Sep 15, 2010

Day 3

I know I couldn't maintain this kind of pace every day of my life, but right now I'm having a blast.

Yesterday was Day 2, our first full day here at the week-long intensive.  I got up, ran for 8 minutes (about 3/4 of a mile), showered, dressed, ate a small breakfast and then came into the classroom to set up.  Class was from 9:30-12:30 and so full of new ideas (and homework) for my book that I couldn't possibly transcribe them all here.  At first I tried writing notes inside the 3-ring binder they gave us, but that quickly turned into typing like a madwoman to keep up.  I have five pages of notes, just from yesterday.

Immediately after class was lunch, then an hour nap (I had to do it...I wouldn't have made the late-night critique session otherwise), then my two 30-minute appointments.  First was with Lorin, the program director.  She's a lovely person, and an experienced professional, and by the end of our meeting I had a few answers I'd been looking for.  After Lorin was my meeting with Roman, who is one of the funniest guys I've met in a long time.  He loved my story idea because those are kinds of stories he loves (sci-fi/fantasy, otherworld, superpowers).  Me, too.  So we chatted and both he and Lorin said they loved my actual writing, but of course there are things I need to work on.  It's okay.  I have thick skin.  This is what I paid to hear: what's working and what's not.

After my meetings it was on to dinner, then right into the critique session.  They sorted us by genre so there's only three of us in our group: John (fantasy), Mitsy (mystery/suspense/psychological) and me (urban fantasy).  Since it was only us and we had a full two hours scheduled to critique each other, we each got to read 10 pages of work and then have an in-depth discussion.  Awesome.

This morning I was up again at 6:00...ish...and ran for 13 minutes, which is a full mile for me.  My goal is to be at 1.5 miles by the end of the week.  I have no excuse not to meet that.  I've not been overeating and haven't missed it.  I eat whatever they put in front of me (so long as it's not fish, ick) and then get on with the other, more important, stuff that I have going on.  I wonder how I can bottle that feeling and bring it home with me.

Now I have to get to the homework that I didn't have time for last night.  John and I are of a mind...until our book is good enough to get Don to sign us, it isn't good enough yet.  Back to work.

Sep 13, 2010

Bowie, MD - Charlotte, N.C.

I drove here yesterday (Sunday) in excellent time.  Six-and-a-half hours, mostly through rain, with one stop for gas and a bite.  Then checked-in at the Doubletree, unloaded the car (including the full-sized laser color printer, ugh), unpacked, napped, read, wrote, called home, watched t.v., then finally forced myself to sleep.

I'm calm, but I can feel the anxiety building in my toes and threatening to make its way up to my heart and head.  It's a good anxiety, though, the kind that fuels me and gives me the energy to plow through challenges.  This particular challenge is a week-long writing intensive held by Free-Expressions and taught by Don Maass, the agent who I'm determined to have sign me someday, no matter how hard I have to work.

And it is work, believe me.  I am presently surrounded by notebook paper, highlighters, pens, index cards (blank and full) and of course my beloved Macbook Air.  I have multiple files on my Cloud--that mysterious place in the ether where I'm able to backup my documents and retrieve them from anywhere--dealing with character and story continuity, research notes and, always, the endless drafts of my novel.

Any author who tells you their story came from a dream and wrote itself is a lying sack.  This is work, joyful work for those of us who truly love it--and I do--but it's still hard shit to do.  My next seven days will be long and riddled with seminars, critique groups, enough writing and rewriting to make my carpal tunnel a fiery mess, and probably more than one eye-strain headache.

I couldn't be happier.  This is the life I was meant to live.

The whole group of us meets tonight for the first time, to eat dinner then attend an opening session.  They're going to hand out copies of schedules, workbooks and "other goodies" before packing us off for the last good night's sleep we'll get this week.  It's 3:40 p.m. now.  Back to the index cards and computer files, and the smile that just won't go away.