writing

In Progress Or A Writing Ramble

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook
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In my last writing post I talked about this story idea I was liking, well if you’re a writer you know how it goes, at the time of typing these words I’ve gone back to not liking it.

It’s strange, one minute you’ll love a story and then a short time later you’ll hate it or pick at it.

Anyway, I’m made other progress recently. In fact last night! Another story I wrote ages ago- that’s why you shouldn’t throw them away-an idea I liked but couldn’t quite get there.  I struggled with this story for ages and it ended up unfinished. I’m more persistant now-I hope. One writing tip I’ve read is to change the viewpoint of a story, and for some reason this little tip came to me yesterday as ideas often do, out of thin air. And it stayed there and then around 11 o’clock last night I was going to go to sleep and that’s when I ended up picking up my pen and writing the new viewpoint version of my story.

And the bit that had stalled in the first version, the third person viewpoint, it was easier to bridge it, the character’s thoughts and family came to life in my head and I was thinking of what comes next as I wrote.

Flashforward to today:

I can’t find my file of the story but I have a hardcopy and I realised after writing that new version last night  that I think I prefer the old. Writing is strange like that always changing, you like a story you hate it. This little bit of writing has helped towards completing the story though so it wasn’t all for nothing.

I’m going to keep at it and finish it and see what I think after I’ve given it some distance.

Plan?

I have so many short stories I want to finish, it seems silly to start another one again. I keep going back and for to different ones.

In the past: I used to look for  competitions to enter. My plan now: is to finish some stories. Get a sort of bank of stories first and then find competitions or places to send them to. I’m just putting my trust in myself and my writing that it will get there. At the moment I’ve spent time trying to fix this story and it never feels like I’ve done much and there’s so much left to do but small steps I guess.

Although I want to send a story to a competition or to be published somewhere writing is it’s own reward. You get good days and bad days but the urge to write always returns it’s part of me. Tip: never stop trying. Never stop dreaming but do make steps to realise that dream.

I’m looking forward to the moment I can write here that my work has paid off and instead of talking about finishing stories I can say I’ve sent one somewhere. I get tired of hearing myself go on and on about what I want. I hope that I’m not getting on anyone else nerves.

I’ve signed to a 14 day free course in September to help with the goal setting and finding time. It’s called 14 days To A Solid Writing Habit, and it’s promising after those 14 days I’ll be writing more. I think I’ve been doing ok with writing andI think I’m alright at goals, except I’ll have an idea and end up working on a different story. But I thought it couldn’t hurt to look at my productivity again. I read a book about being a more productive writer, this course seems flexible it understands that you might not be able to write everday.

Sometimes I wonder whether it’s about finding a way of bridging the distance between the creative mind that does the stories and the practical mind ( do I have one?) that plans and organises things. I don’t know. If you want to know more about the course here’s the link  it’s starts on 2nd September.

This post has morhped and changed into something else just like my writing thoughts lately and I think now my brain needs a break, ignore errors in this post my brain is now tired  🙂 Back to finishing the hoovering feel free to share your thoughts below. 

 

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writing

In Progress

I had an idea a while ago which turned into a short piece of fiction. It was only an idea and it was very short. Just a free write really. A few times I’ve thought that maybe it’s flash fiction and that it could be submitted somewhere, I kept telling myself that it wasn’t a complete story and it wasn’t good enough.

But recently I’ve been reading it again and that’s what I’ve been working on. I’ve been rereading it and tweaking it, setting it aside and rereading it again. I’ve struggled to think of a title and have changed it. I think it’s almost there, I hope it is as I’ll finally be able to submit a piece which has been my goal for a very long time.

My problem is always the edit, when I write something I never know where it’s going so when I’m rewriting I’m really unearthing the story and trying to piece it together. I’m deciding then what the story is about. Sometimes I might have an idea and a story but mostly I’m just pantsing. That’s just how my brain works.

Also sometimes when I’m editing I struggle and can lose interest in the story, I guess I lose faith. But I’ve learnt something working on this story. I’ve kept chipping away at it  and it’s come to the point where I’m enjoying the story. It’s evolved into something beyond the original idea and I like it!

Being such a short story it has been less daunting. But getting this far has given me confidence, I’m thinking: hey if I can get to this point in this story where I’m enjoying it, where I want to send it out, maybe I can with my other stories. It’s just working on them and getting to that point. 🙂 I can be slow on the uptake.

