Last month I spent a week in Las Vegas, with other incredible writers from the Bransforums. All incredible and fantastic people, whome I feel honoured to have met. We talked craft, had workshops, critiqued each other, went out for dinners and shows and had tea parties in Sommer’s room. It was fantastic, and I learned SO MUCH. I’d be surprised if anything this year tops it for Best Week of the Year.
Something surprised happened, though. I went in there confident in my skill as a writer. By Tuesday I was appalled at how much I had yet to learn. And when I considered how little time I had to put in it these days… Panic-inducing realisation.
Here’s the thing, though: in four year of serious, almost obsessive writing, I have learned one thing. It is when I feel the most inadequate and overwhelmed that I grow the most. Those panics? It means I found what I didn’t know yet. They mean I can see past the next turn at the road I need to travel. These moments give me direction and purpose.
Once you realise and accept that, it becomes a lot easier. My resolve is back. I will make time for writing. I will practice and stumble and get back up again. I will master these new elements. And I will grow until I reach the next turn in the road and look for new directions.
Well, look at that. I was tagged by the lovely Caitlin for a funny writer meme.
Here are the instructions:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they’re written–no cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers
Caitlin tagged most writers I would have, so I’m letting you guys check her list instead. Now, I did indeed get lucky, because my seven lines kinda hold themselves together. Enjoy the tidbit!
“Not everyone breaks their word at the first occasion.”
Anger flashed on the Seraphin’s face. At least Vermen wasn’t alone now. Where he expected an argument, a rebuttal, something to spark a fight and vent his built-up irritation, however, he received a dismissive shrug.
“All right, ladies and gentlemen. Since our captain is so trustable, we can leave him the clean-up work and go celebrate.”
They cheered at his declaration and started back up the tunnel.
This post if for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Not sure what that is? You should check out this page for more information!
There’s a lot of New Year Resolution Posts running around the internet these days. Most of these take a look back, evaluate their year and set new goals. Another thing I see is people saying that 2011 has been good (or bad) to them.
I could say it’s been good to me. My major is finished. My writing improved. I’ve got lots of new blog-friends, and deepened my relationship with RL ones. I’m in a splendid relationship with my boyfriend. 2011 feels like a giant step forward.
But the truth is, 2011 hasn’t been good to me. I have been good to myself.
This is what I’d want to tell those who struggle with the writing. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never get better, or at least never good enough. Like the road’s too long. It’s not. You have control over what you accomplish in a year. There’ll be obstacles. There’ll be hardships. There’ll be moments when you’re convinced you are not up to it.
Don’t give up.
Work hard. Work tirelessly. Be patient for the results. If you will it, the year is yours. You decide what gets done.
Let’s show 2012 how it’s done!
Great news! Though you might’ve heard, because I’ve been posting it everywhere on the internet except here.
I have completed my Biochemistry Major! Hurray! *confettis*
I thought I’d feel way more accomplished than this, but this instead feels like the first big step of a not-yet-finished road. Still, proud to scratch that from my Life To-Do List!
Meanwhile, I’ve also decided to change my approach to writing. Since I approach the last -ish version of my WIP, I slowed down my pace. I’m rewriting about half of it anyway, incorporating more world details and cutting the extra fat, but this time I’m allowing no adverbs, repetitions or to be forms (well, or nearly) to get through.
I’m mixing my teacher’s technique with my own: in the complete rewrites section, I look once at my previous draft and notes, then close it. Rewrite without looking. This is painful, and slow, but the result is much better than just correcting the sentences there. Other sections of Draft 4 are strong, though, so I work from the text there (and edit half of it anyway) without breaking the order and flow of the thoughts.
So far so good. It’s slow but I feel I am forcing myself to learn to do better first drafts, faster. Perhaps with years of this kind of training, I’ll achieve reasonable speed and quality. I hope so, because right now I’m losing a lot of time in structural rewrites, and then a lot of time in scene editing. I want at least 30 new pages by the time my school vacations are done. If I can help it, I’ll get 50. We shall see.
Meanwhile, I wish you guys epic holidays, plenty of great food and priceless gifts. Have fun, and don’t get sick!
Hey guys! Today I’m guest posting at Sommer’s wonderful blog! So head over for a piece of flash fiction, and how I go about writing those. Oh, and please ignore the typos/mistakes as much as you can. It was written in the mist of three very exhausting weeks, and apparently two rereads did it no good. *SHAME*
I hope you enjoy!
Every distraction not to write is a good one. Including this blog post. And the truth is, as writers, we often are professionals at finding the distractions. We allow them to take away from our writing time, and at the end of the week, we complain about our lack of progress.
I’d know. I spent the entire semester doing that. At least my distractions were writing-for-classes, so while my current WIP didn’t progress, I did.
But in our last class, my teacher told us his story, and made me realised how far you could go into making time, if you really wanted to. I don’t say it’s healthy. I don’t say we should all do the same. But it’s interesting to know, and it pushes me to find my own limit.
Here was his schedule:
Wake at 6 am. Prepare and go to work. Work from 9 to 5. Arrive at home, sit down, write. Write until 7-8, have dinner. Write more. At midnight, have a cup of coffee. Write until 3 am. Sleep 3 hours. Rinse and repeat.
This reminds me of my NaNoWriMo beat in 2009 and 2010. I’d write 200k a month and believe me, by the end I was a laughing, hysterical mess. I’m not sure how long he pulled it off. A couple of months, at the very least. Probably more. It paid back, because now he lives comfortably from his writing.
I have no intention to kill off my precious 4-5 hours of sleep. They are needed for my sanity. And while it might fit under “distractions”, I intend to keep seeing my boyfriend on weekends. But take a look at your schedules, guys. Where can you fit extra writing hours? Take them. Screw the internet. Screw your friends, even! Get your writing done.
Small hiatus is, sadly, not over!
The reason stands in a very simple fact: my boss gave me 30 hours of work for the last 3 week… in addition to my six classes at Uni (regular ‘oh-my-gosh-finals-I’ll-never-get-through’ semester is five classes). Thus, I am insanely late, and tired, and stressed.
I did manage a Wicked & Tricksy yesterday. And this little thing today.
I’ve been in situations like these before. My usual reaction to rough patches is something like my friend’s Jack:
Depress, then badass arrogance. :]
See you next Halloween!