Thursday, June 10, 2010

Writing and kids

I haven't talked about writing in a while. Two different posts by writers got me thinking about it, and the stress I've been feeling lately over my lack of time to "do it all."

The first post was about writing and mothering, and it was very comforting.  (Link)

Summer's hard. I must make time for the paying gigs, but with the little ladies home, it leaves no time for other, more solitary work.

So my creative writing is on semi-haitus. Unless you count this blog. Oh, and the Get to Knows I do every week for the local paper. I don't.

The GTKs are news writing, which is straight reporting the facts, and while they're great for character ideas, they involve zero imagination. (They'd better not, right?)

And I think of this blog as more me sharing with you random thoughts that are bugging me or funny stuff on my mind. To which I love reading your responses.

So they're great exercises, but they're not the same as telling a coherent narrative with real characters readers will believe and connect with. And imagining situations for said characters that readers will buy and care about.

I've been fretting about it mainly because I really did get an amazing idea for a whole brand new novel and I've typed out about 6,000 words of it, and now I've completely stopped.


The word makes my throat tighten. Creative ideas are so insistent, and my fear is as more time passes, I'll lose it.

But I can't deny reality. I do have other jobs, including my jobs of wife and mother and volunteer jobs like teaching kindergarten VBS, which I've been doing this week. And I haven't even started on my diminished social life...

The second post I read was similar to the first, but it was more about the "rules" of writing. (Link. Heads up--language.)

It made me think about the process as I've experienced it to date. For Debut Novel, I followed the advice "write every day." Regardless of whether you're feeling inspired or know where you're going (or have time), They say you must write every day.

But LTM, you say, you do write every day!
Yes, friend-readers, but They mean on your book.

So I did it for Debut Novel, and I gotta say. There were some draggy bits that I ended up cutting. Guess when I wrote those?

Brand New Novel was a different experience entirely. I got the idea vacuuming (seriously! and it doesn't suck---or have vampires in it!), decided I couldn't start another novel at that time, stewed on it some more, watched the movie Signs, and then sat down and two weeks later it was "finished."

At least the first draft.

It was only 35,000 words at that point, but in revisions and fleshing out scenes and characters, it grew to a respectable 55,000 that test readers say is "awesome"! One cool compliment I got was, "I completely forgot you wrote it while I was reading."

Yes, that made me happy!

Another said she got chills at one point. That comment gave ME chills, and that's when I decided to give DN a rest and push BNN. Those types of compliments didn't come Round 1.

So who knows. I'm agreeing there are no "rules for writing." Good grief, it's what I always told my 10th graders the year I taught. Must start teaching self...

And praying I can hold Even Newer BNN in my head until I bust or have time again to sit down and focus on it.

I wonder if any of my writer-readers out there have had similar experiences. Do you (like me) write differently every time you approach a new book? Or do you have rules you must follow? Personally, I don't think either method is wrong or better. Whatever works, right?

In other news, I've been thinking a lot about one particular "Deep Thought" by Jack Handy: "The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face."

Heard the following this week teaching kindergarten VBS:

LTM to K class: Think about ways God shows he cares for you while you color.
K student: I don't like to think about anything while I color.
LTM: Okay...

LTM to KS: What do you remember about our story today?
KS: My mom says I forget things as soon as I hear them.

K4 teacher to class (next door to our class): Trees are very strong. They can hold many things. (They were discussing Zacchaeus.)
K4 student: Even fat people.

My own kids crack me up regularly--Laura (upon seeing the delta region of north La.): "Look, Catherine. It's the middle of nowhere." My neighbor's little daughter was just hugging me the other day and then asked, "How do I know you?"

It's stressful. But it's a fun, funny time. Have a great weekend, kids~


Scarlett said...

Life is fickle, isn't it?! I can so relate to your blog today. I too have had "issues" with writing my book. I have probably got 50 books I have thought of, but only 1 that I intend to complete. I write those ideas in a journal for future use. You should give yourself some slack. It is hard balancing a career, motherhood and daily activities along with writing a novel. Good gracious, they should give awards for just that! Remember, it is not about how quick you finish the race, just that you finish. I'm praying for you.

LTM said...

Thanks, Scarlett! It's tough, no doubt. Journaling is another recommended thing I should try... One note, you might find once you finish Bk. 1, the rest come more easily. That was my experience anyway. Before summer break, that is~ ;o)

Anonymous said...

The AutoCrit site has a nice article on writing with kids around. Here's the link.

JRichard said...

That last comment reminds me of the way things used to go in the back bar at the Lobster.

LTM said...

@Anon: That is a GREAT post! I could completely relate and even LOLd. THANKS!

@JRM: Ah, the Rock Lobster. How our lives have changed--my little hugger was 3 yrs old. ;o)

Covnitkepr1 said...

I like to follow writer’s blogs as I feel I learn from each one. I have a book of Communion devotionals at the printers which I authored, although I don’t consider myself an accomplished writer. I am a follower on your blog and invite you to follow mine as well…and please leave a comment when and if you visit.

LTM said...

Hi, Stan! Thanks for following--I will def. check out your blog. All the best of luck with your book~

Pam said...

once again you made me, love, love your blog! Can't wait for the literary world to publish one of your novels so I can read one :o)

LTM said...

Thanks, Pam! Your check's in the mail. J/k--glad to make you smile; and me too!

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

Lovely post. It is best to be positive no matter our goal(s) and it is great to find posts that share the same outlook. I always look forward to your comments on my blog and I love commenting on yours. Keep pressing forward. I love what Shannon Hale had to say about mothering and writing!

LTM said...

Thanks, APD! I agree totally. Saw that SH post on your site the other day--sharing the love. Nice to know we're not the only ones feeling that way sometimes~