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Seven Confessions and a Compact

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Okay, so far, only ten people are entered in the contest. And a word of clarification: for comments to count toward the contest, they must be on the posts dated between June 30 and July 30—no going back to older posts and commenting on those! Also—it should be more than just “Great topic. Thanks for posting it.” I want thoughtful comments that prove you’ve actually read what I’ve written. Yes, that sounds narcisistic, but it is my blog and my contest, after all! For a refresher on the rules, click on the 500th Blog Post Contest & Giveaway link at the top of the page.

First confession. I don’t usually know from day to day what I’m going to post about on my blog. Even when I’m doing series, most of the time, until I sit down to write the post, I’m not entirely sure what the exact topic will be—though with most series, because I have to do a lot of reading, I already have a list of ideas that I want to blog about. And then there are some which I have to plan out very carefully, because it’s a topic that either requires a lot of research or a lot of time to construct. In the speech-giving world, this is considered “extemporaneous” versus “scripted.” Though I hated it when I first started, over the course of the semester in which I took my public speaking class as an undergrad, I learned that I actually enjoy public speaking. However, I’m much more comfortable when I’ve written out the entire speech multiple times so that when I’m up there with just bullet points, I can remember exactly what it is I want to say about each one. Why, then, am I a seat of the pants writer and blogger? If I’m more successful as a speaker when I’ve outlined and planned and researched before I even write the speech, why does the idea of outlining and planning a story stop me cold when it comes to sitting down to write it?

Second confession. Every time I even think about sitting down to write more of Menu for Romance, my second book under contract, I totally freeze up. Usually, when I have such wonderful ideas for conflicts and scenes running around in my head, I can’t wait to sit down and put it all on paper (well, on the computer, anyway). But I’m totally in the grip of some massive fear that I can’t seem to conquer. It’s the fear that all writers deal with: What if what I write doesn’t live up to how it plays out in my head? What if I do write it to my satisfaction and enjoyment but everyone else hates it? What if I write this whole contracted book and the editor decides she doesn’t like it at all and I have to start over from scratch? What if my books are successful and I have to do this again and again and again—write books that are already contracted and face these fears every time? What if I am just a one-hit-wonder, a flash-in-the-pan?

Third confession. I hate okra. It’s slimy.

Fourth confession. At the ACFW conference last year, keynoter James Scott Bell talked about certain people who have an affliction that the fear I just discussed has given me: they want to have written; they don’t actually want to write. Years ago, I used to come home from work and spend most of the evening sitting at my computer composing my stories—if not in the living room at a decent hour, I’d sit in bed with the laptop until 2 a.m. because the words were flowing and I didn’t want to stop writing. Now, I’d much rather be in the process of revising a complete manuscript. The problem is, I can’t bring myself to complete it! What a conundrum.

Fifth confession. I have a hard time writing when my house is in chaos, which it has been the last couple of months. I don’t know how I let it get as bad as it did. Well, I do—I’m lazy and I don’t like housework. I’d pulled out all of the clothes I’d kept from four or five years ago (the last time I lost a bunch of weight) and dragged the boxes into the living room where I tried all of them on. Many of them fit me. A few are still a little too snug. And a bunch need to go away—whether they fit or not—because I’m never going to wear them again. Great project, right? Yeah, except for the fact that until this weekend, every time I entered my living room, I started feeling claustrophobic because of these piles of clothes all around. (I live in a house that’s less than 900 square feet, so we’re not talking a huge living room here.) Stuff in my office started piling up—then in my bedroom . . . it got to the point where I was so overwhelmed by all the stuff that I couldn’t function. I would get home at night and enter a vegetative state in front of the TV every night because I didn’t know where to get started. But this past weekend, when I should have been marathon-writing with my fellow MTCWers, I spent the weekend organizing and starting to get my house, and hopefully my life, back in order so that when I come back from my little mini-vacation this week, I can start over fresh, with renewed motivation.

Sixth confession. I love jellybeans. Except the black ones.

