02 January 2012

January 2012


Jan Grape Janus

by Jan Grape

Janus. I'd always heard that Janus was a two-faced God. That always made me sad since my full name of Janice derived from Janus and I never thought I was two-faced. And never wanted to be considered two-faced either. A couple of days ago a friend wrote a newsletter and she said January was from the word Janus and it meant new beginnings. I like that better. A new week, a new month and a whole new year.

I'm like a number of people I know, I don't really make New Year resolutions. I quit smoking fifteen years ago. I lost twenty-five pounds this past year on Weight Watchers and am still trying to eat healthier and continue to lose. I don't exercise enough but I try. Taking yoga once a week and bowling once a week helps. I'm going to try to get a walking program going.

One major thing I'll try to do this year is write more. I haven't worked on my latest book in quite some time. Partly because I was trying to get moved and get my office set up. Partly because I had an alien move in with me and seems like I was always running him someplace or the other. Partly because I didn't always feel too good. However, I'll admit none of those reasons are worth a tinker's dam (whatever that means.)

Sometimes you just have to sit down in front of the computer screen and write. Okay, that sounds easy enough, but if the muse doesn't move you then what? You have to set a word count and stick to it. But the muse still doesn't tickle your creative brain.

For me, I'm going to have to set a time frame. Maybe start off with one hour. Try to write something in that one hour. I believe it was Sue Grafton who said this in a talk I heard her give, to start by writing "THE." Then sit there for your allotted time frame, no matter what. Okay, I can write, "The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog."

You must start with an urge to write. An idea that fascinates you or excites you or intrigues you. Then not let everything else get in the way. I know these things, but don't always do them. And I honestly don't know why.

I know writers who treat their writing as a job. They get up, dress as if going to their office downtown then go into their office at home and write from eight to twelve or from two to five. Nothing wrong with that, but I think I spent too many years working at a job and that way doesn't appeal to me anymore.

Oddly enough when I'm writing, I'm having fun. I enjoy the heck out of creating a good scene, having the dialogue flow, getting a character to tell me why and how the scene will go. I've often said it's one of the best highs you can have to write something creative and know it's working and clicking along.

So why do I procrastinate? I have no idea. I don't think I'm lazy. I just have in mind that I will sit down a write after while a little later. Then the next thing I know, I've gotten busy with something and time goes by and it's time to clean the litter box or feed the cats or fix something to eat because I'm starving. Or there is laundry to do or it's time to go pick Cason up from work.

So instead of a new year's resolution, I'm going to try, just for one day, just for today, to set a time frame, shortly after I get up and have breakfast and come sit in front of the computer and write something. Even if it doesn't work as a scene for my latest book. Just write something.

And if I manage one hour then I'll try for two, Or try to write as many words as I can, 250 or 450 or some amount.

Other than writing. I'm going to try to be nicer to people. To help someone in need. To call a friend and invite her to lunch. To smile more.

To just enjoy this brand new year to the fullest.

7 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

I happened to phone Jan this morning and she has the greatest phone message in a flat, no-nonsense voice:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be taken down and used in my next book. If you understand these rights, please leave a message.

Robert Lopresti said...

The urge to write... ain't that the truth? Most of us (me included) are much more likely to have the urge to have written.

David Dean said...

Could 'tinker's dam(n) be a reference to actual Tinkers? They're a body of Irish 'travelers' akin to gypsies who go from place to place repairing(tinkering)with broken objects and doing farm labor. Perhaps their dam work was unreliable. There used to a number of them down South. My grandfather forbade them from setting foot on his property.

Now I'm going to have to look into this. I could be writing, of course, but this is an important issue.

Jeff Baker said...

Wonderful Jan! Congrats on your self-improvements! I have to write more this year too (and cut down on cholesterol!) Speaking of Janus, he has a cameo in the January story in "Ellery Queen's Calendar of Crime."

Terrie Farley Moran said...

I try to follow Gillian Robert's motto. "Don't write it right, write it down."

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Oh, and Rob,I well remember your "It's better to have written " poem. Wonderfully done.

Anonymous said...

Jan, after reading Leigh's resolutions yesterday, I don't think he should have your phone number. Or your address.