Self Reliance – Haiku and Notes for Writers on Trusting Yourself

Journey Notes: As a writer, you have to learn to stand on your own two feet and trust yourself.

No one is as invested as you are in your progress. You are the only one who wakes before dawn tying dreams and reality together like overcooked spaghetti.

If you anchor your progress and development to someone else, you create an illusion of safety. You begin to think that that person (or organisation) will find what’s wrong with your book and fix it. They can’t. And they shouldn’t. They can guide, encourage and support you. They can tell you when you write complete crap. They can point out your weaknesses. But the rest is up to you. So keep pushing to be better. You are more resilient than you think.

Here’s a little haiku to help explain what I mean:

Self-Reliance
Water all around.
Cling to the side of a boat.
Stand up. It’s shallow.

You know what I mean?
Have an excellent day, folks.

 

P.S. I’m using Scrivener to outline Trilogy (new project). They have their cross device technology right. As long as you can tolerate DropBox, then syncing between devices is seamless. I run it mainly between an iPhone and iPad. I don’t know how it functions on Android and I haven’t tried syncing what’s on my mobile devices to my PC yet. But as an on-the-go tool, it’s good.

 

Child’s Play – Flash Fiction

The battle lasted 10 hours. No break. No single moment when the soldiers could lie down and stop – to breathe and think. There were no dark corners to sit and rest. Food was soaked with blood and mud. Water full of dead insects. Hot smoke burned their wings, dropping them to the ground to be crushed by running, hiding boots.

“Otez! You there? Still breathing?”

“Hey Boden. Can’t feel my feet, but I’m here. You got chocolate?”

“Oreos. That do?”

“Life saver. I’ll come to you.”

Lieutenant Lizzy Boden saw the enemy first. “Otez! Get back! Incoming!”

Lizzy “Choco” Boden glimpsed Michael “The Raptor” Otez for less than a second before fire and smoke, stone and steel collapsed.

“Tell my family…!”

oOo

Lieutenant Boden sat neat and repaired on Michael Otez’s pink floral couch. His wife, Emily, ripped a tissue with her small, pale hands. Neither woman spoke. Neither could. They both watched Mike Jnr. in his playroom across the hall.

oOo

“Boooooooooom!” The boy tossed Lego bricks, trucks, cars and a Wolverine figure onto the floor. He stood up and lifted his foot, still wearing high polished black shoes from the morning. “Incoming!” He crushed the pile. “Incoming!!!”

oOo

A single tear slipped down Lizzy Boden’s face. “That’s what happened,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

 

 

Choosing a Path

My thinking over the last two days has been about choosing a path.

When you’re working on something like a novel, it can be hard to decide what to focus on. The outcome is so uncertain. Your imagination is endless. There are so many options.

Yesterday, when I felt conflicted and a little messed in the head, this little Haiku came out:

 

Too many choices
Pebbles tossed on an ocean floor
What does your heart say?

Today, I found a little more clarity. I’ve decided which path to choose. It wasn’t an analytical decision in the end. The best ones never are. I looked at two options in my mind. One shone brighter. A couple of weeks ago we talked about a third way. This is a third way:

One hand on the earth
Fingers draw life from the core
One hand on your heart

I think you always know what you have to do. It just takes time to admit it to yourself. When you do, you have no choice but to follow through.

Daily Practice

I’m thinking about daily practice. How, bit by bit, small daily actions accumulate to become something meaningful.

Every day new blooms
Dew drop-by-drop hugs the dawn
And so the tree grows

 

Journey notes for writers: I woke up thinking about consistency this morning: Daily practice.

I guess it’s because I’m doing a mindfulness course and an analogy has stuck with me: Mindfulness is like learning to swim. If you learn to swim and you practice, you’ll be fine if you fall out a boat.

It’s the same with writing: practice every day; learn the craft; no matter what it takes. Then, when you sit down to say what you really want to say, the words you need will be there.

OK. That’s it.

