Monday, 1 March 2010

He shoots, He scores!!!

A superb day - no matter what the weather is (overcast and mild)

Did you see the game? Dear God - Michael actually had to leave the room he was so stressed! We were up 2-0 at one point, then the US scored and it was 2-1 for the longest time. We all, including the Americans, expected Canada to collapse - as it had in previous games. And sure enough, with about 5 minutes left...well they didn't so much collapse as started paying defensively. Instead of trying to win they were trying not to lose. We were all shouting instructions, and warnings, at the television.

The time was counting down. The Americans, a fabulous team, were firing shot after shot at the net. They pulled their goalie and put an extra player on. Boom, boom, boom.

And, with 25 seconds left - they scored! Our heads almost exploded.

It went into sudden death overtime. I now know why they call it sudden death. Not the team's - but we'd be the ones to die.

But about five minutes into the game Sidney Crosby - the kid from Coal Harbour - scored! Pandemonium!!! Shrieks, clapping. poor Trudy got at excited and upset. I raced around the house trying to find michael, yelling, we won! we won!!! He was in the bathroom...praying I think.

It was a great game. And while we sure wanted to win, we also all knew if the Americans won they too deserved it. Wow.

And now the Olympics are over. And I started book 7 this morning.

A World of Sighs. The title, not the experience.

I set the bar at a reasonable height. 500 words. I generally, when I get into the swing, set it at 1,000 words. But I find when I'm at the very beginning it is so scary and intimidating I need to set the goal where it is fairly easily achievable. Be kind to myself. And be reasonable. Work up to it.

But I did 800 words. Granted, I wrote the title 20 times. Perhaps those words don't count.

Funny, but when I start a book I count every word. Hoping for more. And by the last chapter I'm praying for less - my books are always too long. But, when you're at 800 words out of 120,000 - it does not seem too much.

I'm writing on the old laptop. Familiar, comfortable. Again, the beginning is not a time for me to mess things around. There are already too many unknowns. I realized getting out of bed this morning that there are certain things I need to do to write the book I want to write...

1) write with joy - gratitude
2) leave the critic outside
3) set the bar low, then raise it.
4) drink cafe au lait and eat cookies
5) be kind to yourself
6) focus, don't get distracted
7) write with joy

So far so good. When I'd finished I put my iPod on and got onto the elliptical torment device. Did 20 minutes and listened to what is the beginning of the soundtrack for A WORLD OF SIGHS...

Requiem for a Tower - Lux Aeterna
Falling - Alicia Keys
Ali in the Jungle - the Hours
Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil

I know more music will present itself as I go on, but this is enough. When I'd finished I lay spread eagle on the bed, listening to the music, exhausted...and my mind free. All sorts of ideas for polishing what I'd just written appeared. So I went downstairs and added them. Best do it before I forget. And I can always take it out later.

There's nothing mystical about writing a book. It seems to be about knowing yourself. And setting myself up to succeed. What works for me might not work for any other human - that's the folly of giving advice. All I know is what works for me.

But it's nice to be at that stage where I trust it. As you know, there will be some distressing, depressing days when nothing is working and I just feel like dying. So might as well celebrate the happy days.

thanks for keeping me company!


Anonymous said...

I know when you are typing sometimes the words get misspelled, so I thought you might like to know that you spell Sidney Crosby's home town Cole Harbour. You probably knew that and your fingers were flying when typing.

Isn't it great to be Canadian. 14 GOLD medals and our hockey team on top. We may not have had the most medals in the Olympics but look at the GOLD.

whalewatcher said...

I appreciate you letting us in to your life and your writing process so we can keep you company.
It is very interesting, enlightening and fun!

Beth said...

Thanks for taking us along on the journey.


Donna K said...

My seat mate on the plane on the way back from California and I were probably the only ones rooting, rowting, routing (what's the difference??) for Canada. She was originally from Toronto. The pilot gave some updates, but then during the descent was not giving info and it was tense for my seat mate who hadn't even received
text messages. I've always wanted Canada to win in hockey.

You're so it. How about that Michael? I do the same thing..I pace and walk out of the room during the Packer games.

Happy writing. Donna K

Dana said...

