Yes, you get to choose… so choose wisely

Today I finished my second edition pass on my NANOWRIMO novel Johnson Farm. The first time it went from 238 pages to 247 and grew by 2000 words. At the end of the second pass it has shrunk back to 238 pages and it is 1500 words shorter than the original first draft. This wasn’t just verbal wondering, both steps had to happen for the novel to work the way I want it to.

The same thing applies in almost everything we do. We have to make choices, the best choices we can. Sometimes the choice isn’t all that happy, or nice, but we still have to make it. We have to make the best choice we can even when the options suck.

The key to this, the way we make the best choice, is to know our goals and values. We need to be honest with our selves about what we want and what the outcome of our choice will be. When we do that we can make the best possible choice.

Sure, I could leave that little gem of prose in the novel. But, it slows down a scene that I want to be fast paced. Sure, I could ignore that little detail. But, does ignoring it cause a problem later. Sure I could leave out that bit of exposition. But will that confuse the reader?

The same thing applies in real life (gasp!) outside of fiction. Sure, I could return that phone call right away. But somebody just ticked me off. I might want to calm down a little first. Sure, I could ignore the call completely. But what if ignoring it fouls up one of my own projects?

No, this isn’t easy. In the last 24 hours I’ve had to make choices about my novel (a work of love); my chainmail book (which is hopefully funding another project); a training course I’m planning (which isn’t quite ready but needs to go now); and going to visit my mother (who slipped into a coma yesterday). None of it was easy. But, if you know your goals and values; if you can make a reasonable guess at the results of your choice; you can make the best choice possible.

Sometimes it’s making the best of a bad situation. Sometimes it’s making good better. Either way be honest with yourself. Be true to who you are and what you believe; then the choice you make is the best one you can make. Then it is the right choice for you and your situation. No one can take that from you.

That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time…

Well… That’s up to you!

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Learning More, Becoming Better

The other day I was pondering what to do with this blog. I felt like I was going to loose one of the things that I like to talk about here. One of the ones I’ve gotten a lot of reactions to.

For a moment I thought I was going to give up on writing about diabetes stuff here. I felt like I was a victim of my own success. I’m not really having a lot of side effects or trials, so what’s to write about?

I realized having things to talk about diabetes wasn’t the problem. I needed to reorganize the way I think about, and write on, the blog!  There are really four main themes/subjects that I want to be the focus of this blog: Writing, Creativity/creating, Independence/ability, and choice.

My fight about whether I had anything to say about diabetes was flawed. If I wanted to sit around groaning about symptoms, then I don’t have a lot to say here. But, if I look at it in terms of my four subjects/themes there is a lot to say. I can talk about the choices one makes in living with diabetes. I can talk about being independent while dealing with diabetes. I can talk about creative solutions when dealing with diabetes. I can write about what I’m writing about diabetes. That’s a lot of good options.

Using this system I can (and will) talk about a lot of things I’m interested in. They’re all fair game as long as I can fit them into one or more of the themes. I will probably keep writing about diabetes fairly often (I hope to have at least one if not two books on it out in the next year or so). I will also be talking about psychology, history/mythology, family experiences and other things I run into. I’m just going to make sure that they are talked about in the context of the four themes.

This way I get to talk about the things I want to. And you, the reader, have a more solid base to know what to expect on the blog. The blog will be both free to vary, and consistent in content. This change is really going to help me, and hopefully the better focused content helps you too.

That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time…

remember focusing and limiting aren’t the same thing!

I Thought Hard Before I Posted This…

I have given this one a good deal of thought but I want to say this…

Just over a week ago I was in a church meeting. I had the honor of watching men and women that I had trained doing their callings to the best of their ability, even though it was the end. By the next Sunday (yesterday) we would be divided up into new units and serving in new capacities.

I was really proud of my people. I realized that the pride I felt was the the same as that of an officer who sees his troops prevail in spite of the odds. It was that of a father who gets to see his sons and daughters stand on their own; to see them rise to become the great ones that they can be.

I remembered that years ago I was given a blessing in which I was blessed to have sons and daughters. Also in this blessing was the statement that I needed to train my sons and daughters for when I was gone. I have been blessed to have sons and daughters. And yet, my wife and I have no children, no literal physical children.

I realized that these are my children: the ones that I can teach and train; the ones who have need of me and can grow to be great. These will be my children.

If Lisa and I are given physical children in the future, then I accept that blessing. In the mean time this is my choice and my duty, to be a father to the fatherless and a teacher to those who would learn. To help where I can and lead where I can. To help those who are willing to become more than they are, even to become all that they can be.

This is my choice and my duty, the duty  my God gave to me, and I make no apology for it.

That’s it for this one dear reader. Until next time…

Take the time to be great

Farangian

Let the revisions begin!

Ok that title’s a slight miss statement… the revisions, and the new year, have been going on for a week.

In addition to the usual beginning of the year stuff, this is the month I’m starting to do the editing for the novel Johnson Farm (The one I wrote as a NANOWRIMO project in November). The first draft of 58201 words (in 238 pages) really did come through in 22 days writing time, not counting Sundays. And I really did need to back away from it for a month before I started editing.

I think every writing project has it’s own quirks and challenges. So far this one has a real pattern in that I can predict which scenes will need more revision/editing based on which characters are involved. If my young hero is more or less on his own, or has one family member to contend with things go pretty well…

Unfortunately his father and his father’s two brothers are in the story…

For some reason when you put two or more of those characters in the same room they seem to not only bicker with each other, but they create headaches for me as a writer. Hero alone… fine. Hero and one of the others… mostly fine. Hero and two of the others… grab a seat kids this edit is going to take a while.

Sure, it’s a headache. Sure, at times I’d rather be doing something else (actually as I’m writing this post I should really be crossing out the first 2/3 of the first page of chapter 12 and writing the whole thing over…).

However, it’s also part of the fun. I like to keep a copy of the first draft so I can see how things have changed. How things have gotten better (and worse). And, how things I never expected pop in or are brought to light from the original.

One of the fun things about fiction writing is the act of discovery. Today I’m telling you the act of discovery doesn’t have to be done until the story is edited finished and ready to go.

And then you get to pass it off for someone else to discover while you go write the next one!

It’s your story. If you’re doing it right, you learn and grow as you write it, edit it and make it the best it can be. Hopefully it helps you to be the best you can be to.

That’s it for today dear reader…

Until next time, this works on life too!

PS the fracking story has actually grown about six hundred words in spite of the stuff that’s been cut and I’m just hitting the heavy lifting now…