pitch for your blog, or a blurb, I would call it, a brief description of what the blog is about and offers to the reader.
I kind of like my little tagline “The block has been…etc,” which was just the first thing I thought of when I decided to do this blog. That pretty much sums up that the blog is just whatever I have coming out of me when I am in a flow. But that’s probably not a “pro” answer. I have actually used my “blogging credentials” in some queries and applications and I have felt a little awkward in describing it. After all, it is decidedly not professional, so does it even count as experience or qualification? I do feel it is experience, if only as a learning process, which is how I have thought of it from the beginning. I have altered my About page before, and it could probably use sprucing up, but I think that showing the changes helps me and others see how this blog has grown.

So, tentatively, here’s an “elevator pitch”:

Writer’s Flow is a weblog about my experience on the writing path. I have been writing for most of my life, but have only recently ventured into the public arena. As a lifelong bookworm and former educator, as well as a mother, I also want to promote reading and literacy. I share what I learn and think about the writing lifestyle, as well as resources for other writers, readers and educators.

Does that sound professional or pretentious? Well, like I said, it’s tentative.

Btw: the prompt today is to write about something missing….which, for now, is today’s poem ;)

I got the prompt this morning and mulled over it all day while doing home and garden and kid stuff. When I got some quiet time to myself I began working on something, but it is not done so I am not posting it yet. I am pooped and need to rest before I can write anymore. So tomorrow I will have 2 poems to write, or one and  a half. Along with the two articles I have to do too. But, I am not feeling that overwhelmed… yet. It feels good to be writing regularly again. Of course, the novel still is incomplete…

I like writing poetry, but I know it is not everyone’s cuppa… I have not always had an easy time sharing it though. Even in a poetry course taken in college, I shied away from sharing time and ultimately did not turn in the portfolio, which was basically the entire course grade. I did/do have a hard time thinking of poetry being graded. I think it is way too open to interpretation, haha, and also, I had/have these issues with rejection. Which is why it is  a bit odd that I have so easily shared these pieces here. Perhaps it is because these bits are hardly personal. They are written to someone else’s prompt, not on my own impulse [the one that sends you scrambling for paper in the middle of the night or traffic until you get the thought OUT, you know]. Because it is a daily exercise, there is a rushed informality to it. I think it is understood that it may stink. And, there is safety in numbers, too. Mine is just one of hundreds of amateur poems in Poetic Asides’ comments. And I am not the only one blogging them.

But, mostly, I think I am able to share them because I am so comfortable now, writing in this space. I have found a little writer’s support group in this blogosphere and even knowing that many others may come and scoff and never return, I certainly appreciate the encouragement I get from you, as well as the inspiration, hearing about your work, successes and struggles. Truth is, I do not get that much irl. Though my hubby, friends and family are encouraging and supportive, too, it is in a different way. Not all of them really understand what exactly I do, nor how I struggle with it. And frankly, I do not share many personal feelings about writing, et al, with them. Sometimes it is hard to put in words, iykwim. So, thank you, because you are here reading this now :) I know I may not make my fortune with this weblog, but it has become priceless to me, and I appreciate you reading. It makes me feel like a real writer.

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