steady as a wind whipped desert

Volcanoes National Park as my backyard makes it so easy for me to drive right over there to my favorite parking lot and write!

The wind whipped my mobile writing studio as I glanced out over the desolate brown desert gravelled ground.  Scrabbly hapu’u miniatures and ten foot tall ohi’a lehua blooming red created foreground to the clear blue sky, bright sunshine and slowly building white cloud bank.

The only sound: whipping wind.

I started with my peanut butter and nutella sandwich and watched the silver glint of the incoming rental cars.

After surviving the morning’s domestic traumas (sick boy, laundry, eldest’s first day of summer job, housecleaning), I was ready for my commitment to writing.

I put my head down and didn’t look for up three hours.  (Ok, I did pee and recharge the computer.)

I had to go pick up the eldest from Hilo, so I missed the four hour mark.  I will strive for it tomorrow.

Writing notes: I read in my beloved Reading Like a Writer by Francine Post that some writers struggle with point of view and tense because they feel like they’re writing into a void.  Who is the audience? Who is the storyteller? I pondered those questions today as I worked on completing my read through.  I finished on page 147/180 today, far into the deathly middle where the tangents are getting nuts.  I’m still making major plot revisions and character changes.  But that is what revision is all about, right?


Living, aka “prewriting”

Sunday, rallying, didn’t lie down once all day!  Ate a pb sandwich and drank coffee!  yippee.

My dear friend, Darlene Javar (poet extraordinaire) always reminds me that any time not writing is time spent collecting stories, characters and plots for writing.

Tomorrow, begins the first full week of four hours per day writing.

This is special because:

1) I’ve never dedicated so many hours per day to writing.

2) The commitment is not mine alone.  My husband and kids have to be encouraging, accepting and helpful.

3) Sitting alone in a mini van with a laptop and no internet access for twenty hours a week could drive a person nuts.  Let’s hope I’m not that person.

Thank you to those of you who send me messages, either by facebook, gmail or wordpress.  It means a lot!

Wish me luck!


Saturday is family day.

Dear Husband (DH) and I got the new chicken  coop out into the yard and the four “baby” chicks installed.  He and I and then another helper got some clear plastic hung on the back deck to block the cold wet summer wind.  Kids played and cruised.

The only problem was that my stomach was feeling terrible. Diarrhea all day.  I spent a lot of the day in bedI didn’t even feel like reading (and that is unheard of.)  Hoping to be better tomorrow to spend more time with the kids.  Glad its not a writing day!

I’ve only just begun!

Today Jackie and I spent most of the day at our new hot spot, Kope Kope in Hilo.

We’ve abandoned Border’s Hilo because it is just too distracting.  Although, for book and magazine reading and general hanging out, Border’s is still the spot.   At Kope Kope, there is also coffee (essential), food and clean tables.  Kope Kope is much quieter and not nearly as busy (insane) as Borders.  There are many more available plugs (and even power strips!) Of course, there are things going on- Japanese people talking loudly in Japanese and one of the waitresses practicing with her cool poi balls–  a maori dance implement- click below for more info-

She was really good though.  She practiced for like two hours.  Maybe she didn’t work there after all.

Jackie and I usually chat our heads off and have trouble focusing, even at her house.  So we instituted a rule.

We would write or revise for one hour straight and then take little breaks.

If we needed to talk about something, we would write it down on a post it to talk about or do later.  It worked!

We wrote for three hours!  Yippeee. I read straight through my novel up to page 65 (out of 180 pages) making changes and notes as I went along.

‘m trying to get a feel for the plot and if it needs more rising action, falling action and twists.  Right now, my goal is to read the whole way through and tighten.  I’ve made changes as I go, but for now I’m ignoring verb tense and point of view. This means I’m skipping between Alex, the main character telling the story and a third person omniscient point of view (god-like know it all).  I’m going between past tense and present tense.  But, instead of deciding which it should be and changing it all only to change my mind again and go back and change it all again, I’m letting it ride for a bit.  I’m going to work on a “plot chart” on which I will “draw” the plot on a line graph showing rising action (good, happy stuff happening to the main character) going up and falling action (mishaps, problems, tragedy) going down.  I’m hoping that will help me “see” the whole plot more clearly.  One challenge of writing a novel is keeping most of the plot in your head while simultaneously  making it up and revising all along.

