Envisioning the end much differently than when I started.

Yep, still at it. But now, my desire to finish is more about the desire to share. I think it’s pretty good if I do say so myself.  I haven’t let others read it yet so it is only “myself” giving the accolades.

A part of me is curious…what will others think?  Will they like it?  Will it be a book (like one that I am reading now) that will make them want to stay up past their bedtimes to read?  I am allowing myself to believe in my novel. I am allowing myself to believe that it WILL be well-received.  Not out of arrogance. Not out of self-assurance.  But out of the hope that pushes me forward.

I’ve missed you, writing.

[watch?v=ZhmuGUaf2aY]

I have gotten away from my daily blog and writing in general. My book-to-be still sits in pending mode waiting patiently (or not so patiently) to be completed in full.  I miss writing and the way words came into being easily and effortlessly.

Writing had become my friend, inspiration, and hope of better things to come.

Summer vacation will be here in a few weeks and I can NOT wait! Last summer marked the onset of my creative journey and the start of my new book before the sudden halt caused by nothing more than the daily grind.  I have a lot of stock built into this vacation. I am trusting or madly hoping that my book is complete and my writing will just flow with abandon. I so enjoyed that time. . .and miss it.

That was a time when I was working towards something. I need to be working towards something. I realize this. I am bored, unmotivated, and discouraged when there is not a carrot dangling in front of me. I realize that I do not know how to just be and enjoy the present. I always need to be working towards something otherwise I feel incomplete, dissatisfied, and unsettled. Why? Does everyone think this way?  I see those folks that just live in the moment, soaking up the day. Is that the ultimate nirvana?  Can I get there? Or, do I even want to?

Maybe why this song is resonating with me this week: watch?v=ZhmuGUaf2aY .

Random writing as I randomly write.

I feel the words brewing, percolating, bubbling inside my head.  They are there in limbo. Waiting for the muse to take them to their fate.  I am inspired, but only in thought. In my mind’s eye, I can see a masterpiece, a celebration of creativity.  I feel the way the words touch and move others, if only in my intent.  I long to have the words jump off the pages into the hearts of my readers. I’ve been moved by the works of others; may my words also have that same effect.

Missed me?! I, too, am working on my silver lining ending.

Click for preview

It’s been a long time since I’ve written my blog.  My hiatus was due to the general hectic schedule of my life.  I was trying to accomplish a lot and decided to give myself a free pass to just be and do what was needed at that moment.  3rd grade homework was needed — not mine, but my son’s, whose homework was not lacking in abundance and complexity. Add that with sports in the winter months and the evenings were just flying by, leaving room for little else.

I’ve also been trying to workout more (I’ve even lost some weight — yay!) and working on my novel (I so want it to completed).  I talked myself out of it for a while, thinking that I was only fooling myself into thinking I was a novelist and had something worth writing.  But then I heard about friends of mine whose friends or relatives were writers.  Not just writers, but writers getting paid for it.  Regular folks that decided to just follow their dreams… and well, just do it…JUST WRITE.  Part of this was encouraging to me, thinking that if they could do it, then so could I.  Part of this was discouraging, thinking that if they could do it so easily, then what’s my problem, what’s my excuse?

I’ve realized that I am only HALF WAY through my novel, and half way, means that you still have half more to write.  It also means that you have half of it COMPLETED.  And at that point, should you really quit? I have so much vested at this point.  I remember reading in Stephen King’s book on writing (for those who remember the inception of this blog, that book had a pivotal role in my writing), he wrote how when writing his first published book “Carrie,”  he threw it in the trash, thinking all of his work was pitiful and worthy of the trash.  His wife, having discovered his writing, thought otherwise, pulled it out of the trash, and told him to finish.  Would we have even heard of Stephen King if his wife had not done this?

