The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

The Good Christian

I wrote this during a writing session this morning. I haven't edited or rewritten it so please be nice. :)

The Good Christian


I try to be good, I really do, but whenever I am around him, a deep lustful hunger consumes me. It's a need to feel our bodies connect. I plan on resisting, but with a few deep kisses I feel my body yielding. The center of me, my feminine core, pulls toward him; aches to feel him inside of me. I am no longer thinking of what is pleasing to my God. I am an animal, my biology controls me, not my thoughts or well wishes. You'd think I'd feel guilty afterwards, but I don't. It's a primal instinct that can't help but rejoice once it's satiated.

Here we go again

So I'm moving out of my house for a little while and I'm going to stay with my parents. It will allow me to finally finish my English degree. I'm taking Intro to Lit and English Comp II. I start in two weeks and I can't wait. Sadly, they weren't offering creative writing, non-fiction, or poetry classes at a time I can attend. They're usually only offered in the evenings since a lot of members of the public (non-students) take them.

I also decided that I would try and start writing seriously again. I bought a new notebook at Borders. Hot pink noto-journal by Paper Chase. I love the noto-journals. That's what I do each time I decide I'm going to really try...I buy a new blank book that never gets more than a third full. I feel better about it this time though. College helps keep me on track. My Dad is a great fantasy writer, but he has the same problem I do. He seldom sits down to write. We made a deal yesterday...every morning, after breakfast, we would sit down for a writings session. It went pretty well but I had a lot of trouble beginning. I had no idea what to write. I'm always pushing myself to write a novel and I'm not sure why. Maybe because that's what everyone expects out of a writer. My strong suit is actually flash fiction, anything under 1,000 words. I actually managed to write a piece during our session this morning. You can read it in the next post. Please be kind, it was written in one sitting and has not been edited.

2007 Literary Deaths

A.I. Bezzerides, 98. Film noir screenwriter ("Kiss Me Deadly.") Jan. 1.

Tillie Olsen, 94. Influential feminist author ("Tell Me a Riddle.") Jan. 1.

Robert Anton Wilson, 74. Co-author of science fiction cult classic "The Illuminatus! Trilogy." Jan. 11.

Art Buchwald, 81. Pulitzer-winning Washington humorist; battled Hollywood over movie "Coming to America." Jan. 17.

Peter Tompkins, 87. Wrote best-sellers such as "The Secret Life of Plants." Jan. 24.

Bob Carroll Jr., 87. TV writer for Lucille Ball's shows. Jan. 27.

Sidney Sheldon, 89. Stage, screen writer turned best-selling novelist ("The Other Side of Midnight.") Jan. 30.

Molly Ivins, 62. Best-selling author and columnist, a sharp-witted liberal who referred to President Bush as "Shrub." Jan. 31.

Marianne Fredriksson, 79. One of Sweden's most admired writers ("Hanna's Daughters.") Feb. 11.

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, 89. German author; wrote autobiographical novel "Das Boot." Feb. 22.


Henri Troyat, 95. One of France's most prolific and respected authors. March 2.

Marjabelle Young Stewart, 82. Etiquette authority; co-wrote "White Gloves and Party Manners." March 3.

Stan Daniels, 72. Emmy-winning TV writer and producer ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Taxi.")

Kurt Vonnegut, 84. Novelist who captured the absurdity of the world in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five." April 11.


David Halberstam, 73. Journalist whose acclaimed books included towering study of Vietnam War, poignant portrait of aging baseball stars. April 23.

Bernard Gordon, 88. Screenwriter, blacklisted in the 1950s. ("55 Days at Peking.") May 11.

Lloyd Alexander, 83. Children's book author ("The Chronicles of Prydain.") May 17.

Mark Harris, 84. Novelist ("Bang the Drum Slowly.") May 30.

William Meredith, 88. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet ("Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems.") May 30.

Nazek al-Malaika, 85. Iraqi poet; used free verse rather than classical rhyme. June 20.

Fred T. Saberhagen, 77. Science fiction and fantasy writer ("Berserker" series.) June 29.

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, 68. Pioneer of modern historical romance novel ("The Flame and the Flower.") July 6.

