Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time for a Cleanse

December sounds like the perfect month for a cleanse...maybe November was NaNoWriMo, but December is about editing, refining, reinventing....

Last night I was flipping through my 60,000 words and began to
panic. The ending is going in a completely different direction than I thought and a few of my characters are demanding past relationships that I would not have given them before.

Then, I got to
really thinking about my novel. Cover to cover and all of the pages in between. It may never be at the level I want it at. It may never have the beautiful language and sentence structure I envisioned. It may never speak to another person the way it speaks to me.

And that's okay. Because I tried. I did. And I evolved as a result of the process. The novel changed me as much as I changed it. Now, all I can do is give it my best----try harder---and keep in mind that my best may not amount to anything tangible.
But that's okay, too, I realized.

I pictured my work in the confines of a Word document, never leaving the pixilated space. Those tiny fragments of soul that made their way onto white sheets, never to be given back. And what swam over me?

Because maybe that is what defines a real writer. Someone who writes for the pleasure of writing itself and not for a tangible goal. Of course it is wonderful to receive recognition of any sort but I truly believe that
all writers enjoy the challenge that comes with creating.

So, as I sit here, munching chocolates and vowing to start my strict diet/exercise routine tomorrow (still have an hour of November left!), I know that I will give my writing the same effort that I do my body and spirit. Because that's what life is:
an awareness that we can always improve, that it's okay not to get it right the first, second, or even tenth time around, and that we owe it to ourselves to keep on trying....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Blues

It's one of those days, where all I want to do is crawl under a heated blanket with a steaming cup of tea. Forget school, forget efficiency. Sometimes, there is nothing better than watching the rain crash on the sidewalk, with every drop exploding like its own shooting star.

This time of year always elicits these desires. I crave sunshine and want to wriggle my bare toes through freshly mowed grass. Summer dresses, iced coffee, sunglasses, flip flops, chlorine scented hair....all of those seem far away...too far.

But maybe there is a charm in every season. Winter may give us less daylight but there's something surreptitious about the dark. My worries from the day evaporate and I swear, I can tap into my innermost facets.

Not to mention, pumpkin, cinnamon, colorful scarves, hot cocoa, and sexy boots add plenty of light on their own.

"In the midst of winter, I found that there was in me, an invincible summer"
-Albert Camus

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Motivation...

"Professional authors are people who understand that TV and

social networking are

the biggest waste of writing time on the planet. Do you want

to veg, or do you want

to create? The choice is yours."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping Hangover and Writing Resource

Talk about too much shopping. We raced to the outlets at midnight last night and the lines were already curling into the parking lot! Somehow, I managed to emerge with:

A Michael Kors boyfriend style watch! I'm not really a watch girl but have been creeping on this one since the summer.

Everyone in our group got some great stuff. Hurray for boosting the economy!

Also, in the writing department, I found this incredible website. Check it out (especially the emotion and setting thesaurus) if you haven't already! Becca and Angela have compiled such helpful writing tools that I am referring to them every ten minutes while I work on my rewrites.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did anyone else five days worth of food in one evening? Or go Black Friday shopping like a lunatic?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Passing Along the Gratitude

Hey everyone,

I keep seeing wonderful Happy Thanksgiving messages out there so I thought I'd pass along a few links that are related to some things I'm grateful for:


Good Food With Great People

Nourishing friendships


Monday, November 22, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing is...GREAT!

Flights of white wine
Writing plot lines in Washington Square Park
Surprise chocolate desserts
Listening to music for an entire, lazy afternoon
Peppermint white mocha with red sprinkles
Soaking in the Manhattan skyline while sipping martinis on the top floor of the Mariott

All of this with the sweetest guy in the world.

Really, what more can you ask for in a weekend?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Off to New York!

There is a sliver of me that never left New York.
...a portion of my spirit continues to roam through the subway stations, buying a pack of gum from the chubby Indian man who owns a newpaper stand, and then switching between work and school outfits.

I meet this piece of my former self every time Manhattan and I reunite. Like all great relationships, we pick up right where we left off, ignoring the corrosivity that usually comes with distance and time.

I think everyone remembers where they were or what they were doing when a new part of themselves started to evolve. In New York, I truly grew into a writer. I surrounded myself with other writers and basked in the ebb and flow of inspiration on a daily basis.

