Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Yes, it's true. After almost a full month of crazy non-stop writing I have finally accomplished my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And while it's true that I did complete the YA novel I set out to write, I still have a lot of work to do.

Reading through my novel feels a bit like looking in the mirror after getting dressed in the dark. My story might be wearing some clashing colors as well as an embarrassing mix of stripes and plaids. It might have accidentally put on the size 6 pants when really the size 12 would have fit a whole lot better and I don't want to make it blush, but it appears that maybe my story forgot to put on its underwear.

So, it's true, my story is written, but I'm hoping that December will bring not only some well deserved long underwear for my dear manuscript, but also plenty of time for rewrites.

Monday, November 21, 2011


The world is richer when you stop for a moment to think of all the things you have to be grateful for. Almost anyone living in our country has an immense amount to be thankful for: clean water, shelter, food…all those things that we take for granted every day.

I could list all those things, but so could you. We know what they are already, don't we? I thought instead I’d focus on the smaller things, the things that are unique to me. Maybe you’ll recognize some of the items on my list as things that you’re grateful for too, or maybe you'll just be thankful that you have better things on your list this Thanksgiving.
·         Closing my eyes at night and not opening them again until morning       
·         Apples that shock me with their crispness
·         Cold milk
·         Laughing so hard with my kids that I cry
·         Making things with my hands
·         New ideas that make me itch to start them
·         Finishing when it isn’t easy
·         Creating
·         People who write beautiful words that make me jealous and excited all at once
·         A husband who does the small things, like turning on my bed warmer so that my toes will be snugglywhen I climb into bed
·         Hot showers
·         Music that makes me want to sing at the top of my lungs
·         Paper
·         Clean laundry when it’s folded and all put away
·         Sitting around the dinner table with my family
·         Rain against the windows
·         Warm socks
·         The freedom to have my own opinion
·         Coconut ice cream
·         Sunlight shining through leaves
·         Good morning hugs
·         The minutes when the words come easily
·         My fuzzy down blanket
·         A clean kitchen floor
·         Red stoplights at dusk
·         Major and minor chords
·         The smell of soap and freshly washed hair
·         The promise of someday soon

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Your Mark...

Yes, it's true, I'm totally a sucker for anything with a built in timer. That is why today, when I discovered the Write or Die app, I fell in love at first click.

I'm in the thick of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and even though I've done a pretty adequate job keeping up with the daily word count, today I realized that with a little nudge (and fifteen minutes on the clock) my writing goals went right through the roof.

The key is getting the fingers moving and getting rid of the internal editor. And believe me, Write or Die won't let you lollygag. If your fingers start hovering over the keypad for too long without typing, the screen starts changing color to let you know that you've slumped into one of those writing comas. And if you need a real kick in the pants you can set it to alarm you with annoying sounds if you start slacking off.

Now I just need to find an app that can do this same sort of thing for folding laundry and my life will really be looking bright.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Creative Insomniac

You probably fell asleep just fine, but now your eyes have popped open and you've tossed and turned for the last fifteen minutes, glancing at the clock again and again to see the red numbers mocking you. What? You didn't fall back asleep for another hour. The clock still says 1:42. It just said 1:42 an eternity ago. It might be that you're stuck in some strange time warp where the minutes really do click by like millenia, or maybe you're an insomniac.

Don't fret. All is not lost. Sure you may feel like the only thing that's keeping you from the sweet taste of sleep is your own sick mind which keeps alerting you to the fact that your mouth seems too dry and your eyeballs actually hurt. But don't focus on the BAD stuff. Just think of all the terrific things you can do with your new found time. Weren't you just saying the other day that you wish you had more hours in the day? Well here you go.

With your insomnia you could...

1. Search the internet for all the diseases you may or may not have based on your particular symptoms for the day.

2. Flip through all the catalogues that have been sent to you in the past week and decide that not one piece of clothing would look good on you until you go on a diet.

3. Research all the different diets on the internet. Imagine how good you'll look after you finish: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, e diets, Nutrisystem...

4. Find the bag of trailmix you left on the coffee table and pick out all the pieces of chocolate and anything that might be a cashew.

5. Facebook stalk all the people who are probably peacefully sleeping at the moment and flip through all their pictures. Decide that maybe they could stand to research e diets too.

6. Listen to the ticking of the clock and bemoan the fact that you're wide awake.

7. Scroll through pinterest. Laugh at all the lame quotes and pin all the pictures of country kitchens that you can find.

8. Consider working on the project you left sitting out on the kitchen table but then realize that it would require turning on the light, which you are very opposed to at this hour. No matter what.

9. Sit in the dark and concentrate on being sleepy.

10. Check your email, even though the only ones you'll be getting at this time of night are from Groupon or your kind friend in Belarus who would like to bequeath a large sum of money to you.

11. Learn a language. Just think, if you keep this insomnia thing up you could be ordering croissants in Paris at two in the morning.

12. Invent some tremendously brilliant and useful gadget that will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. Never mind that when you wake up in the morning your so-called "brilliant gadget" will seem either mundane or idiotic by light of day.

13. Work on your novel. After all, doesn't it seem like all your good ideas come to you in dreams. Well this is happening at the same time that you should be having those dreams so your ideas will probably be fantastic.

Oh, what the heck, maybe after all this you'll just try lying back in bed again and see what happens. Maybe you'll even surprise yourself.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Creative is a Verb

This past week my sister-in-law came into town from Portland to see our new play and she brought this amazing book with her. I could tell right away how excited she was to share it with me. We stood in my mom's living room and she flipped through the pages telling me a little bit about the author who had illustrated the book entirely with artwork that had been submitted by readers of her very popular blog "37 days".

So I took the book home expecting to flip through some pages and maybe take in a few insights before I gave it back to her the next day. But it ended up not really being one of those books that I could just flip through. I got sucked in by the clear, but beautiful writing right from the introduction and I could see how this writer gained so many blog followers, and later, so many readers of her books. She seemed geniune and honest and so very excited by the prospect that creativity is for EVERYONE, not just those of us who proclaim ourselves to be "artists".

I only had time to read about half of the book before my sister-in-law had to return home, but I'm planning on going out today to buy my own copy so that I can finish reading it. It seems like a book that I'll be able to turn back to time and again for inspiration. And, let's face it, who doesn't need a good shot of inspiration every so often.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


NaNo what???

That's NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month and I just might be crazy enough to attempt it. Yes, this is an obsurdly busy month to begin with. I've got my play opening tomorrow and I'm supposed to be madly making my new art dolls for an upcoming show next month, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't also be writing.

If you've ever wanted to try writing a novel, November is the month for you to throw yourself full force into the crazy whirlwind of it all. Pop on over to the NaNoWriMo website and enter yourself in all the insanity. In 30 days you could be 50,000 words closer to your dream.