Due Date?

First, let me start by saying I love the library.  I’ve already taken full advantage of the local branch.

Now to the complaint: due dates.

I am reading a book that I’m about halfway through.  It’s non-fiction, so it’s taking a little longer than it would were it fiction.  The problem?  It’s due on Monday, and I have a busy weekend.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if it qualifies for a renewal, so I can hold on to it for a little longer.  If not, I’ll have to decide if finishing it is worth the late fees.  🙂

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Writing Practice

She scowled with impatience as she stared at the driveway.  Behind her, she could hear the flag snapping.  The same gusts blew strands of hair across her face; growling, she roughly pushed them aside.  She didn’t have any control of the wind or the man she waited for, and she knew it.  She might have to accept it, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.

For the fifteenth or sixteenth time, she pulled out her phone, glanced at the silent screen, and angrily shoved it back into her pocket.  He was 23 minutes late.  As always, he hadn’t called.  As always, she would give him seven more minutes before stomping back into the house.

She sighed, looked up to the sky, and tried without success to convince herself just to go inside now.  For once, be the one who wins.  She had nearly talked herself into it, decided that she was finally going to take control of the situation, when a horn sounded behind her.

As always, she turned, smiled, and hopped into his car.  She glanced at the dashboard clock.

As always, he was 29 minutes late.

Just as he started to shift back into drive, she put her hand over his.  Enough.

“You know what?  I think I’ll stay home this time.”

Without waiting, she climbed back out of the car.  Clearly, she’d surprised him, because for a moment he didn’t say anything.  She expected argument, cajoling, even excuses, but all she heard when he spoke was “Why?”

Swallowing, trying to keep the grown-up part of her mind in control, she spun back towards him.  “Because I’m tired of wasting my time waiting on you.  We’re done.”

As she walked back inside, she was surprised to find that instead of sadness, or loss, or even anger, she felt inordinately pleased.  She couldn’t control the wind, couldn’t control the man, but she could control her own life.

Writing for Myself

Sometimes your writing shouldn’t be shared with others.

Occasionally I get worked up, emotions running high.  Sometimes I call my mom, sometimes I dance, but lately there has been a lot of writing.  When I’m creating a story and a scene gets stuck in my head, I write it out and it leaves me alone.  The same thing happens when I put my rants on paper.

For example, I recently had to sit on an airplane near a couple of people who were discussing politics.  That’s probably not the best way to describe it; they were making snide, obnoxious comments about the candidate I support, loud enough that most of the people around them could hear.  In my opinion, that’s not a very nice way to behave around a large group of people.  Regardless, it ended up getting me very fired up.  Flying already puts me in a grumpy mood, and that just put it over the top.  So when I was sitting in the airport on the next layover, I pulled out my notebook and wrote.  The ink is thick, the pressure is heavy, and it covers two pages.

Clearly, that is writing that shouldn’t ever see the light of day.  Fortunately, it got the irritation out and served its purpose, whether or not it was writing for others.  This was writing for me.

Impatience

I don’t check my author email frequently.  Since the bulk of the emails that come to the account are WordPress notifications, I can simply log on to the blog to find out the same information.  As I log on to the blog almost every day, checking my email is less necessary.

Lately I’ve been checking my author email at least once a day, sometimes more.  Can you guess why?

That’s right, it’s the account I used to send my query letter, and the account to which the response will come.

I know that I shouldn’t be checking so frequently.  I only sent the thing a week ago, so we all know that I can’t reasonably expect a response yet.  But I have never claimed to be a patient person, so I check the email.  And check it.  And check it.

I figure as long as I don’t start getting disappointed that there isn’t a response yet, it doesn’t hurt to check my email more frequently.

500 words

I’m writing some essays for a work-related certification today.  It’s not quite as much fun as writing fiction, but it is writing, so I can’t complain.  The biggest difference, besides the content, is the word limit.

Each essay has to be 500 words or less.

Now, 500 words might sound like a lot to non-writers, but let me put it in perspective for you.  During NaNoWriMo, we aim to write about 1500 words a day.  This post, which isn’t terribly long, is 175 words long.

The limit on the essays has two conflicting roles when it comes to how I write.  First, it gives me a goal; if my essay isn’t long enough, I write some more.  Second, in contrast, it puts a cap on my ideas.  So far I haven’t had so much to say that I’ve felt like the limit keeps me from expressing it all, but it makes for an interesting possibility as I keep working.

A word limit means that I get to be creative with my writing, and also potentially creative with my editing!

NaNo is getting closer…

For those who haven’t looked at a calendar recently, it is the middle of September.  That means that the beginning of NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.  It’s time to make some decisions!

First, there is the big decision.  Are you going to participate?  I’ve already decided that I will, and I’ve been thinking about it since April.  If you haven’t decided, well, you have a little bit of time.  (Not sure what NaNoWriMo is?  Check out their website.)

I have two other novel-related decisions to make.  One is a working title, which frequent readers know is not my favorite part of writing. That might take a bit; I’ve got a really basic plot description and I’m hoping that playing with that will spark something.

The second decision I mentioned before, and it is related to a character with a foul mouth.  While I do not intend to let her swear a blue streak in the version anyone reads, I’ve chosen to let her speak her mind (however filthy) during the actual writing.  The initial revisions, before anyone gets to read it, will include some creative work on my part to tone down her dialog in a way that is true to her character.  Some may disagree, but I think letting her say what she will in the writing process will help me in two ways.  I’ll get a better sense of her full character if I don’t censor her, and it will also make the high-pressure, time-sensitive writing of NaNo a touch easier.  (Yes, by the way, I do know that my characters are actually part of my own brain, but sometimes it feels like they take the reins and are separate from me.  Authors, back me up here!)

Other than those two things, the remainder of the decisions are the usual writing ones.  Who’s point of view to use?  How much backstory should I share?  Is there a way to add depth with a subplot?  You get the idea.

I’m getting excited for NaNo!  Are you?

Playing with Clay

Tonight I am going to a pottery class for grown-ups.  Mostly it’s a chance to play with clay, which I haven’t done (other than play dough) since I was a kid.

I took a lot of art classes as a kid, especially pottery classes.  I’m not going to claim that I’m good at art.  In fact, my mom had a couple of art projects of mine that she saved specifically because they were so bad they were funny.  (Even I admitted they were bad, so it wasn’t mean on her part.  We all got a good laugh out of the bowl that rocked on its feet and the funny too-skinny person I made.)

The end result is not the primary goal for me.  Instead, art is about the creative process.  It’s a chance to manipulate materials, use my hands, and come up with something from my own mind.  So tonight’s class, which is focused on having fun with clay, is perfect for me.  🙂

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