#weekendcoffeeshare: New Momentum Tactics

#weekendcoffeeshare: I have Lost my Impulse
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

The Daily Post sponsors the #weekendcoffeeshare. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it, once a month. You can get the lowdown about it at the link above.

[Your dialogue is in purple.]

[My dialogue is in teal.]

§

If we were to have coffee…

We are back at The Sisters’ Diner. Although Starbuck’s was great fun, the price of a cup of coffee there is a little steep. The diner does have flavored creamers, plus they have tea too. Yes, I have switched over to tea.

After the waitress takes our orders, you ask, “Why did you order tea? I thought you were a die-hard fan of coffee.”

New Momentum Tactics“As you know, I have been fighting digestive issues for some time now. I read an article about the benefits of tea, and especially of green tea, although regular tea is supposed to help too. That is what got me going on the tea kick. As it turns out, I like the effect of the caffeine in tea better than the caffeine in coffee. I still have a little trouble with my digestion but it is nothing like it was before”

You give me a look of disbelief.

Once our orders are in front of us, you doctor your coffee with the French vanilla creamer while I butter a small sourdough roll.

“Was it one of those articles on the internet?” you ask.

I shrug my shoulders. “Yes, but it was at the site WebMD so I figured I could trust what I was reading. Sure, the caffeine is stronger but it also does not make me irritable like coffee sometimes does.” You cock your head slightly sideways as you eat a buttered croissant. “Besides, tea has become one of my new momentum tactics.”

“Tactics for what?”

“I decided I need to make more of an effort to do more of the preliminary work for writing a novel. In other words, I am making a full-blown attempt at being a plotter.” You roll your eyes at me. “Yes, I know, again. Nonetheless, I am determined to write a novel all the way through to that final draft–that is, before sending it off to an editor.”

“So you think you are going to make it all the way through this time, uh?” I grin at you. “And what makes this time different?”

I really cannot blame you for your skepticism. I have one finished first draft and three unfinished ones in addition to the one I am tackling. “For one thing, one of my tactics is to do a better job on the profiles of the main characters. I am using two questionnaires per character, plus I am writing out each profile in prose. I will be doing a questionnaire and a prose for each scene too. The whole idea is to know the story pretty much completely before I even write it.” I take a couple of gulps of my tea. “On top of this, I have strapped a pillow to the back of my swivel chair so I sit more upright when I type. This way I should be able to be at the keyboard a little longer per session.”

“Maybe it will work. Especially the idea about the pillow. You do sound eager anyway.” You sit across from me with your cup close to your lips as if you are going to take a sip at any moment.

“I have already done a lot of research too. Oh, and I am going into a genre that is, in point, foreign to me–historical/paranormal.” I look at you straight on waiting to get your react.

You look out into the middle of the room with your eyes not seeming to be fixed on anything in particular. Finally, you take that sip of coffee and face me. “And what is the point of changing genre?”

“I think I am bored with what I have been writing so I changed it up.” I am happy with this choice I have made. I want you to be pleased with it too but only if you truly believe it is right for me.

You give me a noncommittal smile.

The rest of our chat revolved around hushed judgments about the other customers in the diner. We make remarks about how a man is dressed, how a woman drinks her cup of whatever it is, and how a child is being so unruly. We do not know any of them and, of course, we would not say these things to these people. They are just little bits of perception that we share.

§

Quick note: I have a Facebook Page now. If you are so inclined, stop by and click on ‘like’.

“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” ― Shannon L. Alder

 

#weekendcoffeeshare: I Have Lost My Impulse

#weekendcoffeeshare: I have Lost my Impulse
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

The Daily Post sponsors the #weekendcoffeeshare. If this is something you’d like to do, whether it be weekly like it’s supposed to be or the way I do it once a month, you can get the lowdown about it at the link above.

[Your dialogue is in purple.]

[My dialogue is in teal.]

§

If we were to have coffee…

We’re having our powwow at your choice spot, which I gather is Starbuck’s. After all, there aren’t many places in the US that can beat the variety of blends of coffee and creamer that are find there. Pricey but if we don’t use this place all the time, it can be managed.

We find a table away from the noise of the register and the hoards of people at the counter trying to make up their minds. We didn’t hesitate when we placed our preferences. I knew exactly what I wanted by the time I reached the counter. Chances are you knew what you wanted before you got to the door.

“I wonder why so many people can’t make up their minds about what coffee to get. I mean, most of these people have been here before numerous times.”

