azhure: (me phoenix)

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You see that picture?  That’s what wordcounts for writing every day look like.

I don’t want to harp on about the Magic Spreadsheet too much, but I do want to spend a bit of time actually making note of how I’m working on my writing process, and right now, it’s part of it.

I’ve always kind of flailed about a bit with my writing process.  I’ve logged wordcounts for a while, but I inevitably forget to note down one day, and then it’s all gone to hell.  I’ve worked for periods of time without logging wordcounts.  I’ve gotten some stuff done – I’ve finished a novel (currently trunked), I’ve finished short stories and novelettes.

But – as anyone who gets to talk to me about writing will tell you – I’ve always despaired of being too damn slow.  At the moment, I’m writing a first draft of Never, and I needed to break myself out of the habit of fiddling about too much with small parts of it.  I’m not the kind of writer who can produce a wonderful first draft, and I need to accept that, and accept, too, that my time is better spent on redrafting and editing rather than trying to get it all down on the page the first time.

As a side note, I know that authors exist who can write really clean first drafts.  I salute them and their brains.  Maybe in time, when I’ve worn the grooves in my brain enough, I’ll be able to produce better first drafts.

Which is to say that I am allowing myself to write what is possibly one of the worst first drafts ever.  I am not deleting anything, but I am simply pushing on every day to make my word count.  I’ll go back and add notes in previous chapters of things that need to be added, but that’s all.

As you’ll see, this last week I have been sick.  Yet another damn respiratory infection (yay having a kid at kindy for the first time and being moderately immunosuppressed).  And I have still been writing.  I am kind of scared to look at the words for those really sick days, but I’m thinking of them as a framework.  A skeleton which I’m going to flesh out in the next draft.  It’s forward motion, baby, and I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere.

As I type this, I’ve just crested 70k on this draft.  Glancing at the magic spreadsheet, which handily collates these things for me, I’ve written 77, 720 words since starting with the spreadsheet on May 25th.  Yes, some of those words were discarded (bad writer, no cookie).  And it’s going to take me a good while to hammer this into good enough shape to get sent to some beta readers, but it’s a start.  And I’ll take that.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
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Books on my bedside table.  As well as my Kindle, spiky ball for self massage and evidence of the latest respiratory infection.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while.  I’m not really certain why, to be honest – maybe it’s just pure burnout on the whole act of blogging.

Possibly related, I’ve also moved away from keeping wordcounts over the last few months.  Just as an experiment – the scientist in me cannot accept just doing something because everyone (or anyone) says that you should.

And, as a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time pretty much just meandering.  I’ve done some work editing a few short stories, and submitted one for hopeful publication.  I need to finish editing the second one and submit that, as well.  I really hope that I can sell these two – they’re interlinked stories set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world (because why not?) and I have plans for a novel following them as well.  Because apparently I don’t ever write standalone short stories.

I’ve been doing some writing not intended for publication as well – just stuff for the pure fun of it, which has actually been really enjoyable, and shown me a few things about what I like to write.  And reminded me that I do love to write, which is important.  This year has kind of been hell, health-wise, and I’ve found it difficult to settle down to any kind of decent novel writing.  I’m hoping that next year will get a little easier, since my son will be in kindy two days a week (increasing to three days in the latter half of the year).

And because sometimes the universe is awesome and tosses a really great thing in your path, I watched a documentary – The Wildest Dream – and have subsequently gotten kind of obsessed with the whole idea of high altitude mountaineering.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go and start scaling the Eiger (but hell, I wouldn’t mind trekking to Everest Base Camp sometime in my life), but I have an awesome idea for a short story which may become a novella which may become a novel.

I do want to start making myself accountable again for my work, and am planning to try to start blogging at least weekly again.  I’m thinking about what I want to do with some of the other novels I’ve been working on for way too long, and I have to start kicking myself in the butt to get the work done.  Which means that you will start seeing word counts posted again (probably on a weekly basis).

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

A couple of days ago, I had an epiphany.

