This blog is quickly morphing into a come join me on my crazy journey as an aspiring author. I think I should do an accountability post. I am slowly realising that I need to tell someone (even if it is on the blogosphere) my writing goals.
Finishing off for the year at work. Family coming from interstate. Uni essay. Holidays. I know I should be grateful for all of the above (maybe not the uni essay) but finding the time to fit in writing is getting harder and harder. I am finding I have to be more disciplined.
I am adding writing to my daily to do list. And yes, I now have a to do list. #ADULTING
So I am pledging to write 5000 words in December.
This may not look like a lot of words but it means I will be writing almost every day – I don’t plan on doing what I normally do for an upcoming uni assignment and wing it until the last two days – literally counting down the clock until its due as I frantically write and try to form a coherent argument, let alone have the correct referencing system. At the moment I can fit in a couple of hundred words a day -in between my other commitments, but that’s a couple hundred more than I would write if I was waiting for the perfect ‘writing’ time. I am also learning the importance of sprints and #500in30 on a good day. Sometimes the muse shows up, other times I’m still waiting but the words are getting written!
Come join me.
How many words are you pledging to write this month?
A few weeks months ago I went on a whirlwind trip to China, well to Shanghai Disneyland. And whilst I spent a couple of days pretending to be simultaneously a 7 year old girl (I have never outgrown my love of Disney Princesses despite their many flaws) and a fifteen year old boy (how many times can I go on the Tron ride). I was also able to visit Shanghai just before I had to return home.
Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city in the truest sense; the city wears its history in layers. The sounds and the smells are distinct and they will continue to be etched in my memory. Both pretty and stark, Shanghai is an amazing city, where you are likely to hear countless languages and people visiting from all over the world.
One of my favourite parts of Shanghai was taking a night ferry along the Bund, during the voyage I could see vestiges of its colonial past as well as the future. Literally across the waterways from each other, it was a stark contrast and a reminder of how the old can meet the new and co-exist, in a sense.
In my current WIP, I write in a world set in the not so distant future, the neon lights of the newer side of Shanghai were exactly how I imagine my capital cities would look like.
A futuristic city with a touch of noir.
It was awe inspiring and made me want to rush home and continue to build my world. I am always fascinated about how seeing an object or a city can lead into triggering a scene or making my world become a living breathing three-dimensional creation.
Have you ever gone somewhere that has inspired a scene in your book, or a character?
That may not seem like an achievement but two months ago I deleted over 20k and was left with hundreds of words and a story I still wanted to write but knew I had gone in the wrong direction with. I am grateful, I picked it up at the 20k mark and not at the 50k mark, but I will be honest, it took me a while to get back into it. The thought of discarding the story and moving on did cross my mind, but those pesky characters kept popping up and saying hi, reminding me they existed.
So here I am, three months behind schedule, but I think with a better understanding of my story (its still has its plot bumps I’m working through) and my characters.
For the writerly people out there, have you ever had to stop and bin large amount of words because it wasn’t working. Does it get easier when you have more experience?
I procrastinated for three and half weeks, visited Shanghai Disneyland but somehow (the gods of procrastination must have been busy or distracted) managed to still submit a synopsis to the RWA (Australia) Selling Submission competition.
I don’t think I have ever been as nervous as I was when I pressed send; ok that might be a slight exaggeration. It was right up there with sending the dubious work email to your boss/work colleague/arch nemesis, where you spend ten minutes re-reading the email and thinking about the pros and cons of sending it. Press send than realise there was a typo and you can’t recall the email back.
But the only way to move forward is to share your work and learn from the feedback you are given. So send I must.
On the bright side, I now have a roadmap for how I think my current WIP ends….or do I?
What has been your experience in entering writing competitions? The good, the bad, the ugly?
There are some books on writing that teach you more than just writing, Stephen King’s On writing is one of those. I stumbled across this book a few years ago and dutifully bought myself a copy, where it lived on my bookshelf (with a few others of its kind) just collecting dust. Last year I decided to get serious about my writing – and learn more about the craft.
The hype around the book is true, King has created a masterclass into some of his key points about writing and has given the reader an insight into his writing career. Through the highs and the lows of his life.
You sometimes forget that even King had to start somewhere – I particularly appreciated the way kept his rejections letters as a reminder.
I know there have been various posts on why this book is a must read for King fans and for writers – I will caveat this as this advice may not be suited to you. There is no right or wrong way to write- as long as you write.
The top three points that resonated with me- trust me, this was a hard pick, and to be truthful, this points work for me now. The next time I re-read this book, other points may jump out.
Write with the door closed.
Give yourself time to create your world. Don’t worry about the rejections and the judgments that you are continuously imagining. That comes later. It will not be perfect, but you can’t edit a blank page.
Have an ideal reader.
Not everyone will love your writing. You will have people who wont like your genre, your characterisations or your plot. It is not your job to be a people pleaser. I adored the fact the King’s ideal reader is his wife Tabby, and that she critiques his work.
3. Write, write write, read, read, read.
Do you have a draw full of half finished manuscripts and stories? It was only when I did my recent move (with my parents urging me to take the last of my boxes) that I realised I had a handful of notebooks with half written stories a reminder of how I had spent my teenage years. It also reminded me of why I wanted to write. Daydreaming about far away worlds and kickass heroines was a big part of my childhood. And who doesn’t love losing themselves into someone else’s world.
Have you read On Writing? Do you have any takeaway points?