Writing is Hard + Bonus Haul

Some Betwixt the Books content for this week ABOUT writing, and how it is hard. Michaela and I are trying to support each other to keep writing, and we just recently bought some books to help aid us in that struggle. We also talk about our different creative processes, our struggles with editing and how to best tackle these issues together! We’re also in our pjs. We had a day off. Fight us.

I Wrote a Novel, Now What? Episode 3 – Confronting Privilege

This is perhaps one of the most important videos I will make about my revisions to my novel moving forward, in which I admit that I made some mistakes about plot lines left aside but how I plan to address this in the future! Even the best intentioned plot lines can be left undone if the writer does not constantly confront and interrogate their own writing as they go, and even what I’ve discovered so far is probably just the tip of the iceberg for me. As Mad Eye Moody would say, CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Thesis Thursday: Why I Can’t Finish Writing My Novel

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

keep-calm-and-carry-onOkay, nobody panic. I’m not saying that I will NEVER finish the novel that I started last semester. I’m going to. But the sad truth is that I promised myself that I would finish it over winter break, and I haven’t. And I can’t blame that on anything or anyone but myself.

I could blame the holidays taking up a lot of my time. I could say that I’ve been working really hard at my job while I’ve been home. I could say that having to get my wisdom teeth out didn’t really help anything either. All of this is true. But I also know that I have had time I could have spent writing that I didn’t.

I’m really close to the end. Maybe even ten chapters away, give or take what happens. I have a rough idea of what’s going to go down. I know for sure how it ends. I even have ideas for the second book. But I keep dragging my feet.

I’ve written maybe two chapters. They’re rough, and I’m not pleased with them. That’s fine, though–par for the course on a first draft. It’s not that the fervor I had during NaNoWriMo has died or anything, because I still think about this novel all the time.

I just don’t want to deal with what comes next: editing.

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I would really like to do something with this story. I think that it has a lot of potential, and I’m in love with it like I have never been in love with a story before. But I hate editing. I hate it. I like writing. Writing, however, is the easy part. And I don’t want to leave the nice and easy. So here I am, stalled out, so close to the finish line but standing at a dead stop.

I want to be writing. Writing is, for me, a physical necessity. If I haven’t written for a tumblr_m9010sxdqf1qdhag9o1_500while, then I’ll play learn to type games or doodle on multiple sheets of paper just to get the itch out of my fingers. Maybe I’ll write a blog post. Or seven. I NEED to be doing something with my fingers and words. Right now, though, I’m physically blockading myself.

This novel needs so much work–as first drafts always do. In my more naive moments, I thought that I might be excited to do that work. Of course I was wrong. Editing is that moment where you rip into everything that made you excited and you say I DID THIS BADLY. At least, that’s how it always feels to me. It feels like a figurative equivalent of stabbing myself multiple times with scissors while cutting off my fingers. I don’t like it.

bampw-bw-black-and-white-boy-favim-com-841197I also, however, don’t want to cop out and just start writing something new after this. I could write the second novel I have planned, for example. If I write about doing that a few weeks from now, then please feel free to shame me for succumbing to such weakness. That’s what it would be, and I know because that’s what I’ve always done. I write a draft, call it done after I run a spellcheck and move on to the next thing. That’s not how you get better as a writer. It’s the easy way out.

I don’t want to take the easy way out. But I really, really hate editing. So, for now, I’m at an impasse.

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Thesis Thursdays: Why I Signed Up for NaNoWriMo Even Though I Plan to Lose

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

I know what you’re thinking: why is this a Thesis Thursday post? Well, if you click that link above and re-read that again, you might remember that I’m writing TWO thesis: one is an academic paper and one is a novel.

Er. Well. “Novel.”

Basically, I need a minimum of 50 pages. Technically, once I hit 50, I can stop. But–and this is going to sound so conceited but hang in here with me–50 pages is peanuts to me. This is because I write with a bunch of short paragraphs and a bunch of snappy dialogue in my first drafts. That, plus double spacing, means that I am ALREADY under ten pages away from the 50 page minimum but I just topped over 11,000 words.

So, if I’m that close, why NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you ask?

I could tell you that it’s because I’m committed to this book idea (I am) and that I savor the challenge (I do). I could tell you that it’s because I miss NaNo (I do) and I want to be a part of that again, even if I’m not really competing (I do). But there is one very distinct reason, above all others, pushing me to compete:

I’m out of plot.

You might have been thinking, “Ew, why would you take a already started novel into NaNo you cheater!” or just “CHEATER CHEATER PUMPKIN EATER!” That’s fine. But, trust me, it’s not like that. I just wrote my eighth chapter last night, which exhausted all of the planned plot that I had for this idea. (It was a very spur of the moment idea.) So I am going into NaNo with a set of characters I love, a few things that have happened and NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT.

That’s what’s beautiful about NaNoWriMo. It doesn’t allow you to say, “Well, I’m stuck, better put this down.” You have to soldier through and make things up on the fly–no second guessing.

That’s what I need right now. I’m so committed to this idea that I have, but I’m so confused by it. I don’t know where to go. Even if I can’t make 50,000 words (which I probably can’t), I need the drive that NaNoWriMo will give me. I mean, I once won NaNo in eight days. I get COMPETITIVE, even if it’s just with myself. (That was the year I wanted to beat my record of eleven days.) I need that to keep going.

If you’re on the NaNoWriMo journey yourself, feel free to friend me–adkwriter15 is the handle. If you are on the fence about it, DO IT. Join me in enjoying the journey but not intending to finish the race. Who knows what’ll happen?

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*gasp* Twitter is useful to writers!

So, I’ve had this blog for EVER but I’ve never gotten around to any actual … blogging. Sure, I’ve posted things I’ve written but that probably gets a little dull after a while. So here we go–I’m going to use my blog to BLOG. How novel.

As a writer, I hear people talking about their “platforms” all the time. There’s the constant debate over whether they’re necessary, how much time they take up, blah blah. For me, hearing Facebook and Twitter could actually be useful to aspiring writers made me laugh and laugh. I SEE the kind of junk me and my friends post around on those sites–how could they be useful to a business venture or whatnot?

Well, I’ll tell you when I see it on Facebook–I’m still trying to wade through the strange teenage addiction to post my every living moment of my life on there. Twitter, however, is another story.

I’ll admit, it isn’t like I just had a revelation. I was just reading through a back issue of Writer’s Digest on how writing has moved to the World Wide Web. However, it was the first time I’d read stuff about it when I actually HAD a Facebook and a Twitter. The gains for my Tweeting life have been extraordinary.

For example, I understand for the first time just what exactly it means when people type in #somethingsomething. It’s called a hashtag, and if you search them you can find a whole bunch of random people discussing the same thing. I was already using the hashtag #amwriting without really understanding what I was doing, but then I got ahold of hashtags that have actual discussions attached to them! For instance, check out #WriteChat on Twitter. Just go search it. BAM. People sticking their Tweets into a melting pot of random discussion. Granted, there is a whole lot of junk out there, too, but there are actual PEOPLE looking to meet other WRITERS. For someone who spends most of their life stuck like a hermit at their desk, this is very exciting. One of my new favorites is #yalitchat, which has a website attached to it at http://yalitchat.ning.org. They have Twitter discussions once a week, besides connecting writers with writers every day. I’ll report more when I’ve actually explored these options fully, but I urge you to check it out. YA Lit might not be your thing, but rest assured there are PLENTY of other hashtags out there for you. I’ve yet to search anything in the Twitter search bar and have nothing come up.

Go forth and tweet! If nothing else, it’s really addicting, er, fun! 😀