When is My Idea Ready to Write?

The ideas are constantly floating in and out of my head like the fish on those horrible screensavers (they are entirely too distracting). When one of them swims off-screen, it’s not usually lost, but taking a break before swimming back into view. Sometimes, they do die off, but it’s a rare occurrence, and the number of little fish being born every day make up for the occasional death. But when is the fish ready to be fried for supper?

…did I go to far with that metaphor? I might have; let me clarify.

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Is Anyone Taking Me Seriously?

…I hope not.

Well, not too seriously.

First of all, I’m young. I’m not super young, but I am in my early/mid twenties. I am sure that most of the things I’m spouting off now are in some way wrong or will be rendered so at some point. I change my mind often enough that I know it to be true. (Maybe.)

Secondly, I’m not published, either traditionally or self…ish…ly? I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m just slashing my way through the jungles of writing with my imaginary machete like one of Indiana Jones’s disposable guides. Hopefully, I’ll find my Ark of the Covenant at some point: publishing. But, for now, I’ll just repeat this: I don’t know what I’m doing.

This blog isn’t one of the many writing advice blogs, at least it’s not meant to be. What I hope I’m doing here is chronicling my journey into writing. Sometimes you might find something that’ll be useful to you, but more often I’ll be rambling on about how hard it is to be a writer. Because it is hard, and I don’t care how much you people who don’t write say it’s not. Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean it’s not difficult.

Are you taking me seriously? (Really, don’t.) Are you afraid your readers are taking you too seriously? Who should  I be taking seriously?

Heartbruises and Black Ink

An absolutely brilliant look at another type of writer — one who need inspiration more than planning. Highly recommended blog that doesn’t have enough followers.

Oh, The Blinking Cursor:

Today’s post wasn’t on the blog schedule.  I want that out and understood, because it’s going to be a weird one.

We can call it motivation, I suppose.  But in a very real sense, at least for me, and I would assume for most people who write emotionally, who write poetry, their motivation is… emotion.  It’s what fuels a writer like me, fuels me.  If I don’t feel anything for what I write, its like there’s no soul to my piece.

It seems that writers of my ilk seem to thrive on heart-bruises.  A double edged sword, to be sure, because it means there’s constantly conflict.  In order to craft, we need it, and that means there is… rarely peace in our lives.

…an old writer friend of mine wrote a poem, and the following stanza is from it [see it here].

“…give me something to write about

won’t…

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That First Rejection

A few weeks ago I got my first rejection.

…well, no, I suppose that’s not really true. I was a high-performing (read: highly competitive and highly active) student in school, and I modeled as a child. I’ve been rejected. Often. This, however, was the first rejection I cared about.

On a whim, I applied to a program that I really know I had no business getting into, at least not right now. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but I’ve been slacking where it comes to honing my abilities. I write, but I don’t finish and I don’t edit (not well). Still, this was a program with a speaker that I really admire and it was not out of the realm of possibility for me.

So I applied.

And I waited.

I started getting anxious. (Which is rare enough for me since I couldn’t do anything about it, so normally I don’t worry.)

And I waited some more.

Then I got my rejection.

God, it hurt. I have a few friends who knew that I was freaking myself out about this and I had a mini-breakdown with them. Then — surprisingly to me, as I have no previous experience with this thing called “disappointment” — I got over it. I saw my rejection for what it was (more of a “please try again next year” than an outright “please, burn that and never write again”), realized that my style of writing wasn’t even that great of a fit for most of the instructors, and I moved on.

I’m not going to print the e-mail out or tape it to my wall. I know that I got rejected. Believe me, I know and I’m not going to forget it anytime soon, nor would I want to forget it. But, it is a turning point for me.

Since I ended up writing three short stories in the span of two weeks — all of which weren’t all that bad, but were far from the quality of work I get from my fanfiction (yes, fanfiction) — I learned something. I want to be a writer, so I need to write. It may seem like a ridiculous thing not to already know, but I wanted to be a writer, and I hadn’t really been writing. I’d been sketching things out now and then, coming up with ideas, outlining, but I haven’t finished anything.

The first rejection is important because it shows that you’re really working toward your goal. It means that you’ve finished something, and that you’re willing to put yourself out there to find your niche. Getting that first rejection is important for another reason. It takes away that fear. Once you’re told that you’re not right for something you really wanted, it makes rejection the “known,” not the scary “unknown.” The second rejection is easier, and eventually it just goes in the drawer.

Have you been rejected before? How do you deal with it?

 

Fear’s a Strong Word, Isn’t It?

