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What I’ve Been Up to

I was genuinely attempting National Novel Writing Month this year with a brand new idea involving a steampunk version of the Lohengrin legend.  Then, a freak accident occurring exactly two weeks ago landed me in the Emergency Room with a broken ankle.  I’ve gotten to wear a cam boot for the better part of two weeks and out of work.  I gave up on Nano with the overwhelming depression coupled with the staggering feeling of being useless.  I’ve spent the time idling away on Internet surfing, moping, and video games.

Meanwhile, I have my second story for my Creative Writing class due and I am hurriedly trying to finish it as well as trying to find a way to solve the initial problems.  Though, this third attempt gave me two previous story ideas I might try at a later day.  But it always fun to dapple in one’s own fantasy world, is it not?

The poetry I mentioned posting is at a standstill.  I don’t have the energy or the will to format it properly.  I’m feeling itchy and uncomfortable and annoyed but such is the way when I am in a rut.

My foot hurts me constantly and I just want to go back to work.  But I fear that I won’t be able to for longer than expected.

But I’ve been writing, whatever little progress it is.  On my main project, I’ve reached over 46,000 words which I realize isn’t much when you think to pass Nano you have to reach 50,000.  But I am determined, as always.

Busy, busy

I was in the break room some few days ago, furiously scribbling away in my notebook.  A lady passes me, sees what I am doing, and mildly asks, “Writing a book?”

I respond timidly, “Trying to, at least.”  (Mind the colloquialism.)

She, rather surprised, stares and essentially says, “Oh, that’s great!  I thought you were just were working on homework; I was just kidding.  But keep at it and get the hell out of here!”

The conversation made me smile for the remainder of the day, until I was met with some rather unkind people, as is what usually happens when I go to work.

In other news, with my current project, I’ve broken the 40k word mark and completely filled an entire notebook.  So now, I’ve retired one notebook and started on a new.  It’s pretty exciting for me.

Meanwhile, I am learning just how time-management skills are important with work, school, a speech, two papers, and a bad addiction to writing and video games!  Too bad I lack them.  The time management skills, that is.

Also!  Have a picture of me and the Boyfriend!  It’s his birthday today!  And my grandfather turns seventy-six as well!

Reading

I came across this article:

“Have You Met a Writer Who Doesn’t Read”

It’s interesting, contains a valid point, but I would have to staunchly disagree.  It does not represent absolute truth.

I have a serious problem with the superior, almost arrogant tone the blogger maintains when judging who is a writer and who should be one.  Writers are not definably created out of readers.  Writers can be created from non-readers, illiterates.

Please note, this is not to say that reading isn’t important.  Reading helps.  Reading is important. For most, reading plays a vital role in writing.  But it does not define a writer.  What a writer writes, chooses to write defines a writer.

I like reading.  However, with my life as of late, I’ve little time to do so.  It’s disappointing.  I love books, but I do not have the energy to complete the second half of A Game of Thrones.  Or, I should elaborate.  I have energy, yes, that I would much prefer to utilize elsewhere.  In certain times, dependent entirely on my mood, I will choose to write over reading.  When you add it all up, I write more than I read in a week.  As a matter of fact, I have not read a book for several weeks.  But I’ve written thousands of words.  Does that mean, then, by this blogger’s standards, I am not a writer because I did not invest nonexistent time into reading? I think not.

The concept is not universally applicable.  And another thing.  I think the blogger mistakenly categorizes reading into a singular group: books.  Books are not the only methods of reading.  Goodness, no.  In a week’s time, I do read, process enormous amounts of information.  I read Internet articles, particularly about blogging, publishing, and writing CONSTANTLY.  And really, I read articles constantly.  Practically, every time I jump on the Internet, I read at least three new articles that pop up on my subscription lists.  Does that not count as reading, as well?  It may not be a book, but would not reading about writing be just as useful as reading the work of another writer?

Maybe I’m just snubbed by the whole idea expressed on the post–how dare these children who hardly read want to become writers!  What is wrong with them for not reading more!–the sentiment that seems to be shared is that it feels wrong for non-readers to pursue a possible dream in writing.  It is not the job of writers to put down aspiring writers because they do not read as many books as they do.  Encourage them to read, yes, but do not “dog” those who do not because they are part of this “younger generation” that everyone seems to feel is a generation of unintelligent, uneducated philistines who have the over-inflated ego as everyone else does.

By the way, just about every writer has a huge ego.  Some are better at masking it than others.

Book Hoarding

Close friends, family members, and the Boyfriend–especially the Boyfriend–know that I have a problem.  I like to think myself as strong willed, determined, with a good head on my shoulders. But this good head on my shoulders has an off switch when it comes to books, particularly when a chance comes to acquire books.

I’m not sure how to explain it.  I’m a sucker for those Sale bins at stores and book stores alike that hold nothing but the books nobody liked for a few dollars.  MUST BUY TWO.  Used books at Hastings… for a dollar with the purchase of one other book? SEVEN.  My school particularly likes putting unwanted textbooks on a table with a sign reading, “Free.”  Mostly textbooks about college help for reading and writing, a few on applied calculus, and some poetry pamphlets.  I know I took at least twenty.

This. . . habit is also inclusive to the digital world.  When I received my Kindle, my first course of action was to visit Amazon’s Kindle/ebook store and download every possible book that was free and sounded remotely interesting.  It didn’t matter if I would never read a glossary on the insect world or certain fairy tales of the Sanskrit, this was a vast pool of information and fiction that I could own!

