On Break

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow! I’m outta school on break until January. I get to read what I wanna read…no assignments. Thank God. So, I’ve got tons of stuff on my TBR (to be read) list. It’s Friday night and after I ate dinner, I came back home and pounced on the sofa. Flipping through the channels, I ran across the 1995 movie Waiting to Exhale. I watched it back in the day, but pretty much forgot any details, so I decided to watch it. When I looked through my TBR list, I realized that The Sequel to Waiting to Exhale, Getting To Happy, is in my TBR list. Now, when I initially received it last year, I wasn’t feeling it. I put it down. But right now, I’m single, divorced actually, and I’m digging it. Odd huh? But it got me thinking about what type of frame of mind we are in when we read specific books. Have any of you experienced this? Anyway, I’m enjoying the book, and I think it’s because I’m in a different place, and I needed to be in this place to enjoy or rather relate to the book. I’ll let you know the outcome.

Categories: Uncategorized

Back in the Saddle

August 8, 2011 Leave a comment

I cannot remember the last time I wrote a post. Last summer, I started my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). So, I’m attending school full-time, teaching Yoga part-time, and writing for IBM full-time. My schedule is not as hectic as it sounds…well, yes it is. But I do tons of writing, and sometimes after writing for class and for work, I’ve got nothing left for my own writing. Well, I’m changing that!

Recently I did a presentation in one of my classes about blogging. I’m doing a teaching internship this summer, and the activity I planned for the class was about blogging. So, I pulled up this blog to show to them, and it rekindled my desire to share my musings, writing struggles, and epiphanies with fellow writers…or who ever wants to read.

So last quarter was wonderful. I took a visiting writer class and Elizabeth Kostova was our visiting writer for two weeks. It was wonderful. She is a talented writer and a gifted teacher. For that class, we read her book The Historian and several other gothic/mythical tales. Our assignment was to write a 40 to 60 page Novella that centered around some type of mythology or folklore or something that we had to research. Of the year that I’ve been at SCAD, this was my favorite class. The opportunity to write in my genre was so rewarding. My genre of course is Fantasy. And I did it up for that class. I wrote about the Sirens from Greek Mythology. I’m very excited about it.

Anyway, just wanted to catch you up and give you some highlights of my writing life thus far. Until next time….

Image by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Happy Writing,


Started the Rewriting Process

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Earlier this week, I blogged about my non-existent motivation to write and finish my works-in-progress. A rainy, cold, grey day kept me in the house today, ensconced in my easy chair with warm heat pouring over me. I’d planned on reading…And then it happened–the idea to get my NaNoWriMo novel out of the archives and begin the rewriting process.

The Procrastinating Writer recommended Holly Lisle’s “How to Revise Your Novel” class. It started three weeks ago, and I’ve dutifully created the required notebook and inserted the Lessons, Worksheets, and Demos, but that is as far as I got. Lisle posts the Lessons and other material on a Web site, and students retrieve the items at our leisure.

I’m on Lesson one, which emphasizes not beginning the rewrite with copyediting. Lisle says that is how most inexperienced writers start rewriting, but it’s not how we should do it. “Almost every writer does revision wrong, by starting on page one, line one, and “fixing” the story one sentence at a time.” Start big and general and drill down to the specifics. So we are to go through our entire story and record on worksheets hefty items, such as setting issues, character issues, and which parts of the story fell apart. We are not to bother with word choice, spelling, or sentence-level issues…at least not right now.

Well you know, Lisle was right. I’m tackling the big stuff first. I’m finding areas that are confusing, chapters with gaps, and also recording items that I think work really well in the story. Oh, and guess what…I am truly enjoying reading my novel. It’s pretty good. Great plot, moves quickly, and the characters are something else.

I’ll let you know what next week’s lesson is later on. But, I’d highly recommend Lisle’s program.

Image by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Namaste & Happy Writing


Writing: Its a Decision

January 28, 2010 4 comments

I was Skyping with my best buddy today who is also my writing buddy. We hold one another accountable for our creative writing projects, bounce story ideas off one another, and come up with strategies for inspiration and productivity. “Have you been writing?” she asked me. To which I answered, “No, I just haven’t felt like it.”

