Since last weekend, I’ve been working hard on the big writings. My weekly email from Writer’s Digest had inspiration for writing a novel in 90 days. The typical novel runs approximately 70,000 words. So writing 778 words each day will get me there. I have a bigger goal of writing at least 1,000 words each day. For each of two writing projects. Yeah. I’m bit of an overachiever that way.
I’m still adding substance to the first book in The Grenalia Chronicles with Megan. But last summer I’d started a story set in New Orleans, and that’s been my adventure this week. The story drew me back in, and has been flowing out of me with an ease I’ve not experienced lately.
Don’t get me wrong; The Grenalia Chronicles isn’t difficult to write. But there’s something even easier about the NOLA story. And I find it ironic in a beyond-coincidental way, that it’s been so easy to write a big story set in The Big Easy.
It’s been so easy, in fact, that I doubted my own talent. I was nearly certain my beta readers (that is, a tiny group of family and friends) were just placating me with their accolades. Of course Mutti is still my first reader, and she nearly always has wonderful things to say. But she has to. As old as I am, she’s still the Matriarch. She’s still my Mommy. And she still boosts my ego.
Then there’s Darcy. I trust his honesty. But a casual “I really like it” is the same as someone saying “I’m fine” when you ask how they’re doing. It’s a little parochial. Being the occasionally insecure person that I am, I need substance to his reviews. And he knows it. So today, I received this fine note:
“Ok, I don’t think I like reading unfinished works. Now I have to twist and stew while I wait for more. Answers! I need answers!”
The ultimate review came from Dot’s best friend who offered to read my story as a distraction from his summer college courses.
“… this is an incredible start to a story. I really did enjoy it… a very good tale of someone trying to find themselves in a city big enough where no one cares… I like it… Your writing is conversational, and it makes everything more comfortable… PS: My favorite line is ‘And I needed to be unnoticed by strangers.'”
I can’t share what he wrote between those lines, because that would give too much of the story away. I’m pleased that without knowing the plot past the first seven pages, the story is having a Big impact on the readers. Which, in turn, is having a Big impact on me.
It’s easy to doubt myself. To lose sight of the fact that I am not only a writer, but worth reading. Rejection comes in many forms, but the worst is from inside myself. This past week has caused me to stand a little taller, feel a little better about my works. To feel that self-confidence that comes with a job well done. And even if others hadn’t noticed, I’d still be taller. Better. Stronger. Because inward thoughts dictate outward behaviors.
And that’s the first of my Five Things Friday: The Big Easy. Here are the rest:
2. Harry Connick, Jr. has a new album out. Every Man Should Know. I’ve adored HCJ’s music since he first popped onto the scene in the late ’80s. Knowing my love for the man and his music, Darcy blessed me with an iTunes gift card so I could acquire the newest album. This of course was after I died and went to heaven while viewing Harry’s title video.
Just watch and listen:
(For those of you who don’t know, Harry was born in New Orleans.)
3. Jambalaya. I’ll be in my kitchen soon, cooking up a Mojo Original Jambalaya. I’ve never made it before, but I have a shaker of Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning that I love to dash on just about everything. I figure it’s time to use it for it’s intended purpose and make those mouth glands water! There are so many ways to make Jambalaya that I’m pretty sure I can’t mess this up.
4. Last year when I first started my N’Awlins story, I created a Pinterest board. I’ve added ideas, locations, recipes, party goods, and media for inspiration. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jazz and watching movies set in the South to get a feel for the accents, behaviors, settings, and characters. Since it’s likely I won’t make it to The Big Easy before I finish the story, I’m okay with living vicariously through the creative minds of others. Currently, my movies of choice are Double Jeopardy with Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with Kevin Spacey and John Cusack.
5. To keep me inspired, I created a simple photo collage for my computer background. It’s a compilation of the first online resource materials I collected, as well as the writings I worked on this week. It’s colorful, detailed, yet simple.
I would love nothing more than to tell you as you read this, I’m enjoying beignets and coffee at Cafe DuMonde. Or even enjoying beignets and coffee from Cafe DuMonde. I know so much about them. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to know about me. Sometimes, soon can’t be soon enough.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!