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IWSG 07/07/16 – Effort Perserveres

  • Posted on July 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

We're here for you.  I honestly considered not doing this. I very much thought that I shouldn’t, because I’m not even sure I have the right to call myself a writer at this point. I’m finding it exceptionally hard to focus, to put in the effort. I haven’t put metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper in ages. I still write, sort of. I roleplay with a friend of mine, and the words flow easily in response to her replies. But I don’t really write my books anymore.

I consider myself ‘trying’, if only because I truly do want to write, I just… can’t seem to get around the block, the stumble, the ‘I should, but can’t’. I have time, time I spend on tumblr or youtube instead. I have energy, sometimes. Not often anymore, but sometimes. I blame my circumstances, and say to myself “You’re better than this, push through.” But… Honestly, I wonder if I am.

It’s the same with languages. I’ve always wanted to learn ASL and Japanese and Spanish. But I never seem to be able to put in the actual work. Only 180 words into this very article, and I’m having a hard time wanting to continue writing it at all, much less keep typing. My mind wanders, my eyes grow heavy, and I suddenly feel exhausted beyond measure. The same thing happens with housecleaning, with gardening, with anything I try. I feel lost and broken and lazy and spoiled. I feel selfish, because people are demanding things of me that I can’t provide. I feel, on my Bad Days, that I shouldn’t exist at all, because that would be easier than slogging through all of this.

I haven’t been to see my therapist in three weeks. I don’t have another appointment set up. I bathe maybe once every five days, when I can force myself to get up the energy to do it, because if I don’t, I just… don’t. I’m broken, in that I don’t feel that sense of accomplishment everyone gushes about. It’s not there. I finish things, I do things, I work hard, and I don’t feel that glow everyone describes. I just… feel like I haven’t done enough. It’s heartbreaking, and it makes me not want to try at all.

In the last four days, I have cleaned both the kitchen, bathroom and living rooms of this house, plus done more laundry than I’ve seen done in the entire history of my living in this house, plus at least two loads of dishes a day, plus watering the tomato and rose plants, and cleaning up my own room which was a pigsty. This is a massive amount of work. Trust me. But… I don’t feel accomplished. All I can think about is the fact that I haven’t done ENOUGH. That I keep being asked to do more, more, more, as if I’ve failed somehow.

I can’t explain it, properly. And I can’t tell you how to fix it; because I think, perhaps, there are no ways to fix it.

IWSG – 03/02/16

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

A lot of writers will discuss ‘finding your niche’ as if this is some magical journey. As if that mythical ‘niche’ for which you search will set you on the track for results. As if that long-awaited niche will answer all your questions, and make it easier to understand yourself. A lot of authors attribute their success to finding their niche, and sticking to it, learning the trade entirely and devoting themselves to that long-awaited god named Niche.

I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. It’s a lot like in real life. A lot of the problems that people have is that we’re all pressured to find that one thing we’re good at. That one ‘passion’ we have, that one great joy in our lives, is what we’re expected to cultivate and then unleash upon the world like an unholy tide of pleasantness. The thing is, and a lot of people are beginning to learn that now, that’s all a crock of horseshit.

There is no one end all, be all, of your creativity. You may never find that one job that you love forever. You may never find that one calling that you were ‘put on this earth for’. Your calling might be sitting in your pjs and making diagrams of buildings out of toothpicks. No one is really going to recognise you for your ability to eat an entire bag of potato chips without having to take a sip of something because of how salty they are. And I know for a fact that my odd ability to find and then binge watch anime and manga is not even remotely going to earn me money.

Or is it?

See that’s another thing a lot of people don’t tell you. Often times, niches, callings, and that one great passion, come out of a lot of practice and thought. It comes from writing those BILLION articles that mean almost nothing, and sound like an incoherent child’s scrawlings. It comes with time, and effort and energy. And yeah, you may never realize what your niche is. You may never realize that when you put those words to paper and out comes YET ANOTHER STUPID FAIRY TALE, that that is in fact your niche.

I recently had a sort of revelation. You see, ever since middle school, I had the uncanny ability to pick out interesting things to read out of the school library. And then, in highschool, I managed to find one interesting manga, or anime, or book, after another. I had, for a long while, lapsed in that talent. I focused on work, on trying to maintain school, on trying to focus. I focused on everything but this one talent that makes me happy. This consumption of stories. This absorption of plots and characters.