I’ve read so many how-to books and articles, blog posts and watch videos but I really learn more from sitting down and getting the work done! Here’s somethings I’ve learnt:

Tips

  • Know your process. There’s so many how-to guides and advice out there and I’ve read them but I feel that I’ve learnt a lot from just figuring out my process. Figure out how you work and don’t let any ‘advice’ steer you in the wrong direction. By all means take it on board but know what will help you, try it out, and know what won’t.
  • Print it out.  When you look at your story in a different format you notice errors etc that you wouldn’t otherwise. When I read over a hard copy of my story I noticed that I’d repeated words and I hadn’t spotted this when I was reading the story on my laptop.
  • Record yourself reading your story aloud. I think I got this advice from Editing The RedPen way by Anne Rainbow. It’s common advice and great advice to read your story aloud, it helps you to see errors. I read mine aloud and I can hear if the story is flowing or stalling.
  • Something I need to remember to do: Check the submission guidelines to make sure that your story is set in the right format and is the right word count.
  • They say that you could get someone else to read over your work. I was tempted to do this before I submit it but when I get critiques it  stalls me. I keep seeing all the negative but often helpful thoughts and I can’t see how to fix it. When I wrote Georges’ Bridge- my short story that won a competition- I didn’t have anyone else read it, I just worked on it and worked on it until I felt I’d done enough for it to be sent. It worked so maybe, just maybe it will work again.

 

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Coming to a finish line with this story has given me the confidence boast to stick with my other stories and that’s exactly what I’m going to do now. This is one of those moments where I feel great about my writing and I know this is what I want to do with my life.

Anyway, share your tips and writing progress in the comments. I’ll leave you with two more tips:

Never throw anything away. You never know what might turn out to be gold dust later on, whether it’s something you rework until it’s a complete story. Or maybe you might use it for another story or project.

Never give up! Writing takes work and it can be a hard. It’s just you trying to write the amazing scenes in your head onto paper. If you keep trying, keep learning and practicing then you’ll get there. Even when you’re having a bad writing day or you’re not in the right mindset, think of what you have achieved (no matter how small: you sat down and tried to work on a story. You wrote a paragraph) and let that fuel you to keep going.

Happy Writing 🙂

writing

Getting back to it: Writing advice and thoughts.

I haven’t written a post about writing for a while. I was working on my novel, starting from the beginning really and trying to fill in gaps. When I first wrote it I never wrote it in order and whilst that’s not a bad thing, it didn’t flow right. I’m learning my process as  I go, determined to finish this novel. Now I’ve started again it’s flowing better but I took a break….

apple book break child
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….from writing and blogging. I’ve always got a list of things I want to do or need to. And for a while now I’ve been trying to get stories finished and I started two courses and then I try to keep up with my blog. I never seem to find a balance and often feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken which doesn’t help my anxiety levels. When I took this break I realised not for the first time that I need to completely change the way I do things.

pen calendar to do checklist
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My answer to this in the past has been to do more yoga and mindfulness because it helps my anxiety and stress levels. But then I’m adding more tasks to do, relaxing becomes a task and you know it doesn’t work like that. After ages of trying to do so much and trying to relax, after this break I finally realised and its taken too long for the realisation to hit me, that I really need to make huge changes.

I think it’s my approach to doing things, my outlook? That isn’t helping. When I’ve had a ‘to-do’ list  there’s just pressure to do them, the list is not the problem, nor the tasks though just the pressure. Maybe I haven’t been realistic as to how much I can do or maybe I just need to prioritise. Stop trying to do it all.

So I stopped doing everything, kinda, and I’ve tried to find a way to ease back into things. At one point in all honesty here, I did think do I want to write? Am I sure? But you know it’s who I am. I can’t stop the creative part of my brain from working, from giving me ideas. I want to write.

I guess I knew a while ago that writing became a chore because although I was enjoying writing it became another task. Something to panic about if you didn’t get it done.

My main point of this post was to say how can you get that creativity back? How can you make writing fun again? I’ve known how for a while. Write for you, write what you want to read and do exercises. You need to practice meditation or workout muscles to get them into shape, maybe your creative mind needs exercise too? That can be by writing every day (whenever you can) or by doing writing exercises.

My way of easing back into writing was to get straight back to the novel, but how can I expect my brain to work after a long break? When you start exercising you ease into it. So I  went back to Tim Clare’s weekly writing exercises.  I signed up to these a while ago, he sends a weekly exercise to your inbox, they’re always different and fun.

You feel like you’ve done some writing and any writing done does count. You never know what it may turn into or in the very least you’re exercising your brain and telling it: remember writing is fun!

I didn’t intend this post to be this personal, most of the time I shy away from personal stuff who wants to hear about me and my life dramas? I am an introvert. But I just wrote what came out. And I’ll worry about it later. And this is just my experience and what has worked for me.

Maybe you’re reading this and you don’t need this advice, you’re good. 🙂 Great! That’s where I want to be.