I’ve been there—tempted to just stop and toss all my work aside, but then I remember that story.  And so, to get back to my writing, I decide to read the works of others, the inner workings of writers that have been brave enough to unveil characters that mean a lot to them. I decide to start with a book, now made into a movie that I’ve been really wanting to see, “The Silver Linings Playbook.”  I’m sad because I have already finished the book, a matter of only two days.  This is a book written by my friend’s second cousin.   The book talks about “Baltimore and the bad place” so maybe this is true.  As I mention, I fly through the book, even though I love Baltimore and hate Eagles fans (a big part of this book) and decide to carry on with my writing.  The movie does deviate from the book, from what I see of the previews, but hey…I still love the book and still want to see the movie. So, with that — and a movie preview for your enjoyment pleasure — I decide that if they can do it, then so can I.

 

Coincidence or Affirmation?!

I titled my last blog posting as “Driving the Road Less Traveled,” discussing not giving up on one’s goal even with temporary road blocks or challenges get in the way. After I did that, one of my Facebook friends posted this photo of their visit to New Orleans (at the Super Bowl).  I had to share…get it?

The banner says “Find Greatness on the Road.”  And I repeat, this was posted the same day that I posted my blog. The Ravens found greatness on the road—that is, after taking the road less traveled. I saw this photo and thought, “Hey, what a great affirmation.”

I will write more this weekend…but until then…Have a wonderful rest of the week. Remember to stay inspired and keep plugging along even when you think you are traveling no where fast.

Driving on the road less traveled.

Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.
— Christine Kane

When I read this quote, I laughed. So simple, so silly, yet so true. How many times have I let a setback, just one setback, derail me from achieving my goals?

Just this week, a few setbacks did crop up—ones that were TRYING to pull me away from my Healthy Habits goal.  I’ve been trying to work out more, taking up a (tough for me) kickboxing class. I was (and am) so excited to have a workout that I really enjoy.  You should try it some time—it’s amazing how good you can feel punching a bag repeatedly—so much aggression and stress pounded out.  I felt a sense of victory thinking that I had finally discovered a workout that I enjoyed and would actually stick with.  And then. . . in my 3rd class . . . I tore a stomach muscle. I literally felt the rip, the burning, and the pain every time I stretched my core.  Then, I spent the week with a sick child who carried a stubborn virus that refused to go away.  Those types of weeks are always fun—the kinds where you beat yourself up with guilt for being a bad mom and a bad employee.  [What? You can’t be in two places at once?]

Not earth-shattering setbacks, right?  But enough to get me out of my routine.  I was actually starting to get into a routine, my Healthy Habits (click link for Facebook page) were starting to stick. And then, the routines had to be modified for the week.  Instead of kickboxing, I decided I would walk.  And so I did.  And then. . . it snowed, the weather turned bitterly cold, and walking outside was not an option. And then….yada, yada, yada…I realized these were just setbacks. And setbacks are excuses.  I realized that I could give credence to these setbacks or just chalk them up as temporary roadblocks, with the key word being TEMPORARY.

The Ravens (yes, I am going there again, but hey — it is SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!) could have quit after their 3-game losing streak right before the playoffs, a setback that many teams might have used as permission to quit.  Not the Ravens. They used it as an excuse to go at it even harder.  And regardless of tonight’s outcome, the Ravens have enjoyed their journey and have inspired many people along the way.  If you live in Baltimore, you know just what I am talking about…the spirit is infectious!

And so, this week…the Healthy Habits will be happening (except tonight during the game: I’m a realist).  I’m drinking my fifth glass of water now and getting ready to work some more on my novel.

Thank you, Christine, for that piece of advice.  What I’ve come to learn is that there will always be setbacks, especially if you are looking for them.  It’s just what you DO with them that determines your fate.

Great Advice — So, So, So Helpful!

I stumbled across this blog site and found it interesting, encouraging, and useful. I urge any aspiring novelist to read this blog, including the pasted copy from the site: http://www.janegreen.com/index.php/for-writers/. I’ve had a renewed focus in getting my novel finished and finding this site gave me a glimpse of hope.

