The last couple of weeks I talked about writing 86,000 words, and how I overcame narration issues.
What I haven’t talked about is my journey to get where I am.
I used to talk about depression.
How I fight with it, how I get through it every day, and how my life has changed because of the TM technique.
I want to move away from TM, not because I stopped, I never will, but because writing about TM isn’t my focus.
I write stories because its one of the couple of things I’m decent at, making cocktails, and baking the others.
I feel better after writing than at any time during my day. When I edit, sometimes I feel that way, though it is editing so its not always sunshine and rainbows.
I have goals for this year.
I’ll be working on them one at a time. I have books to publish this year. Last year I didn’t understand a couple of things. It took me longer to figure out how to fix certain areas of my writing. Narration was one I spent a few months adjusting.
Today, as the years moves forward, I know better about how to write and I’ll keep going.
The process it different than it used to be. Writing a lot of words wasn’t something I’d ever done. But things change.
As humans we can either change things or left hoping the world changes for us. Here’s a hint, it never will. We have to change, we have to do the work.
What are you doing to change, either in your life, writing, or other things? Tell me about it.
This past week I’ve struggled to write.
It may be a hangover from the previous book and the thoughts of writing in a new world or it could be a disruption in my schedule.
I think it’s all of the above and it’s thrown me for a loop.
While I’ve worked; squeezing only a few hundred words until yesterday, the words have been stilted. There’s been no flow.
As I said already, I wrote 86,000 words in a month. This may have given me a writing hangover.
There is another thing. I stopped reading a book because it was in the same genre as the book I finished and since I stopped, so has my writing, mostly.
The schedule issue is another thing.
Every day after I take my kids to school and get breakfast, which is usually from 8:30 until 11:00. I do four writing sprints of twenty-five minutes, with a five-minute break in-between.
This is one of the ways I wrote so many words last month.
I was also more focused last month on writing, but in being focused, I did screw up a few times. I didn’t get my critiques done for my writing group.
This is something I’m really upset with myself over.
The other thing is by not getting any solid writing done, doubt and depression have nudged their ways in.
I’ve written numerous times about depression. Check out my page about Transcendental Meditation or my post on TM.org to read more about it.
I won’t let myself get stuck in the spiral again. I went back to the book I’d been reading and I wrote more than I have since last week.
Every day as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, is an adventure, but I wouldn’t quit for anything.
On to the next…
This was not the post I was expecting to write.
Last week I finished the most recent novel. I posted on Instagram (one of the few Social Media I have)about how quickly I completed it.
There were numerous comments of “congratulations” “wow”, and this got me thinking.
How many writers are out there struggling to get their word counts. I’m usually one of them, but for the past month, I haven’t been.
It started with figuring out how I wrote another novel and why I completed it so quickly.
The other book was written using a beat sheet, but when I finished it I realized the writing felt stilted and false. The one rule I’ve stuck to in my writing is tell the truth. No matter what the truth is in the story, tell it.
The other thing I did in that novel was a timer. I would write, unencumbered, that means no stops to fix punctuation. I took what I liked, the timer, and modified it.
I would write a book, using twenty-five minute sprints, with a five minute break in between.
The first day I only wrote 1860 words. The second day, I wrote 2700 words. When a part of the story felt wrong, I’d fix it. When punctuation was needed, I’d changed it. I would stop to adjust story issues along the way, but I would keep to my timers and their five-minute breaks.
My average was around 3000 words a day. But I completed that draft in one month and four days. I started on December 1st, finished on January 4th.
I’d never written that quickly and completing another book made me happy.
This year isn’t about writing books, it will be about publishing them or getting representation. Last year I submitted a novel to twelve agents, all of them but one rejected it. That one left the agency and no longer works in publishing.
I’m working that book with my writing group. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing more stories, creating new worlds and now that I’m eight books in, I’m figuring things out better.
For the longest time I’ve had a fear of using the narrator voice while writing.
As I write mostly fantasy, horror, and science fiction, I’m sure this fear comes from being told show don’t tell and of the dreaded info dump.
I spent the latter months of 2018 dealing with this fear.
I knew a couple things would have to change in my writing, and mindset, to fix this.
I would have to let the narrator speak what needed to be said and I would have to stop worrying about info dumps. Sometimes a small info dump is needed in a story.
When dealing with an info dump, I’ve made sure it’s either a character explaining things or if I’m using the narrator, it’s in small chunks.
I also didn’t want to sound pretentious. Which is something my wife says I’ve done with the narrator.
I read a lot of books this past year, and I took to analyzing how the author would speak with the narrator, either in description or in regards to world building.
The Wheel of Time series writer by Robert Jordan and finished Brandon Sanderson are a few of the best examples of this.
I love how Jordan does narrator voice. I don’t feel like there is an info dump when he’s world building and the narrator is consistent throughout the books I’ve read in the series. I’m on book 5 in the series.
