Beginning of a New Week

So it’s Monday and I’ve promised myself I will do things right this week. Today, like it or not, I have to write. Preferably, I’ll write something on the WIP that I’m targeting to Blaze, though maybe I’ll end up writing something on my paranormal chick-lit instead. I did not get much done last night, even though I thought I would manage to do something. Instead, I got busy surfing the web, working on the Anchor Chain (newsletter of which I am Editor), and tweaking the website. I tell ya, I can’t stop playing with it. I like it, but then I go to other writers’ websites, the professionally done ones, and I think, whoa. No way does mine look anything like that. How do they do it, I want to know.

See, I’m the kind of person who thinks I can do nearly anything that involves learning. I’m not a computer professional, not even close, but darned if I don’t think that with enough study and tinkering, I can pass for one. It’s not true, of course, and it’s as bad as a computer professional saying, hey, with enough study and tinkering, I can write a novel as good as yours. Not that writers don’t come from all walks of life, of course they do, but I’m talking about the guy or gal who isn’t the least bit interested in writing to begin with. At least I know my foibles, but it doesn’t stop me from studying those sites and wondering how I can improve mine. Maybe when I sell a book or two, I can justify paying someone to design a site for me, but right now I’m on my own. A few short stories, poems, and articles doesn’t yet qualify me to spend moolah like that. My husband, dear man, didn’t argue about the fact I’m paying for web hosting, or that I spent two entire days last week building a site, but he did ask me when I thought I’d finish the book. He thinks it was time and money well spent, for the future, but he also thinks I need to get my work out there or what’s the point.

He’s right, of course. I haven’t queried an agent or an editor yet with either of these novels. One is still in second draft phase, so I’m not yet satisfied with it, and one is half done. They aren’t ready to be out there yet. Unlike my last novel, I intend to be completely ready this time. But you know what, I hate that I have to write the entire novel every single time until I get a contract and can sell on proposal. I know I’m capable of seeing a novel through from beginning to end, but of course an editor or agent can’t know that since I am unpublished in book length fiction. They want the complete novel, rightly so, but still. It takes so friggin’ long. I wrote my last complete novel in a month and a half, so that’s not bad at all, but of course that’s first draft. Fleshing it out, turning it into something–that takes a lot longer. I wrote 115 pages of the current novel in a week, but I wrote myself into a corner and I’m busy digging out of that, so it’s taken much longer than it should.

Writers are great time wasters, I think. Here I am on a beautiful Hawaiian morning, and I’m blogging and drinking coffee and avoiding opening my book. I will do it, and writing in this blog isn’t so unusual for me because I often write in a journal before I begin anyway, but the temptation to surf is strong. I am not a television viewer at all. I’m proud of that, proud of the fact I don’t know when Desperate Housewives comes on, or what day I can tune into CSI, etc. I don’t have cable, and I never feel the urge to turn on the boob tube. But, I have my own addiction, darn it, and it’s attached to my computer via a cable. The WWW is out there, waiting for me to go skipping through it every day. I think the reason I don’t like television is because the web is faster, because the sound bites are trimmer, because I can avoid commercials and get the info I want instantly. I don’t care about watching American Idol when I can read about what happened instead. And that scares me somewhat because I think, wow, if my attention is this difficult to hold, what do I need to do to be sure I can hold a reader’s attention for four hundred pages?

Anyway, guess I need to stop blathering and get busy. I’m aiming for 5 pages today. We’ll see how that works out…..

Saturday’s Writing

A tiny bit. Went to Haleiwa on the North Shore and took the AlphaSmart. I wrote a few paragraphs while sitting at the beach. Mostly, I didn’t get much done because I’m at the point where I need the manuscript on the screen in front of me because I have a lot of revising to do on upcoming scenes. This is what happens when you write the first half in a white heat, and then realize maybe your characters’ goals aren’t strong enough. Darn Debra Dixon. (grin)

I love Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, DD’s book. Wow, if I can’t figure out how to write a cranking plot now, I need to find something else to do. Everything is explained so well, and when I charted out the characters’ GMCs, I learned that the heroine’s goal wasn’t strong enough. She needed the possibility of a dream come true and a limited timetable to do it in. So, hence the rewrite. It was just some weaving in the beginning, but now I’ve had to cut a couple of scenes. Some scenes need extensive rewriting. I love being a writer, though I sometimes hate the pressure of staring at the screen and having NO idea what comes next or if I can even pull off the idea I began with. I’ve written four complete novels and I’m working on a fifth. I don’t think it gets easier, though you do have a better idea with each successive book on how to go about telling the story.

First novels are almost uniformly bad, though there are exceptions. And I mean first novels one writes, not first novels one publishes. Those usually aren’t the same, though in rare cases it happens. Not to me, thank heavens, because I would be embarassed to know that clunker was out there.

Hubby is working on a paper for his law class, so I hope to get a little bit of writing done tonight. We’ll see. I tinkered with the website this morning, then we went down to Honolulu’s Chinatown for lunch, then back to the store for cat food. I have no excuse not to work on the book tonight……..