I was about 50k into this draft of Shaede, and finding myself frustrated, though I couldn’t really figure out why.  I was doing some reading and it hit me – the damn thing was in the wrong point of view.

I tend to always write in third person for novels.  I don’t know why.  I just do.  And I think, for this series, third just doesn’t work.  So I sat down and hammered out a rough rewrite of the first chapter in first person, asked for a few opinions.

Yeah.  It needs to be in first person.

This is going to add on rewriting of what I already have, and probably at least another draft or two to really get Sy’s voice right.  But it’s been flowing really well, and I’ve been seriously looking forward to sitting down and writing every day.

Most days lately I’ve been struggling to get to 1k words, checking and rechecking my word count as I meandered up to my daily word count goal of 2k.  These days three days, working in first person, I blink and I’m at 2k.

Today has been a bit harder, because I’m randomly fatigued (probably weather changes, since there’s a cyclone bearing down up north) and pain levels are higher than lately, but I still got to 2.6k in a session and may come back to finish off the 4k chapter later on today.

I might be crazy, but this is working and it’s right.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

Thinking today about goals for the new year (and also, how the hell did it get to be 2013??).

I’m not usually one for resolutions. Most people end up making them too vague (like: Eat better, get fit, get thin) or just chucking them all after a week.

I would like to make some goals for writing and reading this year, however. And so, ten goals:

1. Write up my full story bible for The Crossing trilogy (books currently entitled Shaede, Daemon and Fae).

2.  Fully outline Shaede.

3.  Outline Daemon and Fae – at least a skeleton outline, but preferably full outlines worked out.

4.  Draft Shaede, deliver to beta readers, and redraft to get a stage where it is ready for submission.

5.  Outline Wintersun.

6.  Either write a first draft of Wintersun or a second draft of Never (after getting feedback from beta readers.)

7.  Write and submit at least one piece of short fiction.

8. Track my writing progress every day.  Aim for 1k per day, but any progress is a positive.

9.  Keep tracking reading in Goodreads.  No goal for numbers of books read.  Add short reviews for everything finished.

10.  Return to the much-neglected Her Words and Worlds project by reading through the work of Angela Slatter.  Choose future victims subjects.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

I was tagged by Martin Livings in the seemingly never-ending chain of Next Big Thing meme that’s been doing the rounds of pretty much every online writer in Oz (or so it seems).

1) What is the working title of your next book?

At the moment, I’m reworking Shaede, the first book in the Crossing trilogy.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m honestly not certain where the original idea came from, I’ve been working in this story universe for so long.  I have a long fascination with the idea of a city built around the worship of art and creativity, a place where being a creative is something almost mystical and to be worshipped.  Old Quarter’s Crossing, the city which is the focus of the trilogy, is such a place.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Once upon a time I would have called it urban fantasy.  But these days, I see UF being applied more and more to what are, in my mind, paranormal romances.  Nothing again PR, but this book isn’t it.  So I’d have to say contemporary fantasy.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea.  I do spend time working up character sketches, including trying to find photos of people who resemble my characters.  I tend to use stock photos, though, not anyone famous, as sources.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the unexpected suicide of her boyfriend, Sycamore Brannen takes his ashes back to his home town, Old Quarter’s Crossing, and discovers a place devoted to creation and steeped in magic.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

No agency representation yet, though my plan is to pursue that first, with self-publishing an option to be explored if that doesn’t work out.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Too long.  Also known as, I have no idea.  This is currently something like a fifth draft.

8)8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I have to go with Charles de Lint’s Newford books, in feel only.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have a wonderful writer’s group and several beta readers who have loved earlier drafts (some have even read more than one draft, the poor things).  I was flailing about working on another novel a few months ago, and my astute critique partner persuaded me to give Shaede another go (as it had previously been trunked).  Not certain if it’s going to end up being publishable, but it’s a good writing lesson at least.  And I get to see how much my writing has improved over the last few years.  I actually came close to agent representation with an earlier draft, and I’m glad that didn’t happen, to be honest.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The Crossing is a city founded on magic and by magic, though few people who live there are aware of that fact.  When you walk in a dream all your life, you grow accustomed to it, and no longer see it for a dream.  Its only by looking differently that you can see the dream.  I want to make people see the magic in their own lives.

