04 April 2013

Working for the Weekend

I never thought I would be one of those people who races through the work week, crossing the finish line on Friday to spend 2 blissful days free of the 9-5, only to go through the same marathon the next week, and the next, and the next...

As a young girl, when I thought about my future it was always filled with unicorns and cupcakes and kittens: there was no way it could possibly go wrong.  I was going to publish my first book before I graduated high school and have a book and movie deal before I hit 20.  I was going to move to some far off land and live a spectacular life - traveling wherever I wanted and writing my heart out and everyone would love what I wrote, because I was so inspiring.  Young girls would want to be like me and I'd have an endless list of suitors waiting for my call.

It was a nice dream.  Sometimes it was the only thing that got me from day to day; to say that I had a well-balanced childhood would be giving it too much credit.  But the dream was going to happen - I was determined.  I never told anyone, but I wrote most of what I thought would surely be a best selling novel and sent it off to 5 publishing houses at the age of 14, including a letter to let them know that it was almost finished, and I was sure they would love it, and I was ready for their call.  I received rejection letters from all of them, of course.  But it didn't stop me from dreaming.  It did keep me from writing for a while, and convinced me that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a writer after all.  I'm also pretty sure I trashed the book, thinking it wasn't all that great of an idea after all.

I graduated and moved to Phoenix to attend art school.  I didn't write much, then.  I recorded my dreams, but mostly I was so busy with art projects that I didn't have time to write, even though I had the itch.  I started several stories, jotted down any spare idea I had, and vowed that some day I would get to them.  Someday I would write them and tell their stories.  Someday I would be an Author.

After college I got a big-kid job.  I worked long and hard to be successful.  I wish I could say that I have been, but 6 years later I'm in almost the same place.  It's not for lack of trying, but there aren't really any opportunities for me here.  Its something I probably should have realized sooner, but I was so busy trying to be successful at something that didn't make me happy, that I didn't stop to look around.

And so I find myself working for the weekends.  Rushing through the weekdays, doing just what I have to in order to squeak by, and cherishing my two, blissful days off; my reward for the rat race I've found myself stuck in.

But I never forgot about my dream: to one day become an author.  Over the last several years I've had my struggles. I've started and stopped several projects.  I've attempted NaNoWriMo a few times, not yet succeeding (mostly because it makes my writing feel forced - but some day I'll be a 'wrimo finisher).

I'm pleased to say that while I can't admit I've figured out life (because really, who ever does?), I have finally figured out a big part of myself.  There are some changes coming up in my life - big and glorious and long overdue changes.  

For now I'm still working for the weekend - and even the week nights.  Writing when I come home from work isn't a chore - it's a reward, and the weekends are like endless playgrounds in my imagination.  I can't wait to dive into my characters and see where they take me. It's an exciting, brave new world in my head, as crazy as that sounds.

Some people believe that you can't truly be happy until you're doing what you believe you were put on this earth to do.  Everyone has a talent, a special skill, and not everyone figures out what that is or how to use it.  Some people slog through their daily lives, working for the weekend like I am now, and never chase their dreams.  I don't plan to be one of those people.  I plan to someday write for a living - full time, as my real, big-kid job.  I know it will take many years for my dream to be come a reality - I may even have to wait until I'm 40 for it to happen (which really isn't old at all), but someday it will, and knowing that makes me happier than ever.  

Stay shiny - and whatever you do: don't give up on your dreams.

02 March 2013

New Project: Untitled

Why, hello there!
It's been a while, eh? It sure has.

So here's a mid-life update:  I'm now 27 (right? yeah - I am.  Sometimes it's hard to keep the years straight), and still breathing. My apartment complex was sold to a new management company, so we'll probably be moving in September.  My big-kid job is busier than ever; our brand is going through a heavy overhaul, and that means lots of and lots of things to do for my department.

I'm still on the road to health and fitness happiness.  I'm doing pretty well, though, despite some bumps in the road.  I finally got my boyfriend on board, so that's exciting.  It makes it a lot easier.

I'm also pleased to announce I have a new writing project.  I don't have a title for it, but like most of my ideas it's a series.  It's actually my longest running idea to-date.  I've been working on it, on and off, for about 8 months now, which is huge for me.  Usually I start and stop an idea about as frequently as a Paris Hilton goes shopping. 

