Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week Three in Review:
Write off the Week that Was

Such a busy week, I just could not get engaged in my story... at all.  

However, I did accomplish much:

Spent an entire day with my 83 year old mother.  No writing this day, but many wonderful words passed between us that may spark my imagination for another day's story.

Watched my youngest daughter sing in her final ninth grade concert... priceless memory!

Drove through the pouring rain for fifty miles to then sit in the pouring rain as I watched my oldest granddaughter play an hour soccer game. I get double points as I also watched my son coach the game.  "Go Coach!"  :)  Drove the fifty miles back home, still in pouring rain.

Planted my garden pots, pruned and fertilized eleven rose bushes, cleaned the floating redbud blossoms from the waterfall and planted a few annuals. Not yet done, but getting closer.

Wrote several (creative?) posts for my garden blog, complete with pictures and resolved that I desperately need a new camera, I do, I do!

Talked for an hour or so with my darling daughter via telephone who lives so far away (sigh) regarding her growing belly...five weeks left before baby girl comes!

Researched and prepared a talk that I delivered in church today.  Word count: 2027
Can this count as reaching my goal for the week? A resounding "Yes!" from the crowd.

And many thanks to Merrilee who wrote the following words that I'm going to live by:

Write off the week that was 
and move on to the week that will be.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week Two in Review:
The Best of Days and the Worst of Days

This week of writing has brought the best of days and the worst of days for me.
Monday was a struggle.  So many ideas, which one to go with?

Tuesday was a challenge. I could not find a place to begin. I tossed and turned in every direction until I felt like I was on a Merry-Go-Round.  Over the course of hours, and many revisits, I made a brilliant decision to change the perspective and I finally began to write.

Wednesday I questioned my brilliant decision to change perspective. Then I questioned my choice of ideas.  Then I questioned why I thought I could do this class at all.  At last, I shoved all my doubts into the closet, turned away from all the distractions and pushed my way through the story. Word count only 678, but at least I had a beginning.

Thursday I played hooky and escaped from writing.  Felt a bit shameful that I wasn't on schedule but actually felt more exhilarated that I would choose to.

Friday I woke up early, driven to finish my story.  With the block wall tumbled and the wind of inspiration behind my words, I wrote as fast as I could type (which is not an impressive speed).

Finished!  Word count, 2949.
And best of all, I love what I wrote! 

I have succeeded in capturing a moment in time that makes me smile, and I'm quite sure will make the main character (my son) smile as well when he reads it.

Now, what am I going to do this week?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week One in Review:
Love/Hate Relationship

Hated how long the Ice Breaker took to complete.
But loved searching class members blogs...what diversity we have!

Putting my goals to paper required waking up dormant brain cells.
I need to do this more often... it was exhilarating!

Felt angst at Merrilee's prodding to do a little more.
Just what I need to dig a little deeper... I can do this!

In summary, I'm developing a love/hate relationship with this workshop.
But as in all of life, work can be hard, but the fruits of our labors are delicious!

Off to map my story. Still looking for inspiration!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Output Defined

The duration of the Creativity Workshop is 13 weeks, during which time, we have been asked to write three sets of four linked stories.
I am going to bend the rules a bit in that I will focus on all three of my goals
throughout the entire course.
This seems to flow with what I want to accomplish.

My weekly schedule will be as follows:

Sunday Night
     Look ahead to the following week
     Assign blocks of time to devote to writing

Monday Morning
     Gather Ideas
     Select the idea of the week
     Map out my plan

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

     Evaluate my story
     Review my work ethic
     Note areas to improve upon

Each of the three sets of stories will be linked as follows

          Weeks 1-4    Theme

          Weeks 5-8    Setting

          Weeks 9-12  Characters

Due to the frenzied nature of my mind this could change slightly.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ah-h.  I'm feeling the pressure. 
This course is requiring me to use space in my brain 
that has lain dormant for decades.  
I need to clear out the cob-webs and get organized. 

