Tag Archives: creativity

The Middle

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.

– Jimmy Eats World, lyrics from the Middle

So, since I finished my last novel, I went back to my NaNoWriMo2012 novel. Last November, I hit my 50k words. However, near the end of the month, I caught a gnarly sinus infection that stopped me in my tracks.

Then December hit. I have a love-hate relationship with that month. It is fun to celebrate, but it is so busy. It has both my birthday and my boyfriend’s birthday on top of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s. Usually relatives come in from out-of-town. There is a ton of socializing.

I can’t do all that socializing and write. I would not be a happy camper and would probably burn out. So, I typically take December off of writing. When I started writing again this year, in late January, I wanted to write the sequel to a novel I finished last year.

So, with all that in mind, I am now in the middle of writing the middle of my NaNoWriMo2012. I really hate writing this part because at this point all the momentum from the beginning is lost. And I’m not close enough to the climax/ dénouement to have the energy of the end. It can be a slog to work through that part of the novel.

On the other hand, I really love this novel. My characters are awesome and they’re so different from my other novels’ characters and this world is a departure from things I’ve done before. I really think it has come alive for me. I hope that my alpha reader likes it when it comes time for him to read it.

© K. Klein 2013

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Patience & Story

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For a writer, I have remarkably little patience.  Often in my life – patience is a virtue that I do not possess. At the moment, I’m near the end of the novel I’m drafting. I have another 10-15k to write, but I’ve been hovering. Not writing. Waiting.

I’m starting to get impatient with myself. I need to be setting words to paper, now, or so it feels like to me. However, at the same time, I’m awed by the possibilities that are in front of me as I near the end of this novel. And largely, I write intuitively, letting the story take me on the journey – me following where it leads.

So, when something doesn’t feel right or ready it is difficult to surmount that feeling because my subconscious is telling me to wait. Be patient. However, when does this stuck feeling become inertia? I’m still trying to learn the balance between moving forward for motions sake versus slowing down and feeling the story.

Writers write every day. I hear this continually. I’m practicing, but even in my best weeks, I’m writing 5-6 days week. Not seven days a week. Does that make me less of a writer? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m still practicing writing. Hell, even in the weeks that I only write 2-3 days that week, I’m still thinking about the novel. Or dreaming about it. The story is on my mind.

I also must admit, I’m at the stage in the story where I’m dreaming about a new novel. Characters from other stories and worlds are seductively dancing through my head. Write me – they cry at me. I have to ignore them, for now, so that I can finish the mad dash of this novel. I know the ending is in me. It is just taking its time gestating. And hopefully it will come out sooner rather than later.

© K. Klein 2013

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Drafting

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. Carol Burnett

My blog has been accusing me of neglect, since it has been several weeks since I last updated it and now it is April 8th and the last time I updated was in the middle of March. This time the silence has not been me hiding from my feelings.

I’ve been busy in my new schedule and I’ve also been putting a lot of time and energy into my novel’s first draft. Thus far, I’ve written 88,000 words in 71.8 hours over the course of ten or eleven weeks. I’m pretty proud of myself. And I definitely see that if I did this full-time I’d have the potential to be faster than I am now when I am writing in between adult commitments in my life.

Last week, I hit a snag, but I overcame it and wrote 5k on Sunday. So overall, the writing life is treating me well. And I’m plugging away. My characters are making trouble for as we speak and doing things I never expected them to do. But if the story surprises me, then hopefully it will surprise my alpha reader brother and beta readers too. And maybe someday some readers who don’t know me personally.

© K. Klein 2013

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Refuge

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.  Bob Marley

When I was in elementary school, I played flute, but I never practiced. I played passingly and usually sat towards the end of the section because I didn’t put the effort into improving my musical skills.

The interesting thing about music or art versus writing is that often there is the idea that writers are born and not made. However, writing is a skill like any other, and to develop any skill that means you need to practice.

I’ve been working on my writing practice this year. I’ve been writing towards a novel since late January and am at sixty-two thousand words. I’m happy with my progress. When it comes to my writing, I want to practice. I want to get better.

When I write, I am a happier and more complete person than when I do not write. For example, yesterday, I was in a funky mood. A bit anxious and upset and I sat down to write and just lost myself to my characters. And when I finished, I felt better. I even went on to write more in a second session later last night.

Writing is my refuge from the world. When I am telling stories it takes me away from my problems and issues. It allows me the freedom to bring my characters to life and to share them with others.

©K. Klein 2013

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Energy & personal limits

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.  ~Theodore Geisel

I’ve been running into my personal limits lately. I looked at the last time I updated my blog and cringed. However, I need to remind myself that I only have so much energy and so much time to do everything. There are only twenty-four hours in a day. And only seven days in a week. Even Martha Stewart (or insert your mogul of choice) has to deal with those constraints.

From what I can tell, Martha Stewart doesn’t sleep – maybe she a super secret new type of vampire? A homemaking vampire that is my bet. Now the question is, what do these new vampires eat? Blood seems to messy for the perfect homemaking vampire. Oh well, that isn’t my point.

Further, I need to cut myself some slack, I am drafting a novel. I recently hit 45k in the draft. I’ve been going strong since Jan. 28th. That is a big deal. So mostly, the words I might have used in this blog have gone to the novel.

