The attempt at an ideal writing day

The idea of creating an ideal day started to stir in my head sometime last year. I originally planned to get a blog post out to the internet then, but it fell to the wayside.

Over the last couple of weeks, I played with the layout (which took the longest), what I wanted to include, organizing it, and other things of that nature. I guess what got me in this process was how to create one with a fluctuating schedule and two separate off days.

It’s easier for me to run errands on off days–these are days when I start writing in the afternoon while I am at my local Starbucks or home.  On my early work days, I have a limited time to get writing done, but mostly free after. I can get through a chunk of my word count goal if I go to work  in the afternoon.

In all this mini-chaos, I decided to have my work days on one page and writing on the other.

IdealDaysSpread

My ideal day for work, left, and writing day, right. I color coded to make things easier to understand when it comes to my schedule. The main layout follows my Monday, Wednesday and Friday work days. Tuesday is indicated with a T next to a color coded dot.

I tried to stick to the routine I normally do when creating this. But now I’m wondering, am I just writing down my routine? What makes this ideal then?

When it comes to writing, getting any kind of time in is ideal. I think when you’re creating your own ideal writing day, or a general ideal day, the root of it is time management. How do you spend your time normally and how do you want to change it, or what are the things you want to hold yourself accountable for?

In the end, I wanted to create something for me to take note of everyday, especially when I say I don’t have time. I’m going to use this visual as a reminder to myself, and hopefully to writers, that it can get done. Even if it’s just on a lunch break.

As writers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to reach word goals, get the dialogue or prose right the first time. This is something you shouldn’t stress about. This is something you should use a guideline and keep yourself accountable.

Supplies used:

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Medium notebook – grid, Red

Grid paper – to plan

Marvy Le Pen – Black, Grey, Periwinkle

Sharpie Pen – Fine – Green, Purple

Muji Polycarbonate Ballpoint Pen .7mm with grip – Red

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A lesson in rejection

Hey writers,

This is a random post spurred by an email rejection. Yup, you read that right. And it stung.  

At work, I have my personal email up in a tab–I check it when I get into work. After settling into the groove of things, I went to my browser and noticed the blue dot next to the Gmail icon.

I clicked and saw the email. The first line filled in the preview area.

To clarify, I didn’t sumbit a query, I submitted an application to a creative writing program. I thought what I had would get me into the program. The email was general rejection letter explaining why I wasn’t accepted, how it’s complicated judging process, and how the rejection shouldn’t deter  me from writing. 

The email was crack in my confidence–I almost started to cry. I had my thoughts of how it would go if I got accepted. I was ready for that. I was excited for it. But clearly this is not the path I’m meant to go on right now. And that’s ok.

MPhanQoute
I updated the people who knew I applied to the program and they responded with encouraging words. It was helped me feel better. And it also became my fuel to keep writing.

While this isn’t a query rejection, it’s still one nonetheless. It’s something that’s a part of the writing process.

I think it’s ok to be upset for a couple of days or a week about getting a rejection. But as long as you don’t linger on the pain or have it stop you, you will be fine.

Do you what you need to do to move on from it.

And keep writing.

 

Writing Prompt No. 3

Some dialogue starters:

  1. “There are consequences to your actions, you know this – it puts us all….”
  2. “This can’t be any different than when we….”
  3. “You watched me lie there, I would think that….”
  4. “But I am young, so what…”

 

Check out the last writing prompts here!

Writing prompt No. 2

  1. In a rush, your character bumps into someone while not paying attention. Both knock a plethora of items onto the ground, jumbled and mixed together. They gather their things and continue on their way…. by the time your character gets home they notice that there’s something that’s not theirs.
  2. Your character needs to change appearances quickly in order to not get caught. There’s only a few things that they can grab to do so.
  3. Give your character a memory associated with the color maroon.

Here’s a link to the previous prompt.

Managing a looming manuscript

Maybe it’s good to start small. But for some of us, we decided that we would start with  a large manuscript.

Once you finally realize what you’ve done, you’ve already told so many people that you’re working on a novel. You probably feel kind stuck right now.

And to be honest, I’m right there with you. The words used to flow from my fingertips, but my wondering mind makes it difficult; I keep thinking of ways to make it better/ edit before I even finish the book.

I never want to give up on it; Torque is my first novel I wrote when I was younger and finished it. I wrote it out of being inspired by (albeit, I am a bit embarrassed to admit this) Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight.”

And I feel as though if I take a step back that I won’t come back to it. But I am going to push these feelings aside to keep writing it. I’ll do my best to balance it with another manuscript but I’m going to finish Torque.

I think I’ve rambled on for a bit, but I wanted to explore ways for writers to keep going or take a step back without feeling they are abandoning their manuscript.

For fun

I guess the obvious would be to reread what you have, but don’t make any edits.  Realize what you fell in love with when you first started writing. If you start to make edits, it’s possible to become critical of what’s there. There is such as thing as over editing.

 

Fill in the blanks

Write specific scenes — whether you plan to fit it in your manuscript or not. This will keep the brain moving and could add more depth to character. If you are adding the scene to your book, hopefully it will excite you to get to fill in the blanks.  A writing prompt is also a good way.

Plan or pants? 

If you’ve planned things out with an outline — forget it. It may restrict the writing by sticking with the plan.  If there is no plan, create one. Your novel may need some direction — it doesn’t have to be detailed, just mention three important actions you want to happen. ( Three is a good number because there is less of a chance to make the outline too complex or overwhelming.)

Like Nike’s tagline: Just Do It

Put that butt in that chair, or favorite writing spot and just write. Push through the feelings you may have, no matter how rough those sentences, hell, even chapters, are. Don’t give up.

