Oops. My Bad

Sorry. I didn’t do my book review this weekend (I will try to write and post it tonight, instead). I haven’t written almost anything.

In fact, the only writing news I have is that I’ve started a second blog. It’s a little more focused on everyone’s favorite subject, which is of course, their selves. Anyway, it’s just about adjusting to my new city and, well, the mess that my life seems to be in currently. Check it out, if so inclined, because the only people reading it are, like, my aunts… possibly my mom.

As for my book… well, I’ve been killing my darlings… I’ve slaughtered the poor things, even. In my head, there are almost no details which I haven’t changed. I’ve even changed the age of my protagonist. I’m about to sit down and re-write chapter one. I think, in all honesty, that I will be re-writing the whole thing. Every. Last. Word.

Color me daunted.

I once read that J.K. Rowling had to type the first Harry Potter ten times. In a way, it may have been a brilliant, albeit accidental, editing technique. You’d have to really consider the importance of every little word when typing it out so many times.

So, structurally, the book is getting a makeover, but I think the story will remain almost entirely intact. The school, though, is about to be town apart. I really messed that up and, after all this writing, am returning to an earlier version of the structure of the school, which I’m actually very happy with. It’s a lot closer to my original vision of the story. No one wants to read a book about something boring.

So. Shall we do what writers do best and make a hella great story?

Back to the drafts.

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Return of the Blog and Announcements

I had every intention of abandoning this blog as silly and useless. A wasteful dredge on my time, but I’m feeling isolated and sentimental about my move to San Francisco in two weeks so I thought, rather, I’d take this opportunity to shift the focus of this blog in a whole new direction just in time for my move.

So, alas, I am back.

Let me start with the new focus of my blog. I’d like to get a more set schedule going here with a bit more structure and a lot less chatting about my day. My day was boring, don’t worry. Writing is probably one of the least exciting physical activities of all time. A lot of type, type, bang head against hard objects sort of thing.

Anyway, the travels have subsided, blah blah that’s my personal life, who cares?

So what I’m thinking is this. When I’d originally planned this blog I wanted it to be a very collaborative platform for young writers to express… well, whatever they felt about writing. But I don’t know any young writers so it became more of a personal journey that went fairly awry.

Anyway, I still like that idea. Young writers, if there is anything you wish to share, even just word-vomit about how your mother doesn’t understand you, please feel free to message me or post in the comments. I’d love to make this a collaborative venture, if anyone is interested.

In the meantime, you’re stuck with only my writing ventures. So until I make friends, I’d like to set up a schedule of postings that go like this:

Mondays: A personal look at my own writing progress. Where Elysium stands or any of the multitude of projects I’ve been working on (or are soon to begin as my MFAW program nears a start).

Wednesdays: Actual content. This can be anything from a piece of fiction I’ve written to an interview, heck, maybe even some entertining literary analysis (yes, that’s a thing). Basically, anything pertaining to writing I can generate.

Saturdays: Short book reviews. I know this sounds incredibly dull… there are so many book reviewers on this site, but I assure I read a lot of very diverse books (from children’s lit to things I found in my grandmother’s garage) and I’m actually fairly scathing and snappy. That means absolutely no book summaries and plenty of spoilers. Hopefully, It will be fun. (Bear with me, ok?)

Sporadic: Rants and raves and (since I’m an egoist) lots of tales of personal woes, I’m sure. I’m a very whiny passionate person.

And that’s the new schedule. I’m hoping to find a groove here…

The good news is that I may or may not have finally finished Chapter 18 in Elysium today. I may finish this thing one of these days…

But I swear to god, if you even think the word “editing” I will punch you.

Day Ninety-Eight: No More Writing Advice

I hereby refuse to read any more writing advice blogs/columns/articles/quotes.

The internet is flooded with advice on how to be a great writer. The irony is that most of it is horribly written. Or boring. Pedantic, mysterious, blunt, optimistic… Everything! I can’t take it anymore.

All I have actually learned from this impossible array of mostly conflicting advice is that the writing process is particularly personal. Have you ever noticed that no two people brush their teeth the same way? Watch them. Watch anyone. If even a simple act like brushing one’s teeth is a unique act of individualism, how could any two people write the same way?

The best way to learn how to write is to read and write as much as possible until you stumble into your own method.

I’m not saying don’t read publishing advice. I’m not saying don’t read other authors… Do. As much as possible, read their every word. I even like interviews about other writers’ writing process.

But to think that someone can sit you down and show you the exact method of creating a writing process? Of creating a character? Narrative? Story? No.

From now on, I write the way I write. It changes day-to-day. It’s sometimes impossible. Maybe it’s not the most efficient. Maybe I use a lot of adverbs. But it’s mine.

Day Seventy-Five: Blogging on a Streetcar

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I’m really getting mobile with my upload today and sending a blog live from a streetcar heading into the French Quarter.

My short article on saying goodbye to New Orleans went up today and the response has been overwhelming and supportive! It’s been lovely to see all the likes and shares I’ve gotten for something that was genuinely fun to write.

I know we are the generation that has been overwhelmed by positive reinforcement, but there is nothing like a good response from your peers to make you feel good as a writer. I am not in denial about this quest for positivity. Same with blogging… Who looks at their notifications and thinks “Damn, another follower!” Keep the responses coming! It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

So I’m more than excited about the response to my writing. No complaints. Just keep writing, right?

Let’s hope there will be many more articles to share with you guys in the future!
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Day Sixty-Two: Productivity Tips

Well… Finished Chapter 15 on Friday and was more than thrilled to start Chapter 16 because it’s a pretty important one (not that they aren’t all important, but it is one of my favorite character’s first time to really hit the spotlight and I’m excited to write him).

