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Archive for March, 2007

It’s been an excellent writing day. Finally, finally, finally this second story in my collection fell into place. All the scenes fell into a new order that makes so much more sense and it feels inevitable. That has to be good, right? I just need to smooth out a few scenes, fill in a few gaps and send it off to my writing group for our next meeting. I’m sure they’ll be grateful to see a new story. Same character but new story.

It’s been an excellent library day. I checked out “Awake in the Dark” by Shira Nayman. It’s a story collection that I’ve been eyeing at the bookstore for a while. And “Blind Submission” by Debra Ginsberg which is a novel set in the bookstore/publishing business.

And it’s been an excellent bookstore day. I got the new CD by Amy Winehouse. It’s playing now. She has this great phrase in the third song “What kind of f**kery is this?” I think it could catch on… Plus a book called “Writer Mama” by Christina Katz which I think is probably aimed at moms with kids younger than mine but it looks like she has some great tips for breaking into magazine writing which is something I want to do. I also bought the latest issue of a magazine out of the UK called “Psychologies.” It’s one of the few magazines where I read practically every aricle.

And I cleaned up our art studio in the basement. Now that it’s a bit more organized maybe that will entice to go make some art.

So, yes, all in all an excellent day so far… Bring on the evening of homework, dinner and negotiating the inevitable sibling rivalry…

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Update

Not only was it a productive morning but I already heard back from the editor of the blog where I submitted my piece and they loved it. It will appear at http://www.estellasrevenge.com in April. Very cool… I am becoming more of a believer in just showing up and writing regardless of my current frame of mind- or lack thereof.

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It is now 9:08. I wrote my morning pages which actually helped shed some light on why I haven’t been writing like I want to. I finished the mysteries piece and submitted it to the blog editor. And I’ve been working on the second story in my novel-in-stories. I just scratched out a rough outline of a new sequence of scenes and it looks like I might end up combining the first two stories into one. I tried doing that before but something always prevented it. It still might but it feels good to be working on it. And the voice seems to be coming through this time. We’ll see… it’s way to soon to tell at this point.

Anyway… all in all quite a productive morning so far.

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I read on a blog, which is now on hiatus, about this writing accountability group. They all signed on at say 7 pm after posting their goal for that writing period earlier in the day. They all then proceeded to write for the allotted time, maybe 2 hours then checked back in with their results. It looked quite successful. So I am trying that this morning. It is 7:24 and I am committing to writing for at least the next hour. Longer if my daughter sleeps in. The only reason I can do this now is because she is home sick again. She’s missed the whole week of school. My goal is to write my 3 morning pages and revise my “It’s a Mystery” piece. I’ll post again when I am done.

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I’ve been a bit obsessed about this thing referred to as the creative process.( Just ask my writing group.) It probably stems from the fact that I haven’t been truly engaged in it in a while. I came to that conclusion because the days seem to slip though my fingers without me ever picking up a pen or tapping these keys. But I mull it over, this whole process thing. A lot. So my look on the bright side, the glass is half full new conclusion is that these black holes of non-productivity are actually part of my process. Not a part I necessarily enjoy but a part nonetheless. And this blog which is here to reflect on the creative process- well the black holes between entries tell a story in themselves, don’t they? You could assume that I am furiously writing my way through my novel-in-stories when, in fact, I am totally stumped by the first story. And I do mean stumped. (Again, just ask my writing group.) I am trying to write in a third person voice of an eight-year-old girl but also have this objective narrator available for those things that she just isn’t able to tell in her own voice. If anyone has any reading suggestions for that I am totally open. The only story I’ve come across so far is “Bocci” by Renee Manfredi and I am dissecting it line by line.

Another thing that leads to this not writing business is that I do not have to work outside the home. I have been beyond blessed in that regard. I do some freelance graphic design work but for the most part my days are wide open, except for days like this week when my daughter is home sick. I have put this pressure on myself that a real writer with a day wide open like mine will slide effortlessly toward her computer and sit there for a good 5-6 hours writing her novel. I don’t know where I got this idea. I have met one writer who claims to do that. I won’t mention her by name because I do enjoy her books but still, I think we are allowed to hate her just a bit. But all the other writers I know and have read interviews with, well, that’s just not reality. All the blogs I find, they discuss this dark side of writing and I realize that if I am to keep an honest account of my creative life, then I need to disclose this side too. And accept that it is just part of living a creative life.

NEWS
Received form email rejection from “The Missouri Review” for “Being Franny’s Sister”- Kind of disappointing since I have gotten some very encouraging handwritten notes from them in the past and this is my best story to date.

Walter Mosley has a new book coming out on April 3 called “This Year you Write Your Novel”- It looks amazing. There’s an excerpt in the current issue of “Poets & Writers.” I plan on reading it on our 12 hour road trip to CT over Easter.

Anne Lamott has a new book that came out yesterday. More spiritual essays. Can’t wait to read it.

GOALS
• Send out “Being Franny’s Sister” and “Small Gestures of Violence” to five journals each before my writing group meets again on April 22.

• Revise the second story in my collection “Japanese for Butterfly” for April 22.

• Revise and submit piece on mystery for http://www.estellabooks.blogspot.com/ by March 25.

QUOTE
“The first and most important thing you have to know about writing is that it is something you must do everyday…Some days you may be rewriting, rereading, or just sitting there scrolling back and forth through the text. This is enough to bring you back into the dream of your story. What, you ask, is the dream of a story? This is a mood and a continent of thought below your conscious mind; a place that you get closer to with each foray into the words and worlds of your novel. You may have only spent an hour and a half working on the book, but the rest of the day will be rife with motive moments in your unconsciousness; moments in your mind, which is mulling over the places your words have touched. While you sleep, mountains are moving deep within your psyche. When you wake up and return to the book, you are amazed by the realization that you are farther along than when you left off yesterday. If you skip a day or more between your writing sessions, your mind will drift away from these deep moments of your story. You will find that you’ll have to slog back to a place that would have been easily attained if only you wrote everyday.”

From Walter Mosely’s new book. I printed it out and taped it over my desk.

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