Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Satisfying Progress

This past week has been a writing marathon (well, except for blogging, obviously).

Last Thursday afternoon I had three interviews for articles at work in one afternoon. I sat down at my computer that evening and was mentally scrambled from balancing the absorption of three completely different news articles. I snagged the top of Saturday's front page with the first article, took in another interview this morning and began cranking out the first of three articles I have left on assignment this week.

But that doesn't begin to touch what I've done on Blood & Steel. Since Thursday evening I'd laid down over 14,000 words (thank you, Word Count) on the second draft. It's been almost non-stop since Thursday, though the writing comes in chunks both big and small. Other than Saturday, which just didn't belong to me at all, I've yet to have a day pass without at least an hour spent in front of the keyboard. Monday was pretty epic. I'd be willing to bet I spent four solid hours writing after cleaning the house and making the grocery run.

Looks like I'm going to have this done by summer after all.

On a related front, the new Clifton Forge School of the Arts is opening up and will be holding its first classes in January. I've toured the new school and I have to say that it's pretty amazing. The space it has is unbelievable and the potential for expansion even more so. The first classes are photography related and a children's art class, but the future holds classes in sculpting, painting, quilting, blacksmithing, antique cars...pretty much anything goes. Including writing workshops. Taught by yours truly. It's not any kind of permanent position, but it will be an opportunity to teach a few workshops, to meet with up and coming writers and just to work on the craft with people who, like me, love to write. The first proposed workshop is going to focus on the short story and I'm trying to outline one geared more toward novel writing.

It's been an exciting week in my little literary world.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Word After Another

Writer's block is very much the bane of my existence. It is the Joker to my Batman, the Green Goblin to my Spider-Man, the Dr. Doom to my Mister Fantastic, the...well, you get the idea.

Any writer that tells you he's never had to deal with writer's block is simply, flat out, lying to you. That's about the same as a baseball player telling you he's never struck out. It happens, without warning or explanation and always when you least expect it.

I've been fighting it now for a couple of weeks. For whatever reason, the Muse left me as I picked up my pen or sat down my keyboard. I've been able to crank out the required articles for work, but even those haven't been my best work. Granted, I'm still knocking four years worth of rust off my journalism skills, but even still, I haven't quite been on my game.

The key to beating writer's block is almost laughingly simple. Just put one word after another. I've said it before when giving advice to another aspiring author and he was kind enough to repeat to me just the other day. I mulled it over for a while and then I sat down tonight with the serious intention of getting some ink down on paper, either digitally or the old fashioned way. I cranked up some hard rock, which is normally my writing groove, and sat to work on the Druid project. When that still failed to get me anywhere, I switched over to Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds and went work on my solo project.

Tonight I polished off the first one-third of the second draft of Blood & Steel.

Thanks, Tony. I owe you one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Number 200

The New Year is upon and I can't think of a better time to make my official 200th post. Actually, I can, but I'm sitting here in the newsroom waiting for other members of the staff to return from lunch to file the things I need for my page, so since I've nothing more pressing to do, I'll blog.

My resolutions for 2011 were pretty basic. I'm going to try to resolve to be a bit more frugal this year and learn to save money a little better. This resolution will come in handy as Bethany and I save to fly to France. I've also made a resolution not to purchase any new books (with the exception of two series that I'm following closely) until I clean off my to-read list.

I have a pretty good jump start on the second one. I polished off Pat Conroy's My Reading Life and Patrick O'Brian's The Yellow Admiral. Just today I started The Hundred Days by the same author. I have two more of O'Brian's series before I run out and I'm not looking forward to the end of that great read.

Work is going pretty well. Tonight I'll be attending a speech by a state senator at the local community college and I'm working on an online interview with the director of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which has potential to turn into a pretty neat story.

Speaking of work, I'd better be getting back to it.