 

Creating a Novel v.s. Building a Story

Today has been a mellow, peaceful Sunday spent reading, napping and catching a movie. Between The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and Rules Don’t Apply (movie with Warren Beatty), I had a realisation.

How-To v.s. Content
On my Road to Writerville I’ve read countless How-To books on everything from character to plot to dialogue (some of it even stuck). Today I realised that I have been so busy focusing on the How-To that I’ve neglected content.

My research on the subject matter of my books has never been as deep as it could be. I’ve been more focused on creating a novel than building a story.

A balance has to be struck
I’ve never agreed with the “write what you know” maxim which is probably why I focused on technical how-to so much. I don’t want to write what I know – I want to write what I’m fascinated in. But just because I’m fascinated in something, doesn’t mean I know enough about it to write convincingly.

Wild Write Your Passion
In one of Natalie Goldberg’s books she says (I paraphrase) “wild write your passion”. What she’s saying, I think, is that the more you write, research and live your passion, the deeper the colour of that passion will seep into your skin so when you do finally sit down to write, you will be writing what you know.

Reading “How-To” books will only take us so far. After that, we have to move on from meta-writing and get interested in the real world.

My favourite quote is still from Henry David Thoreau: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

Have an excellent day.
Tina

Recipe for a Great Stew

In writing, don’t rush into anything. Especially not to trash almost 2 years worth of work. Here’s a little Haiku called “Recipe for a Great Stew”. Below is a note to writers.

Fill your fireside pot
Stand to live then sit to write
Time makes perfect stew

JOURNEY NOTE FOR WRITERS: 
As you may know, I trashed the last version of FF. I’d worked on it for almost 2 years and it came back from my awesome editor with so many holes that I decided it had to go. I really did consign it to the Lessons Learned bin and moved on.

Then this morning I glanced at the editor’s additional notes and realised I’d been a little hasty. Yes, the plot is mostly rubbish, the location isn’t quite right, sequencing is out, and completely illogical and all too convenient things happen all through the story that just don’t tie up. But I like the premise and most of the characters are really great.

Now, here’s the realisation… If you “put your book aside for a while”, it’ll stew. That’s true. And when you come back to it you’ll see holes and inconsistencies and you’ll make some changes. But if you really let it go – if you genuinely trash it – then when you come back to it, nothing will be precious. You’ll see all the gaps and issues and starting over (from the very beginning if necessary) won’t feel so hard. Sometimes we have to really let something go before we see it for what it really is.

That’s it. Happy stewing today, folks.
Tina

Different Shades of Hell – three Haikus

 

With these cowardly terror attacks still on my mind, here are three Haikus. They’re called “Different Shades of Hell”.

 

Dad
Touch her baby face
Last message, I love you, Dad
So to hell he goes

Survivor
Two eyes down to none
Filmmaker’s lens fades to black
So to hell she goes

Bomber
Bloody step in faith
Glory tales steeped in lies
So to hell he goes.

 

NOTE TO WRITERS: I almost didn’t post anything today. I’d written these Haikus but then got a pang of writer’s insecurity (you’ll know what I mean) and thought I’d just miss one day. Then I remembered I’d made a commitment to myself. To write and publish every day. To commit and show up and get better. If I miss today, what’s going to happen tomorrow? When we commit, we have to see it through – no  matter what – as long as it doesn’t entail destroying people’s lives. So get your words in today. Write and publish and produce. When you show up, your muse will too. Just get to work. You’ll find your way**.

 

** Haha… I’m still lost like a newborn puppy in a midnight gutter, but somehow, putting something out every day is bringing the strands together. It’s quite a journey we’ve chosen. More chances of failure than success, but if we don’t show up every day, our chances of writing what we want to write drop exponentially. So keep it going. Every day.

Belonging – a Haiku

Belonging - a haiku by Tina Konstant - Daily Dose of FictionSun shines without aim
You and the Baobab tree
Drink from the same lake

 

 

(NOTE: Was thinking about character and character development today. And about Manchester and Paris and all the other savage attacks around the world. All in the name of religion. Amazing how folk forget we all live on the same planet and breathe the same air.)