“Chances are they’re thinking about something else while they wait in line. Or it could be there’s so much to choose from, making their decisions are almost impossible. Still, they should come prepared, or, at least, step out of line until they’ve decided.”

“Exactly. You look tired. What’s up?”

I sip my coffee trying to find the words that will acutely describe what I’m going through. “I may be more distracted than some of these customers in here. I’ve lost my impulse with my writing. Not writing altogether but for anything that would prove I’m an author of any sort. You know, something meaningful.”

You finger your mug as you look down at the light brown swirls inside. You peer up at me. “You are an author. Your blog proves that. It’s meaningful, isn’t it?”

I have Lost My Impulse
by Michel Moreau
https://www.flickr.com/photos/xmaes/

I shake my head and stare at the cravings edged on the table. “Anyone can write in a blog as long as they have access to the internet. That doesn’t make anyone a writer, really. You know that. If I had a strong following, sure, maybe I could say I’m an author of sorts. Even so, I don’t think I could call myself a journalist at the point I’m at right now. Being a journalist would be okay. I don’t find anything wrong with that. Basically, that’s what being a good blogger is, writing articles for the masses to read. If the topics were enticing, it would be kind of fun. Nevertheless, what I write in my blog cannot be considered journalism, by any stretch of the imagination.”

It’s your turn to shake your head at me. You take a swig of your coffee and emphatically set it down. “Did you take one of those writer tests online?” I nod. “Did any of them say you weren’t a writer?” I shake my head. “Do you like writing?”

“Of course, I do. I’m just not all that good at it and probably never will be.” I sigh.

“Maybe you need to explore what type of writing you really and truly are happy doing. It could be you’re on the verge of the kind of writing that suits you perfectly but because you won’t get off the treadmill you, evidently, are on, you aren’t recognizing it.” You sit giving me a canny look as you cup both hands around your mug and sip the brew.

“I sure can’t be a reporter, not with my mobility issues. And the thought of writing a tech. book makes me cringe.” I case the shop and, finally, find a clock. “I’ll need to get going in a few minutes.” I take a gulp of my coffee.

You reach into your bag and bring out a notepad and pen. “Do me a favor and check out this site.” You write http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/. “There’s an article there listing thirty types of writing that aren’t associated with writing a fictional book.”

I stare at the note, then smile. “Thanks.”

§

Have you ever been balked by your own writing to the point where you feel you can’t go forward?

“It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

 

Write Wherever… Whatever…

First, let me say this post for the second week of the month is supposed to be about me personally in some way, something preferably not related to writing. This week’s post is supposed to be designed so you, the reader know me, the entire person behind the tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. Be that as it may, I felt–do feel–this subject will reveal something about my personality and my daily life.

§

Write Wherever... Whatever...
by Asheboro Public Library
https://www.flickr.com/photos/asheborolibrary/

A few weeks ago, I received a newsletter in my email inbox from David Duhr, one of the two founders of WriteByNight. He suggested I try writing in some way that would be unfamiliar to me to get the juices flowing.

Each and every day I sit down at my PC with my first mug of coffee, banging on the keyboard doing battle with my WiP, crafting a blog post, writing a comment on someone else’s blog, or scratching out an email to an online friend. My rear end is firmly in the chair during the day except for housecleaning, quick meals, appointments, minute exercises, and, of course, bathroom breaks.

David proposed I try writing differently. To be sure, my line of thinking went straight to where I physically am. This comfy chair is molded to my butt, after all.

Well, I do have a laptop I’m neglecting with some remorse, although not enough to leave my chair. I could bring it out from under the bed and set it up on the kitchen table where the light streams in from the deck’s sliding door. However, I’d have to wait for the gizmo to sync with my WiP folder at Dropbox. That may take only a couple of minutes, or it could take hours. The extra natural light would be sensational, though. I do hesitate nevertheless because I doubt the height of the table and chairs in the kitchen are going to put my fingers at the right angle for ultimate use on the keyboard.