I’m now supposed to tag five people to do the meme, but pretty much everyone I know has already completed it.  I can find two – Pia Ravenari and Sarah Diemer, it’s your turn.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

About six weeks ago, I decided to give myself a self imposed deadline to finish the current draft of Never.

I finished the draft, at just a smidge over 100k, last week.  I wrote at least five days a week (with a few days where I wrote six days) and averaged 2k a day.  There were a couple of 3k days in there as well, and a handful of 1.5k days (mostly following 3k days).

You will notice that I’m blogging about this about a week after I finished the draft.  I proved that I can work to a deadline, but I also proved that in doing so, I burn myself out.  It’s not bad burnout – I’ve been noodling about with a short story over the last few days, but it’s burnout nonetheless.

You will also likely have noticed a serious lack of blogging here, though I have been doing some blogging privately elsewhere.  I have been reading some, but I’ve fallen behind on slush reading and review reading.

It’s nice to know that I can work relatively fast.  I suspect I could push my word counts much higher if I wanted to, and arranged someone to watch the kidlet all day, instead of the few hours I currently have an arrangement for.

I’m not certain if I’d actually want to keep up such a pace on a day to day basis.  And it kind of feels ridiculous to be stating that 2k feels like a lot.  Once upon a time, that would have been nothing.  But once upon a time, I didn’t also have a kid in my life ;)

I’m going to drop back to what feels like a relatively useful pace for me, which is 1k a day while working on a first draft.  That way, I can hopefully tackle my pile of reviews, as well as catch up on slush and Aurealis reading.  And actually get some fun reading in there as well.

For now, Never is off with a few beta readers, and will be resting for a while – I’m not sure how long, it will depend on how long my betas take, really.  And how long it takes me to feel that I can actually step away enough from the manuscript to be critical.  I’m working on a few short stories in the meantime, and will also be outlining The White Raven anew.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

First: I picked a random winner for my sneaky giveaway tucked at the end of my post about the Night Circus – the winner of the paperback copy is bookgirlwa over at Livejournal!  Lob me an email with your address (stephanie.r.gunn AT gmail.com) and I’ll get it out into the mail!

And I just had a writing session using Mac Freedom for 75 minutes.  And, to be fair, I did chat on gchat a bit on my phone during said session (which I think I’ll continue to do, because the only two people I talk to during the day are used to me being silent on chat for ages while I work), and I did wander away from the computer a couple of times just to get a break.

But in that 75 minutes I managed almost 2,400 words.  And they’re words I’m fairly happy with, and can move on.  So, a success I think.

I’m going to squeeze in another writing session today, I think, assuming the brain will comply.  Is it possible to actually train your brain to concentrate for longer?  Must research, I think.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

 

I hate the book that I’m writing.

No, scratch that.  I don’t hate this book per se.  I hate the fact that I am still writing the damn thing.  I am hating the fact that my process is so slow, and that it takes me forever to churn out a draft.

There are some limitations that I cannot change: I have a small child, for one, and he always takes precedent over everything else.  But said small child is getting older and more independent (and would it be awful to admit that part of me is hanging out for when he goes to kindergarten just so I get those writing hours?), and I do have help with my mother coming and watching him for one or two hours, plus he does reliably nap for at least an hour every day.

You’d think that would be plenty of time.  But I’m still not getting enough done.  And it’s driving me crazy.

There are many issues here at work.  The first being the internet.  I am a distractable person at the best of times, and the internet is just too much of a damn siren call to me.  Today, I think, I shall be downloading Mac Freedom and using the damn thing for my writing time.

At the moment, I manage one writing session in a day, usually from 11am until somewhere around 1-2pm.  At that time, I usually switch to reading, reviewing or slushing.  All things I don’t want to cut back on, since they, in turn, feed the writing.  The kid usually wakes up somewhere around there, and I spend time with him, and get some exercise in (which usually involves me dropping him off with my mother again so I can walk/run/do weights/whatever).  Exercise is a necessary thing for me, since it is the primary method I have of managing fibromyalgia pain.