John Graham, 80. Children's book author ("I Love You, Mouse.") July 16.

Sekou Sundiata, 58. Poet, recording artist ("The Blue Oneness of Dreams"). July 18.

George Tabori, 93. Avant-garde playwright-director in postwar Germany ("Goldberg Variations.") July 23.

Mel Shavelson, 90. Screenwriter-director twice nominated for best-screenplay Oscars ("The Seven Little Foys," "Houseboat.") Aug. 8.

Grace Paley, 84. Acclaimed poet and short story writer. Aug. 22.

Edward Seidensticker, 86. Scholar of Japanese literature; translated the epic "Tale of Genji." Aug. 26.

Madeleine L'Engle, 88. Author who captivated schoolchildren with "A Wrinkle in Time." Sept. 6.

Robert Jordan, 58. Author of "Wheel of Time" fantasy novels. Sept. 16. Blood disease.

Charles Griffith, 77. Wrote screenplay for "Little Shop of Horrors." Sept. 28.

Peg Bracken, 89. Wrote hugely popular "I Hate to Cook Book." Oct. 20.

Ira Levin, 78. Best-selling novelist ("Rosemary's Baby," "The Boys From Brazil.") Nov. 12.

Mel Tolkin, 94. Head writer for Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows." Nov. 26.

Elizabeth Hardwick, 91. Leading intellectual author ("Sleepless Nights") and critic. Dec. 2.

Diane Middlebrook, 68. Wrote acclaimed biographies of poets Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath. Dec. 15.

Julien Gracq, 97. Celebrated French surrealist writer. Dec. 22.

Writer's Strike and Other News

Hey kiddies. It's been a long time since my last post. I stopped writing around the time of the writer's strike and guess what? It isn't over yet. Now the loss of salary to the writers has exceeded what they hoped to gain in negotiations. I think it was about $157 million. I just got frustrated by the fact that (at least according to an article I read) these writers make over $100,000 a year and are asking for more. Maybe that figure was wrong, if anyone knows what it truly is shoot me an email. Here I am struggling to make $27,000 a year as a call center supervisor and they complain about their six figure income? It just doesn't seem right to me. I know they're feeling the pinch now and I feel for them there, it's just really hard for me to empathize on the salary bit. How's that for honesty?

In other news, Amazon.com purchase J.K. Rowling's handwritten book The Tales of Beedle the Bard for a staggering $4 million dollars. The proceeds went to The Children's Voice Campaign. Hard to believe, her success is absolutely phenomenal. I think it's really great when someone comes up out of nothing...but hey give someone else a turn. :P

Ok, so I started NaNoWriMo and after the first day or two I quit. I just wasn't in the right mindset to do it. I was just staring at the paper and couldn't think of anything. I think the big problem was that I started off with a non-fiction book. Ah well, there's always next year. I have registered for college and will be starting in a couple of weeks. I am taking Intro to Lit and English Comp II. I can't wait. School has a way of keeping me on track with my writing. They didn't have fiction writing at a time that fit my schedule this semester. It's a shame.

My new year's resolution is to write at least once a week and not beat myself up or think I'm a failure for not doing it.

NaNo Day 2 - Rowling Back in the News


So day two went ok. I got 1,666 words, which is just barely my required word count. It was a little difficult today. I didn't have a lot of time to just sit and work on it. Nice thing is, I got it done while I was at work hehe. I bet I could put in a little more tonight but I'm tired and just don't feel like it. So the total word count is now 3,727. I think that's like 13% of the way there.

In other new, J.K. Rowling is once again making headlines. She has written and illustrated a children's book entitled "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." Yes, the book referenced in deathly hollows. A bejeweled (semi-precious stones) leather bound edition will be auctioned off by Sotheby's on December 12th with a starting bid of $62,000. The proceeds of the auction will be going to a children's charity. Otherwise, the book will not be for sale. Only seven copies were produced and all but the one were given as gifts. I must say, it's good to see a celebrity use their powers for good and not evil. Interest parties can view the auction here. You can also view the full article plus interview with the J.K. Rowling here. Of course, if you can afford $62,000 for a childrens book, I'd really like to finish college. Hint hint, nudge nudge, wink wink.

