For today’s Melodic Monday post, I’m ecstatic to welcome Natalie Hartford as my blog’s very first guest blogger. She’s a writer just starting out on the adventure of her first novel.
Natalie posts on her blog four days a week with hilarity such as my metrosexual hubby made me realize the power of clothes that fit (no matter the size), Twisted Tuesdays (with stuff like sunglasses that rock my beer! or the new trailer hitch stripper pole). I must admit I looked into that one for my dancing arsenal. And her Urban Word Wednesdays (where she teaches us words like masturcising and vajazzle) crack me up! Be sure to check her out at: http://nataliehartford.com. She’d love to have you visit.
Take it away, Natalie!
I am pumped to be here Barbara! Thank you for hosting me and allowing me to give your readers a little taste of my Nat-pizzazz.
In July 2010, I launched my blog as a means of kicking my creative writing into gear. Throughout my first year online, I connected with fantastic people (such as Barbara, my first blogging buddy), read like a maniac, and continued to blog along. Although my blog continued to grow one reader at a time (super happy about that) my fiction writing never seemed to happen.
I put it off. I stalled. I was all talk and no action. In October 2011, I joined ROW80, the writing challenge that knows you have a life, in the hopes that accountability would give me the nudge I obviously needed to start writing. The challenge put me in touch with even more amazing writers, bloggers, and a support system unlike anything I’ve experience. But still, my writing waned. Why couldn’t I sit down and write? Why couldn’t I just PICK A STORY IDEA ALREADY (from over the dozen idea I had) and run with it?
Then Jenny Hansen sent me this note:
“OF COURSE you’re going to write a great book. But you’re stalling with all this prep. Just start writing all willy-nilly and see what comes out. Promise me that in your next round of ROW80. You’ll just start writing. Pretty please? I KNOW you have an awesome book inside of you. But we all have to write like 3,000 lines of crap before our book comes out.
No one has a masterpiece on the first run. The key is to start writing. Remember, done is better than good. You can make all done into very good much easier than you can make a little good into all done.
Ok. So what’s holding me back, Jenny? I asked. She had my answer.
…it is fear. But who’s stronger? You are!
Fear! GASP! I know. I didn’t want to admit it at first either.
I took some time and thought about it. What was I afraid of? The truth was, I was afraid of trying this writing thing that I had talked about doing forever and sucking at it. What if I bombed? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if my story idea was the pits? What if I didn’t have what it takes? What then?
A million what ifs were paralyzing me from putting pen to paper. I was waiting for the perfect idea with the perfect plot so I could sit down and in one hour have a perfect outline with hundreds of perfect scenes ready to be put together to create my perfect novel that I would THEN write perfectly (likely by tinkering away at it here and there). No risk. No fear.
I was going to be waiting a lifetime for all those balls to fall into place? Seriously!
Here’s the thing I’ve learned about writers. They write! I was planning, I was thinking, I was brainstorming – all good, valuable and important. But I wasn’t writing. And writers…they write!
So now I find myself butt in chair 3 to 5 times a week writing at minimum 1,750 words a week. I am still planning, thinking, and brainstorming to hone my story idea and plot outline (because I am sooo a plotter) but now I start every session with writing. Whether it’s character development, scene sketches, dialogue possibilities, world building snippets, or dotting out potential new and undiscovered super powers, I write first…and plan afterwards.
And nothing gets me in the writing mood more than music! When I read Debra Kristi’s post on how she uses music as a source of inspiration to create pieces in her mind, I knew she was onto something. She created an entire music and photo backdrop for her second book. It blew me away. I knew I had to put something together for my book writing; something to help me get INTO the setting…to feel the book…something uplifting, powerful, and inspiring. Listening to Top 40 was not helping me channel my characters.
Now this…this is more like it! Here’s the kick-off tune for Natalie’s Fiction Book 1 Playlist:
Chevaliers de Sangreal by Hans Zimmers. It was featured in The Da Vinci Code.
I can almost see and feel my female heroine facing her darkest hour right now….she’s afraid…she’s alone…she doesn’t know if she can do it!! It’s too much to ask. It’s too much for one mere person to take on. The task is too daunting. The force is too strong! But as the song builds, I can feel her mind shifting. From the depth of her soul I can feel her inner power building. She is starting to believe, as I have always known, that she…she is the true embodiment of her people. She is the culmination of centuries of history and power! She is THE ONE. As she rises…and the smoke clears…she draws her sword and, with a knowing grin, she invites evil to dance this dance…one last time!
Words on the page are what make for a novel. I am not sure how long it’ll take me to get there nor do I know where this journey will end up…but…I am happy to know that I’m at least now moving in the direction.
Visit me at: http://nataliehartford.com
Talk to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on twitter at: @NatalieHartford
Way cool for you to swing by and share your thoughts with us, Natalie. I am sure there are many of us who can relate to your experience. Chasing your dream, whether it is writing a book or something else, can be intimidating and scary. Finding those strategies and establishing a process that moves you closer to your goal is key. And you know I agree that music can be a powerful motivator and tool for inspiration. It is something near and dear to my muse and I have a constant playlist running either on my iPod or humming in my head.
Music has the ability to swell us with emotion. What songs get your writing mojo going? How do you use music to inspire and enrich your writing? What strategies help you put pen to paper?