Friday, January 27, 2012

A Novel Beginning, Weeks 3 & 4

Happy Friday everyone.  I am spending my Friday still catching up on projects after being without power for just over a week.  It is remarkable how often or how long a person can get sidetracked from what it is they wish to accomplish. 

Some things can be helped, some cannot. 

Today I’m posting weeks 3 and 4 of my writing journal.  While reviewing the journal again, I see now how often interruptions threatened to hold me back from writing my book.  Read on to see what I mean.  I will apologize ahead of time as this has turned out to be a longer blog.

Week 3


An interview tomorrow for a potential job has distracted me the past few days.  A number of other commitments have also taken up much of my time, including some booster club work, a second job I had been working the past few months, school shopping with my youngest son and time spent with family.  In the middle of all that, I spent time researching and preparing for the job interview, as it is only the second interview I have had in the past 20 years.  I hate to say I just haven’t had time to write.  I had to switch gears so that I am focused and ready for the job interview.  I’ve been my own boss for the past 12 years and the thought of working for someone else is not my preference but certain factors beyond my control have forced me to look in to taking a different path.  I am optimistic that even with another job I will be able to make my schedule work so that I can regularly write.


I got through the job interview pretty well, I think, but time will tell.  Now that the interview is under my belt, I need to spend time catching up on my case files and preparing for a visit with my brother and his family.  During their visit here from England, my brother and wife will be in Kona and my nephew will be staying with us for over a week.  I will do what I can to write but I’m not certain how much I will accomplish while my nephew is staying with us.

Week 4


It has been great making memories with my nephew during his stay with us and I would not trade that for anything.  I may have been optimistic in thinking I’d be able to find time to write but that has not happened.  We have been keeping very busy, since I promised my nephew we would be doing something fun every day.  He’s 4 years old and has a lot of energy…I am 40+ and my energy level does not compare.  I have kept up with him during the day but by the time he goes to bed around 8p, instead of writing as I should be, I find myself flat on the couch dozing off during television shows.  Needless to say, I am now going to play catch-up and will try to get as much writing done as I can.


Today was a good day and I was able to write without much interruption.  I have been putting together family and personal profiles on all my characters and I’m also trying to pick names to match each character well.  Now I’ve realized I also need to choose birth dates so that their Zodiac signs match their personalities well enough.  Maybe I’m putting too much thought into my characters but my characters are like actual people.  Without personality traits and other characteristics to separate them from everyone else, they will seem two-dimensional.  I realize Zodiac signs may not be a reliable reading into someone’s character traits but from what I know, they usually come pretty close.  Either way, I just want to make sure to add some real depth to my characters so that potential readers can find something in common with them. 


Today I bought a new calendar for next year because it was labeled a “writer’s diary.”  Unfortunately, it was in plastic so I was not able to see what it contained until I bought it.  Although it will be useful as a calendar, I now realize I could have waited and spent less on a regular calendar later in the year without the “writer’s” additions.  There are some useful tidbits but not much I can’t live without.  I do wish there were more inspiring quotes and tips; that would have been the most useful.  Say, an inspirational quote or idea or tip to motivate the writer’s mind each day.  The few quotes found in this book don’t really inspire me.  One example is, “An idea, like a ghost…must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.”  (By Charles Dickens)  Or, “Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand – a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods – or it should be an art.”  (By Willa Cather)  Okay, I get it.  But there are many other quotes I have found which do a better job at inspiring me.  For example:  “You can’t wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club.” (By Jack London)  I just love that one.  Or, “If your ship hasn’t come in--swim out to it.” (By Mary Engelbriet).  Maybe I’ll just have to put together my own inspirational calendar…


Boy, when I do get the time to write, it’s great how much I can get done.  Today I was able to write most of the day and I’m happy with how far I’ve gotten.  I also spent time researching house plans to match the house I have in my story.  I love Victorian homes so it was not a chore to research Victorian houses and their house plans.  I finally found one I adore, with a rounded corner tower and a huge front porch spanning the length of the front of the house.  I changed the layout a bit to work with my story but I now have a good visual of the house the main character has moved in to.  Whether some think this is useful or not, I believe it is very useful.  I do not like to write about anything without having a visual in my head with regard to what I’m writing about.  I believe I learned this throughout my years as a private investigator.  When I question people, their answers put a visual in my head that I see like a silent movie.  Considering some of the terrible things I have had to interview witnesses about, this is not always a good thing but it is necessary for the type of work I do.  Once the movie runs in my head, I can tell if something doesn’t seem quite right as I ask the witness to explain certain details about the incident.  In those instances, I know when I need to go back and verify information in order for the scene to make sense.  I am then able to include those details when I type up my reports so that it accurately reflects what the witness recalls with regard to the incident.   I'm hoping that the abilities I have gained as an investigator along with a strong desire to write will prove to make me a great writer.

As weeks 3 and 4 indicate, distractions are only temporary.  They may interfere with concentration, they may be a diversion, but they are not permanent.  The trick is dealing with the fact that distractions are constant.  Unless a person has no family, no friends, no job, and gobs of money to pay others to cook and clean, interruptions and distractions are just a way of life.  Time management may be difficult but to take on any project, goal or dream, it is necessary to understand how to manage time wisely when it comes to what can pull you away from your mission.  I will admit I haven’t yet mastered the task of time management and I’m not sure I ever will but as with anything in life, we are all students and only need to have the desire to learn.

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