How Did I Get Here?

A flashback for Friday. This was one of my most popular posts in 2015. It was part one of a series I wrote called Diary of a New Writer. So in case you missed it…

(The caption on my coffee cup is Irish Gaelic and translates: “The traveler has tales to tell.”)

My dad was a story-teller. It’s only now, looking back, that I appreciate what a vivid imagination he had. He made up a whole series of adventures involving our neighbor’s cat: Mopsy, and another one with a little old man and a cuckoo clock that always saved the day. Anyway, I come by my love of stories and books, naturally.

I loved taking notes in school and writing letters to my friends who moved to Florida when I was a little girl. I kept a diary from the time I was eight years old right up to about age fourteen. I still have some of the notebooks I filled with poetry when I was a teenager. I excelled in English, ignored it to the detriment of my other subjects, yet was never encouraged to pursue it as a career. Cést la vie.

I went to college, majored in marketing, learned to write ad copy and design polls and surveys. Graduated in a time of recession and couldn’t get a job. I was Winona Ryder in “Reality Bites,” in other words, floundering.

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I even ended up working at the Gap! (Sharp intake of breath. I heard you.) That job is what ultimately led me to pursue a career change. At twenty-one, I found myself with such back pain, I could barely walk. Long story short, chiropractic saved the day and I found my new calling. I went back to school, moved to a new area, started working in my field, etc. Suddenly, I realized it had been years since I thought about writing.

One day, I guess about two years ago, I was sitting in the stylist’s chair at the hair salon, touching up the blonde and reading my book to pass the time. My stylist said to me, “You’re always reading. Did you ever want to write a book yourself?” “Sure,” I laughed. “Doesn’t every reader want to be a writer?” “You should do it,” she said. “Hmm,” I thought. “But what am I going to write about?”

… And after that I bought myself a notebook and starting jotting down ideas. The rest, as they say, is history!

A Break in Breaking Bread

I have caught up my novel excerpts to the point I am in the story. As November wound down, so did my momentum! As I am suffering with a cold and am preparing to travel this weekend –we’re off to Pittsburgh to see the Steelers play the Ravens in a crucial game on Christmas day– the story must take a brief hiatus as well. I will resume next week, with renewed zeal, hopefully…

Over the next few days, I will revisit some of the older posts that many of you haven’t seen – some of my early favorites, both poetry and short stories. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Anyway, everyone have a wonderful weekend, whatever your plans may be. Be safe, enjoy your friends and families, relax and have fun! And while I have this chance, let me express to you how much I appreciate your friendship, your comments and all your support. All my best wishes to you and yours!

Love, Meg

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November Diary

National Novel Writing Month… I wonder if you’re as sick of it as I am. I did not “win” NaNo Nonsense. “Win” – what is that all about? You don’t really win anything. You haven’t beaten other competitors to the finish line or written the best manuscript. It’s totally meaningless. Oh, I sound bitter!

So it wasn’t all bad. I undertook this challenge as a way to get this novel going again. I had started working on it –plotting, writing character bios, collecting bits of dialogue– back in February and hadn’t touched it since. My feeling is that a series can only go so long between installments before the readers lose interest. And though I’ve swerved far from the original writing path I embarked upon, I feel the need to take this series and these characters to the finish line. After this, I have plans for a final Bucks County novel, for a total of six – a double trilogy- that will conclude the stories of all the main characters.

Anyway, back to NaNo Nonsense…

My final word count tallied at 48,679. So close … 1,321 words to go. The funny thing is that I had plenty of time to write during the day, the 1,321 should have been a piece of cake. I finished writing last evening around 9:45 having written about 250 words all day – one paragraph. I found myself feeling defiant. Screw you NaNoWriMo – you can’t tell me what to do, how fast to write, not to edit as I go, just to put it all down and fix it later. Now I really sound bitter…

That was the hardest thing for me -not editing as I go. I don’t like revisiting the story to fix problems I created back in chapter two when I’m on chapter twenty-four. My habit is to re-read the preceding chapter before going on to the next. I follow my timeline spreadsheet to keep track of events and correct any minor errors along the way. Writing at the pace of nearly 1700 words a day in a continuous story doesn’t allow much time for that.

**A side note** Writing 1700 words a day is not that difficult. IF its a piece of short fiction or a non-fiction blog post. But when you have to keep track of what you’d written previously -who said what to whom, what happened when, did I reveal this plot point yet- 1700 words is massive.

Ah, anyway it’s done. I will keep plugging away at the story now that I’m in the zone. As many of you have been reading along, I’ve decided to keep publishing the story until the novel is complete. I’ll pull the excerpts from the blog when the book is ready to publish. And hope that you’ll kindly review the book when it goes up on Amazon. More on that when the time comes.

Welcome December and a respite from my labor.

Header Image: The Grey Tree; Piet Mondrian