Saturday, July 07, 2007

another habit

We just returned last night from a little trip up north. More on that, including photos, later.

The rehash on my SMART habits:

Habit 1: Clean speech. Not exactly a habit yet, but improving every day. Earlier this week I was waiting at a stop light. The light turned green and I started to go. Suddenly, a crazy lady ran her red light and careened out in front of me. I saw her in time and avoided a collision by slamming on the brakes (it wasn't too bad since I had just barely started accelerating.) Pre-SMART habit, this would have provoked a creative volley of expletives to gush from my mouth. But now? The relaxed smile on my face stayed right where it was. I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. I did not say a word and I didn't even think a word, except "Yes." Yes, I am in control. I felt like a queen. I felt powerful.

Habit 2: Violin practice. I did practice every day I was here, but we were out for three days. I find that I have to practice at least five days per week, 1/2 hr each time, to make noticeable progress. Keeping my violin out of the case seems to help because then I pick it up more often.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. The unveiling of my latest habit: daily writing. Ta-da! That may not seem very exciting to some, but to me it is. I've finally started working on a novel. I have been wanting to write fiction for years, but I've let several things get in the way. I had college classes to get through. I was busy with the kids. I didn't think I could write something worthwhile. Whenever I would sit down to write, I couldn't come up with any ideas for a good short story or novel. For the past six months or so I've been throwing around some pieces of a novel in my head. I imagined all types of exciting, suspenseful middle chapters, but I couldn't come up with a beginning or end, a setting, or a framework. Finally, all of that came to me about two weeks ago and I've been working on it ever since. I have my characters pretty well fleshed-out in my mind. When I go walking in the morning, they talk to me. They are a pretty noisy bunch. I have the first two-thirds of the book outlined, and a synopsis for the first five chapters. I've started writing the first chapter. It's slow going. I'm awful at writing first drafts. The perfectionist in me prickles up at the stinky writing. It's hard for me to refrain from going back to obsessively pick at it.

I don't want to talk about specifics of the book yet. I think it will sound stupid to anyone but me at this point. However, I did want to throw it out there that I'm working on it, because 1) it's nothing to be ashamed of, and 2) maybe people knowing about it will help me stick with it.


amity said...

YESSAH! I am so glad you are writing! My greates piece of advice came from Madeleine L'engle which is "Write every day, develop discipline." Second is from Martha Graham “We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”

Rebecca said...

Great job on your habits! I love your new one. I think it's great that if you have the ideas {and characters talking} in your head to put them down to paper. Keep up the good work!

Karen ~ said...

Yes, Yes, Yes! I am so proud of you! I will be cheering you on every day in my mind.

Mark and Carla said...

Good on ya! Can you give us a teensy hint? Romance? Mystery? An homage to Austen?

I loved Stephen King's book "On Writing." The first 1/2 talks about his growing up, mostly as it pertains to writing and whatever life experiences shaped him. The second half talks about the practical side--what you need, how to approach it. It's practical, funny, and inspiring. He is one of my favorite authors and I have always loved his use of dialogue, his patient pacing toward the climax (he doesn't use cheap scare tactics) and his novels are character driven rather than plot driven.

And Karen and I were just discussing your blog, how you write and post things that are from your everyday life, but are so authentic. One of the things I like so much about your blog is that you write for you, not for anyone else (at least that's how it reads) and I think that's something that will come out in your novel.

Promise me an autographed 1st edition!

Karen wants one, too. You know, we are discussing your potential career over here in Tanzania, so you are already internationally known!

Calandria said...

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! You have no idea how much that helps. I'm so glad I posted about this. I thought of staying in the closet, but now I feel so free! Lalalalalaaaa!

Amity, I LOVE that L'Engle quote.

Karen and Carla, you guys are nuts, but I feel flattered that you are discussing my blog and my career over in Tanzania. :-) As a teensy hint I can say this: it's targeted toward YA, and includes adventure and romance. Oh yes.

athena said...

oh i'm excited by your new habit! i think you're like me in that we don't believe in ourselves until we tell ourselves that we can, although i don't know why you were ashamed of saying so. but then i'm like that in that i don't like telling people i'm a writer or a photographer. it sounds so. . . well, i don't know. maybe because i haven't published anything. i usually say that i love to write, etc. i think my hopes for writing has been squished by so many people though that i have chosen to write less and less. good luck! i'll be rooting for you.

Michelle said...

Your new habit sounds like so much fun! Hopefully you post some snippets when you get some of it worked on. Good luck this week!

Slava Bogu said...

It sounds like you're making progress in all your habits, which is great! Good luck with your writing.

Montserrat said...

Good for YOU! Oooo, can't wait to see read your book. I've always wanted to write children's books but nothing talks to me yet so that'll have to wait. But I try to write down all the funnies and not-so-funnies my children do so I'll have something to glean from later in life when I actually decide to try.

Inga said...

Amazing what a gift you must have to be able to hear and visualize a story and to go for writing a novel good for you!!

Calandria said...

Oops, Amity. I meant that I love the Martha Graham quote, though the L'Engle quote is very applicable. :-)

Athena, I totally know what you mean about not wanting to call yourself a writer or photographer when people ask what you do. The danger is that if you say "i'm a writer," the next question is, "have you published anything?" hey, don't let your hopes get squished. I hope I have never squished them.

Family O'Foxes said...

good job! I love your first habit! You did great in that situation!