What I would like to do, given the constraints I have, is to carve out some more writing/editing time in the day, maybe in the evening.  I also need to be way, way more productive in the writing time I do have.

In order to do this, I am going to make myself accountable here.  Right now, I average about 1500 words a day while I’m editing – which for me, involves retyping the whole manuscript.  It’s just how I work, and word count works as well as anything else as a measurement of this.

Let’s see how much I can push this.

If anyone has any advice on how they manage to be more productive, feel free to share?

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

It always feels kind of strange to sit here at 1:30pm on a Friday and declare that my writing week is done.  Technically, it is and it isn’t.  I’ve finished the part of the week where I sit with Scrivener open and work on Never, but I have a lot of other work left.

As an aside – I still kind of love that reading is pretty much work to me.  It means that I do end up reading some things that I wouldn’t always (I like to keep up with what’s popular, for one thing, just to try to figure out why, even when the book or series isn’t something that I’ll actually enjoy completely.  Hence the recent reading of the 50 Shades of Grey books, which you’ll have seen if you follow me on Goodreads.  There will be a post on them coming up soon, once I organise my thoughts).

And that was a long aside.  Heh.

I’m working slower on these Never rewrites than I’d like, to be honest.  I’ve crested 10k on this draft, but I feel like I should be about double that.  I do rewrite in a time-consuming manner though, by retyping the whole draft (am I the only weirdo who does that?) and I am making a good deal of changes to the beginning of this book.  I’ve been pushing my daily wordcount from 1k to 1.5k consistently, which is awesome.  I’m aiming to get that up to 2-3k if I can.

I also caved and joined the Online Writing Workshop, which I’ve been toying with for far too long.  I have one awesome beta reader reading along with me as I write Never, but I kind of wanted some new eyes on it.  Plus working on my own reviewing skills is also a good thing.  I’ve posted the first chapter of Never and gotten one really lovely review.  Just need to review a bunch of stuff so I can post more now :)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

I was reading through my rss feeds last night, as I am wont to do, and came across a piece of writing advice that I’ve seen many times:

“Don’t have time to write?  Get up an hour earlier – or better, two hours earlier – and write!”

I do know that this works for some people, but it’s just struck me this morning how damn ableist this kind of advice is.

For example, you have someone like me.  I deal with chronic illness on a daily basis, and to manage the worst of the illness, I need to move, I need to eat vaguely decently, I need to rest.

If I forced myself to get up an hour or two earlier to write, I would be a wreck.  I hate that I need more sleep than most people.  Ideally, I need about nine or ten hours a night.  Most nights I get about eight.  I can coast on one night of six or seven, but it hurts.  Anything less than that, and I am not functional.

I know it’s a pretty obvious thing to complain about, but I am complaining anyway.  I always feel like people who dole out this kind of advice are implying that if you can’t sacrifice sleep to write, then you’re just not determined enough to be a writer, dammit.  It’s a great idea if you can manage it without sacrificing your health (and that goes for people without chronic illness as well), but it’s not the only way.

Writing is a priority for me, but so is my family and my health.  There has to be a balance.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

and so it begins again

And so I print out my outline (all 28 pages!), open a new project in Scrivener, get my music playlist sorted out, and begin the next draft of Never.

Those paying attention will also notice two new Pia Ravenari totem pictures in that photo.  The one half hidden is Magpie as Totem, which I commissioned, and the other one is Australian White Ibis as Totem, which was my birthday present.  I still cannot believe that the universe is so amazing as to let me know someone as talented as P, let alone get to call her my friend.

Today is a public holiday here (which I refuse to call W.A. Day.  It’s Foundation Day!), and according to my own schedule and ethics, I could be taking the day off.  The kidlet is off visiting with his grandparents, the husband is tinkering with the computers and the house is quiet.  And yet I am here at the laptop, beginning the draft.  Mostly because it doesn’t feel like work.  I guess I’ve levelled as a writer or something?

