Quotable Tuesday

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.”

– Erica Jong

Book Gratitude

Cross posted from thelivingstonpost.com.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a few minutes to briefly reflect on the books I am grateful for having come into my life this past year.

  1. For making me laugh out loud on just about every page: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” (A Mostly True Memoir)” by Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess
  2. For proving to me that celebrities can write moving stories of substance and not just as part of their brand: “When It Happens to You” a novel in stories by Molly Ringwald
  3. For making me actually cry: “The Fault in Our Stars”  a YA novel by John Green
  4. For exposing me to a foreign culture: “Drifting House” stories by Krys Lee
  5. For illuminating the beauty of compassion and forgiveness to ourselves and others: “You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know- A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness” by Heather Sellers

For a thorough look at all the wonderful books I have read over the past six years, visit this page.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of books and writing here with you. What books are you grateful for? Please leave a comment below.

Hope you all found much to be grateful for this year. Thank you for allowing me to a part of your lives.

Five on Friday

1. This anthology is accepting submissions from women writers on why they “write and how their writing influences how they think of themselves and who they are in the world.”

2. An awesome interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. She really needs to write a book on writing. So inspiring and motivating.

3. How 13 famous writers overcame writer’s block. Thanks to Dylan Landis for sharing this.

4. 94 Ways of saying thank you. Love Cheryl Strayed.

5. Raymond Carver’s OKCupid Profile, edited by Gordon Lish.

Quotable Tuesday

“From painting I learned something else of infinite value to me. Most young poets have bad working habits. They write their poems in fits and starts, by feast or famine. But painters follow the light. They wait for it and do their work by it. They combine artisan practicality with vision. In a house with small children, with no time to waste, I gradually reformed my working habits. I learned that if I could not write a poem, I could make an image,and if I could not make an image, I could take out a word, savor it and store it.”

– Eavan Boland, “The Woman Poet: Her Dilemma,” 253)

(via Prisiclla Long, “The Writer’s Portable Mentor,” 37)

Emerging from Creative Hibernation

I’ve been in what I like to call a creative hibernation. I don’t believe in the dreaded “b” word. Creative hibernation feels like it is just a part of the process. I do that sometimes. I hunker down and I always think, “This is it. I’m done writing.” Not out of a hissy fit or anything. I just don’t feel the urge. Nothing is stirring in my subconscious. No characters lurking, beckoning. The only way I know it’s not for real is that I feel this sliver of terror that I am no longer a writer. If I really didn’t care, I really wouldn’t care. So, I’ve come to take these periods of hibernation for what they are. Creative hibernation. A time to recharge. Relax. Read. A lot. Then, slowly I start getting antsy. Restless. Then I become downright irritable with myself and everyone around me. That’s when I know it’s time to hit the page again and the relief I feel is overwhelming. Of course I’m a writer.

One of the things that sent into this particular hibernation was more than just part of my creative process. Part of it was this rejection I got. It really hit me hard. Usually, I just roll with it. It wasn’t the right editor/journal. time, whatever. Send it out again and move on. But this one… this one I let my hopes get up. Way up. Like sky high up. It was the novel I submitted to a contest back in March. I heard on October 8 that I didn’t win. Not only did I not win, I didn’t even place, even though they had a record number of honorable mentions. That really hurt. Seriously, I read the list of winners at least five times thinking I must’ve missed seeing my name. Once I realized that I had not missed my name, I sat back and cried. Yep, cried. Later in the kitchen I told my husband and cried again. He said all the right things. Hugged me. Encouraged me. Finally I said that I appreciate what he’s saying but that right now, I needed to wallow. So I did. Apparently I wallowed for forty days. And forty nights. And now I am done.

One of the things that pulled me out my funk was a dear writing friend, Laura and she doesn’t even know it. The other morning I checked out the novel she wrote and self-published this year. I read the first six sample pages on Amazon and found myself reading it like a reader, not as a former member of her writing workshop. Her writing had gone to this whole new level. I added it to my wishlist so that I can buy it for myself after Christmas shopping is done. In the meantime, I was so inspired by the work she had done, by her writing, by the faith she showed herself by self-publishing and marketing it via all forms of social media and is hard at work on her next novel that I snapped out of my own self-imposed creative pity party and printed out the 87 pages I have of my WIP. I pulled out “The Writer’s Mentor” by Priscilla Long, a book that I have to repress the urge to underline almost every single sentence in because, I swear, she is talking directly to me. I gathered a notebook for my writing practice, a book for my lexicon, my laptop, morning pages notebook and came to the bookstore.

I’ve been working for two hours. Wrote and typed a new scene. Created a word trap for my WIP. As I strolled the bookstore, (after I wrote) I came across a book that intrigued me for its structure. It gave me an idea for a structure I could use in my novel, something I have looking for for a long time.

My plan is to come here Monday-Wednesday this week from 9-12. That kind of structure works for me. It gives me a time to be at my desk and it gets me away from the TV, housework, internet.

My plan is to keep working with Long’s book, work on my WIP, blog and tweet on a more regular basis, stay connected to the social media community of writers, submit my other novel to another contest, research and submit to an agent and just keep showing up. Just keep writing. Keep working.