So I realized that I haven’t really talked too much about my writing on here lately. I can’t really say that things haven’t been going well, but I guess they haven’t really been going all that great, either.
Ever since I got stuck with my novel Cybertra back in July for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve been kind of stuck on all of my writing. I’ve been trying, but I don’t really know what to do with myself.
I went on vacation for a week in July and that was one whole week that I didn’t write. I played Pokemon instead. So that also slowed me down a bit, too. But I can’t complain because I think I needed a break from writing for a little bit.
But when I came back from vacation I realized that I really needed to get back into the swing of things. I have three young adult novels completed, why aren’t I editing them? I have three other novels started, why aren’t I finishing them?
Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble together last week. I took out my laptop and was beside myself. What was I supposed to write? I had no idea. Kris found a cool writing prompt app on her phone in which we both downloaded. She wasn’t too sure what to write, either, so we each picked a prompt. Mine was, “Everything is ruined because…” Again, what was I supposed to write about?
In the end, I wrote a small short story that was about four pages long. I’ll post it on here tomorrow. It was probably the dumbest thing I had ever written in my life. I wasn’t too crazy about the way I had written it, the story line was kind of weird, and the characters were just…odd. It certainly was not my best work.
But it was soon after that that I began to write again. That same day at Barnes and Noble, I whipped out my Hunter & Comet story and wrote a little bit of that. Then, for some strange reason, I got into the mood of writing one of those cliche high school drama novels. I have a couple of ideas for those and ended up starting one. It’s called Union Academy. I have no idea what the plot really is…it’s just one of those drama stories where things never seem to go right for a group of high school girls.
The time we went to Barnes and Noble after that, the latest time we’ve gone, I ended up writing that. And I got a good chunk done, too. So I think I’m over my little writer’s block. Not only that, but I actually started editing Hunter again.
It just goes to show that whatever writing you’re stuck on, just write something, anything. Even if it’s terrible. And it will help.
Today was the first day in a long time that I have nothing to do. So I told myself that I was going to wake up early, take a shower, and write. And write, and write, and write some more. Except things didn’t go exactly as planned.
I didn’t get a chance to write at all this past weekend. There were some times here and there I would have been able to squeeze some words in, but I didn’t. Normally I would have or if I didn’t, I would have been freaking out about why I didn’t get anything done. Not this time. I didn’t feel like writing and that was that.
I’m going to assume I burned myself out when it comes to writing. But this burn out couldn’t have come at another time? It’s in the middle of the July, I have Camp NaNo to finish. Not to mention I’m already losing next week because I’m going on vacation. I don’t need to lose two additional days.
So I told myself today was going to be an all day writing day. I can’t tell you how many words I have written because I literally have no idea. I am so burned out that every time I tried to write today, I said: “Screw it!”
I’m writing Cybertra for Camp NaNo and I’m ahead of the NaNo goal, but 11,000 words behind my own goal. Two days and I’m that far behind…what? I forced myself to write it and I got about 540 words done. Then I realized…I’m just not into the story anymore. I still love the characters, the plot is good, but…well, the plot isn’t going as well as expected. I feel like I want to keep the prologue then scrap the whole rest of the novel. But that’s over 20,000 words…is it worth it to do in the middle of Camp? Is it wort it to do it at all?
I heard (I forget where) that you should never delete your writing whether you’re going to use it or not. Good writing is writing and bad writing is still writing. Not to mention there might be something in there that you will like later on. I hate deleting things I write because then I just feel bad. I mean, it was a good idea at the time I wrote it, right?
So I didn’t delete it, but I’m definitely not going back to the story any time soon. Which is sad because I was in love with it when I first started. I think I just need a break. Maybe next month I can get back to it. But now how am I supposed to finish Camp NaNo?
I tried writing a couple of children’s picture books…I finished one, but it sucks. I attempted to write another, but I got about two lines in and that was that. I started Hunter & Comet, the first book of a middle grade series I want to write. I wrote about a page and couldn’t get into that, either.
I looked at my list of stories to write. Maybe I just need something brand new? None of those ideas appealed to me. At the moment, anyway. And I’m afraid to start any new young adult novels because I already have four that need to be edited.
I tried writing some FanFiction. I wrote about a page then quit.
