I Feel Happy!

Thanks everybody. I feel a bit better today. Sometimes, you just have to vent, you know?

Something that helped me a bit was that I started to tinker around with The Interview Story Outliner to see what I could do with a story idea I’ve had. Now, what I created wasn’t great, but may lead to a decent outline. We shall see. Either way, it made me feel a bit better. I don’t know if that will lead to something more, but it might.

Good or Great or Why Bother?

Bear with me for a moment. Here comes some honesty.

I may have a bit of trouble judging my own writing, but overall in life I think I’m a pretty good judge of myself. I’m not terribly introspective, but I can be at times. Right now is one of those times.

I tend to try a lot of different things, for one because I really think that makes life interesting. Also, I like to challenge myself and really don’t like to be told I can’t do something. At least not until I’ve tried first. I consider this a virtue in myself. However, in doing a lot of things, I think I spread myself thin. What I’m trying to say, really, is that I’m good at a number of things, but great at few things. Sometimes I wish I was great at one thing. Wouldn’t it be nice to be great at something?

I play hockey in my spare time. I would say I’m good/fair at hockey. I play softball in the summers. I think I’m good at that. I tinker with photoshop in my spare time sometimes. I think I’m good at that. I also write sometimes, and looking at it honestly I think I’m a good writer. Not great.

As far as writing is concerned, I really don’t think good covers it. There are soooo many good writers out there working to be published. So many. There are so few real opportunities to be published. And let’s be honest. Only a few of those who want to be published will actually have it happen. In fact, probably only a percentage of the great writers will ever see their work in print.

Can you learn to be great? Can you become great with enough hard work? If you can become great with enough hard work, do I have the will to do that hard work? I really don’t know.

This is where I’m at today. I might not be there tomorrow, but I’m there right now. At what point do I realize all this banging my head against the keyboard is not for a lack of effort, but really a lack of talent? Am I wasting my time? Is this something I will ever be able to recognize in myself?

Anyhow, thanks for letting me vent here. I’m not fishing for compliments or pep-talks or anything like that. Just trying to get this out of my system. That’s another thing I’m good at, but not great.

Singin’ and Dancin’

I couldn’t just post a picture of the son, without following it up with a photograph of my daughter. 🙂 Here she is, wearing her aunt’s glasses. I think they look good.

So my daughter, who is three, had a dance recital yesterday for us parents. It went really well. The most shocking thing for me was how well she listens to her dance teacher, because at home here…

Anyhow, it was so cool seeing my baby out there dancing and interacting with the other girls. The dust even kicked up in that place at one point causing my eyes to water. They really need to work on that in there.

Anyhow, have a nice weekend everybody. Mine will most likely be crazy and go too fast. Like usual 🙂

Still Recovering

Well, I’m still recovering from NaNoWriMo. That, combined with the boss of the house (the 9 month old) keeping me awake, I figured I’d take the easy way out today and post a picture. And what do you know, it’s a picture of the boss himself!

NaNoWriMo Complete – Where Do I Go From Here

So I survived NaNoWriMo, but just barely. Having kids and a full time job, I was mostly writing in the evenings, usually up until midnight. Then up a few times in the middle of the night from the 9 month old, and of course up at 6:30 for work, on weekends from the kids. That wore on me a bit right around the beginning of the month. I was too stubborn, and had too many cheerleaders (literally 🙂 ), to quit. I doubt I’ll be doing it again next year. I figure three wins is enough for me. Of course I said the same thing last year.

So, I’m taking a week off from writing to relax. I hope to read some books, watch some movies, and go to bed at a reasonable time. It was funny, last night my wife asked me if I was coming up to bed and I said yes and she almost fell over. In November, she would ask, I would say no, she would plead with me, and then finally give up. It’s nice to not have to do that this month.

As far as the novel I wrote goes, I’m not sure yet. There are some good parts, but I’m having a hard time getting excited about it. I’m not deleting it yet, though.

So what did I learn this year? Well, I learned it is hard to write a lot everyday when you aren’t used to it, but once you set up a pattern, it gets easier. It’s kinda like exercise or working out. Those first couple days lifting weights after taking some time off are terribly painful, but once you start it gets easier. Of course, if you stop for any length of time you are back to square one.

I also learned that I need a better plan when I’m starting a novel. I did some planning before this one (see all my posts from October) but I really did need more. A novel is just too big of a thing for me to wing it.

Finally, I learned that I can write every day. I have the time. I don’t have a lot of time, but I have enough. I need to use it.

So, I may never do NaNoWriMo again, but I am planning something better. I hope starting next week to write 500 words a day all year. I haven’t decided yet if that will be five days a week or seven. This is very doable and should be a fun challenge. I call it NaNoWriYe (National Novel Writing Year).

Flash Fiction – Happens All the Time

First of all, yes I did complete National Novel Writing Month last night. It nearly killed me, but I did it. I’m totally going to detox for the next week. And sleep (as much as the baby lets me, of course). I’ll post a recap tomorrow.

In other news, I didn’t win the contest at Karen Lee Field’s blog, but I did come in third. So, if the winner and the runner-up are unable to fulfill their duties, I totally get a $25 amazon gift card.

So, for those of you who missed it, or those who didn’t want to click, or those of you who want to read it again, or for prosperity for my own sake I present:

Happens All the Time

Officer Dan stared at the blank sheet of paper, clueless on where to begin. He had been on the force in this sleepy little college town for over twenty years and had never had a night like this. Nor had he ever been so perplexed by his paperwork.

Maybe, he thought, it would be best to start with the date. Friday the 13th. Or perhaps it would be helpful to mention that a full moon had illuminated the chilled autumn sky. Superstitions, for sure, but these details were better than any other explanation he had for what happened that night.

How about the beginning? It began with a routine call. Fire alarm in one of the freshman dormitories. Happens at least once a semester. When he arrived on the scene the building was gone, and in its place stood a group of happy looking dwarfs guarding a large cauldron filled with gold doubloons. Happens to everybody, right?

No, that little incident would be better left unmentioned. After all, by the time backup arrived everything was back to normal. The dwarfs had magically transformed into undersized underclassmen and the gold into a hackey sack.

The second call of the evening was no better. According to the witness,a student was passed out in a shrub near the stadium. It was a serious matter, for sure, but sadly not terribly uncommon.

What the caller failed to mention was the bearded man standing over the unconscious student, holding a wand and mumbling Latin, or some variation of the dead language. They told him at the hospital that the young man will make a full recovery, but Dan wasn’t so sure.

None of that could be included, nor could his run-in with Officer Smith. Dan’s head throbbed as he remembered the smug look Smith’s face when he had offered to cover the rest of Dan’s shift. Dan declined, refusing to give his rival the satisfaction, using what remained of his fragile will to refrain from punching him in the face.

The memory spiked Dan’s adrenaline and led him to an epiphany. He picked up his pen, ready to do something he had never done in all his time on the force. He would lie, and not just a little white lie. He would report that it had been a quiet night, with nothing out of the ordinary happening. Maybe he would mention the fire alarm, and maybe he wouldn’t.

Smiling for the first time all night, Dan put the tip of his pen to the paper. Just as he began to write, he caught movement outside his window out of the corner of his eye. A black cat, raised a paw to its brow, saluted, and with a smile walked away. Officer Dan’s pen was not far behind.

The following morning, the Chief of Police opened the door to his office and found a note, in which the following text was written in shaky handwriting: