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.

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Writing Advice & Editing Advice

Writing Advice

Start writing.

Pick up your pen and put it to paper. Form letters into words. String words into sentences. Turn sentences into paragraphs.

Don’t stop. Keep going.

First drafts aren’t perfect. They never will be. Stop trying to make them perfect. Focus on getting your idea(s) down somewhere. Write first, edit later.

Try to separate writing from editing. They’re two different processes.

Learn how to silence your inner critic. Listen when necessary.

Be present. Take life one word at a time, one day at a time.

Break big projects into smaller tasks. Make deadlines. Meet them.

Focus on the process of creating. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Find your inner voice. Nurture it.

Give yourself enough time to write as much as you can, whenever you can.

Remember you’re closer to your goals than you know. Don’t give up now or ever.

When you want to stop, push yourself to write a little more. Make this a habit. Challenge what you know you can do to see what you’re really capable of.

Balance writing with everything as best as you can. Take small and big breaks.

Write for yourself and no one else.

Editing Advice

Put some space between writing the first draft and editing it. Give yourself time to edit.

Change the font or colour of the text.

Print out your work when possible. Then read your writing aloud.

Be honest with yourself. Learn what you’re good at. Learn what you aren’t so good at. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play up the former; play down the latter.

Critique your own writing as a reader would.

Make many revisions. Make even more.

Even if you love a certain phrase or scene, don’t forget to delete what you don’t need. Your story is better off without redundancies.

Edit slowly. Go at your own pace. Apply corrections. Learn from them. Attempt not to make the same mistakes again. Focus on a different aspect of writing with each round of editing.

Fact check. Double check. Make sure you’re correct.

Be better than your excuses. It’s better to edit too much than not edit at all.

A first draft shouldn’t be your final one.

Separating Writing For Fun From Writing For School

I try to keep the two separate from each other as much as possible. Otherwise I’d lose what’s left of my sanity. But sometimes when I’m pressed for time, I wonder if I should consider what I write for school as fulfilling my creative quota for the day.

Who am I fooling? Not myself obviously. And it’s sort of cheating in my eyes.

Come on. Do better, Herminia.

As much as I love what I’m studying (Book & Media, English, Writing & Rhetoric), there are areas of overlap in my personal interests. So everything mixes into one giant mess.

Personally, I blog for a lot of reasons. I clear my head when I write. Well, I try to anyway. I know I can always turn to pen and paper, my best friends when school gets to be too much. It didn’t help my non-existent patience that I hated the second sentence of an essay I had to edit.

Writing is hard. And if you are a writer, it’s even harder. Yet I still put myself in the same position every day, staring at a blank page or a white screen.

I was just thinking to myself if someone gave me the choice to do just about anything, writing would be a top priority. Even if that list of potential tasks was a million items long. I’d still choose writing over a ton of other things.

Over the years, I like to think I’ve fallen more in love with words.

I used to tell people I want to publish a book. I do. But as of late, I tend to say I just want to write and blog. Is that too much to ask for?

I digress as I often do.

Back to the point of writing for fun and for school. I won’t let university stop me. The whole process of creating something takes time and effort. But it’s also so incredibly rewarding. More than anything, writing is worthwhile.

Applying Baseball Advice As Writing Advice

What’s better than blogging about something you love? Blogging about everything you love.

I love baseball. I love writing. And I love advice.

Make the adjustment.

As a hitter, you adjust to the pitchers. As a pitcher, you adjust to the hitters. As a writer, you adjust to the reader. To your audience whether it’s one person or one million. The way you email an editor is different from the way you text your agent. But of course, that’s not the only adjustment you have to make. You and your characters have to adapt to different scenarios all the time.

When life throws you a curveball, hit it out of the ballpark.

Pretty self explanatory, right? Find the good in the bad. Then proceed to succeed.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

I especially like thinking about this one in terms of rejection. Never let the fear of rejection keep you from writing, from blogging. If you aren’t afraid of rejection, replace with failure, judgement, whatever applies to you.

You can’t steal second without taking your foot off first.

My take on this: You have to move if you want to improve. And in order to improve, you have to write as often as possible. I’m all for writing every day, but I realize life happens. We’re all busy. Still, you’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make over time with consistent practice.

Every strike brings you closer to the next home run.

Every rejection brings you closer to the next acceptance. The rare acceptances make the frequent rejections worth it.

If you think practice is boring, try sitting on the bench.

You have the right to shake me silly if I ever say writing is boring. The thought of not being able to write anything has me picking up a notebook and pen faster than someone can throw a 100 mph fastball to home plate. I don’t like boredom. Who does?

This has been fun. Even if no one reads this post or everyone hates it, I want to do a part two or something similar in the future.

Blogger Prompt Chain

Blogger Prompt Chain

Thank you to the awesome Rachel Poli who tagged me. Here’s to creating a “chain” of stories written by writers and bloggers.

