Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Creative Process of Writing

I mentioned a few posts ago that I had started NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, trying my hand at a lifelong dream of writing a novel for the first time. I'm still at it, currently hovering at just under 32,000 words. It has been a learning experience so far, both about the craft of putting words together on paper, as well as about the discipline of writing toward a goal outside of work for the first time in a long time. Oh, I write emails and blog posts all the time, but a story with characters and conversation and drama, well, it's a different animal altogether.

There have been times in the past three weeks or so that I have looked forward to writing after work, and times when I wanted to read, watch TV, clean the toilet, just about anything else. But every day I've written something toward the goal of finishing this 50,000 word rough draft dream of mine. It has to be finished by midnight on Nov. 30. Well, the rough draft has to be at or beyond the 50K mark. (Big difference!)

Whether or not I ever revisit this (very) rough draft creation of mine, for editing or whatever, the most important things I've learned so far have involved making time for myself, making myself disciplined to do something I have to do because I want to do it that much, and setting boundaries for myself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't Go, Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey announced today on her talk show that she would be wrapping it up in 2011 because the time is right. 25 years at one gig, which is how many seasons Oprah's show will have been on when she wraps up the next season. Wow. Few people stay at one job for 25 years anymore.

I have watched the "Oprah Winfrey Show" on occasion, especially during the summer breaks when I used to be a teacher. Back then, I occasionally taped it when I knew an interesting guest would be on while I was at work. It's been a long time since I've watched the show, but Oprah has become such an influential person in her own right that rarely a month goes by that I haven't been aware of her, whether it's a new book pick for her show's book club, or in the past couple of years, her support for the Obamas.

One of the things I remember about her show is that, while she has had many famous guests on her show, she has also had a number of "regular people" who did out-of-the-ordinary things on as guests on her show. For years now, I've harbored a secret desire to do something inspirational that would land me on the "Oprah Winfrey Show!" Okay, there, I said it. My secret's out. And now, unless I get cracking, it looks like I'll have to keep working on the inspirational bit without the reward of a gig in Oprah's show! Ah, it was a pipe dream anyway. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

You've Got Mail

In the past couple of weeks, I've rediscovered a website called Postcrossing, which facilitates sending postcards across the globe. People who register on the site initially receive up to five addresses of other people registered on Postcrossing. You mail out your postcard(s), and when the recipients receive and register their newly received postcards, you are able to get additional addresses to mail more postcards. Whenever you request a new address to send a postcard to, you get a unique ID number to write on the card. The person on the other end types in that ID number to indicate receipt.

Although I registered on Postcrossing about three years ago and sent/received a few postcards then, I got busy with other things and forgot about it. I just recently signed back in and decided to send out five more postcard and see that happened. Since then, four of my postcards have been received overseas, and I received two postcards yesterday, one from England and the other from Germany. It was fun to get some non-bill/junk mail in the mailbox, since I keep up with so many people by email, Facebook, and Twitter now.

This newly refound hobby will probably fade away again in time, but for now, in these drearier days of fall (did I mention it's been raining all week thanks to Tropical Storm Ida?!), it's fun looking forward to colorful mail via postcards in my real live mailbox (not the virtual one).

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy November!

It's been a busy fall so far, and it's not over yet! I love this time of year--for the weather, the fall colors, and all the neat activities going on.

George and I celebrated our 7th anniversary this past week with a fun trip to the North Carolina mountains. We stayed in Boone for the second year in a row, and explored the area for several days. It rained on us the first day, but otherwise the weather was quite nice. The leaves were just past their prime, but still very pretty.

I'm running my second marathon, the Outer Banks Marathon, next Sunday, and am rather nervous about it. I'm going to get to the starting line and see what happens! George has decided to run it with me, which should be a great help! I hope we both make it to the end.

Just today, I've started National Novel Writing Month for the first time! I'm excited about this project, partly because it'll be a great diversion from running, especially as I taper for and recover from the marathon.