Reading is Just as Important as Writing

Ever since I began writing again, I have paid more attention to how the language of anything I read fits together. It’s a unique perspective that I know not everyone shares.  For my development as a writer though, it is something I need to do. Not only do I gain knowledge of the kinds of language that work in my own writing, I need to remember why I write in the first place, and I can accomplish that by reading as much as I can. It’s exciting for me to see a good piece of writing and more enjoyable, I believe, because I can appreciate the amount of work it took to get to that point.

Books are as necessary to me as breathing. They inspire me; they entertain me; and they help me with my own writing. They help us all go to worlds we could never go to in real life and have the opportunity to bring people together if we let them.

I leave you with these thoughts by writer Susan Sontag. “Reading usually precedes writing. And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.”  This was most certainly the case with me.

Until next time, be real!

Feels Like Spring

I can’t believe it’s the middle of December, and it feels like baseball season is about to start. I have the windows open to let the fresh breeze in, and I’m not using any heat or air in my apartment. When it’s this warm though, I have problems doing my usual reflecting for this time of the year. Most of the important events in my family happen in the next few weeks – my birthday, my older son’s birthday, Christmas, the end of the year and the beginning of the next one, and my husband’s birthday. It’s the perfect time for reflection. This year has been a whirlwind. John turned 13, and Andrew is almost 16. It’s hard to believe.  I’ve had many people tell me to cherish the time I have had with them because I would blink, and it would be over. And it’s true. I look at how big they are and how much they’ve grown and think of what a privilege it’s been to be their mother and to have had the time with them I’ve had.

I’m starting to think of the next phase of my life though, and that has also been a lot of what this year has been about. Learning about the craft of writing. I’m under no illusions that I’m the next great writer under the sun. But, I also know that this is something I want and something I have to work for because nothing ever comes without hard work.

Hopefully, the weather will cool down in the next few weeks, and I can get into the season of the year and what it means.  But for now, I will leave you with a quote from writer Thomas McGuane.  “You have to take that chance. This is the opportunity and the holy terror of making yourself ridiculous that every writer has to know to approach his own personal truth.”

Until next time, be real!

Which one is Better?

Back to scheduled programming after NaNoWriMo. There is conflicting advice given in the writing world, and I guess this blog is in the thick of it as its name is write what you know. I received an assignment from my writing course last week, and my instructor was impressed and said I had done a good job. The topic I chose for this assignment was parenting teenagers, a topic I know very well since I am the parent of two teenagers.

After I read her summary though, I read another article online that said writing what you know is the worst possible advice for a writer. So, which one is it? I realize that writers cannot possibly know about every single thing they write about especially in the writing genres I enjoy the most–science fiction and fantasy. And there are many writers in those genres who write well. There are also many best-selling writers who I would assume don’t have intimate knowledge of every single thing they write about in their books either, and yet, they write well enough for their books to be best-sellers.

I believe these writers accomplish this by doing research and taking time to build the world you want to write about. All of us, as human beings, have the innate desire to learn, and if we choose to do so by making the effort, then we will be writing what we know even if we didn’t know about it when we first started.  With that advice, I could amend the title of this blog to ‘Write What You know and Write What You Want to Know’. Sounds kind of awkward to me though. What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions? Or any other ideas about the opposing viewpoints? Leave your answers in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, be real!

Winner!

I’m so excited! I won NaNoWriMo last night with a total of 52,100 words for the month of November and those words were added to the words I had previously to make a grand total of 83650 words for my first ever COMPLETE original first draft of a novel. This is noteworthy because, although I have won this event for three years running now, I have never completed an original draft. The first year I did NaNoWriMo in 2010 I completed a fanfiction story and last year, although I did finish the required words, I never finished the story. I understand that happens to a lot of writers so I don’t feel too badly about it. Practice is always important. Over this past year, with everything that has happened to me, I have found something that can never be taken away, and that is my passion for writing. As I move on to edits of this book, I will update this blog on a more regular basis and continue to write and create whatever I am inspired with.

Until next time, be real!

 

Middle of the Month

Time is just passing by so quickly. I can’t believe it’s already November 15. Sorry about not doing the once a week updates on my NaNo novel, but I will give you an update now. I have written 25,634 words so far, so, just a little over halfway to my goal. Seems appropriate for what the date is. 🙂  November always seems to come with its own challenges of work that needs to be finished as well as accomplishing the work I would like to do. (my NaNo novel) I am very committed to finishing though and look forward to giving you an update when I am done. For those who are participating with me, I wish you the best of luck in finishing. I will look forward to resuming regular blogging in December.

Until next time, be real! 

Happy Halloween !!!!!

