15 Every 15: Fly

Fly © Ann M. Lynn

 

My father-in-law was told after a war injury that he would never walk again.

He walks.

My aunt was told that she died years ago.

She lives.

I have known people who believe that once broken, one is broken forever.

Yet I heal.

Don’t listen to the voices that would keep you from spreading your wings.

 


This is the first of my 15 Every 15 series. Check back August 1 for the next edition.

Who complains about writing a novel in three months?

A friend gave me and Amazon Kindle a couple years ago. It’s slowly become my daily companion. We go everywhere, like me and my teddy bear when I was little, or The Eels and their Beloved Monster. One of the side effects of spending so much time on a Kindle is spending more time on Amazon.

One of the side effects of being me is researching everything that I send enough time with. I’ve been curious about the many self-published authors on Amazon and their relationship to readers.

Some authors amaze me in how well they connect to their readers, whether they are fans or harsh critics. Most seem to struggle with reviewers at times. Others simply come across as crazy.

More than once, I’ve seen authors demand that they make a certain amount of money or are treated with a higher level of respect than non-writers because their books take months to write.

Yeah, you saw that, didn’t you? Months.

One implied on her blog that she was owed enough sales on Amazon to cover the three months it took to write her latest novel.

Nevermind that she sounds like a toddler, making unreasonable demands to the large world of publishing. How did she write so fast that three months seems like a long time to write a novel?

Either authors exist who have so much talent that they can develop, draft, and polish a story simultaneously nearly every time, or that poor author’s sense of quality matches her sense of reality.

I’m still afraid to read her fiction to find out.

“I’m not a writer…” says the exhausted mother.

“I’m not a writer. I’m not a writer,” I would tell myself more often in the past few years. The truth was, “I’m not writing.”

Giving birth to and caring for my daughter took more energy and time than I had ever imagined. She was one might call a “high needs baby“. Now that the trauma of her birth and her first few days have faded, I can joke about how the hospital kept us for an extra day to ensure we would survive at home without the staff and volunteers who would take turns holding and entertaining her. I was told that they hadn’t before seen a baby born with so much “personality”. (I suspect the word was really “obstinate”.)

I love that she has been telling us since Day Zero what she wants, but why does what she want have to be so different than every other babies’ wants?!

Anyway, after a couple of years, I started to sleep most of the way through the night. I could eat a full meal without having to hide from a child who possesses incredible smelling and hearing. (The truth is, she’s really a dragon. She had fangs and fighting instincts to prove it.) My daughter learned to talk (in a language we could understand, thank you very much, Miss Have-to-Make-Up-My-Own) enough to explain why she would cry until she stopped breathing.

My life started to settle into a new mode of normal.

The problem was normality no longer included writing.

When the urge hit hard to hide away with a pen and notebook, I would think, Writing is selfish. It takes time away from higher priorities. Yeah, priorities. Family, the small business I maintain with my husband, working, paying bills, keeping house. All that fun stuff. Writing was about as high as vacations (whatever those are).

What about if it made money for my family? Could I justify it? But…I avoid sharing my stories with others. My writing is selfish.

I thought, I won’t write much. Eventually, the urges will go away. The characters will go silent, and I can figure out ways to prevent other people’s stories from inspiring new ones. Someday, I won’t pick apart everything I see for potential story material.

Except nothing changed. Years I tried! I even attempted to give up reading, so that I wouldn’t want to respond to new ideas. That backfired, of course.

What I realized was I don’t want to lose the part of myself that writes stories. The only version of me I love is the one who speaks through the written word.

I can’t like the me who doesn’t write. The person stumbling through each day, shoving down and tying up every craving to move words from the mind to the page– she felt like death. I’d been through that already as a child, when I would hide away my notebooks. Why did I think I could deny that part of myself forever? It was suicidal.

The person who leaves essays and poetry and stories and notes all over the place, who stumbles through plots and agonizes over the rhythm of a sentence, who arrogantly declares what’s right and wrong in a piece of art, and who scatters magic for a future me to find when I no longer remember creating the spell– I love that person.

That’s when I started to remember that my daughter was going to learn how to live life by watching me. What I did not want her to see someone who dragged herself through each day after trying to cut off a part of who she was.