Alright!  Well, the weekend is here!  Hooray.  Saturday and Sunday I will spend with my family.  I’ll blog, but no writing until Monday.  I have a date with my van.

That’s What She Said

Quotes by my favorite authors:

Natalie Goldberg:  (rough paraphrase, I can’t find the quote)

“Books provide us with mind to mind transmission.  When you read, you are inside the author’s head.  There’s no other way to do this.”

Natalie,  again, on “why schoolteachers stay away from the meat of writing.

To have us contact our raw minds  in class would have incited immediate chaos: hoards of teenagers bolting from their neat rows of wooden desks and dashing for the water fountains as though the roots of their hair were on fire.”

Francine Post from Reading Like A Writer:

“Because one important thing that can be learned by reading slowly is the seemingly obvious but oddly underappreciated fact that language is the medium we use in much the same way a composer uses notes, the way a painter uses paint.  I realize it may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how easily we lose sight of the fact that words are the raw material out of which literaturare is crafted.”

Here’s an old adage I’m not sure can be attributed to anyone:

“You want to write?  Then WRITE!”

Time, the ever elusive

I can never get enough of it.  I despise the phrase, “killing time.”  I don’t know how people can be “bored.”

Some of us work too long and hard for the “man,”  some of us spend too much time with electronics (TV, computer, video games), some of us sleep too much.

How is our time really best spent?

Whoa, I didn’t mean this post to get so philosophical so fast.  For the five years I lived without a TV, a question I was constantly asked was, “How do you have time to do so many different things?” Which I always thought was funny because my role models were doing so much more and at such better quality than I was.

Now that I have three kids, four dogs, six chickens, a cat, a house and a husband, I can’t imagine how much time I used to have.  I tease my childless friends about sucking the marrow out of every single lazy Saturday morning that a toddler doesn’t wake you up at 5:30 AM with some crazy question like, “Can I paint?”  (Actual question from actual three year old.)

Part of this blog and the “great summer goal” is to force myself to use my 60 days of summer to the best advantage possible towards  my own personal intention.

So, let’s get down. Today was the last day of school for kids.  The blog is underway, I’ve been able to get one done each evening with some prewrite the evening before.  Thursday is my last day of work.

Friday: Day with Jackie in Hilo- Write two hours (at least)at Kope Kope (coffee shop with minimal distractions) and get a critique on chapter one.

Sat/Sun: break, family time.

Mon-Friday: 12-4 Write in my van.  No excuses.  Go.

Blog every night to keep you all up to date.


Hey, anyone else want to set a writing goal?

Writer’s Group: Essential

Ok, there is no way I would have written two novels and published a book on teaching Reading, if I hadn’t met Jackie, Darlene and Lora.

We have been writing, critiquing, drinking, and eating together for ten years.  These are the ladies who grinned through 17 drafts of  “Pure Intention, the story of a summer,”  laughed through my dead animal shorts and met extra times to revise, edit and push me through the publication work on my book.  They are my best friends.  They know more about me than my husband and my mother put together (very scary, I know!).

We are all teachers and we started out at the same school.  By now, we have expanded by location and job description, but we still manage to get together often to write,  talk and critique.  Lora is moving away this summer to California to seek her fortune and we will miss her stellar editing skills, brilliant intellect (I’m not just saying that.  She had a perfect SAT score) and sunny smile.

This summer, Jackie and I will refine our novels together and Darlene will pop in when she can to add her poetic touches.

Believe you me, if you want to write, making commitments and having like minded friends who expect it of you can make all the difference.

Hey, you all are kind of like a writing group for me.

Send me your work and I’ll give you a critique…and a big sweet cup of coffee!

How about this?  Send me something you’ve written for me to critique.  You can even choose the “guiding questions” and I’ll also send you a wee little sample of Ka’u coffee  (If you’re in the know, then you know that Ka’u coffee recently took the top three coffees in the world contest.) Just for fun, why not?  Do you have the writeintention?