Tag Archives: PiBoIdMo

Making Magic: Appreciation

image

(Photo credit)

I am immersed in deadline after deadline right now, and in days of yore (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase in a post!) I would have let myself be pulled into a static, drone-like existence, working long hours day after day, late into the night.

No fun, no creativity, no laughter. Just work, work, work.

But I’ve been surrounded by so many creative, fun things, and I realized I don’t have to slip into that drone-like state. I don’t lose my creativity just because I’ve got too many deadlines hanging around.

Yes, I can continue to make magic in my life, even when I’m busy. And that alone inspires me.

So you’ll all be seeing a series of Making Magic posts. Today is Appreciation day, where I look back on the past few weeks and love all that’s gone by – a lot of life happened to me in the space of a few days! – and most importantly, remember there’s more to come, in this moment, and this moment, and this moment.

Because that’s really what life is – it’s filled with moments, and I’m always free to choose to focus on all the happy, glittering, fun moments.

Even when I’m knee deep in an index (or three or five).

Appreciation List

Hayley met Tim Burton yesterday! Hayley’s a member of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Next Wave committee, and as a special treat, TIFF arranged for Burton to meet with the board members for an hour yesterday. Hayley said he was so very down-to-earth, and gave them this very lovely piece of advice: Do a bit of everything. Don’t just focus on being a director. Be lots of different things.

I really loved hearing this – it was such a good reminder that creativity isn’t confined to any one thing. And the more creative I am, the more I get my hands in there, in project after project, the more the creative sparks fly every which way and totally light up my life.

Dinner with Nigella Lawson. Yes, I took time off from work last weekend to have dinner with Nigella Lawson at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. I went with my sister, Dawn, and we had such a great time. Nigella was warm and gracious, and during the Q & A, Ward texted me questions, and Dawn asked one of them! (I was too busy texting and tweeting …)

Nigella Lawson

Yes, that’s a terrible picture. I only had my iPhone with me. But luckily my sister had her camera so she has some good pictures, which she says she’ll send to me. On the other hand, I was able to get some great close-up shots while Dawn was busy chatting with Louise Dennys, the publisher of Random House Canada; as an event planner, my sister definitely knows a lot of people (including the chef and the wait staff at the Royal York!).

The night ended with my sister taking me out to Pravda, a vodka bar. I’ll just say here that vodka is not as tasteless as I once thought it was. I’ll also say a sort of thank you to whoever kept putting drinks in front of me all night. Needless to say, I was, um, slightly hung over the next day …

But I had fun!

NaNoWriMo. Okay, so there’s a good chance I’m not going to make my real NaNoWriMo goal. And I’m okay with that, because I’ve had a lot of life happen the past ten days, and it’s been really a lot of fun. I also know that I can do this, I can complete this novel, and the next, and whatever else takes my fancy. And I’m very grateful to NaNoWriMo for helping me see this.

I’m going to “win” the regular NaNoWriMo this year. I’m almost at 42,000 words, and there’s still a full week left, so I have no doubts. Yes, I’m deep in Deadline City, and I’ve missed a few days of writing, but I’m going to keep plugging away at it. And I intend to have the first draft completed by the end of this year.

PiBoIdMo. I haven’t been keeping up with PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) the way I’d intended, but I’m still having fun with it. So far I’ve jotted down about 12 ideas, two of which are keepers.

And I’ve learned something very interesting: sitting down with the intention of brainstorming ideas is like exercising a muscle. It’s hard when you first start, but the more you do it, the more creative you get. And the whole process is just so much fun, you realize how much you miss when you don’t exercise that creative muscle.

Husband who cooks. Okay, so he’s pretty committed to being vegan, but my husband cooks the most delicious things, and does not hesitate to whip me up a meat or seafood dish anytime I request.

sushi rolls

Lately he’s mastered the art of sushi rolls, and since he enjoys making them as much as Hayley and I enjoy eating them, we’ve all been in seventh heaven food-wise. And yesterday he made a special set of sushi rolls with smoked salmon in them, which were so delicious.

He’s also been making these samosas that are really delicious. He fills them with a lovely Indian potato mixture and we have them with chutney or plum sauce. And we’ve discovered that our little picky eater will eat these as long as they’re made with a Mac n Cheese filling!

Christmas! I’m really delighted because we got a head start on Christmas this year: we put up the tree and all the decorations on Friday. In years past, we’ve had our “Christmas tree day” right in the middle of my deadlines, and it just isn’t so much fun when you’re doing it as a “break from work”. This time around, we spent the whole day shopping for a few new ornaments, getting the house ready, putting up the tree – we always make a little “tree party” of it, just for us, so we finished up with a viewing of Santa Clause 2, accompanied by sushi rolls and samosas.

iPhone Games. I’ve been letting my Inner Geek have some play time every day. So there’s no way I can write an appreciation list without mentioning all the iPhone games I’ve been having such fun with. They help make work go by faster, because I’ve developed a bit of a reward system: every 45 minutes or so (I usually time it according to the number of pages I’ve indexed), I let myself take an iPhone game break. So I end up feeling like I’m having fun, even though most of the time I’ve been working!

I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it? And that is very true. Which is a very good thing indeed.

