Friday's are always good days when I'm not at work, and even when I'm at home and should be working on the home-working things, there's a certain knowledge that the weekend is coming and I can procrastinate and blow off the jobs I should be doing in favour of preferable pastimes, like reading, gaming, writing, what have you. The problem with that is the weekends offer even better things to do, hanging out, movies, juicing and the not so fun stuff like washing and cleaning blurkablurk, which means the put-off Friday jobs don't actually get done 'cause the time available always looks larger going into it than when you actually arrive at it. Hmm....does that even make sense? Anyways, I got my words done today and that is an accomplishment, even if I am several days behind all up. I guess I shouldn't worry about getting behind cos any writing is progress after the long dry spell I've had since December. Still, if I stick to the 750 words a day for the rest of the 90 day period, then the book will be finished. And won't that be a hoot. Yes, you say. *nods* I think tomorrow will be invigorating once I get the planning down. The original plan went only so far 'cause I wanted to allow the characters to have their head in terms of the ending, but now that they have what they need I know where the ending will go and need to plan out getting there so i don't waffle on. Plus it really helps me keep on track. I never really thought I would be a planner, but all in all, I think it is the way I will write in the future. Having the first novel by the seat of the pants was fun, but major deconstruction was required and after this project reconstruction from the deconstruction. At least this novel has stayed on track because of the plan, which means far less work to get it presentable than the first.
I already have an idea for the next one, too - just a fleeting thought I had some time back, which I dismissed, but which keeps popping back up. But can't be thinking about that now - must work on the plan. Plan plan plan - what an odd looking word that is after a while. Like looking at your toes for too long (ever noticed how weird they look if you stare at them for too long - same goes for your tongue - ever stuck it out for a long while and stared at it? Makes me think of some alien snake living inside my mouth. But, ah, I reveal too much *blush*
Before I post my update, I should probably apologize for not understanding how tags work and what have you. I don't blog enough as it is, therefore haven't learnt to tag yet. My friend tells me I have to do something called "sound off", whatever that is, but until I figure it out, I might go astray. So sorry.
As for the goals, well, I was supposed to start June 1st, but that was the day I got home from a week of courses in Melbourne and my brain was fried. I was trying to get it to stop thinking. So I chilled a bit, but it wasn't enough, so I blew off Saturday too, watching movies - something I rarely do. But it was good for clearing the head of work and learning. So, today was a big catch up day, with three days worth of 750 words to catch up on. But I did it. Yay me! And ended up with 2288 words. So, I'm now on target for a great writing month. I'm psyched now. And the good part is I don't feel like the first words were crap. But I do have to do some back-reading to get myself up to speed more (I did a little but more is required) and I will have to go through my notes tomorrow to see the road ahead again. At least the chapter I wrote was a bridging chapter with some basic stuff that had to be dealt with. Been far too long since I wrote, but I'm thrilled to be back.
I don't know what it is about rain, perhaps because we so rarely see or hear it, but it always makes me feel mellow. I've been sitting here for ten minutes or so listening to it.
I spent the day doing nothing of importance. But in amongst that I got some good thinking time in. I know I said I was going to write Thi'Alidor, but I just couldn't get into it. Not from a story perspective, in fact I was mostly excited about returning to that old friend (I say mostly because I had started to nut out some changes and saw some less exciting work that needs to be done), but my Mind continued to throw random thoughts of Windward at me. I kindly asked Mind if she wouldn't mind if we worked on Thi'Alidor as I tapped my fingers in exaggerated impatience to get my point across. Mind said, "I'm the boss of you. You'll work on what I throw at you." Normally I would argue with anyone who said something like that to me, but since it was Mind and I love Mind and tend to pander after her needs, placating, grovelling and generally keeping the peace, I bowed my head and said, "Right you are." Since then, we've been getting along famously. Mind keeps tossing out ideas as if she is cleaning out her closet and giving me all the good stuff. I just hope it all fits. So far I've scored some snazzy little numbers that I'll get lots of use from, and a couple I'm not so sure about just yet. However, after I tried a couple of ideas on for size, Mind and I agreed on several things 1) that to make room for the new stuff I'd have to clean out a few things to make space, and 2) for the new stuff to work with some of the old stuff, a few ideas will need a bit of altering in order to fit. I wasn't bummed by what would would have to go, mainly because it is only the last two chapters, and then probably not all of that. The alterations to the old stuff will need a tad more thought since it has been too long since I wrote or read any of it to remember it all clearly. (This is a first draft that has never been read through yet.) But, right now I'm not going to go back and mess with it. Mind says I can set it aside for the moment. She can be so wise sometimes. (We won't mention her flustered, scattered or erratic states. Sssh.)
