Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Novel Update: Day 1169

On March 16, 2010, I began writing my first novel as an adult.  I had just graduated college with my bachelors in English and an emphasis in Creative Writing, Fiction, and I wasn't going to waste any time.  Just as my professor Ron Carlson told me, I was going to set a precedent for my working life.  The first thing I did after finishing my last college class was start my novel. 

Five days later, I wrote my first blog post on this blog, sending it out into the void.  After 373 days, I finished my first draft.  Now, 3 years, 2 months and 12 days after that day in March, I'm still working on that same novel.

It's been a long and tedious process, mainly because of life.  In those 3 years, I've gotten engaged, then married.  I moved to my first new home since I was 8 years old.  And I've been working full-time 50 miles from my home.  So, really I should be a lot further along.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Name is Not Amy Tan

When I write, I always hesitate putting in my character's ethnicity.  Sometimes, I've specifically imagined my character being white, Asian, etc., but I never include that information in the story.  I tend to keep the hair and eye color pretty generic; they vary between different shades of brown. They never have a last name.

I am American-born Chinese, and though I've never specifically had someone tell me this, I feel like if I do mention a character's ethnicity in my story, then its automatically about race.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Making Time for Fun

I've been asked the question by more than one person: "Cheryl, what do you do for fun?"

I have to pause and think about it.

They are asking the question seriously, and I guess its a serious problem that they have to ask that.  Most people have a hobby.  And I do have hobbies, things I enjoy doing.  It just seems like there is always something more important that my hobbies.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Behind the Scenes: A tribute to Moms

For the first part of my childhood, I grew up in a single-story home on a cul-de-sac.  I have many fond memories of going from house to house on the street, asking various parents if Katie or Emily could come out and play.  Our house was the headquarters for fun.  We would bring the neighborhood kids over all the time to play in the backyard, play cave in our garage, ride bikes and roller skate, or even just to eat Otter Pops. 

The second part of my childhood, we moved to a two-story home on a semi-busy residential street in a more well-to-do neighborhood.  Because we lived on a hill, kids didn't come out of their houses to play, but parents would drive their kids over.  For the first time in my life, I had my own room, and I always though it was so cool to live in a two-story house.  Again, our house was the location for activity.  A request to have people over was rarely declined.  We would do crafts, play dolls, bake, or as we got older, just sit and talk.  There would always be snacks: freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, homemade strawberry smoothies, cartons and cartons of ice cream. 

I cherish all of these fond memories with a more mature appreciation than I have before.  Now, when I recall those times, I see my mother's hand prints all over it.  She was the one baking the cookies.  She was the one cleaning up after us.  She was the one always giving us activities to do.  She was the one creating a welcoming home for our friends to enjoy.  And always behind the scenes. 

My mom has specifically told me that they wanted to get to know our friends.  My dad and she made conscious decisions to make our house the popular place to hang out. 

It's these types decisions that I've grown to appreciate more and more as I get older.   Just one more reason to appreciate my mothers.  (I've got two now!) 

So, thank you, Mom, for always thinking of us.  Happy Mother's Day.  I love you. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Writer's Block Doesn't Exist

Sometimes I think we writers like to use "writer's block" as an excuse to explain why they were less productive than they should have been.

I'm not quite sure that writer's block really exists.  True, there are times where the words fly naturally and fluidly off my fingers, and there are times (more often) that I stare at the computer screen and retype the same sentence over and over.

But isn't that how it is with everything?  There are on days and there are off days.

There isn't some mystical force that spreads writer's block germs around.