A Writer’s Essentials To Get Through The Year

Few things in life are essential. The rest is just trivial. But, as a writer, you need:

Thick skin. For all the times society rejects you.

A place to keep your rejection letters. You can store them in a cool, dry place before burning them in your fireplace.

Notebooks. Napkins just don’t cut it.

A playlist for every occasion. It seems like every scene calls for a different song.

Comfortable clothes. PJs are an absolute must.

A box of tissues. If you’re not crying, your readers aren’t either.

Books on books on books. Because when you’re not writing, you’re reading.

A book deal. Every writer needs one.

Chocolate…and more chocolate. Or candy. Cake even.

A pet of some sort. Pets make better company than people.

May you write the next bestseller and make millions this year.

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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.

How To Write Every Day

Because I know all about writing every day…

Invest in expensive stationery. So you’re excited to use new pens. Then again, maybe it’s better to invest in nice but not too nice writing utensils. That way you won’t go broke replacing them. At the very least, write with something that isn’t frustrating to use.

Invest in locks. You can lock all the doors and windows. Anything to stop family members from barging in and invading your personal space. Just lock yourself away. Don’t be accessible to anybody until you emerge from you den.

Invest in noise cancelling headphones. For all those times you can’t control your environment. Perfect if you work at a coffee shop or write on the train but still prefer some silence. Listening to a baby’s cries piercing your eardrums is not conducive to productivity.

Invest in mugs. There’s nothing more annoying than having to get up and refill when you’re in the middle of a scene.

Invest in drinks. Choose whatever you prefer. Water. Coffee. Tears. Avoid beverages you despise to make your writing experience more enjoyable.

Invest in snacks. Snacking and writing go hand in hand. Besides, working while hungry isn’t a good idea in theory or in practice.

Invest in PJs. Are you going to do most of your writing in a suit or skirt? At the minimum, comfortable clothes are a must.

Invest in a bed. Ideally, buy a big one that practically calls your name at night.

Invest in books. When you’re not writing, you’re reading. Stories inspire stories.

Invest in yourself. You could take a class in writing or attend a conference on editing. Be the best writer you can be.

Invest in your future. Take care of yourself today so you can do better tomorrow. Eat. Exercise. Sleep. Live like a normal human being. You’re not some superhuman who can skip out on basic survival needs.

Writing every day is easy, said no one ever.

You Know You Are A Writer When

You don’t have days off. Thanksgiving? You’re thanking your fictional characters for following the outline. Christmas? You’re opening a word processor to work on a novel. New Year? You’re counting down the days until your book gets published.

You eavesdrop on every conversation. You listen to your mom gossiping with her friends. You listen to a man on a bus talking to his wife over the phone. You’ll lower the volume of your music or remove your earphones completely to overhear what others are saying.

You rather stay at home and write than go out and socialize. You’re tempted to decline every invitation ever.

You bring a notebook and pen with you everywhere you go. Like on the odd occasion your friends manage to drag you outside. At the very least, you have the notes app on your phone ready to record any idea that strikes.

You write New Year’s resolutions about writing. Write more. Write every day. Write the next bestseller.

You have a list of chores or tasks in your head for when you should be writing but don’t feel like it. So you tackle every item on that list from doing laundry to meal planning. You decide to run errands you’ve been avoiding because you’re a master procrastinator.

You’re either too busy writing or too bored not writing. There’s no in between. Those are the two modes you operate in.

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.

 

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.

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.

Getting Back On Track

I feel behind in everything. But I’m trying to catch up. At the very least, I want to get back on track.

I challenged myself to write a lot last month during NaNoWriMo. But during that time, I let blogging fall to the wayside.

I’m reminded that more often than not, starting is the toughest part. But once I start, I tend to get into the work flow. Then before I know it, half an hour has gone by and I’ve made more progress than I expected to.

I don’t know how I survived National Novel Writing Month. Better yet, I’m feeling better with each passing day.

I’m making progress slowly but surely, which is something to be proud of.

I have a ton of work I want to submit out into the world. I’ve been working on a bunch of different projects, which I hope to share with everyone soon.

I don’t like feeling rushed, so I’m working hard to prevent that by not procrastinating as much.

I’m not sure how to describe my work in progress. A friend of mine asked the other day. I could only muster up that it’s based on real life. The story might be one of the most personal projects I’ve ever attempted to undertake.

Despite some of the setbacks I’ve faced, I think I’m on page to accomplish what I want this month.

If I get back on track, you’ll know about it. If I don’t and my life is still a mess, you’ll know as well.