Shameful Admission

All right kiddos, it’s admission time: I have let life get in the way of my writing. I know, I know, one should always make time to write. That’s been my personal mantra the last couple months, anyway. However, there have been extenuating circumstances, such as my health, school…basically, the sources of big bummers in my writing life.

As such, in this semi-depressed mood that always seems to fall during the last final weeks of winter, I have lost the will to write. I want to write, but every time I open the file, I just stare at the last bit I wrote. I can’t get past the last paragraph, because I hate it so. I take it away, and I can’t write anything new because…I can’t? This is the oddest sort of writer’s block I’ve ever had. I know where I want to go next. I just can’t transition to that point. Usually, I don’t know where I want to go next, I panic, and the Block Against Writing pummels me to the point that my ego breaks, and, to add insult to injury, throws me in a pit to fend off Doubt, Anxiety, and Cliche-Turns-of-Phrase.

It’s a traumatic experience.

But this time, I feel different. I’m in the dark but I can see the light; I can almost reach its source, I just can’t seem to unsquint my eyes long enough to know exactly where to grab.

So, I’m waiting. I’m letting it come to me, rather than forcing it out like I did with NaNoWriMo. Each night, I think about my characters rather than worry about my health or school: I do this so I will dream about my characters–my dreams tend to be eerily vivid and dreaming about my characters brings me some of the most interesting ideas. (Not that it’s worked yet in this instance, but it doesn’t hurt to try?)

Anyway, I thought I would throw this out to the blogosphere*. Maybe letting some steam off will allow my ideas to cool and solidify into something I can actually write about.

* blogosphere: the social phenomenon of blogs linking to other blogs. Term respectfully taken from Questionable Content.

Can’t Slow Down

I can’t remember if I mentioned this already (and I’m too lazy to look at the last couple entries to find out), so let me say this now: school is back in session. This surely explains the lack of posts and the reason why it is taking me three weeks to finish one book when normally, I finish three books in one week.

That aside, I am fighting for my right to write. I am taking six classes when the normal is three or four, I am working more hours than I have ever before, and I am the new editor-in-chief of my college’s magazine. Busy girl? That I am. Finding time to write? Surprisingly, I am. Because I’m so busy, I end up freaking out that I won’t be able to get everything done, so I start my homework and projects as soon as they are assigned, I end up getting them done a couple days ahead of time, and suddenly, my Friday morning shift at work is spent writing another chapter or so (in-between answering programming questions).

Life is hectic, but it’s good. Then again, life is always good when I find time to write and I feel like what I’m writing isn’t complete and utter dross*. Plus, the writing is easier this time around since I’ve put aside that first complete draft that I finished this past October. Following the sage advice of writers who have come before me, I’ve laid that draft to rest as utter trash and started anew with the same characters, now knowing what works and what doesn’t. I know now, that the phenomenon of the adult orphan will play a much bigger part. Yet, I don’t want the story to be bogged down with it, I want my characters to learn and grow. I know now not to force my characters, especially in terms of shoving the plot in one direction when the characters are plainly telling me to go the opposite way.

So tell me, how have your projects been going? The new draft is approximately 11,000 words, which I’m proud of. I gotta say, NaNoWriMo really loosened those fears that I have to write pretty the first time around.

* dross (n): worthless material that should be removed.

Re-Writing Woes

So. I’ve begun working on the prequel again, after taking a seven week hiatus to participate in NaNoWriMo and then study for Finals Week. I’m glad I took all that time off, because after reading the first three chapters I realized chapters 1 needs to be cut, chapter 2 if kept should be put after chapter 3, and chapter 3 should be the new chapter 1, but only after an extensive re-write.

