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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

No Clue

This writing thing is hard. Perfection mania lures around every corner, waiting to jump on the unsuspected writer (me) blinking in the same beat as the cursor on the white page. (crazy thing to do, and very tiring, I can tell you that).

I know from reading blogs, watching youtube, browsing twitter this is what writers go through. And in the last couple of years of me trying to become a (published) writer I’ve learned a couple of things about myself as well. Here goes:

  • I Hate what I write/love what I write/hate what I write. Continue until novel is finished.
  • I overthink everything. If you stare and ponder words long enough, they all sound wrong somehow. All of them.
  • I flinch at character charts because I don’t want to write about my characters, I just want to write them. Honestly I blackout when I write about them, because most of the time I don’t even know what they look like, until their comb gets stuck in their thick curls or they get sunburnt so bad, freckles are no longer visible. Sometimes they unknowingly change their names halfway through a story.
  • I am terrible at planning a story structure. I panic when I read things as: midpoint, where all is lost/nuggets of truth are discovered etcetera.
  • This does not mean my stories don’t have a structure of some sort.
  • The most funny one so far: I AM TERRIBLE. Why? Well considering the goal: become published, I need to put myself out there. I wrote over 5 novels and shelved them. Without querying. Because I think they aren’t good enough. I always think the next one will be better. (usually true).
  • I don’t have a linear brain, it goes back and forth, up and down.
  • I am a deadline addict. Without one I’m lost.

So considering the last line, I’m doing nano again. Spilling words on the page into a story that isn’t a story (yet), no editing. I am nowhere near the recommended daily word count but at least I’m giving myself permission to write awful descriptions, flat characters and hop from one scene to another. The best part of writing is when my brain subconsciously produces something on the paper. And I haven’t a clue how it got there.

(I am not even rereading this post whahahaha. Sorry. Yes I added that sorry on purpose just so I can count the words).

 

Invisible Army

(The above title consists of the first words I wrote this November and I’m definitely adding them, and the rest of this post, to my NaNoWrimo total. Because I can).

A peculiar part of the World’s population is turning to blank pages armed with pens, fear of blinking cursors, or maybe even with fingers glued to an old fashioned typewriter. An army of writers pounding away time, word for word.

November is the month of novel writing, and I find it very strange that the idea of thousands of unknown people doing the same thing, is motivating. Why do I care that there are lots and lots of other people wanting to write a story? Why do I find solace in the idea I’m not the only one looking for the exact word to use, and the perfect name for a character?

It’s because it makes me feel less alone in this writing thing. And less crazy.

The idea of writing a 50.000 word story in one month is a big one, but for me it’s more about taking action. The rest of the year we can get back to overthinking and spending time waiting for circumstances to be different from what they are.

November is for action.

So thank you invisible army of international others! I salute you and wish you the best in your endeavours.

🙂

Swing when you’re writing

Autumn is in full swing. I, however, am not.

I’ve been slacking on writing and am starting to miss it. Maybe you know the feeling? That pull on your inside, the urge to pour some of your soul into something. Might be a drawing, might be a poem.

Might be a rhyming grocerylist.

The what doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’ve to start something, anything.

And that’s why, after a short period of absence, I’ve returned to my blog. I don’t feel obliged to post something, but I’d like to and that’s a good feeling.

November is coming and NaNoWriMo comes with it. I’m going to participate, maybe I’ll just write childish awful rhyming grocery lists but I don’t care.

hi

my oh my

off to buy apples for my pie

goodbye

🙂

 

 

Meet Pie / On writing

I’m a very slow writer.

One that goes back and forth, editing. By the time I get to the end of the page, every word has been evaluated, deleted, put back or replaced. If you could see an audit trail of the page, you would probably think I have a multiple personality disorder. My inner editor is a good friend, but also my worst enemy.

Her name is Pie.

(It always seems a good idea to eat pie, and most of the times it is. But if you eat pie every day, the mirror probably isn’t going to tell good things, and I’m not even talking about what your health is thinking).

Like eating pie, it always seems a good idea to listen to my inner editor. But in a lot of cases she is the one slowing me down, and gets me wondering why I’m bothering in the first place.

That said. I’m doing NaNoWriMo. Pie is taking an obligatory holiday. She’s going to need to be well rested for the mess of words I intend to produce this November.

Also doing NaNoWriMo? You can find me/ buddy me here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/ireneh