Doubtless, there’s the spiral notebook and pen I could always divert to, which would give me the freedom to sit in more unusual places. I used to have pretty penmanship. Due to being left-handed, my slant goes the opposite of the way it should be. I position my paper so the top is to my right instead of to my left. My handwriting was small–dinky, in fact–but precise. I wrote longhand all the time before I was introduced to the personal computer. The thought of using a typewriter would furrow my eyebrows and vulgar words would spill out of my mouth. The hassle of having to set up the damn thing was something I didn’t want to endeavor. Nowadays, I cringe at the prospect of longhand because my penmanship has become scrawls that even I can’t read at times. I still write out the greetings for Christmas cards every year but I screw up at least five of them through the process. The ones that are sent out do not have that pretty handwriting. It rates as being legible at best.

It did dawn on me that I could get so foreign as to go outside the home altogether. Take my laptop or spiral and pen to the local library, for instance. Except for the height of chairs and tables, and the disgrace of my handwriting, the library would probably be inspirational. It would be quiet, yet give me something new to look at when I mull over on what to put down next. This is plausible if I can get a ride. The car husband and I have is a stick-shift. There isn’t any way I can work with that because of the disability. I’m mulling this over, finding the solution to the one hang-up with this idea.

Indeed, David wasn’t just referring to the physical aspect of writing. I write prose. I love stringing words along to spawn thought, concept, opinion, or story. I want to be elegant at this, which, of course, I’m not.

David suggested trying an alternate form of writing. The mere conjecture of me being able to write a poem is inconceivable to me. Sure, I wrote poems when I was in high school. Disgusting free-verse garbage about war and prejudice. Looking back at those, they didn’t say anything worth recounting in any way. Prose would have been so much better.

I don’t know the first thing about writing a play, whether it be screen or otherwise. Yes, I’m sure I could find a class to take to bring me up to snuff–kind of anyway, but I have zero interest in this type of writing.

Other writers have advised writing in a different genre in their blog posts. This has caused me to pause and consider, although I haven’t even come close to deciding which genre I should try.

I know I should try something altered from the normal hollow I know I’m saddle to somehow. After all, I keep on telling everyone I like change. Diversity is my buddy. It keeps me from falling asleep from boredom. This shouldn’t be difficult for me. Yet…

If you still can’t guess, the revision isn’t going well. I’m set on changing the entire story from first-person to third. This is taking up so much time and effort that is boring me almost to the point of tears. As I do this stodgy work, all I see is me telling a story. I only get glimpses of showing it. Ugh! Before I can even consider anyone else reading it, I’m going to have to rewrite the whole thing. Yes, I know first novels are like this. Nevertheless, I think I’m going to have to do this like a relay race, a snail-slow relay race.

In between this ugly WiP, I’m going to start sketching characters for a new story and make a determination as to what the new genre for me will be. Additionally, I’m thinking about actually taking one of my best online friend’s advice by trying my skill at essays. [Thank you, Tess. ]

Has this post unmasked some aspects of my personality? There are times when I’m extremely mulish. It takes me a while to be insightful but I do get there more often than not if given the time. Sometimes I’m self-loathing.

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within. ~Gustave Flaubert – QUOTES ABOUT WRITING

 

Assails

Assails
Image provided by Moonlight 徐宇峰
https://www.flickr.com/photos/9706990/

It’s three days until New Year’s Day. Have any of you made a list of resolutions to work on during the coming months? I’ve never been one to make such a foolish list because, for me, it would jinxes anything I want to accomplish. Yes, I’m one of those who firmly believe in hexes, especially the ones I seem to put on myself.

This last year has been sorely disappointing for any advancement in my writing. I had such high hopes for this past year. I had been so certain I could get that first draft done and get, at least, halfway through the second one. As it was, I barely made it to the beginning of the middle of the first one before finding myself beating my head against a formidable wall of indecision,anxiety, and apprehension. Only through great stubbornness have I sat at this desk to try to go on every day.

My health problems these last ten months just added to the mental torture I insisted on flinging upon myself. Who would have thought as a scantily senior, I’d begin to suffer with the digestive problems my mother didn’t have until her late eighties? All I can do is be prepared to cope with them, which, I’m finding, isn’t any small matter. One thing is for sure. It wants to cut into my writing time.

At any given time over the past twelve months, I could have taken a break. I could have concentrated on the house, my relationships with ones I love, made more of an effort to make friends with the outside kitties, anything but keep on struggling at the WiP. My health might have improved, or, at least, learned more ways of how to cope with it better.

I tried conversing with other writers about these disputes I’ve been having with my WiP. All had excellent suggestions and advice. Somehow, though, nothing they were offering to me seem to fit with the tribulations glaring at me from the screen. I even tried taking bits and piece of what I was given, trying to weave a cure for the multiple dilemmas I saw before me.