I've decided that I'm going to finish this idea no matter now long it takes. Mostly I've been working on my timelines and character development.  It's very important for me to have a solid foundation before I begin... It's not exactly something I've taken a lot of time on before, and I think that's why my projects in the past have failed.  Maybe some time in the future I'll revisit them and give them the care and attention they need.  They're not bad ideas, they're just underdeveloped.  Poor ideas.

This new project is pretty exciting - I think.  It takes place in the distant future.  Earth exists but not as it has ever been known before.  The last war nearly destroyed the planet, and some ambitious terraforming likewise made most of the planet uninhabitable. Societies exist as lonely bastions in the wilderness, and while they trade with each other, they otherwise don't play nice.

It's a sci-fi/fantasy, but there isn't any space travel.  I don't want to weigh readers down with too much technical jargon - I want it to be about the story.  I think the hardest part is going to be writing the story and not constantly going back through and re-writing my first draft.  I do that a lot, constantly tweaking because it's not perfect... but a rough draft... a FIRST draft, isn't perfect.  That's kind of the point.

Anyway, that's what I'm up to.  Spending some quality time with the cats, my laptop, the sunniest spot in my apartment and the special playlist I put together for this novel.  I wish I could think of a good name for it, but I suppose that will come with time.  It's probably for the best.

Stay shiny!

25 May 2012

An Important Decision

I made an important decision this week.
There are a lot of things going on in my life, and I am the type of person to take on more life-altering projects than I can reasonably handle.  What happens next is that I fail to achieve a goal with one of them, I loose momentum and it's all downhill from there.

Something that has been very important to me for many years is my health.  Being healthy and achieving a healthy weight and fitness level is something I've struggled with - as many people have.  I desire more than anything to be an author, but it is very important to me I become a fitness success story, and not a statistic weighing the world down.

It is for that reason that I am taking a writing "break".  You can read more about it on my fitness blog here.  I am not going to quit writing by any means, but I am not going to set any writing goals.  It means that until my fitness goals are met, I will not participate in NaNoWriMo or follow the road that leads to Infamous Author.  Granted, if the opportunity arises I will be sure to jump on it, but for now this is the best decision I can make for me.

For that reason, you will see very few blogs posted here until my fitness goals are met.  I will continue to write on my fitness blog, however, which at least will keep me writing.

Sure, if a piece of a story falls into place I'll put pen to paper (or cursor to word processor) and write until my creativity stores are empty, and of course I'll still read (I've devoured 3 books already since I arrived home last Friday May 18) - I could never give up reading.  I simply need to focus on one thing at a time.  My fitness journey is life-altering, and so is my dream of becoming an author.  I think one life-altering project at a time (plus the wear and tear of every day life) is quite enough for one girl to take.  A girl can only do so much, you know.

So, my friends, I beg you forgive me for this period of silence, and please don't forget me.  I'll post occasionally - though not regularly - and one day I'll be back and better than ever.  If there is one promise I can make, that would be it.

If you need to get in touch with me, feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter (which I will still be posting on - hopefully more frequently though it may have to do more with fitness than writing, I confess) @UniqueInkWriter  


I thank you in advance for your understanding, your support, and your general awesomeness. 
STAY SHINY!

12 April 2012

My Motto: Write On

I know people who think writing is easy.
It's not.  I know it, and you know it, if you've ever tried to write.  Unless, that is, you're one of those lucky few whose books read like rainbows and unicorns and every sentence is made of gold and fairy dust.  Those magical writers are as rare as a a frog prince, and ladies, we all know how rare those are.

The truth is: writing his hard.  It's trying and challenging and can wear you down.  You hate your characters and you love them.  There are days when you want to bash your computer against a wall or rip that damn blinking cursor from the screen.  There are days when there is just nothing left or everything is Crap with a capitol C.  There are days you are sure that you should never have even started this stupid novel in the first place, because you're never going to get published.

