Patty's neat writing room prompted me to offer an alternative for those of you who live in semi-chaos as I do.
It's gotten colder as the day goes on--rain in the forecast. We need it, but the fire neighborhoods don't. At least not until the hills can be sprayed with that seed paste, or whatever it's called.
I finished the sixth version of my picture book, which my amazing editor has been willing to read and comment on. Now of course I've got my hopes up, even though she says it's hard to get a PB published these days because they're so expensive to produce. So I'm going to try to forget all about it (right!) until she says yay or nay. Scouting around again for something to do, something brilliant and funny, or brilliant and dark, or just plain brilliant (right!)
My fingers are freezing.
One of us left the door to the bird cage open and our two little finches, Woody and Wife #3, have flown into the great unknown. At least she won't have to keep flying away from him. He really did live up to his name!
Dummy. That's me, not the mock up I'm trying to do! Picture books are HARD (whine, whine.) My PB is about a dog and some kittens. Is that original or what? Actually, it's been fun. And pasting the words onto a "dummy" book taught me a lot about what could be done with the art. So now I'm (ulp!) sketching dogs. Trying to retain that same "fun" element and banish those ugly little prodding voices that say, "What do you think you're doing? You're not a picture book writer! You don't know how to draw!" SSSSSSSS. Go away! Be gone! I'm having a great time NOT thinking about publishing for a change.
Sipping my green tea (blech!) in lieu of the Kona coffee our friends brought from the Big Island this weekend. Is there life after coffee? I'm about to find out. . .
So I'm in that place where I know I will never ever write another book. Robin, Mary, Lee, and Thalia--my super group--have all heard this too many times from me. But this time I mean it (whine.) My intention this morning was (note the tense even though it's still morning) simply to write. HA. Morning Pages kind of stuff in which I whine and bitch my little heart out, hoping against hope that I'll get to some "real" writing before the end. I picture all my writer friends happily or madly typing away on the latest drafts of their novels, wish them well, and wave as they recede into the distance. Whine.
Okay, so I'm still in a room by myself. Still trying to think up the "right" words and wondering if anybody will ever read them. But Patty Palmer said that I need to blog (thanks, Patty!) and so I'm diving in. Or actually sticking a toe in and testing the waters. Outside as I write, Jack, (husband par exellence) is diving his hand into our new fish pond to set up an underwater spotlight. I'm at that daunting place in a writer's life when nothing I think up seems worthy of my time and effort. I've heard this referred to as "filling the well" but it feels more like crawling the desert to me. When kids ask me where my ideas come from--they always do--I say "from my brain, the same place your ideas come from." But that's just the beginning. Isn't it thrilling and scary that we can write about anything at all? Wouldn't it just be easier to be a tech writer?
“Hold on to the heart of what first makes you want to tell a story—that seed of inspiration, that character that haunts you, the moments you long to crystallize and bring to life. My goal is to couple that holding on with a practice of staying loose and softened and humble—remembering that the task is about questions, not answers.”
Is a writer someone who does not write every day? Or even every week? (GASP) Then I am not a writer. A "spurt writer", I call myself. I write when the mood strikes or an idea keeps biting my ankle and won't let go, or sometimes when I'm just plain ashamed of myself for being so lazy. Despite all this I've somehow managed to write a dozen MG and YA novels (thirteen counting my adult novel, Call It A Gift.) Spurt writers can blitz when they want to, or need to--meeting a deadline for revision, for example. I love writing. I'm never more alive than when I'm caught up in a character's life, going places I haven't been or didn't know I was going. I've just finished The Last Best Days Of Summer which will debut in the Spring of 2010, another Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux book. Frances has been my editor since 1998 and I hope she always will be. She's simply amazing.