I Rather Write Than Talk

I rather write than talk. Of course, I don’t always have a choice.

In social situations, I often wish I was doing something else like writing.

I just want to write. Is that too much to ask for?

I’m in the midst of writing a story. I’m not sure where it’s going exactly, but I feel excited. I’ve been having so much fun following my characters around.

I have every intention to follow them around some more. I know the universe doesn’t always work out according to plan, but a writer can hope for the best.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I’d do if I didn’t write. If I couldn’t.

It’s a lot more fun facing a page than facing a person. There’s no judgement with the former. I can be myself. I don’t have to censor, filter. That’s when I’m at my happiest.

Besides, having an extended conversation with someone can be so much work.

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A 2018 Writing Q&A

Why do you write?

Because I hate just about everything else.

How often do you write?

Every single day. I barely sleep, I hardly study, and I rarely socialize.

What’s the easiest part?

Writing the first draft.

What’s the hardest part?

Editing terrible first drafts.

What’s your writing routine like?

I’ll wash my hands because I’m a germaphobe. Then I start writing until I’m done.

What did you accomplish in 2017?

Next to nothing. I got to attend a magazine launch for the first time. I hope it’s not my last.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing stories that are too long but also too short at the same time. Send help.

What are your goals for 2018?

I’d like to submit my work to as many places as possible. I know that’s not specific. Give me a break. Vague is my middle name after all.

What are you looking forward to?

I received some exciting news the other day. Nothing is completely confirmed or finalized just yet. Any day now I’m going to do cartwheels until my wrists fall off. I’ll keep you updated.

What’s your dream?

To be a published author. To make a living doing what I love. I just want to work with words. Is that too much to ask for? Probably.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself trying to write the next bestseller while squinting at a screen.

Any last words?

Thank you for coming along with me on this wonderful and woeful journey. I hope you experience even more rejections than I do.

Writing An Essay In One Day

Instead of having one week to write an essay, I had one day. I don’t know how I managed, but I did. Somehow.

Thankfully, the paper wasn’t too long. I wrote during the day. I took short breaks in between writing the first draft. At night, I edited the essay a few times before submitting it.

At least, this wasn’t an essay for school. It was for a scholarship.

I saved the wrong date. I put in the day winners would be selected rather than the deadline for submission. So I thought I had seven days. But then I checked and realized I only had one. Safe to say, I never want this to happen again.

Of course, it wasn’t the best essay I’ve ever written, but I’m happy with how the paper turned out.

Lesson learned. I should be more careful when noting down dates. Also, next time I’ll check well in advance to see if the deadline is still the same or has changed.

Present me wasn’t pleased with past me. So much for being meticulous.

Write First, Research Later

I like to write before I research. At the minimum, I brainstorm ideas I have first and look for sources later. This is how I’ve written most of my essays in university.

Even though finding research that supports my argument takes time, knowing my stance in advance stops me from researching for too long.

I’m someone who doesn’t know what I think until I write my thoughts down on paper. Only after do I have more clarity.

I’ve found the better I know what I want to say, the less time I need to conduct research. When I’m lost, I’ll spend way too much time reading articles and not enough time writing essays.

I find the sources I want to use, find the quotes I want to include, and find I’m halfway there. Besides, half the battle lies in researching.

Writing isn’t so bad once I’m in the flow state. That lovely, blissful place where words flow from your fingers onto the computer. I quite enjoy drafting a paper during the early stages.

For me at least, editing is the other half of the battle. First drafts are messy. They require a lot of time and attention to make them better.

So when the first draft reaches the final stage, I feel a sense of satisfaction. Creating something great from nothing is an achievement in and of itself.

I guess my advice to other students is to write first, research later. Come up with ideas and figure out what you’re interested in writing about. Then find evidence to support your argument.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to approach essay writing. I’m not suggesting that write first, research later is a hard and fast rule you should follow all the time.

Still, if you feel stuck at any point, have a brainstorm session without referring to any external resources.

To quote one of my old teachers, “use the gray matter between your ears.”

Picking One Of My Passions

I love reading, writing, and blogging so much, they’re daily habits of mine. At least I try to do them every day. I had the brilliant idea of making myself pick one of my passions over the others. This will be fun.

