Sodaro's Stories

March 7, 2017

Letting go…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:32 pm
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So…I may have one or two control issues (Okay, that “one or two” is a bit of an understatement…)

One thing that being an author has taught me, is to let go of some of my control issues…for example…what a project should look like in the end. There have been many things I have tried to force into what I wanted them to be…and it worked as well as the square peg, round hole conundrum.

Another thing I have learned is that projects will get finished when they are supposed to…this is a hard one for me because I have A SCHEDULE. I have a GAME PLAN. I want these ducks lined up at this time…and oh crap…where did all the ducks go.

So what happens when I try to force plot points or formats…or try to line the ducks up at a given time to get done by my self-imposed deadline…is NOTHING. Not like…haha, nothing happens and life continues as it should…I mean NOTHING happens. Like Nada. ZILCH. Zero things happening. Which then causes me stress as I stare at the calendar and maybe, if I just stare hard enough, I can go back a few weeks and not stress and then not be staring and fretting. (Side note, where did February go????)

I trust the process. I do. It has successfully brought me to finishing and publishing 6 novels and I am about to publish #7…the process works…but it works on its own time and in its own way…and me staring at the calendar…and swearing…and pleading with the process…and putting more and more pressure on things…yeah, that is not how the process works. Who could work under those conditions.

So I let go. I stopped swearing at my calendar. I stopped frowning at my to-do lists…and I just focused on other things…and then a duck showed up…and another and another…and now, my ducks are as much in a row as they ever are…and I will finish #7 and all will be right with the world once more

November 2, 2016

Grateful for: NaNo

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:42 pm
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About five years ago, I stumbled across the website for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I was intrigued. A novel in a month? 50,000 words is not a “novel” according to Writer’s Digest magazine, but it is a solid first draft. And written in a month? 30 days? 50K in 30D? Interesting.

The first year my attempt was a mess. I went in with no game plan and figured I could easily get the 1667 words a day. I mean I write ALL the time…it’s kind of my deal. I started of getting 2000 words a day and I was thinking I got this. Then I slowed down. Then I slowed down some more until coming to a complete stop at chapter 12. I didn’t have this. What I did have was Writer’s Block and it was as disgusting as every author has ever described it to be.

I’ve never been an “outliner” for my novels thinking they would imprison my creative spirit with their rigid rules and that was something that had happened far too often already (fer people and fewer jobs can handle me at 100% ME). I am grateful to NaNo because it helped me to appreciate the beauty (and surprising flexibility) of an outline. My outlines are written literally in pencil and are not English teacher approved (sorry “Ms. Sodaro”) but they keep me focused on what comes next and what has to happen “here” for “this” to happen “there.”

I am also grateful to NaNo for it’s ability to help me focus. On my best days, I tend to have a rather sporadic attention span span (picture having 45-60 of your favorite television programs and you keep flipping channels to see what interesting things are going on in each one). That is my brain on a pretty daily basis. NaNo helps me have a primary project to focus on…helping me get a project’s first draft done instead of it joining the pile of about 10 projects I have where the first draft is half done.

So yes…I am grateful for the NaNo challenge as it has made my novel writing process more effective and organized, which I now use on non-NaNo projects as well.

August 23, 2016

Project Quilt

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:07 pm
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project quilt

SO a few years ago, I had all my “current” projects up on my wall…and it reminded me that I needed to quit playing World of Warcraft and get to work on these projects. After a few moves and updates to the project list, it is finally back on my wall where it belongs. That’s a lot of color in one picture…it is even more so in real life 😀 But I was careful to not have the pink paper visible on the pink paint or the green paper visible on the green paint. That and not having the same color side by side or directly on top or bottom…was all I allowed my OCD to have a say in this. There was no real order to the projects. I didn’t do alphabetical or color coded…See…I am making progress on controlling my OCD…but not to the point that I obsess about it (see what I did there 😉 haha)

45…there are 45 of them on my wall. In order to be seen as “current” they have to have at least an outline or at least 3 chapters written. Yes, I know this is too many toys to have out of the toy box at one time. I’m working on having more focus and actually finishing things. Turns out I really get a kick out of holding the finished products all shiny in their covers. SO I am working on finishing more things…which will then of course leave room on my wall for new posters and new ideas that have not yet met the self-imposed “current” criteria.

