Working on a first draft?

Why would anyone try to write a novel? It’s an appropriate question for Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month). Personally, I’m in great sympathy with Toni’s reason:

In my experience, writing the first draft of any project, especially a novel, is an exercise in faith. Faith that you’ll work out the problems, that you have something interesting to say, that you’ll find good, better, and even-better-than-that ways to say it. Everything is possible at the beginningespecially in my chosen field of science fiction.

But then you start to create your world. And that means rules begin to appear. Now if you want to break those rules, you have to change the world. Sometimes it’s worth it. But if you do, it’s okay. It’s the first draft.

If that’s a little too free-form for you, this thought may capture your creative process better:

However you manage to create your first draft–and whatever it looks like at the end, I have just one more thought for you:

IMAGES: Many thanks to Laugh.Love.Live, for the Toni Morrison quote; to Chasing the Turtle and Alice Walker for the quote about flying; to Writingeekery and Shannon Hale, for the “shoveling sand” quote; and to P.S. BartlettAuthors Publish, and the late Terry Pratchett, for the “telling yourself the story” quote. Finally, many thanks to Novel Kicks, for the unattributed “best and worst” quote. So True!

Writing is like . . .

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Especially for the “pantser,” I think:

If you’re one of the brave souls who are persisting in the creative challenge to participate in Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month), then you’ve already long since figured out this aspect of your writing process. To all writers everywhere, Good luck, and keep writing!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Writing Sisters and E.L. Doctorow for this week’s quotation image.

Respect

How do you celebrate Veterans Day? How should we? I think that varies with the individual or family, whether one is or is not a veteran, and sometimes which war hits closest to home for us.

A Veterans Day parade in Milwaukee, WI, complete with banners, flags and uniforms.

Certainly there’s nothing wrong with a good parade, honor ceremony, or display of the flag. In many places you can buy a remembrance poppy, evoking memories of World War I, and a tradition in English-speaking countries since the 1920s.

I sometimes feel that the trappings of patriotism–the outward signs, such as a flag pin on a lapel or a patriotic meme on a Facebook wall–get more focus than actual, substantive ways to support veterans and their families.

Last year I posted some thoughts on how to thank veterans that might be worth another look, if you’re so inclined. But it seems to me that we as a nation need to think long and hard about how we treat our active-duty military personnel and our veterans. It’s easy to wave a flag and say “Thank you,” and I’m sure many feel good to be publicly appreciated–but is that the supportiveness they truly need?

If we, as citizens and taxpayers think veterans should be better-served than they currently are, we first should educate ourselves about where the needs truly lie–then get active on a local, state, and national level. To me, that’s the best form of patriotism: the hands-on, trying-to-make-it-better kind. P.S. Did you vote for better government last Tuesday?

If we’re paying enlisted personnel a living wage, why do so many of them end up as prey to the predatory payday lenders whose businesses cluster near military bases?

Back in 2011, I wrote about dilapidated schools on military basesMany were still struggling to improve their facilities as recently as 2015, though academic scores were rising.

If we’re so grateful as a nation to our veterans, why don’t more employers make a point of hiring them

Why are there so many homeless veterans? Also, what can ordinary citizens do to help them? Why are social and mental-health services spread so thin that veterans too often fall through the gaps?

Why do so many veterans commit suicide? How can we stem this trend?

Looks elegant–but are we making it REAL? That’s an open question, I fear.

It seems clear to me that we still have many serious “system upgrades” to put in place, before any “thank you for your service” we say won’t be at risk of seeming kind of hollow, to all too many of our returned warriors.

No matter how sincerely we mean it.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Honor Our Military (based in Milwaukee, WI) for the photo from their 2014 Veterans Day Parade; to the Remembrance Day Pinterest page and Pin for the poppy-themed thought (photo sourced from Hubpages); and to Ultimate Medical Academy via Pinterest for the quote image about real heroes. Thanks are also due to Diply via Pinterest for the Mark Twain quote about patriotismFinally, I am grateful to the National Veterans Foundation for the “dog tags” Thank You image.

Characters

The Artdog Image of Interest 

Think of it as a casting call . . .

As a tribute to all the writers brave enough to take the Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, I’ve dedicated most of this month’s Quotes and Images of Interest to observations about the writing craft.

IMAGE: Many thanks for this week’s image to Tom Gauld, a wonderful comics artist whose work I encourage you to explore!

The writing process

Everyone who wants to write will eventually develop his or her individual way of writing, but if you’ve embarked on that effort it’s guaranteed you’ll also discover lots of ways that don’t work for you! It’s all part of the creative process. Keep trying. And consider these thoughts:

I’ve dedicated the majority of my posts this month to writers and writing. November is Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month), when writers all over the world are moving heaven and earth (or not) to carve out time to write a cumulative total of 50,000 words.

My life is currently in enough upheaval that I knew I couldn’t compete at that level, but I’d like to provide a small cheering section for those who can. Best wishes to all of you!

IMAGES: I’m grateful to Now Novel (and to Barbara Kingsolver) for the quote and image about writing for oneself. Also to Authors Publish and Freedom With Writing for the image and quote from Neil Gaiman. Many, many thanks to the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi, for her “Will Write For Chocolate” cartoons, including this one. And finally, I appreciate the image and quote from Beth Revis, as presented by Freedom With Writing. You’re all inspiring! Thanks!

The scariest moment . . . or not.

The Artdog Quote(s) of the Week

Knowing that the blank page also frightens someone like Stephen King may perhaps be comforting to some of us lesser mortals. But knowing it doesn’t have to be all fear for everyone is a comfort as well!

This post is dedicated to everyone who’s taken the National Novel Writing Month (Na-No-Wri-Mo) challenge to attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel manuscript during the month of November. Good luck to all of you!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Now Novel’s page of writing quotes, for the Stephen King quote and image, and to Authors Publish for the Beatrix Potter quote and image.

Getting right to it!

The Artdog Image of Interest

Some of my friends are brave enough to take the Na-No-Wri-Mo plunge this month. “Na-No-Wri-Mo” stands for National Novel Writing Month, a program designed to help people write their books–or, at least, 50,000 words’ worth of manuscript–in a single, month-long endurance run. 

My own life this year is way too chaotic for me to have many illusions about participating successfully, but my theme for this month’s Quotes and Images of Interest is encouragement to other writers, who are struggling to pound out their 50 thousand words.

IMAGE: While the writer in this cartoon isn’t making much progress, perhaps she’ll offer a smile (and a cautionary note) for others. Many thanks to Cathy Thorne, and her clever Everyday People cartoons!