Category Archives: inspiration

Deadlines and Do-overs

My goal to finish this book by the end of the year may have been a bit hasty. I’m twenty-five chapters in, with 64,000 words written but still working on the re-writing and editing of the first five. I’m 97.3% sure I’m finished with Chapter one. But that’s also why I don’t think adhering to an arbitrary deadline is a swell idea. I’ll just keep on keeping on until I’m satisfied its the best I can do.

I think I was up to about Chapter 6 with the re-write but that’s now Chapter 9 because I backed up further to add in necessary detail all the way back to Chapter 1. With that being said, I don’t know when I’ll be finished.

I’ve learned a great deal being part of the Florida Writers Association and joining the Bradenton Writers Group chapter. Its a diverse group of people so the critiques bring different points of view. Because of joining during covid I started with having our meetings online. Now we meet in person.

The process with the writing group: post your piece of writing in a shared google docs folder, make multiple copies so other members can make corrections/notes, read your piece aloud at the meeting and then the critiquing begins. There is a 3000 word limit.

And speaking of length limits, I’ve also been wrestling with chapter lengths. That’s another reason I’m back to the first five chapters. There are a lot of moving parts when writing a book. Chapters need to end well so the reader wants to continue. Whenever I rearrange chapters the ending needs extra consideration thus, more time.

Yes, I’m learning a lot as I go, between reading memoirs, books on writing and the writing group. That explains why I had to back up and re-write my re-write. There’s also a memoir group I might look into joining. It does take time, and in the times I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. Trying to guess or predict when I’ll finish gets harder all the time.

Each chapter has a quote for a subtitle. I pick the quotes based first on the subject of the chapter but also on who is being quoted. The quotes are from my favorite poets, artists, authors, leaders and philosophers.

By way of a tease, (besides the picture at the top of the page) Chapter 1 is titled “Broken” and the quote:

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills.

Ernest Hemingway

I have been on a Hemingway tear for a while now. “A Clean Well Lighted Place,” by Hemingway was recently recommended to me and while I was on Amazon “Papa Hemingway” popped up–Amazon really knows how to market. I had to have that one too. I had read it in high school for English class. That’s when I first fell in love with his work and the whole legend of the man.

Enough for now, maybe I’ll be able to give you a tease for Chapter 2 next time…..

Just for fun….

Reboot, Undo or Maybe Find and Replace

The year that was had its share of challenges for everyone. For some it was just impossible and heartbreaking. New Year’s makes it feel like we get a do-over, that we get to Reboot and start again without causing the system to crash. Life isn’t that easy or simple. Some things you can’t fix but there is always hope if you look for it. Right now, we need to look hard and long at the future and what is ahead with a greater understanding of the fragility of those things we’ve always held dear.

I’m an optimist but I know things can fall apart. I also know that when they do, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. I’m hoping for a better 2021, though I know it won’t be all better once the ball drops in Times Square. I’m targeting 2021 as the year I have my first book published. I’m not sure how, but I’m going to give it my all to make sure it has every chance at success. Like painting, working at making my book the best it can possibly be is my first goal. When I’m satisfied with it, which will probably be never, the editing ends and the publishing begins.

Creating paintings of our boat trip from Maine has been a fun respite from my writing endeavors. Sometimes you have to step away and take a breather before returning with fresh eyes. Painting has allowed me to do that.

From Chapter 16:

“It was 8:30 a.m. when we left Barefoot Marina, and another pretty day on the water. The weather was finally cooperating, four sunny days in a row and more sunshine to come. Once the ICW fed into the Waccamaw River, the water was deeper and wider and beautiful. We made our way up to the fly bridge to enjoy the sunshine and the mild temperatures. Ahead of us was a row of sailboats. The sunlight pushed past a row of sumptuous clouds, creating a glistening spotlight for the middle sailboat with its sails unfurled. That was a picture that would definitely make a fine painting someday. Up ahead was the Ocean Highway Bridge which connects Pawleys Island to Georgetown, South Carolina’s third oldest city after Beaufort and Charleston. When we reached mile marker 400 where the Waccamaw River meets the Great Pee Dee River, Georgetown Landing Marina, awaited us, a perfect place to stay.”

Happy New Year, and let’s all resolve to be kinder to one another. If we try to understand someone else’s point of view instead of insisting on our own infallibility that which divided us only grows wider. Look for common ground and understanding and you’ll find it.