March has arrived and I just realized that my last blog in February was my 50th post. Nothing too momentous about that particular entry but writing 50 entries in 10 months is a satisfying accomplishment. I like that nice big golden number, 50. Blogging has now become a pleasant habit and much easier to keep up with than journal writing. Although I am the proud owner of many attractive journals, they are mostly lying unused in drawers and on shelves with only a few pages written in some of them. Periodically I go through and rip out the used pages thinking I'm going to start "journaling" again, but I never do.
Honestly, I've never actually "journaled." That verb seems to imply a commitment to daily writing and self-reflection that I have yet to experience. The thought of physically moving my hand across the page, even with a fabulous pen, is not appealing to me anymore. My handwriting has deteriorated so much due to lack of use that even I have difficulty reading it, and the actual sensation of writing is tiring . For better or worse I am much happier writing on my beautiful silver-colored laptop. My favorite feature of computer writing? Easy answer...the delete key. Love it! Now I just have to wean myself from the tendency to covet beautiful notebooks. I need to enter the journal-free zone.
Robin LaFever's writing workshop in San Luis Obispo yesterday was worth the 1 1/2 hour drive. A small group of writers met in the San Luis Obispo Art Center for five hours of writing instruction. I have taken classes taught by Robin before, and she is always well-prepared, articulate, analytical and intellectual in her approach. Had a few "Aha!" moments as the day went on, that resulted in marking my illegible notes and worksheets with asterisks, curling arrows and character names. Now, I have to translate my scribblings into useful information.
Some elements that Robin discussed are things I've done instinctively without consciously putting a name to them. Plot layering (even without benefit of a completed plot), adding dramatic action to enhance and break-up sections of dialog, writing in scenes, and sub-text are all present in my Emelia ms. But my old boogeymen of goal, motivation and conflict continue to haunt me. Now that I've heard some of her suggestions on plotting for the third time, I'm sure more of it will sink in. I'm hoping the old adage "third time's the charm" works for me.