It’s Okay To Be Scared

I have some exciting news! I gave my book to someone for feedback. Before her, only my family and three of my closest friends had ever seen it. I have been working on the series for two years and have written three drafts of the first book. It had gotten to the point where I wasn’t sure how much more I could do without an outside opinion. So it basically came down to two options for me and the book: Let someone critique it or drop the project. And after two years I had become far too attached to the series to just give it up. So I decided to let someone read it. And I think the decision is going to better my book by leaps and bounds. It’s only been three days, and the amount of critique I’ve gotten already is way more than anyone has ever given me previously and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of mistakes that I hadn’t noticed before.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is to not let your fears get in the way of progress. Even if it’s just a couple baby steps at a time, keep moving forward. There was a point in time where I couldn’t even share a vague sentence from my book without panicking. But very slowly, I’ve been able to overcome my fears. I know I still have a long way to go, and that it’s taken me three years to get to this point but I did get here. And so can you. Just take it one step at a time. And remember, it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to stumble. Just don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love most. Take a deep breath, get back up, and keep pushing through. 🙂

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. 🙂

Reasons Why Twitter is My Favorite

As some of you may know, Twitter is my favorite social media site. And for those of you who didn’t know, well, now you do!

I’m here to tell you why this is the case.

  1. It’s easy to use and navigate.
  2. You can tweet as many times as you like about anything you wish! Want to give some writing advice? Go ahead! Want to show off your latest book purchase? No problem! Want to rant about your uncle’s mother’s niece’s pet cat Henry? Go right ahead! Someone will probably see it and think it’s cool.
  3. It’s easy to connect with people who share similar interests with you! I’ve met so many amazing writers through Twitter! (Hi Hannah and Hannah (yes I know two Hannah’s), Tim, Stephanie, Dana, Libbey, Ana, E.C, Chloe, Angie, Zac, Brianna, and Martha!) The Twitter writing community is such a friendly and helpful place!
  4. You can make lifelong friends through Twitter. (again, *waves at all my wonderful Internet friends*)
  5. You can talk about topics of your choosing, with people who actually care. Instead of bugging your non-reader/writer friends, go to Twitter to fangirl and talk! People love talking about their fandoms!
  6. You can grow your author platform if you’re a writer! By gaining followers, you are automatically increasing the amount of people who will someday see your ‘Hey! My book just got published and it’d mean an awful lot to me if you’d share the word/buy a copy!’ tweet. Also, who knows? Maybe one of your tweets will inspire someone? I know that that’s something I strive for. To stay new and inspiring for my amazing followers.
  7. There is always someone out there who knows more than you. You can gain insights from people better than you, and they can help you improve at whatever it is you’re trying to get better at. Again, the writing community on Twitter doesn’t hesitate to help to other writers.
  8. You can talk with your favorite authors! I’ve had multiple interactions with famous authors and bookish people on Twitter. It’s always super cool when they like, retweet, or comment on something of yours.
  9. You can stalk amazing hashtags like #amwriting. If you have Twitter, are a writer, and haven’t looked at this hashtag yet, what are you doing? Go check it out! You’ll thank me later.
  10. You can share little peices of what you’re working on! If you’re a writer like me, share some sentences from your book, talk about your characters. Get people excited for your novel! Their excitement will seep into you and you’ll be even more inspired to write!

Well, those are 10 reasons why Twitter is my favorite social media site. I absolutely love it! What’s your favorite social media? Why? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading! I really hope someone enjoys this post. I wanted to put something up for you guys but I couldn’t figure out what to write about. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

I’ll talk to you again soon and until then, remember to keep reading, and keep writing!

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. 😄

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. 😄

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!

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2015 Update

NaNoWriMo is officially over! Congrats to all of you who won! You all deserve a round of applause.

Also a round of applause for those who didn’t reach 50,000 but still wrote more than they would have if they hadn’t tried. You guys are all winners!

So now that NaNoWriMo has ended, I thought that I would tell you how I did on my NaNo project this year.

On November 19 at 12:12 in the morning, I won NaNoWriMo, clocking in at 50,698. I also finished the book!

This NaNo has been a complete success for me. Not only did I manage to hit 50k, but I also reached a goal I had set for myself at the beginning of the year. I told myself that I would write three books in 2015. And I reached that goal by finishing my NaNo novel!

I am super excited about how everything turned out this year and am looking forward to 2016. I have the feeling much more writing and editing will be done then.

How about you? How was your NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Did you not reach 50k but managed to get a lot of words anyway? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you all had an amazing NaNo experience! I will be back with another blog post soon and, until then, remember to keep writing!