Reading or writing?

I already hate myself for doing this. I can’t give up creating stories. I say this while staring at all the books on my shelves. They used to be empty, but it’s slowly filling up.

Writing or blogging?

I’m reminded of the time I thought I could only take a writing class or a blogging one. Turns out, I could take both, so I did. Interestingly enough, I did slightly better in the blogging course, but my heart still loves writing more. Also, I’ve skipped more days of blogging than I have writing since I started both.

Reading or blogging?

This is tough as well. I can’t imagine myself not reading ever again. After all, I’ve been reading almost my whole life and blogging for only one fifth of it.

Hopefully, I never have to give up any of my passions. I feel grateful I’m able to do the things I enjoy. I wouldn’t be the same without books, blogs, and baseball. The latter is a story for another day however.

Knowing When To Let Your Stories Go

At some point, you have to let your story go. You can’t hold onto one story your whole life and never move on. Well, I guess technically you can.

Letting go and moving on applies to every stage of the creative process. Easier said than done though.

My problem isn’t so much moving on but knowing when to let go.

How do you know when to let your story go?

If you plan to submit your piece somewhere, there’s a predetermined deadline you’ll have to meet. That external force often helps.

But what if you don’t have a deadline?

Set one yourself.

Be your own boss. Otherwise, you’ll never get much work done.

It’s okay if you don’t feel ready, if your story isn’t perfect.

At least you did the best you could. And next time you’ll do better. After all, nothing can truly replace first-hand experience.

So start stories but finish them. When you’re done with one, write another. Keep going. You’ve come a long way, yet you have so much further to go.

Let go. Move on. Start over. Start again.

There’s no shame in that. Don’t you dare feel guilty for creating art the way you want.

I know I used the pronoun “you,” but I was directing this post at myself. Disregard any advice that doesn’t apply to you.

As 2017 winds down to a close, I can’t help but reflect on this year. Honestly, I’m happy with how it turned out. I can’t wait to see what lessons await me in 2018.

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have writing them.

How To Beat Writer’s Block

Feeling uninspired and unmotivated is one thing. Feeling blocked or at an impasse is another.

Here are ways to beat writer’s block and write the next New York Times bestseller.

Take a shower/bath.

A shower somehow seems to solve everything. Maybe water is magical. Somehow, I have my best ideas during the most inconvenient times possible.

Take a walk.

It doesn’t have to be a long one. Get outside. Breathe in some fresh air. It helps clear your mind. Who knows, an idea might strike you while you’re out in nature, talking to flowers or trees.

Take a break.

And have fun. If, like me, you’ve forgotten the definition of fun, it might be a sign you need a new dictionary. Sometimes you may be better off relaxing for a little bit before returning to your work in progress. A break never hurt anyone, did it?

Take your time.

Writer’s block doesn’t care about your feelings. It will stay as long as it wants to. Just remember everything comes to an end. Nothing ever lasts. Before you know it, you’ll be back on track. Don’t forget you have an entire lifetime to write.

I should be a writer’s block doctor. If writing doesn’t work out, at least I have another career to fall back on. What do you think?

On a serious note, I hope I see your books on the charts one day.

A Late NaNoWriMo Confession

I have a confession to make. I didn’t write as much as I would’ve liked one day during NaNoWriMo.

To be fair a headache came on and I tried to push through. But I felt horrible. I gave in before I could fill up all the pages I aimed to complete. Because I am who I am, I tried to make up for it. I wanted to compensate.

Then again, I didn’t want to push myself too far to the point where my brain and body broke down on me even more.

A health scare, minor or major, is a reminder that I only have one head and one heart. I have one life. As much as I strive to get a ton of work done every day, there will always be more work than living days.

I’m aware NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a challenge. But I know my limits. And I refuse to risk my well being or ignore warning signs. I hope you don’t either.

I’m all for pushing yourself. But don’t push yourself to the point of pain.

Obviously, I love writing for many reasons. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan to write as long as possible. Less productive days aren’t the end of the world.

Despite everything that happened in November, I had fun.

