Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

(Not) Writing With An Infant

WARNING: What follows may or may not be a work of fiction. Tread carefully into the realm of possible hyperbole. Do not let any likely truth scare you from either a) writing or b) having a baby (though it may scare you from doing both at once). I take no responsibility at the emotions the following text will invoke.

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(Not) Writing With An Infant

1. Wake up, tired and bedraggled, but determined to get some writing done today.

2. Play with baby, feed baby, change baby. When baby starts to get sleepy, sing and rock her until she finally drifts off. The little baby snores are a sure indicator she is out.

3. Place baby down and stare at her as she stirs briefly then goes back to sleep.

4. Boot up the laptop and open a word processing document, whichever project you decide to work on, though you don't remember what you had decided to work on the day before as you're exhaustion makes sure your short-term memory is so shot, you forget a thought from one second to the next.

5. Place fingers to keys in preparation to write.

6. Baby wakes up, screaming at the top of her lungs, as if she's affronted you even thought of writing. After all, you should be staring at her every second, even when she's asleep.

7. Pick up baby, calm baby, and get baby to drift back off to sleep.

8. This time, leave baby on your chest and get comfortable on the couch or bed, stretching your legs out. Carefully pull the laptop onto your lap without disturbing baby. It may be a bit uncomfortable to type around baby, but you will get some writing done today.

9. Prepare to write again.

10. Baby wiggles in her sleep and slips down, her butt smashing into the keys of the laptop. Maybe she just wants to help you write, but doesn't realize she needs to use her fingers, not her butt.

11. Adjust baby and pat her back until her squirming stops.

12. Take a deep breath. Now you can write.

13. Baby wiggles again. This time you hear the tell-tale pffffffft of a diaper filling.

14. Put the laptop down. Change the diaper.

15. Baby is now wide awake, smiling and cooing at you while you fasten her clean diaper on her.

16. Repeat steps 2 through 15, forgetting that you need to eat as well, until your husband gets home from work.

17. Shove fast food that husband brought home into your mouth. Feed baby. Hand husband baby.

18. Retreat into a room away from husband and baby with the laptop.

19. Rejoice at the silence. Sweet, sweet silence. No crying, screaming, pooping baby to interrupt your writing.

20. Wake up two hours later, the keyboard imprint on your face. You have written one whole word. At least you hope /hajt630kd= can be considered a word.

21. Now you'll write!

22. Your husband knocks on the door with a squalling, hungry baby in his arms.

23. Feed baby.

24. Look at the clock and know if you just get a good night's sleep, tomorrow you'll write. Definitely.

25. Get baby to sleep. Lay down to sleep. Wake up every hour to shush restless baby. Fully wake up four hours after laying down to feed baby, get baby back to sleep, lay down again. Keep calming baby at least every hour.

26. Wake up, tired and bedraggled, but determined to get some writing done today. Wait, didn't I just say that? No, I couldn't have. I just started talking about how to write with an infant. Really. Yes. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

NEXT UP: Magic Is Reality, Reality Is Magic: Green

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Write What You Know

I'm pretty sure I've touched on the topic of "write what you know" before. My apologies if this post seems repetitive (I hope not!), but a scene I'm currently writing reminds me of this little dictum.

So, you claim you haven't experienced enough things to write about? You can't write about a character jumping off of a bridge because you've never done it?

I've never jumped off of a bridge either, but I can still pull from my experiences to aid in writing such a scene. Writing what you know isn't just literal (though it can be in some instances)--if that were the case, I definitely wouldn't be writing fantasy! Even if you think your knowledge and experience is limited, you have a lot more to use than you realize.

No matter our experience, we all have emotions, and different situations bring different emotions. It's these emotional experiences we need to tap into when writing. Emotions are what we know.

How do you think having to jump off of a bridge into rushing water to escape from a rabid pack of unicorns feels like? You think you might be afraid? Maybe even nervous? I sure would! You'd have to make the decision to risk being skewered by the oncoming horns or risking bashing your head on the rocks below. I'm sure you've had to make a hard decision between two bad choices in your life. So you take what you have experienced and translate it to the situation you're writing about.

Emotions are important to have on the page, they bring your characters to life. And you know emotions. Every human does. So you can write what you know. And don't forget that!

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Some updates.

Sorry for the delayed blog post. I'm still trying to find a balance between tending to the baby and writing life. She is not making it easy by changing up her patterns every couple of days. My first child was so much more predictable! Hopefully, I'll manage to blog once more this month.

I did get some writing done in January though. I play the game Valley of Unicorns, and they ran a short story contest, so I managed to write up a 4000 word story. To view it, you need to register, so it's understandable if no one wants to do so. But if you do decide to register, follow the link to read "Winter Wishes", which is under my forum name, Jadeunicorn.

Also, I finally received my rejection from Harper Voyager for The Mind Behind the Mind. I'm sad it wasn't accepted, but I'm still pleased the novel made it to the final round. It will find a home one day, or I'll make it a home (after I write the other two novels in the trilogy)!

And don't forget about Writing Quest - February. I am still running the event monthly, and they can always be found on my Facebook page.

Happy reading and writing!

UP NEXT: Writing with an Infant