Wow. What on earth happened here? No writing whatsoever. I certainly thought about it on occasion, but that’s as far as I ever got.
Have you ever had that happen? You had a daily goal of some kind and you suddenly realize that time has slipped away from you? What do you do when that happens?
Don’t get stressed out about it, or feel like you’ve failed or it’s the end of the world that you haven’t done whatever it is that you’re supposed to do. Just relax and try again. I didn’t write any stories this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to write two stories this week to make up for it. (Unless I do some flash fiction.) I’ll just keep on trying daily writing, planning a story, and getting back into the habit.
I’ve never run a marathon. I don’t plan to, ever. But Meg Dowell’s comparison between running a marathon and writing a book makes perfect sense to me. Both take lots of time and effort and patience and… I’m sure the list could go on. But I appreciate what she shares in this wonderful post. I hope you find it just as helpful as I do. Check out the link below.
To write a book, you can plan and worry and ask a dozen questions of people more experienced than you are, but if you never actually start writing, there’s no chance you’re going to write a whole book from start to finish, from beginning to end.
Start. Start slow. Start small. You don’t write a whole book at once. You write it line by line, chapter by chapter. Finishing a book – that is your finish line. Writing the book itself may not be a race, but it’s still a long and exhausting process. You can’t give up before you even begin.
Maybe you will never write a book, the same way you may never run a marathon. But a runner can run a dozen 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons – as a writer can write articles and short stories and novellas.
Maybe you will write one book, run one marathon, and realize the extreme just isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean you have to quit doing what you enjoy. It just means you can do it in smaller bursts. There’s still value in that. There’s no value in giving up completely just because a writing a book is very long and time-consuming and hard.
Tossed around a few ideas, but didn’t settle on anything.
Words Written: 232
Total words: 232
Thoughts: I remembered a prompt I’d found of a bookstore title — Inkwell: Books and Writing Supplies. What kinds of books and writing supplies could they be? Regular, everyday items? Magical? A blend of the two? So far I like that third option, and that the different types of books would be seen by all people, instead of magic hiding the magical books from the non-magic people. There are those who think that the sections with the magic books are just a joke, and somebody buys one, fully expecting it to be a phony. Oops… 😉
I also decided that I should try again writing flash fiction. I took a free class from Holly Lisle sometime last year, but I still haven’t completed those either. So I’m trying again with all new stories. The goal is to write five 500-word flash fiction stories that can be published together in a 99¢ e-book.
Words Written: 339
Thoughts: It’s interesting. It’s already going a way I didn’t expect it to go, including a classmate who believes in the world of magic that I didn’t expect would be a believer. I need to research the difference between a wizard, a warlock, and a sorcerer. I’ve also discovered that writing seems to come easier for me when I use a clipboard, pen, and printer paper. Next to try it with a legal pad.
Words Written: 348
Total words: 919
Thoughts: It’s getting better. I’m nowhere near ready to call this close to done, but that’s okay. Short stories range in length up to about 10 or 20,000 words or so, right? We’ll see what the next two days bring.
January 27 & 28
Wait… I forgot to write again? Well, as you can see, it takes time and effort to build up a daily writing habit.
Words Written: None, unless you count me retyping the two opening scenes I’d already written on my phone onto my laptop.
Thoughts: I will just work on this one because it’s what I really want to keep up with. And I’m sure we’re encouraged to write what we really want to write. Maybe I’ll end up writing lots of cozy mystery short stories this year. And I think I’ve discovered part of my problem. I’ve been trying to write on my laptop or on my phone. I wonder if maybe I really need to either hand-write or write at a desktop computer. I’ll experiment this week and share the results.
Project: Murder in Bethlehem
Words Written: 652
Total words: 1,333
Thoughts: Looks like it may have just been the location of where I write that might be the problem, rather than the device I use. I had been writing curled up on the couch or in bed. I tried writing with my laptop at the dining room table tonight and did a mix of writing and planning the story. I finally know who the victim is, but I haven’t yet figured out the killer. That’s who I need to focus on next.
Project: Murder in Bethlehem
Words Written:0 ….oops
Total words: 1,333
Thoughts: Not quite sure how this one happened. I had no school today, so I had plenty of time to write. I did end up listening to several episodes from the first season of the Writing Excuses podcast (totally love it!), and then got caught up in something I never read – a web comic. Well, I have three hours in between two of my classes tomorrow. I will make myself write!
January 18 & 19
Um…. how did I manage to completely forget during the past two days? I didn’t even have school on the 19th! This is interesting. So far I’ve managed to write two or three days a week.
January 20 (after a brief scare thinking that the draft of this post had somehow vanished)
Project: Murder in Bethlehem
Words Written: 856
Total words: 2,189
Thoughts: Today’s writing session may end up being the real beginning of the story, but I’ll worry about that after I deem it finished. I chose to write by hand, using printer paper, a favorite pen, and a clipboard. I guess starting where I really wanted to start helped me to get into the flow of writing a lot faster.
Project: Murder in Bethlehem
Words Written: 0
Total words: 2,189
Thoughts: After a trip to into town, I strangely found myself exhausted and couldn’t even think about writing. Again, I seem to be continuing my two-or-three-days-a-week writing streak. Has anyone else found that they can really only write certain days? At least the story is going where I think I want it to go.
Jan 8 – Started planning this week’s short story, an urban fantasy about a half-elf who tries to ignore her magical heritage and be a normal human college student. It works just fine until some dark creature tries to kill one of her professors (who happens to be a full blooded elf) and now she must join her older siblings in training to be a warrior mage to save her school, her friends, her family. Sounds more like it should be a novel, but we’ll see where my writing takes me this week.
