Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Along a country road

I made a choice. I could take the highly traveled route home from the grocery store, the one that involves traffic lights, lots of houses, businesses, pavement and sidewalks, or the right at the light, along a country road. There were houses, but there also were lawns and fields and trees, and very little pavement.

The sunlight through the leaves on the trees dappled the street, and the scents of spring wildflowers filled the air through the sunroof. I was immediately gratified by the relaxed pace, the ease of passage, the "stop to smell the roses." Mmmmm. By the time I got home I wanted to say to my husband, "Let's drive to the lake." I changed my mind, though, because I know what he would say. "No." Or, "No, gasoline costs too much." Or, "No, I have to go to work in awhile."

I've been trying to make our yard into an oasis that creates the same relaxing qualities as the back way I took home that day. The oak tree is twice as tall as our house, so towers between us and the brutal summer sun. There often is a breeze through our backyard, making it one of the coolest places in our town that I know of on those muggy, sweaty, summer days. I've planted some gladiolas. The hostas are huge, the periwinkle spreading, and the day lilies growing taller by the minute. There are more to plant...I need to do that soonest. It's nearly June!

Likewise, I've been writing stories and novels, and other things. When I stop to look at the beauty of the world that surrounds me, I find my creativity kick-started. When I can relax and read, other of my own ideas start springing forth. When I get a little involved in my community--like the Chamber of Commerce meeting I attended this noon, I gain a little more insight into our world.

So, I'm going to toss some laundry in the washer and sit with my notebook...after I plant the rest of my gladiolas and the 4,800 wildflower seeds. By summer's end I want to see production, both planting seeds of flowers and planting seeds of thought.

(C)2007 Cathy Brownfield

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Learning through writing

It's amazing the things you can learn when you are writing. My favorite writing group is a little band of writers at Jay's Writer's World. We talk a lot, play a little at the place we have lovingly dubbed "The Playhouse." And lately we've been throwing out some writing challenges. We're getting some insight into our own writing through these brief exercises. Nobody participates in all of them, I suppose, but when one strikes our fancies we jump right in and experience small epiphanies about ourselves...well, I do anyway. I guess I can't speak for everyone. But the exercises do offer a jump start to creative thinking and writing.

For instance, I wrote something and thought, "That would be a great challenge."

"Always a new idea brewing in the back."250 words to describe the image that came to your mind when you read that."

The responses were great. Give it a try. Then, open up the file for the Big Story that you've been working on and see if the jump start kicks you into gear.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Read what agents are looking for

Growth in work.
The first novel is rarely published.
Showing that you aren't wasting time trying to breathe life into a novel that's never going to be good enough.

OK. So, I can see the growth in my work as I write these novels. Just need to be writing more. With every novel I start, I see the strengths better and winnow out the weaknesses so the stories are better and more close to publishable.

A lot of stress has been relieved since DH told me I don't have to kill myself to try to bring in income. Wow. Don't know where it came from, but I'm sure glad he said it! I'm writing more and I'm even getting some housekeeping done. Whoo-hoo! How cool is that?

But the weight thing...I was trying to just eat sensibly. Trying to get consistent about drinking 80-100 ounces of water each day. Trying to get some exercise every day. If I just sit at the computer I can easily drink 5 20-ounce bottles of water daily. But, I can't just sit at the computer all day! I have a gazillion things to do since DD3 gave me the key to her car and said, "It's at your disposal for the next 15 months."

Things are happening for me. Last month DH and I ordered Chinese carry-out. The fortune cookie said, "Major life change is coming for you." Or something to that effect. Whoa! I can see the difference already. Amazing!

Today's checklist:
Laundry -- Check
FRC article -- Almost check
9 article assignment due Friday
Lunch -- Almost check
Senior Living @ BellaOnline article and newsletter -- Check
Novel writing -- Almost ready to start

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Chapter Thirteen

Yep. That's where I'm at. Chapter Thirteen. Now, if I can just get it typed in to the computer from the longhand form. It's not really a problem because I got to thinking. I wrote a 60K novel in October and a 50K novel in November. I know I can write the first draft of a story from beginning to conclusion. I've done it twice. So, I'll do it with this one...working title: Enough.

DH and I were driving home the other evening. I noticed how nice it was, kind of intimate, that the two of us were in the car ALONE. I'm not complaining about two 20-year-old children still living at home. I'm not complaining at all. I'm just noticing how nice it is to be just the two of us, in the car, driving down the highway. Cool. This is the way it was before children.

I mentioned something, a complaint he used to have.

"How long has it been since I said that?" he asked.

He was right. It's OK for me not to have a paycheck now. It's OK for me to do what I have to do. And I felt a little more freedom. And maybe a little closer to him than I've felt in a long time because, well, we were trying to get our family through some very difficult financial times. And now...the time I was always striving for, dreaming of, looks like it might be here. DH and I alone in the car, driving down the highway...It felt good.

The more freedom I feel from the things that have tied me down for SO long, the more creative my mind and the more energy I have. I can write this novel and the 97 other ones that I want to write before I die. It all starts now.

Ohhhhhh, runnin' down the highway...ohhhhhhh, runnin' down the highway...I hear the tune with that great traveling music kinda beat.