So, it's no surprise that the butterflies are flapping today, eager for what is ahead. I will be on the plane soon, ready for the reunion with one of my great loves!

Have a great weekend!!

When did you evolve into a new person?? What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Know Thyself!

This week has left me sleep deprived and frazzled. Every time I go to bed, I think of ten more things I have to do. The anxiety has served as a paralysis, freezing me in the unpleasant zone between frantic and psycho bitch.

But during class this morning, I took a magnified look at the past couple of days. On Monday night, I went to an event with my class and stayed until I was exhausted. Last night, I told myself I would write no matter what. But my body and mind just weren't in an ideal place. The words blurred and I retracted into a "damn, my work sucks" kind of mood. I was not in an appropriate place to create but I just wouldn't stop staring at the pleading Word document.

Instead of knowing that I just needed some mindless relaxation, I kept going with what I thought I should have been doing. I resisted my inner voice and ended up wasting more energy and time anyway! So, what's with the need to push a large boulder up a hill??

If I had just listened to what I knew, I could have been more efficient and energetic today. I love that the dynamic of life ensures that we are always learning more about ourselves. But maybe I can take what I have learned and use it to make things easier.

So for now, I'll look forward to a power nap :)

Do you feel that you know yourself? Do you ever ignore what you really know about yourself?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Something on Every Page?

Some classmates and I were talking about how we used to dress up so much at the beginning of the year but as the year went on, the t-shirts and scrubs made their daily appearances. Pearl studs, heels, make up....all of those went out the door! Maybe it's human nature to put more effort in at the beginning of things...whether that means the beginning of a relationship, school year, project....but eventually, a steady erosion kicks in and we become complacent...resigned, even.

While I was thinking about this, I remembered some writing advice I found: make sure that there is something important on every page. In writing, that erosion cannot come into play. A reader should NOT be able to a skip a page and be fine. We have to put in that effort day in and day out, giving our work no choice but to exude meaning on every level.

And maybe it's okay to hit that restart button and do this more in daily life, no?


Sometimes it's okay to......

*eat cookies for breakfast

*become giddy about peppermint drinks at Starbucks

*set large word count goals (because it feels that much better when you exceed them)!

*stay out until 5 in the morning as though you're still in college

*worry about whether your book will ever really be at the level you want it at

*go through a teeny obsession with boyfriend styled things (blazers, watches, pj pants....)

*freak out when a song from elementary school comes up on your play list (Spice Girls? Savage Garden? N'Sync?)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When Does Your Muse Strike?

This past weekend, I was celebrating Diwali (the Indian New Year). It involved a barrage of parties, sweets, singing, phone calls, and family visits. Yay!

I realized that----regardless of the pandemonium---I was always writing. A certain part of my brain remained highly attuned to my novel and ideas kept on creeping into my mind. Words of wisdom from my grandparents? The flickering of candles? The aroma of fresh Chanel No. 5? All elements that could be woven into a piece of writing.

This is why I always use the notepad function on my phone (if I do not have a notebook with me already). Because inspiration seems out of my control. All I can do is clutch it and prevent it from drifting away.

Sometimes this drives me crazy because I cannot turn my "writing brain" off. But overall, I feel blessed to be bitten by inspiration :)

When does your muse strike? Do you have trouble turning off different parts of your brain?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Love Beauty and the Beast

Gaston (to Belle):
"It isn't right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas....and thinking.....


Happy Friday!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beating Burn Out

I am not doing NaNoWriMo but I thought this post would be relevant for everyone!

Have you ever felt so burnt out that everything seems exhausting? That you just want to crawl back under the covers and turn off the lights?

I always make mini to-do lists. A writing to do list. A reading to do list. An exercise one. Usually, these lists push me into the right direction. Crossing things off is gratifying.

But lately, it's been difficult to get things done. I tried to write last night but could not beat my exhaustion. The thing is, I know that if I keep saying that I'll write "when I have time", then I will never get around to it. So...I've been pushing myself. And then I push myself more.

I have learned the hard way that as important it is keep pushing, it is very important to know when to stop. Sometimes I only "stop" when my lids are too heavy to keep open. I need some serious help in recognizing those other "signs."

So, how do you know when to take a break? What do you do to recharge?

Sending a lot of love and encouragement to everyone doing NaNoWriMo!! I'll be including things throughout the month to keep you guys going.