Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ramblin' Rodeo (or how I completely muck up the writing waters).

I am a promise breaker. I announced that I'd write three pages of gibberish each day for the past week. News flash: Didn't happen. Various (some contrived) reasons kept me from fulfilling my goal.

It's the "writing thang." Better put, it's me having great intentions, and then letting everything within mental peripheral range wipe out said "great intentions." Sometimes I think my writing muse has ADHD. When the writing urge strikes, there's always internal and external happenings grabbing my weak attention, or trumping any writing resolve I possessed.

For instance, late last week I had a phone conversation with a multi-epublished writer (soon to be in print, or maybe is already...). We spoke of the trials and tribulations involved in publishing, the importance of gaining a fan base, agents vs. editors, etc. After I got off the phone with her I sat back and felt the "publishing thang" slowly taking over my muse's drive. (I often wonder if possessing publishing knowledge is the poison or the cure - it's hard for me to assimilate.)

And then yesterday I received this literary agency's newsletter. Part of it answered a worn out dilemma I've had for years by describing how to figure out what genre to market my work (although to this day I still feel the publisher does whatever they damn well want). It said, "Get your genre right. Imagine walking in to a bookstore. Where would one find your book? In the romance section? Then, label it 'romance.' In the literature section? Label it 'commercial fiction.' " For two seconds I felt giddy, as if I just stumbled over the Rosetta Stone.

Reality then reared its ugly head as I further read on. The newsletter asked, "What is the defining event that occurs in the first 30 pages of your story which propels the novel forward?" further stating, "Make sure you include your book's defining moment as part of your pitch in the query letter."

Damn, I'm lucky if I can figure out whether I'm a plotter, a panster, or a crazed maniac who should never hold a pen. My muse withered with wonder, its ADHD enhanced.

I haven't lost hope for my muse. Soon it'll be strong enough to ignore all outside stimuli. Soon. Really. Maybe not today, but whenever the time is right...it merely packed up and took hiatus without leaving a clue as to its return.

Thoughts? Does publication and all the do's and don'ts of it seem daunting? Does your muse have ADHD too?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bite me deeply.

In the paraphrased words of Edie Ramer, if I write three pages a day, that's over a thousand pages a year.

I haven't written a single page of anything since the ball dropped on 2010. But today, approximately fifteen minutes ago, I hand wrote three pages of gibberish. The instep of my thumb ached afterward. I thought of Edie's words when I finished, smiled and fired up the blog. She's today's inspiration, a person who keeps on giving while never giving up.

Why three pages? A few years ago I discovered The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. The text taught methods to overcome obstacles, which included writing "morning pages," three pages of random gibberish first thing in the morning. Religiously I wrote three pages each morning while the coffee brewed and the eye goop still festered. I had once mentioned this to Edie, and thus her paraphrased comment above.

After two or three years of morning page regimen, I slowly discontinued them. It was hard writing the very first thing in the morning, especially after Monster Chihuahua took up residence.

But then the habit of writing was lost, too.

Writing. The one thing that sustained my life took a back seat to my life. Until this afternoon when I forced myself to just do it. A blank tablet of paper sat beside me, so I picked it and a pen up and started the ride. I felt released from captivity. Fresh air rushed into my gray matter.

I felt all writerly. Ready to begin something new. But, but, but...

I know I need to ease my way back in just like an athlete in rehab (for a physical injury and not the Tiger kind). My gut tells me to take it slowly, three pages per day until of week of gibberish has gone by. That's my plan...

Like a recovering addict, I need a program. I need to make a plan that feels right, one that acts like a crutch to my dwindling confidence. And similar to the twelve step program, I'm relying on faith, my Monster Chihuahua constant proof of its power.

Any words of wisdom are greatly appreciated, and feel free to share the longest word drought, if any, you've had. How did you get it back into gear?

Friday, March 5, 2010

This is me just r(w)anting (again)...

Doesn't all the spam and email junk make you crazy? Fortunately there are various email accounts that help eliminate the spam-junk-shazit. I use Gmail and Yahoo.

Gmail delivers the spam-junk-shazit directly to a special spam folder. After a few days it looks like an "Erections-R-Us" catalog. I have no idea why Gmail has targeted me for daddy's little helpers. (Just send me the guy with the four hour erection.)

Yahoo doesn't do a great job of spam-sweeping. They leave it up to the addressee to address the problem via creating spam filters, etc. Kind of a drag, but I do it. I hate unsolicited mail. I doubt that I have a million dollars sitting in an unknown bank account somewhere in Nigeria, or an ancestor from the deep root system of my family tree that has left me some serious cash.

Or that I need male enhancement.

But what really, really, REALLY gives me a minor rash is receiving newsletters in my email from writing organizations of which I've never belonged. And I know the culprit, well, sort of.

Romance Writers of America. Nothing against them. They've never been a good fit for me, but a new RWA "special interest" chapter came into my radar that looked like a match, and I wanted to join. And of course, I had to lay out RWA's mega-fee in order to join. Can't belong to one without lining the mother ship's coffers now can we?

And so it goes that last week I received a newsletter from an RWA chapter of which I have no affiliation, never took a class through, or entered any contest with. From out of nowhere there it was in my email. Possibly my email address was gotten from Facebook. Who knows? I took care of the matter by unsubscribing to the newsletter that I never subscribed to in the first place.

And then this week I receive a flier from said RWA chapter in my mailbox, which is screwed into the door of my new house. At my six-month old address that very few personal friends have.

Why does this irritate me? Simply put, it sucks. It's one thing to have my email address bombarded with unwanted junk, but my home address? There's only one way an RWA chapter could get a hold of my home address. Okay, maybe a few ways. First, maybe RWA hands them out wily-nily. Second, maybe someone in said chapter has a connection with RWA (the board perhaps?) and scooped up a few. Or, maybe there is a member in the "special interest" chapter who has an affiliation with said RWA chapter, and created a mailing list.

Whothefuck knows? The point reiterated, it sucks.

I paid RWA's exorbitant membership fee just so I could belong to the new "special interest" chapter. Shouldn't that come with a little security? What does RWA do with all those fees, anyway, other than print out their monthly mag, of which goes from mailbox to recycle bin in one fell swoop?

Shame on me for joining an "organization" that doesn't fit. But shame on them for allowing personal home mailing addresses to fall into unauthorized hands.

Excuse my rant, but something is a little off here. And if anyone can come up with an explanation for how said RWA chapter got my personal mailing address, I'd entertain it.