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Friday

Jun. 1st, 2012 01:55 pm
azhure: (me phoenix)

From where I sit writing (where I am now), I can see the shelf holding books in which I have been published.  A shelf to which my copy of Epilogue was added this morning.  It’s a small shelf, but it’s growing.

I wish I wrote more short stories.  I wish I was more of a natural short story writer, I should say.  I think I am learning to write better ones, but I think the novel length is always going to come easier for me.  And I’m still learning there, too.

Still working on my outline for Never.  I think next week may be spent outlining as well – it’s taking longer that I’d hoped, but I want to get it done properly.  I’m having a lot of fun inserting little bit and pieces, adding layers and foreshadowing.  I have a very slow and drawn-out process, but it’s my process.  I’m feeling really confident about Never, and I am looking forward to the point at which I can start sending it out.

Huge storm last night – serious downpour of rain, which led to a lovely leaking kitchen roof, with a bunch of thunder and lightning as well.  The kidlet was pretty amazing and didn’t let it phase him, but the poor kitty was freaked out.  Today has been overcast and foggy, but no rain to speak of.  The human suit is protesting both variants of weather vigorously (made worse by the fact that I didn’t get any exercise yesterday due to the aforementioned rain), and I am looking forward to getting out for a walk later on today, all being well.

And it is somehow almost the weekend again.  Long weekend, too, which is nice.  Writing group to look forward to, and massage and hopefully a swim.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

So, yesterday Spotify launched in Australia.  I pounced joined up and am now happily enjoying streaming music.  Not sure as of yet if it’s going to be worth paying for a subscription.  I don’t mind ads.  We’ll see.

Another glorious day in Perth today: clear blue skies, though it’s cold this morning (where cold is a value of less than 10C for us, which is probably warm for some of you reading this.  Remember, it gets to 40C here in summer, we don’t do cold that well!).  There’s some frost on the lawn this morning, too, which always looks gorgeous.

I am meandering my way towards the end of this draft of Never and am reminded, as always, by how much I hate writing endings.  I am sorely tempted to just outline these last few scenes and go back and start editing.  I’ve written this in an odd way – I’m working from an outline, but I’m doing a fair bit of pantsing in between my outline points.  It means that I have a few subplots to go and put in and stuff to clarify.  Plus, I need to do some scene rearranging.  Luckily I love editing ;)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

How to focus in an age of distraction. Image from learningfundamentals.com.au

 

I came across this infographic on Tumblr the other day, and just really liked it.  I think it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by life, especially if you’re working online, and sometimes it’s important to take a step back and assess everything.

There are things on here that I should do – like turning off the internet when I’m writing.  I’ve found using the Pomodoro Technique helpful with that, though – I simply don’t switch out of my writing program for the 25 minutes that I’m writing, and that’s that.  I’m always thankful that I work relatively fast, so even on a bad day when I only get that 25 minutes of focused time, I usually manage somewhere around 1000 words.

Email checking I’m bad on, since my phone alerts me, and if it’s near me, I tend to pick it up and check my inbox.  Twitter and Facebook I only check at the beginning and end of the day (and sometimes not then).

I’m sure I can do things better.  Then, of course, I have a toddler in the house, which means that all plans can go awry in a heartbeat.  I’m just thankful that he’s generally well behaved, non destructive, and that I have family who help me get writing time.

And that said, I’m going to get away from the computer for the morning and the husband and I will take the kid swimming.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

Yesterday was an incredibly good writing day for me, surpassing what I’d hoped to achieve.  Which translates as over 2,500 words and the discovery of the end of this draft of Ghosts.  I feel like I’ve found the shape of the story now, and have passed it onto my writing group to see what they think.  Hopefully at least one of them has time to look it over before the next meeting, which is tonight!

Does anyone else have the time and inclination to beta read for me this weekend?  This draft is just over 6k, and it’s dystopian science fiction.  I really want to get to work polishing it on Monday, so I’d need some feedback before then.