Nothing is ever the way it starts off in your head.  Sure, you have a super idea, and it's just So Amazing and no one has ever had an idea This Amazing before.  You're sure of it - this is It.  This is Your Idea and it is going to be a novel worthy of hymns.  Your novel is going to make unicorns cry and fairies fall in love and evil beings renounce their ways to follow you.  Except then you actually start writing it, and somehow your magical idea starts to fall from grace.  You saw it in your head, right?  It was So Amazing and nothing could touch it.  It was perfect, tucked away in the bubble of your head, but now that the words are hitting the word-document, you can't imagine why you ever thought this was The Idea that would earn you a statue or pantheon. 

The more you write, the more you struggle.  This idea was so great in your head - and here it is, rolling filthy in the dirt like a cat on the 'nip.  It's horrifying - you can see it now, and your despair grows more with each passing sentence.   You know why no one is worshiping you now, it's so clear to you that your idea is not worthy.  This was not what you had in mind.  This was not how your main character was supposed to act.  Why are they defying you?  Is it just for the fun of it? They were so perfect in that bubble, can't you just put them back into it?  But it's too late, and you're stuck on a spiral that is winding into an unknown land full of men with unkempt beards, ratty looking teenagers who wear their pants around their knees and not a single coffee shop in sight.

Why would anyone torture themselves like this?  I've been asked similar questions before.  Usually the conversation goes something like this:

Non Writer: So, how's the novel going? 
Me: Don't talk to me about novels! It's crap - it's all crap! I just can't DO IT anymore!  My main character is defying me at every turn and I can't control them anymore!  I just want to quit! It's not worth it!
Non Writer: So why don't you quit?
Me: I can't quit!  I can't leave them alone like that!  Their story MUST be told!
Non Writer: But it sounds like you hate it.
Me: No - I don't hate it! I love it!
Non Writer: Really? Why?
Me: Because.  I just do.

I walk away feeling great, ready to get back at it and make those characters understand that I Am Their God and they will do as I say, and the non writer walks away confused, usually shaking their head and muttering about nutters.  We've had this conversation before, and they just don't understand why I love writing so much.  I can't make them understand, so I don't.  It's a feeling, you know?  It's in your blood... or it isn't.

Here's the thing: Writing is hard, but it's also rewarding.  It's challenging and it's fun, and every sentence is a mystery.  You never know what you're going to write until you write it, all you know is you have this idea and you have to follow it through.  You're telling their story - you're the only one who can.  They spoke to you and now you have to make sure their voices are heard.  You make an outline, but you might not follow it - the characters grow and develop and take shape, their paths twisting and turning and making your head spin.  The story unfolds before you and you struggle to keep up, or maybe you whiz by, knowing just what's around the corner but not seeing it clearly until you come face to face with it.

You're exhilarated and frightened and nervous. You're at the top of a roller coaster just before it starts to tilt downwards, suspended above the world, your gut twisted into glowing knots that spit molten anticipation into your veins.  Then the roller coaster drops, and your stomach is in your throat and the world is rushing by.

There's always the idea, safe away in it's little bubble in your head, siphoning it's mysterious, glitter and kitten-infested thoughts into your fingers, urging you to Write On.  For those of us who love to write, despite all of the challenges, pit-falls and the fact that we may never, ever earn a single penny for our work, it's like a drum-beat in our blood.  Any day that we deprive ourselves of writing even a single sentence is like a day without air or sunshine or coffee.

So we Write On. We love it and hate it, we cry and we laugh, we sometimes spin gold and weave unicorns into our tales, while other times we dredge up a really nasty hairball that's been stuck in our shower-drain for months.  Those can be thrown away, eventually, and the spun gold can be woven into a saddle for the unicorns, who grow up as bright as the stars themselves.  And if we're very lucky, we can ride those unicorns through the gates of Published Authors, and actually receive validation for everything we've put ourselves through.

It's all part of the process.
It's how we roll.
Write On.

11 April 2012

The Arena of Dreams

Last night I had a dream.
It was about a special, magical place where all dreams were created.  I don't remember much of it, but I remember what I was reciting in the dream (weird, I know).  I'm pretty sure that I was talking in my sleep, too.  I made sure to write it down as soon as I could, and I figured I'd share it.  Because really, why not?

There is a place I often go
A place, a place, that no one knows.

Its hidden in shadows
And warm in the sun,
Its lost to the winds
And the depths of the sea.

It’s called by the rain,
By the moon,
By the field
A field, a field, of long-lost things.