NaNo Day 1

Ok, so I cranked out 2,061 words tonight. Doesn't sound like much but it's almost three full pages. Phew. When I sat down tonight to start writing I realized I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write a Christian novel but had no idea what that really meant. I'm going with a sort of autobiographical account of my struggles with religion. I don't know if it will carry me to the finish line. I might have to change directions midstream.

Rowling blocks Potter Lexicon

The Harry Potter Lexicon website editor Steve Vander Ark has been sued by J.K. Rowling to prevent publication of the “Harry Potter Lexicon,” a book based on the site content. The part I found amazing was that Steve Vander Ark couldn’t believe that Rowling was trying to block the book. Mind you, I’ve seen speculative fiction books regarding upcoming Potter novels, but those fuel the fire and actually help Rowling sell more books. Rowling also contends that a lot of content was taken directly from the books with little commentary. You can’t just rip apart someone’s books and make your own encyclopedia. It’s not your intellectual property. Rowling is planning on publishing her own Potter encyclopedia and I agree, if this book comes out first it would hurt sales of her book. Who would need two Potter encyclopedias? Honestly folks. If this happened to me, I would have sued too. Rowling has first rights (and really all rights) to write her Middle-Earth. Mr. Ark is simply trying to capitalize on the Potter phenomenon. If he wants to make money off of a book, he should write his own.

Ok, that was kind of scathing. I admit it. Put yourself in her shoes and tell me you wouldn’t defend your intellectual property like it was a newborn child.


J.K. Rowling

Anthropodermic Bibliopegy

As promised I am posting about books bound in human skin. So what started me thinking about this? I remembered reading an article about a book found in London back in April of 2006. Authorities thought the book was dumped after a burglary. The book was written in French, but no additional information regarding its contents was made available. At that time they were looking for the owner. It just popped into my head the other day that I'd heard nothing else about this. I did some poking around on the internet but didn't turn up anything. I'm amazed at this, that it just fell out of public knowledge. You'd think we'd see an article, "Still no leads in human book case." Something at least.

So, the binding of books in human skin is anthropodermic bibliopegy. This practice was popular as the skin err leather was cheap, waterproof, and durable. The skin came from a variety of sources such as executed criminals, amputated body parts, med school cadavers, or when a patient died and had no family to claim the body. It was common, if a patient led to a particular discovery, to bind the related text in their skin as sort of a spooky honor. George Walton's memoirs were bound in his own skin. Many libraries actually have some of these books, but must keep them away from the general public. They are not allowed to be displayed as novelty items. I'm not sure if that's the law or just respectfulness. I don't know if it's legal to have these kind of books in a private collection. I'd be interested in what the law is in regards to that.

The image below was released by British police in an effort to locate the owner.

Happy 100!

Well kiddies, we have broken the 100th visitor mark. Wohoo! In honor of this, tomorrow evening I will be posting a special article on books bound in human skin. Ooh creepy, just in time for Halloween. Thanks to everyone for making this a successful blog. I appreciate all of your comments.

Tonight I went to the NaNoWriMo kickoff party for my region. It was a lot of fun. I just really enjoyed being around other writers. It was inspiring and really got me in the right mental mindset to begin. Writing begins on 11/1 so I won't be posting too many articles in November, mostly my progress. Yep, in just a few days I will be keeping my word count real and representing for my region. Those of you who haven't signed up yet, do so. It's a great experience.

One of the exercises we did was to draw our internal editor. My internal editor tells me that I'm not good enough and shouldn't even bother trying. I drew the Zoloft rock, sitting on a couple of books on top of a stool peering over my work still in the typewriter thinking how much my work sucks. Very depressing, maybe that's why I chose the Zoloft rock. I'd post it here for you, but our region liaison has taken him hostage so he can't bother me while I'm writing my novel. You can see him once he is free again.

Submission Sent

Well, I've been looking around for a good literary journal to submit two of my flash fictions to. I finally found one so I've sent the submissions off. I can't really tell if they will flow with the style of the magazine...the first issue is due out soon so I couldn't exactly peruse the contents. Hopefully, I'll have good news in the next 1-3 months. Wish me luck! In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good place to submit flash fiction please let me know. I found the perfect mag for my work, but then found out they printed the last issue in May of 2006. Espresso Fiction is a good one but they want the flash to be at least 1,000 words. My stories are under 600 words, one of them is even under 300 (!) so finding a publisher has been difficult.