The rest of the day was spent mostly doing house stuff and chasing the kidlet.  I have started making some inroads into my Aurealis Award reading and managed to find my first truly awesome story.  This is why I love reading for awards – I read a lot of stuff that isn’t my personal cup of tea, but there are the incredible gems that I wouldn’t have necessarily read.

I did get a couple of bonus hours to myself (alone! in the house) because the husband took the kidlet out in the late afternoon.  My brain was, as always, fried by then, so I did a little reading and then just settled back and watched some Skins.

And now it’s the weekend!  We have a bit of running around to do today, including the excitement of me getting my hands and feet X-rayed to see if I’ve had any joint erosion from my arthritis.  Always fun.  And tomorrow is Father’s Day, which is going to be bittersweet.  Awesome that the hubby gets to get celebrated, but it’s the first Father’s Day for me without my father here.  Still, I’d rather that than he still be alive and suffering the way he was for the last few months of his life.  Cancer sucks, as I think many of you will agree.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

Blogging has been quiet here, due mostly to me being generally exhausted and unwell.

I have been writing, though.  Bashing my head against a short story, to be precise.  I have a shaky first draft, and have set it aside for a few days before coming back to edit and mash it into something like a shape.

I have also, after some thought, decided to set aside Thought and Memory for now.  It’s lacking something, and I can’t see the shape of what that something is.  So it goes on the backburner for a while, and hopefully the men in the basement will figure out what’s missing.

And so I turn again to Never.  As things stand, I have a first draft.  I’m going to start, as I always do with second drafts, from scratch.  Which means writing up my character dossiers and the like again.  And doing some research reading, setting up playlists and all those fun things.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

A Good Day

Jul. 11th, 2011 09:44 pm
azhure: (dreaming tree)

Today was not a great writing day.  I futzed around with a scene that, quite frankly, bored me to tears to write.  I suspect that tomorrow, it’ll either be getting trashed, or completely gutted.

However! Today was, apart from that, a good day.  I woke up feeling like I’d had enough sleep (which is a very rare thing), and had a very productive morning.  Played with a happy kidlet and did a tonne of housework.  Looked out at the grey, rainy day and was happy that I didn’t have to go out in it.

Of course, said rainy day has now worked its way into my joints, despite me actually being in the heated house all day.  That happens, though.  Arthritis sucks, but there could be a million worse things I have to deal with.  And mine is mostly manageable, thanks to my spectacular rheumatologist.

The kidlet continued to be happy all day, which is a thing of joy.  And a rare thing, given that he’s on the slippery slope to approaching the terrible twos.  And he even ate somewhat normally without making a huge fuss, which is always a bonus with him.  And the icing on the cake was that he had a nice long nap today, which meant that I got some reading done.

I finally finished China Mieville’s Embassytown.  Which means that I can finally listen to the last episode of The Writer and the Critic.  I really liked Embassytown, though I think it’s going to require another couple of reads to fully appreciate.  Though certain plot points reminded me a lot of David Zindell’s Neverness and Christopher Hinz’s much underappreciated Paratwa books.   Not to imply that Emabassytown is derivative of either, mind – it is very much its own beast.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

Today has been a weird day.

It started off…slowly, I guess, is the best word to use.  The kid had a bad night, which means that I had a bad night.  I got enough sleep, but it was broken, and therefore probably suffering for a lack of actual deep, restful sleep.

I decided to take the kid for a walk this morning, which is a deviation from our usual routine.  And possibly not a great idea, because he threw several epic tantrums.  I was very happy to hand him over to my mother to be watched and get a little bit of work done.

Writing was had, and it was actually kind of fun.  I’m nearing the end of this draft, which is very short and bare bones.  And I’m rediscovering some of the joy I have for it, and making tonnes of notes on what I need to fix on the next draft.  It’s actually going to be hard to not start editing right away.

Reading was had, in which I finished Jack O’Connell’s The Resurrectionist, which I was reading before listening to The Writer and The Critic review it.  Interesting, vivid book.  I don’t know if I can say anything else about it right away, but I’m going to be interested to listen to the podcast now.  Picked up a new book, but then the kid decided to wake from his nap.

