In the mind of a Writer

Posts tagged ‘Writing tips’

Writing with Demons

 

The Good news is that I just finished editing one of my novella Driving Lies: Novella 1, and I hope to have Melzela corrected. This means I should have both of them on Amazon by July or August. It just depends on my motivation.

 

Speaking of motivation. . . it has been hard to maintain my motivation. I have serious depression, but I know if I go to a shrink that they will shove some damn pills down my throat. I know those pills will make me go one of two ways. . . they will numb me and silence my muse, which will make me go crazy, or they will emphasis my negative thoughts and make me worst than I am now. (Now come to think of it, both paths pretty much lead to a bad place.) My writing is the biggest release, so if I lost it, I would not want to live with me.

Writing with depression can be a pain. . . there are some days where I have 50 billion ideas stuck in my head, but I have no motivation to get to my computer and type. There are days where I look at my editing or a blank page and want to cry. There are days where everything distracts me and I get maybe a sentence or if I am really lucky a paragraph written. (Like today. . . I’m totally distracted.)

 

There are times where the demons in my head tell me:

What is the point? You won’t finish your series and if you do it’s not good enough to be mainstream published?”

You’re just not good enough, not unique enough.”

These “demons” can be louder than my muses, than my characters. One of them create red marks on story ideas that I haven’t thought to put to paper or screen yet. I just need to get these damned bitter demons out of my head. The worst part about it is that stress, worry, and frustration just make them stronger. I should write about them, but I am juist distracted again, damnit!

 

Okay, I wanted to publish this blog yesterday, but obliviously that did not happen. (Damn distaractions. Then once I finished with the distractions and made dinner. . . I passed out, exhausted.) It’s some of their ammo. . . distractions and depression. I need to find a way to destroy these both. . . any ideas?

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NaNoWriMo 2013 so far. . .

NaNoWriMo so far. . . eh.

 

It’s November 8, 2013, and I am so far behind on my NaNoWriMo. Between my depression and my arthritis, it’s been a struggle this year. (Nightmares make me exhausted only to have me sleep more to have me wake up with locked up pain in my hands. This is crazy. I’m afraid to see how screwed up the medical system is now that our dumb president has messed everything up.)

Anyway, this is my fourth year of NaNoWriMo, and I have realized that some years are easier than others. (I had migraines my first year, and I was didn’t write much the first ten days, so I know I can do the same this year . . . one word: caffeine!)

For newbies or fellow struggling writers: don’t let other word counts discourage you. (The race is with yourself; just take it one day at a time. Remember to have Fun!)

For my writing friends and successful NaNoWriMo members: keep up the good work and make sure your characters and/or muses keep you on the edge.

I would love to write more on the blog, but I need to rest my hands, so I can work on my NaNoWriMo project. I should have two finished novels and a novella trilogy completely by the end of this NaNoWriMo.

 

Things I’ve learned as a Writer Part 1

Things I’ve learned as a Writer Part 1

 

1.    Be flexible. Sometimes your characters and/or muses will take you to places that were not on the plot but add something extra to the story.

2.    Be patient. Writing a novel takes time. (Roman wasn’t built overnight and neither was any polished novel.)

3.    Be persistent. I have never had a novel written overnight. I learned that I had to push myself day after day to make sure I got something on the page. (I love what I do, but there are times that a sunny day looks better than finishing that scene or chapter. I usually make sure I finish it and then enjoy a reward.)
4.    My first draft was never a polished gem. 99% of the time I will not write perfectly the first time. (I have never seen an author ever publish their first draft.)

5.    My inner writer and inner editor are different pieces of me. My inner writer is usually messy, but needs to get the story out. She likes to work any time after noon and likes to party on the weekend.
The inner editor is neat, strives for order. She loves to organize and works in the early morning like 5am and be done by 2pm, 4 at the latest. She appreciates a good night sleep. (She is cranky when she sees a grammar error or word she missed.)

6.    I made time to write. I don’t usually push myself for a word count (unless it was NaNoWriMo). I was happy just to get words on a screen or paper. It really does add up. I calculated all of the words on one of my flash drive and I was over a million.

