Writing through a Ruckus

DSC_1252 (2)There are workman tromping around in my kitchen; every few minutes the buzz of a saw, the zap of a nail gun, hammering and yammering. The day before all this chaos, I prepared for this new and temporary infestation in my life. I gathered my drafts for editing, thinking I could hide out in my study doing my work while they did theirs…this was an absolute test of patience and concentration amidst chaos. How much work could I actually get done?

I did pretty well. After the first three hours, when I finally quelled my curiosity, stopped listening to their every word and poking my head around the corner to view their most recent progress, I was able to let the words take over and allow my fingers to get into a natural rhythm on my keyboard. Eventually, the whine of the saw and their frustrated voices faded into the realm of white noise.

Writers get used to distractions permitting identifiable noise to fade into extinction. We train ourselves to ignore the sounds of the world around us, turning off phones, voices, television, sirens and traffic – we learn to tune into the vibrations of our words. When something new and unexpected intrudes into our normal routine, we have to throw a blanket over it and get on with our work.

So far, I have managed to bang out this post, edit another article and jot down notes on a new project – not too shabby when power saws are screaming one room away from me…just goes to show that when writers really have a story to tell, they’ll find a way…now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see what that loud bang was in my kitchen…


Some Writing, A Massage and a Comedy of Errors

DSC_1127We arrived at our destination welcomed by the bumpy waves of the glacial lake rushing onto the sandy shore. It’s cool, almost winter, a balmy zero degrees beneath a blue sky, a dazzling sun shimmering in the clear icy water. It is the beginning of a weekend retreat of luxury and bliss for my better half and me, a bit of reading, a restorative couple of days in healing hot springs, and for me, a bit of writing. My NaNoWriMo had commenced with a rocky start, plagued by deadlines, illness and familial obligations. I have managed to pen an opening, introduce characters and a setting for my work in progress, but am looking to move the plot forward in the remaining days of November. I have no expectations that I will actually complete a rough draft of a novel, but I am confident that I will establish a solid foundation on which to build.

We checked in, were given our room keys and made our way to the fifth floor, anticipating the first view of our lair with lakeside views. We swiped our key card – nothing happened – no welcoming green light or click of the lock granted us access. We tried again to no avail – we tried the second key card and still nothing. After several tries the door opened from inside, and we were greeted by the couple already occupying our room. Oops, our mistake?

After many apologies from the front desk, we were given another room. This time, no other occupants were inside and we reveled in our elegant space that overlooked the vast lake outside our window. We settled in and decided to go for a walk to explore. Our door closes behind us, we test the latch to make sure all is secure and it opens. Puzzled, we close it again, not immediately noticing the lack of a lock clicking into place. Once again, we test the latch, and once again are granted access to our room without a key. We call the front desk and they graciously send a repair man to replace the locking mechanism. Once in place, we leave to explore, have a bit of dinner – we return an hour or so later only to discover that, once again, we are denied access to our room. Sigh. Back to the front desk we go only to learn that they had not reprogrammed the new lock on our door; once again, a repair man is sent and finally, we have a working key and a locking door.

That was day one…day two emerged with much less excitement and led us into the blissful weekend we were seeking. I am writing now, to the sound of waves brushing over the sand, and a brisk fall wind prompting the trees to chatter amongst themselves. Olive snow-capped mountains enfold us on all sides wrapping us in sanctuary. My characters are coming to life again in the blissful tranquility we have now achieved. I type in anticipation of discovery, and the luxurious massage that will free my mind to wander into new territory, shaping the image of the story I must compose.

Write on, dear writers…write on…


Diving In

topsecretNovember is upon us; for many writers, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Thousands will sign up and take the challenge of writing in a novel in thirty days. I have never participated in this challenge but this time I will, although not as an official member.  I still have weekly and monthly deadlines I need to meet on a regular basis, but outside of those I plan on attempting to complete a first draft of a project that began as a short story but has since outgrown its limit. It’s on its way to becoming a novel, and with a little push from me, it may reach its potential.

I’ve spent the last several weeks thinking about my story and gathering the tools for my month-long challenge. I am looking forward to immersing myself in my fictional world, getting intimate with my characters, unravelling the coil and seeing where the story will lead.

It occurred to me that any month could be a personal novel-writing month for writers. All it takes is the focus and the drive. But November is here, and I will gladly sit my butt down and write for thirty gut-wrenching, frustrating, surprising and delightful days. I am eager to discover new insights into my writing process during this time.

For all you writers out there embarking on this challenge – good luck and happy writing. I look forward to the future publications that will emerge from this challenge of sheer willpower.