Friday, 26 April 2013

And I'm back to talking to them....

I've tried endless ways to get my writing organized, my plots in order, my characters in line. I've done the whole pledge-to-write-x-words thing (successful so far, which is good, but still not getting anywhere story-wise). I've started and given up on more plots than Mr and Mrs Average read books. 

In a bid to cure my story ADD, I've recently started with one of those write-your-novel-in-x-days books (you know the sort?) and by day 4 I've come to an astonishing revelation: this book is not for me. Not so much the insistence on writing every day, but rather the insistence on outlining. It's not like the lady who wrote the book (which I'm sure works very well for many people) insists on a particular type of outline, which would have put me off right away. My problem is the fact that the first two days are supposed to be filled with writing exercises that don't, in actual fact, have anything to do with the book I want to write. It only starts to get interesting on day 3, with character bios... though the suggested activity includes character bios for people who are unlikely to feature in my book. Ever. 

So there I was like a good little girl writing those character bios (18 of them - some more detailed than others, but still), and you know what? I fell right into old habits. Right there in front of my in my pretty little notebook my pen wandered over the lines and before I knew it... TA-DA! A character interview. I'd just let my mind go with the flow and there was one of my characters talking about the MC, telling me his feelings, his opinions, what he did for a was all right there. 

Guess what I'm doing now rather than writing a scene completely unrelated to my future novel (that would be today's exercise)? 

PS. If you have a moment, please say hi to my bloggerly friend Blake, who's just posted his first blog post in almost two years (after some pushing on my part)...just go to the Dark Side of the Woods

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Writing is... like Bikram Yoga

Hello my dearies!

Welcome to my second post on Writing is...

(First post: Writing doing sports)

I've recently started going to Bikram Yoga classes (that's the one in the 40 °C room). A friend of mine dragged me along, and let me tell you, I was highly sceptical... and slightly worried. While I'm not precicely UN-sporty, I'm not particularly bendy and I've never done yoga before (other than as part of aerobic-like stuff). And an hour and a half doing stretchy bendy stuff in a room hotter than a beach day in July?

Yea, sure.

So I went in there, more or less ready to die...

Needless to say I didn't. I survived, having sweated buckets along with all the other yogis, and felt rather cleansed. So here's why I think writing is like Bikram Yoga:

  1. It takes a certain amount of bravery to do it for the first time. With Bikram Yoga, it's the first session. With writing, it's that dreaded Blank Page. 
  2. It's meditative. Yes, (Bikram) Yoga is a lot of sweaty work, too, but it is a meditation exercise at its most basic. So is writing - when you get into the 'zone', or whatever you want to call it, that's probably what most writers think of as a higher plane of consciousness. Well, I think so, at least. 
  3. You sweat a lot. With writing it's mostly mental, true, but tell me honestly you've never sweated over a word, sentence, paragraph or plot line - I won't believe you. 
  4. You come out of it feeling a whole lot lighter. 
  5. An hour and a half in a really hot room can feel like half a life time if you can't find the right mind space. Writing can be just as painful. 
  6. It takes practice, and oh dear, do I need more of that. In both categories. I'm still not particularly bendy...
So, my dears, what do you think? Have you ever done Bikram Yoga? 


Friday, 5 April 2013

Writing is.... like doing sports

There's so many things you can compare writing to - cooking, christmas (wanna know about that one?), driving, and probably lots more. My current favourite: sports.

Yes, that's right. Writing is like doing sports. Why, you ask?