She didn’t even have to scold me. Once the words slid through my lips I knew that I’d unconsciously been breaking one our Golden Rules: You cannot wait until you FEEL like writing; instead, you must DECIDE to write because it is what you do.

I’ve had some life changing events to occur in the last two months. Some things happened that threw me into a tailspin, so the last thing I’ve thought about is working on my story. But Alas…that is why my story is still a work-in-progress…because I’ve not assigned it enough importance in my everyday existence and routine and because I wait for a feeling to write.

Well my friends, the road to recovery begins with realizing and admitting that there is a problem, which I’ve done. Now, I must work on my recovery. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Namaste & Happy Writing

Getting to Know my Muse

December 3, 2009 3 comments

How do you get inspired to write? What inspires you to write? Some people claim to not need inspiration. They say that inspiration has nothing to do with writing great novels. I know that I do get inspired. My stories and characters pop-up when they want to. I want to be able to invoke them at will. I’m taking an online writing class called Muse Therapy. The class puts aspiring writers in touch with our Muse. Find out what makes our Muse tick. What excites our Muse. What inspires our Muse. I must say that it is fun. Today, we named our Muse.

I found out that I have two different type of Muses:

Kruze is my main muse. She is smart, cunning, and patient. For many years I ignored her, so she slowly started transforming me into her. She’s really calm, low-key, health-conscious, and happy. She absolutely refuses to emerge if I’m stressed, upset, angry, or apprehensive. She’s very into peace. I picture her thriving in the 70s with the flower childs or the Beatnik crew.

Kruze’s favorite place is aboard a cruise ship. She loves all bodies of water, but the ocean is her favorite. It never fails that every time I am on a cruise, sitting on the balcony, sipping wine, listening to jazz on my iPhone, and watching the ocean whisk the huge ship along, she comes out and sits with me and talks my ear off. She’s always comfortable on a cruise ship. She even suggested that we work on one…I nixed that really quick.

Kruze loves romance…anything that ends happily. She pisses me off a lot because she doesn’t like conflict or controversy, so I always fight her during scenes where conflict is required. I keep telling Kruze that to have a good book, we need conflict. She ducks away and hides then, so I have another muse for that.

The Unit is my kick butt muse team. They are a combination of Yoda, Darth Maul, Jack Bower (from the TV series 24), and John Lynch (former NFL Safety). The Unit loves to kick butt. They like to smash, shoot, fight, and run. They are all warriors and hate being sedentary and safe. They want action, action, action. They look for trouble.

The Unit thrives when I’m watching any type of law enforcement, sci-fi, or football. They get edgy under safe conditions. They like to dance, drink, and talk loud. They like for me too let loose. The Unit members are my conflict writers, but it’s crazy to me that peaceful Kruz gets more play time then all of the Unit combined. Go figure!

I had no idea that I had these two separate types of Muse. The exercise to learn about my Muse was very fun. I learned a lot about myself and the two Muses that I have. I’ll give you another update soon.

Image Credit: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Happy Writing,
Follow me on Twitter: @Yogawriter

I Wrote 50K Words in 30 Days

November 29, 2009 2 comments

I did it! I wrote 50, 000 Words in 30 days! I wrote consecutively for 30 days straight on one story, and got over 50K words. There were four days in the month where I didn’t write. Two of those days my husband was in the hospital with Asthma, one day was Thanksgiving, and the 4th day I had allergy issues. I’m very, very proud of myself. I learned a lot about myself, my writing process, and my writing  technique from this endeavor:  (1) I learned to write a First Draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s not supposed to be perfect, but it gets the idea down from start to finish–quickly! (2) I learned that I must write consequtively…every day on the idea to get it down. (3) I learned what I must do to finish a novel and that I can finish a novel. (4) I learned discipline. It took a lot for me not to correct mistakes or double back to change paragraphs when the plot started going a different way than I anticipated from the start.

