Energy begets energy, words beget words

All right, how’s everyone’s 2014 shaping up so far? Pretty good, right? Words flying out of you like a spastic colon? Excellent, excellent.

Wait, you in the back, muttering under your breath, what was that?

You’re still in a post-holiday slump? Two weeks after the holidays have finished?

Don’t feel bad, I am too. The good news is, I’m writing. The bad news is that it’s been in drips and dribbles. After experiencing the firehose that was my November (yep, I did Nanowrimo this year and even made a helpful spreadsheet to simulate the Nano experience year-round that you can have for free), my December, and first part of January have felt less than stellar.

From wikimedia commons.
From wikimedia commons.

I think it’s okay though. I mean, this is all part of the creative experience, right? The hardest thing, I’ve found is getting back in the swing of things after you’ve taken a break. This is true of exercise, diets, writing and competitive trampoline ping-pong.

So go easy when you’re getting back into it. Start slow and for fuck’s sake, go easy on yourself too! I’ve been doing a lot of beating myself up lately. I have nearly two books finished, but I’ve been editing one for over a year now. The editing/rewriting process is challenging, the first draft process is challenging. The thinking that other people might hate me if I peak my head from under the covers and share my words thing is challenging. We all go through it. Even people who seem like megalomaniacs. Probably especially them.

I’ve been laid up for a little while thanks to a broken ankle. I’m not into crossfit or combat dancing or anything, generally I just go for walks. And not being able to walk has put a damper on my energy levels. This has fed into my writing energy too. It’s crazy what a little exercise can do for you. And it’s crazy to sit down and just feel exhausted by the idea of creating.

But there’s one consolation, even though my output has been small, it’s promoting more output. Each day I sit down, even if it’s to write just a handful of words, it’s easier the following day.

Hope your new year is going well, and I hope that it continues with steady progress.


Update on my novel and other writing projects

Uh, hey there folks, remember me? I’m the person who started this blog as a place to talk about how my writing process has been going. I know lately I’ve sort of turned my daily posts into sharing links that I find interesting. That’ll probably continue until I get enough people together threatening me with fire if I don’t stop.

But yeah, writing. What’s been going on with that for me?

First up- the book I wrote last year. I finished it back on December 7th and what’s happened since then? Honestly, not a whole lot. I handed out some copies to some awesome folks to give me their impressions. I got some feedback from that, which was helpful but also left me wondering how to fix all the problems. This past week, I sat down and started working on THE chapter. The one that has been giving me fits. The one that had me questioning whether I could salvage the book or not. It’s been slow going but I think for the first time since December I can say that my novel is progressing. I’m not stressing anymore about editing, I’m just doing it. And I think I needed this time away from it in order to make any progress with it. Slow and low is the tempo, but we’re getting places.

Other than that, I’ve begun heavily outlining a new novel. Let’s say that I’ve learned from my experience with the first book that I’m not a “pantser” (someone who writes without a firm plan, flying by the seat of their pants). I don’t mind being a plotter, I see a lot more room for creativity this way because I can more adequately create connections intentionally within the plot ahead of time rather than clumsily  attempting to force them while in the flow.

Another bonus about doing all of the outlining ahead of time… I am capable of giving a synopsis! That was one of the most embarrassing parts about the first novel. People would ask me what it was about and I’d stammer and stutter, “it’s this guy… he’s got a thing with his family… there’s elements of the supernatural… urban fantasy? magical realism…” Yeah, when I said that to my friends and family you can imagine the looks I got. I think they suspected I was having an acid flashback and just stammering words as brilliant fields of kaleidoscopic color danced before my eyes.

I’m hoping to finish the outline in the next month to month and a half so I can begin work on the first draft. It’s a slower pace than I’d like to have but with a full time job, it’s the best I can do right now.

Goals and resolutions from other authors and creatives

After I wrote up my own resolutions in a previous post, my partner (in the domestic sense) suggested that maybe I should reach out and see what sort of resolutions other authors and creative people had. I panned on it at first, thinking that the response would be tepid at best. To my surprise and delight, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who agreed to take part. Thanks to each of you below who took time out of your busy lives to humor me.

Some of these folks I follow on Twitter, some I’m friends with offline. There are quite a number of authors in the mix, for obvious reasons, but there are people who also add teacher or game designer, editor or publisher to their daily duties. Each of them have (I think) some interesting perspective on their coming year and what they would like to achieve.

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Writerly resolutions for 2013

I’ve been putting this off for a little while, hey, I had a holiday hangover okay? But here they are, etched in the ethereal stone of the interwebs to simultaneously uplift and torment me throughout the course of the year, my 2013 resolutions…

  • Priority number 1 this year- finish the damn book. While I got to put a neat little bow on things, finishing my first draft on December 7, I still have a ways to go. I’ve got to read through it, reorganize it and trim a lot of fat. A realistic goal for this, I think, is April 1. I’d like to have a presentation-ready copy to shop around by June 1.
  • Read. More. Lots and lots. Makin’ it rain books up in here. And short stories. I’d like to say I’ve read 30 by the end of this year. With a full time job and all my other bidness this feels doable, given that I lay off the TV.
  • More of this. This thing right here. Bloggin’. I’d like to do more than two a week so that it stays relevant and builds audience. Minimum of two per week and it starts this (short) week. So I have to get busy.
  • youre-doing-it-wrongTwitter- I go back and forth on the value of this, practically daily. I’ve made some interesting connections with   couple of famous authors but frankly, at least in the writer’s realm, communication rarely goes beyond one-way, ie, people promoting their stories, talking about writing their stories, complaining about their bm’s etc. There’s not a ton of two way communication that happens. There’s potential there though and I am willing to admit that I may be doing it wrong and I have a lot more to learn.
  • This next one’s a biggie for me and makes my palms sweat just thinking about it… public speaking. I need to start getting some practice, go to Toastmasters, something to get over my crippling fear of speaking in front of a crowd. After all, if my goal is to be a successful author, I need to be able to give readings and answer questions afterwards. I’d prefer to do it without stuttering, being flushed, sweating, crying, wetting myself or sitting in the corner muttering.
  • Start my second project… I’ve got two strong ideas (hey, they’re strong to me!) contending for my next novel. I’d like to start that and preferably work on it while I’m editing the other.
  • Short stories- this is an important medium and completely different from novel writing. I’m actually kind of intimidated to write shorts, they’re just so… concise! Given my other goals, this one might get put on the back burner for a little while longer but I’d like to say by the end of this year that I’ve written at least three short stories that are publication ready.
  • Sell at least one book to one stranger before the end of the year.

So am I completely off my nut? Do you think these are realistic or am I biting off more than I can chew? What are your writing goals for the year?