7.    Reading is a necessary for writing. This is especially true if one wants to be main-streamed published. I read to know format, how to write decent dialog, and to understand what the difference between tell vs. show.

8.    Word count does count. Publishers look at word count. (I heard that anything under 80,000 words is considered a novella. Novels are considered 80,000 words and up with an average novel between 85,000 and 100,000 words.) Many editors will charge by the word.

9.    Internet can be a bigger distraction than a help. I writing sprints (where you give yourself a time: 20 minutes, 45 minutes or even an hour and you just write.) However sometime I got distracted on the internet or when I sprint on facebook. (I have muted facebook sounds or turned off the internet just so I can get writing done.)
Facebook games are a horrible temptation for me.

10. Taking a break can be a good thing. I have been pressured to get thing done by a deadline and that can be stressful. Sometimes a half an hour or an hour break can help the brain process.

Aside

Beta Reader lessons

 

I had around 50 beta readers. Some would say that it was too many readers, but by September 1st, I had only gotten about 10 messages back with feedback. I had also gotten a few extra messages from those who knew the 1st was coming, but that they hadn’t finished and needed more time. I was fine with that.  I wasn’t online on the first as I had monthly errands to do, so I had given my readers an extra week.

I knew when I decided to have readers that at least 1/4th would lose interest, 1/4th would have something happen in their lives, and at least 1/4th would need extra time. I believe that at least 10% would just forget.
 I was pretty surprised that 40% answered back on the 1st or before.

 

I have gotten some pretty good, useable feedback. There have been many suggestions that I am already trying to add and/or change to my novel now.

I am very grateful that so many read the novel and gave their feedback.

 

Things I have learned from beta readers. . .

 

You need to have flexibility. You never know when life is going to give you and /or your beta readers challenges / obstacles. This can push them away from the novel. If you have a deadline then you simply need to cut those who have not given you feedback.

(Parentheses) are frown upon. I had some parentheses on a few of my lines. I had questions while editing the second times, and I forgot to go back. They distract the readers. I know I use them on my blogs. . . do they distract anyone reading my blogs? Please let me know.

Do not get offended by the feedback. Every one has their own opinion or angle. I read all feedback. I may not agree with it, but sometimes I someone needs to tell me when something doesn’t make sense in my work.  

It’s not over—not by a long shot. I still need to edit. It never stops. Writing is art, and I believe that true art is never done.

Advice for recieving Feedback

There are many writers who have it good and yet don’t know it. I would never say any feedback is hateful or negative . . . it’s just an opinion. (Unless someone threaten you or said they hated it, but that is not what I meant.) Most readers read a story and then go to the next story. Only a percentage of them actually give feedback, especially on a blog or online site.  So if 15 people gave some kind of comment or feedback, then think of how many other simply read the story and moved on.

I gave my fellow some advice that I even follow. . .

  1. Just think about it:  to get that much feedback means that many people read or at least started to read your material. At least you have some readers noticed that you are a writer.
  2. It really looks like you have the wrong fan-base.  I also heard that certain writer’s websites will tear apart one’s work, but they are trying to make it better. You can read their comments, but it is up to you as the writer to make a decision to use their input.
  3. Never take what one person says at world value. I have learned that I may be unique, but there are at least a few people out there like me. Everyone has their opinion and most people always have something to say about art and writing is just written art.
  4. Cherish positive comment and keep negative comments at arm’s length.
  5. Try to find a positive spin to all comments or you’ll just feel down. Question the commenter’s ideas . . . never be afraid to ask why they have their opinion or how they offered their opinion. If they said something vague like because it is what I think, don’t take the feedback at much value. However if they tell you a real reason with an example of why/how they got to their opinion, then work with it.
  6. The thing that I have learned is most people who want feedback, want to improve their writing. If you are simply writing for yourself and like your work, then just don’t ask for feedback.
  7. I personally have nothing against fanfiction. I use it as practice myself. However I can see the negative look on it out there, because there are writer’s struggling to create their own world, conflict, and characters. However I think if a celebrity or previously created character gives you inspiration then right about it. (Just please let people know that it is fiction and is no way connected to the original person/character.)

