It’s that time of the week again, folks. Yes, I’m talking about the Sunday ROW80* check in. Time to evaluate the progress so far and decide whether to continue in the same direction or chart a new course, if necessary.
I’m calling this week a win. I fell down on some of my goals (mostly because I didn’t think about balancing everything I needed to do last week), but I made it through my biggest challenge.
The current ROW80 round began July 3, but folks are welcome to jump in at any time. So here I go.
Long Term Goal: Complete the “official” first draft of my WIP manuscript by the end of this year.
Short Term Goal: Finish the scene I’m currently reworking (let’s call it STO) and begin the next.
I’ve got a strings camp coming up next week. My daughter, who plays the violin, and I are both participating. She’s been playing for 2.5 years, and I’ve been playing for 2.5 months, but the camp is for all levels. We’ve both been working on the music for several weeks now, and most of my cello goals revolve around gaining the skill necessary to make it through the camp and the finale performance. Continue reading “ROWses Are Red…”→
Lately, we’ve been talking about growing greatness.
It seems to me that many folks imagine talent is something a person is born with. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
I disagree. It seems to me that most of what we perceive as talent is really the culmination of thousands of hours of practice and intense passion.
Perhaps there are some individuals who have a special kind of magic we mere mortals will never touch. If so, I expect those individuals are pretty rare. I also expect it would be pretty difficult to tell the “genius” from the person who put in enough dedication and time to achieving greatness.
Furthermore, maybe greatness isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. None of us have to be world-class to be good. The amount of time, effort and passion required to be world-class is tremendous, much more than many of us would want to commit. I would also venture to say that most of the individuals we admire in a particular field are closer to pretty good than world-class. And that’s good enough.
We’ve talked about how you need to talk to yourself, set goals and practice. Here are my last few ideas for growing your own greatness (or pretty goodness):
This is where I fall down. Frequently. There are only so many hours in the day, and we all have obligations. However fast or slow you progress is a matter of personal preference, but the amount of time you carve out will determine the speed of your progress.
Lately, I’ve reminded myself of this when I’m tempted to Netflix binge.
Recently, I read Richard Feynman‘s Six Easy Pieces and felt staggered. Not only was this man a brilliant physicist but also an extraordinary teacher. As he described the structure of matter and atomic processes, I could see what he was explaining. It was absolutely breathtaking, in a super nerdy* way.
When I was a kid, I went on a school field trip (an art museum, the Getty, the Huntington?) and saw a marble sculpture of Cleopatra sitting on a cushioned chair. The pillow she sat on was so exquisitely carved it looked as soft as velvet and down. I held my breath looking at it. I wanted to reach out and touch it. I held back but others did not, if the black smudge on one corner of the pillow was any indication. They must have felt just as I did.
I felt the same when I read James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. That stream of consciousness writing. I’d never read anything like it.
When we come across the work of a master in any field, we’re likely to stand in awe and think there’s no way I could do anything like this. This dude/chick is a genius.
Have you ever thought about how someone becomes talented?
Notice I didn’t say anything about being born talented. Sure, a few folks seem born with a considerable edge over the rest of us. But I’m convinced the majority of folks that seem wildly talented only seem that way because of the vast amounts of time, attention, and passion they’ve put into honing their craft, whatever it may be. Any one of us could be great at whatever we chose if we were willing to do the same. Continue reading “How to be Great at Anything”→
For some folk, writing by the seat of their pants is the only way to fly (The Great and Powerful Stephen King, for example). On the other hand, when I try to fly without a plan, I end up crashing into the side of a mountain. Now, if I’m taking a short trip (flash fiction or short story) I can cruise along just fine. Sure, I might revise a dozen times or so but I can get to the destination without the screaming and flaming debris. For a novel length trip, however, a plan is a must.
Of course, because I have a very thick skull, that’s taken a long time to sink in. Even now, though I lean more towards the plotting end of the spectrum, I’m more a hybrid of plotter and pantser than pure plotter. A plantser, if you will. Or maybe a plotser. Continue reading “The Truth About Your Novel”→
When I was a kid, I heard a lot of negative advice about becoming a writer. I heard all about how my chances of being a NYT best-selling author were like a million-to-one. I heard about how many manuscripts were rejected compared to how many published. I heard how writing was a nice hobby but I better have a back up.
Super awesome encouragement. Right?
Now, I’m sure the advice was (mostly) well-intentioned. Folks didn’t want me pinning all my hopes on what seemed to them to be a pie-in-the-sky dream (what is pie-in-the-sky anyway and what does it taste like? Clouds? Mmm…cloud pie. Fluffy. Like marshmallow cream). Continue reading “Do You Have What it Takes to Succeed?”→
And, also, I don’t have anything else to write about today.
I’m a pantser by nature. I hate schedules. I frequently have no idea what I’m going to fix for dinner before lunch and usually have no idea what my weekend plans are going to be until it’s actually the weekend. I fly by the seat of my pants.
National Novel Writing Month is really just around the corner now. Are you ready and raring to go?
I’m not sure about the ready or the raring. I think I’m good to go but the doubties have begun to creep into my head. This year has been busier than ever and the choice to join NaNoWriMo seems crazier the closer Nov 1 gets. But I’m determined to make it happen…mostly because I have a full story plan and am way too impatient to weather another 6 months writing a draft. I need this to happen soon or else. Continue reading “How to Conquer NaNoWriMo”→