It’s about four o’clock in the afternoon, I have to get something written. I want to get something written. But it’s not going so well. And I’m afraid today is going to be a bit of a waste since I’m probably not going to have another day to write all day like this one in a long time.
Kris and I decided to do more writing contests and such.
I’m sure most of you have heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? This is one of the things we want to do. We pick book topics that we can write a nonfiction story about and send it in. If your story is picked to be in the book, you’ll receive 200 dollars plus ten free copies of the book. I think that’s a good deal.
As of right now, there are two topics that I am able to write for. Stories About Cats and Overcoming Challenges. I could write for the Stories About Dogs one, but I don’t have any real stories that pop out in my mind. I can only think of one story with my cat, Hunter, and my turtle, Raph. I’m going to write about that. I doubt it’ll get picked, but hey–might as well toss in every story I can, right? The deadline for this one is August 31, 2013.
The Overcoming Challenges one I’m going to talk about my high school career–my best friend bullying me, my anxiety disorder, and some of the teachers not believing in me. I don’t know if I ever explained this one here, but I left high school half way through my junior year. I did get my high school diploma, but I went through college to get it. It also gave me a head start on my degree, which was nice. The deadline for this one is October 31, 2013.
There are a couple of other topics I could write for, but there are no stories that pop into my head for them. We’ll see, though; especially since I have time for the two topics I plan on doing. Of course August 31 is going to be here before I know it.
I also heard of another contest through My Journey As A Writer‘s blog. It’s called Cheerios Spoonful of Stories. You can send in an unlimited amount of children’s books. Grand prize is 5,000 dollars. The story is featured on the website as well as handed over to Simon and Schuster publishing to be considered for publication. Second and third prize gets 1,000 dollars. The deadline is July 31, 2013.
I have a few children’s book ideas, but I don’t know if I’m going to have the time to write, edit, and send them in. I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday and when I come back there will be about three days left until the deadline. The book I would love to send in is still being considered by a publisher who only takes exclusive manuscripts. I’m not allowed to send the manuscript anywhere else until I hear from them, or September 7 (it’s a three-month turnaround time and I sent it in on June 7). We’ll see if I have any time this week to write up some manuscripts and give them a good look-over.
There’s also Writer’s Digest competitions. I have done a couple of their competitions before, but never won anything. Of course, I can keep trying.
I also bought a book called 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. Not only does the book have a list of publishers and agents, it has a list of contests, as well. Of course, a lot of them have already ended because I was smart and bought the book half way through the year of 2013. But it also has a list of magazines, too. Some pay, some don’t. Some have contests, some don’t. But you can still send stuff in, depending on what they’re looking for.
I told myself I wanted to have something published by my 25th birthday. Of course, when I say something published, I mean one of my young adult novels or middle grade novels or something.
I turn 20 on September 1, 2013. That gives me five more years to get something done. If I can get something published by winning a contest, even if it’s just published in a small magazine, I’ll take it. I would prefer one of my novels, but if it gets my foot in the door, I’ll be happy.
The other day I finished editing the fourth draft of Diary of a Lover. I just have to print out the new fifth draft, give it to my sister Kristen and then she can edit that one for me. So while she edits that, my mom will be editing Take Over and I will be editing Hunter. I have three young adult novels that need serious editing so they’re finally going to be on their way. I’m hoping to make an assembly line out of them between myself, my sister, and my mom.
I know I was in the middle of writing The Blank Page, but I have decided to put that on hold for now. I’m not exactly in the mood to write it as I came up with a couple of new novel ideas. I came up with two new ideas and I’m not sure which one I want to start, but I’m going to write one on and off. I want to edit this month.
Since it is June, I shouldn’t start any new projects now. July is the second and last session of Camp NaNoWriMo. However, I think I might cheat this session again and write a combination of things. So, for June, I will edit Hunter and start…whatever new novel I thought of (neither one of them have a title). Then for July I can continue and finish whatever novel I’m starting this month. Does that make sense?
I’m going away for a week in July and I’m going to be babysitting a lot during that month so it’s going to be difficult for me to start a new project. I think I should be able to write 50,000 words during the month if I write a little extra every day. That’s why I think I’m just going to continue whatever I start this month. I won’t have wi-fi when I go away (I don’t think so, anyway…we’re going to a new place), so I will not be bringing my laptop. I’ll have to rely on writing in a notebook. I’m going to use that time to edit Hunter…if I don’t finish editing it by the time we go away.
