Camp NaNo ’13: Week 3

Another week and here’s another post I’ve failed to write. Hopefully, this the first time you’re seeing my pre-written apology post, but my track record doesn’t project good things for me. In fact, this is probably the third apology post you’ve seen this month.

Perhaps I should actually apologize. I’m sorry.

It’s likely that you follow my blog (or have stumbled across it) to read about my writing and what I think about writing in general. Right now it’s not going very well. At least I assume it isn’t going very well since it’s still June when I’m writing the post.

If you’re following my Twitter account or watching my NaNo profile page (I don’t know why you would do that one) then you’re aware of my word count. Feel free to yell at me there or in a comment here to tell me that I should be keeping up with my blogging duties. I deserve the scoldings (unless I’m less than halfway done with my wordcount; then I’m probably stressed).

There’s just over a week until the end of Camp NaNo. Let’s see how I do.

Prejudice in Writing: It’s Not Being PC

This is a subject that I’m always nervous to talk about, at least with people I don’t know very well (like nearly every person who’s reading my blog). It’s a subject that everyone has an opinion on with a lifetime of experiences to back up those opinions. It’s a subject that is…  volatile, to say the least.

Prejudice.

Yes, I know: I’m opening myself up for a whole lot of internet-hurt (hate) here, but this is a vital topic. Just because it’s a difficult issue to bring up doesn’t make it any less important to discuss; in fact I would say that it’s more important to talk about difficult topics. They’re difficult for a reason.

So… let’s talk about it.

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Writing Plan: The Unchecked List

This time I didn’t do very well checking off my list. It’s not a surprise, but I’m still disappointed in myself. I don’t know what I was doing this month, but it wasn’t writing. It’s amazing how badly I did this month.

…I should probably move on, shouldn’t I?

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Seems I Lost My Voice

Sorry everyone. I didn’t check up on– well, you don’t really need to know exactly how bad I am at using my computer. It’s embarrassing for someone who is in her early-twenties. At any rate, I posted a blank post without meaning to and I am so very sorry. I’ll try not to let it happen again, but I doubt the truth of that statement.

If you’d like to actually read the post I wrote, you can click on the link here. It’s a nice little post about finding my voice and what I hope for those authors who are looking for their voices. Otherwise, I hope you stick around for my next post on Thursday. I promise it’s finished (I double-checked).

Thanks for your forgiveness and your… sticking-around-ness ahead of time. I’ll see you on Thursday.

I Really Sound Like That?

There are quite a few studies out there that say that most people don’t like the sound of their own voices. Most of those studies also explain why precisely we don’t (it has something to do with the difference in how we hear ourselves when speaking and how we hear recorded sounds), but that doesn’t matter in this post. In this post I’m going to talk about finding my blogging voice.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a wordy person. Some (most) would say that I can be pedantic, even. Usually they’re right. There are a lot of random facts rolling around in my skull and I can get distracted by them, so I end up rambling. I hope to cut down on that — at least in writing.

When I first started blogging I was worried about sounding like an idiot (I don’t know why; I’m usually quite smart), and that translated into being wordy in a much less entertaining fashion than I normally am. Since then I’ve relaxed a bit and I’m becoming wordy in a way that I hope is much more entertaining. Hopefully.

Finding your voice is one of the things that’s shouted at beginning writers almost as often as “Write what you know.” It’s also one of the hardest things to find because the only way you can really find your voice is to write. Just like most other forms of art, we need to practice to get good at it.

But, really, what is “voice”?

It’s you. Voice is how you put yourself into your writing that makes it unique to you. Not on any sort of conscious level,  although it can be downplayed or emphasized on purpose. Your voice is the soul of your writing, it’s your soul put into the written word. Don’t hide who you are in your writing; that’s what readers remember.

My favorite authors (and bloggers) all have distinct, developed voices that I can identify in moments. This is what I hope to find for myself. Even if I’m never a great or even a good writer, I want a part of my soul to show in how I write. I want the people who know me best in my personal life to be able to tell that these are my words, and I don’t want people I meet online to be disappointed by me in real life.

Have you found your voice yet? How did you? Do you think I sound interesting or would you like to hit me over the head with something very heavy just to shut me up? (It’s more understandable than you may think.)

 

**I’m an idiot. Mostly I’m an idiot technologically. Sorry to everyone who read the first (non) draft. This is the one I intended to post.**

 

Can They Really Teach Me How to Write?

Any new writer is inundated with what he or she can learn. We have writing books, writing classes, and the many, many blogs we can find with the click of a mouse. But — regardless of whether you think writers are born or made — can any of these things help us?

The easy, unhelpful answer is… maybe.

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What Do You Mean, “How Do You Write”?

The idea for this post didn’t come easily. I hadn’t yet started writing anything regular (a buffer is a good idea when it comes to me), so I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with the post. Should I write more about pre-writing, or maybe how to deal with the inevitable question of whether I can call myself a writer? It all seemed too contrived and, frankly, rather boring.

To try to figure it out, I was talking with a close friend, and the conversation went something like this (it’s paraphrased):

Her: Hm. How you write. How it makes you feel.

Me: I just… write. I don’t know how to explain it.

Her: Hm.

Me: I mainly just… write.

Her: Okay, how do you prepare to write?

Me: What do you mean?

Her: You really do just sit down and write, don’t you?

Me: …I think so.

It sounds like less work than it is. I do a lot of pre-writing or I have the story set up in my head when I sit down to write. So… when I do write, I am just putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, and the words usually flow easily. My notes and outlines are next to me so I can refer to them, and I’m constantly re-reading what I’ve just written. If I’m having trouble with a word or phrase, or I’m unsure about a fact, I highlight it or circle it and work on the issue later. It doesn’t usually slow me down.

Unlike others, there is no specific place or set-up needed for me to write. I don’t need music or a sunny day in the park; I need a computer or my notebook and a pen. I never had the luxury of choosing the place when I had time or the level of noise, so I can write as easily at a party as I can alone in the library.

My writing habit is that I never had the opportunity to form a habit. A part of me needed to write, to tell a story, so I wrote when I had the opportunity. I’ve been known to stop mid-conversation so I could scrawl something in my notebook or on a napkin or (a few times) on my arm. Yes, I’m that odd.

So, when people ask how I write, I don’t have a response that doesn’t sound obnoxious, but it is honest. All I do is write.

What do you do? Do you have specific set-up that’s needed to write? Do you need music or your desk or can you write anytime, anywhere? When you can’t get what you want, can you still write?