Monday, February 27, 2012

New Year's Resolution Check-In

oTAY -

Time to fess up to how I'm doing on those New Year's Resolutions.

big sigh.

Not so great.

Pretty poorly, actually.

Taking them in the order I told you about them, we'll start with Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY.  I was all gung ho about not just reading the book, but doing the exercises.  As it turns out, the exercises are just not for me, I'm afraid.  I have read a good bit of the book, and I think for some people it would be an excellent set of exercises and I may go back to them myself at some point.  But right now, no.   

Number Two.  David Busch's great book about my camera, the Canon PowerShot G12.   I love my camera.  I'm just not doing it justice because it's capable of doing so much more than I'm actually doing with it.  And reading David Busch's book will help me get better acquainted with it.  And I do still plan on reading it -  Really! I do!  I will!  - but I have not read even the first page yet. 

So, a big loud "BZZZZZZ" to me on my first two resolutions.

But, I also told you about another one. 

And that's the novel I'm writing.  My first.

And I am proud to tell you that this is coming along swimmingly.  Yay!!!!!!

I had recently gotten up around the 60,000 word mark, but removed a couple of scenes that weren't working.    (I don't even want to try to tell you how hard it was for me to actually remove scenes. That just seemed so wrong.   But I recognized, with some misgivings, that the story is clearly better without them). 

I now have an editor who is patiently working with me and I've just finished revisions he suggested on the first 125 pages.  I'm waiting to hear back from him about the next 136 pages which he tells me to be expecting pretty soon.  No hurry though - because, what I have not yet done is a major re-write of a big "info dump" he pointed out to me.  This is gonna take some serious thought and a lot of work.  But I "think" I have thought my way through to what I want to do, it's just a little scary figuring out how to actually execute it.

But.  Ever onward, right?!

And when you have an editor working with you who manages to pepper his revision suggestions with kind words of encouragement, well - it's the perfect way to motivate this novice, I must say.

Baby steps, for sure, but definitely moving forward.

And here's the thing.  I'm learning.  Wow, am I learning.  SO much.  And I think my writing is improving as I write more.  And I'm definitely learning from my editor/mentor.  Two mentors, truth be told.

I mean - holy cow, y'all.  A few days ago I had never even heard of an "info dump."  Apparently though, it is not a good thing.

As another writer friend recently told me when I mentioned what hard work I've found this to be  - rewarding and fun and fulfilling - but hard, she responded, "Well, Kaye, the only people who think it's easy are those who've never tried it."

In the meantime, while this new venture of mine is happening, I've been completely gobsmacked by the support and words of encouragement I'm hearing from everyone.  Many have brought tears, some have brought outright sobs (yes, yes, I'm a tad emotional).  I will remember every kind word, believe me.  They serve as quotes for me to remember when things aren't going so well.

While those quotes stroke my ego and keep me flying high, this is the one that keeps my feet to the fire and my fingers on the keyboard -

"The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work."

- Augusten Burroughs, author best known for "Running With Scissors, a Memoir"

Perhaps, with all these quotes, supportive words and acts of kindness, along with the pats on the back that are keeping me going, this novel will actually get written.   A dream realized. 

So, thanks, everyone!   Very much.   And keep those fingers crossed, please!


Vicki Lane said...

Well done on the word count! If you don't already have it (or have it and haven't read it,) Chris Roerden's DON"T SABOTAGE YOUR SUBMISSION is the best nuts and bolts advice for writing I've ever seen. I use it in the classes I teach and my students almost ALL say it's the most useful writing book they've ever seen.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Vicki, Hi! Thank You!! This is exciting and I'm having a ball.

I think I do have Chris' book - I'm going to go look right now!!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good for you, Kaye -- the novel is the big project and it sounds like you're moving right along. I definitely believe the best way to learn is by doing. It's also fun.