But if I want to be honest, I have to say that even single mothers have free time. There are the precious early morning hours (on the days you manage to kick your own ass out of bed early), or that peaceful chunk of time, however small, that comes just after bed time. Some of that has to be dedicated to boring chores so your house doesn't smell, but there is free time. Sometimes I'm so busy that I get lazy in the rare free time moments. It's been getting the best of writing lately.
There was a point there since I've last updated that I was seriously doing absolutely nothing relevant to my writing. But here is a list of things I DID do since I've been away:
- I did this:
In case I've fooled you, no I did not rent a Paris apartment with a gorgeous view. I cut my hair off, and it felt wonderful.
- Did a little of this:
Yes, I'm still reading For Whom The Bell Tolls. It is indeed the longest I've taken to get through something by Hemingway. I attribute it to all the war talk and war action. It's a subject matter that I can't really relate to, yet is still written in a way that keeps me interested. Now the love scenes between Robert Jordan and Maria outside in their sleeping bag...those I get right through somehow.
And Cloudburst by V.C. Andrews. I've been a V.C. Andrews reader since I got my hand on a copy of Flowers in the Attic in high school. If you didn't know, Andrews died in 1986 and since her death, books keep coming out under a ghost writer hired by her family, Andrew Neiderman. It's simply because the popularity of her books was so great that the family wanted the Gothic stories to continue. Neiderman's aren't quite as terrifying or original, so it's something I have to be in a certain mood for. Kind of like my period romance kicks.
I did recently find an inspiring quote by Andrews that is very basic and important for an aspiring writer:
"I don't drift away from it [the story] a great deal into descriptive material. When I read, if a book doesn't hold my interest about what's going to happen next, I put it down and don't finish it. So I'm not going to let anybody put one of my books down and not finish it.
It's helpful to think in the mind of the reader as you write your story. Is this boring? Is this a tangent? Is this like describing a weird dream to a friend that is only interesting to me? I think I get a little too close to the story to be objective about things like that.
- And this:
I watch Manhattan maybe every fourth writing session or so. Well, now it's more like I play it in the background like music. I'm watching it right now. One of my all-time favorites.
- Finally, did a wee bit of this:
In spite of my bouts of extreme laziness which I'll just go ahead and write off as chemical depression, I managed to write a little. Probably looked about as pretty as this guy while I was doing it, too. I've pounded out another short story that I'll be submitting this week. I've really gotten fond of this thing and I've got hope for it. Here's a little taste from "Nightlight Visits":
And summer meant people leaving. Yes, Delia was an old pro at being left. Dr. Everett, her psychiatrist, went to Padua for a month every year. Delia would have to endure descriptions of some seventeenth century palm planted in the Orto Botanico di Padova, or new discoveries of quiet, Italian cafés. Things the likes of which she’d never experience. Delia’s prescriptive needs were left in the care of a competent, yet impersonal substitute. It wasn’t as though she needed to talk about herself every week. She could deal with the quiet. She had for so many years.
The man she slept with left her, too. Seth was an old friend who used to wait tables at the bar she frequented. He went to Indiana every summer to work for his family’s construction business while staying with his two children from a previous marriage. It’s not that she was in love with him, but nowadays she was desperate for the distraction.
Just that afternoon she’d been helping Seth pack. They had sex, folded shirts, had sex again. She wondered how it could happen. How did the adrenaline let her escape from her head? She couldn’t get enough.
“You could find other distractions,” Seth said. He was busy with his own worries: matching socks and chugging German beer. “You know I do.”
Delia shrugged. “You’re the only guy I can get along with, Seth. All the other ones at The Pub annoy the shit out of me.”
Not that they didn’t try to get in her pants every time. The guys were all good buddies, but she wouldn’t touch a one of them. Not the way they drank—without hesitance, without limit. Guzzling all night in their wrinkled business suits, just like her father. Dr. Everett warned her that many victims were at risk of falling into two categories: those that freeze up and those that fuck everything under the sun. She’d already been stuck in the first category, aand wanted to be careful not to fall into the other.
"Quit going around that dive, then. Find something else. Find someone else, damn it. He doesn't deserve you rotting over him forever."
I keep coming up with these characters I want to write about and keep avoiding my novel in order to get the short stories down while their fresh. I'm starting to think I could write short after short but my ultimate goal is to run the really really long race. I want to produce a novel worthy of someone's time and intellectual enjoyment (including my own). My goal from here on out is to work on the novel more in-between shorts and quit letting those chapter files get so cold.
So, here's some goals I have once my son and I get into our new work/kindergarten routine:
Submit at least once a day or more. I look at it in the quantitative form. The more places I submit to, the better chance I have to get a YES. I think I read somewhere that the average short story has been rejected about 20 times before it's accepted. I'm collecting rejectionS like battle scars. The more I get, the more I'm determined to get that specific piece out there.
Write every day.
DING DING DING! This little secret to success that is so much easier to sit there and say you're going to do it rather than actually do it. By writing I don't mean commenting on a photo of a friend's drunken antics online. I mean legitimate writing or revising. Even if it's a page. Even if it's for 20 minutes. Even if it's as simple as a conversation between characters. I know this is a big one. It takes a very real commitment to not be a lazy snail.
Hopefully I won't go so long between posts. Keeping this site updated really helps me focus on what I'm doing, writing-wise. And forces me to look more specifically at what I'm not doing.