 

June 29, 2016

30 days of blogs: Author things –Smiling

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:49 pm
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I have been told I have a great smile. I think all genuine smiles are great smiles because they express joy and positive energy.

Things that make me smile…a real smile, not a “I have to smile so I don’t punch you, smile” are… **this list is not all-inclusive…really just 30 things that came to mind first…if I really listed EVERYTHING that makes me smile, we would be here for a minute…I’m a pretty happy person>

**Being introduced as an author. “This is my friend, Michelle Sodaro. She’s an author.”

**Talking about writing.

**Thinking about writing.

**Writing about writing.

**Writing about anything at all or nothing at all.

**People excited about my books coming out. (CLICKING SEND ON REDEEMING TRUST ON 1 JULY!!!!)

**People talking to my characters as if they are real.

**Tiny humans giggling. (Really the only tiny human sound that doesn’t make me twitchy.)

**New pens.

**New notebooks.

**New story ideas.

**Sleep.

**Kittens. Mine. Yours. Really all kittens.

**Making future plans.

**Really good first dates.

**Reading books.

**Listening to music.

**Talking to people.

**Not talking to people.

**Solitude.

**Friends that are my kind of weirdos.

**Ice cream.

**Those rare days I wake up not in pain.

**Typing THE END on a project.

**Singing.

**Barq’s root beer.

**Puppies.

**Long Slow Kisses.

**Random conversations with friends.

**Laughter.

 

 

June 14, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things — Space

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:58 am
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No, not the final frontier…though I do enjoy Star Trek (not enough to be an official Trekkie…)

There’s something amazing about having my own writing space…my own desk…a place where my projects are not disturbed or moved or organized (there is a method to the madness, but of course there is madness in the method as well.).

I try not to grade in my office space, but sometimes it is unavoidable…as much as I try to keep my teacher life separate from my author life, sometimes there is inevitable crossover, but it is minimal.

I can leave my current project open on my desk, ready for me to pick up my pen the next time I sit down and I know, without question, that no one has read or touched my work. (It’s amazing living with people who respect me and my sacred space :D)

I have a pretty desk and a cup full of my favorite pens. I have my current projects close at hand, my ear buds at the ready. I have my Little Pink Notebook charged for any typing I need to do.

And when I sit there, the world disappears for a while, and my author life becomes my reality…with two cats who try to nap as close to me as they can. It’s pretty close to perfect, and it’s mine.

June 9, 2016

30 Days of Blogs: Author things –Pens

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:40 am
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I love pens. I mean I LOVE pens. I love how they look in their packages at the store, love how they look in the tubs with the other pens, love how they feel in my hand as I write. Sometimes the hardest decision of the day is not which project do I work on, but which pen should I use today 😀

I have hundreds of pens. HUNDREDS…I added them up last year with the idea that I would use up what I have before I buy more, but then stores put the word NEW on a package and my eyes light up like a Christmas tree. NEW PENS!!!! I don’t have those!!!!

I will never run out of pens…and perish the thought…

People think I am odd for writing things out long hand…and I suppose, as I sit here and type on my laptop, I can see where they are coming from, in theory…but it works for me…and as I am about to click send on my 5th novel (July 1st) and as I have 5 more first drafts typed and waiting for me…not to mention over 400 poems, 15 short stories, and about 12 non-fiction projects…I can definitely see how typing everything first would be more efficient..sort of. See, my laptop has this “delete” button and “backspace” button and it is entirely too easy to edit as I type. Whereas with my writing, it is FORWARD HO! And I don’t look back until the draft is done. It’s easier for me to make continual progress on the first draft if it is butt in chair and pen on paper. This is what works for me. Others have different methods and I applaud them. What works for me is writing things out and watching in a sort-of hypnotic state as the words fill the page and have what was blank, now covered in bits of my soul that flowed out of myself and onto the page with a pen…okay, that sounds a bit much…all I am saying is pens work for me. Ahem.

 

May 23, 2016

Progress

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:55 pm
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So today I paid off one bill. One tiny step closer to financial freedom.

Today I also did workout 23. I was even able to breathe through my nose for part of it (over the weekend I had some sort of sick going on…I took naps…NAPS…as in plural…)

This weekend (in between naps and Dayquil) I wrote a chapter, got the next agents information to send my novels to (I am going to send them out as soon as I hear back from the current agents I have queried or June 6th, whichever comes first).

