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Posts Tagged ‘on writing’

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.

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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.

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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

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I did not work today.  Today, I finished some laundry, sat down, and wrote.  It was a very nice experience, and in one sitting I managed to furiously type out 2,437 words without getting up.  Also, mind you, this was straight typing.  Normally when I write, it’s by hand in a college-ruled composition notebook, all of which I am forced to type later for digital preservation.  Instead, this time I went directly to my laptop.

What I wrote, though, was not my original fantasy project I’ve been working on since February (of which, I am at 34,583 words).  The one I worked on today was an incomplete National Novel Writing Month entry from this past November (I got to about 16,000 words), post-apocalyptic based off one of my favorite video games.  Last night, I was putting some things on my replacement Kindle, one of which was said Nano project.  I converted a file to PDF, transferred it over and did some reading before I went to bed.  Strangely enough, I was hooked on that old-ish writing style.  There was something I really enjoyed about that particularly piece.  It was detailed yet brief.  And I like that.  I’ve began to abhor overly-complicated details.

Yet, in essence, the piece is fanfiction.  I’ve written my share of fanfiction, of course, but I’ve tried veering towards the more original as of late.  I’ve felt that fanfiction gets me no where in the realm of writing.  I want to finally establish myself as a writer, and to do that, I must write my own things that I can publish with my name.  My name.

I don’t have anything against fanfiction and I see nothing wrong with the whole concept of fanfiction.  But, I’ve grown tired of it.  It got to the point where I have more and more ideas for original things, and fanfiction was distracting me.  I didn’t have time for original things.  Well, now it feels as though I don’t have time for either, but nevertheless.

What separates this piece from the typical fanfiction is because it’s different.  I say so.  I create my own characters, my own situations.  Really, I only use the backdrop of the setting.  I like Wastelands.  And, besides, it got me writing again, which I’ve been stalled on for the past few weeks.  I need to exhaust this creative tank before I can fully pick up on my serious project.  This is fun and it got me writing.  I am not going to complain.

Now, to work on my reading.  I said before how I was going to do book reviews.  And I will.  Eventually.  I just need to read books.  The current book I am reading is A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  I’m only a few chapters in and I can tell its brilliant.  My next book is Changeling by Philippa Gregory, who I’ve always enjoyed as an author.  I plan to do reviews on some of Amanda Hocking’s things as well.  It’s a diverse selection.

And, as much I will probably regret it, I’m going to do something, a whole thing with Fifty Shades of Grey, just for the sake of doing.  I’ll be adding some comparisons and thoughts to Twilight but I am not going to write a full review for Twilight or any of its sequels.  I’ve exhausted that enough (I’ll elaborate this in the future).  Perhaps I’ll do a separate review on Meyer’s The Host.  Also, I need to read Paolini’s  Inheritance eventually.  I’ve been following that series for God knows how long now.

Also, I’ve been thinking about expanding the readership of this blog, so I briefly—briefly, mind you looked at Blogaholic Social Network and apparently there’s a difference between Author/Writer blogs and Book Blogs.  Also, I’ve also briefly considered making a different blog for more casual points.  Who knows?  I’m going to bed now.

The photograph above is not mine.

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Starting out in the deli, I have received numerous amounts of helpful pointers and counsel on how to do my job correctly, efficiently, and effectively.  However, one piece of advice sticks out among the others, given to me by a certain lady whom I really look up to.  She tells me, in essence, that everyone has their own way about doing something.  As long as the end result is the same, it does not matter how you go about doing that.  After some thinking and sweating in my new station wagon that has no air conditioning while the temperature was well past 107 degrees, I decided that the same principal can be applied to writing.

First, it must be determined what the end result is needed to be achieved.  In the deli, that can be having all the party trays finished in time for customers or cleaning the meat slicers to certain standards.  How can this compare to writing?  What would be a successful result for writers?

I must admit, this entry was also spurred after stalking some forums for the past few days.  In particular, I read along as members would treat other members with arrogance, supposedly because they were published authors.  Mind you, this was a forum for roleplaying.  I’m not a regular of the forum so I don’t know what the social circles look like.  However, when a certain member claims to be published, I would expect a certain degree of writing to come with that.  Perhaps I’m being too critical.

