A to Z Challenge: Unsure

One thing you need to know about writing: You’ll never be quite sure about it.

You’ll feel amazing one moment. The next, you’ll doubt every word.

You’ll spend the rest of your life trying to master the craft, except you never will. There’s always something else to learn.

Sometimes, you won’t even be sure about why you write at all.

But you’ll write anyway, because it’s the one passion in your life that’s almost as important to functioning as breathing.

So don’t worry about being unsure. That aspect to being a writer never goes away.

Get used to it.

What are you always unsure of as a writer?

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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?

Others have said: Just write.

Don’t get it right, just get it written.

James Thurber
If I had a cent for every new writer I find who is overwhelmed by all the “rules” and “prescribed methods” to good writing, I’d be on my way to Tuscany by now.
The Internet is a wonderful place, and the blogosphere a treasure trove of knowledge and advice on writing. I love it. But I was lucky. I had too much of a confidence in my own abilities to be overwhelmed.
Why? Because I’ve written for about eight years before I decided to take the plunge and start a writing blog. So by the time I started nosing around the blogs, I already knew what worked for me and what didn’t. I already knew where my writing needed help.
I knew that if I had conflicting pieces of advice, that I’d be able to pick the one that works best with me and the way that I write.
But note the words: FOR ME.
If everyone writes according to the way that works best for them, is there really a right  way to write?
Short answer: No. The only way to write is your way.
Sure, you can take advice. If it works for you. You can deviate from the “rules”, if you’re willing to stand firm in the belief that you did the right thing.
Writing isn’t about writing to a set form. If it was, every book would be the same. Who’d want that? Especially if it’s a book you wouldn’t like?
So, while it is excellent to see what options are out there (and I’ve seen some brilliant suggestions that I never would have thought about), don’t sacrifice your own writer’s identity in order to implement them.
Forget about being right. Get that story written, by any means possible.
What’s your favorite writing “rule” or “best practice” to break?


Yet another dilemma…

Warning! Gratuitous Cute Kitty Picture to follow…

There is a reason though. Two, actually.

One is that I finished WiP2 this weekend. So… Those thousands of errors I conveniently pushed aside for later? Uhm… yeah… I’m talking rewrites. AND research. Of course, I’m loving the latter, but I’m not sure if I should be taking it on right now.

See, my Doorways crits are coming in. So far I’ve gotten two back. My courage flagged at the sight of the amount of work I’d need to do for round 2.

If I want to be finished with edits any time soon, I’m not sure that embarking on WiP2 rewrites will be the smartest thing. Especially when my time is sort of a rare commodity until the very end of October.

Of course, there’s NaNo, but I think it will be better applied to writing another rough draft (WiP3), so WiP2 won’t be happening then either.

So now here’s the million dollar question: When will I be able to do it?

Contradictions in my muse and me.

My muse is a wonderful lady sometimes. Yet somehow, she manages to be a complete bitch at the same time. 

For example, she believes that pressuring me to write during a time that I’m down is a bad idea, so she just doesn’t give me anything to say. Of course, the one thing that can get me out of the doldrums would be… yep you guessed it. Writing.

She hits me with the most wonderful ideas.

When I’m too busy to do anything with them.

Then she leaves in a huff because I didn’t get back to her quick enough. Leaving me with nothing when I do have time to write.

Sigh.

 She got me though the first draft of Doorways. And promptly started ignoring me when I wanted to get stuck into the rewrite.

Now she’s nudging me towards writing again. Except that the idea floating around in my head has nothing to do with the rewrite. 

Charming.

I’m actually contemplating putting my rough draft aside for a month so that I can approach it with an open mind.  I think a big reason why I’m getting so stuck is that I’m co close to the current version that I just can’t possibly imaging changing anything to the storyline. Even as I realize that huge changes are necessary.

But even as I say so, part of me is completely balking at the idea. After all. I spent so much time on Doorways that the idea of doing something else for a while is completely alien. Sigh.

