Writing

Advice On Starting A First Draft

Outline

Sketch a timeline of events that will happen. Brainstorm scenes using sticky notes and move them accordingly. Create character sketches beforehand, so you have a better understanding of key players in your novel.

Research

Reading articles, essays, or books might inspire you to write your own. Besides, Google is your best friend.

Write

At some point, that first draft needs to be written. Unfortunately, it won’t write itself. So pick up a pen or open your word processor of choice. Grab an idea and run with it.

Relax

Take a deep breath. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Try to silence your inner editor for now. You can always make a draft better, but you can’t if it doesn’t exist yet.

Writing

Reasons Why Writers Abandon Stories

I apologize to all the stories I’ve abandoned. Here’s why.

A new, shiny idea comes along. Then I proceed to follow the glittery trail of a new idea. It’s hard coming back to old stories, especially when I fall in love with another one. Or even when I fall out of love with old projects.

I don’t know what happens next. Thanks to my non-existent outlines. Worse, my characters are lost too. Maybe I’d also benefit from doing character sketches.

I just need a break. Stories can get too real, too fast. Some distance is called for. Certain stories exhaust me.

I get bored. I love the honeymoon phase when I start a novel and everything’s novel. Pun very much intended. But once the novelty wears off, I jump ship.

I’m overwhelmed. Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately, I endeavour to write great, epic works.

I prioritize something else. I love writing. But at times, other things take precedence. And even though it’s important to me, my well-being is too.

I move on. There’s nothing wrong with that. I learn all I can from one specific story and go forth into the world to do bigger, better things. Let go. Move on. I rather not stay in one spot forever.

Writing

Why I Hate Outlining

Outlining isn’t writing. I’m a writer, not an outliner. Besides, I love writing, not outlining.

It drives me insane. Outlining might as well be the bane of my existence.

Outlining takes time. I could spend those hours writing instead. Besides, we only have 24 hours every day. I can’t afford to spend half of it on an outline.

An outline doesn’t guarantee anything. When my plans fall through, I’m back at square one.

My characters take one look at my outline and proceed to do the exact opposite. I bet they laugh at me behind my back too.

It requires a certain mood. I almost never want to outline.

Outlining isn’t fun. At least writing is some of the time.

I don’t follow my outlines. The one time I did, I didn’t finish my novel. That manuscript has been rotting away for years now.

It can lead you down rabbit holes. You might not recognize you need to be saved until it’s too late.

Outlining doesn’t work for everybody. Exhibit A: me.

Some teachers want you to hand in outlines. I wrote my essay first and then created an outline later. Because I’m a rebel.

I dread the thought of outlining almost as much as I do driving. You just never know what might happen.

Outlining puts off writing. We all know writers are masters at procrastinating.

Outline for too long and you have one day to write and edit your final essay. Good luck.

It can be inefficient. Which is unproductive. As a student writer, I need all the productivity I can get.

Outlining will never compare to writing. I’d rather edit than outline. What has the world come to? I’ll pick the lesser of two evils, thank you very much.

I’m sort of, kind of joking. Seriously, I don’t hate outlining that much.

Writing

The Life Of A Writer


The writing life is a unique one to say the least.

Being a writer teaches you how to be patient. Especially when all your characters take one look at your outline, laugh, and do the exact opposite. I don’t outline for this reason. I’ve been burned many times.

Eventually, you lower your expectations until you no longer have any. Can’t be disappointed if you don’t set yourself up to be, am I right? Besides, the best moments are the ones you never see coming.

What do you mean you’re publishing my story? That’s impossible! You must be mistaken.

You learn to reject rejection.

You rejected me? No way! That’s your loss, not mine.

This post is already trending in the direction of a certain bad writer being in full denial.

Over time, you hone your stalking, er, observing skills. Stalking isn’t ok. But observing people is a fine skill to have in your arsenal. It’s better than watching paint dry.

Obviously, you constantly deal with things not going your way because life never goes the way you expect it to. What’s more, other human beings do a great job messing up your well-laid plans. Yes, fictional characters are people too.

There’s a beauty in being a teacher and student at the same time. After all, you become an expert at whatever you’re writing about. Hello, Google.

Sooner rather than later, you’ll get ink stains on everything. I literally mean everything. Your fingers and hands. Your legs and toes. Your wallet and bag. Your desk and bed. But you embrace them because what kind of writer doesn’t have ink on some body part at any given time?

This universe bestows upon many greats the secrets to handling hand cramps. In fact, you might even strengthen your hands so much you never feel pain ever again. When’s the last time you had a hand cramp? Surely cramps are a sign of someone who doesn’t write often.

Can you tell I was in some kind of mood while penning this post? I’m half joking. Please don’t flay me alive.

Writing

Reverse Outlining 

A second before I started writing this post, I sighed. So you can imagine just how I feel about outlining. Even outlining hat happens after an essay is written. Behold reverse outlining.

It doesn’t seem that bad in theory. Unless you’re forced to do a reverse outline on a half finished rough draft of an essay. Reverse outlining is probably more helpful and useful after you write an entire essay, not while you’re still in the midst of writing one. But what would I know about outlining. It’s not like I ever outline. 

Still, I may or may not try to reverse outline this month, assuming I can muster up the energy and time to.

Let it be known that I’m open-minded and willing to try new things. Definitely not stubborn and set in my own ways. Or bitter and resentful about others trying to ruin my perfectly good brainstorming, writing, and editing process.

I have a few issues with outlining, as you can tell. I doubt I’ll ever sort them out.

Writing

Oh, Outlining

I don’t outline 300 page novels. So what makes you think I’m going to outline 3 page essays?

Teachers and their unbelievable expectations, eh?

I don’t outline unless I have to. So when I am outlining, it’s safe to say I’d rather be doing a million other things. Like writing.

Most of the time, I brainstorm or generate ideas without writing anything down. On the rare occasion I have to outline, I tend to dump everything in my brain onto the page. And try to make it presentable for my professor.

I guess I’m too impatient to make an outline before I start writing.

In my world, outlining isn’t writing. Similarly, editing isn’t writing.

I have nothing against outlining. I just don’t love it as much as I love writing.

Writing

My Essay Writing Process

  1. Freak out.
  2. Freak out some more.
  3. Start to brainstorm.
  4. Generate many ideas.
  5. Hate most ideas.
  6. Pick the best worst idea.
  7. Shrug once.
  8. Scrap said idea for a better one.
  9. Try to outline.
  10. Fail to outline.
  11. Attempt to write a first draft.
  12. Edit first draft before it’s written.
  13. Write enough words to meet the word count.
  14. Delete unnecessary words.
  15. Squint at word count.
  16. Write more words.
  17. Realize there are too many words.
  18. Kill my darlings.
  19. Submit the poorly written essay.
  20. Celebrate by crying.
Writing

Why I Don’t Outline

If you didn’t know, I don’t outline. If you did know and you were wondering why, I’m about to tell you (in very few words because that’s my style).

  • I don’t know how to.
  • It’s fun not to.
  • I like surprises.
  • I’d rather be writing.
  • I never follow outlines.