“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”
Erica Jong

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Live From Procrastination Station
Thu 2007-08-02 12:42:39 (single post)

I have Good News. The article about the hand-knit bikini experiment? It really really will be published. At any rate, I was recently asked to turn in a slight (very slight) revision to it along with a bio and a nice headshot of me. And money arrived in my PayPal account. So it all looks like getting published. Hurrah!

However, the publisher has started sending me emails with strangely spam-like rhetoric. "Nicole Do you know the TRUTH about knitting?" "The insider secrets that you should know before you even THINK of starting a knitting piece!" Fear! Feeear the knitting! Without our help the knitting will surely defeat you! It's like the headlines from a cover of Reader's Digest. Should I be worried?

Meanwhile, I'm under a deadline that is two days gone, and two more deadlines have sprung up looking scary in the distance, and I haven't touched any fiction in almost a month. This makes me cranky.

However! There is extracurricular good news. I am this close to being able to legally act as Pilot in Command again--it's likely that after tomorrow's lesson the instructor will sign off on my flight review (he did! Yay! I can has endorsement!)--and John and I have been taking beginner rock-climbing classes at the neighborhood gym. Both of these do wonders for one's sense of competence. Yesterday I walked into the gym in a tank top and ill-fitting shorts, horribly self-conscious about being short and pudgy and hairy and a total n00b. (Shut up. I know.) Then I started climbing, and then I got to the top of the route, and then all I could think was "Ha! Who cares how I look? I don't care how I look. Ain't nobody gonna talk to me about how I look. I look bad ass." Bad ass for a n00b, sure, the route was only labeled 5.8, but still. A highly recommended experience.

No, really. Getting back to work now. Laters.

A Swingannamiss!
Fri 2007-06-15 15:13:44 (single post)

Some mornings are obviously not meant to be productive.

I unwisely saved the tidying up of my article for today during work. This isn't as unethical as it sounds; some days I'm mainly just covering the phones and making myself available for random desk clerk and computer sub-guru tasks. Given where I left off Wednesday, I thought today would be one of those days. Today was not one of those days. Today was non-stop.

Which means that I actually managed to let the June 15 deadline on the bikini top article slip by me. Granted, I had no idea "June 15" meant "June 15 at 2:00 PM MDT," but I should have just finished the dang thing and emailed it last night. My own fault, this. I emailed it in anyway to give the editor the option of slipping it in under the wire or holding onto it for next month.

The moral of this story, folks, is this: When you set your alarm clock for 6:00 AM, mean it. Sometimes those two hours before you have to be in the office are all the day you get to call your own.

So that's my wake-up call for the week. Also, I've been working my way through Becoming A Writer again (read all about it at BurnzPost!), which means "wake to write" is a debt of honor. Another debt of honor is "schedule your writing." Yesterday I was very good about both these things. I overslept, but I spent my first half hour awake typing away on the Compaq Contura Aero. Over the course of that half hour--mainly a spate of journaling--I decided that I'd schedule further writing for 2:30 PM.

Now, recently I've pledged my housewifely services unto my husband, which is to say, he said "I wish this house were cleaner," and I said, "Me too. You know what? I'm home three days a week, thanks to your excellence and generosity. How about I get back on a cleaning schedule?" It's not a hard cleaning schedule. It's two rooms a week until I run out of rooms, starting over again each first week of the month. There are six rooms. This is no hardship.

However, I'm not exactly fond of cleaning.

What "I will write at 2:30" did was give me a light at the end of the long dark tunnel of cleaning the bathroom. (And if you don't believe that's a long dark tunnel, you haven't seen the mildew and soap scum all over the bathtub.) At 2:30 PM, I would be done. I would have put the cleaning supplies away and scarpered off to Korea House for a writing date with kim chee chi gae.

It's true that us writers do things like totally sanitize the kitchen rather than write. But by making a date with myself, and not allowing myself to write until the time arrived, I managed to reverse my mental perspective on the two tasks. I was--yes!--looking forward to writing.

