Where I’ve Been

So it’s been a few weeks since I last checked in and there’s a good reason for my disappearance.

About three weeks ago, I noticed I was having pain and tightness in my hands after working out with hand weights (particularly in my thumb joint). It only got worse, to the point where the pain was there even when I was just sitting and not doing anything. You can imagine how writing, using the computer and everything else took a backseat.

Ice packs, Epsom salt soaks, heating pads, massage — I tried everything and anything but the pain was still there. After a doctor’s visit, I now have some meds and a brace on my right hand. Recovery has been slow, and I’m still going through it.

Needless to say, I’ve made no progress on my writing in almost a month, which has been equally as frustrating and depressing to say the least. Some days, the pain was so much that all I could do was lay there and mope and other days when it wasn’t so bad I wanted to continue doing nothing so wouldn’t flare up again.

I still have some pain when doing certain tasks but I’m slowly getting back to work, even though I still have to take it easy. Opening or carrying things, doing dishes, dude… I even needed help cutting a piece of chicken one night at dinner. Frustrating, maddening, temper tantrum-inducing! :)

Hopefully I’ve now turned the corner and things will only continue to get better both for my health and for my sanity (because not being able to write has been a real test my patience, my sanity, and a blow to my sense of self). I feel like I lost a month of my life and without writing, like I haven’t really been “me” these past weeks without it.

I started the Million Word Challenge at the beginning of the year with a group of other writers, and it’s been really hard seeing how they are progressing so well and I’m sitting here unable to do the same.

But now that the pain isn’t so bad, at least I’m able to sit at the computer and do some work even if it’s slower than I normally would be. I am really utilizing my voice recognition software now to save my hands (even though it can be kind of slow for editing, but I can’t afford to upgrade to the newer version).

Either way, at least I’m a bit better than I was a few weeks ago and hopefully it will all be behind me soon. and I finally managed a decent word count yesterday, which felt pretty good.

WIP Wednesday: BIC HOK TAM SODA

Confused? Don't be! Those crazy kinds on the interwebs are coming up with new net-lingo all the time! And now, us writing geeks can get in on the fun.

New writing buddy Thomas McAuley turned me on to the school of BIC HOK TAM SODA and I’m quickly becoming a convert.

Lemme break it down:

BIC – Butt In Chair
HOK – Hands Over Keyboard
TAM – Typing Away Madly
SODA – Story Only, Dumb Ass

In other words, to get any writing done, you need to plant your butt, assume the position, let your fingers fly across the keyboard and turn off all distractions while doing so.

The thing is – it’s not rocket science, people. It’s common sense. But giving it a fancy acronym makes it seem all cool & easily digestible for procrastinators, rule breakers and even the writing equivalent of the punk rocker – pantsers!

We all have our writerly rituals. Lighting incense, listening to a specific playlist, putting on your hat complete with brain wave conductors…I don't judge.

But if you need a little reminder on how to get things done, put your BIC, get your HOK, start TAM and for the love of Mulder, SODA!

Know what? It works! I've been showing up in my writing nook every day lately, turned a blind eye to the siren call of Twitter and my word count has taken off. Sure, I dip in for tiny chat morsels every now and then to keep my needy side sated. Gotta keep some of the fun! After all, I've said it before and I'll say it again. If it's not fun, you're not doing it right!

Fellow WIP Wednesday posse:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

World Domination

MissWrite.netIn an effort to further my plans of World Domination, I have secured MissWrite.net.

Right now it forwards to my articles as Toronto Writing Examiner, but I hope to expand it and build a full website, highlighting all my writerly pursuits (including my fiction & copy writing).

You would think all of these endeavors would burn me out (and occasionally they do), but I love writing ever so much, and being able to explore it in all its facets makes me the happiest girl!

Today, I'm working on that totally-crazy-so-not-me-yet-devilishly-addictive story idea I mentioned. Chris (my fiancee) gets a little impatient because when I'm working on something new, I don't like to share many (read: ANY) of the details until I have at least gotten the first draft down.

By then, I am usually stuck, and like to bend his ear for tidbits to unstick myself, but right now, I am holding my cards close to my chest because I lovelovelove this idea and really want to find the words to make it work. Eep!

When you get a story idea, how do you keep yourself from falling too much in love with it (just in case it doesn't go the way you hoped or envisioned)? Or do you think you do have to have that level of intensity about every story to make each one a success?

Jumping On My Own Bandwagon

It's about the journey not the destinationWe all have those moments when we doubt ourselves, get in a rut or just generally lose motivation.

I seem to go through phases where I am super-productive, and then fall victim to one, if not all of these things. Other than a few sporadic editing sessions and some frenzied writing by the seat of my pants (which is something I never do), I'm still in that rut.

But the good news is I have finally gotten to the point where I am sick of the rut and ready to kick some butt!
So, I am doing what I often hear is what NOT to do. I'm going to toot my own horn! I'm jumping on my own bandwagon. In fact, I'll jump into the driver's seat and DRIVE the damned bandwagon if I have to!

I know I can get wordy when I write. But that just means I sometimes get lost in what I'm writing and can't help but yammer on about it until my pen runs dry. And while I love getting the words down, what I love even more is polishing and rearranging and adding layers of tone and suspense and skin-twinging, spine-tingling creepiness.

I don't have a million stories published. But I have 1 (with a 2nd & 3rd on the way), along with what seems like a billion ideas and snippets and works in various stages of progress that will some day see the light of day. I have written just over 90,000 words on my first novel (editing is another story…), 25,000 words scribbled on a short story collection, and when I see all of these stories lined up – finished or near-completed – I realize that half the fun of writing is in the journey, not the destination. But I still won't quit taking steps to get there, either.

I realize that I have an amazing group of writer-friends who constantly amaze me with their talent and their support. Even if they don't realize it, their constant efforts towards their own goals keeps me on my toes and inspires me to keep evolving and growing.

I realize that I am good enough whether I have a good writing day or not; that I don't need to compare my success to the success of others; that I am on my own track and as long as I keep striving for what I want, I RULE!

So, there. Incredibly self-indulgent blog post over. We all need a little pep talk now and then. What's yours?

[NWC]

The Secret Lives of Scribes

My fiancee, my friends and family, god bless them. They are supportive. They hoot and holler just as much as I do when I get a piece published. But…they don’t write.

Only other writers get it. The roller coaster ride of being a writer. How, as much as we deny it, we love the valleys as much as we do the peaks.

Because there’s a feeling you get…a tingling from your scalp to the very tips of your fingers as the first ideas of a story begins to spark; the mystery of imagining and the piecing together of ideas to create a new world, character, etc.; those first few pages that seem to have been plucked out of the ether to flow magically from your pen to paper; the tension you feel when you’re stuck, and you push and pull with yourself until finally you break through and have that “A-ha!” moment and suddenly are swept back up into the romanticism of it all in a frenzy of scribbling as ideas rush at you all at once.

See? To the outside observer, this may sound like torture. But to the writer – it’s Utopia.
[NWC]