Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Insecure Writers Want to Know: If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?


If I could chose any place to sit and write my next story or the revision of my memoir, it would need to be somewhere my family can’t find me. I also need to be in a place where I can’t look out the window. Therefore, I usually hide out among the stacks in the local library. If I sat by the windows looking out on the lake, I’d be thinking about walking around that lake and not focused on my writing. If I ever went to some beautiful vacation spot by the beach or in the mountains to write, I would get nowhere. I’d be too excited to investigate my surroundings.  
http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com


I’ve told you before about my desire to be outdoors, traipsing about my surroundings thinking. I love winter, spring, summer AND fall, no matter what the weather. I can splash through the puddles with the best of them! So I can’t have the beauty of nature calling to me when I’m trying to write. Social media can be distracting, but my favorite distraction is freeing my eyes and mind from the computer screen. And I do it best by going outside.

Presently, I’ve been spending much time outside with my family. I’ve come to the end of a draft of my memoir about attending college as a mother of five. It’s not the first draft; it’s much stronger than that one. But it surely will not be the last draft. I’ve written 170 pages and have roughly 55,000 words. Is it too short? Should I add in other threads?

I’m never one to pad my prose. The idea with longer manuscripts, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, is to add another thread to investigate or perhaps other scenes that address and show character relationships or add to the plotline. My college memoir’s focus is on education, college, and family. The points I hope it makes are:

Never give up on a dream. It’s never too late to start.
Fear and doubt are a part of life.
Perseverance matters in life. Effort counts toward success.
If you don’t try, you’ll be left with regret. 

The point of the book is to find the permission within yourself to try and achieve goals that may at first appear frightening or unattainable.

But how does someone find permission within herself to attempt a dream she was told not to try? In my case, it was through the love of a mother and child. A love that wasn’t afraid of struggle, but rather allowed for opportunity.

*Please offer any comments on the length of my college memoir or its focus or points. Your comments truly help me to move forward in revision.*

So, where do you like to hide--I mean write--if you could go anywhere?

Thanks so much for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month.  To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.  


33 comments:

  1. Ideal length for a memoir, Victoria, and obviously not long enough for an average novel. However, I’ve seen a couple of books win very major prizes about the 50,000 word length. But I’m sure you are not concerned with winning prizes, just on sharing your positive message 🌹

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    1. Thanks for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Your kind words are truly appreciated. My memoir winning major prizes? Wouldn't that be nice? Right now, I'd just like to finish it. Enjoy your weekend!

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  2. Hi Victoria - I need to be at my desk ... in my space, being quiet and getting on with things - that's the theory anyway! I admire you achieving your writing, while bringing up the family and looking after all of you and your hubby. You certainly enjoy life - and that's the main thing, as well as recording life events now while you're able to record them. Good luck - cheers Hilary

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    1. Me too, Hilary! There's so much distraction in my life already, I don't need more.

      It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!

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  3. I agree - that's a good length. Not too long - leaves them wanting more.
    During the summer, I can look out a window all I want. Too hot to go out there anyway.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. Let's hope my college memoir will have them "wanting more." I agree with you. I don't like the heat much, although I walk in all kinds of weather.

      Thanks for all you do, sir, to help your fellow writer. And thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  4. I'm sorry but I don't know how long a memoir should be. You may want to check out the page length/word count of other memoirs. Congrats on getting it done!

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    1. Thank you so much, Natalie. This is good advice. The memoirs I've been reading recently have been well over 200 pages. Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. They are truly appreciated. Enjoy your weekend!

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  5. Hi,
    I don't know how long a memoir should be, but congratulations on getting the draft finished. I don't like padding my books either so good luck with your revisions. I hope you have discernment to choose exactly what you want to have in the book and what is not necessary.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Thank you so much, Pat, for sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Your kind words are truly appreciated. Padding word count is always a bad thing for authors to do, regardless of genre.

      And thank you so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  6. Hello, those are great points to stress!!
    Congrats! That first draft is the hardest. I also have 5 children, that are now adults. 5 kids in 7 years, it was wild and I wish I could turn back time.

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Cathrina! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a note. And thank you for your good wishes. They're greatly appreciated.

