What have I done?

Well, I did it. I said I wasn't going to, and I did it anyway. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

Now I have to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.

Fifty thousand.

That's almost two thousand words a day.

And what idea did I pick to work on for this challenge? One that I've been saving in the back of my head because I didn't think I was a good enough writer to do it justice.

So I hope you all are ready for November, because pretty much all I'll be talking about is the novel. (Hey, at the very least, this should help me develop a consistent writing schedule.)

Wish me luck...

A very bookish post.

I had one of those mini-revelations yesterday, the kind that don't really change your life, but make for serious thought. Despite my well known book addiction, I've actually said very little about books themselves on this blog.

That seemed... odd. More odd than I usually am. But after considering the whys and wherefores, I found an answer.

I read too fast. As I explained in one of my Life of Books posts, I read much faster than most people I know, especially when it's a book I'm familiar with. This means that by the time I get to blog day, whatever book I was thinking about sharing with you is buried two to three books back. Plus, I've been on a comfort reading kick, which means all the books are books I've read before.

(I do promise to tell you if I read anything new or exciting.)

So for your amusement, I present an overview of my recent reading habits.

Tuesday was introvert-recharge day. My husband was gone all day. I opened at my store in the morning, got home at nine am, took a three hour nap, and proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon/night curled up on the couch. I'm on a Mercedes Lackey binge, and made it through Exile's Valor, To Take a Thief, and most of Arrows of the Queen before I turned in.

Other Lackey books I've read in the last week/week-and-a-half include...

Exile's Honor
Storm Rising

Storm Breaking
Winds of Fate
Brightly Burning

I tried to read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, but half-way through the book, I found myself fighting for it with my husband, who loves the Herriot books. So now I'm waiting for him to finish, and reading fantasy instead.

I have about... seven books in my car waiting to be read. About half of them are Lackey, but the rest are Gideon Oliver books by Aaron Elkins. They're forensic mysteries with solid writing, and a little easier read then Kathy Reichs's books.

I did read my first Temperance Brennan forensic mystery by Kathy Reichs: Monday Mourning. Very good, she definitely knows what she's talking about, and I really liked Temperance as a character. I got a little lost during the three page explanation of carbon dating and related sciences, though.

So that's my last couple weeks of reading. How about you?


Almost forgot to update there. That was a close one...

It's been like that all week for me, though. Thinking Monday was Tuesday, thinking this week is next week, stuff like that. Me, I'm blaming it on my rewrites.

Here's the deal. There comes a point for me in every project where I think to myself. "This is coming together really well. The writing flows and the dialogue is good. I just have to fix A, B and C."

So I fix A, B and C, and reread it. Now the flow is jerky, the dialogue sounds stilted and the whole thing just clunks. My repairs, though necessary, have lowered the quality of the whole dang thing.


I hate it when this happens because then I begin to wonder if I can really write at all. Maybe I 'm just a hack. I start wondering what I'm going to do with my life now that writing has so obviously failed me. Maybe, if no one is around, I cry a little.

Then I call the waa-mbulance and get off my bum and do another rewrite. Usually the third time is the one that works, with all problems fixed and good writing to boot. Needless to say though, the process is rather mentally exhausting, and that's why I keep forgetting what day it is.

It is Wednesday, right?

Many bits of random thought.

1. Two nights ago, I had a nightmare. I was at work and the place was a mess. The walls were falling down, and I didn't know where anything was and my supervisor wouldn't listen to me and I couldn't get to the coffee machine because there was this crack in the earth....

Then my alarm went off. Telling me I had to be at work in 20 minutes.


2. I took this awesome quiz to find out what fantasy character I am. This is what it said:

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?
A wandering spirit caring for a multitude of just concerns, you are an instrumental power in many of the causes around you.
And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord.
(Gandalf is a character from the Middle-Earth universe.)

Dangerous. Oh, yeah, that's me.

3. My sister's family moved last week. When I called her to find out how the move was, she said, "Great, except all three of the kids got the vomiting/diarrhea sickness."

She has a four-year-old and two toddlers.

Suddenly my latest rejection letter didn't seem so awful.

4. According to the lovely Joanne at Whole Latte Life, today is Sweetest Day. It's a day for celebrating the people who make life special. So here's a cyber-hug for my family and friends. (especially Colleen in Iraq and Ashley and Caleen in Korea.)


Happy Saturday!

Ah... walking.

Last week I meandered into work, still yawning and sleepy. One of my shift supervisors asked me how I was doing and I said (trying to be funny) that I was tired. Her reply brought me up short. She said, with a look of concern, "You know, you're always tired."


And it was true. For the six weeks, I've been in a constant state of tiredness. Now I was blaming it on all the different things that have been going on, and just being married and having family visit and trying to finish my book. But I realized that none of that should put have made me as tired as I am. After some brain-racking, I came up with the answer.

I haven't exercised for almost three months.

