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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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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.ย  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!

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I just had to share this link, a guest post on Adventures in Children’s Publishing, because I think it is exactly what all writers need to read. I know I did. I don’t feel much like a writer today, but the way I reacted to this brilliant pep-post tells a different story ๐Ÿ™‚ Go on, click it. It’s worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

I also want to point out my nifty NaNoWriMo badges over yonder, especially the NaNoBloggers one. I will not be blogging every day, though I am determined to write every day (practice good habits and all that jazz). I will be using this linky thing, though, to connect any posts I make in November to the “Blog Hop” which has a huge list of other NaNoBloggers. It should be fun to check out others’ experiences, and as far as I am concerned that is the main point of NaNo: having fun. The writing too, of course.

I’m actually struggling with what to write this year. I have one of those problems that some people may roll their eyes at: too many ideas. I originally planned on using NaNo this year to try writing a new genre for me…Romance. Don’t snicker, because Romance is one of the greatest traditional forms of literature we have. In fact, most books seem to have some element of romance in them. The popular romances today sell more than any other form of book in our culture. I am not a fan of most formulaic romances, but I love a good historical fiction read (many of which are of course Romance), and have several favorite books which would be considered romance by definition. Besides, if it was good enough for Jane Austen, its good enough for me ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I had this idea and it keeps growing in my head. I think it will be fun to write, and I want to expand my skills. I think that trying new genres is a great use of NaNoWriMo. Though I already have some dramatic points sneaking into my outline, I wanted to veer away from moody literary eco-novels and YA drama. I do have some of those on the list though ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t officially decided yet, and could end up sitting down on November 1st and flying through another story by the seat of my pants.

Now, don’t think that I am suggesting writing romance novels is any easier than writing any other form of book. In fact, I probably will suck at it (this will notย  be erotica in any form. That would be embarrassing and stilted). Like I said, I want to practice, so I was thrilled to find out that Harlequin Books (which has romance written all over it-lol) is sponsoring “So You Think You Can Write” a week of writing workshops, blogs, critiques, etc to begin the month of NaNovember. I guess there is also chance at publication involved, but I won’t be going that far. However, I am sure to learn a thing or two which will improve my MC’s love life, as well as my own writing life. There’s also a hashtag for Twitter of course ๐Ÿ™‚ย  #SYTYCW

Yes, November will be busy (along with all of the other life activities, natch!). I am excited about it though. Anyone else who is participating in NaNo is welcome to add me as a writing buddy. I think I can be a good one. And follow me @janflora on Twitter, because I will need chat breaks and love the word sprints. I wonder if anyone else is trying a whole new genre this year? Or has any advice on writing a cool-and-not-too-cheesy romance novel?

Happy Summer! At least I hope it was. Iย  hardly can believe it is the middle of September. I am still catching up with Back to School.ย  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.ย  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 ofย  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 amย  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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

(Subtitled: Let’s Just Say I was Hibernating and Leave It at That)

Yes, I have been neglecting my blogging duties, and I really have no excuse, except for the plethora of ones that arise daily. But, I refuse to delve into the personal griping that nobody really wants to read. I did mentally compose, at one point, a post entitled “Why I Will Never Be Super Mom” and it was hilarious, at least in my own mind, but nope, that never was completed either. C’est la vie…

However, I have not given up on the WIP and have been researching Everything You Need to Know About Agents But Are Afraid to Ask in order to be as well-prepared as possible for the day I have the (fully revised) final draft completed and ready to go. Meanwhile, I am really here to celebrate National Grammar Day and share their new anthem with anyone else who loves the English language.

I also want to recommend a lovely book I am reading which is perfect for us word nerds and fellow philosophers. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery was originally written in French and, fortunately, translated by Alison Anderson for those, like myself, who have neglected to keep up with the “language of love” since high school. I have not completed the novel, so cannot properly review it, but it has rave reviews all over the Web. (Why I only heard about it because of a Glue recommendation I cannot answer.) It is not a light read, but it is humorous, thought-provoking, and gosh darnit, deep. I think it should be required reading in Grammar 101 courses. Seriously, I was in stitches while reading a passage on the misuse of a comma (“I was not prepared for such an underhanded attack.”). The two female narrators (one young, one older) both have appreciation for the simple beauty of life, particularly the nuance of language. They also have a hard time hiding their disdain for the crowds around them who fail to see what they see. I can imagine that the author had some of these thoughts herself long before she put them in her characters’ voices. Par example:

The gifts of fate come with price. For those who have been favored by life’s indulgence, rigorous respect in matters of beauty is a non-negotiable requirement. Language is a bountiful gift and its usage, an elaboration ofย  community and society, is a sacred work….Society’s elect, those whom fate has spared from the servitude that is the lot of the poor, must, consequently, shoulder the double burden of worshipping and respecting the splendors of language. Finally, Sabine Palliere’s misuse of punctuation constitutes an instance of blasphemy that is all the more insidious when one considers that there are marvelous poets born in stinking caravans or high-rise slums who do have for beauty the sacred respect that is so rightfully owed.

