Writer Resolutions

I’ve never been into resolutions. Especially since I never keep them. Usually, they are about dieting or exercising. I have no motivation for such things.

This year, I want to resolve to write more, write better.

But what do those really mean? That is the question, isn’t it? The answer is personal.

For me, writing more is writing every day, even when I don’t feel like it. I will commit to editing at least a chapter, or writing for 30 minutes instead of _______________ (fill in the blank with any other recreation).

Improving my writing requires reading. Reading fiction. Reading writing books. Reading advice blogs. I also want to get a journal that has prompts or writing exercises. Maybe get a critique partner or group. I am not sure if I can commit another 30 minutes every day. I have a 9-year-old and a full-time job, so time is precious.

Beginning next week (I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend!) I plan to attend a Meetup group “Shut up and Write” (which also has a website: http://www.shutupwrite.com/). As far as I can tell, the group basically comes together to, well, shut up and write for an hour (after getting some coffee and being social for 15-30 minutes). They have a meeting on Fridays not far from my work, so that will be something I will put in my planner with ink.

Hopefully, I will be able to stick to my guns this year.

ButterflyQ

What are your writer resolutions this year?

Yesterday

We all have those days.

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Yesterday, I was feeling so sorry for myself. So jealous of everyone else. I forgot that we are all in this together.

Thank you to all the people who have supported my efforts, great and small, and put up with my moods.

I am really not that bad (I don’t throw things or lie in bed for days), but I can be a drag to be around. I will try not to let that Grinch out too much any more.

Reflections

It’s the end of the year. Almost.

One week to go. It’s that time when people look back on what they’ve experienced, look forward to the next year, maybe resolve to do something better or different.

New beginnings. Sure, most resolutions won’t last long, but they make people feel renewed, inspired.

I feel drained. Lost. Alone. What lies behind me are half-hearted attempts, wasted efforts, and unfinished dreams.

I’ve always been the ‘glass half empty’ type, and I feel like even that half is dribbling away. So many setbacks and struggles in 2018. So many tears. And yet, I have so much more than so many others, why do I wallow so?

It is never enough. Someone else has a better website, more followers, cleverer messages. I don’t post regularly, write daily. My time is limited by a full-time job, and yet I should be thankful I have a full-time job.

I have an awesome son, so why do I feel lonely? I know I have so little time to cultivate friendships, online or in real life, yet I am sad when I see all the threads on twitter I haven’t had time to join, see all the fun they’ve had.

Jealousy. Self-pity.

Goals and dreams lie unfulfilled. I haven’t revised my first draft, while others are getting agents and publishing. My plan to lose weight derailed weeks ago.

Garbage in, garbage out.

That feels about right. I tell myself that it’s okay, I don’t have to live up to someone else’s standards, I have too many other responsibilities to put more on myself. But then I see how much others have accomplished and I feel small and insignificant. What I have done is never enough.

I am never enough. Someone is smarter, faster, prettier, has more friends. Everything about me that I have accepted as who I am, that I have told myself is okay, flies right out the window and crashes on the pavement.

But if I only think positive thoughts, I will become positive.

I keep waiting.

Last Day of NaNoWriMo

Today is the day. The day to turn in word counts and collect your “winner’s” prizes.

Not for me. This wasn’t my month for writing. Last year I made sure I wrote every night after work. But last November my job allowed me the flexibility to leave early. My son played a bit more Nintendo than I usually permit. This year I work until 6 pm, commute an hour, and my son was diagnosed with epilepsy in August which requires medication that has to be administered at 7:30 pm.

Sure, I still could have made time. The time I spent writing this post could have been better used throwing words down for my NaNo count. They would not have been very meaningful; I haven’t felt the inspiration.

On a good note, I received some feedback on the first draft of my fantasy novel. Now that would have been a good thing to work on, but of course, inspiration strikes at 1 am and I can’t really get up and write at that hour, so I scribble a few things in a notebook and hope I will recall the scene when I return to me notes.  I want to finish my novel and get an agent and see it hit the New York Times best seller list (hey, I have to dream!) but it certainly will not be this month.

Ironically, I have been reading more. Finishing a book by D.L. Timmerman, reading a collection of fantasy short stories collected by John Joseph Adams and written by George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Elliot, and others. Picking up a classic and trying out a few new authors. More than anything, I am finding my place in the landscape of fantasy writing. What draws me in and keeps me reading? How can I find that tone in my writing. Looking at the balance of description, dialog, action, and reflection. Watching how they handle POV and develop voice.

Most importantly, where will my novel live? It is epic fantasy, with multiple characters, overlapping stories, and complex histories, but is it more like Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, or Martin? Should I spice it up to meet the tastes of Martin fans, or try to appeal to the YA crowd? My novel currently lives in the middle,  with both adult and younger characters, no graphic sex, and I would venture to say the violence is tame compared to most. Reading current fantasy author’s like Sanderson, it does appear to be a market for such works. Would this genre be “just” fantasy?

November hasn’t be a total loss,  however, I did not accomplish the 50k word novel this year. So congrats to those that did and I’ll see you around. Maybe next year book two of my epic fantasy will be my NaNoWriMo 2019!

 

Writer’s Block

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say I have writer’s block. More like life block. The times when I want to write I am either driving, working (been so busy at work I can barely think straight) or have real life things to do.

Many of the writing guides and tips I have been reading have said that ‘real writers’ make time to write. I guess that is true for many things in life, if it’s important enough, you make time.  There are only so many hours in a day, and when it comes down to it, I’ve never been the starving artist type, or sacrifice-everything-else-for-my-craft type.

If that makes me unworthy of someone else’s idea of what a writer “should” be, than so be it. I am old enough, and been through enough, to know not to “should” on myself.

What is important to me gets done. One day that might be writing some words on my novel, another day it’s helping my 9 year old with his math, once in a while it’s staying up way too late to get that chapter out of my head. Often, it is just to get through the day with my sanity intact.

I am okay with that.

Last year, I won NaNoWriMo. It was my first year participating. I had to push at the end. But I did it. This year, the drive to write 50k words in 30 days isn’t there. And that’s okay, too. Because I know I can write a novel, beginning to end, even if it needs some serious editing  afterward.

Come to think of it, I have a novel I need to start editing. So I’ll be off now. I might not “win” NaNoWriMo this year, but I’ve already won so much, with new friends on twitter, new skills, and new confidence. I’ll get my 50k words in throughout the year.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get a few thousand in over Thanksgiving.