September 28, 2011

Miracles do happen.

Posted in On Writing at 8:46 pm by Michelle K.

To anyone who’s reading, I just wanted to let you know that Chapter 20 is finally posted! It would seem that miracles do happen, and muses do forgive (after much grovelling). Thank you to everyone who has stuck it out – the wait was surely the longest in history.

I don’t know when I’ll post the next chapter, but the muse is at least making an effort to be kind … and if she’s not on fire, she’s at least sitting in a corner offering the occasional hug. No one said coming back would be easy, but hey, I am back. And that is something!

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September 20, 2011

“The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.” (William Goldman)

Posted in On Writing at 11:50 am by Michelle K.

Wow. I couldn’t have said it better. For the better part of a year, I have found excuse after excuse to not write. It hasn’t been difficult. Real life rears its ugly head in a myriad of ways … and it’s easy to become entrenched in the day-to-day without any thought about working through the stress of creating something new. I bow my head in shame, because really, I’ve enjoyed the act of not writing. Perhaps a little too much.

I’d been away from the exercise for so long, I actually forgot how much I love it. I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy not writing. When all is going well … and even when it’s not … the practice of writing has its own rewards.  There’s the excitement of finding the perfect word/phrase/sentence – even when it takes days or weeks to dig it up. There’s the sense of accomplishment when one spends an hour or two bent low over the keyboard or journal, allowing the muse to go where it may, and actually finds something worthwhile in the mire – even if it’s just a cool word, or a concept to be used later. And there’s that amazing feeling one gets just from the doing … the sense that the mind and heart and soul are getting some much needed nourishment and a great escape from the daily drudgery that is real life.

I’d nearly forgotten all of this. For so many months, I looked at writing as a chore. The inspiration was lost. I was bored … with my story, with myself. I’m reminded again of Jack London: You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. Problem is, I haven’t much felt like chasing after it. I put my club in a closet and shut the door.

But here I am now, a year later, and what have I to show for all this time? Nothing. My club sits in the closet, gathering dust, and I sit at my computer reading Facebook statuses and articles at Cracked.com. Sure, these things are enjoyable, but they don’t really leave me with a great sense of accomplishment.

And this lack of accomplishment hurts my pride far more than feeling that my writing is sub-par. I mean, how can I expect my writing to improve, if I don’t actually write?  I’m heartily ashamed of myself.

At least I can come back! It’s never too late to pick up that pen. I suppose that’s the real beauty of any art: no matter how long you stay away, coming back is … if not exactly easy … then at least, doable. It may take awhile for the muse to fire up again (and there may be a fair amount of kicking and screaming until she does), but the exercise is still there. Ready and waiting.

With that in mind, I’ve finally “completed” and sent Chapter 20 to my trusted editor. It feels … amazing. And this feeling is a reminder of all I’ve missed in the past year. So going forward, I won’t let so much time pass. I’m going to write. Regularly. On a schedule. I’m going to do it because I want to.

Nothing like a New Year’s resolution in September, but hey … it can’t hurt to get an early start.

July 17, 2010

Dear Muse … Welcome Home.

Posted in On Writing at 9:12 pm by Michelle K.

Inspiration has struck – and I do mean struck – like a massive bolt of lightening, or a really huge chunk of Calgary hail.  I’ve the bruises to prove it.  My muse is here, whispering at my ear, punching me in the arm because I simply can’t type fast enough.  I wish she’d give me a break.  I mean, she speaks in gibberish most of the time, and it’s tough to decipher!  I’ve never been great with foreign languages.  I’ve taken French about six times, but the vocabulary simply doesn’t stick around.  And as we all know, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I wouldn’t say I’ve lost the ability to write, but my knack for translating the muse’s foreign tongue is a bit rusty.  It goes slowly.  But it does go. The initial draft is a bit crappy.  But it’s present.  The words are sitting there, waiting for me to turn them into something.  I can’t really complain now, can I?

The muse is certainly a welcome sight, but it’s not to her that I owe this debt of gratitude (whatever she might think!).  I really have to thank the people who made this past week a magical experience – one I’ll never forget.  The talent, the creativity, the warmth and love of friends … there is no better way to bring the inner writer into the light.  And into the light she has come.

Bear with me over the next few weeks.  I’ve taken on other writing projects in addition to the big kahuna (aka The Coming of Light).  But these projects will – I believe – help to keep things fresh and interesting.  The words will be typed, the edits will be made, the magic will prevail!

Before we know it, there will be … dare I say?  Another chapter!  Yippee!

June 28, 2010

The Sky is Falling

Posted in On Writing at 9:55 am by Michelle K.

Yesterday my laptop died … I mean, it died without any prior warning.  It wasn’t ill.  It wasn’t coughing or sniffing, wasn’t wheezing each time it had to restart.  One minute it was fine, the next minute KABOOM!  It could no longer load the operating system.  I kept getting that awful blue Windows screen and a message that said “Hard drive failure imminent.”  Now I ask you: If you got a message like that, would you not panic?

Well, I didn’t.  I remained calm, cool, and collected.  I tried everything I could think of to start it up – ran the Windows Repair utility, ran Dell diagnostics (damned Dell), even called Dell technical support (I don’t recommend that – they were rude, condescending, and completely unhelpful)).  In the end, there was only one conclusion:  The hard drive is fried, and I may … or may not … be able to retrieve all the data.

Now this would not normally be the end of the world.  I mean, I used to back up my data.  I had a desktop PC I kept just for such a purpose.  But after that PC croaked on me (last year sometime), I kind of fell off the wagon.  And even though my laptop contain my entire life (just about), most of that is music or photos … things I can recover in other ways (iTunes is a godsend).

But … but … my writing.

OH MY GOD.

Panic did not ensue.  It was more like the sky collapsed.  My world became – in a matter of hours – a very dark and dismal place.  I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think.  I could only cry and bemoan my own stupidity.  Why didn’t I back up all that data?  Why? Why? WHY?!?!?!?!?!

Luckily I have a smart sister who told me to call the Geek Squad.  I followed her instructions, took my laptop to them right away, signed an estimate for $400+ (oh yeah, a hefty bill), and even with the message “there’s a good chance” that they can recover my data, there are no promises.  They have my life in their hands (quite literally).  And my writing.  My novel.  And I have to wait at least three days before they can tell me more.  FML.

I won’t go into the depression I’ve been feeling since I said goodbye to my “baby.”  I won’t describe the sense of aimlessness, of loss.  I literally don’t know what to do with myself.  Even whining about writer’s block is preferable to this.  Can we rewind a few days?  Pretty please?

Cross your fingers and toes.  Light some candles.  If you have any influence with the powers that be, feel free to speak up on my behalf.  But above all, stop whatever you’re doing and go back up your data.  NOW.  Don’t wait, because you never know when it might be too late.  And if that happens, well … I did warn you, so don’t come crying to me!

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