Friday, October 31, 2008


Nanowrimo begins in a matter of hours (and yes, I’m hoping to scrawl at least one sentence after midnight tonight).

But I’ve got to wonder: Am I in denial?

Somehow, looking at a month of 2000+ words each workday (Sundays and Thanksgiving off)... doesn’t sound all that bad. In fact, I feel pretty casual about the whole thing.

Maybe I’m just worn out? So worn out that the idea of flipping on my computer and letting my fingers loose for 2000 words or so sounds almost… soothing. Relaxing. Like it will be a relief to crank through my outline, translating scene ideas and my rough sense of direction into (hopefully comprehensible) paragraph after paragraph…

Maybe I’ll wake up midweek, mug of coffee fused to my hand, eyes unable to blink closed, with the realization that I have 40,000 more words breathing down my neck. And perhaps my characters will stop talking (they’ll take up pool or something—maybe install a foosball table in their private area of the story, some place the author can’t get to), and the whole thing will go pearshaped, but right now? I don’t see it being a problem.

Ha! Once again, optimism and a healthy disconnect from reality step in to save my state of mind. Nanowrimo will be fabulous.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/31 at 03:50 PM
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

i, for one, would rather see the great pumpkin

Not to rain on anyone’s Halloween parade, but I won’t mind turning the corner toward Thanksgiving this weekend. Because I do think it’s funny that once a year, my neighbors put what looks like decomposed humans on their porches and tombstones in their yards. (At least it doesn’t smell like a morgue.)

I can’t help wishing for some sort of antipodal holiday, maybe at the end of April, when we put art displays on the fronts of our houses, or statues (not corpses) leaning toward the sidewalks. Take an after-dinner walk and see the neighbors’ tribute to Renoir, or a Rodin sculpture, or an enormous Monet waterlily.

That would make up for it. (And no, the grotesque inflatable Santas we’ll be seeing in a few weeks… they don’t count.)

Nanowrimo begins in less than two days: My outline is over forty pages and is pure mess… But I think there’s material enough for at least 50,000 words. Maybe more. Maybe a lot more…—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/30 at 02:04 PM
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

on my shelf: part two

The best writing books continued:

6. A Writer’s Paris, Eric Maisel. While his theology drives me insane, much of this book is admirable. It is also probably the most physically beautiful book I own. And I love the idea of writing in Paris (shocking, no?)... but this is also a practical book for writing here at home. (Though southern Illinois lacks the charm of la vie en rose…)

7. Rules of Thumb is a compilation of essays (most of them short) by a variety of authors, collected by Michael Martone and Susan Neville. Many of the essays are decent, and a handful are quite, quite good and continue to haunt me as I work. Since the essays are short, this is like an inspirational “snack” when I’m getting bogged down.


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/23 at 06:58 PM
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on my shelf: a tribute: part one

What could be pleasanter than a little literature in the small hours? — P.G. Wodehouse

During the act of creation there is collaboration. We do not create alone. — Madeleine L’Engle

I am trying to be a very good person and not question my impulsive signing up for NaNoWriMo last week… But I stare at Part Three and realize how very much I do not know yet!

I have lots thought out, and so many elements have grown and deepened since writing the first draft. That much is encouraging. But the huge black holes in the plot, the light-sucking, howling ignorance that I feel when cracking open my outline… that’s not so good.

So I’m reaching again and again to my writing bookshelf, to flip through the books that I adore so much, searching for a bit of courage.


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/23 at 06:45 PM
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

the grace of deadlines (or: have i finally lost it?)

What a writer needs is handicaps. —James Thurber

Writing books is, and should be, really slow. The great books are still around—just like the great recipes, the great songs, the great trees—because they took a long time to develop. —Heather Sellers

I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing pace these days. Overthinking it, perhaps. Probably. Okay, certainly.

No surprise to you, but I’ve been worrying too much about how long writing takes. I keep wondering if I’m working hard enough. It’s like that classic running analogy: how a person can run well on her own, but if she’s surrounded by other runners, she pushes herself even faster.


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/16 at 05:20 PM
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

a few words from a little toe

The significant, life-forming times are the dull, in-between times. – Jan Karon

Sometimes Facebook is a dangerous place for me to be.

I love visiting that site, I really do. It’s the best way for me to stay caught up with my friends, who are literally scattered to every continent. And if I’m not careful, I can lose an afternoon while catching up with the latest pictures and news.

But it wasn’t a time management issue that tripped me up last week.


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/08 at 01:59 PM
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Last Thursday, I had another rapturous bookstore experience. It’s been cooling and crisping outside: time for another round of Maple White Mochas at Seattle’s Best (part of our local Borders). Mom and I brought our work, and the joining of writing, coffee, and bookstore is still bliss.

Factor in the knitting project I dreamed up while we were there (and have since completed—birthday legwarmers for my sister), a handful of new DVDs waiting at home, and the fact that our grocery store is now stocking fresh apple cider… and I was deeply, unshakably happy.

And then I found Cornelia Funke’s Inkdeath, just released. I bought it and sat with it in my lap, speechless, all the way home.

So, we’re pretty much looking at a full plate of joy. Happy autumn to you.—jl

Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/07 at 03:50 PM
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Monday, October 06, 2008

famous first words

I spent last week rereading, resuscitating, and otherwise resurrecting Part Three of my novel. I read all ninety-or-so pages last Monday: Is it a bad thing if you fall asleep reading your own book??

Note to self: add more tension.

I’m thrilled to be working on new material, though. Thrilled about beginning again. And I’m strangely excited to come up with the opening line for Part Three…


Posted by Jenn Langefeld on 10/06 at 04:45 PM
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