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Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

 

With tomorrow being the first of November and the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I will go to updating this blog once a week with my word count for my novel. Hope everyone who is participating has a wonderful month filled with lots of words.

Until next time, be real!

Less than Two Days

It’s less than two days until National Novel Writing Month starts. I’m really excited! I’ve got a good idea I’m expanding on; I’m stocked up on caffeine and other good “junk food”: and The family knows not to bother me during writing time. NaNoWriMo changed my life the first time I participated two years ago. It gave me confidence I could actually do this thing called writing, and it woke up something that had been dormant in me for a long time. If anyone reading this is participating for the first time, I would say this to you. Be prepared for the creative floodgates to open, and be prepared to be a different person at the end of the month whether you win (get all the way to 50,000 words) or not, because even if you don’t, you would have tried something you never tried before. And that’s always a good thing.

Until next time, be real!

Persistence

Yesterday, my thirteen year-old son did something that he had been wanting to do for a while. For those of you who follow either my Facebook or Twitter feeds, you might have seen the post I made during his baseball game. Yes, he got his first official hit, and he was very excited! This was a long time coming. He tried t-ball out when he was six, and it was not a good fit. At that point, my husband and I decided that we were going to follow our children’s interests and not force them into playing a team sport if they didn’t want to. The only requirement was that they needed to be active with something.

So, fast forward a little over four years. Both of the boys found baseball and became avid fans very quickly and wanted to learn everything they could about the game. This delighted my husband to no end because he loves baseball too. The boys started practicing all the skills involved with the game including hitting, throwing, catching–that kind of thing.  We were going through a rough time as a family as my husband had just had surgery and then lost his job so something positive to focus on was good for both boys.

They continued practicing and getting better at the game through our moves in 2011 and our arrival in Birmingham. Our older son played in a spring league this past spring, but the younger one didn’t want to play because he didn’t think he was ready. He continued to work out with his brother and his brother’s team. They also worked through the summer on their skills.

When it was almost time for school to start, I found a link to sign up for fall baseball, and my younger son decided he wanted to play. I was told that it was mainly an instructional league, and it was a great opportunity for kids who had never played baseball before.  So, he’s been playing since the beginning of September. He has worked hard on his skills the entire time, and in fact, has very much surprised his coach who couldn’t believe this was the first time he had ever formally played the game.

And yesterday, he got his first official hit! The excitement in the stands was palpable as most everyone there knew about his journey. We were all on our feet clapping and cheering. You might wonder why I wrote about this today. Well, I wrote about it because it has taught me something as a writer and given me something that I will be able to take forward with me as I continue my own writing journey. That is the lesson of persistence. It has been almost two years since he became interested in baseball enough to want to play it, and he’s worked on his skills to be better at the sport the entire time.  My goal is to be that persistent because I know I can always be better at writing just like my younger son knows that he can always be better at baseball.

Until next time, be real!

Time Passes by so Fast

Wow! It’s almost the end of October. It seems like the month just started.  And, of course, with the end of October comes the advent of the holiday season (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, if you celebrate these) and National Novel Writing Month in November. But, that’s not what I’m going to talk about today.

I’m also not going to talk about how time passes by quickly for those of us who are parents. It seems like yesterday that my boys were small, but we are about to enter into teaching the oldest how to drive with the younger one following shortly thereafter.

No, what I’m going to talk about today is following your dreams. Too many of us let the mundane parts of life consume us, and then there’s nothing left for thinking and dreaming. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it. I am. I want to be better though. I want to be the person who appreciates the people around her, the person who can look up and enjoy the stars, the person who creates something with her words, the person who encourages instead of discourages. I think all of us have that capability. We just need to decide that we want to.

Until next time, be real!

Time for a Book Review–Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon

I just finished this book last night and was all excited to come here and review it today because I enjoyed it so much. Of course, once more I read out of order in a series as this book is number 3 in a series, the titles of the other two being The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. I thought it was an excellent read despite being confused at the beginning with all of the jumping around in time. I’ve always been fascinated by alternate forms of history, and this book does a nice job of combining alternate history with time travel. The time periods it focuses on are Victorian England and Africa in the 1863 and Africa in 1914 and a side trip to London in 1840 at the end of the book which was a surprise, but which I won’t spoil.  I also enjoyed the extensive description of the scenery and the characters and felt like I was actually in the world of the story. I’m looking forward to going back and reading the other two books in the series as well as reading more books going forward from this author.

Although this book is not marketed to young adults, I feel like an older teenager who enjoys the genre, the historical era, and science fiction would do just fine with it. I plan on offering it to my older son and seeing what happens.

Until next time, be real!