So I have to write. Even if it kills some other part of me, I will write.

After all, there is always sacrifice for love.

NaNoWriMo 2012 Third Week

At 25,000 words, I’m halfway to the goal for National Novel Writing Month. We’re three-fourths of the way into the month.

It will be okay if I don’t reach 50,000 words by November 30, though. What’s most important to me is that I persevere through the end.

Not as if that’s easy.

I mentioned in my previous post that participating in NaNoWriMo is an experience of remembering. For me, it’s not only about remembering lessons for writing. It’s also about remembering who I am and what I’ve gone through.

I don’t like that part.

Stories are emotionally draining and take a considerable amount of real-life time to develop. The larger the story, and the more committed the writer, the more exhausting the story tends to be.

A big problem with exhaustion is that it allows the subconscious to rip open holes in the fragile barriers used to keep it out of the light.

My NaNoWriMo project is full of light; there’s humor more gentle than what I’m used to writing, charitable characters who understand how to learn from their struggles, and happy endings. Compared to the main characters in DeCo or RITN (or HC or SftP), the main characters of the story I’m calling Roseman are carefree. They aren’t dealing with daily abuse, physical issues that can’t be understood by the people around them, or the constant threat of losing their loved ones to murderers.

They are simply young adults, each with one traumatic experience in their past, learning how to face their personal demons while going through what would be normal lives if not for the creative way they decide to work together to heal themselves.

Yet I’m remembering that I writing exposes where I need to heal myself. My demons are rousing. I guess there is no way to push through the conflicted middle of a novel without awakening them.

Hopefully, I can learn through writing how to tame them, as well.

~ ~ ~

“I want to hide the truth. I want to shelter you.”

NaNoWriMo 2013 Second Week

The second week of National Novel Writing Month is over, and I’m moving into the third with less than 18,000 words.

This past week has been full of reminders, such as:

  • I’m an intuitive person and should trust my intuition. When I start writing a scene that feels right, chances are, I’ll see why it’s right once I’ve finished. Stopping to analyze the scene halfway through only wastes time. Similarly, trying to push past a feeling that a scene is wrong will usually create a writing block. A blank mind is worthless when writing.
  • I can’t inflate the word count much. Some NaNoWriMo participants purposefully write nonsense or copy and paste passages to meet daily word count goals. I remember using complicated syntax to elongate sentences, avoiding contractions, and adding dialogue tags at almost every opportunity when I participated in NaNoWriMo 2009. Tricks like those are of little use to me now that I’m no longer willing to litter my work with junk that will be difficult to clean up later.
  • Research takes time away from writing. However, without it, a scene might limp along for a want of the details that would make it complete. For my next NaNoWriMo, I’ll dedicate October to research and brainstorming, so they don’t slow me down as much.
  • NaNoWriMo encourages bad life habits. I’ve been staying up late, eating Halloween candy that I would otherwise be ignoring, and losing track of how much caffeine I’ve consumed. Thank goodness I’m no longer nursing.
  • Weaving is hard. I like to have multiple conflict threads going at one time, but I’m not terribly skilled at working them together.

Exhaustion is kicking in, and I wonder if anything will happen with this story in December. Still, this project seems like a worthy learning experience.

We’ll see how the third week goes.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Week One: A Fun Cruise

One week has passed.

My NaNoWriMo story is unusually easy to write, though I wish I’d done more research before November 1st. I’m roughly at 8,000 of the 50,000 words and expect to have to rewrite a few existing scenes once I understand certain topics better.

I started this story without knowing the genre. It’s the first novel I’ve started that isn’t speculative fiction. I’m thinking it might be Romance, though I’m not familiar enough with that genre to judge. My project is as much about an idea as a relationship, which also isn’t the male-female kind. The writing style is more straight-foward than sensual. As far as I’m aware, those aren’t common traits of Romance.

But what other genre could it be?

I’m just the writer. Someone can help me figure out the genre later.

By the way, this might be the most cheerful story I’ve ever written. Even considering that an adolescent dies within the opening (oy), it has low morbidity; no sexual assault, physical torture, or prevalent emotional abuse; and the main characters will actually be happy in the end.

It’s a nice change.