I digress.  Success can be measured many different ways, all dependent on both the writer and the targeted audience.  For a writer, success may mean simply being published or reaching the New York Times’ Bestseller List.  For the reader, a successful book may be one that merely entertains them or challenges their very perspective.  So, in essence, its very subjective work.

One may be critical that a certain work has choppy syntax, impeding the flow of the whatever of the unimportant pace of the nonexistent plot.  What may be intended is a voice that short, succinct and expresses taciturn or staccato thought.  Take the male gender, for example.  The Boyfriend isn’t usually fluffy with his word choice.   That’s by no means the understood norm, though.  I don’t believe in a norm, unless it concerns formulaic plots and archetypes for certain genres and audiences.  In fact, I like it when I’m surprise.

Also, I’ll be quite honest, I started this blog over a week ago, and now I am at a loss for what I was supposed to ramble on.  I meant to say something meaningful, and I would hate to leave rather abruptly, but I’ve nothing more to say.  I’ll leave this rather open-ended.  Mayhaps I’ll return to it in the future.

As an apology for my apparent laziness, here’s an article I found a while ago on the Lulu blog about eBook pricing models.  Also, I’m considering doing book reviews to give this blog more substance, because as it stands, it’s just me rambling on about uselessness and sharing the obscure article with some sundry photographs.  Book reviews should be more enjoyable than my cynicism.

The photograph above is James May from BBC’s Top Gear.  I do not own it.

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Many a time, as a self-proclaimed writer, I am most unfortunately plagued with the inability to write. As paradoxical as it appears, this is usually the case and stands to reason behind the ever slow ascent of my current word count (which has in fact not changed since I have previously logged here). The explanation behind this is my lack of available time to squander on what is lamentably still considered as a mere hobby. And impractical, according to the Boyfriend, for the impending zombie invasion-slash-apocalypse. No matter how many times I rectify his false assumption as ‘nonsense’, he persists in clinging to his narrow-minded bilge.

That is unrelated, though. As obstinate as he is, the Boyfriend is not the source of my complaining, which will be rightfully attributed to the monotonous throes of ‘real life’. This brutal reality that I speak of often convinces unsuspecting and naive scholars that it is necessary and pertinent to obtain useless degrees in order to sustain oneself. This process requires great sums of money that the government believes you have hidden away in a shoe box buried in your auntie’s backyard. Unfortunately for me, I have no such auntie. I am grateful, however, for the financial aid I’ve miraculously received in order to finance two years of my useless degree. The rest I shall have to earn, working my current part time job that more than likely won’t grant me employment benefits until I turn in my two weeks’ notice to go off and finish the rest of my worthless degree. And gas. That’s expensive as well, particularly since my current mode of transportation remains to be inefficient with fuel.

The point of the above paragraph is to emphasize how desperate I am for money, and since people with money do not normally hire quiet young ladies to sit and do nothing, I find myself going back and forth to my job. This current occupation of mine often requires the cooking of chicken and the slicing of Cajun roast beef.

Anywho, I’m sure any person of limited sanity would understand the necessity for a stable income.  College student, in need of a new vehicle of automation.  I currently work in the deli of a massive corporation.  My average day consists slicing meat and cheese, cooking various types of chicken, bagging, labeling, preparing food trays.  The works.  It’s not a bad job, to say the least.  As of my third week of starting it, I have not yet experienced a rude customer.  (But of course, now that I’ve said something. . .)

All that is to say how, even averaging thirty hours a week for part time, I do not have much time for writing.  Before being a deli sales associate, I was working in child care, watching preschoolers up to fifth graders in after school and summer programs.  That was a rather enjoyable job, something I found very rewarding.  I was quite sad when I had to leave.  (I won’t bore you with the details, but changing jobs was better for me economically, financially, even if difficult emotionally).

