Monday, March 28, 2011

Teacher Plan Books--I guess I still need them


Progressing Nowhere...that's the way I felt last week surrounded by all the writing related tasks I have to do. So many wonderful things to work on, I didn't know where to begin. I  started making a list. Not only do I have to send out more query letters on a completed novel, but there are two novels needing revision along with several short stories. I've even put off creating new crafts because there was just too much to do. I was going nowhere fast. Something had to be done.

I chewed on my pencil eraser.  Hmmm. What about those good old lesson plans from my teaching days? Sure, filling those things out each week was a pain, but they kept me on track and productive. A modified plan might work.

This weekend I wrote a simple writing schedule for the next five weeks. On the white board on my office wall, I wrote out the days of the week across the top. Under each day I listed one task that had to be done that morning. Period. No procrastination. I concentrated only on the mornings, two hours minimum. Afternoons would be considered recess if I did my work.
  •  Monday - revision of an MG mystery with special points that needed attention
  • Tuesday - revision of the YA from a list of my critique group's suggestions. (Love that group!)
  • Wednesday- short stories only.
  • Thursday- new project development
  • Friday- anything from M-Th
Today was the first day to implement the schedule and I actually enjoyed myself. Knowing exactly what I needed to do ahead of time, made it easier to pull up the chair and get started. The idea that I only had to put in a couple of hours was motivating.

 I revised the first six chapters and before I knew it, lunch time had arrived. The pressure of worrying about other writing tasks was off my mind and I could enjoy working on this one novel. I came away relaxed, smiling, and not one bit exhausted mentally or physically.

 I don't know how long this schedule will last, but right now, it's working and I'm no longer progressing nowhere. It's recess now and I'm blogging, nice reward for a job well done.

Do you need a schedule/lesson plans to keep you on task? Or are you, like other writers I know, so motivated and eager to write each day, you know exactly what to do and sit down and do it?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mary Whitsell's Post--A Must Read

We've all had those humbling experiences in life that we think are kind of funny after a long time has passed. And we really enjoy them if they happen to somebody else.  I just had a good, but empathetic, giggle over at Mary Whitsell's blog. You've got to go visit and read this frustrating and humbling experience.  Bless her little heart.

Mary wrote about this so well that I thought what a great scene it would make in a novel. Which reminded me that a few of my own experiences have found their way into my own work. Not all of them. Some are best left forgotten because they bring back all those iccky feelings as fresh as the day they  happened.

Have you used personal experiences like this in your work?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lazy Days of Spring?

I don't know if there is such a thing as a Lazy-Days-of -Spring emotion but that's what I'm suffering from right now on St. Patrick's Day. It feels like the middle of summer, emotionally. The weather is gorgeous.
 In January I painted my garage, even the ceiling, a bright white after a thorough cleaning. Then I madly mowed my yard to mulch the dead leaves that weren't raked and bagged. February came and went with lots of little chores inside and out. But these first two weeks of March, I've done absolutely nothing except read, watch TV, and nibble.
The worst thing is, I'm not writing like I should. I have projects waiting for revision, others waiting for submission, but with no desire to even look at them.When the phone rings, I put down my book and roll off the couch with a groan. "Oh, all right..." 
Hopefully, this too shall pass--soon...very soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Just received the Stylish Blogger award from Perri. Go visit both her blogs, you'll love them. Thank you, Perri!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sad, Sad Day

Decided to post a link to Angela Ackerman's blog. Today's title, Heavy Heart, says very simply what so many of us are feeling.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Can't Characters Sit Down and Stand Up Any More?


One of the things that has been said the last few years is not to use the terms "sit down", "stand up", or "stood up" because if you sit, you usually sit down, and if your character stood up he stood because all he can do is stand up.

 I took all this seriously even though it bothered me because what the average person from all walks of life says is, "Come in, sit down." Or "He sat down and we had a good talk."

In the classroom, teachers tell students to stand up all the time. "Stand and get in line" just doesn't sound right.

So why are we, as writers, being told to reeducate the public not to use the words they've always used and continue to use?

I've been paying attention as I read some of the best sellers on the NY Times list. And, I know when you are famous you can break the rules, but these authors let their characters sit down and stand up a lot. Some follow the rules most of the time, but usually there's a slip-up. One even wrote that his character, "...sat down on the couch..." So why has this become a big no-no?

I'm trying hard to follow the road of rules set forth for the unpublished but sometimes it just doesn't seem natural. How do you feel about this? Are you making changes in your own work?