Recently, however, I have found a way to turn that odd talent, into something that motivates me to write here on this blog. That motivates me to do more with my life. I started my Writing Anime series. I meant it just to explore some of the lessons of writing that Anime have taught ME over the years. I meant it as a way to make use of the hundreds of hours I spend watching cartoons as a grown adult.

So it’s not an instantaneous thing, realizing that you’ve found your one thing. It’s not something that comes immediately. It’s honestly not even something I can see coming with thought or contemplation. I can only see the finding of your niche happening with massive work and effort. With a natural move that you barely even think about, that pushes you to work harder. So keep writing. You’ll find it eventually.

And when you do, it’ll feel like coming home, changing into sweats and putting on fuzzy socks after a long hard day. Difficult to do, but oh, so, worth it.

IWSG – New Years Resolutions

  • Posted on January 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

It’s January, and that’s the time to make new goals and to give yourself new resolution. Not only that, it’s the time of the year when people rest after lots of stressful holiday planning, and lots of gift-giving, and lots and lots of family interaction. It’s a time to retrace out steps, refresh ourselves with our successes and failures of the last year, and to plan out a new strategy.

Which, of course, means it’s time to break out all those old snacks and eat them already!

All joking aside, January, and new years in specific, are a very stressful time for me. I often find myself falling prey to my anxiety. In fact, I spent the entirety of the day of new years eve plagued by anxiety so intense that I literally couldn’t do anything other than  surf the internet. I had to fight myself for two hours to get out of bed. I was litereally paralyzed with fear at the thought of making plans and preparing for the new year. I couldn’t think of anything else.

Of course, it was silly, but when one lives with depression and anxiety, silly things tend to make your day worse. So, I ended up spending new years cowering, rather than partying. It was the lowest point I’ve ever experienced in my life. Okay, well, maybe not THE lowest. But it sure felt like it at the time.

Fully recovered now, I feel as though I have to work harder, to try and set up plans, so that if I feel like that again, at least I’ll have time to recover without also neglecting everything I’ve set up. Plus, with my medicaid now, I can afford the medicine that’ll help manage it. That will be nice too.

Basically, Finding ways to fill in for the gaps in my motivation and mental illnesses is first and foremost in my mind. I’m going to be attempting a lot this year, what with going back to school, and trying to save up, and I have to make sure that I don’t slack on anything. Which can be very difficult. Holding myself to a higher level is hard.

For anyone else who suffers through this, I wish I could tell you everything turns out okay. I wish I could take over for you when your illnesses kick in. I wish I could say that there was something to look forward to, a day when all of it would end and you’re capable of doing what needs to be done. For anyone else who suffers through this, I can only say, you’re amazing. I know you are, because I am, and I’m stronger than I think I am. I know you’re strong too.

If you want to see other posts like this, other posts from writers struggling with these sorts of feelings, go to the Insecure Writers Support Group. We’re all friends there, and I know we’ll welcome you too!

We're here for you.

Weekly Writing Update – 07/13/15

  • Posted on July 15, 2015 at 11:24 pm

This is a really hard post to write. Recently, my anxiety lead me to lose my job. This lead to an extreme downswing in my depression. A lot of my self-worth is tied into how I can support myself, and it’s very hard to have any self-worth at all, when you know you are the cause of losing your own job. I can’t blame the work. It was exactly what I was told, and knew, to expect. All I can blame is this disease in my head that makes it impossible to pick up a phone without my heart beating terribly fast.

This should have been a triumphant month for me. I finally finished Knight of Kuryle, and I’m in the editing stage, before I can give it to beta readers. However, because of my downswing, I have had no energy for anything other than basic survival. There have been days where I cannot get dressed. There have been days I have eaten only one meal. My job search has turned up one part time, temporary position.

I have been plagued with doubts. How am I going to keep my apartment? How am I going to keep from inconveniencing those I care about? How am I going to get food? These are things that circle in my mind.

Word Counts: 

First Book of the Kurylian Saga: 1.5 sections rewritten –

  1. Knight of Kuryle – 31,379 words – Draft complete – Editing started

Kaimi Rowe Series: Seeker Born – Rough Draft – Restarted w/new concept

  1. Snippet can be seen in Bruises and Broken Bones

An Asexual’s Guide to Dating – Outlined – one section handwritten

Blog Posts:

IWSG – The Green Mile

Books Read

None finished this week, sadly. Would love to see some reccomendations for this one!