  1. Some people are born to be good at it. Annoying for those of us who aren't, or only marginally so, but it's true. Some people pick up a tennis racket and hit that yellow thing without much trouble. Some people sit down at their desk and just start writing, and what comes out is more or less ready to print. Yes, there are people like that, but for almost everyone else, it's lots of work to  get anywhere. 
  2. For most people, it takes a h+## of a lot of practice to be good, never mind competition-level good. 
  3. There's lots of different categories of sport, and being good at one doesn't mean you're good at another. We all have our pet genres, don't we? Maybe there's more than one we feel comfortable with, but I don't think anyone can write everything, do you? Personally, I like fantasy, romance, horror, a little bit of suspense and a touch of erotica. Memoirs, true stories, pure crime stories (rather than crime worked into other other genres), dramas... not so much my thing. 
  4. Practice, practice, practice. 
  5. You may manage without it, but it's probably a good idea to get expert advice before you get serious about anything. At least before you go out in public with it... Some writerly things are more prone to advice, some less so (editing is vital, especially in today's instapublish environment). For example, I go running without having ever had a teacher... I've read books and magazines, but no coaching of a personal sort was involved. I also post blog posts without asking anyone else about it (ok so you comment after the fact but that doesn't count). I ask for LOTS of advice whilst writing my stories, though, and read tons of books, and blog, and and and. 
  6. It's more fun when you're not alone (but you still need to make the effort yourself, no one else will do it for you). That's why I'm here, talking to you guys. Feedback is good, good, good!!
  7. It's possible to do too much, and too little. When it's sports, you'll ache in places you didn't know one could ache when you do too much. When it's writing, you hit a wall or Mr Muse gets pissed off or you run out of paper or pen or your laptop gets a heart attack. Either way, pacing is good. If you do too little, on the other hand, you're out of practice in no time and that goes for both sports and writing. 
  8. You can do it for yourself, for money, or for the community effort. And like most things if you're doing it for money it will probably take up the most time and be the most work. That isn't to say that doing it for yourself doesn't sometimes result in more money on your bank account...or a positive community/social effect. 

What do you think? Good analogy? Can you think of any more ways writing is like sports? 


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Insecure Writers are all over the place...

Hello my dearies,

welcome to the monthly Insecure Writers' Post!

Go visit Ninja Captain and Writer Extraordinaire ALEX J CAVANAUGH for details! 
Dear Fellow Insecurists,

Thank you for taking the time to click on my little link and pop in for a visit! I'm especially grateful since I've been a bad little writer lately - I've neglected my blog, I've neglected my writing, and Mr Muse is sulking in some dark corner. The only writerly thing going on right now in my life is the proliferation of plot bunnies tripping me up at every step (maybe it's an easter thing??).

I've never, ever, found myself lacking in ideas, you see. What I don't have is staying power and conviction - exactly what it takes to make it through to the end of whatever you're writing, never mind all subsequent drafts and/or any editing that WILL be necessary before said writing is ready for public consumption.

Yes, it's definitely the keep-with-the-programm part of it that I can't seem to manage, never mind what writing strategy I follow (plot or no plot, detailed characterisation or natural development, brainstorms or master plots or whatever). The story is always there, right in my head, somewhere behind my eyes or perhaps my ears, but it's the journey of words from that place to the tips of my fingers and from there onto the paper is what's hard.

It's work. Hard work. And right now, my actually paying job is taking up most of my time.

What about you? Which part of the writing process do you struggle most with? And I'm not talking about editing, but anything that happens before you write that crucial last word. Is it the beginning, the middle, or the very end that gets you?


Monday, 1 April 2013

Going Nowhere

Hello my dearies,

long time no blog! Sorry about that (again). This year I'm not taking part in the A-Z blogging challenge, because really, my blogging track record sucks socks lately - no point in totally setting myself up for failure, right?

For those of you who are taking on the challenge, GOOD LUCK!!!

As to writing, I'm kinda stuck right now (not much new there, but hey). I have so many ideas my head is about to burst with them, I need to fix the topic for my PhD, I have piles and piles of work on my desk and my shelves are messy ass h+##... I have a thing about my books being in order, so this is kinda driving me nuts. Does that make me weird?

Do you have a system for the books on your shelves? Does it bother you if something's in the wrong place??

All in all, I pretty much feel like I'm going nowhere. Nowhere at all. I really need a road map.

Looking for something?

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