Rules:

  1. Pick one of the five given writing prompts.
  2. Set up the Blogger Prompt Chain banner and publish your story under the banner.
  3. After your story, continue the chain by forwarding an invitation to five bloggers or writers. (In case a writer doesn’t have a blog, guest posts can be offered.)
  4. Don’t forget to link the writers to your blog and back to the one who invited you.
  5. Publish the five writing prompts and rules.

Prompts:

a) The End of The Bucket List

Write a story about a character who finds out that he or she is dying and has been knocking things off his/her bucket list and has finally reached the last item.

b) Get Out of the Car With Your Hands Up

You’re driving to your favourite city when you’re stopped by a police officer. Sure, you were going a few miles over the speed limit, so you’re not overly surprised. But you are surprised when the police officer gets to your car and screams, “Get out of your car with your hands up!” This leads to an unexpected night for you. Write this scene.

c) Hiring a New Villain

Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you’ve put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

d) At The End of The Rainbow

You and a friend have decided to try and follow a rainbow to see if the end holds a pot of gold. But when you finally reach the end, you find something much more valuable than a pot of gold—and it changes your life. Write this scene.

e) The Letter All Writers Should Write

Write a letter to a person who supported your writing career, whether that be a friend, a family member, a teacher (even one that supported you at a very young age before you knew that it would blossom into a writing career), an author you’ve never met but have been inspired by his or her writing. Do you thank them? Do you blame them? Take the letter in any direction you want.

The Letter All Writers Should Write:

Dear Ms. Davis,

Thank you for everything.

I will never forget all you did for me when I was young and dumb.

Thanks for taking interest, for asking questions. More than anything, I’m thankful you believed in me…even when I didn’t.

I’ll always remember you pulled me aside not once but twice. You cared enough to talk to me and see if I was okay before sending me home. You were also the first person who got the chance to tell me someone else wanted to publish my work.

I don’t know if I would’ve taken writing as seriously if not for the start I had. The beginning of every writer’s career matters a lot. I had a good one thanks to you.

I can’t remember everything but I remember some things. I’m sure the memories will come back. Slowly but surely. I’ll treasure all of them.

Your lessons have gone a long way. I owe a lot of my current successes and failures to you. I have no regrets.

You taught me how to be a student. More importantly, you educated me on how to be a writer.

I wonder where you are right now. I hope you’re doing well.

Thank you so much for everything.

I like to believe you’re proud of how much yet also how little I’ve changed. I’m still just as concise and vague at twenty years old like I was at fourteen.

Sincerely,

Herminia

My Invitations:

I’m going to be that blogger who tags everybody and essentially nobody to participate.

Thanks again to Rachel Poli for the invite. I hope you’re all following her amazing blog.

A Life Update You Didn’t Ask For

As I’m prone to do, I’ve been thinking a lot. Which is how this post of thoughts came to be.

I think I like the idea of making changes to this blog more than I like making change.

Obviously, my brain obsesses over blogging when I’m swamped with schoolwork. But maybe over the holidays, I’ll tinker with things.

Somehow, NaNo is in full swing. To be quite honest, I’m not trying to reach 50,000 words or any kind of a word count for that matter. Right now it’s enough to write every day even if the words are terrible.

I’m writing prose. I hope to start a novel and see the story through until the end. So far so good.

In a perfect world, I’d make writing my first priority. But I don’t live in a perfect world. It’s still a priority, just not my first or only.

My reasoning is when I’m eighty years old I won’t be able to dance to the extent I can now. I doubt my body will respond well to doing cartwheels then. Though I like to believe I’ll still be able to write when I’m an old lady.

For that reason, I’m trying to dance as much and as well as I can at this age.

Dance isn’t something I bring up much on this blog. I wonder if I should. There are definitely parallels I can draw between dancing and writing, blogging.

On another note, I’m quite pleased with my reading. Not so with my reviewing. I’m horribly behind in editing and posting book reviews.

I realize I’m better at keeping up with fictional novels than I am with non-fiction. Still, I try to read some non-fiction on the subway ride home, even though I don’t say so on Goodreads. I’m just more casual with my non-fiction reading.

Overall, I’m doing the best I can. That’s what matters to me.

I debated not bringing up school, but since I’m a full-time student, I figured I will. Despite all the assignments due this month and next, I’m managing. I haven’t failed anything. I like to believe I won’t.

If you’ve read this far, kudos to you. I hope you’re doing well. Wishing you the very best life has to offer. Take care. I want to see you around here.

 

My Plans For November And NaNoWriMo

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’m going to do in November, specifically during National Novel Writing Month, short for NaNoWriMo.

For obvious reasons, NaNo is one of my favourite times of the year. But November 2017 promises to be a busy month.

As for what I’m going to work on, I want to write a novel. Or at least write a story of some sort. I wrote both prose and poetry in October. During November I plan to stick to the former.

Honestly, it’s been a while since I started a novel and stuck with it. So I hope I can change that this month.

I have some ideas I hope to explore further.

Fortunately, I have the second week off from school. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten into a good routine of writing on the commute. In fact, writing at home with so many distractions has presented a greater challenge.

