03 November 2021

Sitting this one out

Today I would typically be posting for IWSG, but I'm not really feeling up to it right now. Last week, we had to put down my cat Gizmo. He's been my baby for 17 years and it's been really hard getting used to life without him. 

Hug your fur babies for me. <3 

06 October 2021

Crossing the Lines

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up! 

This month's optional question is: In your writing, where do you draw the line, with either topics or language?

Uhhh, have you been here before? Then you know that I DON'T draw the line. Actually, if we're going to go along with some literal and figurative moments in my novel, I only draw the lines in order to cross them (it's called Uneven Lines, after all). Look, see, actual lines:

I would like to think that I wouldn't write something any more extreme than the relationship in this book (because it's been very hard to figure out), but you never know what ideas will pop into your head. Never say never, right? But I will probably think twice about writing about a taboo subject again. 

This sort of relates to my struggles with trying to finish UL. You know, besides my lack of motivation and energy. I've had a hard time seeing the ending and I think it has a lot to do with figuring out who exactly is the audience for this book. It reads like YA (it's from the point of view from a 15-year-old), but there are a LOT of adult themes. There aren't *sex scenes* per se (except maybe one), but there are *sexual* scenes (about half of them are solo, if you catch my drift). And they don't hold back on the detail.

So that's part of my problem. If the previous sexual scenes were very detailed, I feel like the potential sex scene would also have to be detailed. It just fits the voice of the main character. But I feel like this book can't be YA if I go there. My struggles with the ending are part of this because I'm not sure anymore if this is the ending the story needs. But I guess that's a whole other problem that I'll have to figure out. 

One of my subplots, on the other hand, feels VERY YA. It involves high schoolers and coming of age and all that crap. I also worry about my subplots weighing down the last third of the book. I also think about how my two sequel ideas feel very New Adult. Is someone who reads the first book when my MC is 15 also going to want to read about when he's 20 and 22? 

So who exactly is the audience for my book? Besides myself?? Maybe figuring that out will help me figure out all the rest. 

01 September 2021

What Does Success Look Like?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

You know, I'm not quite sure what success would really mean to me. In fact, I think it's something that might change over time. My main goal would be to get at least one novel published, but once that is accomplished, I would need a new goal. 

I think my ultimate level of success would mean making enough money from writing to not need a full time job. I would love having the whole day to just work on writing and editing (and eventually marketing...I guess...). Right now I usually find myself too exhausted from my day job to work on writing too much. 

Speaking of exhaustion, I'm going to keep this short. Work has been really hectic lately and I haven't been feeling well, so I don't have much brain capacity. I have a nice long vacation next week which I desperately need! Hopefully lots of rest...and maybe even some writing? 

04 August 2021

Still Burnt Out

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I didn't really know what to write about for this month, probably because I've been feeling the same way that I have for months. I just don't really have the desire to write at all. I was keeping up with the editing for a while (got 400 'then's down to 125!), but now I haven't been doing much of anything, except watching the occasional Youtube video and writing down a few notes when ideas come to me.

I think there are a lot of factors making me feel so burnt out, and not all of them are actually about writing. My job has been really stressful and busy lately and I'm just exhausted all of the time. I used to get up early on my days off to get things done, but now I sleep in. I haven't been going to the gym that much anymore and I've found pretty much every excuse to cheat on my diet (I like to eat my feelings, ok?). My energy level has just been so low lately, so it's hard to come home and want to do anything but relax and watch TV. 

I do feel burnt out when it comes to writing, though. There is still SO MUCH I want to fix in UL, not to mention the fact that I still don't quite know how to end it. Sometimes I feel like giving up on it, but I know that I can't. I've put so much work into it already and I just can't give up, but sometimes it's hard to keep going when it's already been so long and there's still so much to do.

I've thought about working on something different for a while. I'd like to get back to my NaNo book from 2019 (currently titled Sexy Fluff #1), but part of me wants to start over instead of just finishing the first draft. I feel like my rivals to lovers concept wasn't strong enough, like my characters weren't strong enough rivals. But I digress. I think I should finish the first draft and then go back and fix things in the second draft. 

It's probably a good idea to work on SF #1 because I actually feel a little bit excited about it? I just need to find the motivation. I started reading a book that's in the same genre, and I chose one by an author I'd read before and I really liked that book, but the one I'm trying to read right now is just...not good. So I thought it would inspire me to get to writing, and it's just not. But maybe trying to write a better book than this one will motivate me! 

Anyway, I've written way more than I thought I would, but the good news is that after work this Friday, I'm off for 6 days! I don't want to push myself too hard to work on writing unless I really want to, but either way, I think it will be good to have some time off work and relax, do a few fun things, and just unwind. Maybe by the end of my mini vacation, I'll have some of my energy back, and then hopefully the motivation will follow. 

07 July 2021

Anything but a Quitter

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: What would make you quit writing? 

I think the short answer is...NOTHING. And I'm being completely serious. I mean, I've experienced pretty much everything that involves not writing--breaks, breathers, pauses, hiatuses, burnout, crushing depression, feeling like my writing is never going to be any good and no one will ever read it. But the one thing that I never did was quit. I just don't think it's in me. 

I've always been a writer. Ever since I was little, I imagined stories in my head. I don't think I could make that go away if I tried. Even if I had no intention to publish, I would still write for myself. I would still come up with stories and want to put them into words. 

I guess the only plausible scenario would be if I ran out of ideas, and that definitely isn't happening any time soon. I've still got plenty of ideas that I haven't even started yet. 

