Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday LIFE Assessment


The new EDF Flash Fiction Chronicles has been launched with some excellent posts and I'm finally getting into a routine with getting it out there. Still open for submissions, of course, from writers of flash, published or not. The blog will hopefully be an archive of articles on writing from a variety of perspectives. When we have enough posts to warrant the set-up, I plan to add a page to the blog that will be organized by topic rather than by date only. This way if you are struggling to get writing on any particular day, you can click on that index page and go to a list of articles on motivation or process and hopefully, this will be the tilting point to get you typing away at a work-in-progress or a brand new story.

But we're not ready for that yet.


What's that all about? Oh, yeah. The neglected novel. January saw me swearing to the keyboard that I would put in the hours to shape the 400 pages I've produced on that project, yet after I prepared the first fifty pages for a contest or two, I set it aside once again for the sweet pleasure of writing short.

What I have to do is decide, do I finish my opus or ignore it? Decide. Listening to Tony Robbins a few years ago, I was struck by the simplicity of one of his "tenets." Decide, he said and I'm paraphrasing here, is to choose one option and cut off all other possibilities. The root of the word "decide" is to "cut off." I liked that. Could life really be that simple?

Can we really just decide to follow a path and then do it thereby achieving a goal? This must be what determination is, to raise the priority of one activity over others in order to finish it to the best of our abilities. The question is, can I do it for the novel?

Why not? I've kept writing for years despite much floundering, shit product, and little confidence. If I can still be at the computer, writing and talking about writing, then I must have that determination. I just need to decide where my focus is and follow through.

So I'm going to decide. My focus needs to be the novel. I've gotten myself published in the short market which by the way I regard as a wonderful accomplishment. I've met the goal to submit to the new anthology at Sisters in Crime. I'm almost finished with a piece of flash I've promised to one more person. I must stop trolling for motivation to write something short and gear myself for the long journey to Novelland.

I'm going to do it. Starting? Today! And as Tony probably didn't say, no ands, ifs, or buts. Except maybe I should do that index page for the Chronicles because then I'd be searching out the motivation blogs and reading them I'd feel motivated...


Erin said...

I know what you mean. I really need to make that decision regarding my novels-in-progress, too!

Part of me wonders if I would have better luck with novels if I didn't work full time. I would like to think that it's the amount of time I'm at the office doing technical writing that robs me of the inspiration to work on longer projects, but then part of me wonders if that's just me making excuses. If I did get the chance to stay home and write, would I still find more excuses to avoid novels? Hmmm...

Gay Degani said...

I can see maybe with your other great news and impending JOY you might want to consider staying at home a while.

It's really an individual call as to what works for you.

As for me, I AM home and believe me I waste a lot of time. My time is a sweet luxury that I probably abuse. Part of that is I'm older and feel as if I need to live under a gentler regime, so I'm not too hard on myself. I kind of go with the flow.

Often, however, I do admonish myself for laziness. I have NO excuses not to sit down every day and work on the novel. Yes, things come up that must be tended to (old dog, old husband, old pleasures, old chores), but they will always be around.

Distractions exist and a writer must learn to deal.

You have strong self-discipline and I think whatever is thrown at you, you will work around. If you were to stay home, there's no doubt in my mind that you would spend that time wisely. You've established yourself as a short story writer, so the novel is the same, just more length broken down in smaller pieces.

Ahhh, good. I wrote that last part for me too. Think of those chapters as 1000-2000 words stories!!!

Thanks, Erin, for perking up my brain today.

Erin said...

That is good advice, Gay. I've never thought about breaking down a novel with that method. Thanks!

I've got a question on another topic.

How did you get your blog to allow comments with the name/URL feature instead of the commenter having to sign into a profile?

My friend is setting up a blogspot blog and wants to use that option but can't figure out how. My blog isn't on blogspot, so I didn't know how to help her. I thought I would ask around. :-) Is it some kind of paid feature?