Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Overcome the Impossible

So I'm knee deep in my current WIP and depending on the day, I'll tell you a totally different story about how I feel about it.

An except from my writing journal over the past few days:

Sunday- This plot is too difficult to write. Too many characters and they all have their own agenda. Need to ditch the story.

Monday- Forget what I said yesterday, I LOVE this book. It's amazing. It's brilliant. It's my best writing EVER!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday am- What was I thinking? This is all crap, crap, crap.

Tuesday pm- (after rereading supposed horrible last scene) So maybe this is workable. Give me about 257 more drafts and kill off a few characters, I might be able to pull this baby off. 

Sound familiar?

We all have that internal critic telling us how horrible our writing is. (Okay so maybe YOU don't, but I sure do) But if you ask me, that's really not such a bad thing. Because that critic is what makes me a stronger writer.

The important component is balance. It's being able to identify my weaknesses while at the same time believing in the beauty of my story.

Overcoming the impossible takes one word at a time, one revision at a time. Until that book is sitting on the bookshelf in its shiny new cover waiting, dying to be read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That Secret Place

One of my favorite songs is "Sail Away" by Enya. I can totally picture myself jumping on board a random sailboat and slipping away into the sunset, my hair flying behind me like the movies.

Okay, so that's totally cheesy, but sometimes I do have that urge to get away and escape. Do you ever feel this way? Like when the kids are throwing fits over their homework, or when I get too many emails from work, or when the cats have shattered my favorite bowl from Bali, or when FIRE ANTS invade my house.

That's one of the things I love about writing. I can find that escape in my stories. After I put the boys to bed, I slip away to the front room, curl up on the couch with a million pillows, laptop tucked into my lap, and I start typing away. All the problems vanish and it's just me and my own little world. I call it my Secret Place.

Tonight I told my youngest it was time to start working on his homework. He said, "Maybe later, Mommy. Right now I'm taking a break and relaxing in Bora Bora."

I laughed so hard. I couldn't deny that Bora Bora sounded perfect right about then.

Sometimes we as writers need to have that Secret Place where no one can find us and we can escape.

Do any of you have a Secret Place, too?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fun Stuff

Here's a picture of one of my favorite Korean treats. It's got chocolate inside!

For many of you, the weather is getting cooler right now. Not here in Florida. But then I love the heat so bring it on!

When not teaching, I've been fast drafting my latest WIP which I'm so excited about. That and fighting FIRE ANTS. Yes, they have invaded our house! I have war wounds to prove it.

It was Chusok holiday for Koreans from Sept. 11-13 (for you Canadians and Americans, think the Korean version of Thanksgiving). So happy Chusok everyone! Here's a great article about Chusok (or Chuseok, depending on how you want to translate it) from Korea Legal.org. Or check out this past post on my own Chusok experience.

My sister's wedding pictures were posted on her photographer's blog and I HAD to share the blog link with you because they are just perfection. Her photographer, Abby Liga, is amazing. And Julianne, my sister, looks gorgeous. You have to look at these pictures!

Kelly Polark has recently started up this great blog called Book Recs of the Rock and Famous to promote literacy. Go check it out too! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Obsessed with the Hwarang Warriors

I'm a history fan. I totally love the stuff. Documentaries are almost as enjoyable as watching Jane Austen movies. In high school, I used to read my history books for fun. So when I moved to Korea, I was totally entralled with Korean history and especially the Hwarang Warriors.

I did a blog post on it a while back after visiting a museum in Seoul and interestingly it's one of my most popular posts.

There's a lot of really cool things about the Hwarang warriors:

1. They inspired the Japanese to create what we now know as the Samurai warriors.
2. They practiced a martial art form that evolved into what's taekwondo today.
3. They were known to be able to kick a man off a moving horse.
4. The first Hwa Rang Do were females.
5. They followed many of the same ethic codes as the European knights did.

But the thing that sums it all up the best are the pictures. There's something very romantic about the age of Asian chivalry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Revision Is This Part II

This is in continuation from my last post on revision, Revision Is This. You didn't think I'd leave you dying on the path, did you?

My legs ache from the steep incline and I can barely put one foot in front of the other. I stagger to the top of the peak and let the wind brush a cool breeze against my cheeks. The air smells sweet like honeysuckle. A valley spreads below me in a patchwork quilt, and I realize it’s filled with tulips, daisies and tiny white flowers.

And there, just in the distance, stands the finish line, its crimson flags whipping against an icy blue sky.

Energy bursts through me and I take off in a sprint down the hill. The wind pushes against me now, tearing at my clothes, but I’m so caught up in my downward momentum that I don’t care. I’m practically flying.

I hit level ground. It’s rocky and weeds twist their way over the path, but my eyes focus on the finish line. Fire burns my lungs, a searing pain. It spreads through my whole body and yet I’ve never felt more alive than I do right now.
 And then I cross the finish line. I lift my arms in victory, and I scream and shout. Someone presses a thin, cold disc into my sweaty hand.

My medal.

The blisters are forgotten, the cuts and bruises have vanished, and the doubts have been left in the dust because I’ve finished the race.

And nothing can take that victory from me.
I’ve nearly made it. I’m almost there!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Revision Is This

I’ve run 10 miles. My legs are jelly. Blisters rub against the soles of my sneakers. Sweat drips down my face, burning my eyes, and my shirt is drenched.

I stumble and I fall to the ground, scraping my knees and palms against the concrete. I know I need to get up. I know the end is near. But I can’t. I’m tired, I think dully as I stare at the blood cutting its way to my knee’s surface.

And then I see her. My coach, strutting over to me, her eyes lit with fire.

“What are you doing?” she yells. “Get up! Don’t give up now that you’re almost there!”

I stare up at her. She looks a whole lot like me, except she’s got muscular legs and arms and her ponytail bobs with just as much enthusiasm as her words. She’s even holding a timer and a clipboard with a list of goals and aspirations.

Then another person, who also has a strange resemblance to me, rushes over. She’s wearing soft pink pajamas and hooked in the crook of her arm hangs a wicker basket filled with books and sweets.

“Leave her alone!” Pink PJ girl tells my coach. “Running is the most ridiculous pastime. And she’s not even good at it. Look at her!” Then to me, “Forget this nonsense. What you need to do is forget about running and relax with a good book, a comfortable pillow and some chocolate.”

Pink PJ girl has a point. I do need rest. And at times this run has felt pointless. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going in useless circles or even the right direction. I look down at my aching body and my bloody knees. I sure don’t look like a runner. More like I’ve been through combat. Besides, her proposal sounds tempting. Especially since she’s holding out to me a copy of Hunger Games and Pride and Prejudice along with a bag of dark chocolate.

But then my coach says, “You were destined to run. The time to rest is coming. But first you must finish the race!”

Her words fill me with hope and somehow I stagger to standing, groaning as my muscles cramp up. I push away Pink PJ girl’s soft pillow and sweet chocolate and I start running. Because my coach is right. This is what I was meant to do.


And nothing is going to stop me from reaching the finish line.

(Okay, so I'm being slightly dramatic *grin*. But do you ever feel like this? And for more specific ways on what I've been doing in my revisions this last summer, click over to the MiGs blog where I blogged about it)