I have been feeling rather insecure when it comes to writing lately. I mentioned a while back that I had a three month goal of working on something writing related every day (and that I would reward myself with Cheesecake Factory when I finished). I was doing great for a while. Some days were more productive than others, sure, but I was doing it. 

Well, when June hit, at first I was feeling a bit burnt out. I was struggling to pick things to do every day, and for several days in a row I just watched Youtube videos about writing. I felt kind of guilty even counting that, but I was able to write down a few notes and get inspired from those videos. Not too long after, though, I got sick. I don't even know what I had. First I thought I had strep throat, but I tested negative. Then a couple weeks later I had a horrible headache for days and even a fever for a bit. I pretty much refused to go to urgent care because they couldn't do anything for my throat and I didn't want to go back, and I really just felt like I needed to rest. 

I did get better after a couple days, but I didn't do any writing whatsoever. Part of me was upset, but another part felt like I needed the break. I needed a few days to not have that pressure hanging over my head. 

But I did want to get back on track, so I decided to let July be my third month! It's going well so far. I've started slowly with a search for "that," which can be really easy to eliminate a lot of the time. My first sweep got 1255 'thats' down to 1062. I honestly thought it would be more, but I'm going to go back through it again and get rid of some of the trickier ones, or the times where there are way too many in the same paragraph or page. And then I'll move on to the next task.

Do you ever feel like you need a break? What would make you quit writing?

02 June 2021

The Rewriting Rush

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month I'm a co-host! The other awesome co-hosts are J Lenni DornerNatalie AguirreLee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month's optional question is: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

For me, I think it depends on the story, and whether I am so excited about it that I just want to keep going, or if writing it was so exhausting that I need a little break from it. Or, if there's a deadline involved, you usually have to jump right into editing once the first draft is done. When I wrote the first draft of "The Last Dragon" for the Hero Lost anthology, I had to jump right back into it in order to submit it in time (and get my word count waaaaaaaaaaay down). 

Uneven Lines is a whole other animal. There have been so many versions and drafts and breaks and hiatuses that I don't even know where I am anymore sometimes. Technically I'm on the third draft (of the novel version), but there have been draft changes halfway through, and while I'm mostly editing right now, this draft isn't actually complete. I still haven't written the last two chapters. What happens isn't completely clear to me, and I hope getting the previous chapters to exactly where I want them will help me figure it out. 

Sometimes, in order to just get something done, I just have to pick a specific task and focus on that. I've been trying to purge all of the editing comments that I've left myself in the Word document for the whole manuscript. A couple weeks ago I tackled every "rewrite" comment, getting it down from 78 to 11, only leaving the ones that will involve a big rewrite (at least a page), or more brainstorming to figure it out. Most of the ones I fixed were either a sentence or a paragraph, so it was easier to go through and improve on those sentences. 

And you know what? Rewriting is really satisfying! There have been plenty of times where I've stared at a page of writing, having absolutely no clue and no desire to try editing it. But when I focus on a specific part, knowing that if I just take a moment and really think about it, I can fix it and make it better. And doing that feels great! 

Last week I went through my comments again, finding the ones that said "show," meaning that the sentence I wrote was telling when it should have been showing. There were only 22 this time, and I only left one incomplete because it's part of a whole page rewrite. 

But I just love the feeling of taking a sentence/paragraph that isn't so great and transforming it into something better. For instance, I had this passage marked in my manuscript: 

Before we could say anything else, the waiter came back and set our food in front of us. I wasn’t really hungry anymore, but we started eating because there was nothing else left to do. 

I had specifically marked "I wasn't really hungry anymore," with a "show" comment, because I didn't really think I conveyed why Jordan didn't feel hungry anymore. It took me a while to actually figure out what I needed to say in this moment, but I finally rewrote it as: 

The waiter came back and set our food in front of us, pulling us out of this moment and back to reality. I stared down at my plate for the longest time, not wanting it because that emptiness in the pit of my stomach didn’t feel like hunger anymore. I didn’t know what else to say, and Tom didn’t say anything, either. We started eating because there was nothing else left to do. 

Sometimes less is more, but I think in this particular instance, I needed more words to show how Jordan was feeling in that moment. I really like how this rewrite turned out. It's a really great feeling when you just know you've changed something for the better.

Do you like rewriting? How long do you shelve your first draft? 

05 May 2021

Random Bursts of Motivation

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I know I've probably mentioned this (many) times before, but I struggle with motivation, especially when it comes to writing. Like, I'm really good at motivating myself to do the dishes, but not so much at doing some editing or brainstorming. I don't know what it is. Sometimes I just feel like all the energy has been sucked out of me, and I just can't bring myself to do it.

When I actually do get motivated, it happens at random and fizzles out just as fast as it started. Sometimes I make a list of goals for the week and I get something done right away, then avoid the rest. Or another thing I'm constantly guilty of is researching different submissions for stories or poetry, bookmarking the websites, and then never actually making a plan to write or submit anything. Usually by the time I go back and look at them, the deadlines have passed or are too close to try to start writing something new. 

I have been working on my goal of doing something writing related every single day for 3 months. I think having a reward at the end is helping to motivate me (I promised myself a giant Cheesecake Factory to go order after the 3 months, and it will take me that long to pick what I want because I've been on a diet for quite some time and I also used to work there so I have a lot of favorites). It really is easy to motivate myself with food (or a fancy Starbucks drink), but I can't constantly be doing that because I'm also trying to lose weight. 

When I get into a slump like this, it really is hard to motivate myself out of it. But I am at least doing *something* every day. Even if it's just a few edited lines. I just wish those random bursts of motivation would come more often. Or that I could think of a reward that isn't food....

Do you struggle with motivation? What do you do to reward yourself?