Obscure Punctuation: The Interrobang

A post from guest blogger Nick Ballard:

From Wikipedia:

The interrobang (/ɪn'tɛrəbæŋ/) (‽) is a rarely used, nonstandard English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the interrogative point) and the exclamation mark (known in printers' jargon as the bang). The typographical character is a superimposition of those two marks. The same effect is also frequently achieved by placing the exclamation point before or after the question mark; e.g., "How could you do such a thing!?" or "How could you do such a thing?!"


Application:
A sentence ending with an interrobang either (1) asks a question in an excited manner, (2) expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or (3) asks a rhetorical question.

For example:

How much did you spend on those shoes‽
You're going out with her‽
She did what‽

$41,000 for a childrens book?


Yes, that's right. A copy of the first print run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (UK) sold for almost $41,000 on auction. Is it just me or does that seem to be an insane amount of money to pay for a newer book? I could see if it was a first edition of, say, War and Peace but this is Harry Potter. I don't mean to poke fun, I enjoyed the Potter series but let's face it, it isn't great literature. They aren't enduring texts that will continue to shape our nation for generations to come. I think the series is great because it inspired a lot of people to start reading for fun again, and for that we are in J.K. Rowling's debt. I do find it interesting that it was part of the original run of only 500 books. I read somewhere in an interview that her publisher didn't think the book would do very well and that's why it had such a small print run. Who would've thought that the boy wizard would become such an inescapable facet of our culture? He's everywhere you look these days.

Choose Your Own Adventure is back!


How many of you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books? I would sit for hours backtracking and reading my way to alternate endings. I loved the ones about haunted houses the best. Didn’t you wish life was like that? Where you could go to the last decision made and change it? Well now you can, sort of. Pretty Little Mistakes, Heather McElhatton’s debut novel, allows you to do just that. You (second person) start off just after graduating high school and get to choose your path from there. There are a multitude of endings, good and bad. There’s even some pretty off the wall accidental death scenes. I can’t wait to read it, sounds wonderful.

That brings me back to a discussion from my fiction writing class earlier this year. Is there a time, other than choose your own adventure type books, that second person is appropriate? I haven’t read much in second person and haven’t written anything. It’s a hard point of view to master, especially without being repetitive. Starting every sentence with You for anything longer than flash fiction gives me a headache (afore mentioned genre excluded of course). So I want to know, does anyone enjoy reading or writing second person stories?

Drive Slow for Pedro

It's time for me to once again stand on my soapbox. This time it's not regarding Britney Spears. No, it has to do with a little Chihuahua named Pedro. As I was leaving my sister's house this evening, I saw a car hit Pedro. It slammed into him pretty hard and he shot off yipping. The person driving barely slowed down and never stopped. The speed limit on the street was 30mph, the driver was easily going 40mph. Luckily, my sister and her husband knew the dog from my description. They grabbed flashlights, alerted the neighbor (who owned the dog), and everyone started looking. I am happy to say that Pedro was fine, he was found in back in his own backyard. I'm urging everyone to please drive the speed limit, or slower, in residential areas. The law is there for a reason. It's there to protect our children. It's there to protect our pets. It's there to protect our wildlife. Please keep this in mind and if you ever hit an animal, STOP and see if the animal needs assistance. Many are left on the roadside to slowly die an agonizing death. Be a responsible driver or get off the road!

Long Time No Post - Lots of Happenings

Well, I haven't posted in a while. That is in direct correlation of how much writing I've been getting done. I've been painting every day, so that's a step up. Now if I can just add writing into the mix I'll be good to go. I'm debating about doing NaNoWriMo next month. That's just the lazy writer in me talking. Must keep will power.

So what's been happening in the literary world? Anne Enright won the Man Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering. Here's a synopsis from the Man Booker web site: The Gathering is a family epic. It is also a sexual history: tracing the line of hurt and redemption through three generations - starting with the grandmother, Ada Merriman - showing how memories warp and family secrets fester. This is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars. Sounds like a great read! Be sure to check it out.

