My Writing Journey- What I’m Working On/Thoughts Going Forward

Since I really do want to have writing as my job in the future, I figured I’d start a section dedicated to my journey and where I am. Hope you enjoy following me on my writing journey!

Two years ago, I started a trilogy of young adult, dystopian sci-fi books for NaNoWriMo 2014. Since then, I have been working on the trilogy and last year, on November 1st, I finished it. After giving it some time to rest while I worked on other projects, I am now returning to it for revisions.

The first book in the series is 159 pages long, and contains 79,874 words. It’s probably a bit on the short side but I’m trying not to worry about that right now. I can always make it longer if I need to.

After about a month of lazy editing, (the intense work begins at Camp NaNoWriMo next month, so I’m giving myself some leeway this month), I have hit page 30 out of 159 on my manuscript. I have deleted one character completely, removed another from the beginning, deleted multiple scenes and added a few as well. 30 pages has turned into 26, and I’m much happier with the story and the way it’s written. I feel like, slowly, it’s becoming the book I had intended it to be.

Editing is by far, not my favorite part of the writing process. I personally love writing the first draft. I love it’s creative freedom and the leniency it gives me to write something terrible and know it’s okay because everyone’s first drafts are terrible. But when I get to editing, I often feel boxed up and stifled. There is no leniency anymore, no more freedom. Suddenly, everything has to be good. Everything has to be perfect. You can no longer just throw a bunch of words on the page and call it okay, you have to meticulously organize them. And that’s what I hate about editing. BUT…

I did come up with a new way of editing that is making it a little more bearable. I created a completely new, empty document, and split my computer screen between that and the doc with my manuscript. Now, looking back and forth, I’m able to completely rewrite the entire story onto a new document, which makes it feel kind of like I’m writing a new story, even though I’m not.

It also makes it easier to change already existing things using this method (in my opinion anyway). For example, when I deleted my character, instead of having to find every scene she was mentioned in and remove her from it, I simply have to remember that she’s no longer in it and not include her. I no longer have to find things, I just have to write. It makes things so much easier.

But here come the thing that’s bothering me most right now. Not the editing, not the stifling perfectionism that comes with it, but the thought of what comes after. Once the second draft is done, the story won’t be able to grow without other people’s opinions and I’ll have to get beta-readers which, as a protective writer, is quite frankly terrifying.

And then after beta-readers comes something maybe slightly scarier. Querying.

And IF I’m lucky enough to get an agent, and when that agent then shops my manuscript around to publishing companies, and then IF a publishing company picks it up and offers me a deal, and IF I actually get published, my book will be out there in the world for ANYONE to see! Which ultimately is the goal and excites me more than anything, but… it also terrifies me.

All in all I guess, writing this second draft seems like the beginning of a very long process of scary new things. I’m committing myself to this project in a way that I’ve never committed to a project before (except my very first book but I’m not sure that counts because I was only a baby writer at the time).

I know I have an amazing family and group of friends who will rally around me and support me through every last second of it but still… it scares me.

So I’m trying to take this all one step at a time. Right now, all I need to focus on is finishing the second draft.  And I’m trying my hardest. I set myself a deadline of July 31st and I plan to be done by then.

And when the time comes, I will think about beta-readers and then after that querying, getting an agent, and then publishing. And can we please not even think about a movie deal? *faints*

Most of that stuff is pretty far into the future, if it ever happens at all, so I’m going to try not to worry about it now. If I’ve learned anything about writing recently it’s that it’s one big waiting game. And I just need to take it one step at a time. So that’s what I’m going to do. 🙂

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I Won Camp NaNoWriMo 2016!!! (April Session)

So much writing… *twitches*

Last month’s Camp NaNoWriMo was an uphill battle with portals and magical evil mages along the way, but I managed to reach the end of the trail and hit my goal of 50,000 words! (seriously, there were evil mages. I fought them off though… for now)

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This was the hardest NaNoWriMo event I have ever participated in. It was difficult in the beginning and then, for a few days, things seemed to get better… but then it went back to being hard again. And it didn’t stop being hard until I finally dragged myself across the 50,000 word line. Most of the month was spent like this-

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I guess more than anything what this session taught me was to never ever give up. For the first time I had to really live the advice I have been giving people ever since I started writing which is, ‘when things get tough, when writing the book is torture and you could think of a million other things you would rather be doing, just force yourself to keep going.’ This is the first time I’ve ever really had to do that. I mean, every writer has their struggles with plot holes and frustrating characters and the debilitating self doubt that nothing you write matters but this was the first time where I honestly didn’t enjoy writing the book. And not just some of it but pretty much everything. But I kept going, and now I have 50,000 words of a story that I’m starting to like. Without the pressure of reaching my goal weighing down on me, I feel more free and it’s easier to write.

