Archive for June, 2011

It’s another delightful day to inspire some quality writing. Even though I had my first nightmare of this project last night, I remain optimistic. I’m really looking forward to starting this endeavour; it may seem daunting but when viewed the right way, it’s not so scary. I wonder if the writer and director of “What About Bob?” realized that “baby steps” actually works? Some how I have a feeling that is the only useful piece of psychotherapy the movie has to offer (god help the person who’s on the receiving end of the “death therapy”…). I’m totally going to baby step my way through this coming year.

I had a conversation with one of my bestest friends last weekend and she informed me that I’m not very forgiving towards myself. Now will be the perfect time to learn. My goal is to write and complete 12 novels but in reality, will that happen? I don’t know. I think being successful with this is going to be sticking with it (whether I want to or not) and being honest about doing my best. I never think that I’ve jumped in the deep end and the task is too momentous to tackle, I just take it one day at a time. Sure there will be good days and bad but that’s part of the reason why I decided to start a blog. If I make this process as public as possible, I hope that will keep me on track and motivated. I’ll also post an excerpt at the beginning of each month from the work that I just finished.

As promised, here’s the final list selected:

1. Memoir (I know this isn’t technically a novel but it will have fictitious parts so it’s not 100% truth)

2. Western (never read one of these)

3. Adventure

4. Fantasy (not one of my favourites I generally try to avoid them)

5. Chick Lit (I spend way too much time reading these)

6. Horror (the obvious choice for October!)

7. Steampunk (Nope. No experience reading this genre either)

8. Romance (I tried a short story once, It’s tougher than you might expect.)

9. Mystery (I can guarantee I’m no Agatha Christie)

10. Fiction

11. Sci Fi

12. Pulp Fiction ( of the Maltese Falcon variety. I’ve tried reading it but couldn’t finish it.)

I’m really excited for the variety and the challenge each month will hold for me. There’s nothing I like more than to stretch my creative muscles and challenge myself to learn and grow. I hope you all enjoy the coming year as much as I will!

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I’m manning the desk at work today eating carrots and hummus and an overwhelming urge to write has flooded my being. Maybe it’s the weather (fliuch agus fuar- wet and cold in Irish (probably the one phrase I’ll remember until the day I die)), maybe it’s the music I’m listening to (the wonderful swing classics and my new favourite artist, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns), but probably it’s a bit of both.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer like those glamourized in movies  and on t.v.- you know, the non-bestseller in the amazing brownstone-turned-apartment-complex apartment (Carrie Bradshaw comes to mind) who has the luxury of sitting at her desk drinking coffee (in my case tea), wrapped in the comfiest clothes/blankets imaginable. How great would that be?! Alternately (since I know this would never happen unless I either became a best-seller and could afford that lifestyle or came into an inheritance (and this isn’t worth losing a loved one for)), I usually day-dream of holing up in a coffee shop for hours on end, once again drinking approximately the same volume of tea as Lake Geneva. Sadly, this doesn’t usually happen either. I don’t know about you but I’m a lazy writer. I don’t particularly relish the thought of lugging my laptop around with me and making sure I have enough battery life so I can leave the power cord at home. Yet, I really don’t work well at home. Of course Yesterday is a great companion but there’s just something about having my own space that is dedicated solely to writing that is a necessity. I’m not exactly sure what’s missing at home.

Perhaps what I’m missing is time. At home, there’s always something to be done or snacks to be made and eaten so it’s easy to lose focus and get sidetracked. When I’m out, I don’t have to fight the external stimuli, I can instantly fall into the zone and the story starts revealing itself like a movie in my mind. I suppose wherever I go, there will be temptations and traps I have to be on guard for. I hope that as the months go by and I get more accustomed to carving out serious blocks of time in order to work on my stories that things will get easier. I’ve never considered the external influences on my writing so it’ll be interesting to see how things like the weather, work, my mood and such influence this project. I think one major key to being a successful writer is knowing what your personal obstacles are and what environment is most conducive to your creative process.