Doris Lessing of the UK was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Lessing is most famous forThe Golden Notebook which had a huge impact on the feminist movement in the early 1960's. I haven't personally read it...but it's now on my list.


Doris Lessing


The latest hubbub is Jessica Seinfield vs. Missy Chase Lapine. They both wrote books about sneaking healthy food into your kids favorite meals. Problem is, as it has been pointed out, Seinfield's book is on the same subject matter and features very similar recipes. Ms. Lapine's book was published first, now this could be just coincidence but the plot thickens. Lapine had pitched her book to Harper Collins twice before being picked up by another publisher. That was the same month that Ms. Seinfield signed up with Harper Collins. Again, it could all be coincidence, but I can see why many people are suspecting otherwise. I do find it funny that Jerry Seinfield stated that his wife was obviously innocent of any wrongdoing because she isn't out for fame or fortune. Now mind you, she may not need the money, I'm sure they're load but who doesn't publish a book with fame in mind? As far as I know, she was a nobody before all this happened. Her only claim to fame being her high profile spouse so how could one say she isn't out for fame? She was previously a public relations exec for Tommy Hilfiger, but I'd never heard of her. I don't know, maybe I'm being presumptuous here, but I think if if you're not out for fame and fortune then put the information out to the public for free via a blog or webstie. Just my humble opinion here folks, I don't want to piss anyone off. Read the full article at the NY Times and decide for yourself.

That's all from me now. I hope to get some writing done tomorrow before I go to my Sister's house. Wish me luck!

Top Writing Movies

This month, The Writer published an article of the top ten movies for writers. I thought I would put up a list of some of my favs:

1. Adaptation - this has to be the ultimate writer's movie. The interior monologue that's going on inside his head is so true to life.

2. Miss Potter - a whimsical tale but also a tragic love story.

3. Throw Momma From the Train - the movie that produced the catchphrase "A writer writes, always."

4. Moulin Rouge

5. Naked Lunch - what's better than typewriters turning into freaky bugs?

6. Sylvia - Gwyneth Paltrow plays one of my obsessions...Sylvia Plath

7. Shakespeare in Love - Gwyneth again

8. Dead Poets Society - anything with Robin Williams is good. The man is a living legend.

9. Secret Window - creepy!

10. Finding Neverland - another one featuring Mr. Depp

11. Delirious - John Candy was a comic genious! I wish I had his typewriter. :)

12. Misery - Every writer's worse nightmare.

13. Nightmares and Dreamscapes - there were two "episodes" with writers as the main characters.

There are many many more I could list but tried to only put in movies that I have actually seen. I think it'd be great sometime to get a bunch of my writer friends together (both of them) and have a movie marathon.

A Day Late...

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) signup has begun...as of yesterday. Be sure to hop on and create a profile. I will be writing under, what else, writerlyhabit if you'd like to add me as a buddy. 50,000 words in a month, we can do it!! It's not too late to order the companion book No Plot? No Problem! or the book and kit. It really helped me through NaNoWriMo last year. Plus the author is hilarious!

I plan on writing on writing a fantasy novel. I love to write fantasy, but then I tell myself my work is formulaic and I get all depressed. This time, I'm going to finish a novel and then decide if fantasy is the appropriate genre for me. Feel free to post a few lines about the novel you'll be writing or past NaNoWriMo experiences.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

I just read an article in the NY Times about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (full article here). Amazon, HP, and Penguin Group is sponsoring the event. They are accepting only 5,000 submissions between now and 11/5/7. The winner will receive a publishing contract along with promotional support for their book. Nice!! You must submit your full novel manuscript, although it is the first 5,000 words that will be reviewed and judged. Readers will be able to vote on the winner, how cool is that? So, if you aren't a slacker like me and actually have a manuscript, head over to Amazon to sign up. Too bad it's before NaNoWriMo finishes.

Stephen King - NY Times


I just read an essay by Stephen King in the NY Times. He makes a lot of good points on the state of the short story including the fact that fiction magazines are relegated to the bottom shelf and how this illustrates a shrinking market. I've noticed the same thing...whenever I go to Borders I have to do the half bend neck crane to see the magazines on the bottom shelf. This is where they put the fiction magazines and the magazines about writing (include The Writer). Funny how Woodcarving Illustrated gets top billing. Is it really that much more popular?