So, now all I need is some time. Won't happen til Wednesday - busy tomorrow 8 til 7, then I've got a meeting til 8.45, then dinner. But Wednesday! Looking forward to that.
I've been doing a Touch for Health course this weekend, part 2 of a 4 part series to receive a qualification. Each course goes for two days and there is a fairly hefty workbook to fill out too in order to reach the required number of hours. Some folk might know the subject as Kiniesiology. It's facinating stuff. I am constantly amazed by how it works and how well it works. Understanding the meridians of the body has led me to understand my own body better. I've been discovering all sorts of things about myself and how my energy is and is not working. Being able to balance the meridians in light of goals is a fabulous tool. Today I worked on my physical discrepancies, namely because I know they are affecting my mental well-being, and I discovered something insightful about how blood sugar is affecting me, which again comes back to something I already knew but now see in a totally different light - and that is, I don't eat regularly enough. Some days I will start work, especially on my days at home, and make a cuppa to start the day, planning to have breaky, then the next thing it is lunctime, so I make another cuppa and contemplate what to have for lunch as I continue to work. Then the next thing I know it is 3.30 and I think, "Well, too late for lunch now, might as well wait for dinner." So then, 6.30 or 7 I am having my first meal for the day. Bad bad. On the days I go in to work I am better, but that's only 2 out of 7! So even though I have had this insight, I was already working on the problem and have been having three meals a day for the past week. Having learned what I have about the way my energy is moving/not moving and how it is in relation to blood sugar, I realize this is REALLY really important to continue doing, not only for my physical health but for that elusive creativity that has abandoned me of late.
I'm pretty chuffed at connecting the dots on a new level and what it will mean for me now and into the future.
So while there is as yet no writing ahappenin' , I at least have hope again as I was beginning to despair that my creative energy would never return, that I have somehow lost a part of myself that can't be retrieved. Once I have a chance to absorb it all I plan to set a new goal and balance my energies in light of it.
Since *Windward* is causing such a block at present (I'll blame it for the sake of blaming something), I've decided that to get the creative urge a'happenin' I will revisit Thi'Alidor. I had wanted to return to it once I had a complete first draft of Windward, but since that's not quite working out at the moment, perhaps now is the time to let it sit for a bit and return to familiar ground. Since Thi'Alidor was my first and a tale I was passionate about because of that, I figure returning to it might also rekindle the spark or enthusiasm I seem to have lost of late. There is not so much work left there to do either. Sure there are some plot problems, but more weaknesses than real problems - parts of the plot that could use stronger logic and the major problem that I see is weakness in the protag's motivations. I feel like I've learned a lot since I finished Thi'Alidor and have been writing Windward, so the thought is that I will be able to apply some new skills to an old friend to get her into shape. My first point of call after a re-read is to re-examine all the main character's motivations and strengthen them where they need it, and I'm thinking that in doing that most of the plot weaknesses can be strengthened with greater adherence to the characters. I'm not sure I'll make a start today since I have a lot of stuff to get done, maybe tonight I can start the re-read, but definitely tomorrow.
Thinking about writing is not the same as writing, no matter how much I tell myself it is some sort of progress. Having thought the only thing stopping me from writing was a plot problem, I allowed myself the time to sort it out - but then since Miq helped me solve that I thought I would be back in the swing of things by now. Instead, I find myself frittering away my personal time on games and reading. I've never had such a dry spell. I thought it might have been partially related to other things going on around me. The swimming pool we put in and all the yard landscaping we are planning and doing, or maybe that I was using up days of my free time to paint a friend's house (that still could be part of it since I only finished it last week), but I still wonder whether those aren't excuses. I guess there is only so much energy to go round these days, and work takes a lot of that. (Ah, for the good old days when adrenalin kept me hyped and going no matter what.) I guess, given the changes within my physical self this past two years, I shouldn't expect instant improvement on every front. My health consultant tells me I am a bit run-down and she found a stomach bug, which she says might be related to the sort of depressing feelings I've had on and off. Anyway, she's given me something for it, so time will tell if the mood improves when the bug is gone. Guess that's always the risk when you work with the public at close contact.
I did open a couple of chapters the other day and had a fiddle with them - mainly typos - but I was bored with it, and I'm not sure if that was because it is boring or I was feeling down. I know I didn't feel that way about it when I wrote it - which doesn't really say much since I have reread stuff in the past that made me yawn as I wondered what I was thinking when I wrote it. So, I'm not sure whether it is a problem with the story or a problem with me. Where is my muse when I need her?