I still don’t know my heroine’s last name, so through out my first draft, I have Ocean Last Name. My Protagonists were on an Island, which I call Island because I couldn’t think of  which Island I wanted it to be. Things like that might be trivial to some, but to a perfectionist like me, who is also a technical editor, it took a lot for me to ignore those types of things…but I did because the objective was to write the first draft. Get the story down.

If you go and read my NaNoWriMo Captain’s Log you’ll see the maturation process I went through in making daily writing in my novel a habit. At one point, and I don’t remember when, it became like a fun job that I knew had to be done each day. No matter how tired I was, no matter if I had no idea what to write, no matter if I didn’t want to write, I still wrote, and that perseverance paid off.

I’m so excited. Now, I’ve got to finish this first draft. I’ve got about 3 to 5K more words to write to finish the idea, and then I can start on the second draft. I’m so excited….did I already say that! I need to now find some posts and articles about revising and writing the second draft. Suggestions are welcome.

One of the other things that I gained and really appreciated about this NaNoWriMo endeavor was the camaraderie among all of the other writers taking the challenge as well. We Twittered constantly, giving updates and encouragement. It was great to talk with other writers about their blocks and apprehensions. I also appreciated the encouraging e-mails from The Procrastinating Writer, other authors, and the NaNoWriMo staff. Support goes a long, long way, and there was an abundance of support from everywhere. I also want to thank my husband for encouraging me and making sure that I didn’t forget to write everyday.

I’m excited about next year. So now I have a pattern. When I want to start a new novel, I must pick 30 consecutive days where I can carve out time to write at least 1667 words per day. Writing in the novel must be a priority. I’m so excited!!!

Namaste & Happy Writing,

Categories: Creative Writing

When the Energy Goes Away

November 5, 2009 2 comments

BookWormKidCartoonWhat do you do when you’ve gotten pumped up, motivated, inspired about a plot or characters for a novel, and then before you can finish, the energy goes away? I have more unfinished manuscripts than I have finished. As I explained in a previous post, I’ve had to break up with many of my novels, hence they go unfinished. The inspiration is gone. Poof! What I feel when I get to that ‘breaking up’ point is desolation, a feeling of failure that beckons that inner critic, paralyzing me from beginning yet another novel that I won’t finish.

I am reading Write Is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses by Bill Hannon. A quote that he provides by writer Sandy Beadle really stirred me. In this particular chapter, Hanlon is encouraging us to take Baby Steps in getting our novel written. He lists possible reasons why manuscripts go unfinished and emphasizes that Procrastination is a huge catalyst. But the other reason that Hanlon lists hit me straight between the eyes. “The task seems so overwhelming to beginners that they sometimes avoid engaging in it.” Previously, I would get started, but looking at the picture as a whole paints a long road with no ending that eventually deflates me, and that’s when procrastination enters. When Mr. Procrastination sets his bags at my door, weeks, and in some cases months by and my energy for that particular story goes away. Sandy Beadle  articulates this cycle brilliantly in this quote:
“I’ve been struggling with  Bookus Interruptus for years. My next book got waylaid when the energy was still there, then the energy went away, it has taken far too long, and I really lost focus.” ~Sandy Beadle

You cannot heal without first identifying the injury. After reading Bill Hanlon’s 2nd chapter, specifically Sandy Beadle’s quote, I recognized my injury. Like Sandy, I would be rolling along and suddenly crash into that rock that prevented me from seeing most of my stories to completion. The energy had gone away.

Bill offers some good advice for avoiding that rock. TAKE BABY STEPS. One piece at a time. So instead of looking down that long road, I’ll just look to the next block, and then the next block until the road behind me becomes the long winding road, and the road in front of me becomes a short driveway. Bill suggests dividing the project into bite-sized chunks:

 “After you make an outline, make a more detailed outline–as detailed as you can make it–with ideas for anecdotes, quotations, exercises, scenes, plot points, which characters are in the scene, where it takes place, and so on. Then Transfer each of those detailed points onto index cards that you can carry with you everywhere and write on. Keep them bundled with a rubber band in chapter or section order.

If my writing injury sounds even remotely similar to yours, you’ll benefit from getting a copy of Write Is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses!

Photo Credit: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Namaste & Happy Writing,