Monday, May 26, 2014

Letting Go

There are so many things in life that we have absolutely no control over. As much as I want to be able to control 100% of everything I do, it is truly impossible, and that has taken me a long time to figure out.

In California, we are suffering a horrible drought. With minimal snow pack during this past winter, our lakes are drying up. The problem is there is nothing any of us can do to make it rain enough to fill them up. It's out of our control.


In my life, I try to control so much around kids, my pets, my husband, my job etc. Much to my dismay, that doesn't work either. 

As a writer, I almost have total control over what I write. I know that that may sound strange, but just like with nature and my life, sometimes, I just have to let go and allow the story to write itself. When I start writing something (even a blog post), I have it all planned out in my head, but then something happens. The words go in a different direction, and for control freaks like me, this can be terrifying. It makes me want to scream, cry, laugh, sigh, and everything else in between.

Once I calm myself down and finish whatever it is I was doing when the crazy happened, I can see that everything ultimately works out in the end. And most of the time, it resulted in something way better than I could have expected. That happens with my life as well. After years of attempting to learn, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you have to let go. Let go of all the fears, anxiety, stress, and all the rest and just let life happen. Attempting to control the universe will only lead to one thing, and that is misery and in my case misery does not love company. 

Now I'm off to write. I'm going to rewrite a WIP that I initially wrote in third person, and switch to first. It's a little scary, but I'm going to let go and see where it takes me. Off to write....

Crazy Talk

I have to admit that I love this saying! It's so amazingly true. As a teacher, I like to take characteristics of my students, mash them together, and make new people. It's always fun when you're creating a nice person, but it's SO much more fun when creating a crazy. Crazy characters keep me on the edge of my seat. I think it's because I can always relate on some level. I remember when I was writing Love and Texts I harnessed my inner high school girl and actually turned my girl into a bit of a stalker. Haven't we all done a little stalking at one point or another? When I was in high school, 20 years ago, we didn't have technology, so we did the more obvious things. Driving by their house hoping he might be getting the mail or something. Calling and hanging up when he answered the phone, just to hear his voice. Walking a different path to class just to see him in the halls. There were so many ways. I know. I know. I sound a little coo coo, but it is the sad truth. 

Today, I hear about girls cyber stalking. Going on FaceBook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter, and every other social media app and reading everything he writes, looking at every picture he's posted, and any other insight into his life. I can honestly say that I was married long before any of this came about, but I have witnessed it from babysitters, parents, friends, and so many others. It's crazy how easy it has become.

All of this being said, when I read, I want to believe the crazy I'm reading. At the same time, I want to be shocked by the behavior. Once I am over the shock, I remind myself that it's a fictional character and we are all safe in the real world. I react the same with movies (think boiling bunnies). These characters stay with us forever, and that's what makes them the best. 

But I have to ask myself, where do the authors get their ideas? Sure we know of the harmless crazy, but the boiling bunny crazy had to come from somewhere. I love being inspired by my surroundings, but to get that resonating craze, I always have to embellish. Until now. For the first time in my life, I am actually getting to watch as an innocent bystander a crazy adult stalking another adult. Without telling too much, just think of this...every time you think you're alone, she shows up; you're working out at the gym, she's there in the corner watching; you're hiding in your locked office, she uses her own key and lets herself in to see if you're there. This is the stuff that is motivating me to write a complete crazy story! I had NO IDEA this stuff ACTUALLY goes on. Well, now I know, and now I have new material. 

I guess that's what writers have to do sometimes. We have to sit back, keep our eyes and ears open, and observe. The stories are literally writing themselves. 

I Am a Writer

Robert de Niro said it right when he said, “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine addled, crippled by procrastination, and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” I could not relate any more than I do every day of my life. 

I started writing as a small child when I would staple index cards together, draw pictures, and tell a story. That was fun, and I think I still have one somewhere. In high school, my sophomore English teacher assigned a short story to us and gave us two weeks to write it. I wrote it that night, and it was seven pages, singled spaced. I have that somewhere as well. Then college happened. After switching majors from history to English, I discovered that you can major in Creative Writing! WHAT?! Why didn't they tell me this in high school? Probably because it's next to impossible to graduate from college and make good money by writing short stories. The good news is that I love English, so I became a teacher. It really was my calling.

I didn't write after that for about two years. Then the stories started brewing and I knew I had to do something about it. My husband and I bought laptops and thought we were cool, sitting in the bookstore typing. This was 2000. It really wasn't that common. Every "book" I started, I stopped about 15-20 pages in. I couldn't finish. Hell, I couldn't even really begin. Then I did it. in 2003 I finished my first full length novel. I queried via snail mail, but it didn't go anywhere. Instead of getting an agent, I was told that maybe I should write young adult. CRAZY TALK! So, I sat down and wrote a young adult short story. I sent it out and it got published. OK. I guess I can do this. I ended up throwing that first novel away.

Since then, I've written four full length novels, and have two started. I love that feeling of finishing the first draft. What a rush! How many people, really, can say they've written a novel? OK, I know that in the writing community there are a lot, but in the rest of the world, we are pretty darn special. Anyway, after not finding an agent for the first three, I put them on That's been quite the experience. I haven't given up on the agent situation, but I want to focus on new stuff now. 

That leads me to this. I'm a writer. As many times as I swear it off, I can't stop. I can't stop typing the words in my head. I can't stop thinking of stories to tell. I can't stop hoping for JK Rowling style success. I want more. So I write. 

This summer, I plan to write. I am rewriting my NANO into 1st person POV. I'm writing the sequel to Keridwen, which is 1/3 done. Then I'm going to finish my middle grades novel that I started three years ago. This is the goal. This is the plan. I am a writer. Are you?