With working in the after school program, I did manage to find time between classes and work to squeeze in writing.  Mostly, I would write while I was at work.  Of course, that does sound bad when I put it into writing, to admit that for spare moments of my time I was focused with jotting down a sentence or two instead of keeping a sharp eye on that one boy who always dared jumping off the swings.  It wasn’t much writing, but it was something that slowly accumulated over time.  Then, summer hit and I had about two hours a day to read or write as I pleased while the kids were at nap.  That soon changed when I started working in the deli.  It was one thing to scribble down epic adventures while little children snoozed.  It’s another thing entirely to do so when you’re constantly on your feet, sporting plastic gloves and a hair net.  There is no time for it.  And if there is, pulling out a notebook in the middle of the deli would not necessarily make a good impression.  So I save it for break or lunch if I am not previously engaged elsewhere.

I’ll be starting a summer class in July (don’t ask me when because the date escapes me).  Thus, robbing me of any more spare time that could be spent on writing down my current novel project.  It is odd to think that it is during the summer, when students are supposed to be enjoying a break that I have little to no time for writing.

I am persistent.  I will keep writing and I will finish.  Point in case—it’s taken me forever to finish this just one blog and I’m pretty sure I’ve managed at least five hundred words on the current project in that time.  Forever here means the time span of about five days.

Also, since I seem to be making a habit of certain things, have a video starring Jessie Cave and Evanna Lynch in Jessie Cave’s fictional series, Bookworm.  The Potterer.

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So I finally had the urge to add the first bit of content to this blog I’ve created. If
you’re wondering, supposing that you the audience is actually a being that is capable of wonder, what the purpose of this website is, well then the answer is relatively simple. However, I will be attempting to make it sound much more fancier than it probably is.

If you’ve come this far and still do not know yet, I am a writer. In the words of Paul Bettany via A Knight’s Tale, “A writer. I write.” Simple enough, it seems. Anyone else who also likes taking up the pen for a pastime will know the innate craving a writer has for being published, and not only that but also being famous and a literary hit. Whether or not that unlikely dream will hold true yet, I’ve made this blog of mine a first initiative to gain a presence on the Internet, should I decide to self publish e-books or what. Whatnot. I haven’t decided. I’m rather indecisive, as many who know me would quickly attest to.

I’m currently at a standstill on what else to add here. I suppose the easiest answer would be to either ramble on about myself, my current projects and other stuff that I find boring at the moment. You know what I do not find boring at the moment? Reading, but I’ve no reading material with me currently, so the next obvious answer would be to play video games. Still, I’m sure that would be rather boring to talk about.

Things about me. . . Stuff about me. . .Details. I do not want to be too personal. At this moment, my favorite word is “suppose”. (The placement of quotation marks versus period is British, mind you. I find it to be much neater). The only reason I’m writing this now is because there was something else I wanted to blog about and it wouldn’t be appropriate to put things here without an official first post. I very much enjoy the board games Stratego and Monopoly, but only if I win. I’m a sore loser, but I’ve improved since I was a child. I often tell familiars, acquaintances, and total strangers that I’m allergic to vegetables. This is not true. This is simply my excuse so I don’t have to explain ad nauseum about how much of a picky eater I am. I’m sure it irritates the Boyfriends’s mother to no end. However, I am allergic to oranges, even though I quite enjoy orange juice and orange flavored things. This is a prime example in which synthetic foods and food flavors are useful, but I don’t have much of an opinion on the subject.

I used to work with children and now I work with meat, and no, that is not a joke on cannibalism. I’ve had a romantic interest in the Boyfriend for over three and a half years. I’m currently majoring in English but I am seriously considering changing that so I don’t have to take two more semesters of French. But enough on that. You probably want to know more about my writing.

My current project that I desperately want published is currently past 30k words, and I’ve been working on it semi-steadily since February. That’s good for me. I won’t go into much detail on it because I’m insanely paranoid some malicious spambot will happen by and steal everything.

I’m pushing six hundred words here so I’m taking that as a sign to quit. If there’s anything that you nonexistent readers are fiercely curious about that concerns me, feel free to consult the About Me page. Or comment. As a general disclaimer, I may or may not respond. As should already be evident, this website is still in its immaturity. I plan to add things or develop this in the future. Mayhaps. I also procrastinate.

Since I never really discussed anything particularly meaningful, here’s an article I will share that I’ve not yet decided if I agree or disagree with it. Click here for “15 Stock Characters”

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