April 10, 2010

Tell Your Story - 2010


Heyo to all my hot little toddys… it’s Gia again. Today I am going to bring you the beginning chunk of an idea I’ve had for a while, and hopefully it will motivate some of you (and in turn, motivate my sorry ass…). We, my friends, are going to write a novel. 

You heard me right, a NOVEL. Not a fic, not a one-shot, not something to just say ‘hey, I wrote something, that’s pretty fucking awesome’. No. We’re going BIG TIME. I know you’re thinking, ‘Gia, what. the. fuck. I do not have time to properly wipe, let alone write a damn book’. But I’m telling you, you can. You can, because I can. So we’re gonna do this together, and it’s going to be fucking awesome, and when we all get published we can prop each other on our author’s dedication pages and feel really fucking important.

**a side note: There are those of you who have no desire to be published. I understand this. Do this challenge anyway… it’ll give you a sense of accomplishment, and then you can show your manuscript to your grandchildren, die, and let them publish it for you.

Now, to actually begin this nonsense, I’m gonna tell you that I have not finished a single story I’ve begun. Ever. And this might seem a little counter-productive to you (this bitch is gonna tell us how to write? WTF?), but, I figure that if I am telling you guys how to do it, I am gonna have to put up or shut up, which means I might actually have a chance in hell of pleasing @vanessarae1 by finishing Bella Undercover. In order to actually keep to a game plan, we’re gonna be following a book that I picked up at Borders and that I absolutely love called ‘Pen on Fire’. Written by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, it’s basically a guide for the woman (or man, as the case may be) who is dying to write but can’t because real life, as we all know it, is a bitch. We may or may not see little snippets put in here and there by others (I happen to be in contact with a couple of successfully published writers) who can give us some insight into their writing processes and what works for them.

hot tamale!
hot tamale!

So, to whet the whistle a little, today we’re gonna go into a little detail about ‘before you begin’… Lead the way, Ms. Barrett…

Me, Selfish? Nah.
How many of us feel that writing is a selfish pursuit? I know that at times, I certainly do. I feel like I should be studying for class, or studying for work (those in healthcare will be familiar with CEUs), or doing something fun with the kids (although one would hope that more Barbies and Legos than a fucking Toys R Us will bring me at least a week of peace and quiet), or cleaning the house, or spending time with the hubs… you get the idea. We can sit here all damn day and think of excuse after excuse after excuse as to why we don’t have time to write. And then, when everyone is in bed, and the other half is occupied with his or her own pursuits, and you’re sitting in front of your computer finally with that long anticipated glass of alcoholic ecstasy, you have nothing to say. Or you’ve forgotten what you had all mapped out in your head while you were scrubbing toilets earlier in the day.

Don’t you dare laugh. You *know* you do your best thinking when you’re cleaning up after boys who can't aim…

When stress gets you down, you have to fight back or be swallowed by it. Writing can be your escape from the everyday… it’s your world, where you choose what happens and what doesn’t. And you deserve this little time away… we all do. If we can’t unwind and take a little time for ourselves, we get consumed by what needs to be done and what is supposedly ‘more important’.

So, my lovelies, this week, here is what we’re going to do.

1) Find a corner. Find a tabletop. Find a fucking cushion in the basement under the stairs where no one will think to look for at least fifteen minutes, if you have to. But find a spot that is YOUR spot. Mine happens to be a little-used basic desk in the ‘library’ (i.e. the room with all the bookcases that was supposed to be our dining room) of my house. It’s nothing fancy – just a flat surface with enough space for my laptop, some pictures of my kids, a lamp and a notebook with a drawer for my pens and Woot monkeys. But it’s mine, and it works.

mine is pink.
 mine is pink

2) Buy a timer. Something that not only lets you know how much time you have to yourself to write, but something that everyone else can see as well, and know that they can NOT bother you for such-and-such amount of time. This gives you some me-time, and once everyone in the house gets used to it (hopefully), then they can look at it and know that they have seven minutes and thirty-two seconds before you are willing to get up and fix them chocolate milk, or pull some Lego bricks apart, or change the channel… and believe it when I say that no child has died from not getting her drink made right-the-fuck now. Trust.

3) Get a notebook. Like, one of those little pocket sized, spiral bound notebooks that you can stick in the back pocket of your jeans with a chewed up pencil nub out of your son’s backpack in the spine. Keep this on you. When you have an idea, jot it down. Even if it’s something as insignificant as a character’s hair color, or a funny thing you heard that you might twist a little and use… Doesn’t matter. I actually have a Moleskine notebook (love those nifty little pockets for clippings and such!) and carry it with me between classes on campus. I’ll see someone eating something interesting, or a girl with her hair styled a new, fucked up way, and I have to jot it down. Don’t discriminate – if it’s something out of the ordinary, add it. You never know when you might use it. I have a whole little notebook filled with ideas for later, when I finally sit down to write something.

4) Finally, for this week, do NOT do anything else. Find your spot, acquire your timing device, get your notebook and start jotting. But do not sit down to write, do not even go near your little place aside from the initial setting up. Look at it like you would a vacation – you’re getting ready to go, but you can’t yet, because it’s not time… but it’s going to be fucking awesome and you’re totally pumped up.

Alright guys and gals, that will set us up nicely for next week, when we actually get started. You know how to leave comments – let me know what you have the most trouble with when it comes to writing, or what has helped you. We’ll add it all as we go. *Or*, drop me a line to keep it private and we’ll go that route (although, there is no shame in not knowing what the fuck you’re doing… I’ll be the first to admit I have trouble all the time).

Have a safe New Year, and we’ll see you next week!


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