Jan 9 – I’ve already started thinking of an idea for next week, based on a story I’d started last year. But… No writing…
Jan 10 – planned out a couple of scenes for the story from Sunday and actually started writing! Granted, I still waited until late at night to get started, but that seems to be when I want to write. Temporarily calling the story “Avery Half-Elf” until I can come up with something better. Total so far: 674 words.
Jan 11 – No writing on the story itself, but I did add a couple of scene cards to the Scrivener file.
Jan 12 – Um… Oops… Spent the day cleaning and shopping and Scentsy partying.
Jan 13 – Just a very little bit. 289 words. I need to figure out what I can do differently to ensure that I write.
Jan 14 – I won’t give up!!!! I won’t quit!!!
Thoughts/Results: Yeah… I don’t know how possible it is to write several bad stories in a row, but I sure know how possible it is to write several incomplete stories in a row. I need to find out what I need to do in order to ensure that I write every day. I should follow “BIC-HOK” like was suggested in season one of the Writing Excuses podcast: Butt-in-Chair, Hands-on-Keyboard, and just WRITE! Whether I use a keyboard or pen and paper, I need to write.
What are some of your routines, incentives, etc., that help you in your writing?
Jan 1 – started plotting my first short story of the year. Got the main characters down and jotted down some scene notes, all in Scrivener. (Huge “thank you!” to NaNoWriMo for introducing it into my life. I love it!)
Jan 2 – no writing at all today, even though I did think the story. Tomorrow will be better.
Jan 3 – Wow… No writing today either. At all. Didn’t even do any planning about it. I don’t think I even opened my laptop to look at the file. This first week of writing isn’t coming on well, is it? Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Jan 4 – I actually wrote today! It wasn’t the original idea I had started the week planning, but another I had started planning and decided I would just start writing this one, which I hope will turn out to be the cozy mystery I want it to be, and set the first story, an urban fantasy, aside for another week. This new story is set at Christmas time in the fictional town of Bethlehem, Colorado. (Incidentally, there are around thirty real U.S. cities that bear the name Bethlehem.) My main character, Mary Noelle Snow, is still hurting over her that her boyfriend broke up with her and got back together with his ex-girlfriend while they were still dating. She’s about to get involved in a murder mystery, where she also meets the new tenant, Nick Carpenter. As the mystery unfolds, so does a romance. 532 words written so far.
Jan 5 – Not even 100 words written today, but at least I wrote. Lesson learned: don’t wait until I’m starting to fall asleep after dinner to start writing.
Jan 6 – Umm… No writing again. All I managed was to upload it to Google Drive.
Jan 7 – No writing again. So, this first week of writing didn’t go so well. But, it’s a start. I’ll do better next week. Maybe I’ll continue working on this one while I write and plan next week’s story.
Doggone it—I need to do something to get back into the swing of writing practice. And yesterday, while browsing the NaNoWriMo forums, I rediscovered a challenge inspired by a quote from Ray Bradbury, to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks, the idea being that it would be impossible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. I’m not a big fan of short stories, but maybe this is just the thing I need to get back into the swing of daily writing practice. So—
I hereby challenge myself to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks in 2017! I will post weekly updates on my progress on each story, and on the challenge in general. I will use a mixture of word/phrase/sentence prompts and picture prompts. I have a whole year’s worth already, but I welcome other suggestions for this and other writing practice!
I don’t know how many times I’ve said this to myself. Well, here it is, “every day”, and I’m still not writing. (Wait… If I’m writing about not writing every day, does that count?)
Ooh!!! Let’s play “what if?”
What if there were an annual event called “Everyday”? What would happen on this day? Maybe the one day each year when all of the birthdays in the city/town/kingdom are celebrated. Why would this happen? Maybe the culture and/or economy are such that this one day is the only time this celebration can occur.
Let’s brainstorm. What are your thoughts on this concept of “everyday”? Or just on the practice of writing every day? Or writing period? Or anything else?
Over twenty years ago, I found the audio book of Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville. It has a full cast of actors reading the book, so it was very easy to draw me in and fall in love. I would listen to it over and over, sharing it with my siblings, wondering if there would ever be another book. I never found the next book, which came out in 1999, until after my family moved to Arkansas in December 2002. After that, my siblings and I waited with great anticipation for the remaining books to be released.
And now, just a few years after the final book, in going back and reading the first. So familiar, still enjoyable. But I think I still prefer the audio book.
Title: I Don’t Want to Go to School Author/Illustrator: A. J. Cosmo Publisher: Thought Bubble Publishing, 2012, 2015 Format I Read: Kindle eBook Genre: Children’s
I opened the eBook on my Kindle and saw that it was designed to look like the story and illustrations were done on lined paper. It’s the first day of school and a young boy dreads going, filled with worries and reasons to stay home. For a young boy, these can all be seen as valid fears, so the author connects with young readers off to their first day, as well as those who remember their own first days of school. However, I’m bothered by the mother’s responses, which always begin with “That’s silly!” Such a dismissive phrase.
One of the pages contains a lot of text, and an entire line is cut off at the bottom of the Kindle edition, so the book wasn’t formatted correctly for that page. I also wish that the text had appeared handwritten to add to the school feel; instead, the book just uses two fonts to differentiate between the boy’s lines and the mother’s lines.
The illustrations are fun – in color, looking hand drawn – and the story is relevant to the target audience, but I think I’ll rate this 3.5/5 for the dismissiveness.