Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Baby Steps Beat Standing Still

Thought for the day:  What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. [Samuel Johnson]


Yep, it's that time of the month again; it's time for a worldwide network of writers to share their concerns, insecurities, and victories. To join this auspicious group, the brainchild of ninja writer Alex Cavanaugh, and to access links to the posts of participating writers, please go here

Okay, back to Samuel Johnson's quote about the effort required to produce something readers will enjoy. I'll tell ya what, if he was right, considering the amount of fruitless wheel-spinning effort I've put in this past month, my WIP should give people a helluva lot of pleasure. (sigh) Part of the problem is I let my characters take the lead, and now I'm not sure I want to go where they want to take me. So we're mucking around in the treacherous morass known as the  middle of the book, and our progress has become slower than a snail with arthritis.

But we'll get past it. Once I get over this stupid flu, my brain will start working again, right? (Right!)

Easy reading is damn hard writing. [Nathaniel Hawthorne] Ain't that the truth!?

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. [Richard Back] Let's say it together, now: I think I can; I think I can; I think I can...


I sincerely hope the words are flowing freely for you, and your story is shaping up to be even better than you expected, but even if they aren't, never ever give up, okay? You have a unique story inside of you, and it's clamoring to get out. Only you can release it, so keep moving forward. (No matter how slow your progress may be at times.)


Okay, time to move on to the question of the month: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself  five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

Let me put on my rose-colored glasses for a moment, and say I hope to be finished writing and editing my Blast Rites trilogy in five years. Heck, why not reach for the stars? I'd also like to be working on a romance novel set during the Vietnam War... AND working on a non-fiction book along the lines of Things Your Parents Never Told You About Sex and Marriage. Or not. Who knows? Maybe I'll still be mired in the dreaded middle of Book One.

But wherever I am, my plan to get there remains the same: I've got to keep on writing, one word at a time, one paragraph and chapter at a time, and I have to celebrate my progress, even if it's slower than I'd like. Remember: with the right attitude, everything is an adventure.

                                Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

61 comments:

  1. I hope the flu does an Elvis and leaves the building very soon.
    And from this side of the world I am really, really looking forward to reading your next work. Whenever you can let it go.

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    1. Thanks, sweet Sue. I think the flu's on its way out. (Positive thinking, right?) I appreciate your vote of confidence. :)

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  2. The delight I take in what you write is undiminished by flu or enablement of comments. You are exceptional.

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    1. Thank you, dude. You always know just what to say. :)

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  3. Hi Susan - I do hope the flu is fading and you'll feel right as rain soon. Good luck with the writing - as you're implying ... moving forward with sheets of paper behind you, or typed out fingers by your side ... you'll get there .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thank you, dear lady. One day at a time.

      Cheers back atcha.

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  4. Your characters have taken over? Let 'em run loose! See where they take you, they may surprise you, something exciting might happen that you hadn't expected.
    And you can always edit/rewrite if it doesn't work out. Or keep that section for another book.
    I do hope the flu is packing his bags and has a plane ticket already purchased, it's high time he left your house.

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    1. HA! They've BEEN running loose, and things have already happened which I didn't expect. (So much for the in-depth character studies I wrote in preparation...)

      Thanks. We're definitely ready for the flu to hit the road. We're sick and tired of being sick and tired...

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  5. I like Hawthorne, and I like his quote - so right, Susan!
    Are you better now? Hope so very much!

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    1. Hi-ya, Britta.

      I like Hawthorne, too. It's somehow comforting to know writers have ALWAYS struggled to get the "right" words down on paper. ")

      Not 100% yet, but we're working on it. (As long as we can "work" from a seated or horizontal position... )

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  6. I tend to get mired in the middle of my novels in progress, too.

    Let me just say, my tortoises can really move when they want to, like when there's banana nearby. :)

    Hope you're feeling better!

