Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where 2010 Will Take Me

It’s a simple and compelling truth, really
We get one walk on this Earth
One chance to love
One chance to touch, and taste, and feel
One chance to see stars

It’s a truth meant to have guide me in 2010
A truth I want to hear
ringing in my ears
every day on waking

This, my one walk,
is mine to make special

Christmas Takes its Toll

My thousand-words-a-day goal got hammered in the last week or so. Christmas, with its distractions and obligations, knocked me pretty well off course.

It's worth every distraction, every obligation, mind you. But it does come with a cost.

Now, the trick is not to try to pull any heroics. It's a pattern I have (I don't think I'm alone here) to try to pull off miracles from time-to-time (or is it all the time?).

Hoping and pressing for miracles, at least in my world, is a recipe for disaster. The pressure just kinda ratchets up and pretty well guarantees that I'll fail.

So, instead of bowing to my rabbit-from-a-hat instincts, I'm going to simply try to get back to the writing pace I set for myself.

A thousand words a day.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I had a great (and fun) opportunity to do some photography with a pro shooter friend of mine over the weekend. These gulls watched as we photographed a model in among the rocks and sand and water.

A Musical--er, ah, a Filmic--Interlude

I recently bought a high-def video camera for the first time and intentionally got one with enough features to support the making of a movie (enough manual controls and external mic connector mainly).

Soon after, I bought software to support high-def video editing.

In the process, I got to thinking seriously about making a micro-budget guerrilla feature. In the process of noodling on story ideas, I got more and more excited, even ultimately envisioning a gala opening with a rented theater, just to give myself the chance to see it projected big with a live audience at least once.

Several friends have happily volunteered to help (there's no overestimating the power of movie making to seduce).

I went to film school and worked on quiet a few low-budget films, but I've never taken command of a full feature myself. The thought of it is enthralling.

And this has become my next project, lined up in the wake of getting my novel happily finished and out in the world.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Rose

There's some substantive writing stuff to come soon, I promise.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Group of Traitorous Leaves

For a Day, Not a Pretender

This morning, I wrote my thousand-plus words, happily. And I think, if I haven't misread the whole thing, that I'll like the output.

Soon after, I took my new little camera for a short spin and found photos that pleased me. That well has, essentially, been dry for a while. So it's nice to produce a couple 'hits.'

After a year that will, in my inconsequential history, live in infamy :>) , I feel like I'm hitting my stride on a decidedly upward facing path.

And it's good.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

On Track and (mildly) Happy With Things

This morning I was re-reading a section of my novel that I haven't looked at for a while.

It was new enough to me that it was almost as if someone else had written what I was reading. And with those fresh eyes, I was surprised and pleased. It wasn't right enough that I won't do any editing, but I enjoyed the read. And I was, for a few minutes, suprised at what I'd wrought.

These moments (like hitting a miracle shot on a golf course) keep me coming back for more, even though I know I don't hit that high point very often.

Just as important as my happy surprise is the fact that I'm still on track with the thousand words a day through December.

Good times.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

An "Editor's Choice" from Defunct Parade Magazine Online Contest

Committed Decorator

*believe it or not . . .

Not far from where I live, there's a neighborhood that goes hog-wild for Christmas decorations. This guy is, year-after-year, king of the hill. People drive from God-knows-how-far away to join the parade of gawkers in cars. Some even walk the streets, buying hot chocolate from some people who've set up 'stores' in their driveways.

Can't imagine what this guy's electric bill is like.

* . . . this picture doesn't even capture all the glory of the guy's front yard!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to Write Fast

A Getaway Place*

I've proven to myself recently, with little exercises in short stories, that I can write relatively fast. I finished an 1800+ words story in one brief sitting. And I've proven that I can deliver a thousand words in a couple hours consistently.

The key? Allow myself to write utter crap. It doesn't all come out crap, of course. But I have to proceed as if it's gonna be. And I have to be comfortable with that.

I don't feel like I can get where I want to go as a writer (successful publication tied to an income that means something) without learning to write relatively fast. This exercise has real meaning.

So far, through the eight days of December, I've managed to allow myself to write junk. I've delivered the word count I was shooting for, and I've done it with a quality that doesn't make me want to hurl.

Not a bad start to what I hope will be a meaningful habit as I plow into the new year.

* Balboa island has always been a little spiritual escape for me. Love the ocean. Love the sunsets. Love ferry rides and barking sea lions.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Odd Awakenings

Today, I awoke at 4:30 am to the feel of huge, silent tears streaming down my face. I could actually hear them plopping on the pillow next to my ear as they fell.

I lay there, for perhaps two minutes, as they continued to fall.

I would have laughed at a book that played such a scene. But it happened.

Later in the morning, I actually managed to write well enough to get caught up with my thousand-word-a-day goal for December. So I've erased one failed writing day and am back on track.

I'm hoping to get ahead and not have to pull any future heroics.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Habit Changing Is Hard

We're only 3+ days into December, and I've already blown my goals. Yesterday, I got distracted by other, frittery activities and failed to write my thousand words. So, today, and every day until I'm caught up, I have extra words to write.

I've been trying, desperately, to learn to write fast. I think speed is actually vital to fend off the dispirited slump that eventually assaults anyone (I believe it's anyone) taking on a long-winded project like a novel.

And it's clear to me that there are two aspects to writing fast. One is the word-count per sitting (as in my thousand-word goal), and the other is the consistent, water-on-a-rock kind of delivery. Rump in chair every day.

While I've completed two novels in the past, I've never managed to move as consistently as I would like. This novel is a test. I'm hoping to change my habits, and hoping, even more, that the outcome proves my instincts correct.

But habit changing really is hard.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

An Update to a Post Below

Since Parade Magazine yanked their photo contest, the winning photo I mentioned below is no longer available on their site.

So I'm posting it here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Back to Life

After having a very tough year--with some breathtakingly glorious stuff thrown in--I'm coming back to the writing game with, I hope, a vengeance.

I will chronicle my progress here in the writing blog and post a few pics along the way.

The plan, for December, is to write a thousand words a day on my current novel, what I call (cautiously) a mainstream romance.

I'm hoping to hit the ground running in 2010, so am working on writing and health habits here in December.

And, in less than thirty days now, 2009 can kiss my ass.