It doesn't help that many Americans don't read books at all, let alone fiction. According to CNN Money, in 2004, the percentage of Americans that read fiction was 47 percent (full article here). That's pretty sad. When I was growing up, I thought everyone read. I was introduced to the Hobbit in the 7th grade and thought it no big deal (others later told me they weren't able to read Tolkien until they were in high school/college). Then I got to high school and found out that many of my classmates were illiterate. In a 10th grade English class, I was put in a group with three football players. I was amazed that they weren't able to finish the one required book for the project. I read it along with all three of the extra credit ones. I'd notice those same students never reading aloud in class and seemed to have trouble with the assignments. They were illiterate. This was a huge shock to me. How do kids get all the way through school without learning to read? Why would you not tell someone that there's a problem, knowing how badly that will hurt you once you are out in the real world.

But I digress, check out The Best American Short Stories 2007 which King edited. You should also read Stephen King's article. And no, I haven't done any writing lately. Things have been hectic lately; the art show is next weekend. That's likely an excuse though, we'll see.

Author Suicide

In the past few days I've been reading a lot about authors who have committed suicide. I've haven't really sought this information out, it just seems to have come my way. I was reading Mortified, when I came across an entry about The Bell Jar. I'd been wanting to read this book for a while, but my interest was doubled when this young girl wrote about how a woman stuck her head in the oven to commit suicide. I dug around a little bit and found out that The Bell Jar was actually a thinly veiled memoir...Sylvia Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in an oven.

Then there was the article on Hemingway, he put a shotgun to his temple and blew his head off. This reminded me of Hunter S. Thompson who, just a year and a half ago shot himself in the head with a shotgun. His most famous work was probably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

I have to ask myself, is genius worth the price? Or is this simply genius coupled with mental illness? Where do you draw the line between the two? Then again, there are plenty of famous authors out there that aren't contemplating suicide (I think). On the other hand, how many Hemingway's are there? I'd love to be a great writer, but would not want to pay this high a price. Just some thoughts...

Speaking of being a great writer, my writing isn't going so well. You've probably guessed. I've done a bang up job of distracting you though, wouldn't you say? I haven't written much. I keep telling myself that it's because of this blasted day shift and that once that's over I can spend many a morning and early afternoon wrapped in the bliss that only several well written pages can provide. Is that really it though? Don't I always have some sort of excuse? I hope not...I want things to be different this time. NaNoWriMo is coming up quickly so that will help. I'm going to spend the latter half of October outlining and preparing. I even have a four day weekend in November so that will help.



(Image of Hunter S. Thompson)

Hemingway


I just read an article about Ernest Hemingway's last home. It is undergoing some much needed repairs. It's sad to think that some in the neighborhood wanted to have the house torn down or moved. After all of his contributions to literature, you'd think people would look at the house and feel a sense of pride in living near it. Maybe it was that far into disrepair, to give them the benefit of the doubt. The Idaho home, is where Ernest Hemingway took his life in 1961 with a shotgun blast to the head. There seems to be some debate as to the reason why, but a family history of suicide doesn't help. It's sad that the home will never be made open to the public. I'd willingly make that pilgrimage.

For those unfamiliar with Ernest Hemingway, he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, A Movable Feast, The Old Man and the Sea, and many many others. He was a Nobel prize winner, avid sportsman, and globe trotter. I was first introduced to his work last year during a creative writing class. We read Hills Like White Elephants. Before that, I'd heard of him but not read his work. I recommend that any aspiring writer check out at least one of his novels.

Robert Jordan

I've decided to start sharing news of the literary world with my readers (hello, is anyone out there?). Whenever I read something about an author, it's usually up for one day and then gone the next. Do they think no one reads any more? Or that all we care about is Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong, I like Harry Potter, I just think that if it represents our reading habits as a culture then that's pretty scary. Doesn't anyone read the classics anymore?