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    1. I think getting mired in the middle is a common affliction. We know how to begin, and we have a grrrrreat ending in mind... but the getting there can be a royal pain in the patootie.

      Our daughter's tortoise put on the afterburners when bananas were involved, too. :)

      Thank you, ma'am. We're getting there.

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  7. That is the way to be. Keep on keeping on. Like the amateur writing quote, as if you keep going you learn way more along the way.

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    1. Staying still isn't an option. Well, except for when ya have the flu. Way too much staying still around here right now.. but otherwise, gotta keep moving!

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  8. It is so hard, Susan, in anything we do, when that brick wall comes up and it seems like impossible to get to the other side. Strong women keep chipping away at it and even if it does not come easy or fast, we know it is our destiny to make it through. Of course, you have a five year plan; that is who you are. I am working on my five hour plan and it involves cookies.

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    1. Right now, your five-hour plan sound mighty darned good to me.

      I don't know if it's destiny to make it through or not, but all we can do is keep chipping. One way or another, the time will pass, and it's up to us to do as much chipping as we can in the meantime.

      Now I want a cookie. :)

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    2. HA! Okay, so maybe that was just the flu talking. Ordinarily, I'd eat cookies... or candy... until they're all gone. :) (Anything you can eat in a single sitting must be a single serving, right?)

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  9. I hope you are feeling much better soon. Flu can take so much out of you! Take care.
    I was excited to read about your planned books. No matter how long it takes for you to get them finished, I know they will all be great reads.

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    1. Thanks. This is the first time we've had the flu in years...we forgot how miserable it is.

      I appreciate your vote of confidence, dear lady. :)

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  10. ... Still chuckling at the image of a snail with arthritis!
    I'd be verrrry interested in (your) romance novel set against the Viet Nam war. Not necessarily good times, but they were my times.

    Feel better soon!

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    1. :) I'm glad it tickled your funny bone.

      My times, too. The ideas for a book set in that time are percolating in the back on my mind, but whether or not they're ever ready to pour remains to be seen.

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  11. take care and heal. But any fever swoon might give you some dreams out of the morass of words. Slog on - you'll reach the end. I bet it's good and yes, it can keep getting better. Carry on and keep having fun with your family and friends as well as writing.

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    1. Yes, ma'am. I'm trying. Unfortunately any fever dreams I've had are even too weird for ME to write about. :)

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  12. Really like your turtle illustration, friend Sue ... think it'll be my screen saver for 2017 cuz it speaks volumes ... regarding health and wealth, love and compassion, confidence but not 2 much ... and all that. Love, cat.

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    1. Yeah, I like the idea of moving forward, too, regardless of speed. (Thank goodness... I don't move all that fast any more!)

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  13. Things Your Parents Never Told You About Sex and Marriage....that sounds interesting. haha

    Feel better soon!

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    1. HA! Yeah, I think it WOULD be interesting, but I'd have to write it under a pseudonym. One of my sons was embarrassed by a minor sex scene (between a married couple, for Heaven's sake!) in my novel, so I don't think he could handle anything more graphic from his mother dearest. :)

      Thanks!

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  14. Forward is forward should be every author's motto. :)

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  15. I like characters who tell me what to do, but the lunatics can't take over the asylum. Then nothing gets done.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Exactly! In the end, they've gotta let me be boss!

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  16. I'm at the same place you are, Sue. Inching forward and counting that as progress. I know the next scene in my WIP, but not the one after that. I can only hope that when I finish writing this next scene, another one will appear.

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    1. I've got lots of confidence in you. Your imagination has never failed you before, and it won't let you down, now.

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  17. Hope you're feeling better soon. I wrote very little the last month but my current WIP is starting to move along again and if I can stick to it I just might finish it before the end of the year...4 chapters to go...