Okay that is my two cents for now. . . I have a few pieces to rewrite, a few pieces to read and review, and many chapters to edit.

Tips for NaNoWriMo Writers

 I wasn’t going to write a blog today, but I just felt I had to give some tips for new and struggling NaNoWriMo writers out there. I was reading http://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/bricking-out-the-world/

 

I known at first you’re one of three things:

  • You’re excited belting out 1667, 3k or even 5k words everyday. However you start to fret by day 10 when you are mentally fried. (Or you think you can just do it on the weekends trying to type out 10-15k per weekend.) I had to pull that off on my first year and it really burns you out.
  • You’re nervous barely getting 1667 words per day. Your muses aren’t home and your characters kept arguing with you while you try to make tea and they want you to drink hot chocolate. I would say take a “small” (no more than 30 minutes) and get inspired: look at pictures, watch favorite TV show or clips of it, find something that will bring you back into in the story.
  • You’re a mixture of nervousness and excitement and my advice for you just keep the story nice and steady. If you feel yourself pulling away from the story leave yourself on a cliff hanger for the next day. Just stop in the middle of scene or even a sentence.

 

Things I’ve used to keep me going. . .

  • I have a good support system: friends, groups, even the NaNoWriMo forums. You need to have some cheer you on at least wishing you luck. (There are many of them on the forum and FB groups.) My boyfriend is allowed to nag me during NaNoWriMo, especially to get my novel done. He had denied me attention until I got a certain word count.
  • I have a reward system for myself. (I made a list of things I like: TV shows, candy, foods, soda, things I want like mugs or cute socks. Then I added word count value for them. For example: a piece of candy after 500 words or coffee mug after 15,000 words. Etc TV shows I usually give 3-5k, favorite meal 25k etc.) The main idea of the reward system is simply to make smaller goals to the bigger goal isn’t so overwhelming.
  • Word Sprints are one of the reasons why I got 50K by day 21 last year and why I ended NaNoWriMo with 63k. (For those who don’t know word sprints are timed burst of writing. My favorite sprint is 20 minutes. For 20 minutes, you just write and after 20 minutes you post your word count. Most word processors have some kind of word count. There are programs on-line just good “word counting programs.”) There are also reverse sprints where they give you the word amount like 500 word or 1k and then you post the minutes when you get to that point. You get a lot of words out with that type of sprint, but too many of those really burn me out. It’s not really a race and there may be someone with more words than you, don’t worry, it’s just about accumulating words. (NaNoWriMo Forums and FB game both have word sprints usually going on or simply request one and others will follow.) The other great thing about a word sprint is if you are shy and don’t want to post that you only got like 50 words in 20 minutes, you don’t have to. You can also just get a timer and make your own sprint; set the timer for the time you and write during that time.
  • I had strong characters that really just pulled the story through when I started to feel burned out. If you get a chance where your characters can just tell the story, let them.
  • I was always writing. If I wasn’t at a computer, then I took a notebook and wrote at least notes for chapters, or scenes. I had even written an entire conversation with my characters, because something stuck my inspiration when I was out and about.

 

For those who end up having problems. . .

  • 30 days happen faster than you think. You take things one day at a time. If you miss a day, you don’t have to double the next day, just add a few more words throughout the rest of the challenge.
  • You are not the only struggling. There are others struggling as well, and don’t be afraid to ask the forums or FB groups for help.
  • Life goes on. I still have to make dinner. I still have to see family and friends or do errands. I just take my writing with me. I use life in my story, it really helps. Someone pulled in front of you driving to work, make them a victim in your story. (It does help and it keep you out of jail. LOL)
  • Have fun. I want my writing published, but this month is not focused on the editors, agents or publishers it’s about get 50,000 words on the first draft done. I love to write; I have fun writing!

 

I wish all of those doing NaNoWriMo this year the best of luck with your projects.