It kind of weird to say this but, this was the first NaNoWriMo session that I didn’t really enjoy. I was counting down the days until it ended basically the entire month. But if I could go back in time and choose whether or not to do it again, I think I would still make pretty much the same choice I did. It taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what, never give up. And I also have bragging rights now for enduring all that and still coming out with 50,000 words. XD

How about you guys? Did any of you fall into a hole and have a hard time climbing back out? Were your trails as bumpy as mine? I’d love to hear all about your Camp NaNoWriMo adventure!

I also want to let you guys know that I’m trying to post more frequently on here. I always feel bad for not putting out enough content for you guys. I’ll try to be better about it from now on. If you want, let me know what you’d like to see in the future! That way I can know I’m giving you the best content possible!

Thanks so much for sticking with me even though I may not be the best blogger in the world. I’ll try to get better for you all. 🙂

I’ll talk to you soon and remember to keep writing, even when it’s hard! 😀

Camp NaNoWriMo Update (April 2016)

A couple days ago I hit 20,000 words! Yay!!! *throws party and celebrates*

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But unfortunately, this session hasn’t been all sparkles and celebrations.

Up until a few days ago, I really disliked my story. Fantasy just isn’t my genre and I really wasn’t enjoying my book. I came *this* close to giving up, and would have if I hadn’t been so determined not to break my NaNoWriMo winning streak. I didn’t write as much as I should have though and I, very quickly, fell behind.

I decided to just drag myself through though, no matter how tedious and torturous it was. Now I have hit 20,000 words and am actually kinda enjoying the story. I still don’t really know what I’m doing or where the book is going but I am pulling myself through it word by word.

So if you ever think your story is garbage or it’s not working, do NOT give up. Even if it’s the most boring, horrible, tedious experience of your entire life, do NOT give up. Push through the challenge and persevere! You never know where the story might go and what wondrous adventures it might take you on if you just decide to follow it. 🙂

I think one of the best quotes for my situation this month would be this one by E. L. Doctorow-

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It’s one of  my favorite writing quotes and I’ve understood it long before this book but this one gives it a whole new meaning. I barely even know what’s going to happen in the next scene. XD

Some other quotes to sum up my experience so far this month include-

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And this. Lots and lots of this-

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What is words?! What is story?! What is fantasy?! UHG!!!

Fun times…

But anyway! It’s getting a whole lot better and I can now see myself more easily reaching my goal of 50,000! I am starting to understand my characters and my world better and the other day, my MC even surprised me with something I didn’t even know she was capable of!  It’s been incredible to watch my fictional universe and the people I’ve put in it start to flourish and, really, that’s all I need. I can go from there on plot and other things.

I will try to get another update in before the end of the month! If you want, let me know how you guys are doing with your Camp NaNo goals! I’d love to hear about your experience! 😀

I’ll talk to ya’ll later and, until then, remember to keep writing!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2016- April Session

First of all, I want to apologize for being gone for so long! It’s terrible and I’m sorry. 😦

Second! I want to let you know that I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again this year! 😀

The two projects I will be working on this month are-

  1. A collection of short stories about characters from a trilogy that I am in the process of editing.
  2. A new urban fantasy novel. I am still trying to work though the plot of this one but I can tell you that the book it is most like is The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Claire. It was very similar to that, especially in the beginning, but is now starting to take it’s own form.

My word count goal for the month is 50,000 words and I am currently at 8,720.

The urban fantasy project in particular is kind of scary for me because I don’t really like the fantasy genre. I haven’t read much in it or really done anything with it. I’m kind of playing it by ear and trying to figure out the genre as I go along.

It originally started out as just fantasy but when that proved too challenging I decided that I would change it to urban fantasy so I could mix the magic of fantasy with the realness of having some characters from our world in it.

World building is something I struggle with, it’s one of the reasons that I hate fantasy because it takes so much of it, so I haven’t been enjoying that aspect of it a lot. If you guys have any tips or tricks for world building, or any articles, books, or websites that you think would help, I would absolutely LOVE if you would share them with me. I need all the help I can get.

I have been taking my writing a little slower this month. Normally I finish really early but I think I’m going to take it a little easier this time through and give myself a break from the craziness of NaNo months.