Seventh confession. I’m the world’s worst role-model when it comes to being a “published” author. Aren’t I? I mean, look at everything I’ve confessed. How many times have I quoted or advocated what Madeleine l’Engle wrote in Walking on Water about writing every day? How many times have I talked about how important it is to make sure we push ourselves when we don’t feel like writing? How many times have I experienced in my own writing journey how the less often I sit down to write, the less often I’m going to feel like writing? how when I make myself write even when I don’t feel like it, I’ll eventually have a break-through when it’s all of a sudden 3 a.m. and I’ve written 3,000 words without even realizing it?

The compact. My Dazzlingly Clever Critique Partners, Georgiana and Erica, and I have entered into a compact with each other. For the month of July, we will write 7,000 words per week, which we will submit to each other for crits every 14 days. The three of us are very competitive—in a good natured way—so I know each of us is going to be trying to make sure we beat the others’ word counts. So far, I’m way behind for this week. My excuse has been that I’ve been trying to get the house organized and somewhat clean before I go on vacation. The truth is what I’ve just confessed. So I’ll be scrambling to get some writing done while I’m on vacation!

So, there you have it. Hopefully I’ve given you enough various topics that you can find something to comment on!

  1. Caleb permalink
    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:16 am

    Great topic. Thanks for posting it.


  2. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:21 am

    You are so close to being DQ’ed from this contest, it’s not even funny. Okay, well, maybe it is funny. Especially at this time of night.


  3. Caleb permalink
    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:34 am

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Three and six feel so misplaced among all these other diatribes about writing obstacles, but they were amusing sidenotes so there’s nothing wrong with that. So… my turn? I don’t have a blog, so I’ll just steal your topic in your comments section (including a random thought about food). TAKE THAT.

    First Confession.
    I finally got past a month long brain freeze on my latest script today and finished the scene that officially ends the second act. In my outline, the third act is looking to be wonderfully fun to write, so it’s nice to be excited about it again.

    Second confession.
    The appeal of sweets is completely beyond me. I genuinely crave something sweet maybe once every two weeks. If I was told I had to live on meat, bread, and cheese for the rest of my life, I would be totally okay with that. That said, I don’t like jelly beans that much regardless of color.

    Third confession.
    I’m awesome.

    Fourth confession.
    Fifty percent of the time when I’m REALLY writing – like at my absolute best – I’m sitting in my bed wearing only my boxer-briefs.

    Fifth confession.
    I don’t take prescription medication, and hate taking something to help me sleep despite how incredibly off my sleep schedules have a tendency to become. However, I take Advil at least every other day.

    Sixth confession.
    I have better movie tastes than Kaye.

    Seventh confession.
    I want to get a St. Bernard and name it Unstop Abel. Because I can.

    Eighth confession.
    I can invent more confessions than Kaye, as proven by this eighth confession.

    Ninth confession.
    My cabin fever is getting really, really bad lately, as I’m sure you can tell. I’m glad my little brother is coming to visit to hopefully keep my sanity in check.

    Tenth confession.
    Kaye rules (unless we’re arguing about movies).


  4. Caleb permalink
    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:39 am

    DQ’d?! I just made your blog twice as entertaining.

    To me.

    At 1:30 in the morning.

    I’m taking back my Tenth confession. (Yeah, that’s right. You made me go there.)


  5. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 6:53 am

    ROFLOL!! Okay Caleb’s comment has to be one of the best I’ve ever read! Hilarious!


  6. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 7:08 am

    DQ’d? Sigh I have so much to learn.
    On topic. Kaye I am glad you have a pact or contract with Georgina to keep you writing. Last week I had to struggle to write and I am so glad I did. Write through the block.

    God Bless


  7. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 8:28 am

    DQ’ed=disqualified, not Dairy Queened



  8. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:05 am

    You’re from the South and you don’t like okra? My daddy was from MS, so I inherited a love of okra. Though raised in OH, I grow okra in my garden every year and love to fry it or stew it with tomatoes and onions.

    I’ve been there. It is so much easier to write when you are not on a deadline. I also can’t seem to be creative when my office or house is in chaos.

    But, I’m watching, and I expect to have MENU in my hands ASAP.


  9. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:10 am

    Yikes! I forgot my editor reads my blog! 😉
    The plan is to have MFR ready before conference. The last two nights, I’ve been writing Anne and George’s wedding scene. Very interesting to show it through someone else’s point of view, and a great way to explore what it is Meredith *really* wants and how seeing her best friend get married affects her.