My muse is refusing to give me any advice on this one. So now I’m asking yours. Do I take a break or don’t I?

The post where I wrote what I didn’t want to say.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to rant.

It’s more of a venting…

Fact is that I’m ten days away from my last exam. I wish I could say last exam ever, but since I don’t know if that is the case, I decided to rather not be the die-hard optimist. Anyway…

That’s not what I want to go into. I’ll go into it when I’m really really back. Right now I’m more of a I’m hiding out from my other responsibilities back. Which is why I must keep this post short.

If I write too much, things are going to come out that would serve me better tightly caged. So…

Sometimes I hate thinking. In stead of making things clearer, thinking muddles everything up. Like worrying about what happens next.

There. See? I did it again. I freaking can’t stop. It’s like trying to stop a runaway train with a penny.

Right now, not thinking is taking so much concentration that I can’t really think about anything else.

Not a good state in which to find myself when I have to finish my exams.

Not that it matters. Since my economics happened again. This time slightly differently, but with the exact same effect. Well… not exactly the same. I got two poems (I think) out of it. In two languages.

Did I get a degree out of it?

A most emphatic no. See… when you write your predicate test in October and suddenly draw a complete blank (and I do mean complete) remaining calm to get through the work with a miraculous second chance just isn’t as possible as people seem to think. I studied for five weeks this time. I gave up my NaNo aspirations in order to get through the work. I did everything I could. 

I kept myself together admirably if I say so myself, even when I knew I wasn’t nearly prepared enough to feel good about writing. I sat down and turned the page. 

And… Nothing. Not a single solitary thing registered. I sat through an hour and a half out of three, trying to recall what I knew. I wrote two poems just to calm down enough to think. Nothing… Actually I think I wrote the poems just to create noise. It felt strange to be the only person in the room except the invigilator that wasn’t writing. 

In some sort bleak irony, that was the first time in months that my mind went completely quiet. 

Not that peaceful, calming quiet with running water and laughing children in the distance. I’m talking about that eerie roaring silence you get after a bomb went off close by. 

I think that I wrote “Sorry” in the answer sheet.

Maybe.

I can’t remember. 

Oh my word I wasn’t even going to write about this. I was going to mope fore a bit about how I can’t study because I want to write, but can’t write because I need to study. Something like that. But I guess this had to get out.

I haven’t told anyone yet. Everyone is assuming that there is hope, but refusing to talk about it. No one except for me, and now you, know how badly it really went. I just can’t deal with telling them. Maybe I’m a coward now.

Still… I feel a lot better now. It isn’t ruling my thoughts as much as before. So I can maybe pull myself together enough to get through the next ten days or so until I can face up to what I had allowed to happen to me and to the repercussions of it all.

But not right now. Now, I have to knuckle down and finish what I can.

Fate

This is a question that has been with me for some time. Fate. How far does it rule our lives?

Me, I think Fate plays a huge role in things since I believe that God has a plan with my life. It’s just that I sometimes have to make decisions that might or might not be dependent on Fate.

For example. Last night I met an awesome guy… and I think he liked me too, yet we just were never alone for long enough to exchange numbers. We can, however, ask our mutual friend for the other’s number, but to me it’s not that easy.

I’m right at the end of the year. After that I’m going to leave University and very possibly the country. For me, actively seeking a relationship is just a bit too complex to even think about. Part of me believes that if we are meant to be together or even date, we’ll meet again.

Part of me wonders if I’m being a coward.

But that got me thinking about my books. In the Beast, the characters are quite fixed to their fates, although they get to choose if they step up or not. In the Western, they are responsible for their own fates.

Clearly, part of me obviously believes that even if Fate is there, it’s my choice to accept it. And thinking about it, I do accept a lot of what Fate throws my way. It’s my of knowing whether or not I’m following the Plan. I like following the Plan. It’s the best one there is for my life. 

But this was such a near miss. I have no idea about whether the door closed or not. So… Do I shove it a little and see what happens, or do I move past it and go on with my life? What do you guys think?