Sunday Scoopful and #ROW80

Can you believe it is already the third Sunday of the Month? Where did the days go? Next week is Thanksgiving.

Being the third weekend of the month means that yesterday was the third Saturday of the month, and it was the day my other writing group meets. The Monadnock Writers’ Group meets every third Saturday of the month from September to June at the Peterborough, New Hampshire town Library, downstairs. For all but two months, we are entertained by a speaker, a guest who shares tidbits about what it means to be a writer. We have had screenplay writers, poets, artists, photographers, and others who have something to share with the art form of writing.

This weekend we were visited by Judson D. Hale, Sr., The current editor-in-chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Yankee magazine and is Chairman of the Board at Yankee Publishing. He shared tidbits of what an editor faces when it comes to submissions. He gave many example of queries he has received over the years and why he told the person no and why he said yes to a story. He said it was all in the blurb or tag line of the story on whether or not he found the story to his appeal. If the story line sounded boring he would say no, and if they gave him a blurb with juice to it, he would say yes. It wasn’t the subject matter that made the difference it was all in the way it was presented.

Judson had some genuinely excellent points, and he shared his witty humor with us along with some of his favorite quotes.

So who is doing NaNo-ing?

*raises hand…

ROW80 Check In:

I’m still NaNo-ing. Yep, that’s right. I haven’t given up hope just yet, even if I missed writing a few days this week.

Remember, my best is writing a first draft in 90 days. So, if I can beat that best, then I win my own personal goal, even if I don’t finish the work in progress in due time to make the NaNo goal.

Today I am happy to report my 5k for today. I might finish the first draft by the end of January.

I did have to go and revamp my plot outline before I could go any further. It is so helpful to have that plot point by plot point all figured out. The characters may not always behave the way you might want them too, but if the goal is there already for them to get to the rest of the character building falls into place.

It does not matter if your character is not as strong as you wanted them to be. They can still be kick ass and sweet and simple too. The most crucial thing is to make your characters likeable. Then you can pick the characters off one at a time if they don’t want to behave.

I must say, I can’t kill off characters as easily as Suzanne Collins did in Hunger Games. As I read her book I was miffed at how easily she was able to kill them, one after the other. In the end, I found myself saying – out loud – huh? Now why did she kill him off, I kind of liked him? He must have been a terribly crummy boy for her to do that to him.

Now I am learning the art of killing off characters (lol). At the 20% point of the work in progress, I have successfully managed to kill off one character. I wonder how many more characters that I can kill off by the end of the story.

Happy NaNo-ing and may your WIP treat you well for your next ROW80 check in.

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Writing to Thrive

Today is the third Saturday of the month which means it is my monthly Monadnock Writers’ Group meeting.

First off, I want everyone to know – I stepped out of my box. That’s right, out of my comfort zone. I did this by being the ten minute speaker this morning. That means I had to stand up in front of the group and read for ten minutes.

It went well.

I read an excerpt from Road Salt, the second chapter, and it was well received. Even though I was feeling shaky about the whole ordeal I did it.

This may have brought my confidence level up one more notch.

We had a speaker too. She has been speaking for the past year and I loved her topic – Thriving Creatively. She hit the nail on the head for every artists I know, even writers.

Her name is Michelle Aldredge, a writer, photographer and creator of Gwarlingo, an arts and culture website.

For more info: http://monadnockwriters.org/programs.html or

GWARLINGO.com

She described Thriving Creatively to be a form of growth, contentment, working deeply, fulfilling our potential.

But many of us struggle with thriving, especially when it comes to writing. We have many barriers in place. If we don’t then we are probably social paths and fear nothing.

She delved into the barriers that keep us from thriving – leading to the excuse of writers block and broke this into two groups.

Practical Obstacles

Physiological Obstacles

Isolation
– being alone as a writer and viewing oneself as an outsider.

Money – challenge of making a living

Career Management
– Marketing and Networking

Skill
– Learning the craft

Technology – Internet as a resource or a distraction

Fear – of doing it wrong, external judgment

Shame – being extremely vulnerable

 

Next she showed the correlation between Thriving and Struggling.

Thrive

Struggle

Play

Rest

Worthiness

Trust

Creative

Acceptance

Intuition

Hopeful

Authenticity

Grateful

Compassion

Courage

Perfection

Numbing

Certainty

Exhaustion

Self sufficient

Being cool

Fitting in

Judgment

Workaholic

Scarcity

Sarcasm

fear

 

Those who thrive as writers exhibit a strong sense of love and belonging. They have a sense of worthiness and the courage to be imperfect and compassion for themselves and others. They have found connections for themselves and others in artist communities like ROW80, RWA, local writing groups or an artist colony like McDowell Art Community.

They have learned that they must be vulnerable to create. If you strive to create the worst you could possible do then the world will open up for you. To Do – that’s why some say – Do it now!

Practical challenges are about money and making a living. Scarcity can teach us to have a different mindset and find gratitude for what we have. Once we are grateful stress seems to fade away.

Isolation can be a tricky one. Learning to risk participating is a good way to start off. Just asking for help is also good. It can come in the form of finding a mentor or taking an online workshop. And never equate acceptance or rejection with self-worth.

Skill = Practice. You only get better at something when you practice it regularly. This does not just go for learning a musical instrument but also when writing or drawing or anything that requires a skill. Don’t give up – stay on the bus.

Technology can help or hinder. Obsessing with technology can be a sign of numbing when you should be creating. Learn to use it mindfully.

When we learn to thrive we learn to survive and create that which we were meant to create.

 

ROW80 Update:

Eh – I was struggling last week. I fell into what I thought was being vulnerable by allowing my first draft to be critiqued. It slowed me down, but it didn’t put a stop t me. Instead it just made me rethink the first chapter and I believe I have made it much better. Now I feel I can go on. I have three weeks left until the next critique group. I have to finish the story before then or I won’t go to the critique. Vulnerably, I am not yet strong enough for that while using a first unfinished draft, even though I do feel stronger now for having done that.

I will take baby steps from now on instead of trying to run across the room before learning how to walk. (LOL)

I know I will be running before long and saying catch me if you can.

So nope, no word count for last week, but the weekend is still young and this is the time period when I do most of my writing anyways.

Are you struggling?

What’s your weakness?

What makes you stop writing?