To be honest, I didn’t leave the house much in past NaNos. But life’s too short to stay at home all the time. Besides, I need to live a little if I’m going to have anything worth writing about.

In recent years, my focus in November has shifted away from reaching 50,000 words to writing but also living throughout the month.

Writing is difficult enough as is. But if you aren’t feeling fine, putting words on the page turns into a great feat. Look after yourself, always. Don’t you dare feel guilty for putting your needs first.

My Novel Writing Process

I’ve written some novels in my lifetime. But whenever I undertake a new one, I’m not sure how I’ll make it to the end. This is a glimpse into my writing process.

Brainstorming

I’m a character-centric writer. Always have been, always will be. So I tend to come up with an interesting person and throw conflict at him or her as I go.

Outlining

Based on past experience, if I had to outline every novel for the rest of my life, I’d be on pace to never finish another one ever again. I sort of outline in my head. Depends on your definition of outlining though.

Writing

It isn’t too bad once I get past the beginning and middle.

Researching

I tend to research after I finish an initial draft where I brainstorm my own ideas first.

Waiting

I like to wait a long time in between writing the first draft and all that follows after.

Transcribing  

I handwrite most of my novels, so at some point, I have to type everything up onto the computer.

Critiquing

The one novel I sought feedback on was incomplete at the time, and it still is about six years after the fact. At least I like critiquing my own work. I’d much rather crush my own ego than have someone else do so.

Rewriting

I enjoy losing my sanity and seeing improvements at the same time.

Editing

Some stories don’t even get this far. What a shame.

Publishing

Obviously, I’m not at this stage yet. If my dreams come true, I don’t know how I’ll refrain myself from talking about my books.

Procrastinating

I procrastinate so much it’s a miracle I get anything done on time. Sadly, I put things off at all stages of the novel writing process. Nothing like consistency, am I right?

Reading

Even when I’m writing a novel and it’s a priority like during NaNoWriMo, I try to read as much as I can. Books inspire me. Other stories have inspired my own.

Celebrating

I celebrate the small victories as much or maybe even more than the big ones. I believe in rewarding myself. Otherwise, my motivation would be six feet under.

What’s your novel writing process like? I’d love to know.

My Writing Routine 2017

I’ve always enjoyed reading about the routines of other writers. So I figured I’d answer questions about mine.

When do you write?

It depends. When I have class, I write prose or poetry in the morning. I’m the afternoon, I’ll draft a blog post on the way back. If I don’t have to commute, I procrastinate all day and create at night.

Where do you write?

Where do I not write is the better question. A bus. The train. In my room. At my desk. Wherever I can.

How often do you write?

Every day. Somehow. I don’t sleep much. I also have no social life and a non-existent love life.

What do you use to write or type?

A pen. Google Drive. I prefer them over a pencil and Microsoft Word.

Is there anything you do before writing?

I wash my hands because germs. Is that weird? I’m weird.

Is there anything you do while writing?

Not really, especially if I’m writing by hand. When typing, I tend to have a glass of water nearby. Very rarely do I eat something. On the rare occasion I do, it’s probably a fruit I can eat with a fork. Germs again.

Is there anything you do after writing?

I close my notebook and retract my pen or I’ll shut down my computer. More often than not, I check my phone for anything I missed. But I don’t have many friends, so there’s nothing to miss.

At the start of each writing session, do you read over what you wrote?

If I’m writing short stories or poems, generally no. If I’m working on a novel, sometimes. Depends on whether I need to refresh my memory or not. I’m not getting any younger.

Do you finish writing on a half complete sentence or idea?

I crave closure, so I’ve never stopped writing in the middle of anything. This goes for just about everything I can control, which isn’t much.

Do you write in short bursts or long periods?

I prefer getting all my writing done in one go. Unless I’m struggling. Let’s just say I take more breaks when writing an academic essay than I do with a short story.

Is there anything you’d like to change about your writing routine?

I’m quite pleased with it right now. I don’t have a problem, and so long as my routine continues to serveme, I’m not going to fix what isn’t broken.

Do you think your writing routine will be different next year?

I’m not sure. I guess that depends on my grand lifestyle in 2018. I’ll stay the course, adjust if and when necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to answer the above questions on your own blog.