writing: writing, craft, and motivational reads

I’m writing with a mission in mind: to polish one draft to a submission-ready state. I have two other drafts that are in early stages, and two stories that demand to be written, but I can’t do it all and I need to focus. Sometimes, I get bogged down in the details and forget to look beyond the manuscript to the craft of it. Every hour I spend writing is an hour I spend finding ways to improve and that’s something worth noting.
Right now, I’m building steam, but I know I can burn out fast. To keep myself going, I’ve lined up three books to read.

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I’ve read these authors before and I like their method of instruction. Sometimes I just need a push to keep going.

Are you working on a manuscript? How do you find the motivation to keep writing?

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writer’s guilt (or what happens when I’m too hard on myself)

I feel guilty when I don’t write… which only makes the whole writer’s block thing that much worse. I’m stuck. I’m berating myself because I’m stuck. I become even more entrenched… I’m not even stuck plotwise. I know where it’s going and the rewrite is making my narrative that much stronger, but I’m emotionally drained and tired. Just sooo tired all the time lately. Ugh, I hate thinking about it because then I feel even guiltier. Then there’s this sense that I should be doing what Writer X is doing and waking three hours early to write before going to work and la di da. It’s not the way I work… and I know it’s not healthy to compare, but it doesn’t mean I don’t fall into that trap.

Part of it stems from the fact that we’ve acquired a writer at work. Now, I never ever tell anyone I work with about my writing (with one exception) because I don’t want to mix work with what I do outside of work. I’m strictly about keeping these two worlds separate. I have enough nosy stalkers as it is. But this is a person who is ALWAYS writing . ALWAYS. For HOURS. ALL DAY! And I can’t do that. Whether it’s lack of drive or lack of concentration, I’ve never been able to spend all day in front of a screen or notebook working on a single task. I’m dedicated, but my body just can’t handle being that dedicated.

This person’s fervor makes me feel lesser. Like I’m not doing enough. But then I start to think about it and realize that she also doesn’t work an 8 hour job or seem to do anything other than write. As far as I can tell, she has no other obligations. She’s made this a full-time job of her own… which brings me back to the need to stop comparing and move past the guilt. I’m trying to balance too much as it is and feeling bad about not meeting some vague ideal is not helping.

Anyone else feel guilty when not writing? I often find myself wishing I had a local writer’s group to meet with (for that extra push), but most of the writers in my area are memoirists with a will of their own.

Adventures in re-writing, part 4

Writer’s Block struck this month. Between family medical dramas and too much writing at work, the idea of squeezing in time to write before or after work was a joke. Not only have I been dealing with too many life issues, professional writing tends to put me in a frame of mind that creeps into my creative writing and leads to some terribly dry prose. It was not a good place. But I’ve managed to break past it! Today, I had a major breakthrough in my writing (well, major for me) and finally got through one of the most important transitions in Cassiel–getting Cassiel out of London and on her adventure!

So how did I do it? I tried to find inspiration in other places. I turned to research. I became obsessed with train schedules and sweated the small stuff. I also made time to get away from the house and took my writing outside–to Starbucks, to the boy’s house, and to work. Sometimes, a change of scenery (both mental and physical) is all it takes. Sometimes, you need a bigger push. I’m hoping to steer clear of those times that require a greater push.

I’m still making good time and will try to continue to do so in order to meet my goal of 50K by June 20. With today’s sessions, I have just over 35K words. It was a good day 🙂

Cassiel, rewrite draft 1

About Cassiel

With her family and fortune gone, sixteen-year-old Cassiel Loriett is placed under the guardianship of the exacting Mrs. Maywoods, but there is more to her family’s fate than Cassiel knows and the only way to learn the truth is to solve the mystery herself. Willing to do whatever it takes to find out what really led to the loss of her father’s fortune and her mother’s unexpected death, Cassiel runs away with little more than her father’s journal a couple of clues, but first she has to stay away from Mrs. Maywoods and her brother, Mr. Stellworthy, who seems to take a strange interest in Cassiel’s position as the Maywoods’s erstwhile ward.

Finding herself on a quest, Cassiel ends up the unlikely resident of Walstone House–a derelict manor house run by Stephen Frye, and his cousins Christabella and Nathan Walstone, and owned by their reclusive grandfather, Pierce Walstone. Finding a friend and ally in Stephen, Cassiel sets on a journey that might mean losing it all, or finding herslf along the way.

A YA historical mystery set in late Victorian England.

A re-write in progress…

Follow my Cassiel writing updates here: http://things-she-said.org/tag/cassiel/

Anúna: 1st Draft post-NaNo update #4

I’m writing! I am! It was a dreadfully bad week for me as far as finding the energy to write. I won’t whine. Much of it was the result of stress and emotional writer’s block, but I did some thinking, and some plotting, and tried to get back on track to finish. I originally told myself I’d finish by December 25th, not because of some silly Christmas miracle wish, but because I hit the 50k mark on November 25th and I figured I could finish the manuscript if I gave myself another 25 days after NaNo. That may or may not happen, but I’m okay with it. It will happen soon enough. I have action scenes coming up and I have discovered that I absolutely love writing action scenes. That should help me get myself going.

I originally aimed for an 80k manuscript, and I’m on track for reaching my goal. I’m nearing my climax, so it can only take so many more scenes after that to resolve things. I’m kind of excited and kind of terrified at the same time. I feel good about this story. That’s not something I’m used to when it comes to writing. I won’t be cocky and say it’s great, but I like the characters I’ve created and think it’s much more carefully crafted than my last story. I think my ability to create a writing habit has a lot to do with that sense of rightness, it helps me maintain continuity and that makes quite a difference.

Here’s to the next three days. Or however many it takes.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the other taking part in this writing thing!

Anúna: 1st Draft

About the project

Anúna is an adult, urban fantasy novel about rival Faerie Queens, fierce warriors, magic, mayhem, and the occasional latté. It is still in the writing stage.

breaking past the block

I’m trying to get past a writing slump–both creative and bloggish. Today, I made time to just write. Nothing but writing for a few hours. So here I am at Starbucks on my favorite chaise longue typing away. And it’s been good. Not the highest word count, but something that makes me feel there is something to my plodding away at this project.

I’ve also gotten myself a Starbucks card after much urging from one of my students. The hope is that this will keep me within a coffee/tea budget while spurring me on to get out of the house and just be. Just me and Bellatrix (the laptop. I have a thing about old Latin names for my devices. The iDevice is Zephyrus).

The goal is to finish this project before NaNoWriMo. Because after years of being bogged down by coursework, I think I can finally take part in the challenge. I have an idea, I just need to find the time and discipline to write every day.

Also have two professional development courses coming up in the next two months. I may have challenged myself a bit too much this time. Off we go!