Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reality bites

Okay, so week by week I am writing this journal to record my progress, the highs and low of attempting to create and complete  a fictional book. Well I have to report that  Friday was a hard day, when faced with comments that make you wince it is easy to want to give up. I need feedback wanting to know whether the story is appealing, makes sense, is interesting, captivating. However, when someone gives you the low down and it is bad news, when their comments are not what you had hoped or wished for. Your heart just simply sinks like the Titanic.

I felt completely drained. Wanting to throw the towel in, worried that after writing over 50.000 words it is complete and utter rubbish. Pondering whether I am just completely wasting my time. When writing you have to have such tremendous personal strength, and commitment to keep going. As forlorn as I felt my husband is a great support to me, when I least expect it. Even though he laughs at me, and makes jokes I guess as most husbands would, when he is genuine I realise why I chose him as my life partner. He puts up with my moods, impatience and  offers encouragement. Which you need,.because as strong as you think you are, when the feedback is not good, you feel bloody awful. 

It doesn't take long for me to admit that the comments are true, I need to add more detail,  improve the grammar, rewrite and rewrite. After a lot of reflection which I do, I rise above the hurt, forget  the huge dent in my pride, and take on board what is said . I have to get better work harder and undertake more research. I swallow the comments  aware I am not JK Rowling or Stephen King, or any other prestigious well known author. I am an amateur ! A beginner, I have so much to learn but they must have started somewhere. Maybe, it will take me years to get published  I never really started out with that as my ultimate goal. I just wanted to be able to write a book, to finish what I had started. I hope it doesn't take me years to finish it.

Good or bad please continue to send me comments, and let me know your thoughts I am grateful I have people I trust to read through my work, as it is hard to lay it out there for someone to pick holes in.Particularly as it is all completely new to me. This is a journey of self discovery, I get to use my imagination, which I love, it makes me laugh and cry. I feel excited when I have a good day of writing, I feel scared as hell that I am not good enough, but feel blessed that I am able to do what I love, and for all that I have, as reality is harsh and it bites..      

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Women are amazing

I love being a woman I am so biased because to be one is all I know, but I think that women are so strong, courageous, talented, and capable of anything that they so desire. We are fascinating as a species ever evolving, when you think of men from the beginning of time they were the provider, the cave man I really don't see an awful lot of change, whereas for women we are now capable of being anything and everything the mother ever nurturing, and providing for the family.We do not have to compromise our sexuality for the role of the modern day women I just admire and greatly appreciate being a woman.

This week as my exploits as a novice writer continues I find I am at the hardest point yet in writing my story I have reached a climax only to find I am not sure of how to continue. I find I am dodging writing the next chapter as to put pen or finger to the keyboard is difficult. My mind throbs after a days writing but it also pains me to know I have reached a stumbling block, and I not sure of how to proceed. I have  changed the name of my main male lead and I feel slightly better about the choice. However I really feel I need a proof reader someone who can read my work and see if it makes sense to the average American. My husband as ever my greatest support told me after I described my book so far, "Bloody hell I am never ever going to be able to give up work , do you really believe that @@%&@.".So I am on my own as far as belief in my abilities to produce a book at the end of this quest.

I know I could do more to improve my skills as a writer, go on courses to learn to write, enter short story writing competitions. But to choose to do this deviates from the sole task which is to complete a fictional book. A quest that I am convinced many think is impossible for me to achieve. Anybody that  know's me well, will know I never give up and  I always rise to the challenge. To give up is failure and I dont believe in that. My dad was a true inspiration he was a small man in stature but a man with a big heart, although like many men he did not know how to show it, he never gave up trying !

As much as I like to think I need no help this week I encountered the Computer jungle. I am so lost when it comes to technology if I press the wrong button I freeze afraid I am going to erase all my work or send it somewhere I can never retrieve it from ever again. I hate this age of technology it makes us so dependant on these electronic devices that do not always work as they should.The other day I worked on the computer for 45 mins trying to change the setting fearing that I had lost 2 days worth of work even though I had pressed the damn saved button countless times. My pages were enlarged and spread all over the place what was 162 pages of work showed as 50 pages I was dying ... no really dying that was the point when I wanted to chuck the god damn computer out the window until  my ever so wonderful husband walked in and within I would like to say hours, mins, but it was seconds fixed the problem.

Which brings me full circle as much as women have progressed , we still need men every now and then.
I am ever learning, ever grateful , onwards and upwards.

cheers Jen xx  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Only Human

Time is going ferociously fast at the moment with Thanksgiving just around the corner, the pressure is on for me to make progress whilst I can. This week has been really great I have to admit that for the last couple of weeks my feelings have been on the downward slope doubting my abilities to create something worthwhile.  Breaking away from the story and having the occasional coffee morning with a friend or two really helps. However, when I feel like this, I feel the need to write even more and have continued,carrying on immersing myself in this work, pushing all my fears to the back. I am so loving the story, I feel so eager to get it all down that it is still my greatest frustration. Whilst I am being somewhat productive I am happy I am on the right course for me, the quality of my laborious efforts are not the best at first, but when I go back, rearrange the words I feel it is getting stronger and closer to the way I want it to sound. The essence of the story I find captivating I hope eventually others will to. I am only human and this is my first attempt at writing a book, hopefully it will not be my last.

