Early Morning Ruminations

It’s 5:30 am, and I’m awake thinking.  My husband is feeding our daughter the milk I pumped at 5:00 and I’m supposed to be writing for NaNoWriMo, but I’m having a hard time concentrating.  I woke up to this.

paris

I don’t have cable TV, so I didn’t see the news until I woke up.  As I sat there in the dark and began to scroll through my Facebook, I was overwhelmed by #pray4Paris posts, and as I learned about what I happened I was astounded once again by the capability we humans have to hate one another.  I don’t know why these terrorists killed so many people, and what the answer is to this crisis.  I see my friends demanding that the President take action.  But what exactly is he supposed to do?  The killers are dead or in hiding, and no official terrorist organization has claimed responsibility.

Sometimes I feel like Americans expect us to go busting into a country at the slightest sign of trouble like:

America

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhnUgAaea4M

But it’s not that simple.

But another thing I noticed along my feed was the plethora of posts praying for people we don’t even know.  As appalled as I am by the amount of hate humans can express towards one another, I am always overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of love we shower over people in need.  I’m glad to see that America is offering aid to those who need it, and that we stand ready to help in any way that we can.  We don’t have to rush over there, guns blazing in a blind rage.  But we will be ready to stand beside them shoulder to shoulder if they need us.

And of course because we aren’t all in the military or part of an organization who has the means to “actually” go over there to help them, there are other ways that you can help.  How can you help?  Donate to the French Red Cross.  The American Red Cross is not accepting donations at this time for the Paris attacks, but the French Red Cross has already mobilized to help those in need.  They can certainly use our help.

Donate to the French Red Cross Here

That’s not the only thing on my mind though.  I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and it’s tougher than it’s ever been for me.  For those of you reading who don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is a writing competition that takes place during the month of November.  You have exactly one month to write 50,000 completely unique words in the form of a novel.   You can’t have pre-written anything either, although you can brainstorm.  I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Last year I was too pregnant and too tired to compete.  My brain was being sucked dry by my growing daughter.  So this year since my body is my own again, I decided to compete and I’ve been consistently a day behind.  It’s very hard to keep up with the writing quota when you’re caring for a baby.  🙂  I’m not complaining.  It’s just a fact.

I’ve noticed things that have changed about my life since Lilly was born.  I don’t write that often.  I don’t blog that often.  I rarely play video games anymore, and my house is always a mess.  (although my house was always a mess before, but now I can blame it on being a mom)

But none of those things bother me.  My daughter is the most exciting thing in my universe and I couldn’t be happier.  She is healthy, extremely happy, and just the most beautiful little girl that I have ever seen.  She fascinates me more than anything, and she is everything that I ever wanted.  I knew I wanted to be a mom, but it wasn’t until she was born that I understood just how much I could love someone, and it is overwhelming.  A friend of mine once told me that being a mother will make you feel more vulnerable than anything you will ever experience again, and she was right.

My daughter is 8 months old now if you can believe it.  She’s crawling (guh!), standing up with the aid of furniture and is saying “mama” when upset and “dadadadadada” 90% of the rest of the time.  My husband is pleased.  🙂

Here are some updated photos of everyone.

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Who had a Harry Potter party?  Um…WE DID!  Yeah, we’re that cool.  Be jealous if you weren’t there.  Message me if you want to be next year.  🙂

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Guys, I can’t even!  She’s going to be running all over my house at any second!

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And some super sweet cuteness.  Finger painting in the bath tub.  Don’t worry, it was just yogurt and food coloring.  She ate most of it.

Let’s start today on a good note.  I’m going to say a prayer for Paris, send a donation to the French Red Cross, and try to get my word count in before I get distracted again.  Peace.

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Writing Styles

Over the years I’ve discovered something.  Not all writers use the same techniques to write.  Even though we speak the same language, the various writers I know all have vastly different ways of getting it done.

Stephen King in his On Writing, describes where he goes to write, and what his muse looks like.  He recommended writing in solitude, away from the television, and that his internal muse was more of a harassing asshole than the wispy pretty thing people think of when referencing a muse.  He looked something like this:

Sloppy man cartoon

Not exactly beautiful, or awe inspiring.  More of the get that writing done, or I’ll break your legs kind of muse I think.  Intimidating.

I have some author friends on Facebook who only seem to do their writing in public places.  Laptop, coffee shop, and a big mug of coffee.  To me, that sounds absolutely terrible.  I am so easily distracted, I would spend the next few hours people watching until I realized that I’d only written two sentences.

A friend of mine is going to Ireland to do his writing in solitude, near the ocean.  I’m insanely jealous.  That would be perfect.  So much inspiration.

