I am now a Master of Science. Fear me!
What have I been doing with myself?
I have taken my time detoxing from the intensity of my masters program. Graduating has felt like how I imagine transitioning to civilian life after being in the military for two years must feel. I didn’t have to kill anyone (though I wanted to), but life in the “real world” such as it’s described is very different. For one thing, I get to make money. For another thing, I actually pay taxes now.
Welcome to the world of adulthood, Belinda.
My first week after graduation was spent hanging out with friends and watching movies, as well as moving home to the parents’ house while looking for a job.
The second week out of school, I began to read fiction, but not necessarily romantic fiction. After my stint as a literary short story writer for one of my elective courses, I realized that while I love to write about love, it doesn’t always have to be distinctly romantic, or at least belonging to the romantic genre and the dogma that goes along with it.
And you know what that means, if I’ve begun to read fiction again. Yes, you assume correctly, it means I’ve begun to write fiction again.
As mentioned in my previous post, the last two years have been… an experience. To say the least. And with the aplomb of any good writer, I mean to use my experiences to inform my writing. Not explicitly, of course, but I have learned so much about how people actually behave versus how we read about them in fiction. I wanted to continue writing Trentwood’s Orphan; I’d had a dream about the characters about a month ago, which hinted at my shifting interests from academics back to fiction writing.
The problem? Everything seemed too fantastic, too dramatic, too… forced. I was trying to create drama rather than allowing the inherent dramatics of being human speak for themselves. Which brings me to my point: I’m starting over. I have cut 75% of the character list, 100% of the plot, and 100% of the theme.
I pulled out my whiteboard and began scribbling thoughts about the new theme, which I had realized while falling asleep the night before. I thought about the experiences I’ve had over the last two years, and pulled in what few characters I actually needed to tell the story. I put major plot points on post-it notes and arranged them on the whiteboard under the headings Act One, Act Two, and Act Three. I copied my notes into my notebook, and walked away for an hour.
And then I began to write Haunting Miss Trentwood.
Write every day
If you’re having trouble writing, I’d like to point you in the direction of a really simple online writing tool that has worked wonders for me. It’s called 750 Words, and that’s the entire point. You log in with your existing online profiles, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and write.
After you log in, you are greeted with a blank screen with a cursor, with the date at the top of the screen. And you write. There is a running total at the bottom of the screen. When you reach 750 words, the number turns green and you get a little notification saying “Congratulations! You’ve reached your goal!”
You have the option to change the color of your text, background, etc. Other than that, the only thing you can control is your writing. The website doesn’t care how long it takes you to write, it simply expects you to write 750 words that day. It logs your typing style, and autosaves for you. There is no formatting of the text so you can’t get distracted.
It’s simple. It’s brilliant.
My friend used 750 Words to spur his writing of his masters thesis, and while I had no problems with my masters thesis, I’ve been a little intimidated to start the new incarnation of Mary’s story. So I logged into 750 Words and gave it a whirl. Next thing I knew, I had 1000 words, and a solid first chapter.
Give it a try. It might work for you.
Worderella Writes schedule
Given the fact that I want to focus on my writing, I’m taking a much-needed actual vacation, I’m starting a new job, and I’ll be moving out of the parents’ place in a couple of months, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and commit to too much all at once. Or rather, more than I have already. So I’m only going to promise to write once a month, probably on a weekend. It might be a simple writing update, it might be a book review, it might be a cool link, it might be all of the above.
Most of all, I’m just glad to be back. Sincerely and truly back, doing what I love: sharing my love of writing with my peers.