A Time To Write And A Time To Play

I loved playing with Barbies when I was little, okay, even when I wasn’t so little, but in my defense, I had little sisters so…anyway…moving on.

It was always fun and exciting to pull out my dolls, dress them up, do their hair and act out a story that had been brewing in my head, but I could only do this after all my homework and chores were done. Even if all I wanted to do when I came home from school was get out my ‘Magic Moves’ Barbie doll and pretend that she was traveling to Paris for a modeling shoot, I had to work first and play later –Mom’s rules.

Recently, I realized that Mom’s rules are still ingrained in my brain and for me writing my novel is the adult equivalent of playing ‘Barbies’. I’ve been writing my novel in my head for years. While I’m running, vacuuming, showering or falling asleep, I pull out my main character, dress her up and act out scenes with her. But making time to sit down and write out the scenes has been a struggle because I keep thinking – work now and play later.

There’s just always something more important to do than write my book because writing my book is fun! I feel guilty spending time on my novel when there are chores to be done –Mom’s rules.

Only, wait. I’m the Mom now and I can change the rules. It’s okay to write my book if the laundry isn’t done and the floor needs mopped. I’m an adult now and my characters are real in a way that my Barbies weren’t. My characters can speak and other people can hear them; if I stop thinking of writing as just playing around. My characters have free will and a life of their own. Even if I know exactly what I want my main character to say in a certain scene, she sometimes defies me and says something out of the blue, which fits the scene better. It’s kind of spooky the way she does it.

I don’t want to take the fun out of writing by labeling it ‘work’ but I don’t want to keep shoving it aside as ‘play’. There’s got to be a happy medium; l just need to find it. Until I do, this Mom is making a new rule: write now, work later, and don’t forget to play whenever possible.

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve been a busy blogger-bee this week!

Interested in writing romance novels? Be sure and check out my post ‘A Call to Romance‘ @ 1st Writes!

Looking for a fun writing exercise? Be sure and check out my Guest post @ Writercize!

And since I’m already shamelessly promoting myself, if you missed it last week, Ali Cross featured me as a ‘Narley Ninja’! Interested in my writing process? Be sure and check out this post!

Thank you to everyone from The Insecure Writer’s Support Group for your visits, your comments, and your encouragement, especially for The Tell-Tale Blog. You guys are awesomesauce!

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I’ve also been a busy writing-bee for NaNoWriMo! ~3700 words, which is a slow start, but a start nonetheless!

By the way, if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, let’s be buddies —my NaNoWriMo Profile.

See? More shameless self-promotion! *laughs uncomfortably* Actually, I just want to take this opportunity to complie a list of my readers and fellow bloggers who are taking part so that I can offer my support throughout the month. Leave a comment if you are participating officially or unofficially so I’ll be sure to visit and cheer you on this month.

And feel free to take this opportunity to shamelessly promote your blogging and writing endeavors in a comment!

On Hot Cocoa, Poe, and NaNoWriMO

The truth is that most writers are needy.

~Stephen King, On Writing, p. 220~

As I write this month’s entry for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I imagine opening the door to a quaint coffee shop. The heavy aroma of roasting beans welcomes me. I walk in and take a seat in a luxuriously large and inviting sofa. Its cushiony softness envelops me.

Settling in, I look around and see a lot of people, some are familiar, but many are not. Everyone has a friendly smile as they murmur softly, warming their hands around oversized earthenware mugs steaming with hot cocoa, coffee or tea.

Just as I start to feel comfortable a spotlight falls on me. Suddenly the murmurs fade and the coffee shop hustle and bustle stills. Everyone is waiting for me to speak. The atmosphere is saturated with camaraderie, understanding and encouragement, which gives me the strength to confess my latest insecurity as a writer:

I worry when I think I’m clever. Chances are that I’m never as clever as I think I am. Take for instance my Halloween post where I ‘dressed up’ my blog as the blog of Edgar Allan Poe. The idea of blogging as Edgar struck me over a month ago.  I thought it was a great way to make my Halloween post special and unique. Excited by the prospect, I wrote Poe’s ‘profile’ and blog excerpt confidently.

But as I hovered my mouse over the ‘publish’ button, I suddenly wondered if I was the only one who thought it would be fun to blog as a long-dead, world-renowned author?’ Sure the concept made me smile. But would my writing do it justice? Could I make readers smile too? I steeled myself for a barrage of criticism (How derivative!), a pelting of rotten tomatoes, or worse, no comments at all. The fear that my attempt at creativity would go completely unnoticed almost kept me from ‘publishing’, but I took the risk and received a small but positive response.

More importantly, I enjoyed researching Poe and learning about his critical theory. I don’t remember studying his theory of composition in college. Whether others enjoyed The Tell-Tale Blog or not, the post was worth writing and the risk was worth taking.

The lesson in all of this: Stop second-guessing myself and allowing doubt to erode my confidence.

Before sinking back into the welcoming arms of this over-stuffed coffee-house chair, I must also admit my insecurity about NaNoWriMo. I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for four years, but this is the year I’ve signed up. November is such a busy and chaotic month. But I figured participating in a group challenge would motivate me to make time to write no matter what else is going on. I’d love to be as disciplined in my writing as I am in my running. The first step is to make writing a priority; the next is to make it a habit. NaNoWriMo should help me do both.

I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes when we ‘meet’ again next month. Until then –a round of hot cocoa for everyone!