NaNo doubts

Sorry if today’s post comes out reading and feeling a tad… lumpy. I’m currently super focused on my NaNo project, so any other writing is going to suffer.

This could have been my IWSG post, but since I have a bigger writerly concern as well, I figured I could write about this today.

You see… I have sort of started to doubt if I’ll be able to get as far with my NaNo project as I did last year. 2011 saw me writing 25k in about ten days before I froze up and shelved the WiP. But right up to 25k, it was frighteningly easy to write.

This year, though, my story took me by surprise. I thought it would be just a nice run-of-the-mill we-will-prevail sort of dystopian.

Should have known my muse wouldn’t be this easy on me. No. I somehow managed to stumble onto a psychological pea soup. Day one went well, but after that, it feels like I’m writing through wool.

It isn’t the same feeling as I get while blocking, though. I know what has to happen next and every successive scene comes to me easily. It’s just that when I start writing, things are hard.

I think it’s because my female main character has grown up in more shit than I originally thought and her mind’s workings keep making it hard for me to write her thoughts. Hard… It’s actually more like I’m bashing my head against a wall.

My male main character isn’t much better. He’s not quite the idealist I thought he was, so his approach to revolution is sort of… unnerving.

All this adds up to probably the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted. Including Doorways.

Not sure if I can do this, but I have to try.

Have you ever written a story that fought you all the way? Did you make it through to the end or did you give up?

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Faster, Higher, Stronger

Inline image 1I was the first person to volunteer for the Olympic Blog Relay on Nicole Singer’s blog, but even as I did it, I wondered what I’d write about today.
And just as I opened the editor to improvise today’s post, a phrase jumped into my head:

Citius, Altius, Fortius” or as it is famosly known: Faster, Higher, Stronger.

I must say that of all the mottos I’ve ever known, I’ve never seen one that better represents what it stands for. It’s the Olympic Games Captured in three words.



Because that’s what the Olympics is about. Always pushing harder. Always trying to excell.

But this motto could apply to writing as well. Just like athletes can’t just rest on previous successes until they retire, writers are never done learning their craft. They have to continue pushing themselves to learn more, to achieve more.

Faster, Higher, Stronger can serve as a special reminder for writers to keep striving to be the best they can be. How?

Faster

We can push ourselves to work as efficiently as we can without sacrificing the quality of our writing. So when the procrastination bug bites, we can do our utmost not to give in to temptation. We can resist the urge to waste time and sit down and write.

Higher

Writers must never stop dreaming. Because our dreams are the way we aim for our futures. Never give up on your dreams for publishing. And NEVER give up on a story idea just because you don’t think you have the skills to write it.

Stronger

Writing to a large extent is about strength. Our word choices have to be strong. Our love for our stories have to be strong. The quality of what we’ve written have to be strong. But there is no such thing as “strong enough”. There is, however, “stronger”, and that can only be done by challenging yourself when you write and edit.

So, writers, keep reaching. Keep dreaming. Keep pushing yourself to improve your writing. Look for critique so that you can hone your craft.

Keep growing.

Keep striving.

How could you apply Faster, Higher, Stronger to your writing?



Why writers should stretch



Credit


I once did a post about Stephen King’s On Writing, where he said that writers should never come lightly to writing.

It’s really true. When I don’t realize what a pleasure it is to write, I get de-sensitized, and that just makes the whole process so much less fun to do. In a way, I write so often, that I stop caring that I write. And in doing so, I stop caring whether I write or not.

Lately, this has become a really great risk for me. It’s one big reason as to why I spent weeks on end editing, but not writing a thing. I took writing too lightly. I forgot what a joy it is for me.

So what, you may ask, does it have to do with stretching?

Well.

Yesterday I read a post (sorry, forgot where it came from) about how a writer wrote a very different story from what she was used to, and got a much better response than anything she wrote before. And then (as mentioned above), I promptly forgot about it.

Except part of me kept thinking about stretching boundaries. Toeing out of our comfort zone to write something new and different.

I realized today that I don’t do that any more. I’ve grown so comfortable with Doorways that I stopped stretching. And that’s affecting how I feel about writing. Before, I used to write for the thrill of it. Now the thrill is gone and I write because of my passion for one specific story.

That’s probably the number one reason why I just can’t focus on anything but Doorways. No other story approximates my investment in the Beast, so nothing else is worth my time. Never mind that I was thrilled to write two completely unrelated stories.

I just don’t think that getting stuck on one story at the cost of my passion for writing in general is a good thing. So. I’m going to stretch. I’m going to take an hour or so every day to work on something short, but different. A poem. A flash fiction. Even a short-story I can craft in a week or so.

Something out of my genre. Something in another style. Another tense. Another shape. Different. DIFFICULT.

Because for me, there’s no fun in the routine. Yes, I’ll finish the Doorways series when I stick to a routine, but would I carry on writing after that? I don’t know. What I need is to explore. To continue learning. To overcome new obstacles.

And to go that, I need to stretch. And I need to stretch every day. I suspect most writers do. 

What about you? Do you make a point of stretching your writing? What do you do?