February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Writing Buddy Goals Week Four and The Winners Are...

Today was the big day that Jason announced all the winners for his flash fiction contest. I am so sad to say I did not win... not a place anyway. Philosophically speaking, I won in other ways. I met lots of new writer-bloggy friends, I tried something new, I came up with a new idea for my next novel, and I read over 40 positive comments for my contest entry (well, some were my replies...). Thank you so much for all of your supportive comments. They meant so much to me.

So the winners are...
1st Place--SARAH HINA, And Miles to Go Before She Sleeps (#27) Prize: $25 Amazon gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Running Wind" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)

2nd Place--SEAN FERRELL, Reversal (#56) Prize: $20 Amazon gift certificate

3rd Place--JOSH VOGT, Time is a Road (#49) Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate

4th Place--PAUL LIADIS, Ar'n Man (#39) Prize: $10 Amazon gift certificate

5th Place--JEFF B, You Can't Get There from Here (#61) Prize: $5 Amazon gift certificate

Honorable Mention--CHARLES GRAMLICH, Precious Cargo (#1)

Honorable Mention--SCOTT SIMPSON, Blurred Vision (#6)

Honorable Mention--POSOLXSTVO, Anywhere But Here (#19)

Honorable Mention--SCOTT ELLIS, Freebird (#32)

Honorable Mention--AERIN, Dreamland Eyes (#62)

READERS' CHOICE AWARD:Readers' Choice...
CHARLES GRAMLICH, Precious Cargo (#1) Prize: $15 Amazon gift certificate, 8 x 10 print of the "Running Wind" photograph (inscribed by Jason Evans)

1st Runner-Up--SARAH HINA, And Miles to Go Before She Sleeps (#27)

2nd Runner-Up--JOSH VOGT, Time is a Road (#49)

Congratulations everyone! This was an awesome adventure with lots of talented writers.

Last Week's Writing Buddy Goals...
Last week, one of my goals was to write an outline from page 85 to the end. I am happy to say all I have left is the second half of the last chapter to complete and I feel fan-tas-tic! I really do. Who knew an outline could be such a freeing experience? Not me! I am always, down with outlines, let your story come organically. Well, not that I tell others what their process should be, but I feel most of the time, that is the best process for me... up until a certain point, that is.

What I learned is, I can do that for the first draft up until about the second half of the middle. I can throw out all the foreshadowing and seeding and laying the ground work in an organic, free, no-outline, kind of way. But, then I hit a point in the story where all of that needs to be tied up in a neat little bow and resolved. It is at this point that an outline needs to be written. In fact, it was downright mandatory. And now that I've written one, I really do feel unclouded.

What was Learned During my Writing Buddy Discussion...
Today, Cathy and I conferred... (sorry, just had to use that word - don't know why...) and I would say the unifying theme for both of us was all about something I recently read in Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power of Now. (I actually posted more about this subject here.) I think we both discovered that we are using the thinking brain while we both need to use what Tolle calls the unthinking brain.

Cathy and I were talking about, how right now, in our careers as writers, we don't feel, or at least I don't feel I have any control over this process. We likened it to exercising. When you don't exercise for a while, you are rusty and out of shape and it takes a while to get "into" it. So ,we both are on a mission on how to be able to control slipping out of the thinking brain and into what I would like to call instead, the artist brain (you know - that trance-like state you get into during a really good writing session).

I would like to open a discussion here... How do you get into that trance-like state where the writing just flows and you are not intentionally thinking, or analyzing what you are writing? The words just pour out of you and you are more like a passenger on a ride. Have you been able to master going between these two states when you need to? How do you engage that artist brain and tell the thinking brain it is time to quiet down?

Goals for this Week...

  1. complete outline (I am on the last chapter)
  2. go through all my notes of things I had seeded and foreshadowed and make sure they are all resolved in my outline notes.
  3. WRITE
  4. WRITE
  5. WRITE
  6. (unrelated to writing) I am in the process of refinishing my daughter's old dresser. My dad and step mom just gave one of my daughters all this great furniture for her bedroom. But now her old dresser sticks out like a sore thumb. So far I have sanded it down to the natural wood. Next, I have to paint it black, then apply a thin coat of crackle, then white paint, then pink accents, then new knobs.

Those are my goals for this week. Wish me luck! And happy writing to all of you!


LEEZY said...


You know, I guess I never really 'thought' about it, but now that I do, I realize that: when I create illustrations that most people point out as their favorites — or write stories which people say "oh, this is a winner" — they are more often than not the work that took little-to-no thinking about. they also tend to take less time to work on and come to me just 'like that'. HAH! How about that!

I then realized the ones I struggle with are the ones I labor over intensely, thinking about every little line or mark or sentence that I create. More often than not, they never look right to me and seem awkward.

I too, have read The Power of Now and when I feel myself slipping into that abyss of losing control, I remind myself to breathe and focus solely on the rhythm of my breath. I close my eyes and if I have a moment, I might meditate as a way to help increase my focus.

Or, I play some fun high energy music and dance around the living room and switch my attention to 'feeling good in the present' rather than the problem that is weighing me down.

I have learned over these past few years to recognize my symptoms and am usually able to tune in to my unthinking brain. Relaxation certainly plays a key part in the process — being wound up with stress means I am clutching too tight to be able to breathe and focus.

Sheri congrats on all your acheivements ESPECIALLY the part about finishing your outline - you must be feeling a real sense of accomplishment — go Sheri!!!

Can't wait to read your next installment.

Sheri said...

Thanks Leeza! These are great examples of when you are using your artist brain (when ideas flow wiht no time at all) and your thinking brain (when you are struggling and it feels labor intensive).

To get myself in "the mood," I actually light a candle in my office. The aroma and the sight of the flickering flame somehow signals that trance-like state, but not always...