Posted in writing

WCI 1-15-18: Show Up

Like I’ve said in every post before.  Writing is hard.  Writing isn’t easy.  Writing is something that you really have to show up for if you want it to happen.  Over the last week, I worked on showing up.  I did.  I physically sat down with a window open and my notes out.  The writing didn’t happen though.  Towards the end, I was putting down more words and today as I’m writing this, I’m starting to feel like just the showing up is getting to be enough to get me started.  This won’t be a perfect solution, but it will make me feel more relaxed into the writing process.

Writers everywhere always ask about the writing process of other successful writers.  It was a question I heard from people that weren’t writers that I knew.  It was a question I heard in the crows as V. E. Schwab sat in the local bookstore and spoke about one of her recent books.

But I didn’t know what to say to my friend and V. E. Schwab spoke in those larger, more general terms that more successful writers talk in.  Writing is…individual.  That’s the best way that I can think about it.  Even if every writer does the exact same thing, shows up to their writing, puts down character after character, word after word, sentence after sentence, what we’re doing is a kind of personal activity.  We’re putting parts of ourselves down in a way that we hope other people see.

I’m doing it right now.  It doesn’t matter that this is a blog post (or more of a glorified journal in my case).  This is a part of me that I’m putting out there so that you might see it.  I don’t know if any of you will care or if you’ll have terrible things to say about me.  I don’t know if there’s anything I can actually do to make you care about what I say.

And this is usually where I wind up caught in an existential thought experiment.  If I care too much about my writing and no one else cares, then it feels a little bit silly.  It feels a little bit like I tried to do something and no one else cares that I’m there, which is disheartening.  Otherwise, I can show up with something that I didn’t care at all.  If people like it, then that makes me feel bad for not putting all the energy that I could have into it and if they don’t care, then it validates how much I shouldn’t care about the things that I’m doing.

In those four combinations, only one can really result in me feeling positive about my work and wanting to continue writing.  But often for writers there’s a fifth option of sheer determination.  We write and write and write without knowing or sometimes caring if someone else is going to look at our creation favorably.  I don’t mind that.  I don’t mind being blind to the outcome as long as there’s something out there that I’ve made.

And that’s where I am with my writing.  I’ve talked a big game.  I’ve gotten very little writing done.  But I’m here.  I’m showing up.  One of these days the words will work with me.

Posted in writing

WCI 1-8-18: I’m Terrible at This

It’s one week into the new year and I’m already a bit behind my goals for writing. The good news on this front is that I’m not behind on other goals. I’m getting my apartment clean, organizing the things I have and making a plan for things to get rid of and how to improve the space that I have.

The problem with making goals for writing is that life isn’t always straight forward. In order to get better at writing, I need to have a space that really works for me. The problem at this point is that I’m wrapped up in the cleaning part and not giving much mind to the writing part. I’ve been putting down a couple hundred words a day, but not much more than that. My goal was to write closer to a thousand everyday. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t reach the goals that I set right at the beginning of the year just because there’s enough else going on in my life.

Balancing life means that sometimes I’m going to fall behind on goals. This week, I got maybe 1,500 words written. I’m not going to count it as failure. I wrote 1,500 words. I got the outline working in a way that makes me happy. I’ve got other things going better in my life. It’s not perfect yet, but I’m getting somewhere.

I didn’t make it a resolution because I’ve been working on this for a long time, but one of my personal improvement goals has been to not be as hard on myself. And I’ve started that with not taking goals as minimums that I have to reach, but places to climb up to. And then when I get there, set my sights on the next step.

For any writers that are out there. You can set all the goals you want, but you should be proud of all that you accomplish.

Posted in writing

WCI 1-1-19: New Year, Old Goals

Here we are. It’s 2019. It’s the first day of it. It’s a Tuesday. I would say that that’s arguably the worst day for the beginning of anything. Tuesdays are busy and filled with the same anxiety that comes with a Monday. They’re still too early into the week to be looking forward to the weekend. But it’s the hand that we have been handed as a world. And as far as I feel, a Tuesday might just be perfect for the new year.

2018 was rough. It was arguably a Monday-Tuesday feeling year. There were many downs and while there were some ups, its harder to see them through all the downs. But I want 2019 to be a Wednesday. I want it to be equal mix of the dread of the beginning of the week and the excitement of the end of the week. And I’m hoping that this translates to my writing.

This is the first of the Writing Check-Ins (henceforth known as the WCI, because I refuse to write it all out every single time). It is the first ever, the first of the year, and the first of January. So what does that mean?

It really means that it’s less of a check-in and more of a look back at 2018 and then setting my goals for the rest of the year. That seems like a good place to start. And maybe I’ll throw in what I’ve been working on a little bit as it plays into the other two categories.

2018 Retrospective

Writing in 2018 was not easy. 2017 was when I moved, but I moved during November and was fully moved in around December. I started 2018 on a rocky start. I had no real grasp on the person that I wanted to be and what I wanted to share with the world. I made some valiant attempts early in the year to write by hand. I made some even more valiant attempts during the summer to get a grasp on anything, but writing wasn’t on my side. I couldn’t get the words to work and it was starting to take a toll on me.

So when November was coming up, I knew that I had to do something drastic. Luckily (and unluckily), I was let go at the tail end of October. I went into November with a week of free time before starting my next job. I dove into NaNoWriMo with the force of someone who had almost nothing left. I wrote my heart out. And I kept going. I would be at the new office early to write for half an hour and then I would sit in a cafe on the weekend.

I wrote until I wrote 50,000 words. It wasn’t a novel, but it was the first time I had been able to reach a goal like that. I had done it.

In December, I wanted to start rewriting, but stress had/has been getting me down. But I’ve pushed through as best as I could. I’m reworking the outline from my NaNoWriMo novel, filling in the holes that I discovered and reworking the plot to something a little more smooth and understandable. But past partially reworking the outline, I haven’t made any progress in the rewriting process.

2019 Declaration

And that work brings us to this year. I’ve gotten most of the outline in order and as I go into today, I have a goal to rewrite my novel. Giving myself 2 months this time, not the 1 month of NaNoWriMo. But with that extended timeline, I also have upped my word count to 80,000 (a more standard word count for a novel in the genre I’m writing.)

Beyond that for the year, I’ve got several shorter ideas, some other novels. I want to outline and start working through those ideas. I’m going to go back to old ideas and think of new ones.

The main idea for 2019 is that I want creativity to be my number one priority.

And I’ll tell you how it’s going next week.