Hi everyone. I’m trying out a new section of my blog called “Writing Stories,” where I let you in on how my writing process works. I have no idea if this will be of interest to anybody, but I thought I’d try it out.
I grew up hearing that would-be writers are undisciplined. They moan about Writer’s Block, chase inspiration like butterflies, and never get work done on time. I didn’t want to be like that. For many years, I tried to be disciplined. I set goals, broke my goals into measurable tasks, and tried to accomplish my tasks by a reasonable deadline.
Results have been mixed.
On the one hand, I can now sit down and write almost anywhere with little to no angst. I write every day, and when I need to, I can write for hours. I have a clear idea of how long it takes me to accomplish a goal and how that goal needs to be broken down into other stages.
On the other hand, I’ve learned, rather painfully, that trying to force out chapters sometimes means I miss out on genuine moments of inspiration. While trying to accomplish a single concrete task, I often lose sight of the bigger picture. Constantly doing work leaves me no time to think, learn, and reflect.
So this past year, instead of planning my tasks months in advance, I decided to wing it. I was going to listen, day by day, to my own feelings and write whatever appealed to me the most. This meant giving up some of my control over the writing process, but it also meant I wasn’t beating my brain against a computer screen (metaphorically). I’ve enjoyed the process of giving up control, and I feel like the quality of my work has risen as a result.
This brings me to Nanowrimo.
Early in April, I signed up for the Local Author's Showcase, at the Cumberland Library in Fayetteville, NC. When it came time to go, I was nervous. I've only done a few of these events, after all, and I'm not exactly a social butterfly. (More like an introverted dragonfly.) But I told myself I was just going to show up, have fun, network, learn, and not put too much pressure on myself.
On Saturday, June 15, I attended the Local Author's Showcase, with a bagful of my books to sell, a box of business cards, and some freshly-made, framed signs. I was surprised (and a little intimidated) by the number of authors who set up booths in the room and how professional they were. Some had screens and toys and merchandise for sale. But I took a deep breath and got set up. Someone came up to talk to me. I started to feel better.
All in all, it was a fun day. People were friendly and open. I got hear author's stories and share my own story. I even made a few sales. It was a good reminder, for me, of the power of putting yourself out there.
Authors and Their Books
These are some of the local authors I had the pleasure of meeting as I made my way around the room:
One of the authors, Alison Paul Klakowicz (whose book I bought, by the way), wrote a tremendous article in the Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog with pictures of everyone and their books. If
you want to get a feel for the event, I suggest you check it out.
I'm very nearly halfway done with Camp NaNoWriMo, and it's been tough going.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), that crazy challenge of writing 50,000 words/ 200 pages in 30 days, typically occurs in November. However, there are also more casual "camps" that happen every April and July. My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo this April is to write 6 chapters in The Originals, the sequel to my epic fantasy novel, The Changelings. Although my word count is up to snuff (21,000), I've only finished one chapter, with another chapter only half written at best. What I have written, I find useful, and ideas are pouring out. Whether or not my goal is achieved, I'm slowly but surely making progress.
When I get stuck or tired, I find that taking walks is a good way to stretch and get the creative juices flowing. Nothing like looking at nature to gather inspiration. Below is a short video I made of me walking the dogs and appreciating the little things around me.
April is National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo for short. Now, I'm not a natural poet, but I do tinker with poems every now and then. Poetry helps hone my description and teaches rhythm and sound. It's a chance to play with language. The challenge of the above website is to write a poem a day, with a prompt and a poem to provide inspiration. Despite also doing Camp NaNoWriMo (which is a whole different can of worms), I've been keeping up with my poems. I even decided to do make some haiku riddle poems just for fun. Please enjoy.
Click below to read the answers.
Writer. Critic. Dreamer.