Thursday, March 4, 2010

Knowing When It's Time to Take a Break

For NaNoWrimo 2009, I worked on a fantasy novel I had been kicking around for a few months. I thought I was ready for it. I had my rough synopsis, lore and characters all set. I played around with 1st person and then 3rd, finally deciding 3rd was the best way to go for the story, despite not feeling comfortable with it at the time. I powered through Nano, completing it several days before November 30th. Throughout the month, I didn't have time to really go back and focus on what I was writing. I would quickly look over the last few pages I wrote the day before to get the vibe of where I left off and then would write to get the story and the words down.

As I've mentioned before on the blog, it wasn't the first time I completed NaNoWrimo, and hopefully it won't be the last. In previous years, I was sparked by my marathon of writing, usually picking back up and a hurried pace again in January (how can you not take December off with the holidays after working that hard the month before?) This year was different. I found myself not caring to continue. I was so close to the finish of my first draft, but put it down. I still love the story, but can't figure out where I want to go with it. Instead of working through the issues, I just stopped writing...for two months.

I loved the story and wanted it to work to the point that I let it suck my creativity and passion for writing. I was afraid to go back to it, so I just stopped writing. I now realize that it's okay to put that story aside and work on something else. Sometimes the best medicine is to just take a break and focus attention on a new project. The story will always be there when I'm ready to pick it back up. Despite learning this the hard way, I am now happy to report that I am working on something else that I'm excited about.

How do you work through difficult writing periods?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Teachers are the real rockstars!

A big shout out to my hubbie, Shawn, and teacher buds, Jo, and Kelsey, who helped me develop my writer workshops for the Young Writer's Conference in Sherwood Park on February 27th. I would have been a big old bust without you. ;0

The kids were AMAZING. So keen/clever/cool. I could see bits of my tween/teen self in all of them. I would have loved that kind of experience as a kid. Getting to meet authors, artists - workshopping and asking questions. The whole day was food for my writer soul. I forgot to bring my camera. If I come across some pics of the conference, I'll post them later.

I have to give a big shout out to teachers...damn, you work hard for the money! I did two, 90min workshops and spent about 12 hours creating my presentation: from powerpoint slides to criteria, working the piece to peer was all work, work work.

But then I got to sign autographs for 30mins (370+ students in a gym with authors/illustrators). There I was with Marty Chan, Sigmund Brouwer, Mary Woodbury, Gord Steinke, David Poulsen, Patricia MacQuarrie, Rita Feutl...and more Alberta authors/illustrators. We felt like kings and really all we did was teach a few classes.

Teachers need an autographing tent at the end of EACH DAY - you guys are freaking ROCKSTARS!