Goals 

Edit Knight of Kuryle

Two more blog posts for this blog this week!

Read all of Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

Start Dialogue by James Scott Bell

Start The Prince by Machiavelli

 

#IWSG Deadlines

  • Posted on March 4, 2015 at 9:51 am

IWSG badge

Good morning! For those of you who don’t know, ISWG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh , who saw that there was a group of writers who needed a community, support, and the occasional pick me up! This wonderful idea had helped me innumerably since it was introduced to me by my friend Chris Votey, and I’m more than happy to contribute to it this time as well.

You see, I’m having some issues with a proposed deadline. Writers always do this, we give ourselves a deadline, and when we do, suddenly, it’s okay to procrastinate, because honestly, we’ve got ALL THAT TIME, right? Wrong. My particular issue is that I have set a self-imposed deadline for July as the publication month of my first story, which will be part of my Kurylian Saga.

The only issue is, while I’m on the third draft, I’m still having issues with the plot, and it’s THREE MONTHS until the deadline! Not only that, but an issue with my past due rent has come up, and I may have to take a second job! As everyone knows, work takes away time from writing. Which is what I’m worried about.

How can I possibly balance life and work, the demands of all of my friends (who are more like family, to me) and the demands of my writerly career as well? It’s all well and good to tell friends to hush up during NaNoWriMo once a year, but this? They might decide that I’m not worth the trouble, that I’m not around enough, and that means I could lose friends. I…I don’t deal well with losing those I care about.

And on top of all of this that is causing me insecurity, I’m considering switching the protagonist of my book from one character to another, which, this late in the game, is pretty much guaranteed to make me late for my deadline. But what else can I do, when I’m finding it impossible to write one character, while the other is screaming at me inside my mind to tell their story? The only issue is, I don’t want to tell that story so straight out, I don’t want to give him his limelight yet, because it’ll be so much more dramatic if I stick with the way I’ve planned it!

But this book, this first book, is SO. BORING. I don’t know what to do. As you can see, I am a very insecure writer indeed. ^.^; But the bright side, I think, is that I’m at least still working on it. I’ve adopted the ‘write even if it’s a sentence’ method of writing, which has helped a little bit, as anyone who’s been keeping up with my Weekly Writing Update series can see.

Any advice would be more than welcome, or even if it’s just commiserating about deadlines and uncooperative family/friends/life in general.

Weekly Writing Update – 12/18/14

  • Posted on December 18, 2014 at 7:02 am

It’s that time again~! Unfortunately neglected for a long time, my Weekly Writing Update is starting up again! NaNoWriMo kinda knocked me out a LOT. My sleep schedule got fucked over, my writing schedule got fucked over, and for almost two weeks, I couldn’t write a word, not even to get this blog up and running again. But! I am hopefully recovered, and going to start writing again!

Word Counts: 

First Book of the Kurylian Saga: 22,205 words

Kaimi Rowe Series: Seeker Born – Rough Draft – Restarted

Blue Roses – 9,971 words – Dystopian Love Story

Blog Posts

Guest Post – Chat With A Kitchen Witch

Imagine Your Oc – Practice Drabbles 1

Guest Post – Let’s Talk about Karma with a Kitchen Witch!

Asexual Awareness Week

NaNoWriMo Spotlight 2014!

Halloween Bloghop!

ISWG 11/5/14 – NaNoWriMo Anxiety

Winter Spirit!

Books Read

Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer

Normal Gets You Nowhere by Kelly Cutrone

Goals 

Finish The Well Fed Writer by Peter Bowerman (Published 2000)

Finish Real Money Answers by Patrice C. Washington

Finish Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Polish up Blue Roses for submission to this contest

Two more blog posts for this blog this week!

 

October IWSG – A Hard Lesson

  • Posted on October 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Today, when I woke up, I was excited. At my work, we get to put on special events every so often, and I’ve always been told that these events are the easiest way to make my monthly quota on sales. So, since there had been two and a half months before this particular special event, I worked my tail off, getting appointments set up, prospecting buyers, and making sure the merchandise would have what I needed to make my quota.

