Monthly Archives: July 2016

RIP Maeve

Today marks four years since the world lost Maeve Binchy. She was one of my favorite writers. I loved picking up one of her novels and delving into the lives of her characters. She could flesh out the minute details of everyday life in a way that was fascinating and totally related to everything I was going through.

In many ways, she provided the greatest inspiration to my writing. She didn’t write characters, she wrote real people. You could see them, hear them, and feel the joy or pain they were going through. It’s a quality I try to emulate. I want my readers to see my characters in as much detail as we can see hers.

With each book, I was transported to the Emerald Isle. I’ve been to the small town Catholic masses and attended the University College of Dublin. I’ve laughed a lot and cried a little along the way. All these adventures without the expense of a plane ticket, lodging, and food. You see, a good writer has the ability to transport the reader into new worlds.

And Maeve was a immensely gifted writer.

I miss not having the opportunity to read about the new adventures of her characters. I miss walking into a book store and picking up her latest novel. I miss the friends I found on the pages of her books.

If you’ve never taken the opportunity to explore her Dublin, I would highly recommend the journey. Personally, I’d start with some of her early works like Light a Penny Candle or The Glass Lake, both personal favorites of mine. From there, you may want to venture to a more modern day Dublin with Quentins, Evening Class, and Tara Road. And don’t miss out on the coming of age classic, Circle of Friends.

RIP Maeve. You’re still missed by legions of devoted readers.

 

The Most Dangerous Word

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer.” This is the most common phrase I hear when I tell people I’m a novelist. Chances are, if you write, you’ve heard it or some variation of it as well.

I get it. It’s what I always used to say before I took the plunge into the murky and often terrifying waters of fiction writing. I want to be a writer, but…

But! The most dangerous word in the English language. It’s the reason so many good ideas and dreams never see fruition.

But the kids are in school and I have to work. Then there’s band camp, football practice, cheerleading, and soccer. There’s simply too much to do.

But I’ve got to take care of my parents, my husband, my kids, my pet parakeet.

But I don’t know if I’d have the patience to finish a whole novel.

But I don’t know how to even go about writing/editing/publishing a book.

But. But. But.

It can kill a dream as quickly as the dreaded question ‘what if?’

I wish that there was some sort of magic pill I could prescribe to ease all your daily struggles long enough for you to finish that masterpiece that’s floating around in your head. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t one.  There’s no one-size-fits-all writing method that will work for everyone. We each have a different method, style, favorite song to listen to, and place we like to go to when we write.

You have to find yours.

It isn’t easy. Growth never is. Yet, if you truly have a burning desire to write and craft stories, it’s something that you have to do.

You have to write! Each and every day. If only for a few minutes at a time.

Starting is difficult. I know that from firsthand experience. I spent many years pushing my dreams of writing aside for other things. Life has a tendency to get in the way of purpose if we let it. Once I was finally able to admit to myself how important writing was to me, I started slowly with a few scraps of gibberish and snippets of ideas. Eventually, I began to write longer and much more fluid stories.

And then I set down to write a novel. I decided mentally that I would tackle the beast. I wrote the rough draft in about four months. A few weeks longer than I wanted to take, but I did it!! I slew the dragon that had held me at bay for so long.

The rough draft of the work is on the shelf in my closet. It’s terrible! And it’s one of my proudest achievements. Because through that exercise, I proved to myself that I COULD finish a book. I did have the discipline. I could see a story and plot out to the end.

Writers naturally have an overbearing self-critic drumming away in our brains. Listening to that critic, with all the what ifs, buts, and negativity will cripple even the best laid plans.

It’s time to turn it off and get to writing. It’s okay that the first few lines will be crap. It’s okay if you still don’t have any usable material after writing for a week. I spent four months writing a novel that will never be published. I wouldn’t trade a minute of that exercise. It was a vital step toward where I am today. Just remember that each day you spend writing is a day you are improving your skills. You’re honing your craft. You’re silencing your demon that says you can’t.

Write! If you want to be a writer, just write! It’s the only way to start. And it’s the only way to overcome all that’s holding you back.

Procrastination Kills The Best Intentions

Stop!  Don’t rush me! I’m waiting for the last-minute!!

That should really be my motto in life. Not my intentional motto of course. That would be something more like, “Happiness is a choice we must make everyday.” (A statement I believe emphatically, by the way.)  That’s the motto I would choose.

Unfortunately, procrastination seems, for me at least, to be a permanent way of life. It has been since I was a child. Why worry about that complex science project due next week? I’ve got an entire week to work on that. Well, maybe now I only have three days.  Oh my God, is it due tomorrow?? How did that happen? I’m sure I can create an entire solar system in a few hours.  Or maybe something that looks roughly like it might be a solar system. Such was the state of my academic career.  I can’t actually remember tackling a project with more than three days left until it was due. Maybe I did that once of twice, but the habit never stuck.

Even this blog is the result of extreme procrastination.  I signed up for this service many moons ago.  I was going to start posting on a regular basis to help showcase my writing as well as discuss some of the more pressing issues in the world today.  Nothing like politics or religion.  There are far too many people out there arguing about that stuff.  No, I wanted to cover topics like motherhood, children, and one of my favorite things to discuss at length — college football.  I had the best of intentions.  Unfortunately, my old procrastination habit died a hard death and as a result very few things have been posted.

So, as part of my New Year’s resolution, I decided blogging would be on the list.  As you can see by today’s date, it wasn’t that big of a priority.  But, hey, I’m making progress!  It only took me seven months to get things rolling as opposed the full year and a half between previous posts. It may not be much, but I take my accomplishments where I can find them.

At any rate, welcome, finally, to my little corner of the world and my thoughts on the all around me. I hope that you will come back to visit from time to time. I promise to post a little more often than once a year.  It’s a resolution, after all, and we all know, those are never broken!