Sometimes I think it might be because I have lost my way with the story, that my psyche knows this and is just waiting for me to fully absorb it as a reality. I know the story is a big one in terms of the themes I am working with, and it may be that the tale has moved aside from that in some way that I haven't fully examined yet. I should sit down and reread the whole thing and see if I have gotten off track, or if there is some event that needs a different direction or something, but each time I open it, I stare blankly at it for a few minutes, read a few sentences and decide to go stack the dishwasher, throw in some more washing, sweep the floor or something. I know when I revert to doing housework to avoid writing that there is something afoot. I just wish I knew what it was. Of course, not reading it isn't helping to find out. A circular argument if ever there was one.
So, while the writing is making zero progress, my backyard is getting messier and more cluttered by the minute. The men delivered the materials for the new patio, and I got the concrete mixer, border tiles, new pots, a pile of crusher dust and a pile of topsoil filling up any available space, with a few hundred pavers, bags of concrete and retaining wall bricks to go. Where are my magic powers when I need them? Or that genie?
If I had three wishes, what would they be?
Never for money, but totally selfish.
Best not to go there.
I had thought that once I got that plot problem sorted out the tale would move forward at a clip. I should have realized life would get in the way, as it does from time to time. Sometimes I think I see a pattern to it, but it is like the shadow that flits on the outskirts of sight and once you turn your head cannot be seen. I'm sure I'll have many more writing years to figure that one out. I do know that quarterly taxes always chew me out. I once got so engrossed with writing that I neglected to do those taxes and superannuation by the cut off date and it cost me, not only in dollars, but in inconvenience since the extra paperwork was a hassle. Now I vow not to make that mistake again. Thus I must switch off the creative side of the brain for a time and let the practical rule. On top of that this is the best time of the year to be outside doing things in the yard. Not that I would normally do that since my yard was a former tragedy rivalling any of Shakespeare's creations. But in March we started the process of putting in an inground pool, then the creative energies went into mapping out the paving, the landscaping, the patio and so on and so on. I'm sure it will be a work of art once done but it is sucking up a lot of time and energy.
What I really need to do is find a balance so that writing doesn't fall by the wayside completely when real life comes a callin'. I keep a monthly spreadsheet for writing start and finish times with the projects worked on, word count for the day, week, month and overall progress etc. Very anal (Thanks go to Miquela for starting that by sending me a copy of her spreadsheet, which I have since expanded and expanded - I wonder if her anal habits have rubbed off...). I started it a good while back when the writing marathon was on the OWW list (same time I started this novel) and it has served me well to keep goals always in mind and to add a kind of check to my efforts. Anyway, I had made a point of writing for at least one hour per day and somehow over the last couple of months that got lost. So, I've made it a resolution, starting tomorrow, to continue with that one hour requirement. I know I have the time - I just have to use it wisely and consistently.
To a fruitful and productive May.
It is a lovely feeling to be writing again. After a month off with an impediment to progress hanging about me in the form of plot problems, it is a relief to be making progress again, even if that progress is small. I managed to add another 1700 words to the count, get my characters out of a bind and into new territory. Most of the problem was not so much the plot, as I had thought, but a subconscious knowledge that continuing with a line of thought was not the best direction to continue in. I had it in my head that I had started a series of events and had to get through them in order to move onto the next part. Through some great conversations with my best friend and writing buddy (formerly out of the loop but now hovering just inside it), in which she picked out the exact areas that were my concern (and this without me telling the entire story, only the situation), I was able to better define the concerns, see them clearly for what they were and realize that I did not need to finish that particular path as my stubborn mind had lead me to believe I must, and that I could conclude that sojourn and move on into new areas. She also picked out a motif she saw that I didn't, that I was able to use to refine some ideas in order to use them to solve some of the puzzles that I set up for the characters. She is truly worthy of her long held title and crown, The Queen of Astuteness. Long may she reign! My heartfelt thanks for the time she took out of her busy schedule to extend a saving branch to me.
Now that I am moving forwards, I am excited by the new territory I am entering, and the leap it makes for the story. I'm sure the characters are also thrilled to be out of that particular strife. Little do they know....
I also spent some time finalizing the symbology I have incorporated into the story. There is lots of it. I had no idea how hard it would be to make up symbols. In some cases I have borrowed certain ideas from the real symbols of the ages, but not wanting to tread on the toes of those who own such symbols as part of their religious, philosophical and ideological identities, (we're not talking trademarks or what have you), I've used only those that have either been long discarded by time and history, or combined certain elements with made-up ones to get the desired effects. It's been a fascinating and enriching pastime, and although much of it won't appear in the tale, I hope those symbols which do will add to the layering and the richness of the world which now owns them.