I had help cleaning out and de-cluttering part of the house last week with Bronwyn, my roommate.
Guess what I found?
Here’s a clue of what it looked like when I was thirteen and a huge Elfquest fan.
This little blue binder was my lunch time escape ticket. I hated the private school I was at and was frustrated that the people I knew since grade four were still there in grade seven. Nothing had changed. We were stuck in our patterns of conversation and social norms. So, I would write in the library by myself.
It even had a side pocket for notes from my bff and scribbles of revelations while I listened to the teacher talk during class.
I love how it’s labeled “VOLUME 1″ as if I was Victor Hugo creating tombs of writing material in this new world. Today, we call this fan fiction. Elfquest was a comic that combined elves with wolves naming them Wolfriders and as the “volumes” continued they discovered more about their world and other elves in it. I dreamed of elves paired with panthers that eventually met these Wolfriders.
“Things didn’t go so good at Blue Mountain…” I wrote. Unaware of writing principles and rules. I was explaining the backstory instead of letting the reader discover it. I was also thirteen. LOL.
So, now, as I head into my revisions of a contemporary romance I keep this on my writing desk. Just in case I want to explore the entire binder again which is full of elves and panthers uniting against evil in their world.
Thank you, Elfquest.
In order to prep for any writing challenge it’s necessary to decide what kind of animal you are with writing.
Do you have an outline or are going to put one down on paper/bulletin board? This could mean you’re a plotter. You like to know how characters will develop throughout the chapters ahead of time or maybe you have an idea of the order of scenes you want to develop your character arc in…
If you don’t do any of that you may be a panster. You just write. Your characters are in your head knocking on your ears to get out. Great.
Either method works and I sometimes use a combination of the two. I did so much traveling last year that I would get dream like story ideas as I dozed away on the plane and immediately grab my iphone to write up a sentence or two of what I remembered. These little gems are filed away in my “to do” file on my laptop and are festering in the back of my head for any writing challenge I undertake.
So. I already have enough coffee lined up for the month of Feb. I know when and where I need to visit family and friends. I’m twitching to use the Twitter hashtag #1K1HR at will multiple times a day.
I also know exactly what I’m doing with Charlie Mac and my Beachbody business so I don’t feel like I can’t write each day. I have a schedule all planned.
Time to get in the writing kitchen and put words on a blank page that I will call my own.
I don’t always need goals but I’m part of RWAC and we have a Yahoo Goals Loop that we post our goals to. The posting makes us accountable for our actions.
I haven’t posted there in a while due to the personal losses I experienced last year along with the realization that I wanted to make writing and Beachbody my career choices. So, as I move into that I made goals as part of Chalene’s Challenge Group and follow her 30 Day Challenge every day.
Last week’s goal with our Yahoo Goals Loop was to start revisions on my Nanowrimo project. And I did that. Which makes me feel great as I post this week’s goals to that loop today.
Nothing like ticking off a To Do List! Do you have one?
Last year I completed Jerowrimo12 which was a writing challenge led by the New Jersey Romance Writers of America chapter to write a book in Februray.
I completed it. And this year I’m doing the same thing.
I know. I just finished Nanowrimo and I’m already going through rough review this week on what I did.
I find that the challenge in February kept me writing which is what I need to do. Along with online courses from Mystical Press.
So, no matter the outcome I am determined to make that book happen and I’ve done a rough plot of how I’d like it to go.
Today, I’m revising Chapters 1-3 of the Nanowrimo book along with working on suggestions from the CTRWA mentor I was assigned for my New Adult paranormal.
Oh, did you hear that?
That’s my coffee pot going.
It began with the fresh spruce or pine tree that Dad would cruise through several tree lots beforehand to suss out who had “straight” trees.
Right. A straight tree.
Then, he’d haul me around to different ones and pull a few out. He’d get me to back up to see how straight it looked then give it a shake. If a lot of needles fell out he’d put it back saying it was too dry to bring home.
We’d find a tree. He’d throw it in the back of his red F150 half ton truck and we’d head home.
He’d pull out the tree stand and put the tree in the breezeway between the garage with a special cocktail of water, bleach and corn syrup he got from the New York Times one year to keep the tree healthy.
Then, we’d prep the living room.
This involved setting town clear plastic tarp in the entryway and the designated spot for the tree. This spot was close to the door to eliminate as many needle droppings as possible. It wasn’t about light or positioning or outlets for the Christmas lights… it was about needles. He hated them! He hated cleaning them up. Even if I cleaned it up he hated knowing they were there on the blue/green tile floor. And both he and I would miss one or two. So when the tree came down after the Old Christmas date he’d walk by the door to get to the kitchen and he’d eventually pick a few off of his white socked feet muttering about needles.
This tree ritual lives on in my memory every year. With love. Because I miss it. Because it made me smile. Everyone has traditions they like to do or keep… Dad’s eccentricities were mine to keep.
I took over decorating the tree after Mom left and ended up donating all her ornaments to the Salvation Army so I could start a new tradition with my Dad. Instead of an angry decorating tree ritual where my Mom would re-decorate after you we created memories to make Christmas a happy, joyful, spiritual place in our lives.
I miss him. And this Christmas I’m creating my own tradition now that, after five years of grieving, I can start another fresh chapter in my life.
Oh, Christmas tree… Oh, and my tree? Bought it online – fake, set up by a pole and pre-decorated so it’s definitely straight.
My Aunt, before she passed, was quite sick with breast cancer. She had it, we suspect, for over a year. She did not have a family doctor. She did not tell anyone she was sick.
I was in the hospital room when the doctor asked her why she had not gotten help earlier. Her answer was “carelessness.”
I’m not sure what that meant. I do know that now without her around I miss her a lot. I re-engaged her when I was out there to visit in Alberta and called when I was back in Nova Scotia.
We weren’t given the chance to rally around her and show her any family support. Perhaps that’s how she wanted it.
I know that her suffering is over. This Christmas I will light a candle for her and my deceased father but I will not follow her example. I have a family doctor who I see even if I get the sniffles. And I know that if I’m given the opportunity to fight a terminal disease I will take it.
She was my Mom’s best friend and sister to her ten siblings. As we struggle to come to grips with her passing I simply want to let everyone know that time will heal this.
I completed Nanowrimo and wrote a book in a month. I will edit it in January and submit it to outside editors for their work. And, if it ever gets published it will be dedicated to the Aunt Pat I knew as a child – a skier, a bird watcher, a worker, a friend and gardener.