It’ll be tricky at first to balance this commitment with work (which always has to come first), Yesterday, dance and my Irish lessons. I’m excited for the challenge and have started thinking about the novels over the past day or so. I hope my biggest challenge will be coming up with enough names for the characters. It’s surprising how hung up I can get on a little detail that doesn’t matter at the moment.

When I decided to move down east from Toronto, I kept myself in the frame of mind that things will work out. It was scary putting my trust in a mantra, especially when the visible indicators stated the outcome was most likely NOT going to end up how I envisioned it would. Time and time again things worked out as I knew they would. Yes, there are times when I lose sight of this mindset but those have been few and far between. With a solid history of success, I’ll definitely rely on this internal strength each month. Call it what you want, for me, it’s optimism.

Even with these few postings, it feels so wonderful to get back into writing. I don’t remember the last time I allowed myself the amount of time to write that I’m giving myself now. My little soul is ecstatic.

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I could start outlining the novels now OR I could do it tomorrow.

I’ve always responded well to deadlines. I was the kid in university that studied for her exams the night before. I did my research for all the papers due that semester within a week of getting the assignment yet left the actual writing until 72 hours before it was due. In fact, my best semester resulted after I decided to read through my notes and as much of the textbook before falling asleep then getting up to write the exam.

Why stop now?

Procrastination is a double-edged sword, my friend. And a very sharp one at that. Yes, living within the confines of a well-defined schedule  forces me to sit down and apply my grey matter to the task at hand, yet the pressure to complete sometimes massive projects can be overwhelming. The amount of tears spilled were not proportionate to the grade received, I can assure you.

I hope the challenge I’ve issued will result in 7 things:

1) I establish a solid writing habit

2) Will help me learn time management skills

3) I learn about myself through the masterpieces (or craptastically magnificent door stoppers) that are the end product each month

4) There will be at least 1 little gem that I can polish up and enjoy as a legitimate work of art

5) Learn to function without my internal critic and its sidekick, the internal editor (THEY feels they’re important. Are they? I highly doubt it.)

6) The satisfaction of completing a project (I’m not usually known for my perseverance when it comes to big projects)

7) The ability to proudly state that I am a novelist

I’m not kidding myself- this next year is going to be all about quantity over quality. Some days my little fingers will be on fire and the prose being created will be beautiful. Other days, my eyes will be on fire and I’ll be lucky to string enough sentences together for a paragraph. I have a feeling those days will be mostly dialogue.

This project is for me. So what the majority of genres on my list I’ve never read (i.e. Westerns) or I’ve attempted to read but never could (i.e. Pulp Fiction of the Maltese Falcon variety)? I’m intrigued by the various styles out there and am excited to try my hand at various types. I suspect the most frustrating months will be when I’m working on one of those unknown genres but who knows what may result! The final list of genres selected will be posted Thursday then it’s off to the races!

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About me…

I am a 28-year old, newly transplanted Haligonian. When not working at my dream job, I may be found wandering around Halifax with my trusty little side-kick, Yesterday (an incredibly friendly, happy-go-lucky Italian Greyhound), or out dancing.

After watching Julie & Julia, I decided to spice up my life (as if there haven’t been enough changes int he last 8 months!) and issued myself a year-long challenge:

I Sandra, formally challenge myself to write a novel a month, starting July 1st, 2011. The goal is to complete 6 pages a day, 1 blog entry, and 1 journal entry for a total of :

1)   12 50,000 word novels
2)   a 366 page journal “autobiography”
3)   a blog highlighting my successes,
challenges and moments of insanity.

Thanks for checking out my profile. I hope it’ll be a fun and exciting year, full of little (and big) successes, challenges and moments of bliss & insanity. I’m looking forward to the ride, regardless of where I end up.

I hope you enjoy the trip as much as I do!

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