Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “procrastination”

From Super-size to Bite-size


With summer vacation officially starting for me I decided to attack my office and tidy up the mounds of paper that has been accumulating through the year. This is both a needed chore and also serves as a means of procrastination. I know I should be sitting down and actually getting back to those writing projects. Like that cow joke book…

Cows can wait momentarily, for I found treasures to share.


[Zits points out that literature, and I will extend this to quotes, is a matter of perspective] 

Every year in September I attend the local SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) annual conference. My main goal is have a manuscript professionally critiqued by an editor or agent (who will be so delighted with my writing that I am offered a contract on the spot). Another goal is network and source gather. Both are conducive to bettering my writerly skills.

One workshop handout proved too fun to toss.The idea is to take a well-known quote and make it more relatable to teens by translating into more YAish language. Here is their example:

“When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.” Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Here’s their translation: “Some days it’s hard to see the point of it all, so you have to wait for tomorrow and hope by then there’ll be something worth waking up for.”

I don’t know about you, but I can see this opening up a YA book that will be full of angst, humor, a touch of romance, and maybe even a bit of defiance.

YA is one genre that I would like to get out there into the hands of readers. There must be room for another John Green. I’m working on getting my YA voice down, and that’s the point of this exercise. Tell you what, rate me on whether I’m even close.

Marcel Proust, In Search of Time
“We believe that we can change the things around us in accordance with our desires–we believe it because otherwise we can see no favourable outcome.”

C.Muse translation:
“If I can’t see the silver lining, I’m still gonna carry an umbrella.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them.”

C.Muse translation:
“The world wants to suck your joy, just like vampires, and vampires aren’t exactly EMTs.”

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”

C.Muse translation:
“Life is too short to be hanging on to bruises–get over it and go have a bagel.”

Quotes of great possibility I didn’t get to:

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever know.” 
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

It was actually pretty entertaining to listen to everyone’s interpretation. As I recollect my vampire translation received a few polite guffaws. Does that mean it was perceived as a home runner or just a bummer?

I do have a couple of YA manuscripts I plan on revisiting and sending out on their “please-publish-me” tour.

Blue Skies and hope your summer is also off to a spiffy start.

 

 

The Art of Avoidance


All week the in-progress novel beckons me. Fatigue, lesson plans, grading papers tend to get in the way of creativity, so Saturday tends to be ThE writing day. Typically when Saturday arrives the following dual decision-making occurs:

SATURDAY

SATURDAY (Photo credit: Stefan Sager)

-wake at usual time of 5am “much too dark to think; sleep in two more hours”
-is it 7 already? “I’ve got the whole day–lounge a bit”
-how did it get to be 9:30? “better put in some work out time since I didn’t this week”
-wow! it’s going on 11 already “after a shower and breakfast I’ll get right on the computer”
-cranking up the computer means it’s time to settle down to working “after I check my emails and notifications”
-enough procrastinating, open up the file and let’s get cracking on this new chapter “lunch would be a good idea”
Okay, you get the idea. Raise your hand if similar avoidance scenarios take place when preparing to work on your project.

Why is it I avoid something I look forward to working on? I do actually like the story and it’s going well. Yet, there remains a reluctance to jump right up and sit down and work.
Wait–that’s it! Writing is work and after a 40 plus work week putting in another 5 plus hours on the novel feels like a double-shift, even though it’s doing something I like.
Solution? Absolutely, I’m agreeing with you on this–suck it up, get focused, and get going. Good advice. After I go for a walk, clean out the refrigerator, and put away the laundry I’ll get right on my story.

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