And that’s another problem I face.  There is a large percentage of books that I pinch that I do intend to read.  Books that like to stack themselves into large piles in my room and trip unsuspecting passersby.  However, I lack a certain will to read.  Starting my senior year of high school, I just haven’t read that much, which is a real shame because I enjoy reading.  The process has become similar to writing.  My exhausting life has left little to no time or energy to pursue such interests.  So often, I am forced between reading or writing.  And it’s hard to find time to do that between working, sleeping, schooling, studying, laundry, eating, driving, sleeping again, napping.  I’m forced to choose and unfortunately, the essentials of life get in the way.

Indie Publishing

As a prospective/hopeful author, I often find myself researching various websites and publishers, deciding between traditional houses and independent publishing.  I’ve found myself leaning towards the latter and thus looking into the eBook and Print on Demand market.  Publishers I’ve considered are Amazon’s CreateSpace and Lulu.  Both have their upsides and their down.  Lulu is quite user-friendly with a lot of help and support and they love blogging about the writing world.  It’s a great indie publishing writing community, very welcoming.   One article drew my attention, It’s Never Too Soon to Become an Author.

It’s an interesting article, nothing particularly significant.  It draws examples from Anne Franke and Christopher Paolini.  I have to commend Lulu for their attempt to draw customers of all ages.  I’d always love writing and started writing this massive six book fantasy series in junior high.  Funnily enough, Christopher Paolini was my inspiration.  I’d been reading the Inheritance Cycle (trilogy, then) at the time.  Even though Chris had help from his publishing parents, I wanted to be the child prodigy that wrote bestsellers at the age of fourteen.  Well, here I am at nineteen, barely scraping at my current project.

No matter.  I am ambitious and determined.  The indie publishing market is growing and I want to be a part of it.  As much as I love Lulu’s community, I do believe I’ll turn to Amazon.  But I haven’t fully decided.  I need to finish the damn book first.

Also, here is an article from the New York Times on indie publishing, The Joys and Hazards of Self Publishing on the Web.  Also, enjoy a picture of me.

As an after thought, 15 Signs Indie Publishing is for You.

Rip Offs

I follow various writing communities on Twitter, mostly for the tips and tidbits on writing, networking, and publishing.  I find it interesting to read articles and quotes that draws perspectives from many other writers, editors, and publishers.  One specific company-slash-group is an account called Writer’s Digest that reminded me of a less user-friendly version of Jon Winokur’s @AdviceToWriters.  They had quotes, articles.  One particularly tweet interested me– something about blogging and networking.  I clicked on it.

Apparently Writer’s Digest has an “online university” where you can take various classes on how to blog correctly for nearly $200 a course.

Rip off.

Ridiculous, no other explanation.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.  I mean, I can understand freelance writing classes– those can be expensive.  (I can easily recall one author’s personalized writing workshops that were pricey, but understandably so).  But this Writer’s Digest University… I don’t know if I would call it a scam.  Rip-off?  Yes, definitely.

I did a brief browsing through their “course list”.  “How to Build Your Blog Boot Camp” lasts three days for $199.  Then, “28 days to Your First WordPress Site” lasts 28 days for the same price.  Definitely a rip off.  I mean, using WordPress doesn’t take a particular know-how.  And WordPress provides countless tutorials, and the interface is very friendly.  Hello– speaking from experience.  This is my first WordPress site.  I’ve had it a little over a month.  No problem.  Blogging?  So long as you hold an air of professionalism, blogging is easy.  Networking’s more difficult, but you can EASILY find FREE articles that give you pointers on how to do that.  You don’t need to pay two hundred bucks for common sense.  It’s a rip off and it angers me beyond words.

If you’re a writer getting out, new, starting out, be careful.  Don’t waste your time with that sort of thing.

So in my numbing schedule of work-eat-sleep-repeat, I’ve managed to exhaust my muse for my 2011 Nano story, thus enabling me to pick back up on my fantasy project.  To do so, I decided to read the 35,000+ words I have so far, starting from the beginning.

My reaction to my work was utter disappointment.  I’ve stopped myself from reading it after suffering through about a quarter of it.  It’s crap. I think so.  I have no idea what made me think it was brilliant to begin with, other than the concept.  I’ve told my friends as such–who have utterly lied to me about its supposed greatness–and they cannot seem to fathom my sudden vehemence with my own work.  They still insist on this nonexistence genius.  I cannot, will not believe it.

Once I consider, though, I realize, it’s not bad, not by any means.  Just, when reading it, I realized how I could make it ten times better.  I don’t know if that stems from my habitual habit of being vastly too critical of myself, wanting to always improve, or if it’s normal for any writer to always look at something they’ve written and just have this urge to make it better, that it could be better.  Probably a mixture of both.

It is understandable, then, you see, for me to be so frustrated that once I’ve finally figured a way out of a fictional dead end with certain mechanics of fictional magic, I am now filled with this fiery, insatiable need to rewrite at least half of my 35,000+ words.  Rewrite or serious editing.  I keep telling myself that the latter half is written much neater and needs no such attention.  But, who am I kidding?  Might as well rewrite the entire thing!

This is why I never see progress.  I think it’s somewhat odd though.  With my 2011 Nano entry, I never/have not felt as though it needed to be rewritten.  If anything, I feel as though I should retain that style and continuously express it with other things.  My problem was and is, however, the actual art of retaining it.  I am stuck, stuck I say.  And this perpetual state of exhaustion and grumpiness from being partially employed does not aid in this conundrum either.

I end with this article I chanced upon to help your writing not become as stagnant as mine.  These writing tips I have seen essentially with any other tip sheet for writers.  Even though I do not entirely agree with these continuously expressed guidelines for writing, I do like how the author explained each point.  So here’s, the 10 Mistakes’ List.  Also, the image above does not belong to me, neither does the quote expressed inside of it.  Both are from A Knight’s Tale, and I took the liberty of editing it into one convenient photo for gawking.

“The first draft of anything is shit.”  — Ernest Hemingway