I have a friend who uses a typewriter, and a friend who writes everything by hand in journals or on sheets of paper before typing them on her computer.  I shake my head a both of these things; not judgmentally mind you, but at how redundant these techniques are to me.  I want back ups of my files.  Copies everywhere of my work so that I don’t lose it.  I would never write any of my work by hand.  Not only do I have the handwriting of a serial killer, but can you imagine the hand cramps in sitting down to write multiple pages?  I get tense hands from writing a paragraph by hand!  Maybe that’s because I was introduced to laptops when I was 15.  I’ve been spoiled I guess.

I also have friends who post constantly about the fact that they’re writing with pictures and everything.  These don’t annoy me or anything, but it’s not my style.  I don’t want people knowing that I’m writing at this exact moment.  Pressure maybe?  Too many people keep asking me when my sequel is coming out, even after I assure them that I’m shooting for December.  Maybe it’s because I write every day.  Who wants to see a photo of that every day?  I bombard my friends enough with my author posts.  This blog will be one of them!  There are very few days where I don’t spend at least thirty minutes writing something.  Mostly the novel though.  I promise!

Here is how I operate.

My writing normally takes place between 6:00 – 7:00 am.  Lately it has also taken place during my lunch hour.

I need to be alone.  Completely alone, when everything is quiet.  I want my husband asleep, and I want my coworkers out and about away from me at lunch.  Once I’m alone, I can portal into the world that I’ve created and act my scenes out with the characters in my head.  If anyone or anything pulls my attention away, it’s like someone shook me.  I get so irritated when someone comes up and says,

“Oh, are you writing?”

or

“How’s the writing coming?”

Oh man, it was going great until you said something.  Now I’m back in the boring old office instead of in that awesome battle scene.  Please go away so I can refocus.  Mostly I smile and pray that they walk away.

I need the Facebook off, the TV off, and most importantly no human contact.  I can write for hours like this, until my hands get tired.

And as for my muse?  I’m not sure how to describe her.  When I’m writing something lighthearted, she’s my inner child.  That spunky, happy version of me.  When I’m writing something morbid or dark, she’s that brooding, angsty, teenage version of me with thick black eyeliner and fishnet shirts.  Is it narcissistic that my muse is me?  Not sure.  We all operate differently.

Mostly my muse is the stereotypical, whimsical, beautiful thing dancing around inside my head with awesome ideas.  As long as I write those ideas down when she gives them to me, we’re all good.  If not, then she’s a freakin nag

But here’s my point.  You might be a writer, reading this right now and think,

“God, that sounds awful.” when you read about my writing techniques.  But that’s what makes it awesome.

Just like every writer’s voice is different, so are their techniques.  I may shake my head at the way my friends work, but I realize that it’s what makes all of our writing so unique.

 

 

It Fell Out of My Head

HUGE things are coming to the world of Lenora Howard.  After wanting to do this for  a long time, I’m finally going to do it!

Get ready…drum roll please….

I’m creating a literary magazine! 

Of course I’m still going to be working on my sequel; The Mage’s Circle, but this is something I’ve wanted to do forever.  I submitted works to high school literary magazines and I can’t tell you how awesome it felt to have someone read my work and say “Wow!  You’re an awesome writer!”

But I don’t just want this thing to be for teenagers.  This isn’t going to be your high school literary magazine.  This is for EVERYONE.  And I mean everyone.  Kids, grandpas, mothers, daughters, college students, teenagers, housewives,  – E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E!  And you will be able to submit anything art related.  I want photography, artwork, poems, short series, and short stories.  I want to show off what you talented people have to offer.

Anyone will be able to submit work to me, and I will create the magazine accordingly.  There will have to be rules and submission guidelines of course.

I sat there trying to think of what to call it.  Something that is…ME-ish, and something that pertains to art.  So of course I called it “It Fell Out of My Head”

That title was the name of the first ever literary magazine I participated in during middle school.  It was one of many names that magazine had.  I wrote a poem with that title, and I have always loved it.  That’s how art is.  It’s like a shaken up soda can in your brain that wants to EXPLODE until it comes pouring out of your head.

I just bought the domain name and web hosting, and it’s going to be a little while until it’s up and running.  I need to get the legal issues, guidelines and format worked out before I officially launch the page, but I’m getting super excited.  I’m also going to be doing some research on how to protect my artists from having their work stolen.

But the bare bones of the idea will be that you will submit work to me, I will collect works from people at first until I have enough for the first edition, and then it will be uploaded to the website in a pdf format, as well as a flash program that looks like a book.  Best of all I will upload it to createspace.com where the works will be published in book format and available to purchase from Createspace.com, Amazon.com and the Kindle!  You could hold that book in your hands with YOUR work in it, and be able to show someone “Look!  I did this!”

I want everyone to be writing.  I want kids to write.  I want my friends to write.  I want you to draw, explore, and imagine for everyone to see!  Too many schools are taking the arts out of their curriculum, so it’s up to everyone else to put creativity out into the world.

I’ll update more on this later, but I’m so excited about this that I could burst!

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