You’d think I’d give up, right? I just couldn’t, still can’t. I’m obsessed, possessed, bewitched. What gets me is that it’s all a self-made plight. Maybe I need some time in a loony bin.

I’m hoping this next year will be more amicable. I’m still fixated on writing every single day. However, I’m becoming rather jaded with this WiP that’s been brutalizing me for months. Slivers of other stories are dancing in my head, sometimes calling to me in a sing-song voice.

No resolutions though. I stay firm on my belief of ill winds.

§

“Writing is really just a matter of writing a lot, writing consistently and having faith that you’ll continue to get better and better. Sometimes, people think that if they don’t display great talent and have some success right away, they won’t succeed. But writing is about struggling through and learning and finding out what it is about writing itself that you really love.” ― Laura Kasischke

 

In the Mood

In the Mood
Image provided by Universal Pops
https://www.flickr.com/photos/universalpops/

No, I’m not discussing the song, “In the Mood for Love”. What I want to explore is what gets us in the mood to write. This can be a vast subject seeing that depending who you are and what you like can vary beyond a person’s imagination. I thought it would be good to start with the basics though.

Maybe the best way to handle this topic is for me to tell you what works for me and, hopefully, you will tell me your strategies in the comment section.

Random or Special Places

I guess I need the special place. The smallest bedroom in my house is converted into “the computer room”. Although I’d like to write in other rooms like the kitchen or living room, when I do that, I feel my surroundings are strange and distracting.

I bought a laptop just for that purpose, switching rooms once in a while. So far, the only other room that doesn’t disconcert me is the back bedroom. Maybe it’s because it’s cooler in there, which must be good for the laptop. Right?

Noisy or Quiet Surrounding

Kristi faithfully visits a coffee shop in Texas to do her writing. She takes her laptop and tries to snatch the same table every time. Somehow all the commotion with people talking works as white noise for her.

I know other writers who have music going while they write. They tell me they need it to set the mood or for the rhythm of their writing. I understand what they’re saying, but it won’t work for me.

I wouldn’t get any writing done if I tries to pound on the keys in a public place or with music blasting. Even a library gets me feeling a little daunted when it comes to writing, yet it sure is quiet there. The library intimidation could be that I’ve not spent a lot of time in one since the turn of the century. I use the resources on the internet now. Maybe I just need to reintroduce myself to the building.

Until that time comes, I need utter silence in my environment while I try to weave a tale. This can be troublesome at times. My husband loves noise. This wouldn’t be such a grave issue except “the computer room” doesn’t have a door. I’m not sure that would do much good anyway though because one of my cats, Marble, would continuously scratch at the door until it was opened. Whenever my husband goes someplace without me and I know he’ll be gone for more that a half hour, I try to use as much of that time for writing.

What Items are in Reach?

Jacqui has two monitors for her computer. She also has a personal library of books she uses when she writes. Her desk is so clean and tidy. Judging from the pictures I’ve seen, she’s well organized.

My collection of items to use while writing is minuscule compared to Jacqui’s arrangement. I have a traveling mug that will hold three regular mugs of coffee. There’s no way that sucker is tipping over either because it’s got a weight in the bottom of it. I have yet to have liquid all over the keyboard. I have a small bin to the right of the monitor that stores my books about writing. The plastic tray that sits in front of the bin holds Advil, post-note pads, a dinky spiral, and a flashlight. I keep my pens in a McDonald’s Happy Meal glass.

Weather

The weather, for the most part doesn’t seem to affect my desire to write one way or the other. I’ve known writers that have a hard time during the glorious days of summer or can’t seem to find that groove in the winter. Sometimes, but not often, the wind will play havoc with my ability to write. I wish it would have the opposite effect on me.

Without these things, I have a hard time getting in the mood to write. Sometimes I wonder why I even bothered getting the laptop when I rarely use it. Yes, I know, I should get more adventurous.

§

Now, even with all this said, I know some writers wait until they’re in the mood to write. I have a hard time understanding this logic. You could be waiting for years for that mood to hit you just right. Some of the best writing I’ve done has been when I’ve had to insist that I get my butt in the seat and just start hammering in the keys.

§

What gets you in the mood to write?

“There are times when I think that the ideal library is composed solely of reference books. They are like understanding friends—always ready to meet your mood, always ready to change the subject when you have had enough of this or that.” ― J. Donald Adams