My husband, is eager for me to be successful, already making his wish list as to what he plans to buy, and to be able to name the day he can retire, and live off me. Yes, he makes me smile, and laugh, one can dream !!!! Anyway as he jokes I carry on. I find I am mainly pleased with My main female lead Mia I am happy with who she is and what she stands for, however my male lead Declan a name I recall from when I was nursing, he was  a doctor I once worked with,he was Irish and lovely. But I am less convinced at this point, whether indeed I even like the name. A name means so much, do you remember how hard it was when it came to choosing a name for your child. Well this is even harder ! I can make a mental picture of how he is meant to look, and how I want him to be, just need to feel happy with this name ? What do you think ? Even though my book is a fictional one there are moments in it  where real events are mentioned,  there are also elements of science fiction mixed into the mix of this story. Having plotted out my story board and having reached approximately half way, I believe I have the potential for at least a second book within this format, which I have very, very loosely started to write down, bits of scribble!!

Talking abouts names I have used some of my families names in the story line, they are just so familiar to me,  easy to add, and picture certain qualities I like.Other names I have used, as there are so many that you can find, when you are searching, one site was baby names, there are so many, but I have used names that are in my circle of friends or acquaintances. Whilst writing my book I am also trying to continue to read as many books as possible to observe as many styles of writing and improve and broaden my range of vocabulary it is so important, anything that adds to developing my creativity  is essential. I would love to have opinions  from other writers as to how they began,their  triumphs, and failures, difficulties, after all we are only human!!! We make mistakes,we just have to learn from them, and improve. I am writing a book because I have a story I want to share with everyone,it comes from within  and a desire to get the story written and published, this is my journey and I am totally committed, no matter what anyone thinks, this is my dream, my quest. At the end I will have created something I can keep,this is my record of that journey. 

"Don't aim for success if you want it,just do what you love and believe in and it will come naturally"  David Frost.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Time of the month

Over coming challenges is part of the course in any new job, its what makes it so exciting to start with, writing creates many challenges especially for someone who has not written for over ten years .Knowing when to stop and call it a day, is as important as knowing when to carry on with the flow. I cannot work if I haven't had enough sleep, the weekends are out of bounds, I work through lunch but still need to eat. Being organised and not getting stressed is vital the greatest  pressure sometimes coming  from yourself .  Adapting to changes in circumstances is something as mothers we learn and practice all the time, so I take lots of deep breaths, try to stay calm, get as much sleep as my youngest will allow, and acknowledge that tomorrow is another day . Last week I felt frustrated at not being able to spend as much time as I would like writing. Because of the numerous interludes that having a family and life in general gives you. This week I am concentrating on the belief within myself, to continue to remain strong and positive believing this will see me through to the end.Realising that also only by working hard and improving will I ever realise this dream is possible, that it is not a race and it is within my grasp.  As I walked through Borders yesterday to get my son his latest Rick Riordan book I am gripped by this overwhelming desire and exhilarating feeling now to see my name on a shiny glossy book cover, but there are so many!!!!

Anyway, this week I have changed the heading somewhat,  as when I started out back in September, my reason for the blog may have seemed somewhat unclear, maybe even vague. I feel the above title now acknowledges what my intention is right from the start.My hope is to attract other writers to join this expedition so we can all learn from each other, I know I have so much to learn and would welcome great advice and help. It would also be so good to share our experiences. we all have such different ideas, view points and life can be quite solitary when you spend so much of your time writing. I would write all the time if I could! Another, discovery is the fact you spend so much time sat down, something that is so alien to me as a mother always on the go, my back is killing me, it is stiff, and aching at the end of the day. I have yet to find a good comfortable chair from which I can type my work into the computer, any ideas?  My Blog as always is open to all for thoughts and queries and to share a little in my world. It is my record of my trails, and tribulations during this year of writing.

It has been a good week for writing I am on chapter eighteen on the computer now, and my story board has several more ideas for chapters that need to be developed so lots to do. I have 132 pages so far, I am not sure if that is a good amount, average? What I do know is that some chapters are longer than others, some I love more than others,  most need a lot of refining. At the moment I feel I have climbed up a hill only to realise it is the first of many. I love where the story is at the moment I would say about half way, the main characters are closer, getting to knowing each other, discovering things about themselves and the plot is starting to be peeled off layer by layer, gradually getting a little bit more exciting and interesting as the sub plot comes into play. However, to tantalise, to tease , to want more ,and pull it out of the hat, to make it sing, make sense, become a page needs more finesse .  !!!!   

I still feel excited and happy everyday to be able to do what I love, some days are more productive than others, some days  I need music and some just the stillness. Sitting in my sun room looking out at my chaotic messy garden I talk my plot through until it makes sense. My husband frequently stops by and enquires how am I doing,only to get promptly yelled at. I would like to say I have only become moody since my writing began but it would not be true. I am driven, and beholden sometimes to my hormones, it is that time of the month when the hormones fluctuate and cause all manners of mood swings and fights. However to be asked the same question over an over, is driving me insane, he is eager for me to finish and hence I feel under pressure. As politely as I can, I tell him to bugger off and leave me alone to finish my work, but as he is taking a coffee break I end up feeling as if I need one, and so the disruption goes on. There are days when I have the house to myself and those are the best, I write until my head throbs, my neck aches, and then I get up and read my words out aloud to see how they sound.Some days I have been extremely lucky mainly on a Friday when apart from the obvious drop offs and pick ups I have been able to continue to write into the evening oblivious to anything other than writing as my husband has taken charge of the boys.  My husband is my rock, and he knows me well,god bless his patience.

This week I leave you not with a quote but my horoscope for today, I do so believe in the little signs that pick you up and keep you going ,

If you get a hunch about something possessing much greater potential than anyone thought dont ignore it. Check it and follow through on what could be very promising.

It is all about belief and being positive !!!!!