Friday, November 16, 2012

An Autumn Camp

I will be going to an Autumn Camp for the weekend. It will be fun--aside from the fact that it's a six hour drive, and my sister isn't exactly feeling great right now, but has to go anyway. 

I don't have any posts scheduled for while I'm away, so this blog will be blissfully silent until the day of my return. Ahh, autumn. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How This Blog Came to Be

I was thinking today that it would be a great day to write a blog post. The thing is, though, what was I supposed to write about? I'd declared this month writing-themed-posts-only month, and in terms of writing, I'm pretty dry.

You know, I never exactly introduced myself in a formal post. It's hard to tell what I was thinking last year, but I believe that I didn't believe in introductions, if that makes sense. So that means that I don't think I ever have told you straight-up how this blog came to be. 

Go back a year and a lot, to the summer. The sun blisters your skin and as you lay on the porch wearing your shorts in the direct sunlight the concrete is hot enough to make puddles out of your thighs, but still you lay there. You have time to think, with hours of nothing stretching before you. 

Your only company is the dry breeze, the notioning that you might need water, and a strange, little blue bead. The heat makes you delusional. You start to personify the blue bead, and then, out of the blue, this little idea pops into your head:

A blog would be nice. 

A blog, where you could write about your country life. Where the blue bead could have its very own post. Where you could make fun of The Pioneer Woman. Where cats could run free reign.

But what to call it?

It seems like a great idea, and you keep it in the back of your mind for a few months. Everywhere you wander inside the house you think that maybe this and that would make a dandy blog post. The only thing stopping you is permission from your mother--that, and a blog title. 

You storm up ideas in a yellow notebook for a week, after you get your permission to start a blog. 

What to call it?

You consider all sorts of titles, and eventually you narrow it down to two names:

- Outside the Margins

- Tales of an Unpublished Writer

The second one had a nice ring to it, so you choose that. And, with shaking fingers, you type up your first post and hit publish. You design. And design. Another post is written.

A year passes, you move to a new house, and the reasons why you started the blog in the first place have withered away and died. But still you blog, because you have found completely new reasons to continue onwards.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Writers' Block, and the Art of Getting Out of the Snare

Image credit: Kelly Bean
At this time of the month, writers all over participating in NaNoWriMo feel like they don't have anything left in them, like they should quit writing and just return to watching TV in the evenings for three hours straight.

I have one piece of advice for you guys: keep writing.

It will get better, believe me. Even if you can't see the end of the tunnel yet, you will, and when you do, you'll be glad you didn't get behind.

The thing is, no one is making you write this novel. So if you want to quit, you can--which makes it a temptation nearly every step of the way. Your job in this is to not listen to that little voice in your head that says, 'heck yeah TV!' every time you start a new paragraph. 

I know I'm not all that qualified this month, because I have barely been writing anything (and by barely writing anything I mean that I have written roughly 10K, but I'm feeling horrible about it because that writing was actually good, and I didn't have to think about it all that much). I am stuck in the same rut you are: procrastination. 

When I first started out in the writing business seriously (June 2009), I had this insane idea that I was special, and that I would never get writers' block. I planned out my characters and gave them insane names that were sure to get them mocked at in school, had they been real people in the real world. I bought a brand new notebook, got a nice pen that wrote decently, and started writing.

Though I have no idea how long the actual novel was--though I do estimate that it was around 20K, not even a novel by standards--I finished the puppy in a mere three months. Every time I got writers' block I'd throw a new character or twist into the mix, and I'd go from there. And though it did get me out of ruts like *that*, it left me with a mangled corpse of a manuscript with so many plot twists and characters I couldn't keep track of them all.

I don't recommend doing what I did to get out of twists.

So what do you do when you've got writers' block? I recommend reading over the sentence where you got stuck, and completely reword it. Sometimes it's as simple as that, and sometimes it's a little harder to get out of the snare.

Reword the paragraph. Reword the entire chapter, if you must, so that you can move on. If you stop for the day because you think you'll come up with the answer tomorrow, odds are that you won't have it, and then you'll be behind by X amount of words.

And if you must, skip over the scene entirely, and continue writing. Once the month is over you can return to it.

But despite all that, odds are:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Post on Perseverance

Now that the election is *finally* over, and we have our winner, I figured that while I'm disappointed I might as well write a blog post about perseverance.

Right now I don't feel very motivated to do anything except curl up in a ball and fall asleep. I'm tired of politics, and I want everyone to stop gloating on Twitter that Obama won, and among other things, I want to finish a darn novel.

But the surprising thing is (and I was blown away to find this out--they don't tell you this kind of stuff going into it), you actually have to write to finish a book. You don't sit on a comfy throne in a lavish gallery, with one of Rita Skeeter's self-writing quills spilling away the works of Shakespeare onto the paper. Writing is very lowly, can be done from anywhere, and is often very low paying. Not much motivation right now, but just hang on.

Photo found on Pinterest.
Now here I am, on the other side of the photo. It's time for some motivation. Four NaNos really is not a lot. There are veterans out there doing their seventh or eighth, and have never lost. Just think of how many words that is! That's a lot of perseverance, if you ask me. 

Even when you're feeling tired, if you haven't met your word count goal for the day, plow on! I assure you that it is very possible to do--on several occasions I have been half-asleep, my eyes nearly closed, and still I have made my word count for the day. Let me tell you that you will thank yourself heartily when you wake up, knowing that you don't have to tack on the previous day's word count to your new one. 

You have to work.

I know, it sounds boring, right? You, like me sometimes, are in it for the completed manuscript, a sweet publishing contract, and several thousand (or million) dollars for the first book to what you plan to make a dystopian trilogy. And all the power to you! Just realize that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep. And then another footstep, until you reach the end. 

You can do it. It is possible. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bits and Pieces: November

 Picture Find:

Something I Did:

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I would like this blog to orient itself around writing until at least December, and then I'll get back to blogging about cats and such. If you aren't doing NaNoWriMo, and hate writing, you've either a) come to the wrong blog, or b) can return in mid December, when I'm sure I'll be worrying about Christmas presents and my new horse.

Anyway, recently I did nothing. I would really love to talk about Once Upon a Time, my favorite tv show. And I would also really like to cry about the new episode last night, but some people haven't watched that episode yet, and so I cannot. 

But just let me do this:

Captain Hook is certainly growing on me.
Nope, this picture is not from last night, so it's not spoilery. *cue evil face*

All-in-all, I don't like pirates. Not even a tiny, tiny bit. So at first I really did not like Captain Hook, nor did I feel sorry for him when his wife died. Though in the past few episodes he has been growing on me like fungus, because he is nice looking, and he is also funny in some parts. This does not mean that I like pirates now, because I don't, but as a character Hook is... okay. 

A Writer Thing:

Even though it is November, I have not been writing much. On Twitter me and a few of my friends did word wars to try to churn out some more wordcount, and they do work, though it is questionable how great the content I produced yesterday was.

I am a professional at procrastinating, as anyone who knows me will be sure to tell you. I can put something off better than anyone else--even when I want to do it, like with writing! Argh, I don't know why I'm not writing. It's like there's a charm over my laptop keys that prohibits me from writing over a thousand words a day. 

Anyway, I have finally decided to at least half participate in NaNo this year, by writing 30,000 words instead of 50,000, and to finish this novel that I started in August named The Glass Girl (or whatever I'm calling it these days). 

It'll be fun. Less stressful than regular NaNos. (Yeah right.)

Song I Can't Stop Listening To:

"Lost Things" by A Fine Frenzy

Yep, call me weird, but I like this song.