Step back and reflect 

As mentioned in a previous post, Making the most of your time, hop into another project. It may be time to step back completely.  It doesn’t make you a failure. Even if you don’t hop into another project, use that time to reflect on another.

And if any one of those people you’ve told about your novel asks you how it’s going, say it’s fine. Sometimes keeping it to yourself can lessen the pressure of a large manuscript.

Keep writing!

P.S., if you’re not already, follow me on either of my Twitter accounts and Instagram.

Writers, we’ve all been there…

I wrote this thinking about the pressures and anxieties of being a writer. We unintentionally, or purposefully, put so much pressure on ourselves in order to be considered a writer. I guess this is somewhat of letter saying that if you’re struggling writing at this point in time, you’re not alone. You can get through it. We’ve all hit this point before. 

I hope you enjoy a bit of my ramble.  Follow me on my new Twitter and Instagram account. 

The intimidation of a blank page is scary enough, followed by your own doubts and potential self-sabotage. Grabbing a pen and paper or laptop is an escape –creating characters, worlds or simply expressing thoughts in short form.

We may or may not follow grammar rules — or we struggle along the way, never giving up.

This is what we wanted to do. What we tell everyone…

Trying to fit in a few words before or after working nearly eight hours. Either trying to find the drive to do it that day or night, or put it off.

Well, people may say you’re not a writer if you don’t write. I guess that’s true.

We know it’s not easy. We weren’t expecting it to be. We fall into slumps that can last for months on end; during that time we wonder if we can really call ourselves a writer.

And question if we really wanted to write.

Using resources, turning to YouTube/BookTube, walking through a book store can renew that fire…but how long will it kindle before dwindling or spreading like wildfire?

A well-controlled burn that makes it easy to power through. Or a dangerous one that leaves us spent, waiting for the next thing to spark us.

What we write for is a gold mine; gorgeously crafted words strung together like handcrafted beads to become a part of a necklace. It gets the compliments and praise we think it deserves.

Some of us could be dreaming about it. Stuck. Knowing exactly, exactly, what to write but the right words never seem to come when we want, or words are jammed pack together,  ugly.

What then?

Then it’s anxiety or maybe depression.

We keep trying and trying to keep going or stay motivated. Maybe we should stop.

But we should really keep trying. Keep writing. There’s that saying that someone out there needs your book. Don’t forget that it’s you too.

Make the most of your time

When going back and forth between projects, or getting caught up with what life throws at you, you neglect the project that you’ve poured your soul into. And when you return to the beloved project, you can’t seem to find the right words. Sure, you can always plop some words onto the page but it isn’t flowing like it use to. Even when your words weren’t perfect, you kept going.

Well, what now?

Well, I’m not sure honestly, I’m still trying to figure that out myself. But I have passed the time doing things that will be beneficial later:

  • Read books that will develop your craft 

Personally I think this is a no brainer. This will help pass time as you’re trying to think of the next words to say (and may even inspire your next words). And if you’re struggling with adding more to your book in terms of scenes, character development, plot and, hell, even grammar and sentence structure, it will help you in the long run.

It’s also important to be a little selective of the books that are picked up; you can have all of these books about writing but it’s up to you, the writer, to finally apply or adapt what you’ve learned into your project. As well as something you can return to for a source.

  • Research literary agents

If you plan for your book to go to big publishing houses, it’s recommended to get a literary agent. I recently finished Chuck Sambuchino’s “Get a Literary Agent:…” and I found it so helpful and insightful. Literary agents are the writer’s eyes in the industry and your advocate.

Sambuchino suggests in the book to create a list of agents that may be a good fit for the book you’ve finished. He really stresses the researching about the agent you plan to query to; find out what books they’re looking for, see what they’ve sold, etc. If you have multiple projects, creating an Excel sheet may work best with tabs for different projects.

For smaller publishing houses, it’s possible to submit your manuscript without one, but be sure to check submission guidelines.

  • Hop into another project

Sometimes starting a new short story or novel can help. It will take your mind off what you’re struggling with in your main project. This way you’re keeping your mind moving so you don’t get into a slump that can leave you high and dry for months.

If starting a new project doesn’t seem too appealing, maybe what you need to do is create or draft a scene that will be later on in the future. This is a little trick that I like to do, especially if I’ve been thinking about it over a few days (or weeks, and/or months). Letting it stew in upstairs and then writing about it may help get the jitters out.

Even stepping away from the computer to write in a notebook or journal would be helpful.

  • Listen to music that keep you mind moving on ideas

Every writer has that one artist that can spark their imagination. If that’s not the case, then that’s ok too. Maybe instrumental music may work best — it can be anything. As long as it allows you to focus, or zone out, while thinking about your novel.

Hopefully these tips will keep you moving toward your ultimate goal.

Halfway there

 

You guys already know what I’m about to say in this post, right? About me going MIA after a few posts at a time. Hey, it happens — we all have lives to attend to outside of the Internet. But I wanted you let you all know that I am more than halfway* through 50K for NaNoWriMo. And I’m not even close to finishing Torque. I am currently about to wrap up chapter four, but I am having difficultly doing it.

It’s mainly because I switch between two POVs of my main characters, Cori and Ace. I can get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions for Cori that when I switch to Ace, I’m struggling to detach the two characters. But alas, this is something that I will have to fix later. I can’t waste anymore time because I got behind last week, and I am still being for this week.

But to all the writers out there taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge (and those who aren’t), I wish you the best in finishing what you’ve started. Whether it’s the end of this month or even two years from now.

Just write on!

Xo Arisa

*30,705K and counting