Category Archives: Discussion

CampNaNoWriMo Day 14: This Week Sucked

Okay, there, I said it. This past week sucked in terms of my writing. I barely wrote 5,000 words over the last seven days and I am so ashamed of that.

To be honest, my only “excuse” is that I was depressed. And since I was depressed, I didn’t feel like writing, so I read three books this past week (fastest reading time, what what?).

And I guess my other excuse was that I just wasn’t “feeling” up to writing. Like, that’s not a good reason at all.

I am a writer and I love to write. I’m reminded of that every time I continue my story or start a new one. So why was this past week so hard?

Maybe because I was on such a roll I let it get to my head and so I just thought that I should take a break and everything. I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with that at all. If you need a break, take a break. I was ahead (and still am) anyway.

The other thing that got to me was this: is my writing important enough?

Maybe it was because of the three awesome books I read this past week with such great diverse topics that it made my writing feel inferior, less important than what it is.

I mean, my writing doesn’t hit hard issues like intersex, sexual orientation, or suicide. My story that I’m writing for Camp is a romance/fantasy that’s finally in its plot point right now where the action is finally taking off (and I finally reached 30k words to get to that point).

I felt like I should be writing about those hard topics or those diverse reads. I’ve had an idea for years that I still want to bring into fruition one day.

And then just last night when I asked my husband for words of encouragement he said: “Keep writing! Keep going! You can do it! Your writing matters!”

And it’s true. My writing does matter. All writing matters.

Sure, my story may be something that’s seen sort of often in YA fantasy, but it’s got more romance, it’s got a few twists that I hope no one sees coming. And I love it.

That’s the biggest thing: I love my story.

And why shouldn’t I? It’s my creation. No one else is going to write it exactly the way I’m going to write it but me. No one can tell my story like I can. And I love it.

Yes, it may have took a lot of pushing and prodding to reach just over 30k words last night, but I managed it because I know where I want my story to go and where I hope it’ll lead.

This week may have sucked, but I’ve gotten over a decent hurdle and I’m not going to stop now. Not until it’s finished, and definitely not until I reach my goal.

How are your stories for Camp NaNo coming along? Are you fizzling out? Almost done? Actually finished? Let me know.

Advertisements

Epiphanies Are Amazing

Sometimes you just need to let go, trust yourself (and God, if you believe), and roll with the punches. Well, I rolled, and I realized that maybe I don’t need to rewrite my entire novel to be satisfied with it. Just fix what needs fixing.

I have been struggling to rewrite this novel. Yes, I kind of like the way I’m getting extra scenes and getting into the head of my other main character, but I don’t like that I have to rewrite 50,000 words. That’s a lot of words.

Long story short, my story is about a boy who ends up finding a portal to a parallel universe that is riddled with war in the U.S. and then goes on to try and find a way to help out as much he can without dying.

I put a lot of time and effort into writing it the first time, and it’s not that I don’t want to improve it, but as I look at my second draft and look at my first, I’m noticing major changes in what’s happening in the story; some good, some bad.

For instance:

  • Good: Changing a mini-major plot point that then leads the main character (boy) to find the portal, and frankly, I really like this change.
  • Bad: I’m finding that what I thought I wanted to write (1st person, present tense) isn’t what I wanted after all.
  • Good: I’ve been able to get into the head of my second main character (girl) by writing chapters from her POV.
  • Bad: If I keep my old draft, do I want to separate the chapters into different perspectives, or keep it all one POV? This requires either heavy editing or reworking scenes with her in it. Either way, lots of editing.

The list goes on, but as I’ve been sitting here the past few days trying to rewrite the story, I’ve noticed just how much I 1) don’t want to rewrite everything even though I’ve made it up to 12k words, and 2) I loved what I wrote the first time because it was in my voice, not someone else’s.

I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve realized in this short time: My rewrite is turning into voices I read in YA all the time, and I want to stand apart from that.

Having your own voice in how you write is a major component to your writing style. I know I have my own unique voice in my writing when I write short stories, and even when I wrote my first novel draft back in November. But now?

I’m noticing that I’m sounding like a lot of other YA novels. I understand that that can be the norm for these kinds of novels (and don’t get me wrong, I like reading that style), but… it’s not mine.

Also, I love the different perspectives and getting to know my characters, but as I was continuing I was noticing how similar those voices of those characters were beginning to sound and I was fearing that they would soon sound like the same person. I want readers to be able to differentiate between characters and not think that it all sounds the same. If I write from one perspective, I want it to sound like it. If I write from two, then anyone should be able to tell the difference between them.

I was able to describe so much more in my original writing than in my rewrite. I love being able to use descriptors in my writing to give a sense of the world around the character. That’s part of my style and it was almost completely gone in my rewrite.

I don’t know why I struggled so hard through this when I should have just realized that what I had, my creation, was part of who I am as a writer. To change it so dramatically, even though it did help in ways, but hinder in others, was just something that was unnecessary.

But it was needed.

If I hadn’t done what I did then maybe I wouldn’t have realized what I’d done. Yes, of course my original draft needs plenty of editing and polishing before it ever gets into the hands of others. Yes, of course I can add chapters from other characters’ perspectives if I want in my editing process.