  10. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:29 am

    Not to worry, nothing like a little competition to spur things on 😉 I adore true confessions, especially when they’re someone else’s and their editor is reading them.

    Here’s my true confession: I’m quite weary of being the green alien with a long trunk, and I wonder why Kaye gets her own picture on here–besides the fact that it’s her blog.

    PS. Glad to know what DQ’d is–I had also wondered.


  11. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:31 am

    Geo–You have a Word Press account. All you have to do is upload a profile picture and, voila!, no more green alien.


  12. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:36 am

    1. Neither do I although now that blogger allows for scheduling, I’ve been doing more posts in advance. But that takes away the fun and immediacy of the blog posts.

    2. Write. Something. Anyway. You can always throw it out later, although it sounds like you’re getting to a point where time will be a major constraint.

    3. Me too.

    4. I read that last year in someone’s conference summary and realized he was talking about me. I vowed not to be that person, to focus on the writing and enjoy it. I am.

    5. Me too. The solution? Do something about it. Tamp down that nausea and start with one pile. Before you know it, you’ll have done two, then three, then…

    6. Me too. But I love the black ones, I think in part because as a child, no one else did. More for me and it made me sort of unique.

    7. You’re human.


  13. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:40 am

    Hi Kaye,
    I stumbled on your blog a couple of months ago and have kept coming back, but this post was just personal enough (and the competition *wink* just inspiring enough) for me to leave a comment.

    I know exactly what you mean, on the chaos counts, on the rather having a finished product…
    I am a musician/teacher, and I sometimes (most of the time) freak myself out in the anticipation of lessons, or concerts, or practicing, or rehearing. When I am there, and in it, there is no where else I would rather be (except with my adorable two year old son and at home, but I think you know what I mean).

    I think that compact is a brilliant idea– I think that I need something like that for EXERCISING. Ugh. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day! I love jelly beans (except the black ones) too.


  14. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 9:41 am

    Ooh, we’re confessing!

    I’m feeling your small house pain, Kaye. Mine is also under 900 sq ft (and no garage!). And we are two people (one who leads a Boy Scout Troop) and one big hairy dog squeezed in here. Housework has to happen, or I’d go insane. I do like it relatively tidy before I start to write, but my tolerance for chaos is higher than it once was.

    Um, what else? I don’t wear earplugs to write or sleep anymore, so my noise tolerance is increasing as well.

    I don’t like Jelly Beans, except for the black ones.

    Let’s see… today I write first draft words for the first time since January. I’ve spent all that time editing my crazily overblown historical (I managed to cut 71,000 words… yes, that number is correct). That’s my biggest confession, and I don’t know whether to be proud or embarrassed. Proud to have cut so much, but embarrassed that another 71,000 ought to come off, before all is said and done.

    But before that happens, I’m going to add a bit. 🙂


  15. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:32 am

    While we’re on confessions…I love fried okra, and I love jelly beans, except for the black ones.

    And I’ve been sitting here at the computer dinking around instead of writing, but your post has given me a kick in the back end. I’m off to write. 🙂


  16. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:56 am

    Confession 1: I can be lazy for months then productive to the point of 20,000 words in two months time. Which works when I say I can write a novel in 6 months but I’m lazy for two of those months…

    Confession 2: I’m much better at revisions than first drafts…that is on actually getting work done. I can work continuously on a revision where (as mentioned above) I go with “breaks” in between actually writing the first draft.

    Confession 3: I’m not worried about running out of ideas, cause my idea list for books is at least 13 long right now, with the possibility that some of those could have more stories told from them…they all are ideas that mix history, science fiction and fantasy or are solely one of the three, except ONE which is contemporary realistic fiction…a topic I never thought I’d write about.

    PS: I love your two random confessions 🙂 Can I make one of my own? I love bean sprouts!


  17. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:25 am

    Oh, I’ve never been worried about running out of ideas. Just about writing all of them.


  18. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 12:01 pm

    Ok, here goes my comment:

    I hate speaking in public too. If I have to do it, I MUST have something in writing to speak from, or I must know my subject like the back of my hand. Even more good is when it is a subject I am passionate about. If I don’t care that much, I will stumble and stutter and talk about 100 words a second.