Do you do any exercises? Have you taken a break from writing, how did you ease back into it?

 

writing

Writing Progress?

I took a long break due to having a week off and doing other things: spending time with my boyfriend, buying books, sorting out the house. I’m wondering whether I shouldn’t have. Have to get back into the zone again and already  I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. What I’ve done so far:

  • read over all my scenes
  • made a storyboard of scenes on my corkboard
  • started to write character profiles
  • made more notes and mind maps etc to plot the novel

What I need to do:

  • finish plotting and character profiles
  • I NEED NAMES FOR MY CHARACTERS. My weakness is not having names
  • I need to think of what my place looks like but I’m struggling. Settling with eventually writing a short history and making lists and notes of places there
  • I think I’m going to read some advice on beginnings as I can’t decide how to start it/rewrite the start.

Do I want to start right next to the main first problem? Do I want to show my world and introduce the wonderful place that is this island first? If I do that can I make it interesting and describe well?

I’m planning on rewriting the entire novel, after pantsing it all I’m not happy with just plotting and filling in the gaps. I’m going to end up going through it all and rewriting scenes and adding new ones. Fun, fun.

It will be more fun when I get there, need to lay all this groundwork down so I can get to the writing stage. Itching to write. Learning a lot though: plot and think about it first makes for a less messy novel. 

I have very short time this week to get some of this done and now I’ve sat down to do it, I feel stuck and tired. Then feel  bad that I haven’t done much at all.

Oh, well. Thanks for reading my meanderings and worries etc Do share your writing posts and advice in the comments.

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I should’ve started on a positive:

Before last week I decide to write a plot, very short, on a short story idea I had and this week I wrote a few pages! YEAH! I’D MISSED WRITING! LITTLE WINS, RIGHT? I think whilst I’m working on this plotting I will fit some short stories in but not too much pressure. Just write them for me so I can write, whilst waiting to get on with the writing of this novel.

 

writing

Writing Progress

man wearing black and white stripe shirt looking at white printer papers on the wall
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The Goal: To finish my first draft 

So far: I’ve read over my novel and found problems. I’ve gone back to my notes and worked out a plot using sticky notes. 

 

Last Week I didn’t make much progress at all. I was tired, headachey etc and then worked for 5 days when I really wanted to get to work on my novel. Was too tired after work to do it.

It’s great my novel is starting to feel like my real job and my actual pays-the-bills-job feels like it’s a side gig. Complete role reversal. 

Tuesday I finally got to it. After putting my scenes up on a board I realised I don’t have many scenes with one of my main characters :/ This is one way that having a board with all your scenes on it, notecards or sticky notes really helps. I also realised I don’t have much going on in the middle and end, although I kinda knew that anyway,

My solution to this was to go back and look at my character notes. I know my characters, apperance can be hazy and I’m hopeless with names. But I know them. Although I wanted to spend more time figuring out what this main character wanted. I was focused on my villian and my protagonist and this one got a bit lost.

I had to think what does he want? What is he going to be doing in the beginning of this story before his other scenes? And thinking about who he is, was and is going to be. Then that gave me some ideas for scenes that I can add to my plot and move the story along.

I am constantly thinking of all these questions to do with my novel. And I get ideas for different things when I’m working on something else. And they all end up being a scene, or a moment in the story.

What’s next?

All this working on character and plot seems to take forever and I’m starting to worry about how good my novel is going to be style/writing wise. I want to get it all done so I can get to the writing of it but I don’t want to write blindly, I’m going to keep chipping away at the problems and eventually I’ll get to a point where I know all I need to and can continue with the actual writing.

Small Steps. Small Steps.

I’ve been finding these videos helpful from Jenna Moreci the one on plotting and characters helped me a lot.

If you blog about your writing, share your posts below. I like to read writing blogs and chat about writing.

writing

Writing Progress

person typing on typewriter
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My goal for this year is to finish the first daft of my novel. I finally started working on this last week you can see my blog post about it here.

To reach my goal I’ve been reading over the pages and pages of handwritten and typed up scenes I wrote last year (and maybe the year before I forget) I’ve made notes on the narrative and wrote down thoughts or problems that need fixing. It’s all so disorganized that I was reading scenes from later on in the story when the beginning was not done. I knew it was messy but I didn’t really realise how much story is actually missing!

It wasn’t easy as I’ve been having a week where I really can’t sleep. And the first day I started working on it this week I was struggling. I took a break after half an hour but really could not get motivated when I continued after that break.

It didn’t help that I thought that I had a lot of missing scenes and that they might be in a blue notebook which I searched for but couldn’t find. It could still be in a moving box but I don’t know.

