And Now the Fun/Work Begins!

New JournalThe first draft of Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens is finished. Whew! It’s printed and covered in a bright red folder–and it’s going to stay there for the next couple of weeks. I’d love to start editing right away, but the material is too fresh for me to be remotely objective or clear-sighted about it. So a break is in order.

So what’s on the agenda in the meantime? I’m finally revising the sequel to The Dragon’s Pearl, The Dragon’s Revenge, that I wrote last summer. I’m three chapters in and, thankfully, enjoying the process. As much as I love the writing process, I’m never so in love with what I write that I can’t change it, or cut it, or find something missing that needs to be added.

Actually, I enjoy editing. I like finding all those pieces of clunky writing, and I don’t feel remotely ashamed of having written the awful things in the first place. That’s what first drafts are for. What makes me feel good is figuring out how to make something better or cutting the bits that are beyond saving. I hit Delete and think, “This one’s for you, reader!” Yeah. I like editing a lot.

I’m also working on a conference workshop presentation for fellow college teachers called “Finding Quiet Space with Pen and Paper – Tips and Tools for Journaling and Creative Writing.” What do you think about journaling? I find it a great way to get my day organized so that I can actually picture some creative time in the rest of it. Journaling also helps me deal with negative thoughts, worries and just mental clutter. If I write in my journal first thing in the morning, my writing goes much better later on. The messy thoughts are dealt with for the day, so creativity comes easier. I sometimes write before I go to bed, instead. The writing calms my thoughts, and, if the day hasn’t been particularly creative, it makes me feel as if I have honoured the writer in me for at least a small part of the day.

If you’ve got some tips for helping develop the journaling habit or some thoughts on the benefits of keeping a journal, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, I hope you have a creative week ahead!

P.S. Word likes “journaling” spelled with one “l”. WordPress likes it with 2. The word doesn’t exist in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. I realize that turning a noun into a verb isn’t everyone’s cup of tea in the first place, but if you’re not totally against the word altogether, how do you think it should be spelled?




26 Days and Still Writing

photo by Jenny Kaczorowski WANA Commons
Time Disappears in a Good Book                       photo by Jenny Kaczorowski WANA Commons

My personal NaNoWriMo has been chugging along for 26 days now, and, I’ve produced over 16,600 words so far. Compared to those writers who are meeting and surpassing their 50,000-word goal already, it might not seem like much, but it’s a big accomplishment for me. Did I miss a couple of days? Yes. Did I move on, and keep writing? Yes! For me that was the important part–not quitting.

I had a lot on my plate this month, which I won’t take the space to itemize, but belonging to a group of people who posted their progress and encouragement daily and who faced their own challenges made a big difference to my own self-encouragement and to my determination not to let them or myself down. I can’t say enough about the value of having some writing buddies in your life who are positive and respectful and for whom you want to do your best.

To meet my check-ins this month, I wrote at times of day (and night) that I never would have considered remotely feasible. Has that made a difference to my writing life? Definitely! I have always considered myself strictly a morning person. The best time of day for me to write was first thing, and if I missed that opportunity … well, there just wasn’t much point in even trying at any other time of day. Was I ever WRONG! It was so important for me to get the words down for my check-in, that I wrote at all sorts of times of day, and discovered that in order to be able to string words together good enough for a first draft, I needed no special time or place. Wow! Talk about freedom! And a lesson has taken me waaaaay too long to learn. Armed with that knowledge now, I feel hugely excited about meeting my next goals.

So when the month is over, can I take what I’ve learned and go back to being a solitary writer and still write every day? I’ve been a part of three writing challenges this year, and, except for the odd glitch that gets thrown into everyone’s life,  I’ve stuck to my goals every time. I’m ready to stick to this, too. I’ll be checking in with my own writing log after November 30th. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

For those of you south of my border, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. And for everyone, you have all my good wishes for lots of creative days ahead!

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