I’ll never reveal
Though you’ll try it, I know,
Your howl is worse than time.

But I’ll never give up that place,
A place, a place, that’s just for me.

10 April 2012

Rummaging etc

I've been thinking a lot about my Nano Novel lately.

I didn't finish it, and once my life was crazy with work, I didn't touch it.  But I've been thinking about it.  I want to finish it.  I have to finish it.  I've never finished a book in my life.  I've read plenty of books - some of them several times over - but I've never written a complete book.

There are a lot of reasons - a lot of excuses.  But it's something I just have to do.  So I'm going to.

Sure, things are crazy.  I've got 30 days of Dutch going on right now, plus April Hiking Madness.  My best friend and I leave for Europe in 25 days - 25 DAYS!! - but what better time than now?  And if not now, then when?  When will the excuses stop, if I don't stop them now?

I'm going to spend some time with my Twitter, getting back in the game, as well.  I can't remember my password, though, so I'm having some trouble connecting.  And Twitter takes FOREVER to re-send password information.  Forever, of course, being longer than five seconds.

So the moral of this story is: I'm going to finish writing about Rex LaBeau.  Even if I'm never published and I just have a stack of manuscripts surrounding me on my death bed, at least I'll be able to say I finished them.  And it starts with Rex.

Write on.

28 March 2012

A Much Needed Update (And Other Things)

So I know it's been a while, right? Did you all miss me? I bet you missed me.  How could you not, right?

Ha. Of course, you might not have, but who can tell, really? So, this is a much needed update, I know I've been MIA for.... a long, long time. What, like 6 months or so? Probably about that. Who really counts these things? Not, I, said the fly.

Obviously I did not complete my NaNoWriMo goal for last year. What happened was basically every person who was in charge of me at work either quit, was fired, or went on maternity leave.  Leaving me all by myself.  That's right, I was the only person running the training department for a global company.  Awesome, right?

Needless to say, work has been very stressful for many moons, now.  I've been working 10 - 14 hour days for the last few months, and before that it was 9 - 12 hour days. Not fun. Not fun at all.

What else happened?  My boyfriend and I moved in together (yay!) and that's going supremely well.  That's old news, though. Old hat, I say, old hat.

The new news is this: I had to get a temporary crown put on (Monday) and the Infamous Europe Trip of 2012 is only 38 days away.  38 DAYS!

First, the not fun topic: the crown.  So I go to the dentist to get a cleaning (because I'm due and I want it done before Europe) and it's a new dentist (because I've moved) and he tells me that my silver fillings (which I got when I was a child because my parents were cheap even though I begged for the enamel ones) are chipping and degrading and the one in the very back of my lower jaw will have to go ASAP because there's decay underneath the filling.  Oh, and by the way, the tooth is so small and the decay is so large that we're going to have to give you a crown.

So that was last week.  Then, Monday, I went back in to get the temporary crown, which I have to wear for the next 2 weeks until my permanent one is done being made.  It was pretty awful.  For 2 hours I lay there while they pried my jaws open wider than they should go and filed away my tooth.  Plus, filing away the tooth revealed a cavity on the tooth right next to it, so they filled that, too. So I got a temporary crown and a filling.  And, to top it off, they had to file away some of the tooth above the tooth getting the crown, because I have a tiny mouth and there just wasn't room.  Yeah, awesome.

I was miserable on Monday.  And yesterday wasn't much better.  But on the bright side, my mouth hurts so much that all I want to eat are soups and shakes, so I should lose some weight out of this. Haha! PLUS I'm so paranoid that I'm going to pop the temporary crown out (all the foods I'm not supposed to eat are my favorites) that I think I'm just going to continue with soups and shakes until I get my permanent crown put in.  That seems safest.

Now, for the fun topic: Europe.  You'll probably be seeing a few more blogs from me leading up to Europe, and possibly while I'm in Europe, though, let's face it,  I hate typing on those little tiny keyboards on smart phones.  So those might have to wait until I get back.  I'm definitely taking a few notebooks with me to record my thoughts and journey and what we did each day, and of course I'll be taking scad's of pictures.

So that's the update.  I'm so terribly sorry for making you all wait so long, I'm sure you're hanging on my every word, but alas I must go and do the work thing now. Until next time... stay shiny!