Regardless, all I ask of myself is that I do my best.

Life happens. The unexpected occurs. But I’ll manage as best as I can.

That being said, I’ve enjoyed writing in the morning during my commutes sometimes more than late at night. So maybe it’s time I make some changes to my routine.

Earlier in the day my mind is clearer than it is at night. Then again, at night, I’m tired so I’m not as critical.

I don’t want to mess with my writing schedule too much. Still, I’m adjusting accordingly to whatever the world throws at me on any given day.

Changing is tough though. But the pay off tends to be worth the work.

There’s still plenty of time for me to figure things out. And I have a feeling I will.

Of course, I’m curious to know your plans or lack thereof for November, especially if you’re partaking in NaNoWriMo.

Still In A Slump

I’m still in a slump. So blogging has been far from easy.

Instead of talking about how I’m in a creative funk right now, I’m going to say goodbye to the baseball season.

The last game was on October 1, 2017. Funny how the season ends on the first day of a new month.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for putting up with my baseball references. Hopefully, they will be few and far in between now that the season is over. Or maybe I’ll miss it so much that I can’t stop talking about the sport. In which case I should start another blog or something. But who has time for that? Not me. Maybe if I had twenty-five hours in the day. Too bad I don’t.

I realize every player is less than 100 perfect at the end of the season. So am I. It feels like my body decided to break down on me in the beginning of October.

So my creativity has disappeared while my body has seen better days. What’s next?

I’m doing my best to stay positive. To be grateful.

This will pass. The bruise on my knee will heal. The neck pain will go away. The scar on my chest will fade.

How exhausting is it listening to my whining?

This month hasn’t started off on the best note. But it can only get better, right?

Wrong. I got rejected.

To which I tell myself and all of you aspiring writers, it’s part of the industry, the business. Rejection is almost never personal, so don’t take it personally.

Other writers and authors were rejected before you. Many more will be rejected after you. You aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one.

Keep writing. You’ll find a home for your story. Keep going. You’ve gone too far to give up.

Every experience can be a learning one. Improve. Get better. Do great work.

You’ll be rejected more times than you’re accepted.

(I wrote this post at the start of the October. Of course, I like to think I’m breaking out of the slump. I’m also trying to fix the fact that I’ve fallen about a month behind with my blog posts. Bear with me.)

The Challenge In Creating Content

Creating content is challenging.

I’m an advocate for alliteration. Sorry not sorry.

When I think too much, which happens way too often, I realize a few things. Brace yourself for this disorganized, messy post.

In many ways, I have been lucky. I won’t rely on luck to get me where I want, though.

Also, the longer I’m in school, the more value I see in doing things outside academia. Like getting real-life experience by working or volunteering.

I also see the value in having a personal passion project on the side like running a blog. I don’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t started mine four-plus years ago. The opportunities I’ve gotten and the offers I’ve been given…amazing. All because one day after school, I decided to make an account on WordPress.

I remind myself it takes years to become an overnight success. Nothing happens overnight, nothing incredible at least.

Like everyone else, I have bad blogging days when I’m struggling to put words down on the page. A part of me enjoys the challenge that comes with writing. It’s worth the effort. After all, the bad days make the good ones even sweeter.

I’m not exactly sure what life has in store for me going forward. But I’ll try to do my best and be my best.

I don’t get bored easily because no day is the same. On the other hand, there’s little to no stability or guarantees in this industry.

Still, I wouldn’t enjoy doing the same thing every day. So I’ll gladly choose to experience the challenging and confusing times that come with creating content.

The Direction Of This Blog?

I’ve been struggling with what direction I want this blog to go in. When I first started, I didn’t have the clearest sense either. I just knew I liked writing about writing, so that’s what I did. And I’ll still continue to write about being a writer.

As of late, I’ve been composing more personal blog posts. Posts about my thoughts, my life.

I often wonder why bother. No one is going to read it. And even if someone does, he or she won’t care. But that’s kind of the point in a way. To write, to blog as though no one will read your words. The point isn’t to impress or please. I’m not trying to be perfect or flawless.

Ultimately, I control what I want to write, what I publish. No one else.

This blog is becoming more of an online diary or a virtual journal. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that despite the annoying voice in my head telling me otherwise.

I will always write even if no one read anything I wrote.

Sometimes I forget how enjoyable blogging is. I can get caught up in numbers or results. But I can’t forget about the happiness creating brings me.

I’m constantly changing. This blog is too. That’s okay. It’s a good thing I’m not doing the same stuff I did four years ago. Right?

I should embrace change. One exception is the newer WordPress editor. Wake me up when the powers that be replace the newest one with a better one. Until then I will exclusively use the old editor.

I’m stubborn.

I feel proud of my old posts. I really like most of them. But maybe one day, I’ll be able to create content I haven’t created before and not feel guilty for not sticking to what I used to do.

All this being said, I’d love to hear any feedback you may have for me. What do you like? What do you hate? What do you want to see more of?

Thank you for stumbling across this blog and sticking around so long.