Where I Am On My Writing Journey

When it comes to writing, I feel like I hold myself back. At least I’m not letting others hold me back too much.

I think my problem isn’t so much that I’m terrified of trying. But rather I try and give up. I’ll attempt to write a story only to abandon it halfway through.

I know I don’t have to stress about my writing career so soon. After all, I’m still in school, and I will be until 2019. But thinking about graduation freaks me out. What am I going to do after university? Where will I work?

I’m borderline unemployable, so I hope writing works out. Ultimately, I want to write full-time, all the time.

Imagine eighty year old me sitting in a rocking chair by the fireplace and squinting at a screen. I kid you not, I already have the eyes of a sixty-year-old. That happens when you don’t win the genetic lottery.

Because I’m lazy, I haven’t done a ton of research up until this point. I’m still trying to improve my writing. First, I need to finish my novels. Once I do then I’ll figure out my next move.

I’ve always dreamed of being traditionally published. I’m kind of on the fence right now in terms of which route to take. I’m not sure what to pursue anymore.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind self publishing. I won’t shy away from the work. I’d welcome the challenge with open arms.

There’s a part of me that wants to try the traditional path though. If I fail, I can self publish. And if I fail to publish anything, please shout at me. Talk some sense into my thick head.

There’s so much to think about and work through. Like I’m so fond of saying, I’ll take life word by word, day by day. Maybe down the road, I can look back and laugh at my past self.

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Share Your Soul | A Poem

Speak the truth

Even if you struggle to

Let it all out

Put words on the page

Sometimes no one’s around

To hear you speak

But there’s something

You need to say

Your eyes can’t lie

It’s killing you inside

Stayed silent all this time

And waited by the sidelines

So share your soul

With someone close

Getting Hit By A Car: The Day After

I’m sore. I’m tired. Everything hurts. But I’m alive.

I have a story to tell, many in fact. I’ll be talking about this incident for a long time.

To be honest, I need some time to work through things. I can’t ask you to stick around, but I’d appreciate it if you do.

So much of my life has changed, yet I want the core of who I am to stay the same.

I suspect I’ll be a broken record on repeat for a long time. Then again, I was a broken record before. I’m even more broken after.

Before and after. That’s how I think about my life now. Before the accident. After the accident.

I’m trying to take life one day at a time. I can’t bring myself to think too far ahead. I have a long road ahead of me. Hopefully.

The physical pain will heal faster than the mental and emotional. I’m not sure all the pain will ever truly go away. Still, it’ll fade with time.

I like to think I can get back on track again soon. If I miss a day of blogging, bear with me. If my posts become boring, read something else. Life’s too short.

Personally, I write to make sense of what I’m thinking or how I’m feeling. So I hope to look back one day and know I made it out okay.

As always, I can’t thank you all enough.

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.

 

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.

I Hate Being Bored

There’s something to be said for my hatred of boredom. I hate being bored. I’ll do just about anything if it means I’m doing something.

That explains why I also despise waiting. I try to do things while I’m waiting. Otherwise, I’d lose my mind.

But due to circumstances I didn’t see coming, I had to wait at the dentist for a while without anything to keep me occupied. I didn’t have pen or paper. I didn’t have a book. I didn’t have my phone.

So even though I felt a bit frustrated at first, I resorted to observing others.

I got to observe a father and son. Maybe a story will come out of it. Maybe not. I’ll have to add some kind of conflict or tension because the two were so happy. Meanwhile there was me being all bitter.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to handle parenthood, especially being a single mother. Although there wouldn’t be a dull moment in my life again if I had a kid to look after.

I kept thinking to myself why can’t I just sit and wait for a while? Because I don’t sit and wait ever.

I always feel like I should be doing something. I cannot not do anything. I feel weird and wrong doing nothing. I tried to relax. After all, there wasn’t much I could do. But to be honest I was anything but relaxed. I felt anxious. I felt I needed to be reading, writing, something.

Of course, I did a lot of thinking during the time. Part of me wishes I had a way of recording my thoughts then because I’ve forgotten them all now. I’d love to have some sort of technology to do that.

Of course, things worked out just fine. The world didn’t end. The sky didn’t fall.

Still, this isn’t an experience I’d like to repeat again. But it made me think about myself, about life in general.

Waiting at the dentist was almost as bad as watching paint dry.

Anyhow, this turned out to be one of the more interesting trips to the dentist I’ve had in a long time. That said, my last trip entailed running on about three hours of sleep right after an exam. That’s a story in and of itself.