For those of you who don't follow the news, author Robert Jordan passed away of a rare blood disease on September 16th. Jordan was most famous for his Wheel of Time series, an epic fantasy spanning eleven volumes, a prequel, and a book on the world of the Wheel of Time. I remember a time, before Harry Potter, when the big to-do was whether or not you were reading Wheel of Time. You can read more about him here. You can purchase his books here Wheel of Time

Britney Spears VMA Appearance

After hearing all the trash talking, I watched Britney's VMA appearance. You know, I don't know what all the insults are for. Mind you, her dancing wasn't as high energy or intense as in the past (which would've been desired with the type of song she was performing) but I don't think she was sloshing around "dancing in the mud" as some have put it. This video contends that she broke the heel of her shoe during the performance, pretty convincing stuff and if it's true, she did better than most would have.

I think she has a beautiful body and has worked hard to improve herself. Ok, she's not a size zero, get over it. There is such a thing as too skinny. I must admit, her new single "Gimme More" is hot, can't wait until it's on Itunes and I can download it. All I can say is more power to her, I hope her comeback is a success. I normally don't pay much attention to celebrity stuff, but this girl has been through hell and I only wish her well as a person. It's sad how money can truly hurt people more than help them. This isn't to say I'm anti-money. I'd love to have enough to have actual flooring in my house, not bare plywood. And those leaking skylights and loose gutters, yeah I'd fix those too. But ah, such is life.

I know this has little (nothing) to do with writing but I wanted to get this out there.

NMH

Ok, I haven't gotten anything done since my last post. I'm going through another bout of laziness. On the plus side, I've been reading more and I'll be able to go back to nights soon. Yay! No more going to bed early. That'll really help during NaNoWriMo. Anyhow, that's all I have to report for now. I just wanted to check in...

Taking a Breather

I took the last two days off from writing but tonight I'm back on the bandwagon. I'm still working on the same short story. I'm also thinking of organizing a polish/finish an old piece writing meeting. We'll meet and workshop each others old pieces that have fallen by the wayside.

It's funny, after just two days, I've found it hard to start again. My rhythym is off. I guess the word of wisdom here is never stop. Write something every day, even if it's only a ten minute stint. I think that gets a lot of writers into trouble. They take a break from writing after finishing a long piece and then struggle to start again. I found that was true after I finished NaNoWriMo last year. If I would've kept up even half of that productivity...but alas I did not.

On a Roll

Okay, I'm on day four of my daily writing schedule. It's going well. I find the hour limit a little constrictive though. It keeps me from writing when I only have a few minutes here and there. I think it's just best to give myself credit for showing up to work and actually getting something done. Sounds good, now off to play some Warcraft.


Writing Reward Balance = $4

Another good day

Hey, I just finished up another hour block of writing. Yesterday, I jumped from idea to idea, not seeming to be able to find something that stirred me. Today I sat down and just started writing. I was able to complete a thousand words of straight writing. Huzzah! For me that's fantastic. I managed to start a short story that I will work on at my meeting tomorrow. It's a good feeling. Once I really get back into the swing of things, I hope to complete at least a thousand words during my daily writing hour.

Writing Rewards = $2

Try Green Tea

I just got to an interesting section of Peterson's book. She talks about how we set ourselves up for failure by sabotaging our mood when trying to write. Think about it, what do you sit down to write with? My guess is, some kind of specialty coffee drink. Whenever I write in a coffee shop I grab a caramel macchiato with whipped cream. And guess what, it's never a small. I plan on being there a while so I need my fuel. What about when I write at home? I usually grab a coke and some kind of fattening snack like cheese and crackers. I've realized that I need to find healthier ways to either elevate my mood (give energy) or release tension. When I drink a ton of sugar in the form of a coffee drink, I crash after an hour. The sugar gives me a temporary burst of energy, then I'm ready for a nap. So much for writing a lot. I'm only going to post a few of Peterson's suggestions here, really you should buy her book. I can't begin to do her justice here (at least not without copyright infringement):

-Drink unsweetened Green Tea instead of Coffee (this give you better energy without the "edginess of coffee, it also promotes weight loss) If you're feeling fancy, go out and get yourself a cool teapot and cup.

