Tag Archives: writer

TANGO! It Takes Two

8 Feb
Two ballroom dancers practicing in their studio

This is what it looks like when I’m dancing…in my dreams

I love to dance.  So many kinds of dance I’ve enjoyed – ballet, jazz, lyrical, club, two-step and so on.  But I’ve never done the Tango.  It sounds exciting, intriguing, perhaps even…dangerous.  I do know one thing about the tango, and that is, as the saying goes, “it takes two”.  It’s not something you can do by yourself.

Neither is writing.

But all I want is time to myself so I can writeyou say.  Make the world go away for a little while, so I can write, I beg of you!

I sympathize.  Believe me, I do. But even when we are alone writing, we are not alone.  If we are writing something we actually want someone to read someday, then there is always one other person present.  Our dear reader.  Is our writing not a dance with our reader?

One of my writing challenges is pacing. This month, I’m going to think about dancing with my reader.  Am I leading them with a quick enough stride here, a slow enough pace there to catch their breath, a pause just…long…enough…to…create anticipation? I love it when that perfect tension is created with a dance partner.  That is what I need to create with my reader.

I think I’m ready to TANGO!  How about you?


Charly – Whistler, Canada

21 Mar

The 4 Chicks are pleased to present this Chick Story shared by an author mentioned in one of our very first posts – An Author, A Writer, What Am I? Charly has written powerfully and personally about her creative journey on her blog, www.theelementarycircle.wordpress.com, and there she also reveals excerpts of her upcoming fiction.

When I was nineteen, I lost both my parents to cancer in the same year.  I literally started my year with two ‘healthy’ parents, and ended it with neither of them.

As the eldest child, everything fell on my shoulders – selling the house, organising Mum’s funeral, arranging probate, and making sure my fifteen year-old sister was brought up in a manner my parents would have seen fit.

At the time I was at university, studying Law at Cambridge University.  I was on the path I had always deigned for myself.  Mum and Dad had never pushed me in a particular direction, simply instructing me that whatever I did in life I ought to be happy.

After four years at Cambridge, I decided a law career wasn’t me.  All those years I’d simply been saying I wanted to become a lawyer because it ‘sounded good’.  As a child I had always dreamed of becoming a writer, but then sensible ‘adult’ness came along and pushed that dream aside.

After Mum and Dad died at really young ages, it made me rethink the way I wanted to live my life.

My parents had met when my Dad was travelling around the world.  He was British, she was Romanian.  And so travelling and languages were quite literally in my blood.

Once I was done with academics, I decided to spend a year travelling around the world.  I planned a route across South and Central America, and spent the best part of eight months on the back of overnight sleepers and chicken buses, tracing my way across a continent in the cheapest possible manner.

It was on the back of these buses that I discovered my passion.

Long journeys soon became boring, and a story idea which had itched in the back of my mind finally began to fall into place.  I set to work committing the story to Word documents, and just four months later my first novel, ‘Flicker’ was born.  From there I found a literary agent, and changed my life plans completely.  I continued to travel, realising it provided me with the perfect head space to write, and took a job in a Canadian ski village as a nanny.

Since then I’ve written two more novels, the second of which is being submitted to publishers this week.

Writing is who I am.  It just took me a little while to realise.  And whilst technically I’m still a nanny, and not a high-flying lawyer, deep down I also know I’m a writer, and that, to me, is more important than monetary success 🙂

It’s the person I know my parents would have wanted me to be.

A Story To Tell

28 Feb

Saturday night I tweeted that Running equals good mood and creativity.  I did not go for a run the next morning like I was thinking I was going to do.  I went running at noon time, the hottest time that I could go.  Don’t ask.  So at mile 3.1, I started thinking about creativity hoping to take my mind off how tired and hot I was feeling.

I came to the conclusion at mile 4.5, that I’m not a writer like my other 3 Chicks are.  I’m not even a very good videographer, or editor, or runner.  Or even a very good writer.  But what I do have is a story.

Julia Cameron said that you need to take baby steps, to just start–even if it’s me sitting in front of the computer for 10 minutes a day.  Eventually I will become a good videographer, editor, and an OK writer.

So, this is what I can guarantee: that I will forget to clean my video lenses, my video will be shaky, that I will write there instead of their. That I will still struggle to breathe even if I have been running for over 2 years.  But, I will have a story to tell.

An Author? A Writer? What Am I?

26 Feb

I just stumbled upon this great question on the front page of WordPress.com: So Am I An Author Yet?

My natural curiosity just wouldn’t let me continue on with my own task.  I had to follow that link.  Because this is a question we who write struggle with constantly.   Er… I was going to say “we who have not been published” but then caught myself.

Why do I see myself that way — as someone who has not been published?  I have been published: one article in a national trade journal and a couple of articles in a now well-established and popular niche blog.   And yet, I feel the need to say “that’s all.”   Why??   It’s not a lot, but it’s a start, isn’t it?  Do I devalue it simply because it wasn’t a book or an article in the Atlantic or a national consumer magazine?

Am I an author?  Am I a writer?  What am I?  And who decides?  You see my struggle.

Anyway, back to that link…At the end of it I found a great post by C-C Lester.  She expressed the writer/author identity struggle eloquently and, ironically, it made me identify with her.  Aha!  I thought.  She’s one of us. In C-C, I recognized a kinswoman.  A woman-writer-perhaps-author chasing the muse, who also recently decided to share her story with the world via the blogosphere.   C-C and I, we may not know what to call ourselves, but we know that writing is an inseparable part of who we are.

An author?  A writer?  Who knows?  Who cares?  I write.  Period.

To read C-C’s post, click here: http://theelementarycircle.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/so-am-i-an-author-yet/

Another Baby Step

22 Feb

Paper, scissors, tape--voila! This miniature comp was part of today's baby step towards becoming a published author.

I spoke to The Muse on the phone again this morning.  Well actually, I spoke with Bob Ostrom, the very talented and personable man who is illustrating my first children’s book.  Now that Bob’s completed all thirteen sketches, he and I discussed our respective feelings on colors.

First children’s book?  Feelings on colors?!  Yes, I’ve died and gone to heaven.  Evidently heaven feels a lot like Kindergarten.  Even so, I wouldn’t have stepped foot into this classroom if not for my fellow Chick, Eva.  She literally pushed me into it.  After enduring years of my incoherent ramblings about IT (the would-be novel), it was Eva who made me enter the Nature Made Sleep Bedtime Stories Contest and became my biggest e-promoter as well.  Then came the thousands of votes for “Addie and Ollie” from my amazing friends and friendly supporters, for whom I remain most grateful and without whom I would not have won.

Winning has been a much-needed boost to my long-lost sense of worth.  The $7,500 prize money was my first “paycheck” since becoming a stay-at-home mom, a fact not unnoticed by my hard-working, left-brained husband.  Yet having my story brought to life by Lulu.com has been the greatest prize by far.  Collaborating with a professional illustrator is creatively exhilarating.  I feel validated as a (dare I type the word?) writer.

“It’s only a little poem,” the anti-muse inside my head would have me believe.  Maybe so.  But The Muse reminds me that every creative journey, whatever the scale, is made of baby steps.  We set one wobbly but hopeful foot in front of the other.  And eventually, we learn to walk.

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