New Year, Refocus

I read a lot of posts about the new year upon us and new resolutions.  For me, 2015 brings a time of reflection and refocus.  I mean, so often we make the same resolutions every year, only to see them dashed by the first week of January.

This year, I am reflecting on the goals I had for last year and refocusing to improve results.  All the wishes in the world won’t make your goals come true.  So I am in for some hard work.

Truth be told, the hard work is the easy part.  After all, I LOVE to write.  It’s what I do.  It’s the time I get to spend on writing that is so difficult to come by.

Last year, I resolved to get up very early (before dawn) and write.  This worked out well for a long period of time and I got a lot of writing done.  I was starting to get up on my own, without the benefit of an alarm clock.  It seemed the characters wanted to tell me their parts of the story!  Unfortunately, after several weeks, this time no was not always my own and the wonderful man to who  am married and share my life with sometimes forgets that interrupting my train of thought when I am writing is a big NO-NO!!!  So, I became less productive.  Then I caught a cold and stopped getting up early.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to be more fierce in my demand for writing time.  Like right now, I am cooking breakfast while writing this post. Yes, I will still get up before dawn to write and, yes, I will still be interrupted on occasion; but maybe, just maybe, the fierceness will overcome the interruptions and I’ll get this darned book finished!

Happy New Year ad happy writing, everyone!!

Sunday Synopsis – Moving Forward

Another month has passed and I am so involved in this hula conference that I had, again, stalled in working on my novel. Of course, I am beating myself up about it and so my husband — bless his heart — reaches out to a friend of ours who is a published author, asking for any advice she might impart to help me get back and stay on track with my project. After all, I have been working on this project on and (mostly) off for a few years now.

Anyway, our husbands are band mates and a week ago, after a gig, everyone went over to their place for a small celebration of her husband’s birthday. During that little soiree, she and I had a nice talk and she told me that she had worked for 8 years on her début novel. She was having a difficult time writing during the day because they were running their business and she was just overwhelmed with interruptions. Finally, she decided enough was enough and she started a new routine. She got up at 4 am and wrote for two hours every morning, seven days a week, until she finally finished her book. By 6 am, she was ready to prepare for her work day.

She saw the look of horror on my face and quickly explained that, for her, it was the best time of the day because there was no distraction. Nothing going on. No phone calls, no email, nothing.  In that time, her mind was fresh and her characters talked to her and began revealing their story to her.  There was no struggle getting the words down.  After a while, she would wake up automatically, right at 4 am, looking forward to her time with her characters.

So, I resolved to give it a whirl.  I mean, what could it hurt, right?  It’s not like I’m doing anything but sleeping that time of the morning.  Last Monday, I awoke at 5 am — no need to get up as early as 4am because my workday starts later than hers — got out my computer, and in the darkness, started to write.  The first morning yielded about 300 words, the next 600, the 3rd day I wrote more than 800 words!  It has been seven days now and I have added an astounding 3500 words and 9 pages to my novel!  The last two mornings, I have awakened at 4:43 — same time both mornings — before my alarm goes off at 5am.

When I arise, I get the cats fed, my hot tea ready and turn on the computer.  By 5:20, I am writing.  This new routine is amazing and deeply gratifying.  Of course, I need to readjust my day a little and I usually take about an hour nap late in the afternoon, but the point is that I am fresh and ready to write in the early hours of the morning, every morning.  And my novel is progressing.

Wonderful what a little willingness to make a change and create a new routine can do.  I am forever grateful for the advice I received from my friend.  We are celebrating another birthday this evening after the band plays their gig and I look forward to telling her just how much of a positive impact this new routine has made for me!

-AH

(Also posted on my blog at http://andreahunter313.com)

Uncharted Territory

I have submitted my query letter to a major national publication for an article I wrote about a small group here on Kaua‛i that helps physically- and mentally-challenged people experience surfing. Wow…I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. It’s time, I suppose to  dip my toes into the deep waters of a national publication and see what happens.  One day, I hope to be published regularly in national publications, so I have to start somewhere, right?  Of course, I am looking into other publications as well, but I wanted to.  May as well take the leap.  The worst they can do is reject my submission.

This is part of the dream I am living: working at home with my husband and writing my novel along with some poetry, articles, and essays from time to time.  I am a writer!  Excitement and dread filled my whole being as I clicked on the send button for that query.  Yes, it was that deep for me.  Aspiring to meet my goals, though, so satisfying!

