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Overly ambitious, yet again August 18, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Goals, Writing.
4 comments

shoot for the moonSo my plan to write a new draft of “Summer of ‘94” this month has not panned out. Why I set this goal anyway, I’m not really sure – why can’t I be content with the baseball blogging I’m doing and leave it at that? Actually, I do know the answer: my ultimate goal is to be a novelist. Writing about the 2010 Cardinals isn’t advancing me toward that goal, although it is keeping me writing regularly (which is something I was not doing when I started this blog in March). So why can’t I just say “OK, I’m going to start over with this novel” and then write when I can? Why did I think trying to writing a novel draft within a month was the only way to go?

My friend Linda will nod her head in agreement at this: the goals I set tend to be a little high, and this is a perfect example. We’ve had an interesting discussion this week via phone and e-mail about goals, which led to discussing what is “enough.” Why can’t we be content that the strides we are making and the things we are doing are enough? As I said to her in an e-mail, “Doesn’t it sometimes seem like we live our lives based on what THEY expect of us – even if we don’t know who THEY are?” Her response: “Yeah, I don’t know why we never feel we’re enough.”

We’re both reading the book “The Happiness Project” right now for our book group meeting later this month, and it’s been thought provoking. Gretchen Rubin, the author, realized that life was passing by quickly and she wasn’t focusing enough on the things that mattered to her, so she decided to devote a year to learning about happiness and improving her life in specific ways. She developed her “12 commandments” to guide her through the year and the first was “Be Gretchen.” Of the 12, it definitely struck me the most and made me realize that’s what I need to do: be Chris. Which starts with recognizing that I am overly ambitious, but I need to be realistic as well. There are only 24 hours in a day (and I really do need to use more of them than I do for sleep!) And I also realize that watching the Cardinals, frustrating as this team can be, is definitely a priority for me as well.

What does this mean for my fiction writing right now? That I will write when I can. My full-time job is perpetually hectic. The intensity of the Cardinals season is increasing with about six-and-a-half weeks left. I’m back to exercising regularly after a hip injury (which I never wrote about here) and want to start running again, with more realistic goals this time. (No more 10Ks or beyond!) But I do still get up very early in the morning, and want to devote that time when I can to something productive toward my fiction writing.

So, yes, my ultimate goal is still to be a novelist. Time is passing by so quickly – my recent birthday reminded me of that. But maybe with age is also the wisdom that it’s okay to have high ambitions, but I also need to be realistic about the results.

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Ready to start again August 1, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Novel-writing month, Writing.
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3 comments

Back in late March, I wrote that I was giving up on my novel “Summer of ‘94” after rewriting it several times and still not having it be the story I wanted. At the time, I was sincere and believed that was the correct decision.

Maybe I was wrong.

Since then, I’ve never been able to completely let the story go. That was mostly because of the main character of Sara, but also the antagonist Kyle. One or the other would pop into my head at odd times, causing me to wonder if letting the novel go was the right choice. Several weeks ago I decided I need to start again – to finally get a draft of this novel that I was happy with, instead of all the drafts I’ve done so far that rambled far from my original intent with the story. No other novel or fiction ideas have inspired me to write. This is what keeps returning to my thoughts instead.

So, here I go with “Summer of ’94” version 2.0 (or probably 5.0, this time around!) And because I love the challenge that National Novel Writing Month provides, I’ve decided to have my own novel-writing month starting today. A couple weeks ago, I started flipping through the last draft of the story to see where the problems were but quickly abandoned that. Better to focus on what I want the story to be, instead of what it wasn’t before. So I’ve jotted down several pages of notes and a couple chapter ideas. But, as with my previous two National Novel Writing Month pursuits, I’ll just mostly make it up as I go along!

Also like NaNoWriMo, I am going to keep track of my daily progress. These first few days won’t allow much writing time – I’m going to St. Louis tomorrow for a girls baseball trip with my co-bloggers from Diamond Diaries to see the Cardinals play Monday and Tuesday. But I have the rest of the week off, with the only things on my agenda being to write and to relax. I will have a post here to chart the progress so my biggest writing supporter, my friend Linda, can keep up with how I’m doing like she does with the real NaNoWriMo. (You know I appreciate all you do!)

For now, it’s off to write and see where the story takes me.