-Take a five minute brisk walk before writing (this raises energy for 1.5 hours with no horrible crash at the end)

-Take natural supplements such as bee pollen, ginkgo or ginseng (always consult your physician first)

One thing I also like to do to get me in the writing mood is listen to guided meditations. I have a cd called Inviting Grace by Tama Kieves that has guided meditations geared directly to writing. The only drawback is I often don't have the time to use them (or more truthfully I don't make the time). I'll get there one day.

On Tuesday our writing group will be meeting at Borders. I'm hoping this will give us a more focused environment in which to work. Also, I can order a pot of green tea there. They serve it in wonderful white ceramic pots. I'll post on that on Tuesday. I did go out tonight and buy stickers for my planner. It did give me a sense of accomplishment to be able to put the sticker over today showing that I had completed my hour of writing. I'm hoping to get my fiance to go walking with me before I write tomorrow. He's been out sick with a sinus infection, the exercise will do him good if it isn't too cold. Fall is coming up quickly. I love the fall, but am not looking forward to the following winter.

So my reward for writing an hour today is $1 toward a new book. I know, a buck isn't much, but if I do $2 I won't be able to afford the books I earn.

Writing Reward Balance = $1

Getting Better

Ok, the book has gotten a lot better. It has all of these exercises in it to help you find your ideal writing time/conditions and to realize that what the left brain wants isn't usually what the right brain wants. Today I managed to sit down for an entire hour to write. Mind you, I started several things but finished nothing. My writing brain has atrophied, it's going to take a while to get back into shape. This is a good step though. I'm going to go buy some stickers I can put in my day planner to mark the days I get my hour in. I may not have got a lot done, but I showed up damnit. Until next time...

Feeling Lazy

I had my writing meeting on Tuesday but got nothing done. We were all in a non-productive mood. I haven't read too much more of that book, it's a little scientific for me. Hopefully it will get better soon. On a happy note, my Sister is almost ready to submit a story to The First Line. I can't wait until NaNoWriMo, then I'll feel like I have to write. I'm done with my art work for the show in October so I can start focusing a little more on other things. That'll be nice. That's about it from me for now. Hopefully I'll have more to post soon. I might just head down to a nice coffee shop on Friday night. Mmm coffee. Anyway, I should be going. My fiance will be home soon and I've promised him some chicken alfredo pasta (so much for the vegan thing eh?).

Labor Day

So my writing isn't going as well as I thought. I didn't write anything on Saturday, but I did write about 4 pages yesterday. That's pretty good. Too much World of Warcraft I expect. I have a 66 Night Elf Druid on the Azuremyst server that I've become interested in leveling again. I'm hoping to have a character on both horde and alliance before the expansion comes out.

In other news, I went to Borders last night and bought a planner. It has a nice monthly calendar all the way through the end of Dececember 2008. I'm going to use it to write in my daily word count. Maybe that will help motivate me and also help me track what I'm doing. I also bought Write: 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period. by Karen E. Peterson. She talks about finding a combined right and left brain to overcome writer's block. The tests in the first chapter were pretty interesting. You had to check off this top ten list of why you aren't writing with your dominant hand (I'm a lefty) then take a moment, and do the same thing with the other hand. A lot of my answers were completely opposite. My right brain is afraid I won't get published while my left brain is afraid that I will. No wonder it's so hard for an aspiring author. The last section of the book is a 10 day thing, I'm going to blog each day of that once I get to it. For posterity more than anything.

Howdy

Ok, so I haven't gotten any writing done in a few days. So sue me, I've been on a very early shift and going to the shop all night to get ready for an art show in October. I do clay work and acrylic painting. This is a three day weekend for me though so I am going to set a goal of five, count 'em five, pages each day. That's fifteen total. I need to get my brain off of writing atrophy. If I'm a good kid I'll get my writing sample done for my Digimemo and dig out that Writing Erotica book I was supposed to lend my sister. Speaking of erotica, the http://www.erotica-readers.com/, is the best website I have found for aspiring authors in this genre. It's got a lot of articles and an extensive up to date listing of calls for submissions. Check it out if that's your bag baby.

Anyway, I've got to go let Bunny out (my Yorkie that does nothing but sleep) and make some vegetarian chili for my man. Rock on.

BTW - this was my last day of getting up at the butt-crack (hmm...is that hyphenated?) of dawn. Huzzah for later shifts.