To the rich, therefore falls the burden of Beauty. And if they cannot assume it, then they deserve to die.

Now, I do not necessarily want to encourage grammar snobs to take up arms and riot against the abuse of the comma, but she does have a point. I confess that I have a similar opinion reserved for those “pundits” who claim to speak for the masses, yet cannot speak clearly or correctly (and refuse to learn when to shut up), as well as certain political leaders (turned pundit and/or author) whose speeches are merely a string of colloquial phrases that together make no sense. But, I digress… ๐Ÿ˜‰

No, the entire novel is not an ode to grammar. There are plenty of other topics covered including philosophy, Russian literature, French and Japanese culture, film and cats. So, really, there is something for almost everyone to appreciate, especially the story of an unlikely friendship, which is the true gem offered. I am eager to read more now, so I will stop here and wish you (all three of you ๐Ÿ™‚ ) a Happy Grammar Day and a good writing and/or reading weekend. I will return soon, I promise.

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, ofย  course ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Write on y’all!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 andย  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 isย  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

March appears to be going out like a lamb, so I guess its time to wake up and officially come out of hibernation. I have been missing the blogosphere, but haven’t been able to force a post out lately. When we get a round of flu, it takes a few weeks for the whole crew to recover and of course Mom ends up cleaning and caring for everyone else, even when she’s down and out. So, I have found it hard to do more than a quick look at some sites and multiple rounds of mind-numbing Scrabble. I did sign up recently for another reading challenge. This one is called Diversity Rocks! and focuses on adding new cultures and authors of color to our reading lists. It runs all year if anyone else is interested, and there are several “levels” of participation.

Speaking of challenges… April is bringing many to the web including Script Frenzy from the makers of NaNo. I considered trying this one because I thought it would be a good way to quickly learn about scriptwriting. NaNo was a fun experience, but it kicked my booty too, and I know I will have a raging case of Spring Fever by Earth Day, so maybe another year. I did, however, find a couple handy links just-in-case. If anyone else is thinking of trying their hands at writing 100 pages of screenplay, play script or TV shows [apparently graphic novels are also included in the Frenzy, but I don’t have links for that style.]:

Screenwriting.info

Screenwriters Utopia

Stage Affair– offers an e-book on play structure when you sign up for newsletter

I still would like to try my hand at playwriting someday…I am more of a one-act stage person than screenplay writer I think. I used to like reading plays though I never did any theater stuff myself.

Anyhoo, rather than the call of the stage, I am returning to an old love and taking up the Poem A Day Challenge happening through Poetic Asides, theย  Poet’s Market blog from Writer’s Digest. April is Poetry Month and I have always had fun writing my own ditties. Each day a topic or prompt is posted on the prompt and participants add their words right in the comments. It makes for some interesting reading…often hilarious.

Just to add to the fun, I am planning on combining this challenge with NaBloPoMo again. ..why not? I need to stretch my muscles. I like writing poetry, but have to add the universal disclaimer that daily poems written for fun may not always be considered “art”…there are so many ways a poem can go and sometimes it gets out of control. But what a great way to celebrate spring!

BTW: I also wanted to share this with folks because its just so exciting [it doesn’t take much for me :)]… after our discussions on books made into films, here’s one I wasn’t expecting and yet apparently have been waiting all my life to see, because now I cannot wait. Obviously, the storyline is getting changed in this one since the original is about 100 words or less. Maurice Sendak certainly had a way of proving the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.” His classic book said so much in so few words, and spoke volumes to millions. Or perhaps it was just the imagination running away with us. Enjoy!

Due to a major malfunction caused by my son’s need to be a high-tech gamer, my personal computer is in a coma. I am not giving up and will be pulling for its recovery, but meanwhile, I am posting this from the public computer [gotta love your local library!]. I realized that I had not blogged here ‘all year’ and I do have a blogging resolution to maintain.
Being offline at home has been something of a blessing in disguise because I have been forced to go low-tech and get back to the basics. Hence, the old compostion notebooks are getting dragged out, I am actually getting more reading done and I am using any other ‘freetime’ to organize and plan for the year. I also have to be a bit more selective in what I do with my limited time online [and not just because they don’t allow access to facebook here ๐Ÿ™‚ ]. So, I am cramming proofing, posting and querying into a two-hour time period, generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the wee ones are in their preschool class. I am taking a look at my virtual habits and winnowing away at the time-wasters, just as I am going through the collected stuffs at home and throwing out the old to make way for the new.
I had planned on doing something similar with my blog, by reviewing my past posts and links and maybe even changing my layout, but much of that will have to wait until I get my PC back.
Yes, I miss it, and it shows [obviously, since it has been less than a week and I am already waxing nostalgic-like]. It seems a bit strange, since, like most of us, my writing definitely started the old-fashioned way [apply pen to paper], but I have to admit that the net and writing software are fundamental to a modern writer’s career, and even to publishing and education. So, again, I count the blessing of the public library’s services, because I would not be here without it!