I ate a small breakfast, and coffee, and dressed in one of my best dresses. I put on my warpaint, and smiled my sweetest smile. I rode my bike to work, and when I got there, I put my best foot forward, trying to make sure everything was perfect for this day. You see, I had a goal. My goal? 15 grand in sales. This goal, clearly, was WAY over the top, since my bosses goal for me was only 2500 in sales.

You probably want to know what this has to do with writing books, and I’m getting to it, I promise. But first, you have to understand. I was pumped. I was confident, happy, absolutely sure that my work was going to pay off. That I was going to end up in the big leagues. For the last two months, my manager had filled my head with stories about how he made 34k once at one of these special events. How he’d managed to put his name on the board. I was looking forward to finally proving I was GOOD at something in the working world.

When the time for my first appointment passed, I found a sinking feeling growing in my stomach. I knew the next six hours would be tough, because the rest of my appointments were scheduled AFTER my normal six hour shift. You see, on special event days, we’re allowed to stay until our last appointment leaves. I was set to leave at three, but my next three appointments weren’t until five, five thirty, and six thirty. Which meant I’d be cutting it very close to my deadline to catch the final bus home, instead of having to ride my bike the four and a half miles home in the soon-to-be-winter cold.

Tensions rose, as more and more appointments passed and no one showed. My manager started coming down hard on all of us, and morale was low. I will admit, I’ve had issues with panic attacks at work before, and when under this sort of pressure, I tend to hide how absolutely wrecked I am. I had to take small breaks in the break room to avoid bursting into tears under the dark cloud of failure. As my appointments passed one by one, I had to accept the fact that all of my hard work had been for nothing.

The guests never showed. I didn’t get to sell the great big amounts I had hoped to sell. I sold perhaps 200 dollars today, and that doesn’t feel like any kind of victory to me, when, in order to hold up my end of our team, I needed 2300 more than that. I left my store feeling like a failure. And then, to find out the bus had already gone? Well, let’s just say, my bike ride was even colder thanks to my tears.

Now, you ask me again, what does this have to do with writing? Well, more specifically, it has to do with perseverance. Because writing, being an author, and getting published? Oh, you can bet there are times when they feel just like I felt on that bike in the cold autumn wind. There is nothing more heart-wrenching then putting your heart and soul into something, really breaking your back over it, only to find that all that work was for nothing.

Whether you’re choosing independent publishing or traditional, it doesn’t matter. You ARE going to experience the sort of heartache I describe here in vivid detail. Months without sales on your amazon account. Rejection letter after rejection letter in your inbox. These things WILL happen. Nothing can stop them. No one is a success overnight, despite what the tabloids say.

I bet you’ve heard what I’m going to say next many, many times. But I have a precursor to it. I’m not going to just jump into the ‘you have to shoulder it and move on speech’, because honestly? That’s the most emotionally bass-ackwards poppycock I’ve ever heard. NOTHING should be tossed aside like that, when you have put so much effort into it. Mourn it! Throw yourself a small pity party! Whine about it to friends and family members. Post about it on Facebook. Eat ice cream until you feel sick, all the while crying into your favorite blanket! Do what you need to do to get over that sick feeling in your heart.

Because once you’re finally over it. Once the hurt has settled, and you can look back on it and begin to analyze it carefully, you’ll see areas where you can improve. Where you can move beyond what USED to be your hardest work, your most effort, and turn it into more. You’ll begin to see the moments you can turn from sand into diamonds. And there is nothing in the world more valuable than that moment of clarity, after the tears, after the sorrow. So yes, today, I was a VERY insecure writer. However, after this important lesson, and a good bout of tears and apple crisp, I have found myself even more devoted.

Because the goals I set myself are just that. Goals. Things to work towards, no matter how far I fall flat from them for now. A mistake here, a failure there, these aren’t things to fear. These are things to persevere.

thanks to www.fanpop.com for use of their autumn background for this poster.October IWSG – A Hard Lesson

For more Insecure Writers giving you good advice, please visit the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Creating Diverse Literature

  • Posted on August 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Today, I’ve had a guest post published over at Writerology. A wonderful site, they offer lots of resources for up and coming authors. Please, do take a look. The article I wrote can be found here. It’s a two-thousand word essay on how to create a more diverse cast of characters in your novels, and why. Please do take a look! <3

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