About Me

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If who we are is what we do, then like most people, I am a mixed bag of personas. Writer, bookworm, friend, are what first come to mind. Equally apt would be potty mouth, dog walker, Guinness drinker, swimmer, storyteller, political animal, baker and proud Canadian. Mostly though, I consider myself simply insanely lucky to have a small posse of near and dear ones who put up with me and my curvy, creative, curly haired, opinionated self. I started this blog several years ago with the idea to challenge myself in a myriad of ways. Years in, despite the sporadic entries, I still like to muse about the absurdity of life, what inspires surprises and angers me, books and other entertainments, my menagerie, my travels and any other notion buzzing round in my head.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And the winner is......


Wholly shit. I am actually a novelist. For the past 30 days I have spent hours upon hours writing my novel Lillian Munsch is Dead.

I sweat over this thing. I spent mornings walking the dogs figuring out snippets of dialogue and how to move the story in various directions. I researched ideas as I went along and wrote my way through at least three really frustrating bouts of writer's block. I worked harder at this than I have any other writing project before. I enjoyed it immensely; and this month I have had some incredibly prolific, creative and challenging moments bringing Lillian, Nicki and Alejandro to life.

I learned a lot about what I do well as a writer and what needs work. As I have written about before, I think I actually figured out how to get out of my own way and just let it rip. After these 30 days, having spent years of writing and picking away at stories, today for the first time I actually feel like a real god damned writer.

It's a good good day.

And now.... I need my bed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best.

I spent an incredibly productive and enjoyable several hours this morning at my local Starbucks, headphones in, laptop humming as I worked away on Lillian's story. She is becoming a wonderfully rich, thoroughly flawed and entertaining character to write. Getting into the nitty gritty of her love life now, I am having a blast with this NaNoWriMo project.

I had a busy week. Back to work after my bout with the flu and trying to settle into a routine with Murph and Mattie has been hectic. Just getting out the door each morning this week was a challenge:

Monday - up at 6:15 am with every intention of leaving by 8. Three messes to clean up, keys misplaced once and I was walking up the street to the bus just before 9am.

Tuesday - one playful bite on the lip around 6:30 am, only two messes to clean up and out the door by 8:45am.

Wednesday - only one mess to clean up and easily made it out the door in under two hours but skipped breakfast to make it to my meeting on time.

Thursday - no messes but a tussle over a toy put me back about 15 minutes meaning I did not leave til 9:10am

Friday - got things sorted with no messes, treat and walks routine down and was out the door in a respectable 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Sigh. I am tired just thinking of it.

This morning, taking advantage of the fact that Mattie is up around 6ish anyway, I got breakfasted and took the beasts for a long walk before heading off to write. I had hit a snag with a spot of writer's block one night this week, so had a some catching up to do. Having ploughed through it, I found that in taking a look back as Lillian reminisced over a past relationship, I actually came up with a few ideas that will bear fruit later in the story.... Yahooie.

Best of all, I was able to incorporate a traditional NaNoWriMo play on words into my work. Being lost for a name for a character, I did a google search looking for a name that felt right. With nothing grabbing me, I surfed over to the NaNo site to check out the message boards. On the front page, I found a link to a thread entitled Meet Mr. Ian Woon. For a bit of fun, Mr Ian Woon is an anagram of NaNoWriMo. The idea is to introduce a character called Ian Woon into your story to help boost your word count. Mulling it over for a second, I realized that Ian is a perfectly suitable name for the character I was writing. Voila and Lillian meets Mr Ian Woon. It's fun to think that Ian Woon (or his female cousin Naomi Worn) is popping up in stories all around the world, each version of Ian or Naomi different. My Ian is a redheaded Aussie rogue who breaks Lillian's heart. But, not to worry about her though, Lillian is strong. Although I still don't know how it will all work out for her, I know she will leave an indelible mark.

I am once again struck looking at this week's work, as I head towards 11,000 words written, at how productive I have been with this fixed deadline in mind. I know I should have done something like this a long time ago. And while I don't see much point in beating myself up over what should or could have been, I am so pleased to understand this now and feel grateful to have found a groove that fits my style and temperament.

There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.
~William Makepeace Thackeray

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Going with the flow

Entering Day 3 of NaNoWriMo, I am finding this surge in creativity wonderful. I have had two very successful days and note that the more I write, the more I want to. Ideas keep streaming out and I am so glad that I didn’t over plan this. With 3,722 words written in two days, I am ahead of schedule. I was a little bit worried about having to do my weekday writing in the evening, but so far so good. Once I get the beasts settled and my own dinner taken care of, I was able to relax into a nice rhythm for several hours before I went to bed.

My muse seems to be encouraging me along the right path and it makes me realize just how important writing is to me. Regardless of how well turned out the first draft is, the process of getting it down, imagining what my characters will do next and going off in different tangents when I think of some new idea is incredibly exhilarating.

I’ve been good about editing as I go and stayed away from it as much as I can. I realize now just how in my own way I was. I think I was actually hindering my process by over analyzing ever word. This is a much freer process and far more enjoyable.

Right now, I have no idea where Lillian and Nicki, Alejandro and Eric or even nasty Brad will end up. Well, actually, that is a small white lie. I do have a very good idea about Brad. Overall, this is way more fun than I anticipated it would be. How cool is that?!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In the words of the poet James Brown...

I feel good!

With the flu (oh yes that H1N1 is a nasty bugger) behind me, I feel wonderful. Still I've been careful to hunker down and take er easy this weekend. Saw a movie (An Education - really really good) yesterday and went to bed reasonably early. Morning comes early in this household with wee Mattie needing to get up and go out on schedule. But, I can't complain. The early morning routine which I began when Murphy arrived four years ago has turned out to be my most productive creative time. I am most certainly a morning writer. So once the dogs were fed and walked I was easily able to sit down to my laptop and write. And it does feel good.

Lillian Munsch has been brought to life and her journey begun.

Off to make oatmeal cookies to celebrate.