This week's task has been to look over my lists of issues/interests and choose three to concentrate on during the workshop; to formulate my goals and create a task list for each one.

Here they are!

1. Manage my time to allow writing to become an important portion of my life.
There are so many voices calling me, literally. That is the reality of my life as a mother of many and a growing garden of grandchildren.  Then, there are all those other hats I wear. I want to be able to be all things to everyone in my life (impossible?), but I also have this deep desire to write that keeps poking me to surface. I just need to do it. It doesn't need to take over my life, it can't.  But I do need to make the time for it to merge with the many other aspects of my life.

Here's my plan (thanks Merilee for jump-starting me on this): 
  • Set a time for writing every day and stick to it, no matter what.  If a new idea comes along, jot it in my notebook, then go back to the original story.
  • When I feel stuck in a dark hole and need some inspiration, get up, and go for a walk in my garden.  Think about the storyline.  Remember the characters.  Then sit back down and try again.
  • At the end of each day, note my progress and write down a specific task for tomorrow.

2. Capture the ideas that are the most meaningful to me.
I have all these ideas floating in and out of my mind, that I really want to capture to create a story. The very fact that there are so many, stymies me into oblivion and I'm left frozen in time. In this immobile state, it's easy for me to set my desire to write aside with the affirmation that I'll try again next week, or next month, or next year, but I never do.

My plan:
  • I will choose one idea and then run with it.  The others will sit quietly in my mind until it's their turn.
  • Should one of "the others" beg for attention, I will write it down in my notebook then quickly close the notebook so it will remain there until its "turn" arrives.

3. Develop the ability to paint with words, to allow the reader to see what I see. 
The storylines that I want to pursue are actual events that have occurred in my life. One can only imagine the tales a mother of eight has hidden deep within her psyche. Because they are actual occurrences, they have been filed away in great detail, in living color... somewhere in that great filing cabinet in my head. Once I open the right drawer, my task will be:
  • Choose the Perspective 
  • Before I begin to write, I will consider the impact perspective will have. Should I relate the tale from the perspective of the child or from my perspective as the mother?  Perhaps the story is best told from the view of an onlooker.  I want to consider the advantage of each one carefully. 
  • Develop each Character
  • I know each character well.  I must remember that the reader may or may not have this advantage. I will need to spend sufficient time developing the characters in a way that each reader will feel as though he know my characters as well as I do.(Is that possible? Probably not.)
  • Provide Descriptive Content
  • I'm feeling a little queasy here, I don't feel this is my strong suit.  My descriptions will need to flow in a way that truly paints the picture and allows the reader to see what I see. I will need to be careful in my choice of words, especially not to use an over abundance of words.  I truly believe that less is best in using descriptive words, however they need to be just the right words. My challenge will be to find them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ice Breaker

I did it.  
I'm done.  
That was a lot of work.
And it took a grundle of time. 
But I'm glad I did it. 
Because now I know.
At least I think I know. 
And you know, too! 

That is,
If you really did it. 
Did you?

I LOVED the discovery aspect of the Ice Breaker.
And taking a peak at each of your blogs.
And discovering a little bit about who my classmates are.  

