Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheetah Girl

I'm going to become a cheetah: strong, and fleet, and focused.

What is Renée babbling about now?

Last year I wrote a rather negative post about my struggles with finding enough time to write and trying to balance the pulls of motherhood against my desire to write my story. In response, the amazingly talented (and now bestselling author!) Vicki Pettersson recommended I check out Lynn Viehl's e-book, The Way of the Cheetah. I did and it was SO helpful.

Viehl recommends that one write like a Cheetah on the hunt--keep your eye on your prey and pursue it with a single-minded determination.

Lately I've been writing more like a sea anemone: sitting in one place, my appendages outstretched and waving, hoping little bits of food will find their way into my mouth.

My situation now is so different than where I was last year. Now I have more time--not the hours and hours a day I imagined I'd have once both of my kids were in school, but much more time than ever before. But instead of squeezing every bit of productivity I can out of my day, I've been slower, lazier, spoiled by the thought of all of those hours available to me, and more likely to put writing off since I can always write later.

But if you don't write now because you can write later, you won't get much done

So I'm going to be a cheetah and set a new, ambitious productivity goal--one that I couldn't have met last year, but can now because I do have more time. I'm not going to screw around anymore; I'm going to take advantage of the extra time and get busy.

I'm not brave enough yet to post the goal here--I've still got to get used to the idea. But expect to hear more about this soon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Missing BC

This weekend is the Surrey International Writers' Conference in Surrey, BC. I went in 2004 and 2006, but I'm not going this year. It is a fabulous event--the presenters are first-rate and just by attending you get to have one-on-one, face-to-face meetings both to have your work critiqued as well as to pitch your ideas.

I had incredible experiences both times I went and am a little blue not to be going this year. It's so much fun and so inspiring!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Something New

I finished a short story!

I'd been feeling so stuck with Book 2 and an idea for a short story popped into my head so I decided to see where it would take me. It relates to my first novel, but neither story nor book depend on each other. It's also written in a very different voice than I've used before. What a blast to think as someone so far removed from myself.

I love finishing! When writing novels, you don't get to finish very often. But having a complete story--something I can share with other people--feels great! Maybe I'll have to write more short things. If nothing else, switching gears might help me get through those seemingly inevitable rough patches in the novel writing process.

Now I'm ready to get back on track with Book 2. I'm hoping this diversion was exactly what I needed to immerse myself in that world once more.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

--E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

I had a fabulous conversation today with someone who’s both a true friend and a good writer. We talked about stories and characters and where they come from. I told her about how I got started on my novel, and the spark that inspired me to begin. This small kernel of an idea grew and became more complex and rich and interesting as I was writing.

Basically you don’t have to know what’s going to happen in a story before getting started. You don’t even have to know much about your characters. You can find them and learn all sorts of interesting things about them as you write. It’s such a freeing realization, that you don’t need to know everything about your story before you start, or even more than just the tiniest tidbit. Most of it you can find along the way.

It was so great to talk to her about all of that because I had forgotten how babyish those initial steps were for me four plus years ago when I began writing fiction. It helped so much to remember how slowly I started. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so paralyzed lately is that I’ve been thinking about the whole of book two, instead of taking it step by baby step like I did with book one.

I don’t have to know much about what’s going to happen in this second book. I'll find it as I go.

She can too, and I can't wait to read what she discovers!