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.


Unknown said...

Carolyn, I think you have some excellent goals here. You have some wonderful areas to explore, as well as affirming that you need to write, that it is important to you.

The only thing you have missed is the defined output - remember we are aiming for three sets of four linked stories during the workshop.

So within the goals framework you have set for yourself, can you outline the sets you are going to write? For example, in the first month, you might write four stories with a female protagonist, linked by a theme or setting or motif.

In other words, define your specific output for the workshop, keeping your goals and needs in mind. :)

Meredith said...

Carolyn, bravo to you for deciding to no longer ignore your desire to write! I agree that it is difficult to fit it in when our lives are so busy, but I think that when we make time for our creativity, the rewards are greater than we could ever imagine -- and so I'm excited for you. I like how you made your plans very concrete and practical and doable.

The only thing I would add is that if the habits do not form at once, don't give up (which is a self-sabotaging behavior I know I have, and that I have seen in several other sensitive and creative friends). I'm rooting for you!