Bottle that up and sell it, ma'am, and that's the end to writer's block as we know it! Or at least as I know it.

So, more of the same tomorrow, only on a different project. Maybe a short story re-write. *Gasp!* Just maybe.

Sometimes You Don't Get a Pattern
Wed 2007-06-13 21:34:45 (single post)

Sometimes what you get is a blog post.

Which is to say, the answer to "how do you get a bikini top knit pattern down to 600 words" is the same as the answer to "how do you write a pattern for something as custom-fit as a bikini top?" The answer is, you don't. You turn back to your favorite sock knitting book and you write a mathematical method.

Gee I'm clever. I knit the dang thing with Gibson-Roberts' "C"s and "L"s in mind, and it takes me until two days before deadline to realize that's the way I'll have to approach writing about it.

But once I figured that out (which epiphany occurred over a scrumptious fish dinner at Pappadeaux, the relation of which to Highway 36 is a blog post all on its own), it got much easier. I realized what I was really writing was a blog post about how I overcame the challenges inherent in knitting functional swim wear. And I can do blog posts. Only, I usually get to break them up into two blog posts if they get too long. This one I can't, not really. If there's going to be a second article, it'll have to be accepted separately by the editor, and it's going to have to be about knitting the bikini bottom.

...which I haven't knit yet.

Well, we all know what I'm going to be doing in July!

O Hai! This R Blog Post
Mon 2007-06-11 22:25:41 (single post)

Why yes, I've been lolcatting around lately. How can you tell? It's gotten really bad around here, to the point that, at Water World Saturday, stuff like "Can we has go faster, plz?" and "We can has acceleration!" started coming out of my mouth whenever John 'n me 'n Taylor got stuck and came loose again in one of the tube slide rides. "We're in ur tube slide, causin bottlenecks" was another favorite. As was the observation that we must have somehow gotten onto the internet because this ride was obviously a series of tubes.

John tells me I owe him a dollar for the bad joke jar for that last one, and I don't even work at the office where the bad joke jar resides. Funny, that.

That aside, my current-most writing project, aside from keeping up with the blogzes, is to somehow usefully describe the knitting of my bikini top in 600 words or less. This may or may not work. We Shall See.

I've also finished re-reading Dorothea Brande's 1934 classic, Becoming A Writer, which is oodles more useful than I remembered. Somehow all I recalled from last read-through was the "wake to write" and "schedule writing dates with yourself" advice, and I'd forgotten all about the story incubation meditation techniques. And it's been fun speculating on whether Ms. Brande would have adored laptops or despised them, based on what she says about the importance of typing and having a travel typewriter but doing nothing other than writing at the typewriter. I think she would have recommended using the laptop only for writing and acquiring a desktop computer for things like email and video games.

But that's enough of that for now. I don't want to steal the thunder from a series of blog posts on the subject of that book which I'm planning on uploading to Burnzpost.

Of late, most of my writing has been unpublishable journal entries and, like I said, keeping up with the blogging gigs. But this is in keeping with my temporary solution for the single project form of the Block. If a have a particular project I have to work on, one short story rewrite or freelance deadline that gets top priority over everything else, and inability to get started on that project causes a total writing bottleneck--then write something else. Every day. Reliably. It's the daily act of writing and not the daily product that's important in breaking through the Block.

Of course, that in and of itself won't get deadlines met. But I find that the journaling can help me ease into the high-priority project, especially if my journal entry segues into a bout of talking to myself about that project. And if something that happened the day before keeps me from concentrating on the serious work, journaling about the event or fictionalizing it into a new story draft can sometimes satisfy whatever annoying part of my brain insists on chewing on it.

In the interest of not increasing this post's category count, I'll put off talking about the ongoing behind-the-scenes website redesign (still in progress) or my new flying lessons schedule (i r gonna b legal pilot agin lolz) for another post. And maybe I'll rethink the current category list, 'cause I don't have one for flying or for The Block or... right. Later.

More later, then.

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