Can't resist a hockey comment. I isolate myself so that I can only hear the game, in case I jinx the team. By the third period I was wondering where I had left my bite plate - thought my jaw would explode.
Imagine the tension for a Nova Scotia native watching in Florida with Sidney Crosby's Junior High phys ed teacher doing the shouting from the TV/Florida room. Not only MUST Canada win, but Sidney Crosby must score the winning goal. Happy Days.
So glad the book is off to a good start, and that you take such time and delight in writing all of them. It adds to the pleasure of reading the finished product.

Sue Mom of Two said...

Since I'm from the US I'll just ignore the hockey game portion of your post.

What I wanted to mention is how much fun it is getting the "inside story" on writing a "going to be great" book from the get-go. It will be so much more fun actually reading the book when the time comes.

Brenda B. said...

Hello Louise,

Diane and I were cheering for Team Canada and were overjoyed by the outcome!

Our deep emotional connection to Canada meant we didn't even consider rooting for the US yesterday. Hockey simply does not mean as much here as it does there, so in our view, right triumphed.

I love when that happens.

Glad to hear you all made it through without incident (I'm with Michael -- hiding in the bathroom is always good when you are in a super high stress situation).

Also glad to hear you had a good first day writing your next book. Go Louise!

Thank you for keeping us all in the loop about your process.


Brenda in Maine

P.S. I saw one of my favorite bumperstickers today. On a white background with a line of pointed firs it says: Maine - It's Almost Canada.

Shelagh said...

Hi Louise,

Wonderful day for you, and so happy you have started your new book. We lucky readers have two new books from you to look forward to.

And Brenda in Maine - loved the bumper sticker. Years ago AAA in Michigan had a commercial where the little guy is talking to the AAA travel representative, who is saying "Where would you like to go?" And he replies "Someplace warm, someplace west - Maine, Nova Scotia!" Since I can get lost in a telephone booth that one still makes me laugh to this day. Well we've been to both Maine and Nova Scotia; still have to do the "someplace west..."

Happy day to all!

Jessica said...

Dear Louise,

I've so enjoyed reading your comments about the Olympics! I've spent my university spring break glued to the television and poring over news sources to get as much information as possible - and your blog was and will remain one of my daily visits!

I'm so excited for your next book, I can't even tell you!

Brenda B. said...

Hello Shelagh,

Someplace warm, someplace west - Maine, Nova Scotia. That's rich!

Thanks for the laugh,


Anonymous said...

Wonderful news - another book. So generous of you to share your writing process.

And your description of the hockey game captured my experience.

Keep writing so I don't have to wait too long to read.

Jaye said...

Your books are never too long! I can hardly bear to reach that last page!

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Love the comments - the bumper sticker, the AAA commercial (I too get lost all the time and while I love maps and have them stuck up all over the place, I am geographically hopeless!) And I so appreciate all your comments about the hockey game. As you know, I didn't think hockey was that important to me - though I found myself misty watching the coca cola add where everyone shouts, He shoots, he scores. I was raised in the glory days of the NHL before expansion - at the height of the Leafs/Canadiens rivalry. And vividly remember Saturday nights sitting with the family watching Hockey Night in Canada.

It must be bred in the bone...and came roaring back in that last game. Like coming home.

And I'm so glad you're looking forward to the next books!

Ruthie from NH said...

Your books can never be too long. I usually read the first three quarters really fast, but slow down when I near the ending because I don't want your stories to end.
I am impressed by your self-discipline when writing. I am an artist and keep devising ways to procrastinate going to my studio and I have no idea why I do that. I may use your 7 step criteria to get creating. (I might omit #4.)
Love the music choices.

Margaret said...

Oh my that hockey game! People will be talking about it for years to come. I'm American, have only been to Canada briefly a couple of times (must do something about that soon( but I certainly wasn't disappointed that Canada won. I did like it better when the players were all amatuers though. (The "good old days"!)

You have two things to celebrate in addition to all those gold medals -- Virtue and Moir, the ice dancers, were so lovely -- how could anyone not be for them?

Keep working on that book! We are all very ready for the next installment, and the one after that, and ......