Monday, April 18, 2011

I had an idea, but...

Don't you hate when that happens?  I think losing a great idea, or any idea at all, happens to everyone.  As a writer, you would think I'd have learned by now to grab a pen, a computer, something, to write down any and every idea that pops into my head.

Sadly that isn't the case.  I had an idea for a blog post just last night, but I didn't record the idea anywhere (wait, maybe I put it in a note in my list, future names for kids, random poem...nope.  V_V).

My point is that no matter what idea it may be, whether it is for a story, a blog post, or something tangible, like a good gift for someone you know, don't let it slip away!  But more than that, don't just record the idea, do something with it!

I can't tell you how many ideas for stories I have recorded on one computer or another over the years, but there are a lot.  Some are literally just one sentence ideas, others are 5,000 word first chapters.  The thing is, for a long time, I was writing on several different WIPs at once and getting no where with all of them.

Eventually I had to make a choice.  Which idea was I going to work on?  I had a lot to choose from: alien/angel story, magical family story, dystopian story, vampire story, fey story, zombie story, princess from another dimension story, and on and on.

I asked for advice on choosing a story.  Which should I dedicate my time and my future doctor bills for carpel tunnel to?  Some said go with the one I had written the most on already.  Some said go with the one with the coolest MC.  Some said go with the one with the most original plot.  But you know which one I chose?

The one I needed to write.  The story that had to be told.  The one with the MC that I would dream about and would have scenes constantly popping into my head for.  The story I couldn't get away from.

I actually explained my myriad of story-lines to several people, and not one of them said I should write the one I ended up choosing.  I even read somewhere that the majority of authors won't sell the very first book they finish. Most have to write several before one of their works even becomes a blip on the radar of an agent.  That has honestly led me to question myself on many occasions.  I love this story, I love the MC, I love the love interests.  If I finish it, it will be my first fully written novel.  I don't want it to be my never published work.

But I chose it anyway.  My current WIP is not my most original idea or my most complicated plot, or even have a crazy cool main character (though I like her plenty anyway).  But I felt -- I don't know how else to say it -- that I had to write this story.  That within me was this need to express what this MC goes through, what happens to her and those around, and why.

I could have chosen my crazy-complicated alien/angel story, which I've written tons and tons and tons on, or my princess story with the kickin' MC, or even my zombie revolution story.  I still could.  I could scrap everything I've done because I'm afraid I won't be good enough to get my chosen story finished and out there for the world to see.  But I don't want to do that.  I don't want to give up, no matter how many blogs and websites and the world in general tell me how difficult the journey will be, and most likely, ending without success.

So the title to this post is actually two-fold.  If you complete the sentence as I had an idea but I lost it, then it is a reminder to write down every idea you have no matter what it is.  But if you complete the sentence as I had an idea but I was afraid to do anything with it, it is a challenge to not be afraid.  You can't fail at something you don't try.  Cliche, I know, but cliches are what they are because they are true.  I can't fail at publishing a book if I don't finish one.  Most likely, which ever WIP I work on in the future, I'm going to feel the same about it as I do my current one.  And if I listen to all the discouragement out there, then, no, I never will publish anything.

But every written word makes me a better writer.  Every step forward is a step closer to my goal.  So I'm going to finish the sentence like this:

I had an idea, but I didn't lose it.

I had an idea, but I didn't give up on it.

I had an idea, but I turned it into a dream, into an action, into something more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From Where I'm Standing [3] - Where I Am

I know that's a pretty vague title for a post.  It could mean where I am in my writing process, where I am physically, mentally, spiritually, or where I am in the grand scheme of life,

Corporeally, I am writing this while sitting in my favorite local establishment.  It is a cafe called Poet's, and I love it here, and not just for the name.  They serve your regular cafe fare, but I always wind up getting a Sexy, which is a vanilla chai frappe with chocolate milk.  I don't know how the drink got its name, but it is, in a word, awesome. (You thought I was going to say sexy, didn't you?)  From what I was told when a friend first suggested I try it back in 2007 was that someone had told someone else about it, and they told other people, and the drink kind of snowballed until a lot of people were ordering it using the name.  It's always fun when a new barista starts working and you order a Sexy, which is not on the menu, and you get the "Huh??" look.  When it's cold enough, I get a hot one, and I call it (though I don't tell the baristas this) a Hot & Sexy.  Some of my friends get a Sexy with Espresso, but not me.  I (gasp!) don't like coffee.  Some writer I am.  :oP