With some trepidation, I am starting the submission process again. No, not for the NaNovel [see that wordcount widget hanging on the left? I must confess it is still about the same]. Actually, I have a healthy supply of writings which are in various stages of revision. Some pieces have not ever been read by another pair of eyes. I have definitely not kept up with that part of the game this year, which is certainly one of my Writeresolutions for Aught-Nine. I am making a submission schedule and plan on using a tracking program which should work better than the notebook in which I keep scribbling quick notes and addresses.

I actually have a lot of writing resolutions to work on, some of which I listed way back in January. I do not feel that I completely failed to do what I resolved to do, although some people may think so. I am writing regularly, and though I do not have an income from writing yet, I do have a lot more experience and knowledge about the wonderful world of writing [not to mention the mysterious realm of publishing]. Best of all I am coming out of my writer’s shell and actually talking about it with people- admitting I am a writer is the first step on the writer’s path, right? This is rather huge for me, because although I have always written and have had writing in my life since I could hold a crayon, I have struggled with my own view of myself as a writer. It was so easy when I did not think about what or why I wanted to write. Now, I self-edit myself often before the words ever see paper. This may explain why I wept when I read this beautiful passage from hownottowrite:

As I’ve grown older, I’ve trained myself to spend too much time thinking about the words and where they come from. The question of origin nags me like the sound of a sleeping child who coughs in a unfamiliar way. I try to tell myself that everything is alright, but I can’t help sneaking a peek. I creep slowly down the hall, trying my best to be silent. Yet, even with a lifetime’s practice, each board seems loose under my feet. The doorknob turns, gnashing like the gears of an enormous clock.

I highly recommend you read that whole post. Much like this author, I was the child up at night reading and writing by the borrowed light from the closet or hallway. When my father cut them off, telling me to get to sleep, I created stories in my mind to put myself to sleep. Some of those stories are still there, now coming out to finally see the light of day.

When I was young, I wrote mostly as an assignment and did not really understand the praise that accompanied the grades. As I grew and my self-esteem plummeted in adolescence, I wrote in secret, turning to my journal more than any other confidante. When that private space was invaded it was hard to recover the confidence to write for others. I started to fear the criticism and even the positive responses to my writing. I would write, but my words were for my eyes only. Always a bookworm, I preferred to read what I never could imitate and convinced myself that I could never be good enough and there was already enough crap out there to which I did not want to contribute. I have to admit to still believing that, but I cannot deny that I want to be a writer.

I used to say “I can write; I have the ability to write; I do write.” rather than “I am a writer.” Generally this was in response to the question, “Oh, are you a writer?” when folks-who-know-me mentioned it to others or asked me directly, “Are you still writing? What are you writing now?” I played it off as a hobby more than a part of my entire self. I still do not talk about it with everyone, but I am at least able to say it to myself. Much of the confidence I have gained recently is due to this blog, and my connections I have found online and with other writers. I officially count that blessing. I think it helps to know that I am not the only one who struggles with similar feelings and dilemmas. It is also good to know that I can write without being rejected. I may not get a thousand hits here, but my words [and often my feelings] are out there for anyone to see, and I have lost nothing, I survived.

So, maybe I lost a lot of years of my writing career because I held myself back, and spent “too much time thinking about the words and where they come from” but I am here now and I am no longer looking back at the rejections and violations and drunken “poetry” written in my angsty years. It is time to revise and revisit, but only so I can remember how far I have come as I continue the journey. As one of my favorite quotes says “You are not an official writer until you’ve gotten a rejection.” Well, I have gotten that far, and I must keep going. I must submit myself to the process and commit to writing or I will never be accepted as a writer, if only by myself.

{When I began this post, a few days ago, I was in a different frame of mind [still weeping over hownottowrite]. Then I was interrupted by my chaotic life and saved the draft. In the weird way the universe works, the next day I received in the mail a copy of Alice W. Flaherty’s The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain. It was a gift from myself because I had wish-listed it on PaperbackSwap and completely forgotten about it until it arrived. I will share more with you when I finish it.}

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