Are any of you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how are you doing? I’d love to know what genre you’re working on and what your word goal is for the month!

I’ll hopefully be doing a few more updates and posts throughout the month. Until next time, remember to keep writing!

 

 

#NaNoInspired Day

Hey guys! In case you didn’t already know, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month! My word count goal is 40,000 and so far I have written 23,984. Today is #NaNoInspired Day, and it is all about filling up your inspiration well. So I am here to share with you all the things that inspire me and, hopefully, inspire you along the way. Here it goes!

My family and all my amazing friends. The #RoyalWriters, summer days and peaceful pictures of fields, parks, and lakes. Laughing with my friends, beaches, overheard conversations, music of all kinds and talking. The thoughts that run around my head all day every day, those few lines that I know I got right, and being with the people I care about. City lights at night, other writers, all the amazing worlds, characters, and stories just waiting to be found. NaNoWriMo, forests, camping and just living.

Anything that happens in life can become story material. Remember, there are very few things in life that you cannot do if you put your mind to it. So whether you’re a writer or just a person going through life with a dream, you can accomplish it. Hold on to what inspires you, live life to the fullest, and never give up!

I wish you all the best of luck with your writing this month, whether you are participating in Camp NaNo or not. Remember, the first draft doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be written. Keep writing!

Camp NaNoWrimo is Here Again

It’s officially the first of July and you know what that means? Camp NaNoWriMo is now upon us! This time around I will be working on two projects. A collaboration I started with one of my best friends, and the last book in a trilogy I have been working on since last November. I am hoping to write at least 10,000 words on the collaboration story, and however many words it takes to finish my other one by the end of the month.

I know this session is going to be amazing since I have a bunch of amazing friends going on the journey with me! They’re all incredibly supportive, encouraging, and are always there when I need them (whether it’s for help with writing or just for a fun conversation). I know that, with them by my side, I will be able to accomplish my Camp goals.  I have the feeling that this July is going to be a month for getting all the writerly things done.

Good luck to everybody participating this month, but a special good luck to the friends who are going on the journey with me (you know who you are). I hope everyone has a great time and gets a lot of words written. If you are participating, and have a goal, let me know in the comments what it is! I would love to hear what you are working on!

Good luck, and remember, no one can write the book you have inside you. Write the first draft with your heart and the second draft with your brain (not sure who said that but I love it) and keep going no matter what! Now stop reading this post and get writing! You can do it!

Camp NaNoWriMo Update and Where Inspiration Comes From

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile! I wanted to update you on how Camp NaNoWriMo went for me. I finished Camp with a total of  61,717 words. Not as much as I got last November for NaNoWriMo but still good I think.

I had an absolutely marvelous first Camp NaNo this year! Some of my friends and I started a private cabin and had a great time, doing word sprints, talking about our stories and school, and just stuff in general. I wish the actual NaNoWriMo had something like cabins.

Overall, I had a great Camp experience!

Now we get to my second topic. Where does inspiration come from?

The answer is… anywhere!

The other day my mother, brother and I went out late to a grocery store. It was dark and the parking lot wasn’t as full because it was so late. We went inside and bought our groceries and when we came out I noticed one of the huge lamp posts marked F. That side of the parking lot was completely abandoned and it looked so creepily cool and it made story ideas start to formulate in my head. The next day I ended up writing a scene from that which I might continue into a full length novel! And it all came from an abandoned Meijer parking lot at 10:30 at night.

When I started the scene, it was about a girl who had been paid to steal something for another person. She was dropping the stolen goods off and even she didn’t know what was inside the mysterious bag slung over her shoulder. I’ve been trying all day to figure out what was inside the bag.

Inspiration can strike in the strangest of places. I was at my great grandmother’s house, helping her clean, and I found two items that I decided were possibilities for being the stolen goods in my story. A necklace with a pair of matching earrings, and a bottle of perfume that my great great grandmother used to wear!

So if there’s one thing I learned from this, it’s that it’s okay to start off without knowing all the details. They will come to you, and not always in the place nor form you think they will. When you’re feeling stuck, maybe it’s best to just relax and let your mind wander.

How about you guys? Has there ever been a time where you’ve been inspired by an object? Leave a comment telling me about it! I’d love to hear! Also, since I might continue this new idea, I’ll be needing more character names. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment! Until next time, keep writing!

Ps. I’m going to be changing the name of the blog to A Writer’s Life. Just so you know.