Sunday, January 29, 2012

On the Subject of Time and Blogging Again...

I recently blogged about blogging - the when, the why, and the how often.

Thank you all for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts.  Now that I have had the chance to digest the responses and evaluate them in light of my preferences and limitations, I see that, for better or for worse, almost everyone is more dedicated to the art of blogging (and in some ways also to the business of writing) than I am.

At the risk of being seen as a complainer who keeps beating the same horse, I do love to write and blog - that is why I am doing it (and this subject will be addressed in more detail in my upcoming post) - I just can't seem to find the time to devote to these two related pursuits every day.  At least nine hours at the office, an hour walking to and from work (it really is the fastest way across Manhattan), a child and a husband and housework, a fledgling business, and an eco-living blog - I feel like I am stretching myself thin and not everything fits into my schedule every day.  At this point, I have no choice and must work and, of course, my family comes first, but the rest I split up - one day this and the next day that.

What is your secret?  How do you make it all work every day?  Anyone lucky enough to be able to work part-time or not have to go to the office at all?  How do you budget your time?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ready? Close enough? Or Not Even Close?

I finished editing my work-in-progress two nights ago (two years and five drafts it took me).  After I read the last sentence, I exhaled a deep breath of contentment and thought that I was finished; I was happy at last with the structure, the characterizations, the descriptions - it felt like my main character's world was exactly as it should be, true to him and his nature.

But the next morning, as I sat on the sofa with my cup of coffee, I felt my self doubt rise faster than the steam off my coffee.

Could I really have finished a full-length literary work?  Isn't that something real authors do?
Am I just fooling myself? There must be something I have missed in the process!  Maybe I did not focus enough on the secondary characters?

And so on.

You get the picture.

Or maybe it is just part of our nature as writers, never to be fully satisfied?

Whatever it is, I am moving forward!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blogging - When, Why, and How Often?

Approaching my one-year anniversary as a blogger, I was thinking about what I have learned during this past year as it relates to blogging and how I am doing as a blogger.  Should I blog more often?  Should I write about topics unrelated to writing?  How much time should I spend on each post?  Do I enjoy blogging? And what am I trying to achieve?

Overall, I enjoy keeping this blog - it's fun to write about various topics and to read people's comments, advice, and thoughts.  It also makes me think about the different elements of writing and allows me to share the challenges thereof.  Of course I hope that it helps me develop as a writer and slowly establish a platform, which I feel I will need if I am published one day.  And, last but not least, I am glad to have met so many other writers in the process!

The main challenge is time.  Blogging just once a week as I do takes at least 30 minutes.  I also check my bloglist twice a week for at least 30 minutes to see what you're all blogging about (now that is loads of fun!).  Sure, an hour and a half does not sound like a lot, but when there are so many other tasks that vie for that same time slot late at night, it is. 

What is your main objective in blogging?  How much do you blog?  Any suggestions for me?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Important is Location in a Story?

I am struggling to find the answer as I return to my WiP after the holidays.
In my experience as a reader (which is certainly much broader than my experience as a writer) the relevance of location can be categorized in one of three ways.
In some novels, location is tantamount to the story and a different city or country may result in a new novel.  Think of Dan Brown's works - without Rome, Angels and Demons would be a different experience.  The same applies to The Help.

In other novels, you could change the location without anyone even noticing - this is especially true in novels that focus on the journey of the main character and everthing else is secondary and provides only shades of enrichment to the story. The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty falls into this category as does Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

The most difficult one, of course, is the one into which my WiP falls, along perhaps with the majority of novels.  The place and time are too intertwined with the story and provide an amount of detail or explanation without which it no longer works - or works differently than intended.  Novels I see as falling into this category include Milan Kundera's Slowness and Janet Fitch's White Oleander. 

And my WiP.  It is set in Eastern Europe.  The average reader would probably prefer a setting in the US, but I feel that my story (and my character's journey) is too intertwined with history and place and I can't change it without losing meaning.

Better to loose (potential) readers than the story.