I give full credit to www.janegreen.com who wrote the following:

———————-

For Writers
I want to write a book. Now what?

Now you write, and more importantly, you finish. A first-time novelist who has a great idea, needs to prove to a publisher and/or an agent, that they can finish. Anyone can start a book, but finishing it is a whole other story entirely.

Although the standard pitch is a cover letter, resume, three chapters and a story outline, far better to send this when you have an entire book already done. That way, when an interested party asks to read the whole thing, you can strike while the iron’s hot and send it off immediately.
Other tips:

Write what you know, not what you think will sell. As tempting as it was to write about wizards a few years ago, and to write about vampires today, writing a book in the hope of commercial success is only going to lead to disaster.

I once read a novel from an aspiring writer, about a Private Investigator living in Los Angeles, chasing cops and robbers, etc etc. Given that the writer in question was a record producer from South West London, it didn’t quite have, erm, how shall I put it, the ring of truth?

This doesn’t mean you need write about your life, but, and nowhere is this more true than of women’s fiction, write about emotions, feelings, issues that are important to you, and that resonate with you. If you keep it real, it will resonate with the reader too.
Should I give the book to everyone I know, because if they love it, surely a publisher will too?

Basically, no. Writing is entirely subjective, and as tempting as it is to give your book to your six best friends, your parents, your siblings, your Great Aunt Sadie, for validation as to how talented you are and to hear how much they love it, too many cooks will spoil your broth, and you will end up with so many opinions, your head will be spinning.

When I wrote Straight Talking, back in 1996, I first sent it to a huge agent, recommended by a friend of mine. I received a letter back from his assistant, saying my characters were immature, the situations unconvincing, and that my book was “frankly unpublishable”. I sank into a deep depression, before a friend suggested I do a mailshot, because I had loved writing it so much, I couldn’t let one person’s opinion put me off.

I then sent it off to thirteen literary agents, fully expecting them to say thanks, but no thanks. Within a week nine of them had come back saying they loved it and could they read the whole thing. That led to a bidding war and a two-book deal.

Remember, all it takes is one person to love it, and that person should work in publishing, preferably an agent.
Do I need an agent?

Yes, yes, and thrice yes. Publishers are inundated with manuscripts, and far better to have a reputable agent who believes in your work, and is able to navigate the minefields and hopefully get you a publishing deal. You also don’t want to disappear into the slush pile at the publishing houses. Better for your agent to be able to phone the editor directly and tell them they have a great book that needs to be seen.

And you need the sort of agent who is going to get through to those editors. Whilst you may think any agent is better than no agent at all, I would advise you doing your research. A lone agent living in a studio apartment in Cleveland may seem like a find, but in truth you’d be better off having someone who has a track record of successes, and who has solid contacts in the New York Publishing houses.

Get hold of a copy of Writer’s Market – there will be a copy in your library – and look for agents who represent writers you know, and writers working in a similar genre.

Another great way of finding an agent is to go through books you love, and read through the acknowledgments – nine times out of ten the agent will be in there.
Does Writer’s Block exist?

Sadly, yes. I have just finished my twelfth novel, and still, after all these years, there are many, many times during the course of writing my novel that I sit there and have no idea what to write.

The greatest discipline I ever had was my training as a journalist. Working on the Daily Express in England, I had an editor standing over my desk every day barking: “Jane! We need a thousand words in an hour!” I couldn’t wipe my hand over my weary brow and say, “I’m so sorry, but I’m not inspired today. I will see if my muse strikes tomorrow, perhaps?” I just wrote, because I had to, and that, I have learnt, is the key to unlocking writer’s block.

Writing requires, more than anything else, tremendous discipline. At the end of the day, whilst there are times when it is wonderfully creative and fun, a lot of the time it is just a job. And that means showing up whether you feel like it or not. It also means you write, whether you are inspired or not, and the only way to unlock your creativity, is to start writing.