With horror, it’s the same. I looked for how the author differentiated between the narrator voice and character voice. Doing this helped my writing a lot.
From the end of September until the end of November I focused solely on improving my narrators and how they dealt with the world.
These stories turned out well and I’m happy with them. I only wish I would have done it years ago instead of being afraid.
I’ll be talking about how I did this for the month of January.
What did you improve upon in your writing or life the past year?
Let me know in the comments.
There are dreams in the world that happen because we take a chance.
We’re capable of doing great things, but there are moments when we falter.
The truth is, for most of us, fear runs our lives.
It keeps us from achieving greatness.
I used to be one of those people.
I feared people would read my writing and hate. But they’d judge me based only on my writing, not on who I am.
A year ago I sent off my first short story to a magazine. The rejections have come in ever since.
Not one of my stories has been picked up. I don’t know why, but I’ll keep going. I’ll keep improving. The only way to get published it to improve every day. The only way to do that is to write every day or if you’re not writing, at least be reading.
This year I sent off a novel. It’s been seen by three agents. Two of them still have it. The third sent a form rejection.
But I’m not stopping.
I have eight more agents on my list.
When I get rejections from all of them, I’ll shelve it and work on the other one.
I have a goal. It won’t be achieved until I’m published.
I’ve written seven novels, over 100 short stories.
Some of them good, some bad, but I keep writing.
I won’t accept being unpublished.
This year I’ve improved more than any year. My focus hasn’t wavered.
I’m starting another novel next month, another novel I’ll be editing, and few short stories I’ll be submitting.
This road doesn’t end until I’m published.
This week has been one of those where ideas come up. Things happen I consider doing things that aren’t in my ten or even twenty-year plan and I have to abandon them.
I’ve been trying to write another book this year and I haven’t been able to get any words on the page. I’m not sure of why. Maybe my mind is occupied with the world around me and I can’t shut it off as easily as I did last year.
Last year was a banner year for my writing: Three books were written and I’ll be submitting two of them.
I have big plans for this year and the one idea that came up this week would have thrown all those ideas out the window.
The idea was something I’ve always wanted to do, but it wasn’t in my plan so it got tossed.
When ideas come or opportunities present themselves there are decisions to be made.
I made the decision to finish my plans for the year and to ignore any distractions.
If it’s not pushing me towards my goals, it’s a distraction.
Anyway, move forward and don’t stop until you’re there.
As I said in the last post: when it comes to the narrator’s voice I have a fear of it.
On the surface this fear was founded on show don’t tell and info dumping. In hindsight, there’s more to it and it’s about me personally.
I’ve always had a fear of giving too much away about myself. This led to problems with parents and my wife.
I didn’t want to let a side of me out. We are the narrator of our lives and if we don’t control the narrative others will through lies.
I had this fear of people not understanding who I was, what I wanted out of life or whether I was the type of person who would do horrible things. Then I realized, people will judge me no matter what I say.
When it came to narrating a story, I began to look at it similarly.
If I control the narrative of my life and people think what they want anyway, why should I care what they say? Why should the narrator in my novels and short stories be any different?
Before, I would write a story worried about what someone thought about it. Now, after dealing with the narrator issues, I understood I can’t make someone like what I wrote so I should enjoy the process more.
I began to write better.
I put in better detail and stopped caring whether what someone would think about it.
My writing flourished and I started a new novel in the beginning of December 2018. I destroyed my word count because the fear I had vanished.
How has your writing flourished in the past year? What did you do different to improve? Tell me in the comments.
There are moments in life when we’re taking our time, creating things, and something from our past rears its ugly head.
This happened the other day.
I’ve written since middle school. It’s only been in the last five years I decided to take my writing seriously. The main reason I decided to pursue my writing full-time is that of my wife’s encouragement.
Before that time I’d only done it on the side and never considered my writing worthy of publication.
Then, something happened. Someone told me I’d never be a writer. That I’d never do what I love doing. It was a hard blow. Afterward, I contemplated a lot of things, suicide one of them.
Then, I realized something. That person didn’t know who I was and had no interest in discovering the person I was.
It wasn’t that they said those words, it was more that I took it to heart. I believed them. I felt like they were right about me.
Today, life is different. I understand that person didn’t know me and never cared to.
Without my wife’s encouragement, I’m not sure I would have continued to write.
I’m at a crossroads with my writing. Do I keep going, take a chance, and struggle a little more or do I quit?
After all, I’ve done in my life I only have a couple of things I’m proud of: My wife, my kids, and my writing.
I’ve written seven novels, over a hundred short stories but I haven’t published any of them. Maybe that person’s words influenced my thinking for a few years afterward. Now, I don’t feel that way.
The road used to be cluttered with doubt and fear. Today, I that same road is full of possibilities.
I’ve found the way through. I found it on my own and now it’s time to crush it.