I was feeling daunted about continuing yesterday, I couldn’t do anything due to work but the idea of it…

But then today I was fine. I read over the loose pages in my novel file. Making a note of good scenes, ok scenes and scenes I liked but need tweaking. I am happy with my progress but there is more to read over. More loose pages and on Scrivener. I did find one or two scenes I’d thought were lost but I’m still wondering if there’s more in that notebook!

Thinking of how much there is to do and trying to remember what I’ve read over is daunting. It’s best not to look at it as a whole but think what the next job is, do that and then focus on the next one. 

My next task is to continue reading the rest. Once I’ve finished reading I’m going to write a plan. And find that notebook, which involves an epic (it seems) organising task. (Did I mention my lack of sleep this week?)

I wrote a new scene today 😀 and I’ve had ideas and thoughts that will help my plan. So I’m happy with my progress this week.

I’ve been putting stickers on my calendar to mark the days I’ve worked on my writing. I thought I’d use cookies but today I put a cake on there. I felt I deserved it, it’s a little childish but looking at stickers on my calendar makes me feel good about what I’ve done so far. Which really helps when I’m feeling otherwise.

Let me know about your writing progress, goals and successes in the comments. Catch- up soon. 🙂

writing

Update: 2019 Goals. My Writing Goals

I’ve found a new goal for 2019! I keep saying I want to listen to music more, I finally got around to buying a new album I meant to buy last year (Seether: Poison The Parish) and a new mp3 speaker so that’s a new goal. Listen to music more, maybe buy more music too (a ‘new’ Bowie album 🙂 )

I’m reading Catcher In The Rye this year, I mentioned it on readitswapit book forum where I often join in with a classic a month and the person organising that has added it as a book choice for March! Great!

So I’ve been thinking about how I can meet my writing goal to finish my novel. First I need to read over the thousands of words I’ve already written, most is already typed up into Scrivener but I write by hand and sometimes on my typewriter and then use my laptop (I like writing by hand but then typing it up takes ages and I didn’t finish! But I love writing in Scrivener as it’s great for random ideas and scenes and more organised than on paper).

If you make a goal you start by breaking it down into smaller goals. So I think my first goal will be to read over the first few pages, nothing strict just  easing into it. Then I’ll try to read more of it in the next sitting. (In theory).

The problems that will arise are:

  • I might hate what I’ve written and get discouraged
  • I’ll end up making copious amounts of notes which will be helpful but slow my reading down
  • How long will it take to read through it anyway?

But I have to read through it so I can end it. So I can figure out what’s going on as I didn’t have a plan and it’s a mess. A mess!!!! 

Small steps, small goals: READ THE FIRST FEW PAGES. GO BACK AND KEEP READING. 

Solutions:

  • Small steps. Read it over. Bit by bit.
  • The notes will help the story and maybe reading it will help me think of more ideas
  • I will finish it even if it’s terrible!
  • Find quotes to help me keep going, a survival kit would be an idea but that will just result in procrastinating.

I have no idea how long this will take so there’s no deadline. I’m hoping that I’ll just be happy with the progress I’ll be making rather than beating myself up with no finished product which is what I usually do.

I could take little breaks from it and even work on short stories at some point but only when I’m happy with my progress.

I want to get to the end of this year and finally feel like I’ve done something, that I’ve finished the first draft. I say every year I’m going to be a more productive writer and read books and make goals.

But this year: one writing goal. No books, no miracle cures (I did start that podcast not sure what to do about that at this point continue or quit, I hate quitting) or long to-do lists or goals.

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

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Ok so since writing this I’ve started reading my WIP. It is a mess because I’m a pantser it’s just flitting from one scene to the next. Some scenes are ok but there doesn’t seem to be a direction.

Any advice on how to fix this appreciated :/

My writing itself I’m liking (needs lots of tweaks but it’s ok) but the story needs work. I have conflict and setting the scene in the beginning but I’m not really sure how to improve it. Also at the moment my brain is tired from reading and staring at a screen 🙂

I really wish I’d planned this as I went, it’s a lot like a NaNoWriMo novel bits of scenes and ideas because I was free writing.

I’m wondering if after I’ve read over it I should make a plan and start fixing these problems maybe that would be better? Or should I just finish it and then work on that on the rewriting stage but if I do that I’m concerned I’ll compromise on quality.

I knew this was going to be a lot of work and my plan is still to read over it and make sense of the story and make notes as I go. Maybe then I’ll have a better idea of what to do.

How can you make a story that hasn’t got a plan, a pantser’s story, into one with more of a direction/structure?

I started off thinking the writing isn’t as bad as I thought. Then I realised how directionless is it 😦 And the negative trumps the positive. I’ll keep going.

I’ll keep you updated…. I have a review on it’s way very soon.. 🙂