Remind me why I write, again? Haha I’ve sort of been in a slight despair ever since I realized my beginning is well-written, but boring as all heck. Way too much backstory. Not enough action. I hate stories that begin with characters just sitting around talking to one another, explaining the story to the reader, and that’s exactly how this novel begins. So, I’ve decided to completely start over from scratch. Consider that first complete draft as a three-year warm-up, as it were. You might think me crazy, considering it took me three years to write almost 100,000 words, but then, you have to remember I did NaNoWriMo, and finished, so…writing another 50,000 words shouldn’t be too hard, right? Not when I know the entire story this time? And can outline what I want to keep in the story and what I want to throw out?

Is this wishful thinking?

Re-Writing Breakthrough

Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.
– Stephen King

And so I conclude my finals week with ever-happy thoughts about my original work-in-progress, The Winslow Charade. It’s funny, seeing that title, considering I just use it because it’s there, and really has nothing to do with the story anymore. In any case, I had a breakthrough the other night while I was studying. I’ve been worried about the pacing of the book. It feels too slow, especially now that I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo. So, at 2 am in the morning, I decided that I was going to shift the beginning of the story forward approximately six months. Now everything is much more condensed, and the story will have to move faster because the characters have less time to make decisions–which means more conflict, which is always, but ALWAYS, good.

I wonder whether other writers ever have mini-breakthroughs like mine? And does the world ever look a little friendlier after, like how my world does?

Apostrophes and Bibliophiles

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams

Is it sad that I find literary posters amusing? Click [here] to see Bob the Angry Flower’s take on those dreaded apostrophe rules.

In other news, I printed my NaNoWriMo the other day at the computer lab that I work at (I print everything there because I practically have free printing, my quota is so large), and shock and awe! Somehow, I wrote 177 double-spaced pages in one month. It took me three years to write the prequel. Le sigh.

Oh, and I heard somewhere, I can’t remember where but I have this inkling it was at work, that a mother actually dissuaded her child from getting a book at Toys R’ Us because the toy was cheaper than the book. The bibliohpile in me cries aloud at this. The girl telling the story understood me, and she most emphatically said that a person should never dissuade a child from reading. I ask, why stop at children? I wish people in general would read more often. Perhaps if the people around me were more well-read (such as my neighbor, who likes to say everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that he doesn’t think is cool is “stupid”), then I’d stop worrying about whether my vocabulary is dying or not. Sometimes I worry being a computer engineer has completely drained my creative writing mind.

Anyway, I’m up this late writing because I’ve been studying for my electrical engineering final all day. Which means around midnight, I snapped, and had a solo dance party in my room to work off all my nervous energy. Which means I got my blood pressure up, and even after a quick yoga cool-down, I’m too revved up to go to sleep.

Yet, it seems that writing this last sentence triggered the Sand Man, because my second wind just blew away and I’m exhausted. Good night, you writers, and may the muse be with you.

Big News

I’ve won NaNoWriMo! How exciting. I hope everyone who participated is proud of however much they were able to produce, and that they have donated to the Young Writer’s cause. Even $10 does a lot, so please help! Look me up as worderella on NaNoWriMo for my profile and sample of the text I’ve been working on.

And now, back to studying for finals, writing two surprise essays (gotta love those English teachers…), a couple programs, you know…the usual. 🙂

Ponderings

Why is it, that during this particular November, I’m getting a lot done? I am, perhaps, the most productive I have ever been, and that’s coupled with the threat of a sinus infection and insomnia. I think it’s because of NaNoWriMo, personally, but that’s just me. There is something very motivating about having that daily goal of 1,667 words looming overhead, just within reach. After talking to people, I realized that I’m using NaNo as a reward each day for completing some task, whether it be a classroom assignment, an important e-mail, or the dishes, among other things.

How many of you are participating in NaNoWrimo?

In other news, I keep finding more writing blogs to read. I have my favorites, such as PODdy Mouth, Miss Snark, History Hoydens, etc, but then those blogs post about and/or quote other blogs, so then I start reading those as well. If you’re interested in any, comment and I’ll list some that have made my second list of favorites.

Who else is excited to see Jim come back to Scranton on The Office tonight?! This girl most definitely is the definition of excitement.