Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016: The Year of Big Steps

I'm not a party animal.

Or if I am, I'm sort of a party sloth, so I don't really go anywhere on New Years Eve because people-ing take way too much energy. But I do  love the concept of new year rituals. The kiss at midnight, the grapes for wishes and the resolutions. All rituals of HOPE. I'm a fan of that.

In that spirit, I assign each new year a theme and a goal. I don't like reductive resolutions designed to empty wallets and fuel self-loathing. I've made those resolutions and they never make my life feel better or more purposeful. So the last few years, I assigned themed goals like this:

2014: The Year of Peaceful Living
2015: The Year of Joyful Living 
2016: The Year of BIG STEPS

I really enjoyed meeting my 2015 resolutions like Go to a museum to see real dinosaur bones. That sparked a fun, memorable trip to Chicago, which I would never have done because I'm also a travel sloth.

So here are my resolutions:

1. Have a fully edited novel manuscript (or two) and one novella on Amazon by the end of the year.
2. Start seriously shopping for our dream house by November.
3. Buy a damn elliptical machine and use it.

I know number three sounds like one of those reductive resolutions I was thumbing my nose at earlier, but I have no weight loss goals. What I do have is diabetes. And if I don't start joyfully moving my body, I won't be around for the fruits of my writing labors. So a big step for me is HEALTH. Not clothing size. Not how many chins I have. Just my overall sense of well-being and my ability to eat a twinkie without passing out. It's a big step because it requires me to grow up and get over my perfectionist and fatalistic attitude that says I shouldn't bother because the damage is already done.

Anyhow, back on point, this is the year I'm turning my writing into a writing career.One of my big steps that goes along with number one, is to find my editing process. I'm figuring it out I think and I'll have pictures and thoughts about that soon.

Forcing myself to turn my hopes and dreams into concrete goals is so liberating. They don't feel so far away when I start making plans. I'm so optimistic about this whole writing thing, I started an Instagram account! Do I hate it? You betcha! But the point is I'm working on the dreaded P-word... platform. Ugh. Do I have to? Yes I do. Because a writing career isn't a dream.

It's a resolution.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


 The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writers Support Group. A fabulous blog-hop. Head to the list and support some other writers today. 

You know that feeling where you're in the bottom of a swimming pool and you panic a little but you know it's okay because only have to swim to the surface? There is such sweet relief as you rise until you find yourself unable to go further because you are stuck underneath someone's stupid tire raft and for a brief moment, you think, I'm going to die while my cousin farts on my head.

No? Maybe that's just me. 

That is how I feel about this novel. I finished the manuscript and rewrote it twice. I started a third rewrite, thinking that I might be rising to the surface, only to realize I'd started the novel in the wrong place, the external conflict sucked and I'd used a character as a plot device instead of a person. 

So now I'm stuck under the raft.

I'm a pantser so I go into novels with no idea what's going to happen. I have detailed character sketches but no plot.  It's not an efficient system and I usually end up with a nonsensical first draft.  So I rewrite. Then I have a bad habit of writing again and again until I can't stand the story anymore. 

Art byFearEffectInferno
I do this because... well, I don't know how to edit. I can line edit but "big picture editing" as the kids call it, is beyond me. I feel overwhelmed and a bit thick because I can't figure it out. I need a system. My writing lobster Meika is having the same problem. Yesterday she sent me a blog post by writer Julie Dao, all about her editing process. She's a plotter but her hands-on approach to editing appeals to me so I'm giving it a shot.

I've started outlining scenes and I'm already finding it helpful. Sooooo.... I'm under the raft, fart bubbles are headed my way but I'm working up the strength to tip the damn tire, break the surface and breathe the fresh air.

I hope.


Or maybe I'll eat this chocolate strawberry pop tart and take a nap because my optimism is already waning. Sigh.

What is your "big picture" editing process?