Yeah, I know…this is cheating…

I have so much going on in my writerly head and life in general, that I kind of feel like THIS. Check out Celeste’s blog “Life. Laughter. Love.” while I get my self together…

You Know You’re A Writer When

I’m writing sermons, learning scripture for Sunday, and drafting To Do lists. And the first storms of summer are rolling through.

 

 

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Love it, Lieb it!

I spent most of December trapped in my own unique bubble that included Christmas planning, bone scans and physical therapy, family events, finishing editing projects, and parenting.  Oh, and the unexpected purchase of a car. Christmas planning resembled a counter-offensive by the Penguins of movie Madagascar: it looked insane on paper, but somehow it all worked. But as December progressed, blogging kept sliding down the To Do List and finally landed between “Send out Christmas cards” and “borrow mom’s oven to bake cookies.”

The Christmas cards went in the mail…January 3rd.  The cookie dough is still in the refrigerator.

So here I am – making good on a long overdue promise to pay it forward to some fellow bloggers.

In December, I had not one but two bloggers present me with a Liebster Award. This award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers who deserve more recognition. I’m still a rookie, technically, and am learning as I go so I very much appreciate the cyberlove!

The bloggers who made my heart grow three sizes and brought tears to my eyes with their kind words were my fabulous friend Karen C.L. Anderson, who shares the power of self-acceptance with courage and conviction, and Kim Koning of Wrestling the Muse, a multifaceted author of dark paranormal fiction and suspense as well as poetry. This blog wouldn’t exist without Karen’s encouragement, and I am honored that Kim finds my writing uplifting and true to the blog’s intentions.

The Liebster Award comes with a few small rules:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  • Give your top 5 picks for the award.
  • Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.

But even if you don’t actively present awards like this, make sure you show your support for your favorite bloggers – newbies or veterans – by commenting and letting others know about them. We all appreciate the encouragement, and it’s something I pledge to do better this year.

And here are the bloggers I have enjoyed following over the past year for their humor, their passion, their honesty, and their creative spirits:

Latisha Williams/Frugalicious Diva:  not only can Latisha show you how to eat healthy and feed a family on a tight budget, she will encourage you to embrace abundant living.

Catherine Linard/Voices from Spirit: Catherine and I were close friends in high school, and after graduation we lost touch and walked our separate paths, only to reconnect 20 years later and find we’d been on very similar journeys.  On her journey, she has reconciled science and faith and helps others live whole and centered lives.

Tracey/Snagglewordz: “meeting” Tracey is a testament to the power and diversity of the blogosphere. I never would have met this funny, Wholehearted writer from New Zealand any other way. I love her voice.

Isadora/Inside the Mind of Isadora: ….it’s a creative, elegant place to be. Poetry, photography, orchids, and jewelry on a sunny beach. (Isadora, I know you’ve already been graced with a Liebster…but it’s worth repeating).

Feliza Casano: I met Feliza (at least, virtually) through our local NaNoWriMo group…and in a couple weeks, I get to meet her in person!  Feliza is energetic, insightful, and I am in awe of her business sense as a writer…and she is going to write circles around us. But first – college graduation! 😀

I’m thrilled to have made the acquaintance of many exceptional writers, photographers, motivators, and artists over the past year since launching this blog. Keep speaking your hearts and minds! Happy 2012!

“Creativity requires courage.” – Henri Matisse

24K – and I’m not talkin’ about gold

Nanowrimo

Image by shaylamyst via Flickr

Twenty-four-thousand words.  That’s what I need to generate in the next twelve hours (or less) if I’m going to hit the magic 50-thousand-word mark for National Novel Writing Month. Even if I ignore all else – laundry, children, groceries, errands, meals, choir practice – or happen across one of those Atanik armbands from Stargate SG-1 that give the wearer superhuman speed and dexterity, odds are 50K isn’t going to happen.

And I’m okay with that.

I’ll squeeze in another 4-5K before midnight, which will put me at around 30-thousand words. And that is 30-thousand more than I had 30 days ago.

Anyone else out there who is attempting NaNoWriMo and not feeling very optimistic about your chances for success tonight, do remember this:  if you consider yourself a writer, and you are writing, then you have won.

I’m not advising you to quit right now. Not at all. Do what you can before midnight. And then on December first, open the document, or pick up your pen, and keep going. Participating in NaNoWriMo is as much about building a writing habit as getting the start of a novel.

I’m willing to bet that if you believed in your idea enough to attempt NaNoWriMo in the first place, then your idea – your story – is important enough that you’re not going to let the turn of a calendar page or the ticking of a clock keep you from finishing it.

When I confessed to struggling with my own story, a friend said, “Well, does it have to be 50-thousand words? Maybe it’s really a novella and only needs to be about 30-thousand.”

In my case, no, the story isn’t a novella. It won’t be done at 50-thousand words either. I suspect closer to 75-thousand when all is said and done. But think about your story:  do you have a novella? Or could it even be a short story?  50K is the NaNo goal, but maybe you can say all that needs to be said in 15K.  So keep working on that first draft, and fine-tune it later.

(By the way – does anyone else find it ironic that we sometimes nickname this venture “NaNo” when there’s nothing small about it?)

I still believe in  my characters and their digitized lives, and they have a story to tell. I’m convinced that the scope of their story requires a little more patience and deliberate thought than I can give it in a mere 30 days.  But I’ve at least learned that.

During the course of November and telling my couple’s story,  I started to fear I’d grown too misogynistic to write romance…that I just don’t believe in it enough or maybe that I believe in it too much and anything I write doesn’t do it justice. As I wrote in a guest blog for my Northwest Ohio NaNo Buddy, Feliza Casano, I can’t wrap my writer’s head around certain kinds of romances – as much as I enjoy reading them and may desire to write them, I don’t seem to be wired correctly.

I like my heroes to be real. They have graying hair, labor-intensive non-romantic jobs (or no job), and genuine fears. The hero of my NaNo novel has a disability. At the moment, it’s the proverbial gun on the mantel that Anton Chekhov says you should use by Act III if you introduce it in Act I – I’m working on making it work. But my point is, Real isn’t always pretty…but when it works, it’s beautiful. It appeals to the hopeful romantic in all of us. It’s a very delicate balancing act. I have to use grains of sand – not bricks – to balance the scale that is Real on one side, and Romantic on the other.

Also, I know of some NaNoWriMo participants who take shortcuts or play “fast and loose” with the word count just to hit 50K.  For example, I might consider including any blogging about NaNo toward the word count. I know of people who have done it, and I thought about it too. But in my mind and for my intentions, it defeats the purpose. I’d rather fail to meet the benchmark honestly. And since I plan to keep the manuscript around and continue working on it, what is the point of adding ten-thousand words of “fake” content that I’d have to go back and cut out anyway?

When the clock switches over to 12:01 a.m. and it becomes December 1st, your manuscript will not vanish in a cloud of sparkly fairy dust. It will not cease to exist. You may be someone who took on NaNoWriMo as a dare or a lark and have no intention of pursuing writing beyond November. That’s all good. Congratulations on sticking it out this long! Seriously!  But if you are a Writer, believe in yourself and your abilities, not the clock and the calendar. Believe in your characters and listen to what they have to say. They won’t stop talking at 12:01 a.m. So don’t stop writing.

Kudos and a peppermint mocha salute to all of my NWO NaNites who hit 50K!