Figuring out what today’s topic would be was strangely difficult. I went through several possibilities, each one more forced than the last, my writing getting stiffer with every word and my voice getting lost in the facts. You see, I’m still in the early planning stages of my novel, which is the first of a book series, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself so I limited the topics to pre-writing, or general writing. To make things more difficult, I have a wicked case of writer’s block.

Then a close friend of mine suggested (as I was banging my head against the desk in an oddly soothing rhythm) that I write about just that: writer’s block. Writer’s block is… a difficult topic. Not just because it’s a pain in my behind, but because it’s so difficult to pinpoint and explain. Most posts about writer’s block that don’t have a more specific topic end up being about nothing, which is why I decided to write about fear.

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As Deadlines Go Whooshing By

Deadlines.

It seems an appropriate subject since it’s been… three weeks since my last post, and I’ve bypassed three posts. As Douglas Adams once said, I like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by. I’d tell you what my relationship with them is, but it’s probably obvious by now.

We don’t get along.

Procrastination, however, is a dear, dear friend of mine. I’ve procrastinated as long as I can remember, and it was only augmented by the fact that I was one of those annoying kids in class who could do term papers the night before the first draft was due and still get the best mark in class. That’s why I try to set firm deadlines for myself when they’re not imposed on me. Sometimes it even works.

Honestly, this is one of the parts of a writer’s life that I have a serious love/hate relationship with. I’m not published or contracted in any way, so the only deadlines I have are completely self-imposed: writing contests, writing entry deadlines, or just deadlines I set for myself when I decide that enough’s enough. If I miss a deadline, it’s no big deal. I don’t enter the contest, or I miss an opportunity. There are no tangible consequences, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.

On one hand this is good. I can write when I want to, when inspiration hits or I have enough free time to sit at my desk. I even write fewer pieces that are absolute rubbish. I don’t get tired of plotlines or stories, my characters don’t annoy me quite as often because I can always just walk away.

But it is also very, very bad.

Overall, I produce less stuff, not just less bad stuff, but less good stuff too, and some of my best pieces of writing were written hours before a deadline, sometimes minutes. I just do better when the adrenaline is flowing and I don’t a have any other choice but to write. And I write so much slower. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, and inspiration comes and goes as it pleases. This means that it can be days or weeks, once months between good pieces of writing.

That’s completely unacceptable. I understand that sometimes there’s writer’s block and some reason (though God only knows why) behind a writer’s inability to write, but this is just laziness and I need to get over it. I think part of me is scared to try to sell my novel once I get it finished. I’m scared of the rejection, or maybe I’m scared of actually getting sold.

But not finishing scares me a hell of a lot more than getting or not getting published. I am a writer. My family and friends introduce me as such (“This is Brigid. She writes.”) and I have always been writing. If I never finish anything, then that makes me a pretty horrible writer, doesn’t it? If I’m a horrible writer– the one changeable thing that’s defined me since I graduated from “reader” to “writer” in the first grade– does that make my entire life worthless? Does that make me worthless?

Logically, I don’t think so. I’ve done a lot of good just in the couple of decades I’ve lived, but I could do so much more. I am determined to do much more, and I am determined to do so with my words.

Do any of my readers need deadlines or are you all lucky enough to have the discipline to write without them? Can you write with them or does it block your creativity? Have you ever had deadlines to meet with your writing?

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Noticing the Ideas

Hello everyone! Seems I’m actually going to post on time.

I figure since I’m writing a blog about writing, I should start at the beginning: ideas. Whenever anyone finds out I’m an aspiring writer, I get asked the same question without fail.

Where do I get my ideas?

As annoying as that question is, my answer is probably more annoying. I get them everywhere.  So do you. So does everyone.

Ideas are everywhere. You can get them when reading a book or watching a movie. You can get them when you overhear an argument or see the view (or lack thereof) from your bedroom. The difference between a normal person and a writer is that writers recognize that they’re getting ideas and they make something from it.

So, the problem with me isn’t I don’t get ideas, but trying to form the ideas into something usable or just writing in general. That’s the problem now, too. I have at least three ideas floating around in my head and I don’t know which to use. Maybe I’ll sketch out some ideas and see what you all think I should do. At the least, I’ll have more formed ideas for the story.

How about all of my readers (as few as you may be)? Do you have difficulty coming up with ideas or making them into something that’d work for a book/short story/poem? Are you like me and your ideas come from everything, everywhere, all the time or do you have to sit down and focus to form ideas, maybe even use prompts?

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