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    1. Good luck! Only four chapters to go, and then you can start the new year with a brand new book to edit. :)

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  18. I have a wooden block sign painted with that Hawthorne quote. It holds pride of place in my living room, and it’s impossible avoid. Sometimes my eyes land on it while I’m watching TV, and I actually shut the set off and go back to my keyboard.

    Hope you and Smarticus 100% very soon!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Very cool! I think Hawthorne would appreciate that something he said so long ago provides you with the kick in the seat you sometimes need to keep you writing today. :)

      Thanks. We're working at it.

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  19. Going forward at any speed is essential. Never ever put it in reverse!!

    Wait a minute, Susan - - we both have a birthday coming up. That's the one day when we are allowed to put it in reverse. You and I will officially be a year younger!!

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    1. A year younger, huh? Sounds like a pretty good deal, except for one thing. I "look good" for my age, but if I were younger??? Not so much. HA

      I hope you have a super birthday, cowboy.

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  20. Forward momentum is wonderful. Love the quotes and pictures, esp. the turtle. Best wishes.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.
    December co-host

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    1. Yes, moving forward is wonderful, but here's to shifting outta first gear. :)

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, too. Thanks for serving as a co-host.

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  21. I agree that we just need to keep moving forward and write, sometimes it is slow in coming... other times is flows.. I am in awe of people who can write books that entertain myself and others. My writing comes from my own life... I would like to think I would finish that book in 5 years, even if it is only for my family and friends... but who knows xox

    I hope you feel better soon... having a clear head does help you write better xox

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    1. If finishing that book in five years is something you want to do, I have all the confidence in the world that you'll DO it. You're a tough lady with a lotta determination.

      Thanks. I appreciate it. Right now, the head is still full of hot concrete.

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  22. The dreaded middle. Sometimes the only thing keeping me going is the mantra that I can't fix it until I've written it. I just have to get the words down. Once I've done that, then I can make them good. I just have to keep writing.

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    1. That's the same mantra I need to follow. I get so darned nit-picky about what I'm writing, I keep scratching out to re-write and improve as I go along, (verrrrrry slowly) when what I need to concentrate on is just getting the darned story written. Write it now; fix it later. Amen.

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  23. I love your final thoughts. The gap between what you would like to achieve and what you actually will should not deter you from writing at all.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Absolutely. Life isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. We've just gotta keep on keeping on.

      Greetings back atcha.

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  24. One word at a time is all we can do.
    If I wrote that book, it would be really long because my parents didn't tell me anything.

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    1. Yep. Ever onward, one word at a time.

      Most parents don't tell us anything. Maybe because they're still learning themselves. :)

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  25. I mile is a mile, no matter how slow you walked it.
    A book is a book, no matter how long it took to write.
    A serving is a serving...wait, I don't know where to go with this, but I really like your single serving theory!

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    1. HA! Yeah, I like that single serving definition, too. Makes sense to me!

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  26. Keep at it, because I already want to read your trilogy, so now you have to finish it. :-) I hope you are feeling better by now.

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    1. I'm gonna keep on keeping one. :) (How can I not? I'm gonna make at least ONE sale!)

      Thanks. We're getting there.

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  27. Did you get sick from the grandchildren ?
    I hope you get better soon, I mean really. . . Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat ! You need to fill the stockings and wrap the gifts.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yep, we caught the flu from the kids and grandkids. It kinda goes with the territory, and it's a price we're always willing to pay for the sheer pleasure of spending time with them.

      Thanks. We're working on it. :) Gifts? I haven't done a lick of shopping yet... (sigh)

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  28. Best of luck with all your writing! I know how unruly characters can be sometimes, so hopefully you'll find a way to make where they're leading you work, if reigning 'em in isn't an option, haha. And yikes, so sorry to hear about that flu. Will keep my fingers crossed that you recover sooner rather than later!

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    1. Thanks, Heather. The story is starting to re-gain momentum now, and the flu is on its way out. (That's the plan, anyway!)

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  29. All the best with your writing. Sorry about the flu though.

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