But I think most importantly is that I don’t lose my voice. It’s part of what makes a writer a writer, after all. There are others things, too, but that’s most important, in my opinion.

So, just to let you know, yes, I will still be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, but on a short story that has been dying to get out for the past two weeks (like, I can’t contain it anymore, it needs to be written).

I think this is for the best. I’ll review both versions, at least sections of them, before making an absolute decision, plus I’ll be getting my husband’s opinion on it since he’s into the kind of content I’m writing about. I don’t want to keep feeling the doubt that’s been creeping up on me throughout most of this rewriting process. I want to be sure of myself and my writing.

Have you ever had this kind of problem? Did you realize it early in the process, or way down the line? Any advice? Let me know in the comments!

Keeping Promises and Making Schedules

You know, writing things down is great and all, but if I’m not even going to stick to the schedule that I write down, then why did I waste the paper?

I don’t know.

But that’s not really the point of this post, I promise. And actually, that’s part of what this post is about: making promises and keeping them. More importantly: making promises to yourself and keeping them.

It’s one thing to make a public declaration or make a promise to someone else to do something and not follow through. 1) Depending on the promise, people will have forgotten or don’t mind that you forgot to keep it. 2) Keep your promises to others. Seriously.

But when you make a promise to yourself and you break it, you’re only hurting yourself without knowing it.

That’s what it’s come down to in my writing life.

I’m focused on work, reading, getting reviews in, and other things that aren’t my passion. Every. Single. Time that I write I rekindle that love and fire and passion that I have for the art. And then I think to myself, “Why don’t I do this everyday? I mean, that is the number one advice that I seem to see many authors give.”

I think it has something to do with discipline and my lack of it. I can make all the schedules and promises in the world, but if I don’t have the discipline to go through with them, then there’s really no point in making them in the first place.

To give an example: this blog. I said I’d post at least twice a month since I’ve really started to love my reading blog more than this one (no offense), but did I follow through with that after I made that post? No. I couldn’t even write two posts last month. Two posts out of twenty-eight days. I mean, really, why was it so hard?

The thing about my writing, though, and the story rewrite that I’m working on, is that yes, I may love it at the time I’m writing, but when I’m at my most active is usually when I’m either in work, getting ready for work, doing something else, etc. I know I’m most active between 11AM and 2PM, but sometimes I’m just not available to do what I need to get things done.

Yeah, that’s part of the problem, but another is not keeping to a schedule or even a set of goals. I’m trying, though. I am.

I know I said a little earlier that making public promises is easy to dismiss, but I’m making a public promise now: when it comes to my writing I have some goals and I plan on sticking to them.

Yes, I want to be a published author one day, but that’s not my main focus. My main focus is to share my content with the world, to be able to share my love and passion for this beautiful art that is writing.

And so here are my goals to achieve that:

  • Write at least 1,000 words every weekday (Mon-Fri)
  • Write at least 500 words every weekend (Sat-Sun)

Easy flipping goals, right? If I keep to that goal, writing AT LEAST that amount every day, I should be able to finish my story to completion.

I’ll probably come up with other goals and challenges as I go and I’ll keep updated here.

I have a loose schedule as my work schedule fluxes, so I’m not going to post it here. I just need to write every day. That’s it. There’s no excuse for writer’s block, no excuse of being too tired or sick or whatever. I just need to write.

Writing is hard. Sticking to it is harder. But if I want to make a career out of this, or at least do what I love for as long as I can, then I need to start now before I regret never doing it.

Have/do you struggle with something similar? Do you have any writing goals yourself? What about promises you’ve made in terms of your writing that you haven’t kept or are working on keeping? Do schedules work for you? Let me know in the comments!

Motivation: The Struggle

I’m feeling a theme for my blog entries today. It’s a real struggle to find the motivation to write lately, but when I do start writing I don’t want to stop until I essentially finish the chapter or the scene.

But finding that initial motivation to start writing is the real struggle.

Between work and just relaxing I find no motivation to write unless it’s at the most inopportune time, such as when I’m attempting to sleep. Though I was very successful during a slow day at work (I wrote over 1,000 words on paper that day), that doesn’t mean I’m successful during any other time of day.

Finding motivation is a challenge in of itself. Yes, I really want to finish this story and yes, I really want to get it out there eventually to the public. But there are several things going through the back of my mind that are related to both my personal life as well as my writing life.

Questions pertaining to jobs and financial stability are big one on my mind right now, but in terms of my writing I ask myself is it good enough? Will people be interested in reading this? I know there will be both good and bad reviews, but will the good outweigh the bad? Why am I worry about all of this now before I’ve even finished rewriting?

Frankly, I don’t know those answers. And then there are the questions about finding an agent, publication, etc. There’s a lot of things that I need to think about for this novel.

The biggest question I’ve been asking myself lately, though, is: is this the novel I want to write? As in, is this the novel that I want others to read?

I love the concept behind the story and how the story is playing out, don’t get me wrong, but I have so many other ideas that I want to get out there that I’m unsure of what to go with first.

Plus I hate writing drafts with a passion. But I got to do it, right?

The motivation thing is killing me, here, but I’m trying to find times where I’m really inspired to write. I find it difficult to just “do it” and instead try to find the times where I feel most capable of actually doing it.

Do you struggle with motivation for writing or anything else you do? Do you have any advice?

Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.