Feeling decidedly off this afternoon, though.  Vague headache/nausea weirdness happening.  Which could be from me pushing myself too much going for a longish walk this morning, just being tired or general usual body stupidness.  I miss actually feeling well.  Not that I’ve felt that way much over the last nine years.  </end pathetic moaning>

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

Back to writing today.  Which, as always after a break from it, feels like rusty gears grinding together.  Ugh.  Still, I dutifully turned up to the work and ground out some words.

And realised how close I am to the end of my outline.  At the moment, this draft is only about 53k, so way, way short.  I know that I’m going to need to do a lot of fleshing out in the next draft.  And hey, it looks like I have room for it ;)   I especially need to work on the end.  I’m just at the point where I’m sick of writing a first draft and I want to be doing anything else.  Which is usually when I rush my last scenes, just so I can start editing ;)

I’m starting to feel better, though my stamina is extremely pathetic, and probably will be for another week or two.  But at least I can sit up for long enough to write, and I can walk across the room without winding myself.  Anaemia sucks.  But at least it’s easily fixable, though it does take time.

Our weekend was kind of awesome, though.  It was the husband and mine’s five-year anniversary, and to celebrate, we bought a new bed.  And we don’t do things by halves…

Wanna see?

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

This is just another reason why I love and adore Cat Valente.

And also a timely reminder from the universe to myself.  I’ve lost the last two weeks to me being sick and my son being sick, two things that I could do nothing about.  He’s actually been sleeping and napping well for a poor sick boy, but I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve been resting and napping at the same time as him.

And it’s frustrated me.  I’ve wanted to be writing, to be creating.  I’ve had story welling up within until it threatens to choke me and I’ve been unable to give vent to it.

More than once I’ve caught myself thinking “If only I were the kind of person who was content just being a homemaker and mother.”  With total respect to those who are and are fulfilled as such.  It’s damn hard work -  mothering is a job that never ends, and we never get holidays.  I never really realised that properly until I had a kid.

The thing is that it would be easy for me to just say “Okay, I’m just going to not try to push with the writing”.  I could just become a fan of daytime TV, spend my days going to playgroups and the like.  But here’s a secret – even though I love my son dearly, I would be miserable.  And if I’m miserable, I’m not going to be the best mother to him that I could be.  I want him to see me as a woman who is strong and accomplished, to know that women can be everything they want to be.

This year has been a bust so far for me writing-wise.  I’ve managed to keep up my reading and reviewing, but I’ve really done very little of the writing that I want to.  And yes, there are reasons for this, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

I have found myself getting frustrated listening to podcasts and reading blogposts and articles about how people write.  How they get to spend 6-8 hours a day behind the keyboard, or get up at 4am to get two hours of writing in before their kids wake up.  It’s time I suck it up and realise that I’m not going to get 8 hours a day to write (and hell, even when I *had* the time, I never spent that much time at the keyboard), and I’m never going to be able to get up at 4am to write.  My sleep and health are tenuous at the best of times.

So, it’s time for me to step back and take a good long look at the time that I do have and how I use it.  I’m lucky in that I have someone who can watch my son for me for one or more hours a day.  At the moment, he’s napping well in the afternoon.  I have all of that time to be used.  And I’m just wasting it.  I mess about online, on Facebook and Twitter and the usual sites.  I let housework bleed into those hours.

I need to make writing a priority again.  Accept that the house is going to be a little cluttered and disorganised (and even if I was spending hours a day cleaning, I have a toddler who will dismantle all of that within minutes), accept that I will not die if I miss things on Twitter.  I’m considering some serious pruning of my LJ/DW reading lists as well as my rss feeds.

There are some things that I cannot sacrifice, and that’s okay.  I need to be precious with my sleep, with my health in general.  Which means that I need to eat well (which I haven’t been doing while sick), I need to exercise regularly (which I have been doing).  I also need downtime, which for me generally means reading.  And I need to work on honing my craft all the time.

Monday, it’s back to the life of discipline for me.

Because, it’s as simple as thing: what do I want?  To write.  And so I will.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

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