Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What I've Learned So Far, Part 2 ... and Kittens!

Well, I was going to follow Kristen’s very helpful tips with some of my own, but events have conspired against me (more on this below) and I just don’t have the brain-power to put together anything lucid. Instead, I'll simply hit the highlights:

Be patient. And I mean be patient with your writing. Even though I am DYING to finish this book, the more I panic and rush my writing, the less satisfied I am with the end result. Really, what I’ve learned is that I’ll never be one of those writers who’s able to churn out thousands of words a day *cough, Claire, cough*. And that’s OK. I’ve learned that I write in layers – first, I write a quick skeleton of a scene, then I go back and add the muscle, then the flesh, and lastly, the quirky, interesting bits, like the heart shaped birthmarks. And that takes time. I’ve also learned that sometimes I really do need to back away and take a day or two just to wool gather about my book. So learning to be patient is a big one for me.

Give yourself permission NOT to write. Being a little on the obsessive side, at first I tried to religiously stick to the old “write every day” credo. That nearly drove me nuts, especially when life intervened and I’d have to miss a day, or two, or three and I’d start to panic and beat myself up about it. No more. Weekends are now writing-free zones, and my family, my writing, and I, are much better for it.

Read, read and read some more, and never stop. This is the best way I’ve found to soak up the craft of writing. Plus, reading a brilliant book always inspires me to get cracking with my own. Double win!

Get some sleep! Oh boy, I just CANNOT write well when I’m sleep deprived. Unless I’m on the home stretch of a book, I will never be one of those writers who churns out the words in the wee small hours. Diana Gabaldon, I ain’t! And sleep deprivation is the reason for my abovementioned lack of brain-power and the brevity of this post – I’m suffering from it, badly. I had a couple of very late nights on the weekend – fun, and totally my own fault. Then Monday, our house alarm malfunctioned and went off at 4am, waking the whole house with a nice shot of adrenalin; and yesterday, my five year old daughter malfunctioned and woke up at 3am (waking only me this time. Aren’t I special? :-/) Not fun, and not my fault. Grrr.

So I will leave you with one last thing I know about writing … that I enjoy it much more when I have furry, four-legged, company. I’ve missed this since the last of our cats died in March, but the cavalry is coming in the form of the two new kittens we picked out a couple of weeks ago, who will join our madhouse in July. Here's a picture of the critters (they’re Devon Rex kittens, which accounts for their kinda odd, gremlin-like appearance.) Oh, and that’s another thing I know - baby animal pics always make me smile, even when I feel like crud. J


  1. First things first- kittens! So... ugly! And yet so cute! (g) I'm so glad you're getting your furry companionship back soon. DH, looking over my shoulder, helpfully advises you that "they look like trouble already," btw.

    And second, oh boy- the sleep deprivation thing. I think it's something you don't realise until you have very consistent sleep deprivation for a while (due to reasons like children, or new kittens, or both!), and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Very important point that I'm only beginning to grasp myself.

  2. Well, I think those tips are _completely_ important. And thank you for reminding me! I tend to forget all that and sink right into guilt.

    And, OMG, those kittens are cute. They kind of look like a mix between a puppy and a kitten. Totally odd, and totally cute. Of course, for a moment, I looked at the pic and thought, "huh, Rachel's hands are awfully harry!" lololol. Well, duh, not you...lololol

  3. Claire, your DH is spot on with his observation. This breed of cat is incredibly hyperactive, and they're often described as imps, or monkeys in cat suits! Our last two Devon Rexs were completely mad; when they were kittens they managed to destroy a VCR player, knock a fully-loaded spice rack to the kitchen floor and smash every spice jar to smithereens, and pulled a set of curtains, rod and all, out of the wall! (This is on top of the couch and carpet shredding!) So yeah, we're busy kitten-proofing. :-) But on the plus side, the two people in our house who are allergic to cats have no reaction at all to this breed (something to do with the type of fur they have), and they really are good fun - they're more like dogs in temperament than cats, and really love human company. When they're not destroying things, that is.

    Kristen - No, not my hands; I waxed that day. (g)

  4. Oh. My. God. Being on vacation and missing my cats, I'm doubly jealous that you're getting kittens!
    Saw some tiger kittens at a preservation centre in Myrtle Beach the other day - speaking of cute!
    Oh yea, what was that? Writing? Well, I have to say, I do a lot more sleeping and taking time off writing than I should. Bad me!

    Now back to kittens...