Well I posted my blog and announced it to the public yesterday! Whoopee! Now there’s all this pressure to generate good content! OK I don’t really feel so much pressure. But I do wonder what it’s like for those people who don’t know me very well to read all this stuff… How do I look from an outsider’s point of view?
Anywho, here’s my latest 4-pronged update:
I’m currently trying to find a writing mentor. I’ve had several people read my stuff, and I’m sharing short stories to the new writers’ group (go group!). But I haven’t shared anything with an “expert”. I’ve now got about 200 pages of the book written (!!!) so it’s time to have a professional give me some feedback!!
I reached out to a couple people familiar with “the biz” and they were EXTREMELY nice and helpful. So hopefully something will pan out soon. I’m willing to pay, so it better.
I’m trying to decide how I feel about having a pro read my work. Honestly, I’m not that worried. It probably should have happened awhile back and I’m actually excited to get an expert’s opinion. Even if they give me mostly bad news. OK that would suck a little bit. But better now than in a year. And I don’t want to be that defensive person who sees himself as so much better than he is. So bring on the critique!
Also, we had our second writers’ group meeting tonight. I actually wasn’t sure we’d meet because one of my sister’s clients passed away this week, and they were dealing with the death (most of the writers’ group works with her). However, they were all looking forward to getting together. In fact, they insisted on having the meeting; it was like a necessary escape from the day’s drama. I took that as a huge compliment and was actually quite touched. They really got something from the last meeting and were excited to learn and share. And this meeting went really well! Everyone participated and we got to hear some really nice stuff.
Additionally, I learned a valuable lesson at the meeting:
I shared some info on “purple prose” and “beige prose”. Essentially, purple prose is writing that’s SO laced with descriptions (extended similes, metaphors, adjectives) that the point gets lost in fluff. Beige prose is the opposite. No fluff, just necessary information.
In today’s “busy world”, most people tend to lean towards beige prose. With so much instant gratification, people want things fast and typically won’t wade thru a bunch of fluff. However, one woman LOVED the purple prose example I shared (it was a REALLY exaggerated example). She thought it was flawless writing and gushed on about it. People love to read what they love to read, so her opinion isn’t wrong. But I admit I was surprised. Instead of criticizing the purple prose, I was so fascinated someone liked it, that I asked her a bunch of questions. In the end, her reasons made sense based on who she was. Now I’m curious about what she’ll bring in the future.
I sing for the third time this Saturday. I’m not nervous at all so far. I actually think something’s wrong with me! I thought the nervousness would fade gradually, meaning I’d get nervous 84 hours before the first time, 83 hours before the next, and so on. That’s how it always is. Then, after like a million times, I’d finally reach that state where I can just show up at church and sing without stressing or preparing.
Welllll, it’s already Friday and I don’t feel anything yet. Am I having a “spell” (or in old southern belle talk, do I have the vapors)? If so, I hope I have one next week!
Enjoying the Area
I was going to do my first “Write Wednesday” this week. My portable chair was ready and I was all excited to write out in the desert. However, the forecast called for snow… I don’t think my laptop would like that very much, so I had to cancel.
Look for something next week though!
Random Learnings or Stories
I wanted to write a bit on my average day, in case anyone is interested. Ironically, the actual events aren’t interesting, but will kind of let you know what I typically do. This schedule is pretty accurate on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Maybe I’ll do another boring post on the other days soon!
8:45 – The alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
8:54 – The alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
(Repeat 3 more times)
9:21 – I wake up and look thru e-mail and stuff while still in bed. I typically pull the sheet over my head and read in a cocoon.
9:30 – I get up and make myself pretty (brush, floss, etc…).
9:45 – I turn on the computer.
9:50 – I write my morning pages. OK I can stop for a second on this one I’m reading a book called The Artist’s Way that basically tries to help make creative people happier and more productive. The book has many exercises and lessons but the most important thing it stresses is the writing of morning pages. Basically you write 3 full pages first thing in the morning, every morning. You don’t have to plan the writing or concoct a short story; you’re simply writing your stream of consciousness. So whatever’s into your head, you write it down. If you can’t think of anything to say, write “I can’t think of anything to say” over and over. I guarantee thoughts will start popping into your head and you won’t be writing that sentence for 3 pages.
I usually end up writing “I’m so tired” (I’m not a morning person). But as I start to get further along, I start voicing fears, insecurities, etc… Everyone who writes morning pages will eventually find themselves expressing that stuff. The purpose is to help you “clear the muck”, so to speak. Once all the crap is out, you feel better and what you create after is often better, because you can focus on your projects rather than all that other stuff. Also, if you write something enough times, you’ll start to do something about it. If it sounds interesting, you should pick up the book. I swear I don’t make any money off it.
10:30 – I typically start “work” by opening Amazon and pulling up sample pages from favorite authors. In case you’re not familiar, Amazon will let you read the first 5-10 pages of most books on the site. I usually pull up three authors and read a few pages of several books. I also read a few pages of books sitting next to me in the bookcase. Doing this fills your head with styles you like. I once thought reading others’ stuff was a bad idea, that their works would compromise my own style. Not true!! Reading pages you really like can affect your writing, but in a positive way. Your “core” style will stay intact, but is usually improved.
11:15 – I pull up TheWritePractice.com (I talk about this some in another post). I read the daily post and then write for about 30 minutes on the day’s topic. This is a good warm up and gets my brain going.
11:45 – I start getting “stuff” pulled together for the book.
12:15 – Lunch time! I’m in a huge chili phase right now so I usually eat a bowl with cheese and sour cream. YUM! I’m a HUGE creature of habit and will usually eat something non-stop until I never want to have it again. To this day, I still can’t go to Chipotle (even though I used to LOVE it).
12:45 – I review the last few pages of my book, make some revisions and get my brain in the current scene.
1:00 – I begin writing.
4:00 – By this point, I’ve usually written 8-12 pages. I go back and do some light reviewing/editing.
4:15 – Workout time! This usually consists of doing 45 minutes of Insanity, the exercise DVD I mention in another post. BTW, it feels good mentioning old posts. It means I actually have some substance out here. YEAH!
5:00 – I drink the post-workout protein shake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5:30 – I sit back down at my computer and write more or work on a blog post or read lessons or work on acting monologues or catch up on random stuff.
6:30 – I go to my car and practice singing. OK I will probably comment on this one later But I always sing in my car.
7:30 – Windy gets home from work and we make dinner. Ummm OK I usually end up putting corn in a pot or chopping onions. Technically, Chris and Windy cook. I give myself credit though: It’s a huge step up from throwing Totino’s Pizza Rolls in the microwave.
8:30 – We typically watch episodes of Friends or play board games. I may post more on this later, too
10:00 – Windy and Chris go to bed. I usually go back to my computer and blog, research, catch up on e-mails, etc… Sometimes I’ll play some video games with friends back in Dallas.
11:00 – I shower. I know you dying for more information on this. Let me just say it’s pretty incredible, although I could use a trim.
11:30 – I get in bed and silently run through the week’s songs, read some non-fiction, and read some fiction.
1:00 – Sleepy time!
Wow, OK that was really detailed. Maybe it will earn the honor of “most boring blog post ever”! Do they have the Blog Razzies? I’d be an honored first recipient.