Friday, January 20, 2012

Day #8551 - In the Still of the Night

Being a life-long resident of the midwest, I have a complicated relationship with snow. Now I love winter. I love getting to wear layers and hats and scarves, it's hockey season, and it's the one time of year where people don't give me funny looks for being cold (unlike in the summer when I usually wear jeans until temperatures get above 75). Yet I must admit there are things about the snow that I'm less than in love with, mostly automobile related. Nothing says "fun" quite like having a long day at work and then having to scrape off my car and driving five miles per hour to get home, knowing full well I'll be doing the same thing the next morning.

However, at this time of night, I just like to forget that part. The wind and snowfall have stopped, and as I look out my window onto my street, it's bathed in the yellow glow of the streetlights and several inches of powder. The only sounds are my fingers hitting the keys - there aren't any snowblowers or plows out right now and the sky is a beautiful color that my eyes can't get enough of. It's as if the night sky is a deep blue silk and someone has laid a sheer gray tule over it. Regal is the word that comes to mind. The tree out front has looked so sad and barren since it lost its leaves a few months ago, but the branches now feel like they have a purpose again as they are gently covered in a white dusting, bright against the bark.

I like to remember moments like this when I think I hate winter because I couldn't hate this part if I tried.

It gets the creative juices flowing, that's for sure. Summer Novel continues to be a project I love and I've been having fun working with the characters and story in a post-first draft way. Slightly more exciting though is that I spent time this afternoon sketching out a new idea that's been slowly growing in my brain for the last few months. I find that every story I write has come to me in a slightly different fashion. With Summer Novel, the first thing I knew was the setting but it was years before I knew who was in it. With my NaNoWriMo story from last year, I built it around a character who I already knew wasn't the protagonist, but had a huge impact on the protagonist. And now with this one, I've known the characters for quite some time, bits and pieces of information about them have been accumulating in my brain inspired by many different things, but I'm still learning how these people's lives intersect and what their story is. But for the first time, I was able to get a rough sense of where they're taking me, and it's an exciting feeling.

And so, I remember another perk of being overwhelmed by snow on the weekends. No work means no having to scrape my car, which means more time for playing and writing. Keep warm and best wishes!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day #8535 - My Other Life

Sometimes, being a writer makes me feel like I have multiple personalities or like I'm leading a double life, except that both of my lives are perfectly aware of the other, yet they still fight for my time and attention.

My days are like this: I wake up, go to work, come home, grad school it up, read, blog, write, sleep, repeat. By day, I'm a library teaching assistant, an "adult" in the eyes of the high school students I work with as I help them find books, figure out how to print things, and remind them that it's a library and not a gym. I love working with this age group and I really enjoy the amazing feeling that comes with talking to a teen about the amazing book they just read and seeing their eyes light up when they find something new on the shelves to enjoy.

Then when I come home, I'm the student as I'm about to enter my final semester of graduate school before completing my M.S. in library and information science this May. I have homework of my own. I also have a mile high stack of books I want to read for fun, the blogs I enjoy reading to find out what else is out there and what fellow bibliophiles like me are up to, and then, last but far from least, is my own writing.

I'll admit, Summer Novel (code name as such because I wrote it last summer) is in pretty good shape. I'm afraid of reopening November Novel for the time being, but I do have this brand new, shiny, fabulous idea that's been floating around in my head ever since last fall that I'm itching to start working out. Plus, on top of all of that, I really want to start making something happen with Summer Novel and putting it out into the world, even if it means the plethora of rejection letters that the blogs of published authors have warned me will probably come (but they warn me in the nicest possible way!) The only problem with this fabulous plan is that there aren't always are never enough hours in a day.

Long story short, it comes down to prioritizing and choices. I'm lucky that I've become pretty good at juggling these various personas, and I just remind myself that all of them are vitally important to making me, me. Grad school will end in May. I have nights and weekends. And even if nothing happens with Summer Novel or any of my other stories, it's okay. Despite the fact that I think it would be awesome, wanting to be published isn't the reason I write, nor should it be. I write because it's something I simply need to do, there's no other way to put it.

So to my peers out there, remember, whether or not we have an agent or a contract, we still ARE writers. I have to believe that if it's meant to be, with a lot of hard work and a whole lot of luck, our time will come.