Today’s Writing Accomplishments

Not nearly enough. I have been too fascinated with this whole website/blog thing. I’ve changed my webpage a zillion times today, moving things around, adding things, etc. It’s an addiction! And then I sent the address to a few select friends, which increased the pressure to have the site look good. I can see them now: “Where on earth did she get this crap? I hope she didn’t pay anyone!” No, I did not pay anyone, and I got that crap from Yahoo Sitebuilder (I don’t happen to think it’s crap, btw). I have Frontpage and Publisher, and yeah, I prefer Yahoo’s freebie program. So I’m not a techno dweeb, sue me. Though, proud moment, I did not use a template. I designed it myself.

Okay, so what did I accomplish on the writing front? I edited my webpage. Uh, that’s not what we mean, is it? All right, I did work on the WIP just a tad. I probably cut 50 words and typed 10 new ones. It wasn’t much.

This week has been a wasted writing week! Monday, I rock and rolled. I wrote pages of the WIP, got an idea for two more books, wrote 7 pages of a new book, and basically had trouble shutting my brain off to go to bed. Tuesday, I had to take a Hawaii newcomer shopping. Stopped my flow dead. I had a blast with this lady, though, and I wasn’t sure I would. We giggled like schoolgirls and we’re definitely going shopping together again. Wednesday, I think I was recovering from the shopping. Wednesday night was critique. Thursday, I got this bright idea to finally complete and publish that webpage–cuz God only knows when I might need it–and then today I couldn’t stop tinkering, even when I tried so hard to work on the WIP (okay, probably not hard enough).

I borrowed an Alphasmart from someone so I could see if I liked it. Oh yeah, baby. I definitely plan to buy one. If I’d gotten off my butt and taken that thing somewhere, the temptation to toy with the Internet would have been gone. *sigh* I should have gone to the beach with the darned thing (the clouds did clear up, just like I said). I’d have gotten more done by sitting in a chair on the sand than I did in a whole day with two computers.

My God, we are so spoiled as a nation. Watched a Tsunami program tonight, and then a program about teenagers whose parents paid for them to get boob jobs. Where are our priorities? People lost entire families, their homes, and we have a tiny boob epidemic. Oh the humanity! And here I’m whining about writing and going to the beach to accomplish something and ohmigosh, am I an ungrateful idiot or what?

Tomorrow, I don’t know if I’ll get anything done. Husband is home, and though he has school work for his MBA classes, he’s sure to interrupt my flow at some point. I never get much done when he’s home, even when he leaves me completely alone. If I’ve got to be bothered, I’d rather go to the beach. At least the scenery is gorgeous.

All right, I’ve wasted another day goofing when I could have (should have) been writing. I won’t make promises for the weekend, but Monday is a new day dawning. If I get something done over the weekend, even better.

Zombies and Idiot Parents

I know this is a writing journal, but gosh, I can’t help it when other things strike my fancy. First, it’s cloudy in sunny Hawaii today. It’ll probably pass later, since this is summer. If it were winter, forget it. We’d get several days of rain instead. I love the weather in Hawaii. After six years of living in Europe, I missed it when we first moved here, but jeez, where was my brain? Slippahs and shorts all the time, baby. Mo’ bettah, ya?

Anyway, reading this morning about zombie computers. Seems these teenagers with nothing better to do wrote a code to hijack computers so they could inundate particular websites and get them shut down because of too much traffic. In this case, an 18 year old gave a 17 year old tennis shoes and a watch to get him to shut down a rival sports jersey website. And, apparently, this zombie computer thing is common and you don’t even know your computer has been hijacked. So, if you get a solicitation telling you where to get free nude photos of your favorite movie star, don’t click.

But, really, the biggest thing on my mind this morning is that idiot woman who locked her 12 year old son in the basement while she ran errands because the pit bulls were acting up. Natually, he left the basement and got mauled to death. Now why on earth didn’t that stupid woman lock the damn dogs in the basement instead? Better yet, why didn’t she get rid of those dogs if they were acting aggressive around her child? They’ve arrested her for neglect or something. Damn straight. She said in one interview that it was just his time to go. Ack! His time to go? His time to go? Her son died because of her negligence and she says it was his time. Poor kid, never had a chance.

And my mom informs me recently that my redneck brother has a pit bull tied up in his back yard. He has three children, one that’s only about 6 or so. Sheesh! I’m not sure what to think about these dogs. An entire breed can’t be bad or evil or whatever. But what is their purpose? And why do we always hear about people getting killed by these kinds of dogs (and certain other breeds as well)? Then again, if you thought about the population of pit bulls and the incidents that happen, it’s statistically small. So what’s the answer? Darned if I know. Recently, on a trip to the humane society to look for a dog, my husband and I saw the sweetest dog. You could just see sweetness in her face and demeanor. And she was half pit bull. I’ll be honest though. Knowing she was part pit bull, complete with that locking jaw thing they have, made me pass on her. She probably was sweet as could be, but I have a cat that I didn’t want to become dinner.

Website Building

Okay, I probably shouldn’t be worried about a website when I’m not yet published in book length fiction, but I built one anyway. It still needs tweaking, however. Never tell me I can’t do something because I’ll probably go and waste hours doing it. Just like the website and now this blog. I should be writing.

Really.

But, when the brain is frozen in the same scene and the characters refuse to talk, I guess I can sneak away for a few moments. Just don’t tell my husband, the wonderful man who lets me stay home and write full-time. On the other hand, he won’t care, so long as the book gets done….