Life’s a Prompt

I was unsure what to write on my blog, but words came anyway. Hooray for words coming out of nowhere! It’s a little bit funny that I have no ideas to blog about, but have zero trouble thinking up story ideas. They are everywhere, because life’s a prompt. Just this week:

  • My friend’s cat ate a bunch of LEGO blocks which were perfectly recognizable on the X-ray. It was not a suicide attempt, we think. (picture book: Sad Cat went back to bed)
  • I was tinkering in my shiny new bullet journal for 2020 and realized a Swan-drawing is a two, so next year is the Year of the Twin-Swan, meaning double magic, of course. (Mulan meets The swan princess in this fantasy middle grade).
  • My youngest turned 9 and got a metal-detector for his birthday. We discovered a buried space ship in our tiny garden. It can also be a pipe, but that’s less cool, so it isn’t. (middle grade! Dad thinks it’s a pipe, but Simon knows it’s not)
  • I went to an art –reading and discovered a break-up letter can be a work of art. Also: there have been many women who were artists and were forgotten by history (or ignored). What if there’s a secret society they belong to and they secretly recruit new talented female artists. (Ya, contemporary mystery. Da Vinci code drenched in paint.)
  • I baked a lot of cupcakes and a drip cake which looked awesome, but transformed everyone at the party into the nine year old version of themselves. It turned out to be a cool party, but who is going to tell them the party is over? (creepy creepy MG)

See? Ideas are the easy part.

Keep moving. Stand still. And me asking myself why? this entire post

Why do I keep tricking myself into moving away from the life I want? Why do I keep making up things to do to not write? Why do I keep pulling work towards me that’s A: not suited for the introvert that I am and B: preventing me from focusing my energy on writing.

Why? An example of how this works in real life:

Me: I need to find a job that gives me a little more freedom

*does so

Also me: I need to do this grad school thing because otherwise my job is boring

*does so

Me: I have no time after work/school/family/social life (or more honest mental energy) to write

Present me: sitting in a high school trying my best to not fall apart, because I have to speak to a gazillion teenagers this year. I just want to go home and write.

Why do I keep moving when I know in my heart I need to stand still. Stand still and hold my ground.

Maybe I’m terrified.

Back to the Future

I have always wanted to be a writer. And in a way I have been a writer since forever. When I was 10, I wrote my first fairytale about a prince on a quest to find a magical flower. I remember starting with great enthusiasm, which faded when I was around the midpoint. Then things became hard. The only thing that kept me returning to it was the fact that my classmates wanted me to enter a story contest on their behalf so we could win a trip to a theme park. I finished, and dutiful delivered it to my teacher. Thoroughly unrevised of course.

We didn’t go to the theme-park.

What I did learn was that not everyone can write a story. Not everybody can make it to the end. And even fewer trod back through the mess they created and fix it until it works.

So back to the future of today. Even though almost thirty years has passed I still follow this process.  I start with great enthusiasm, to end up slacking midway. Why did it take me 36 years to realize that if I want to be a published writer I have to write stories until I reach The End. I need to go through the hard time of letting the story suck. And getting back to it, fully armed with all the guns I can carry.

This post is for everyone doubting themselves today. For those who fear they will never belong to the club of successful writers (and this can mean anything, but for me the biggest part in being successful is actually finishing the story)

You are brave to start writing.

You are successful when you finish a story.

Because not everyone is writing a book and not everyone can write a decent story. Not everyone will reach The End. But we will. Because otherwise a 10 year old version of me will come haunt you.

 

( so Nanowrimo, I’m up for the task, maybe not the 50 k, but I will protect my writing time with a shotgun).

 

 

 

 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered. You’re dead.

I’m having a rough writing day.

Even though I know I don’t write linear I struggle to acknowledge that fact when writing. Stubborn as I am I start at chapter one, moving on to chapter two and almost always into what I call “ stuckness”.

This ugly non-existing word means I’m stuck in the story, whilst I know I have to write something further down the line to figure out how the story works, but can’t make myself do it, because I want to follow THE RULES, and go from A to Z in a straight line.

Why do I do this? I’m scared I won’t finish the story. I’m scared it will suck no matter how many rewrites I throw at it. Mostly I’m afraid I can’t do it. I’m also scared the story is too big for my brain to handle, and yet too simple to ever appeal to a reader. I’m scared I’m wasting time. The fear of writing also includes the following fears:

  • Not being original enough
  • Not knowing enough words
  • I write too much Dialogue
  • I’m terrible at Dialogue
  • I don’t write enough Dialogue (you see what I’m doing here right?)
  • My settings/descriptions suck
  • Big time
  • Every word I write is boring
  • I am so slooooooow, by the time I reach “the End” a century will have passed and all words are irrelevant

Conclusion: Writing is scary sometimes

My remedy for this looming feeling of dread near a keyboard is not writing on the story.

I tinker on a blurb, twitter pitch lines or the query letter instead. The fear will shrink and slowly I will add words to paper. (some days I just end up with a handful of blurb lines or sixteen different queries). The plus side is it helps me understand the story better.

My favorite pitch of today so far:

YA THE BLACKLIST with magic. 17 year old Jenya Olivier is the Messenger of Crime. Signed, sealed, delivered. You’re dead. (needs to be said Stevie Wonder Style of course).

Tweeting that one.

Small Victory

I rewrote/edited the first two chapters of my YA contemporary fantasy and

I DON’T COMPLETELY HATE IT.

This calls for a celebratory moment. (yes, you are reading that moment right now).

If you’ve edited/revised a story over and over again, you probably know that chances are the words sound dull, the story = stupid and you can’t remember why you started in the first place.

But.

It is so much easier to tear the story apart when you feel like abandoning it all together.

Two chapters down, a gazillion to go.

Bye.

Here’s a picture of my cat feeling on top of the world.

A Way In Versus A Way Out

Day two of campnano

I’ve plunged back into a YA story for a complete rewrite. There’s distance between the world on the page and myself. So much distance that I’ve no trouble cutting and slicing through it. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the HOORAY FOR REWRITING-Bubble to burst. Rewriting this story is going to be hard work, it’s going to take more than 30 hours to fix/recreate it into something else. And by something else I mean a far better story. But I’m going to take it one hour at the time and remind myself that small steps can lead to great change.

When driving to work today I realized I’ve changed too. When I was a kid, I wrote to escape. Not only from my not so easy childhood into my imagination, but I also already felt that WRITER could be a job and if it would make me famous and rich I could get away form my circumstances.

As a teenager I wrote partly for the same reasons, but also to handle all the things I was feeling and thinking. But honestly I still had dreams of MAKING it BIG. When I was a famous and rich writer everything would be better.

Now I know it doesn’t work like that.  I no longer write for a way out. My life is exactly where it needs to be at this point in time, and that’s okay. I write because it’s fun and it’s as close to magic as I can get. I can magically turn old and new feelings into a world on a page.

Of course I would like to be published and reward myself with a Henry.

Of course I sometimes worry if it’s a waste of time.

Of course I worry if my writing is any good.

But I also don’t care.

I write because it’s a way inside.

 

 

 

 

 

The Month of Story

Inspired by the Happier podcast hosted by Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft I decided to design my Summer. My Summer consists of July, August and September, and I’m going to pick a theme and design a do-able project or some goals for each of those months.

July will be the month of STORY. August the month of FAMILY and September the month of HOME.

For The Month of Story I’m doing Campnanowrimo. This time I’ve picked the random cabin assignments- option and let myself be surprised 🙂

Goals for July:

1-1,5 hours of editing or writing every day.

4 blog posts

8 photos (posted on Instagram)

4 twitter posts

Woop Woop!