Then the weekend happened. I love what I do all week, but even then, weekends are great, but this one was particularly good because an old college friend was in town and New Orleans has a lot of fun around St. Paddys. So I didn’t work then.

Then yesterday… I made the mistake of posting a tid-bit about grad school on my facebook which meant that my facebook and phone started blowing up all day. So I wrote about 500 words, most of which (I realized late last night) need to be cut.

On top of that, I just got to a coffee shop that I continue to come to even though (Every time!) I perpetually drink too much coffee and make myself sick. And I just put three sugars in said strong coffee so… I am a ticking time bomb. I may detonate like rocket fuel any minute now.

So much for starting Chapter 16…

I read a lot of productivity articles while procrastinating. It’s actually one of my favorite procrastination efforts because it creates the illusion of productivity. They all offer tips about efforts from meditation to isolation. Some of them are silly. Most are repititious. Hardly any of those tips work for me (If I start cleaning my desk, the house will eventually be spotless but I won’t have a word written).

Anyway, here are some of my personal productivity pointers:

1) Move location.

I hear this one a lot, because it’s the easiest fix. If you can’t write in your room because there is a bed and you have a terminal affinity for napping… then leave. Try writing outside (weather permitting). Try writing somewhere public and loud. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere with all your favorite things (even if it’s a weird place to write… like a bar). Everyone responds differently to different places. Just because your quiet room was the spot to write yesterday, doesn’t mean it is today.

Inversely… if you have a spot where you’ve hit a roll, stay there as long as you can! That space is now tied mentally to a productive work day. Try going to the last place you killed it at!

2) Read a book.

Whenever I can’t work, it’s because I’m stuck in my own words. Give someone else’s words a try.

3) Get a writing buddy.

I personally can’t write with another person around. My brain is hardwired for conversation because it’s easier than writing. I like to get a buddy that I can check in with and be like “6,000 words today! I am the Godzilla of children’s literature!” Have someone waiting on your writing… they’ll bug you into submission.

4) Exercise.

Sounds weird, but get yourself a little exercise-high. You’d be surprised how feeling good can get you going.

5) Don’t let that cursor blink.

Make a game out of it. Just write random words… Just list a bunch of adjectives that describe one character. Describe your best friend. The room you’re in. Your favorite memory. Just write and eventually you’ll get back to your project.

6) Time yourself.

I once had a teacher that gave us one minute to write down every verb (although this would work with almost every part of speech except articles/conjunctions) that popped into our mind. We could even just repeat them until a new word popped in. Then we wrote stories by connecting those adjectives to each other.

Also, timing yourself can give you fake, short-term deadlines. “Hey how long does it actually take me to write 1,000 words?”

7) Read your own work.

I hesitate to say this because it’s normally how I get stuck in an editing loop, but sometimes it’s refreshing to just go read your favorite passage in your work to remind yourself why you’re writing it.

8) Distract yourself first.

I get stuck thinking about other projects a lot. I spend all of my bad days sitting here thinking about this blog. So I’ve decided to do the blog first thing… Get it done, and put it aside so you can move on. This doesn’t apply to never-ending wastes of time. Do something with a clear end-point. That means no facebook… no youtube clips… you’ll be looping forever!

9) Sit in complete silence.

No technology. No writing even. No people around. Just sit there. Listen to the subtle sounds you never notice. Sit there for as long as you can until your brain can’t handle it and starts jumping around in your head. Write down the first thought that makes your brain go berzerk.

10) Take that nap, afterall.

Too tired to work? That’s ok! Naps can be a like the fresh-start of a new day. Maybe you just need to start over for a while.

BONUS) Still nowhere? Give it a break.

Don’t sit there and torture yourself. Today wasn’t your day. Go to bed early. Knock a few things off your to-do list. Get back in there tomorrow… Just don’t let tomorrow become the next day!

Feel free to share any Productivity Tips you guys might have. I’m always looking for some new trick to jump-start my brain.

(Sorry about all the updates… My Gifs won’t work in Publish, but they work in Preview… Dumb!)

Day Fifty-Five: Getting Started Writing

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Lately, I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting started writing. I sit down at my computer, get ready to write and… about six hours later actually write something, but first I have to…

1) Sleep just a little bit longer.
2) Check my e-mail.
3) Set up a new Word document.
4) Text with friends.
5) Do I need to go to do any errands? Post office maybe? Walgreens? No? Damn. Why did I even put on pants then?
6) Make coffee.
7) And breakfast.
8) What about the grocery store?
9) Text Le Novio: “What are we having for dinner?”
10) Current events. That’s important. Cool… String theory!
11) Any new HBO shows I should watch? What do you mean I’m all caught up on Girls?
12) Hello Facebook, anything exciting today?
13) Nope.
14) Write three sentences… Good work. God, I want cake now.
15) Eat cake.
16) That was the best cake ever. I should go to the gym.
17) Get dressed for the gym.
18) Sit down to put on gym shoes.
19) Nap.
20) Sit down in front of laptop. Watch cursor blink.
21) Maybe I need music?
22) This is a great song. Let me research this band at length.
23) Wow, I’m learning so much about science!
24) I should water my plants.
25) And read this book.
26) Any blog notifications?
27) How about writing a blog now?
28) Text friends about blog post.
29) Obsessively check blog for notifications.
30) I’m too cold to write.
31) Find blanket.
32) God, Le Novio’s couch is comfortable. Pretend to nap but actually play Candy Crush and text friends.
33) Le Novio: “I’m leaving the office. Be home in 20.”
34) Actually start writing.

Or is that just me?