Saturday, August 15, 2015

I don't care if it's 7 calories per gram!

The last panel of the day was on health and fitness for creative people, hosted by Sandra Wickham. Lots of good info, most of it not new to me, but well presented. There were lots of other great panels too, this just happened to be the last one I attended today.

As you all know, I drank the health and fitness kool-aid some time ago. I'm completely convinced an active life is better than an inactive one. Most of you are as well, since this started as a fitness blog. (Hint, don't go back and read the first bunch of posts, they're pretty boring.)

I don't mean to be all judgey or anything, but it's a safe bet that lots of people attending are on the less active side of things. Those are their choices. I completely realize that for some people it isn't a choice, it's the result of events beyond their control.

One of the choices I make is to drink wine. I really enjoy the taste, and how it goes with food and friends. I tend not to think about calories. One slide in the presentation said carbs and protein are 4 calories per gram, fat is 9, and wine is about 7. Doing some math tells me that most of the glasses of wine I pour probably have about 200 calories. That's 10 to 15 minutes running. Just saying. Yes, I'm overdue for a run, I know.

Life is all about choices. Balance. Priorities. I love chocolate, wine, and many other things. I love being buried in the novel I'm writing, trying different ways of phrasing something to see what's right. I haven't been reading much lately, but I love being buried in a book. Most of the time I like being at work. The last really, really good book I was buried in was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and I love it when I'm that immersed. I'd like movies a lot more if there weren't so many stupid ones happening now. I love being out for a run or a bike ride, and especially love being in the pool.

Even some swimmers say they get bored in the pool, but that's never happened to me. I do lots of thinking while swimming. Some of it is technical swim thoughts, but often I'm on cruise control and thinking of other things. I've written many blog posts in the pool, but some novel breakthroughs have come while swimming. Or running or biking.

Writing is funny, hard, frustrating, and many other things. There is something magical about reading a book that lights up your brain. The words resonate within you. The story unfolds and the characters become your friends. Some of the phrases make you stop to catch your breath and you have to go back and read them again.

There's only 26 letters in English. Some of them aren't used much. Many words are only 5 to 7 letters long. A novel is somewhere between 50 to 100K words. How hard can it be to arrange them on a page? Well, until you've tried it yourself you have no idea. Then there's everyone else trying to do the same thing, and readers trying to find the books they want in a waterfall of them. 

That's what's great about When Words Collide. Everybody there loves words, and the worlds that they weave. There is so much to talk about that 11 streams of programming just gives you a taster of what's available.

Then there are all the hallway meetings with old and new friends. Meeting new people, and just chatting. Making a sweaty knuckle appointment to pitch a book to an editor, or handing over a page of text you've agonized over to an editor with a blue pencil. It doesn't matter, really, what your mom or your friends think of your book. They aren't buying it, committing scarce dollars, and scarcer time to putting it out into the world. That's where you find out if you're in the game, or a spectator. (Good luck with that, the odds are terrible, but don't let that slow you down.)

Last year I had hoped that next year would be the time I'd be able to actively pitch a book. Well, no. I struggled with the ending. And a beginning. And bits of the middle. To say nothing of the dialogue, when exactly certain things happening, or how much to show of the setting. Decisions, choices. I built most of a bridge novel along the way while mulling over choices. Pitching next year for sure!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds fabulous, Keith. I may have to join you next year.


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