Thursday, February 26, 2009


Last week Kristin Nelson discussed the meaning of writing with the advent of word processing. I started thinking-Perhaps years of keeping a journal by pen and paper has my brain wired to writing by hand. When I compare my personal journal keeping by hand to my attempts at fiction by electricity, it seems that my writing goes much smoother when I'm not staring at a blinking cursor.

So I decided to give it a try, and with my new Composition Book (the very cool kind with the black and white mottled cover and no spirals)I sat down and began to write where I had left off. And just like that I had one thousand words. I mean, I managed to write it all while my son banged around with his kitchen set (a very masculine kitchen set). Yes, my thoughts definitely flow better this way.

Of course, I have to transfer the words to my computer, but then I can sneak in a rewrite that way. See, I have decided that my rough draft (yet another analogy) is like a skeleton. I will go back and flesh it out later. So, while I know I am only creating the bones, writing by word processing was like creating a skeleton with osteoporosis. Now my skeleton will survive all the damage I plan on doing to it later.

Another good thing about starting by hand-so much more portable than a laptop! Of course I'll probably be trading writer's block for writer's cramp. Word processing is so relatively new to writers-no need to depend on it. Charles and Jane didn't have word processing, and look what they managed to create.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Secret Life of Nurses

I've been re-reading The Secret Life of Bees. Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing writer. I want to write like Sue Monk Kidd. And the best thing about Sue Monk Kidd-she was a nurse before she was a writer. Yea! There is hope for me after all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Book's Secret

Every book has its secret. (Will Harry die? Will Bella get bitten?) Right now the concept for my book is like the inside of the jacket cover. It reveals just enough to leave the reader interested and dangles the big unknown at the end-the secret. Only, I don't know my own book's secret. But, I don't want to know yet. I had the secret to my last book all figured out. It ruined it for me because I already knew how it was going to end.

I am definitely not an outline person.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Barbie Cake

I've been expecting too much out of my rough draft. I need to let it be rough. I need to just let it be ugly. Then the story can go on, and I can fix it later.

A few months ago I volunteered to make my niece a barbie cake for her birthday. I needed a stainless steel bowl that was shaped like a dress, so I borrowed my mom's kitchen aid bowl for this project. She said, "The sides are too thick. It won't cook in the middle, and it will burn on the outside." And I said, "Silly Mom." I cooked my cake in the bowl...and it didn't cook in the middle and burned on the outside.

So, I inverted the cake, scopped out the middle, cut off the burnt edges, and I had (ta-dah) my rough draft. It was a deformed bundt cake. After much thought and little sleep (this happened late at night), I improvised. I cooked another cake in two regular rounds, stacked all three cakes (with my ugly bundt on top) and filled all the holes with yummy strawberries. In the end it was beeeeeautiful and all the little girls thought it was extra special because it was a strawberry shortcake barbie cake.

In the end the ugly parts made the cake special and unique. So with my rough draft. I'll go back and cut off uncooked and burnt bits, fill it in with even better stuff, and it will be beautiful.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Fragile Idea

I am going to unblog in this blog on my two weeks ago blog. I was very excited about an idea for a book which I had started writing and which was going oh so well. I was sure the book would be finished one day, but is no more. So much for my proclaimed momentum. But,I have a new book idea. Unfortunately I've gone through so many book ideas lately that, after beginning, have faded to nothing. Maybe this one is different, but I'm afraid to even start writing it. My idea is good, and if I touch it I may destroy it.

This makes me think of the bubble blowing machine we bring out at the end of nursery on Sundays. The 2 year-olds swarm, and then jump and laugh and clap their hands destroying all bubbles in their path. This is how I am with a new book idea. It is so pretty, and I jump and laugh and clap my hands (metaphorically because I'm not so wierd)...and then forgetting how fragile the book idea is, I have destroyed it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Sometimes I look at a bit of what I've written and think, "That is great. I'm the best. Publishable me." But then I remember American Idol, which although I semi-followed last season (as much as you can with a baby) I have sworn off this year in the interest of spending the time writing instead. And I think that maybe I am one of those people that think they are soooooooo good. They get up in front of the judges and tell them that they know they are the next American Idol. And then they sing. And you as the audience blush for them, feel sorry for them, and (oh yeah) laugh at them. Because are they really that delusional? Don't they realize they are awful? And why do they act so surprised when Simon rips them apart? SO, am I that person? Do I think my writing is Idol-standard, but when it comes down to it "Simon" the agent will know right away that I'm not?

Disclaimer: Note that the first word of this blog is "sometimes," and that I write a lot of horrible before something spills off my fingertips that I think is brilliant. More practice, right? Writing is so hard sometimes, but it's like I've immersed myself in this new relationship and I can't get out of it. In fact, I have had a struggle recently, having to remind myself that I'm not a writer who is a mom. I'm a mom that writes. I love my son. He's my whole world, and in the end, I choose him.