You can always go back and edit, craft, change, but more often than not, once you start writing, even though it may feel initially like you’re squeezing blood out of a stone, at some point it suddenly becomes easier, and then easier still, and all of a sudden, the creativity is back.

Finally, the best advice I can give, is to write. Just keep writing. Don’t go to conferences and classes and workshops, because that is just procrastination. A little of that is fine, but the people who become professional conference-goers, are actually procrastinating, and just putting off the actual business of writing.
© 2013 Jane Green

Slow and Steady.

I’ve gotten away from writing my blog on a daily basis; I decided it was causing me too much angst. The pressure to “perform” was getting to me. However, I didn’t want to lose sight of my goals or get away from my writing. And, I want to assure you that I haven’t.

I’ve been staying diligent with my novel. It is coming along, but much slower than I would like. I’ve talked a lot about a magic wand, which I so wish I owned. I know how I want my novel to go, only it’s harder getting the actual words down on paper. What I will say is that I am still surprised—surprised at how much I am enjoying my little story and surprised that I’ve made it this far (far enough to say that “it’s getting there”). Only it’s not getting there as quickly as I would like. I want it to be done, or so I think. I will miss the writing. It has become my imaginary world and my characters have special places in my heart. My boys are anxious for me to share this story with them, and I am looking forward to the day that I can…share the final product with them, a novel free of final edits, tweaking, and polishing. A story filled with promises.

What a difference a year makes!

I’ve learned a lot from watching the Ravens this year. Wow! (Again, as a Redskins fan first; a Ravens fan second). Ray Lewis is a true leader, and the spirit and love the players have for each other is “contagious.”  As I wipe away a tear brought on by sheer inspiration and admiration, I am motivated to emulate that type of spirit—one that does not give up and lifts others up along the way.

I’ve included an article and a few video clips.  One video is of Ray Lewis’ inspiring speech after the Ravens loss to the Patriots last year.  The other is of the Ravens THIS YEAR, one year later, after playing the Patriots again, but this time, beating them for a visit to the Super Bowl!

“From the countless injuries to my big bros retirement announcement, to Torrey losing his lil bro…this has definitely been a season of adversity and challenges. BUT, through adversity and challenges, guys who faithfully have each other’s backs GROW, PROSPER, AND OVERCOME! The one thing we always do better than anyone is LIFT EACH OTHER UP! New Orleans, here we come!!!”

– Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Video: Ravens Still Inspired By Ray Lewis’ Message

Posted Jan 16, 2013

Garrett Downing BaltimoreRavens.com Staff Writer @Ravens All Garrett Downing Articles

Ray Lewis’ speech after last year’s AFC championship fueled the Ravens to get back to this point.

The Ravens had just walked off the field at Gillette Stadium after suffering perhaps the most heartbreaking loss in franchise history.

That’s when Ray Lewis pulled his team together.

In an emotional message, Lewis told his teammates that he would return for another season, and challenged them to get back to work so that they could finish the job next year.

“We had a great leader pull us back together, and that was No. 52,” Ray Rice said at the starting of training camp. “Without him in that locker room at that moment, I don’t think the gelling would have come back. Ray Lewis brought us together as a team, and you’ll see a team come out here with pride.”

That speech fueled the Ravens to get back to the AFC championship, knocking on the door of the Super Bowl. And as they prepare to head back to New England for a rematch, Lewis’ message is still very much on the minds of some Ravens. Wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted a link to the video Tuesday afternoon.

“This video reminds me of how we finished last year … but also that life is bigger than football … it’s a blessing,” Smith tweeted.

VIDEO AFTER LAST YEAR’S LOSS

VIDEO OF THIS YEAR’S VICTORY!  and RAY LEWIS BEING INTERVIEWED AFTER WIN

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