I have a plan, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully I can stick with it. 🙂
I have to say that I am very please with myself. I’m in the middle of writing four novels, but I have not worked on any of them lately. I have been in the mood to edit. So, that’s what I did today. I have four novels to edit, so I might as well get started and allow this summer to be a productive one when it comes to finding publishers and such.
I edited Dairy of a Lover. I know I said that I was on my seventh draft, but I was actually on my fourth. I have no idea why I thought I was on draft number seven, but apparently I wasn’t. Anyway, I finished editing it and now I’m re-typing it. As I re-type it, I’m finding a lot more typos and such that I missed when I edited it on paper yesterday. I’ve been doing good on it, though. I’m on chapter nine, page 36.
In addition to Diary of a Lover, I have three other novels that need editing. My mom is currently editing Take Over for me, once I finish re-typing Dairy of a Lover Kris is going to edit that for me. While she and mom are busy on those novels, I’m going to edit Hunter. Then it’s going to go around in a big cycle. Saving Each Other isn’t going to be edited until I finish the other four parts of the novel.
I’m just taking a break now, but I’m going to try to get some more editing done tonight. I’m going to sit down sometime this week and get my two children’s books together and send them to multiple publishers.
So I have a lot going on right now. Three young adult novels are currently being edited, two children’s books are currently preparing to ship in the mail, and one (plus three) young adult novels are currently being written. I have a lot on my plate right now, but I am so determined to get this all done during the summer. It’ll be a good one. 🙂
2013: 119,319/350,000 Words Written
2013: 1,749/18,250 Pages Read
Some people organize themselves in a very prim and proper way. When you walk into their house, it looks organized. They yell at you not to touch anything, they’re DVDs may be alphabetized, and everything has its own spot in which nothing else may invade that space. You may call this OCD, but to them, they’re organized. Then you have those people who look as though they are slobs. Everything is all over the place and when you walk into their house, you can’t even see the floor. However, if they can find what they are looking for then they would call themselves organized.
It doesn’t seem like it, but I believe everyone is organized. It may not look like it on the outside, but on the inside they really know what they’re doing. Of course, you have those people who lose things all the time and don’t find them until a year has passed. I have a solution to that: Whatever it is that they lost simply grew legs and walked away. No, of course not. However, some people just have too much on their mind. They’re organized, but simply forget where they put certain things.
I call myself a hot mess. I’m organized, but to a certain extent. Well…when it comes to my writing, anyway. Remember I said that I have 120 ideas for stories and scripts? Yes, that’s how many file folders I have. Plus more because I’m sure that I’ll come up with more ideas. I don’t know how much money I spent on those file folders, but to me, they help. A lot.
Each story has its own separate folder. I made up these “progress” sheets. It says the date I started writing the novel, the date I finished it, when I started editing it, when I finished editing it (thinking it was worthy enough to be published), how many pages, how many chapters, how many words, etc. That page is filled out (not completed on most of them, obviously) and stapled to the inside of the folder. I also made up a “title” sheet. The title of the book, the genre, the type whether it be a novel or script, and a big spot for a summary. That is also stapled on the inside of the folder.
What actually goes inside the folder? Lists. Lists of the characters, their descriptions and backgrounds if I need them, an outline of the whole novel, and when finished, the first draft. Of course, once edited, I move it to one of those filing folders that have seven pockets. I fill that up with all the drafts of the novel. It gets heavy and it gets fat, but it holds all those pieces of paper.
Where do I find all the space for this stuff? Excellent question. I don’t. Yes, I have three bins that stack on top of each other. The bottom is filled with notebooks. The middle is filled with notebooks. The top is filled with notebooks. I have three other bins that are normal bins that have covers. All three are filled with notebooks. Are all these notebooks filled up? Not at all. However, I do use them; therefore, I need a place to put them.
If I wasted most of my space with empty, half-filled, and filled notebooks, where do I put the file folders? Where do I actually put my novels? They take up pretty much my whole desk space, so they are currently making themselves fit on my bookshelves which are completed loaded with books. Do I need a filing cabinet to put these folders in? Absolutely. Doe
s my mom have one that she can give me? Yes, which is perfect because I save money. Do I have room anywhere to put this filing cabinet? Not at all, but I made room.