This weekend I also wore a skirt…in public…by choice. And it was not as uncomfortable as it has been in the past…yeah workouts…this is motivating as the number on the scale is not as low as I think it should be with as much as I have been doing…

I also made notes on 3 different projects, did some very profound reflecting on my teaching career, and read half a book (I have been on a self-improvement book kick lately, but really am craving some good old fiction).

I made plans for my blogs and made cuts in my daily routine so that I could have more balance between my work life and my author life.

Slowly but surely…step by step. I am making progress. GO ME! Yeah Sodaro!

May 17, 2016

Too Comfortable…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 1:34 pm
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So, it happens every time…I get too comfortable with things, am not proactively working on things I should, and putting off other things I should not put off. All the while being impatient with my lack of progress.

Life likes to wait for moments like this to throw curve balls in to middle of plans. Every. Single. Time.

Most recently has been about my working out…that’s going too easy, so let’s make it cold and rainy in May…um, thanks. Now the arthritis is acting up and it is harder for me to push past the pain.

My schedule has often been cramped from full-time teaching, part-time teaching, and trying to get as much writing and editing done as possible. I kept lamenting about the lack of writing time I have…and now I may not have the part-time job anymore, so poof…there is some more writing time for me. (Consequently, I have been passive about my budget and financial responsibilities because I had that part-time income to give me a cushion…and since I didn’t take care of things as proactively as I should have, the universe was more than happy to make it so I had no choice but to make and stick to a budget.

So now I have more time to write and less money to waste…and while I will look for another part-time job…for the moment, I am fine and not at all sad with the time I can fill with writing and editing. I have books to get out, after all, which is also something I have been slacking on. Tighten that belt, Sodaro. There’s work to get done.

 

May 9, 2016

Push-Me Pull-You

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:00 pm
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So…the original Dr. Doolittle had a 2-headed llama-type creature called a push-me pull-you and I am feeling a bit like one today…I got caught up on some reflections, have started the editing of First Down and have written more on Don’t Let Go, but then fell “behind” on my blog and other projects I have been working on as well…but I think I am okay with this…in fact, given how many things I am trying to juggle along with a full-time and part-time teaching gig, I think it is the only way for me to even be able to stay quasi-sane.

I like making progress. I like to mark things off my to-do lists, of course…my teeny tiny bit of OCD…but I also like to make progress because I know it is for a future that is so close, I can see it. I can FEEL it. And the only way to get there is daily progress. And yes, people have told me I would make more progress if I focused on playing with just one toy at a time, but that is not how my Gemini-ADD mind works…in fact that would make it more likely that the dreaded soul-sucking WRITER’S BLOCK would show up and I would end up binging on Who’s the Boss reruns and making no progress at all (and don’t get me wrong, it was a great show…but holy hair spray Angela…)

So I am good with being a push-me pull-you. I am okay with the ebb and flow of “caught up” and “behind” (and since the deadlines are all self-imposed, I have only myself to face if I miss one, and I can be bribed with ice cream.)

Step by step, project by project, I will get where I am going…soon.

March 2, 2016

Hiding out…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:43 pm
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An acquaintance kindly told me that I needed to have more of a social life and while I tend to agree that I do ‘hermit out’ a bit too much, and while I do want to go out and meet people (I would LOVE, for example, to go on a date, which is rather impossible when all I do is teach and write)…I also look at my calendar and wonder where in my schedule I could do this as I assume it is like exercising and you have to be out in public more than once to see any results.

Right now I teach a full-time job that I love (and anyone who tells you that teaching is a 40-hour work week has clearly never taught. I also teach a part-time job, which I also love. I enjoy both of these because it is a nice contrast between online and face to face. I also try to put in about 30-40 hours a week for my author life because those books and projects don’t write/edit/revise/publish themselves. Check my math (always) but there are 168 hours in a week and though I don’t do it well, I do like to at least try to sleep, not to mention eat, exercise, drive my Jeep, and make sure I see and talk to people once in a while…and to make sure some of those people are non-coworker and non-student types of people.

People have said they don’t know how I have time to write books and then they laugh that they don’t have time to even write out a grocery list. It’s a sacrifice, a choice, and one I can do right now with no romantic relationship or kids or family commitments. Right now I choose to be a hermit — to get projects done — all with the goal of one day writing full time and teaching part-time instead of all I am currently juggling.

So, I know I need to have more of a social life…and I really am doing my best.

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