I'm impressed!
1.    Missing purple?  Try under the trapdoor. Vixen Phillips
2.    English author rapping in the bath?  Umbrella required! Rosalind Adam
3.    Moon across the ocean blue. Where’s the long white cloud? Anna Caro
4.    Who says you have to grow up?  Xenn
5.    Five times I love you.  Aurora Lee
6.    California garden with a foxhound. Yuuko Ichihara
7.    21 + 6 + 5 + 5.  Oh, and a chicken. Kodi Lynn
8.    Considers the lillies, but still a wage-slave to the empire. Sigh.  Meredith Wickman
9.    Lips as red as cherries, hair as blue as…electric? Shoe Skogan
10.    All singing, all writing bird!  I’m so Lost… Kayla
11.    Pigs DO fly!  I told you so. Valerie Sloan
12.    Manchester daisies.  Greener than home? Kerryn Angell
13.    Not in Penzance, the gender’s all wrong, but still!  Raise the Jolly Roger, arrr! Amanda C
14.    Raising goats, joyfully.  Hallelujah! Amber Dawn Weaver
15.    There are thirteen ribs, apparently.  Ashley Nava
16.    Love and stars and hearts and butterflies and swirls!  Najela Cobb
17.    RIP Cooper, dear friend. Karen
18.    Who’s to blame for the rain? Melissa
19.    Living in Melbourne, dreaming of Mars. Nathaniel Robinson
20.    Canada’s in the pink! Chibi Doucet
21.    Siochain’s amulet, 50% off! Davina Pearson
22.    Not a serial killer, but an explorer.  Sarah
23.    Bun in the oven, two kids, no time!  Cassie Hart
24.    Beautiful Jalal.  Linda Cassidy Lewis
25.    Africa?  Australia?  Jicama? Gillian
26.    Japanese poetry, in the popular form.  Alisha
27.    Mother, 8, grandmother, 12, not enough chairs in the garden! Carolyn (that's me!)
28.    Law of Attraction, no magnets here! Janette Dalgliesh
29.    Ngapuhi?  (Gesundheit!) Tamma Wise
30.    I’ve got your contest right here!  Epic?  You bet!  Simon Larter
31.    This is not the Olympics, no matter what the header says.  Nick Enlowe

Sunday, May 2, 2010

You Write Best What You Know Best

Far too many years ago than I care to admit, I enrolled in a college writing course that was more challenging than I wanted to be challenged. To that point in my life, writing had always been easy, words seemed to flow in a way that allowed me to do quite well in school. However, this course was different. Each writing assignment I completed was returned with a less than stellar grade that not only bruised my ego but threatened to cancel my scholarship. Sensing my frustration, the professor wrote something at the bottom of my essay that would change my life forever.  Her hand written words were quite simple: "You write best what you know best."

As I contemplated her words, they seemed to give me a sense of empowerment, an inner confidence that I could do this. From those simple words I found the direction that I had lacked: Write what I know best. So I began to write... I wrote about what was important to me, what I had experienced, what I could visualize, what I could feel. In essence, I began to write what I knew best. My passion was reflected in my words and my grades soon reflected my passion. My inner desire to write was fueled by this great professor (did I ever thank her?)

I finished the course, kept my scholarship and eventually graduated from college. Three weeks after I graduated, I married my sweetheart, had eight children and lived happily ever after.

I remember that experience as though it were yesterday and have often paused to reflect on it, most often when one of my children needed help with their own writer's block.  There have been a handful of times throughout the past many years, that I, myself, have actually put pen to paper for something other than journaling or notes to my children. (Oh but they were always the finest of notes!) I would often remark to my sweetheart that my greatest work is my children and that certainly holds true to all that I have ever written. I delight in the fact that each of my children have become excellent writers and wonderful human beings, contributors to this world, compassionate and caring. They have been my life's greatest work and will always be my life's greatest joy.

There is that one aspect of my life, however, that seems virtually unfulfilled. Until perhaps now. It's time to rekindle the flame! I have tales in my head that long to be put to paper, and now when most of my children are off creating their own families, seems like just the right time for me to finally develop this talent. 

So I begin today! I am enrolled in a Creativity Workshop hosted by Merilee.

My goals for this course:
  1. Manage my time well to allow writing to be an important portion of my life.
  2. Develop the ability to paint with words, to allow the reader to see what I see.
  3. Capture the ideas that are the most meaningful to me.
  4. Focus on Me. (This one will be my challenge, a mother rarely finds time for this.)
This is a good beginning, perhaps I will think of more as we get underway.  I am excited to take this course and delighted to begin this new phase of my life.