Well, even though I don’t have that much room, I am still organized. Technically. I have everything in a neat pile, anyway. I should probably just clean up a little bit…how do you organize?
All These Characters in My Head Won’t Sit Down and Shut Up….
What is writer’s block? Basically, it means that a writer has run out of new ideas. They cease to write for a little while due to lack of idea, inspiration, whatever you want to call it. This could happen in between writing books or it could happen while you’re in the middle of writing a book. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. To put it simply: it sucks.
What is A.D.D? Attention Deficit Disorder. You may have impulsive actions; you may have a high hyperactivity level, or lack a high attention span.
The difference between writer’s block and A.D.D is that you can be diagnosed with A.D.D and…Let’s face it; writer’s block is all in your head. My point is if you’re a writer, how can you tell what you have? Regardless of being diagnosed with A.D.D or not, we can pretend to diagnose ourselves (if we assume that we have it).
Anyway, writer’s block means that you’re fresh out of ideas, correct? Well, I don’t have that problem. If you read the Writing tab at the top, you would know that I write young adult novels, middle grade novels, children’s books, and I have a few ideas for scripts. Now…if I had writer’s block, would one think that I would have ideas for 7 scripts (5 being movies and 2 being TV shows), 5 children’s books, 10 middle grade novel (but it’s a series, so there will be more planned), and 98 young adult novels? No, I don’t think so.
Now, I self-diagnosed myself with A.D.D a long time ago, but I was never tested for it. I don’t know for certain if I really have it. So, let’s assume that I don’t have it since I was never tested for it…18 out of 120 ideas I listed above have been started. Only 6 of those 18 ideas have actually been completed…two of them are children’s books, two of them are young adult novels, and two of them are movie scripts. The sad part is that one of those children’s books would have never even been thought of if I didn’t have to write a children’s story for my Child Development class in high school.
Now finally on to my point…how do you know if you really have writer’s block or A.D.D when it comes to writing? The answer? You don’t. In one case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you may have ran out of ideas on what to do next. Then you would have writer’s block. In the other case, you could be in the middle of writing one story, but stop and move onto the next because you lost interest in the story. The plot is moving too slowly, you hate your characters, or you simply have an idea on what to do next, but you don’t like it. Or you could be writing a scene and from that scene a whole new plot unfolds in your head for a completely different novel. That happens to me a lot and I cannot stress enough when I say a lot. That would probably be A.D.D. Either way, that novel is not getting done.
So, what is it exactly that I’m trying to say? Whether you have writer’s block, A.D.D, or your pen just ran out of ink…that novel is not going to write itself. Ideas or no ideas, new ideas or old ideas, keep that pen flowing or those fingers typing because believe me; once that first draft is done, a huge relief of accomplishment will surge through the veins in your body.
It took me nine months and seven days to complete the first draft of my young adult novel. It was the very first novel I had ever finished (aside from the two children’s books). I felt so relieved that I had actually finished something. Sure, it was just the first draft and it was crap, but now I get to look forward to editing it and then finally kicking it out the door to get published. I have edited it a couple of times and believe me, it still needs a lot of work. The other young adult novel I completed took me two months and three days. That one turned out even worse than the first novel I finished. However, I got it done regardless of if I had ideas or not. My main goal was just getting it done…which is why the first draft is so crappy. Now when I edit it, I will catch errors, plot holes, and come up with new and better ideas for the story. Believe me, it’s a lot easier working with something crappy than it is working with nothing at all.
Now, most people say that some novels can take up to a couple of years to write. I believe that, but even though my first novel didn’t take me a year to write, I found that I felt much more accomplished with the novel I wrote in two months than I did with the novel I wrote in nine months. So, it may be better for some people to write their novel slowly and carefully. But, if you stay in character, keep the plot moving at an okay pace and actually have a beginning, middle, and an end; I think writing a novel as quickly as possible is the best bet. Sure, editing will be harder than actually writing the story, but that’s how it should be. When you write, have fun. Say what’s on your mind and write whatever ideas pop into your head. Then when you edit, you can curse all you want…what better way to take out your frustrations on a novel than to scribble all over it with red ink?
Don’t get frustrated because the novel isn’t finished; get frustrated because the finished novel isn’t polished to a sparkling shine.