    I also ‘wing’ my blogs. I have no idea what I am going to write when I do it. I started it as a fluke, and I know my own probably serves as my own personal outlet to get some thoughts out of my head. I guess to actually get people to come look at it and comment I probably need to make it useful to THEM. But yes, my blog posts I sit down and just say, ok, what am I thinking, and start typing. Usually I have to delete alot too.

    I don’t like okra, and I’m not a big Jelly Bean Fan. I would much prefer chocolate!!

    I already confessed my poor eating habits over on the forum, so I won’t repeat my embaressment.

    Have a GREAT day and a WONDERFUL vacation, Kaye!


  19. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 1:05 pm

    My confession is, I have a passive-aggressive personality. Mostly passive. Okay, mostly lazy. But I find that this spills over into my writing personality, too. I’ll go days dreading my evening writing time, and so this makes me have writer’s block. Then, all the sudden, I’ll get a rush of inspiration and write 10 or more pages in a day.

    Oh. I hate black jelly beans too. And black licorice.

    And my house is messy.

    Okay, enough confessing.

    And I SOOOO was thinking you were Dairy Queening Caleb. I thought, man she’s nice when she’s mad! I could go for an oreo blizzard right about now.


  20. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 4:03 pm

    I’m so glad someone above clarified DQ’d because I was thinking Dairy Queen. I love black jelly beans


  21. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 4:39 pm

    I hate black jelly beans too. And buttered popcorn ones. NASTY!!!!!! The taste stuck around for a full hour afterwards. Yuck.


  22. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 6:37 pm

    Okra isn’t slimy if cooked properly – FRIED! 🙂

    I’m so glad someone else confessed to hating housework – I’m the world’s worst housekeeper. Someone (don’t ask me who – don’t know) said many years ago that it was okay to let the house go to spend quality time with children, spouses, pets. That’s become my motto!

    @Rachel – buttered popcorn jellybeans – BLECH too!

    I think July should be declared CONFESSIONS month – everyone seems to be doing it!


  23. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 7:43 pm

    Okay, I’ve never seen so many comments on your blog before, Kaye! You have quite the following now.

    That writer’s fear thing is so me now, too. I’m bad, though, I consider my blog posts writing so that I don’t feel so bad when I only get a 100-words or so into my ms on some days. Everything in the ms seems like garbage lately, but yet I can create a post — what’s with that, anyway?

    Happy Canada Day Everyone!


  24. Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:09 pm

    Kaye, I love the new pic of you at the top of the blogsite! I thought it looked like you had lost weight since I last saw you. I’ve lost some weight, too, and just had a friend come out yesterday and go through both my closets with me and help me decide what to keep and what to discard, so if you still need to get rid of some stuff, invite an honest friend over and make her promise to tell it to you like it is! rose


  25. Nicole (ikkinlala) permalink
    Friday, July 4, 2008 12:32 pm

    I don’t know if I’ve ever tried okra, but from your description I probably wouldn’t like it.

    I can’t believe that you enjoy public speaking, but I’m not surprised that it’s a lot different from writing.


  26. Sunday, July 6, 2008 7:51 pm

    The funny thing about your fifth (You should plead the 5th with your editor) is that it can go eith way for me: Mess can totally block me (I. need. *space!*) or motivate me: “I can’t clean, I’m writing!

    And before I read to the end, I *totally* thought by compact you meant the little plastic kind.

    Go figure.


  27. Monday, July 7, 2008 9:10 am

    I don’t like boiled okra but think it is edible when fried. It is less slimy. Also, I am not a great housecleaner either. But I think I have domestic skills dyslexia. I really think there has to be such a thing.


  28. marybeth i permalink
    Friday, July 11, 2008 6:21 pm

    Can I stick to food confessions? I can stretch that out far beyond 10 confessions if needed.

    I do love the black jelly beans which is great because most people don’t. Always many black jelly beans in the bowl.

    I also am fond of tripe which most people find repulsive.

    Most people hate Okra. I really don’t feel passionately about it one way or the other.

    I hide some snacks from the kids.

    I really like almost everything except for Brussel Sprouts and Kumauats. (Tried once and will never try again) . Overall I am not a picky eater at all.


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