I was doing well over the summer, exercising with a friend of mine. But then she moved to Korea. (pout) I had no motivation to do videos, and Dan and I can't even afford gas right now, much less a gym membership. So I decided to start walking. I used to love to walk, in fact, my husband and I were taking long night walks before we ever officially started dating. It's not as "fast" or results oriented as other exercises, but at least I would be moving.

So yesterday, after work, I went into this little neighborhood behind my store and walked for 40 minutes. It was quite relaxing to just be by myself, and the day was cool and sunny. One of those days that makes you happy for no reason.

This morning I woke up feeling more energetic then I have for a while. Hooray! So this is my goal, to walk before or after work at least 5 times a week for 30-40 minutes. I'll let you know how it goes.

After all a writer's mind is only as alert as her body, right?

Speaking of alert minds, 1987 is out on my Life Of Books blog. And my Excellence List will be the next to be updated, so stay tuned!

A new look for me!

So, I revamped the blog. I was hoping for a more professional feel, and I think I like it, despite it's conspicuous absence of red.

What do you, the viewers at home, think?

Today it snowed in Boise, and my husband and I indulged in a lovely rendition of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Halloween". As I stared out my window at the gray sky, swirling with huge feathery flakes, it struck me how very patient the snow was. It fell in absolute silence, slowly drifting down to stick to tree branches and melt on the sidewalk. There was no frantic lightning, no lash of rain and wind. It just... fell. Steady and calm and in no particular hurry at all.

But if that snow had lasted more than thirty minutes, all that patience would have paid off, and the world would have been covered in white. For some reason, I found these thoughts very encouraging, especially after all the soul searching about why I write.

So I decided to inflict them on you. (grin)

Also, the moment you've been waiting for is here. 1986 has been posted on my Life of Books blog, and I have high hopes that 1987 will follow close behind it. So check it out and find out what my favorite place on earth is.

More reasons why I write...

1. As I said before, it's good for my soul. I tend to get very cranky if I haven't written for a while. (This could also mean I'm addicted.)

2. It's fun. I love putting characters through tons of crap and watching them fight their way out.

3. It's simple. You only need imagination, pen and paper. I wrote almost all my second book in one five-dollar notebook and a couple yellow legal pads.

4. It's also pretty cheap, unless you get the conference bug.

5. I'm no good at high finance.

6. I get to be anti-social and other people think it's cool.

7. I have to.

If you don't understand that last one, there's no way I can explain it properly.

I can't not write. That's all there is to it.

Why I write.

So, I only got one comment on my "what's your opinion" post, but that's all right. I know a lot of you are blurkers, but I love you anyway. (I am also a terrible blurker-someone who reads blogs, but doesn't comment. I'm trying to get better about it.)

Anyway, I promised you my opinion on this subject, so here it is.

The question of why I write is an interesting one to me, because for a long time I was one of those people who thought there was no point to writing if you couldn't get published. Then, as I wrote more, and became more familiar with myself I discovered that I couldn't stop writing. It became one of the cores of my existence. I also learned how hard it is to get published, and so I stopped evaluating my writing based on that.

But I was still easily discouraged. Primarily because I thought there was no point in writing if no one ever read it. I went through a terrible period with my first novel where, out of the 15+ people who asked to read it, only 3 actually finished it. And most of the comments I got were along the lines of "it was all right", which is the worst thing in the world to say to a writer. It tells me nothing, except that my writing was bland and inspired apathy.

Needless to say, this was very depressing.

Then I had a revelation. To explain this revelation, though, I have to give you some idea of my view of the world. I believe that there are good and evil forces at war in the world. I believe that on some level we can't see and on many levels we can, good and evil are always fighting for the hearts and souls of people.

My revelation went like this: To create something beautiful with words or paint or music or clay, to create with joy and hope, is one of the most powerful and positive things that humans can do. If you create something, the very act of creating creates a positive ripple that affects the world, whether or not your creation is ever seen.

Words and art and music, they matter on such a deep level, that it doesn't really matter if no one reads the book or listens to the song. The artist forgot himself while creating, and so for a moment, selfishness, meanness and petty evil were overcome.

It is the act of creating that is important.

So that is very metaphysical, and I'm sorry if I confused you. But to me, writing is one of the things I was made to do, regardless of success.

Besides, I get really cranky when I don't write. It's good for my soul.

What's your opinion?

So a friend of mine and I were talking at the writer's conference, and we started wondering why anyone would write at all.

I mean, first you have to actually write something and then you have to rewrite it and then, maybe, if you're lucky, you get a publisher, then you have to market it, which is a whole other thing, and maybe a hundred people buy it and that's it. The only way to grow your audience is to continue to write, which means starting the whole process over. And there are all those days and weeks and years when no one buys anything from you and all your stuff gets nice form rejections which means it didn't get past the intern and you start to wonder if you're a hack.

Why would anyone do this to themselves?

All right my lovely little group of readers, this time I want to hear from you. I know some of you write. Why do you do it?

I'll let you know my opinion on Saturday.
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.