And now, back to work …

And now that I’ve reminded myself what a fun time I’ve been having, I’m motivated now to tackle this workload. All I have to do is take a deep breath, plunge back in – and remember to keep coming up for air and a little bit more of life.

Creative Noodling

NaNoWriMo Day 1:

ELEMENTAL: 5044 words

FORTUNE COOKIE (my “unofficial” NaNoWriMo project): 0 words

PiBoIdMo Day 1: one idea down, 29 more to go

It’s 12:40 am as I type this, and to be honest, the only reason I’m writing this and not relaxing in bed with a glass of wine and a good audiobook is because my cousin is over here replacing our makeshift plywood stairs (long story, you really don’t want to know) with proper stairs (you know, the kind you normally see in a house. As in, not made out of plywood and those metal joist hanger things.)

And since we can’t go up and down the stairs until the new stairs are installed, my cousin and his friend don’t plan on leaving until they’re done. (And even if they wanted to, I’m not going to let them.)

So here I am waiting … and waiting … and then I got this brilliant idea. I’ll write a blog post!

I’ve been thinking about doing “creative noodling” recently. I used to do this last thing at night, right before I fell asleep, but I recently discovered a meditation CD that I’m liking very much, and the best part of it is that I can do the meditation as I’m drifting off to sleep.

So no creative noodling at night anymore.

I realized last night, though, that if I’m going to end up with something halfway decent at the end of this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m going to have to find time for creative noodling. And since the moments before drifting off to sleep are out, where else could I find the time?

I’ve come up with a few good possibilities.

On the treadmill. This time is normally my iPhone game playing time. I like doing this because once I get involved in a game, the time just flies, and before I know it, I’ve walked those 1.5 miles.

I discovered today that I can just as easily daydream while I’m walking on the treadmill, and yes, time did fly by, and before I knew it, I’d walked 1.5 miles. I don’t know for sure if it will always be like this, but for most of November, my treadmill time will qualify as part of my creative noodling for writing time.

Cleaning the kitchen. Yes, another rather mindless activity, during which I usually listen to an audiobook. For this month, I’m considering giving up my nightly audiobook treat while cleaning the kitchen.

I’m just considering it, though. I haven’t yet decided if I’m willing to give up my audiobooks. I don’t know if I’m that self-disciplined!

Occasional moments. And of course, I will have occasional moments throughout the day during which you’ll find me staring blankly into space. I do this on a regular basis, actually, only this month I will be a little more intentional and organized about it.

So while it might look like I’m doing nothing, I’m actually doing something very valuable indeed. I seriously don’t think any work of fiction can get written without a good supply of creative noodling.

What about you? Do you daydream or do any sort of creative noodling? If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or PiBoIdMo, how was your day one? Most importantly, are you having fun?

(And no, they’re not done with the stairs yet …)

The Day Before NaNoWriMo Starts

I know. Most people think of October 31 as Halloween. I have a seven-year-old, so you’d think I’d be sitting here thinking about Halloween and taking him out trick-or-treating tonight too.

But no, not me. All I can think is this: today’s the last day before NaNoWriMo starts!

I haven’t done that much prepping, partly because my NaNoWriMo novel (ELEMENTAL) is one that I’ve already started; I’ve written about 10,000 words of it (which won’t, of course, be counted in my November word count!).

I also haven’t prepped much because I’m a pantser, rather than a plotter (other names for this style of writing are discovery writing, and, yes, plunger!)

It’s not that I write blindly without knowing where I’m going; what I tend to do is end each writing session knowing what the next scene or handful of scenes will be, but that’s about it.

In other words, I write like this:

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

I’m doing an “unofficial” NaNoWriMo novel as well, which will really take the driving at night in the fog metaphor to a whole new level for me; I’ll be starting a middle grade WIP, FORTUNE, tomorrow. I plan to write this one in long hand, in a non-linear fashion; I’ll just add scenes as they visually come to me. It will definitely be an experiment!

I also have a “secret” goal when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year, only I’m not going to say what it is, because I’m not exactly super confident I’ll be able to meet this goal! But it’s one of the reasons why NaNoWriMo feels so exciting to me this year, even more than it did last year.

Another reason I’m so excited is because I’ve gotten more involved in the online writing community this year; there’s something about the energy of knowing a lot of other writers all playing the same NaNo game in November that’s really motivating.

And I’m also excited about November for a non-NaNoWriMo-related reason. I’ve decided to participate in PiBoIdMo 2010! Yes, that’s right – in addition to Novel Writing Month, November is also Picture Book Ideas Month! The goal? To come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days.

Yesterday, I even bought a lovely little blank journal to play PiBoIdMo with, so now I’m all set!

So anyway, back to today being the day before NaNoWriMo starts.

Since I expect to be super busy in November, I’m going to relax a bit today. Work a bit on one of my upcoming indexing deadlines (which don’t stop existing because of NaNoWriMo, unfortunately for my time but very fortunate for my pocketbook). And maybe read a cookbook or two (we picked up a couple of new ones yesterday). Not to mention tonight’s trick-or-treating.

Oh, and I’ve been bugging my husband to make this scrumptious sounding Pumpkin Seed Toffee. He was looking for bittersweet chocolate, so I think I might have succeeded!

What are you doing on this day before NaNoWriMo starts? Are you participating this year? Or just planning to have a real blast with Halloween tonight? Or both?