However, it isn’t just writing limits I’m noticing. For me, I have a pretty set amount of energy in which to accomplish things. For example, my introverted nature means that social interactions take more chunks out of my energy than cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry.

An interesting thing I’ve hit upon in my own limits of energy is that my social interaction energy pool overlaps with my writing energy pool. If I have a big day planned on the weekend, likely, I won’t have energy to write afterwards. Or I’ll prefer not to write beforehand and conserve myself for seeing my friends and family. This has hampered my write seven days a week goal. I am pretty happy writing six days a week.

Every writer is different. And the idea of telling writers to write everyday is that writers need to practice. My whole 2013 goal was to practice, practice, practice. And I’m overall happy with my progress. I honestly wish I could write a bit faster. But considering that I only write in chunks of time as little as a half an hour to as much as two hours a day I’m doing all right. I’m super proud of the day I wrote 4k, but I also devoted 5+ hours to that. So, time is a constraint. And practice will help me to not only improve my writing, but also help me focus, and writer faster.

Half of my slowness problem now is sitting down and concentrating on what I want to write now. Rather than doing half a dozen other things. Sometimes I have “oh shiny” moments and they come at the time I am trying to sit down and write. So the strategy is to get the water, tea, and snack before I sit down to write – instead of trying to write and then getting up every five minutes. I also have started logging out of social media so that I don’t have the temptation to check Facebook or the interwebs every two minutes.

Now that I’m aware of what makes me lose concentration, I can do those small things to help keep me focused when I sit down to write. And hopefully that means writing more words. Yay.

©K. Klein 2013

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Word Count Update & More Whatnot

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them. Anne Rice

I am well into drafting novel-2 and have a bit over 18k at the moment. I am pleased with this progress. It would be nice if I could get the motivation to write for more than 1-2 hours in a day. But on the flip side, I am writing 6 days a week.

For some reason, mostly I think my social life; I can’t quite make it to writing all seven days of the week. I blame my social life because it takes up energy for me, as an introvert. And writing, though I love it, also takes up energy. So if I have a particularly social Friday or Saturday then I am probably going to not write much that day and so long as I can write six days a week I think I am ok with that. We shall see where my productivity experiment takes me.

My schedule is about to change this week due to new circumstances. And so that will affect my writing time. Although, I do know this much, I won’t be getting up at five am to write. I respect writers who do get up early and write, but I physically cannot do it.

Once, during NaNoWriMo 2011, I tried to get up two hours earlier than normal to write. I was in grad school, and looking for time to write. What happened? I spent the entire two hours drinking coffee and staring into space incoherently. It comes as no to surprise to me, as I have been a night owl since childhood, but it can be disappointing at times.

The mornings and I just do not get along. I set the alarm twenty or thirty minutes earlier than I need to get up so that I can hit the snooze button and hold the day at bay for that longer. It doesn’t help matters that I also have trouble sleeping, so that even on good days I still wake up a bit groggy. It sucks to be perpetually overdrawn on one’s sleep bank. Oh well, in the end, I am a night owl and I shall make time to get the writing done even as my schedule changes.

©K. Klein 2013

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Life outside of writing

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one’s face.  ~James D. Finley

I bitch and moan about writing a lot, but when I finally get down to it; it is what I love to do. However, I do plan on making it my career, or at least one of them, depending on how things pan out. That means that I need to figure out ways to blow off steam and refill the well.

One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading, but that also tends to be from a critical or work space. Especially if a book is not working for me or I am trying to tackle one of those cannon novels I can’t believe I didn’t read in college when I was working towards an English degree.

I have things that I am interested in learning how to do that I don’t quite have the money to pursue at the moment, but I guess that is ok. Here is a brief list:

  • Learning Spanish – an addendum to this one b/c my wonderful public library has a subscription to Mango, which is an online language learning service. I just found out about it today. It is awesome. I still want to take a conversational class at my local community college. I really want to improve my speaking confidence.
  • Take a painting class
  • Learn how to knit/ crochet. I really want to knit myself a pair of arm warmers
  • Learn how to quilt
  • Resume jewelry making. Stuff is in storage now. If I had some money, maybe take a class.
  • Learn how to sew more than a basic hand stitch. (Even than needs work). Boyfriend’s mom just lent us her sewing machine, score. Now to make time.
  • Travel
  • Photography – I need to keep reminding myself my phone has a camera. I really, really want a DSLR

Aside from crafty stuff, I enjoy going to museums, concerts, plays, and other cultural events. Sadly, in my major metropolitan area, it is super expensive to get into the awesome museums. If/ when I have money, I want a membership to my local major art museum. I always leave that museum feeling refreshed and inspired.

On the bright side, I can take walks in local parks for free. The weather isn’t conducive to that right at the moment. But my area does have lovely places for me to go and wander around. And I also enjoy doing yoga. And the volunteer tutoring I started in January.

I suppose once I get my financial life back in order, I can pursue some of these things. I just need to have patience. I also need to focus a bit. For real, I am not a reckless dilettante despite what this list says about me. But it is nice to know that I do have a life outside of reading and writing – things that can be rather cerebral pursuits. Because really, I don’t have a hard time relaxing, not at all. No, not me.

©K. Klein 2013

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