My First Ever Magazine Launch

In October, I went to my first and hopefully not my last magazine launch.

I was excited about it. Afterwards I felt and still feel so inspired.

I’m not sure when this inspiration will wear off, but I hope it lasts long enough for me to create some great work.

There was food. There were drinks. My subject-verb agreement sucks. I know that.

People read their poems and stories. I had a great time listening to them.

Of course, I had two classes back to back before the launch. So even though I had tired eyes and a sore body (because I woke up at seven in the morning to stretch, dance, and exercise), I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

I ate a chocolate cookie, a chocolate cupcake, and another chocolate delicacy. Can you tell I like chocolate? Give me chocolate flavoured anything, and I’ll be one happy girl.

I don’t collect much aside from books that contain other people’s words and publications that contain my own. I’m glad I get to grow my collections every so often.

If you’ve ever been involved with the writing industry in any capacity whatsoever, you know first-hand how quickly things happen. This magazine publication finally happened. It’s like I waited years instead of months for it.

On the subway home, I read my piece to refresh my memory because I’ve forgotten the specifics of the story. As a 20-year old, my memory isn’t what it used to be. I wrote a first draft in 2015. It was published in 2017.

Anyhow, I’m beyond proud because I submitted this story somewhere else and never heard back.

But I returned to the piece. I worked on it during exam season. I’m thankful nearly failing my exams paid off because the piece got published after all. By nearly failing, I mean not acing. Same thing, no?

I have no regrets. I wouldn’t do anything differently today or yesterday or all the other days leading up to this one.

Maybe I should submit my work to contests when and only when I have exams. I’m one for one.

Here’s a link to the magazine.

Heavy Heart | A Short Story

Her heart was heavy. So was her mind. She sat alone, more than one hundred people sitting around her.

Mara didn’t register anyone else in the room except for one person. A boy she didn’t even know. He was a stranger to her and her to him. But she couldn’t help but feel as if she knew him personally, on some deeper level. Mara had a hard time understanding why she felt the way she did.

Mara knew his full name, a feat of nothing to her. He had said his first name when introducing himself to another classmate. In her memory, she could recall that day easily. She found out his surname with the help of Facebook. It took her a few minutes. A few minutes of her life she will never get back. But her heart had no regrets.

She focused on her breathing. In. Out. Mara clutched her red binder to her chest.

A part of her tried to convince herself that she was wrong. That the boy she met wasn’t the boy sitting a few rows in front of her, talking to another girl. Another part wanted to reason with the more logical side of her brain. That the boy she wanted wasn’t the boy she needed. Besides, she didn’t need anyone. Not a boy, not a friend. Mara had herself. That’s all she ever had. All she needed.

To make her feel better, Mara attempted to tell lies. Lies she never believed and wouldn’t start believing now.

Class was halfway over when her heart finally began to break.

The Experience Of Giving And Receiving Feedback

My brain melted. I spent an evening reading two stories and trying to critique them, constructively of course.

I’ve forgotten how much work giving feedback is, especially to people you hardly know.

I keep going back and forth between I’m being too harsh or honest. Besides, I would want people to be truthful by providing useful suggestions, not tell me my piece is perfect, which everyone did in elementary and high school.

I like to think I have a good grasp of grammar, so I can’t help myself when I see a comma splice or a dangling modifier. But I also realize grammar isn’t always the main issue. Writers want and need feedback on style, flow, etc.

Editing is a lot of work. It’s one thing to edit your own story. It’s a whole other beast entirely when you have to critique someone else’s.

I try to give feedback I’d like to receive. So I do what I can to balance content suggestions with grammatical corrections.

Ideally, I could sit down with someone and talk to them face to face about their work. But when does that ever happen?

On the other side, getting feedback is great but still a challenge.

I hate my ego sometimes for getting in the way.

I don’t always apply every comment. At times, I am dismissive or defensive.

It helps to get an outside perspective on your writing. And I think having strangers critique your story has its advantages. They don’t know you like your family and friends do. Most of the time, they don’t have to go out of their way to protect your feelings.

But I’m careful with my comments. I include question marks following my suggestions. I say maybe and perhaps so many times, it’s not even funny. I tend to add a disclaimer at the beginning or end, saying something along the lines of take what works, toss what doesn’t. If anything is unclear, ask me to clarify.

I guess I’m well aware my ego is big but fragile, yet I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s because I’ve been on both sides of the proverbial coin.