If I'm not in the mood for something chocolaty, I turn to the delicious smoothies they whip up here.  I usually go for the Orange Guava, but when I'm feeling adventurous I get a Pineapple Coconut.  They also serve awesome hot (and froze hot) chocolate, which I've had a time or two, and they're scones are très magnifique, especially the blueberry ones.  I'm often tempted by the mini-cheesecakes in the shape of a star bursts that are displayed in the case by the counter, but I haven't let myself get one yet.

When it comes to food at Poet's, my absolute favorite thing (and by favorite I mean I watch what I eat all day so I can fit it within my caloric limit) is the chicken salad* on a warm croissant.  It is lick-the-crumbs-off-the-plate good.  You have to make sure you order it kind of early because they do run out.  This happened to me recently.  It was dinner time and I wasn't planning on leaving Poet's for a while (on average I'm here at least three hours a visit) and I waited too long to get it.  The only alternative was tuna salad, something I had never had before.  But I was hungry, and I was such a fan of the chicken salad I figured it couldn't be so bad, so I tried it.  I was right!  The tuna salad on the croissant was great and I didn't have to resort to eating cheesecake for dinner, which is always a good thing.

Besides the food and drink choices (of which there are many, but since I don't actually drink coffee, I've spoken only of what I know) there is the atmosphere Poet's provides.  It is half indie, a quarter hipster, a quarter intellectual, and all relaxed.  There is a big comfortable couch in the middle, lots of two and four seater tables and a red bar with black stools facing out the large picture window.  There is a back room that harkens to the bookstore that used to be next door, with comfy leather chairs and tables in a cozy carpeted space where the walls are lined with bookshelves filled with random books and pictures by local photographers.  Coffee cups filled with fresh flowers top the tables throughout, and a little white cabinet holds board and card games for the more playful patrons.

Music, often of the indie variety (I've only ever recognized Coldplay, Iron and Wine, and John Mayer over the speakers; the rest is new to me), plays throughout the place while local artists display their works of art on the walls.  The colors of the place are muted greens, reds, yellows, oranges, and browns, with a black and white checkerboard floor.  The lighting makes the place glow, both inside beneath the always spinning ceiling fans, and outside, where a string of round bulbs lights up the outdoor tables for those wanting to relax in the open air.  Inside or out, the ambiance is truly my favorite thing.  I can have raucous conversations with my friends, write my novel, study, read, eat, look at art, play Apples to Apples, whatever, all in the same place.  It is never too quiet and never too loud (unless you come on open mic night, and then it might be just a little).

So that, my fellow quirks, is where I am, physically.  I know later on today, and then tomorrow, and so on, I will be somewhere else, but I will always return here.  I wrote the majority of my NaNoWriMo project here, and nearly all of the re-write.  If (no, when, the little voice inside me says) my novel gets published, I will definitely be giving a shout out to Poet's.  If (and this really is an if) I have kids, one of them will most likely be getting a unique middle name.

We all have our favorite places, and Poet's is one of mine.  What is your favorite place to read/write?  What makes it special to you?  Let me know!

Until next time quirksters!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm baaaaaccckkk...sort of.

Why, hello there, blogosphere!  Hard to believe it has been six months since we sat for a chat.  I have the scoop on what I've been up to, so it's share time!  We'll do this in chronological order!  (I know I sound perky, but it's just the extra endorphins from working out.  I can still be broody if you need me to be.  ^_^ )

(read all the way to the bottom to be surprised with cuteness!!!)