      Good for you to have 5 children, too. I wouldn't change a thing. It is for sure a wild ride, this gift called motherhood. My twins were born a month before my oldest daughter's 7th birthday. All best to you, my dear!

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  7. Tell your story and don't worry about the length. No matter the conventions there are always exceptions so follow your heart not a guide book! Five kids! Good on ya for stealing any time to write.

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    1. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Jan. Thank you for sharing your insight. Your kind words are truly appreciated. Following your heart is the only way to write.

      Thanks again for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. All best to you!

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  8. Congratulations on finishing your draft! As for length, I'm not sure. I've read some Memoirs that were shorter than that and some that were longer. I think that as long as you answer everything you wanted to, then you are good. As for where to go to concentrate, the ideal place would be outside when it's a nice crisp fall day. No mosquitoes and no extreme heat.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! I truly appreciate your sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. I think you're right. As long as I made all the points I wish to address in my college memoir, it doesn't matter how long it is.

      It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!

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  9. "...somewhere my family can’t find me." That made me laugh!

    Congratulations on completing the first draft!

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    1. No really, Chrys. That is important! And with cell phones, it's even harder to "hide." Thanks for your kind words here at Adventures in Writing. I hope you are well. Enjoy your weekend!

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  10. You just brought back amazing memories. Writing in a library, among the stacks. I did that for a week at the Notre Dame library. I found a desk surrounded by the stacks against a window where I could see the quad below and write to my heart's content. That is one of my fond lifetime memories.

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    1. I love libraries, Jacqui! But if I sit by a window, I'd be pining to be outside with the fresh air; sunshine, raindrops, or snow. It wouldn't matter. Any place we can "write to our heart's content" is a good place to write.

      Thanks again for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. All best to you!

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  11. There is a time in everyone's life that they start making their own rules to live by. Time to stop asking permission. You don't need it and just follow your heart.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Good advice, Anna! Thanks so much.

      It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!

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  12. Haha, somewhere the family can't interrupt sounds great but it's nearly impossible to achieve in real life.

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    1. Isn't it, though? Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  13. I agree with Anna. Follow your heart. Happy IWSG!

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    1. Following your heart is the only way to write, Juneta. It's always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your weekend!

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  14. I'll pass on memoir suggestions. As for a place to write, I can see how an idyllic setting would be a distraction. So, I may stay home to write.

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  15. That's what I think, Roland. I'd want to be outside. Exploring. My favorite thing to do. That is my reward for writing, even if it's in a familiar place.

    Thanks so much for your comment here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  16. I write fresh drafts in a spiral notebook anywhere I happen to be that an idea pops up. I revise at my desk in front of a window. And I edit in a relaxed position on my couch. Thank you for this post!

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    1. That sounds so wonderful, Dawn! I'm trying to write my notes in notebooks now, just to keep track of them. Editing in a "relaxed position" should be the way all writers edit. I need to hear this.

      I truly appreciate your sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!

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  17. Hi Victoria!

    When I read "the revision of my memoir" in the beginning of your blog post, I thought "Yes, she did it! She finished a(nother) version!" Good for you - you certainly are putting a lot of thought and effort in the process. While your themes and purpose are awesome, I do think 55K words is too short for a memoir. Mine - at 95K words - is too long on the other hand. The middle ground - about 75K is pretty good, I think.

    I agree with all your remarks about where to write to get the least distraction. Ideally, I'm locked up in a room without a view and nobody to disturb me, in order to work. Obviously, a 19ft camper moving about intriguing locales is not that place! :-)

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  18. My favorite part of your comment, Liesbet, is the "nobody to disturb me." Nuts! I can't get the family to leave me alone sometimes. So my uninterrupted thinking time, hiding away in windowless spaces is precious.

    I agree with you that my memoir is a bit lean in word count. I'm hoping this next revision adds proper scenes and insight to increase its length. Here's hoping. Your memoir, on the other hand, has so many intriguing stories; I'm wondering if length is as important, as long as it's not the same kind of event over and over, which I can't believe it would be.

    I truly appreciate your sharing your insight here at Adventures in Writing. Enjoy your weekend!


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