After I have submitted queries (or whatever) to the other magazines I have in mind, I will go back to outlining the middle of my novel.  That’s a different issue…I seem to be stuck at the beginning of the middle. I need to get my characters through the maze in a convincing, realistic manner.  I feel like the stuff I am thinking about is too contrived, so I keep scrapping and starting new. Well, I suppose that is normal, right? It’s difficult to be satisfied with your own work.  At least it is for me, it’s part of my writing life.

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This post is also published on my other blog https://andreahunter313.wordpress.com.  One of these days I will stick to one or the other. 🙂

I have to make my cupcakes…

…but I decided to write a little bit first. I am really no good at keeping up with my blog, but I do try.  I have been semi-retired for a week now and my days still go by so fast I hardly know what I’ve done. But, when I stop long enough to think about it, I have accomplished some things.

While I am not currently writing pages in my novel, I am thinking while I do other things.  I am happy to say I have completed an initial draft of my latest article. Now I am letting it sit, so I can go back and edit. I have also gotten my husband onto some social media and am working to create a blog for him.  Then there’s catching up with friends and family.  Been a long time since I sat down and had a cup of tea with my neighbor or lunch with my good friend who lives in Kapahi.

So, while it’s Valentine’s Day and I am not writing about love and flowers, we are going to a party tonight.  So I just thought I’d exercise my writing muscle and do a quick blog post before I go into the kitchen and make my cupcakes!

By the way… HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

-AH

Happy New Year

Aloha and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!  We all know this is the time of year when we make our resolutions to improve ourselves over the next year. I am no exception to this custom.  We all want a fresh start. What better time than the beginning of a new year? It brings about feelings of excitement, hope, and resolve.

With the promise of the new year comes some major changes for me.  I am focused on writing more (gee, aren’t we all), but this year I am doing something about it.  I am already setting up the necessary research for my next article and I am making a major change in my daily life — more on that later.

Writing took a whole new turn for me in 2013.  I had an article published in Kauai Traveler magazine, I started a new project in poetry, and  I learned a lot about my characters and the direction my story wanted to take. The latter  created some consternation, though, as I realized I needed to create an outline for the meat of the book — I have the beginning and the end, but not the middle! Well, I suppose I should have created the outline in the beginning!  Who knew that the outline would also help me with the synopsis? Hahaha. Every writer! Well, I can certainly say that I ‘m learning as I go! Frustrating and exhilarating at the same time.

All in all, while my novel has not moved forward in word count over the latter part of the year, it has in structure and plot planning.  And, with the publication of an article under my belt, I think 2013 was a successful writing year. This year I am making my writing life more important, riding on the new by-line to the next project and changing some things that need to be addressed in order to free me up for more writing.

I have also discovered that the more I write, the more ideas flow. It’s a known fact that when you exercise your body, it’s functions improve. Apparently the same goes for the brain and the creative process.  You know that little fear monster that tells us once we finish this project, we won’t have any more ideas for new projects? I once feared that, if I ever finished this novel, I would never have an idea for a new one. Well, I don’t think that’s true, anymore.  I have index cards with ideas and short descriptions written on them to prove it!

Time to get ready for the day job.  I have been on vacation for the past week and I am reluctant t go back — some of that reluctance comes from not knowing what to expect when I return.  Who did or didn’t do what that I will have to deal with this morning.  But that’s normal.  The first week or so after you return from vacation, you spend all your time catching up on all the work you missed.

As for the major change I referred to earlier in my post — more on that in a future post. Soon, friends, soon.

-AH

Friday Focus

I have been trying for the last hour to get to the point where I could write my blog post this morning before work! It seems whenever I want to get something done, a computer update or other distraction interferes.  This morning it was an update to Windows 8.1 and a cat that decided to lay on my lap with my laptop!  Now I have about 13 minutes to write this post.

For most struggling writers, I will venture a guess and say that we want to be writing full-time. That is the end game, at least for me. We feel stifled if we are not writing.  After spending too much time with other projects, I have decided that my new year’s resolution will be to learn to say no.  No to new projects.  No to anything that does not help further my goal to be a full-time writer.

I feel that I have made a big step toward that end when my article was published this year in KAUAI TRAVELER magazine (http://www.travelerdigital.com/kauai/fall2013_main?pg=49&search_term=Andrea#pg49).  I don’t want to be a “one-hit wonder” and leave that one article as my foray into published works.  I am spurred on to continue that path. So, these side projects that I do just prevent me from writing. NO MORE!  Sorry. But I have to focus on the writing and move forward.

Time to go. Day job is calling. Gee, I hope this update finishes before I have to leave!

Aloha Friday!!
-AH