October 2010:  I got engaged!  That's right - the boy - I don't remember what I was calling him here (note: need sufficient nickname - STAT!), actually surprised the writer out of me and dropped to a knee while at an arts festival.  We will be getting wed in November of this year, and fyi, because I know you'll squee with me, our reception theme is...BOOKS!  Squeeeeeeee!  ^_^

November 2010:  I wrote a novel!  That's right - me, Writer Quirk, actually wrote an entire novel.  Can you guess how?  By that wonderful, God ordained, magical thing called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for us cool kids.  The challenge:  write 50,000 words (roughly the average length of a work of fiction) in 30 days.  The point is just to get the thing written, no matter how despicably horrible and senseless the plot, characters, etc.  So I wrote about 67,000 words, enough to get through my very first, very rough, draft.  But I did it.

Also that month, my fiancé bought me my very first, very own, laptop!  It is blue and an HP and I carry it with me everywhere!  During this time, I discovered that I love love love writing in one of my local cafes and I'm here a lot.  I've pretty much sat in every chair in the place.  They have great chicken salad, too.

December 2010:  The beginning of snowpocalypse down here in the South.  I love winter, don't get me wrong, but so much snow was absolutely ridiculous.  My car got busted up and I slid to work most mornings.

January 2011:  I turned 25!  It was a great birthday.  One of my friends got me a veil for my wedding and cooked me dinner and it was amazing!  I did a kind of dress shopping test run with my sister, which was fun, though I'm not actually picking anything out until June.

I also started doing a weight-loss program at work (you know, because we writers tend to have bigger behinds) and thus far have lost nearly 30 pounds.  I work out at least three times a week, and sometimes it makes me crazy, but I refuse to be chained to a myriad of medications when I get older.  And, I must confess, I want to look hot for my honeymoon.  There.  I said it.  My usual go-to answer is to be healthy, which is very true, considering what I've seen my parents go through, but I really want to (literally?) knock the socks off my future husband while we're hidden away in the mountains of my beloved state.  And it wouldn't hurt to surprise some of my wedding guests when I walk down the aisle not looking like a giant cone of snow cream.  A medium-large cone of snow cream is what I'm aiming for.  :oP

February 2011:  Valentine's Day!  I have a great, wonderful, amazing fiancé (Can you see why I've been spending time away from the internet?) who loves to buy me flowers.  Not only did I get them brought to me on the day, but two weeks later I got some just because, which made all the girls at work a little green.  ^_^

During February I also took my first real look at my NaNoWriMo project (you aren't supposed to look at it for at least a month after the event, but I was a little scared of what I would find and waited longer).  I then began not one, not two, but NINE re-writes.  I was a little frustrated.  I eventually settled on one and stuck with it (it was number nine, of course).

March 2011:  Meg!  My wonderful writer friend, whose name is Meg, but who I lovingly refer to, though she doesn't know it, as Montana, also did NaNoWriMo.  We both write YA, though in different sub-genres, and we hadn't gotten together for a while so we planned a coffee date.  We actually began swapping chapters and NaNo projects (something we talked about but never got around to) and it is AMAZING!  Getting to hear another writer's perspective, and well, honestly, have someone who wants to read my work, is extremely helpful.  And I love getting to read her work, too.  (I <3 Hades.  That's all I'm gonna say.)  It is a fun and rewarding process and I am so glad to be on this journey with her.  She has a blog here, though like me, she has been crazy busy of late.  Check it out anyway.  ^_^

April 2011:  And here we are!  Work is crazy, life is crazy, but I miss blogging, so here's what's going on with WQ.  I am planning on blogging from time to time just about writing and whatever I may be reading.  I am not going to be doing full-on formal reviews or list the books I have read (you can see that on my Goodreads page anyway) but more informal posts, kind of like this one.  It will probably wind up a mix of life, writing, reading, and randoms.  I will most likely not do many memes (though I do like the opinionated and writer-related ones).

My goal is not to fill every day with just something, anything, but to really write about what is going on in my life and what I see in the book world.  I feel very safe and accepted in the writer/book blogger community, but I got a little carried away last time and ended up not really sharing anything, just adding to what was already going around.  I found that the blogs I liked the most were the ones I actually connected to the blogger behind the blog, not just the books they read or the memes they did.

I hope my faithful quirks can get behind my small vision and help me make WQ a nice place to visit.  Please, let me know what you think!

Keep it quirky!

PS: Somewhere along the way, we had puppies!!!