Ego Be Damned

So, another thing I did this fall was take an online writing course. I was very challenged and outside my comfort zone. Through the course there were discussion questions, these were divided into two groups.

The first group was where I thought I belonged — beginners, first time writers. I participated in some discussions there. The second group’s questions intrigued me more, they were questions for seasoned, experienced writers. A group I didn’t identify with at all, but am now considering.

I have, after all, published my writing in one blog form or the other since about 2003. I have self published one book, and am included in an anthology as well. I am not a novice anymore. Maybe, I am now an intermediate?

One of the questions in the last week of the course discussed art, specifically the art of writing, touching upon this idea of validation of a writer’s work. Something new to me, not just regarding confidence but ego-wise; not only am I a writer, but my work is art.

Knock me over with a feather! I am getting there.

I am behind my schedule of what I should have published and where I should be as a writer. My dream plan path is off track. It is going to take some work and dedication to get back on. The one key element is that I have to have respect for my work.

Respecting my own work, more than anyone else’s opinion, matters most.

I think that struggling to not only create, but follow the path that is my own journey is one many others struggle to follow as well.

As I look forward to next year, I am thinking what will the focus be for 2017? If 2016 was all about seeing possibility, what will my priority of perspective next year?

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the Eve of the Eve of Christmas

Looking back over the last year and half, there hasn’t been much fiction writing. One might say it was a sabbatical from fiction writing but not quite. There has been some study and self critiquing of my methods as well as the writing itself.

Progress has been made in the way of becoming comfortable with editing my own words. For years, editing others has been easier for me; my children’s papers, my husbands published articles, even while reading for enjoyment. Editing myself, however, was extremely difficult.

Discerning why it was difficult turned out to be ironic; it took time to figure out, and time is the culprit. Time after writing a rough draft is necessary to distance myself before it is possible to edit. My brain, like most, will self correct between what my eyes read and brain comprehends.

Truth told, there has to be time between writing and editing. (Editing for me consists of reading aloud and a habit being established— reading sentence by sentence backwards.) There was a light bulb moment along the way; take my compulsion to over-plan, apply it to creating time between writing, edits and rewrites. Planning deadlines far enough inadvance to make them realistic.

Focus my time (there it is again) and efforts on what will get me where I want to be. It is the gift I am giving myself next year. Writing followed by 𝄆 edit, and rewrite 𝄇. Everything comes back to writing and time. So those two are first and foremost.

That leads me to overcoming my next biggest hurdle, marketing. Confidence in my writing from all that practice will increase as my skill does. You should also find more free reading material for you as well. That will work out pretty nice won’t it?

Your gift from me will be coming right here to you all next year. Perhaps you might even send me writing prompts? A word, a topic, something you would like to read a fictional story about, if you have one, just let me know. Drop me an email— 2j.kolb(that @symbol)gmail.com

Merry Christmas,

j

350 Words

350 Words

Its hard to section off time in the day to work at writing. It isn’t like signing a time card or reporting to someone else. In my beginning, there was no one to check and see if I showed up and completed tasks or scenes, rewrites, editing, research, etc.

I dedicated time to establish a writing habit by writing a daily blog. Then life, and responsibilities got in the way. My own lack of confidence even created a block between working and making time to work.

Going back to college to try to gain insight and knowledge to improve my writing took time away from actually writing. (Yes, even my instructors, and fellow students could be heard saying to each other and themselves — JUST WRITE!)

Writing is the main way to work on and improve — writing. There are benefits to reading and studying writing as well, but nothing beats the practice of writing. Thats back where I am now. IF the bicycle accident this summer did anything good for me, besides make me recognize my advancing age, and diminishing agility, it made me sit still and write more. Whether it has been making notes, reading, or using voice to text software, I found the habit again, writing.

Working every day, even if it is just a little bit, towards the completion of a story. It doesn’t have to be all at once, or every word perfectly placed the first time. It is just starting each day with doing a little bit toward that end.

When I first started blogging daily, I set a goal of three hundred and fifty words a day. Something doable, and to that I return. Now with a little bit of additional time devoted to art, whether for story illustrations or just creative release; I think that is how it starts, at the beginning, for everyone. Start, do, just a little bit a day, over time it adds up.

IF you are a writer, and have set word goals, what do you do to get those last ten or twenty words? Do you just stop? Do you go back and insert extra words you know you will probably cut later? (This last paragraph is to get me over the 350 word goal.)

Fall Cleaning

A long time ago, when my children were little, instead of major “Spring Cleaning,” I chose to do all the major annual cleaning in the Fall. This ritual ensured the house was clean and ready for the holidays. Holiday decorating, unannounced family visits, as well as planned get togethers were so much easier to maneuver through with a good cleaning under the belt, so to speak.

This yearly thorough cleaning idea came from reading the Sidetracked Home Executives by Pam Young and Peggy Jones. Two sisters who created a card file cleaning system that worked well for me and my family back in the day. Now I have come around full circle to looking for a copy of that original book.

This is the first year in a long time, I reverted back to that former routine. We have filled the trash bin now for several weeks while downsizing to a home where only grandchildren visit occasionally and our offspring are now adults. I am enjoying this pared down lifestyle and realized that cleaning still boggles my brain, especially when I could be writing!

The old stand mixer began leaving metal flakes from the gears in my dough several years ago, but now that we found a replacement, I can make some holiday cookies this year. I think the garbage guys that have been picking up my castoffs and overstuffed garbage deserve some treats for their assistance.

It is easier to get into the holiday spirit when the house looks good and no drastic cleaning has to occur. Just unbox and sort through the decorations, set them up and turn ‘em on. Maybe next year, if we do a really good job this year, when the hubs is cleaning out gutters he can be enticed to hang some Christmas lights at the same time? Of course that would mean they would be up there until Spring, when he cleans them out again, but I am just fine with that.

Realizations

“Circumstances don’t make a person, they reveal them.”
Epictetus

Self revelation came about as part of the recovery process. Throughout the healing and recovery, I became aware of myself in ways I had not seen clearly before.

I learned that I don’t quit.
I learned I have a competitive nature, even with my self —trying to do better, more, etc.
I learned that there is nothing else I can or want to do more than writing.
I learned that I actually do know myself pretty well, and no other person knows me better than me, other than the Old Man.
I learned some ways to change my habit of over-scheduling myself.
I learned a little patience.
I learned that we can’t compare ourselves to each other too much.
I began learning to respect our differences from others, as well as the differences of others.
I learned to start respecting my own path, and became a little more content with how far down that path I am at the moment.

Most of all I realized I am still learning, and that is a very good thing.

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