Hello friends and welcome to a self-motivational edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Well, friends, loathe as I am to admit it, the post-NaNoWriMo slump got me but good this year. The normal burnout, plus all the bad wrong going on in the real world, plus an unusually long and intense depressive episode has meant my writing has been limping along forlornly in the background.
Which is not to say I’ve done nothing (19 pages!), which is already an improvement over years past where December and January are complete black holes of productivity. But as the days drag on and I am still often struggling to get more than 200 words a day done, I find myself looking for something, anything, to motivate it me to do more. I am still amazed at how easy I found this last NaNo to be, yet as soon as the clock struck December 1st, all those good vibrations just… flew out the window. Am I really a person that needs that communal struggle to propel me forth?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not looking to work at that sort of breakneck speed more than once a year. But something closer to 1000 words a day would keep me on track to get this mammoth of a book done by July.
Something got me thinking. Last year (or was it the year before last? 2020 time flowed at a completely different rate, didn’t it) in the run up to NaNoWriMo, Mur Lafferty on her excellent podcast I Should Be Writing talked about how, if one is anxious about their capability of writing 1666 words a day in November, they can ease themselves into it by starting in October with a much lower daily word count and slowly build up to that magic number.
As far as ideas go for the motivation-starved writer (read: me), it’s as good as any, right?
My word count yesterday was 260. So, I thought, what if today I do 280? Maybe tomorrow I could do 300. Then Saturday 325. And so on. Just a little bit extra than I did yesterday, every day, until I’m routinely hitting the mark of 1000. I could knock out 50 or 100 words on my lunch break. I could dictate 100 more on my commute home. I could do 75 while the kids are in the shower. Here and there, nothing too overwhelming, until I build my – uh – tolerance back up.
Like flexing a muscle, right? Every day, a bit at time.
I’m projecting the first draft of this novel to be around 300k words, so at my current rate of writing I will be approximately… dead by the time its ready to query.
Better get to it, shouldn’t I?
Take care friends! Until next week, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to another fun filled fantasy edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Well, I am happy to report that I am finally coming out of the fog that has been clouding my brain for the last six weeks or so, and that means I am ready to attack my current project, The Nexus, with gusto.
I write fantasy, and one of the best things about writing fantasy is that the writer has a level of freedom that authors of most other genres do not enjoy. There is no history you need to keep in mind, no conventional values to adhere to. Not even the laws of nature are necessarily safe. With magic and fantastic creatures and pantheons of gods that can shape reality to their will at an author’s fingertips, literally anything is possible.
One of the things I am strongest at with my writing is developing characters. Even when I play roleplaying games, I tend to take the text and supplement it with background information of my own imagining, for no other reason than I find it more entertaining that way.
I am also a white, cis-gendered, straight passing woman who grew up surrounded by white, cis-gendered, straight media telling white, cis-gendered, straight stories, so when I create characters they usually start from a white, cis-gendered, straight template. However, as I started developing not just my craft but my social conscience in my early 20s, I realized that books strictly about white, cis-gendered, straight characters were no longer interesting to me – to read or write. And so I made a conscious decision to be extremely intentional to be as diverse as possible with my own casts.
I’m disappointed (in myself) to say that I’ve not done as good a job as that with The Nexus. For background, The Nexus came into being when I decided to round up a handful of unused or discarded character concepts from past projects. That means that though the story itself is wide ranging, most of the characters still more closely resemble the template upon which they are based.
There is still time to adjust this, of course, and I have no doubt that as I get deeper into the trenches (I’ve only completed 1/6 story paths after all) more ideas on how to diversify will come to me, but the realization that I hadn’t done as well as I’d hoped served as an important reminder that resisting one’s internal biases, even if it is unintentional and non-malicious, is an ongoing battle.
fThat’s all from me this week. I miiiiiight be back on Tuesday for a book review, depending on how much time I have to read over the weekend, but if not I’ll see you next Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to a rare unburdened and optimistic edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Yesterday, I felt a weight lift off me. I honestly didn’t realize how much extra water I had been carrying these last four years. I wonder how much time I lost stressing about what was going on in the world outside my little bubble.
Some blue check I follow on Twitter said yesterday morning said that they’ll have so much more mental space now that the country isn’t on the brink of falling into fascism that they immediately plan to launch into three new projects. I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentiment all day, as I watched the proceedings with an increasingly light heart.
It would be too cheap and easy to blame my lack of productivity on world events, but, lets be honest, those events certainly haven’t helped the fickle and flighty being that is my muse stay on topic. And though I know myself well enough to say with confidence that I’m not gonna suddenly have enough vigor to write 10,000 words a day or start a bunch of new things behind the scenes even while I’m trying to write a novel, I can’t help but feel buoyed by this newfound optimism in all facets of my life.
It can get so easy to make excuses. Well, I wrote a blog today, that counts as writing so I don’t actually need to put words down. I had two doctors appointments today and now I just want to relax. My internet is blinking out and even though I don’t need it to write, now my ambient noise generator isn’t working and I just can’t focus.
It’s been so easy, these last four years, to convince myself that not only are all those things true, but that capitulating to those impulses is actually self-care. And it wasn’t until I was snuggled up in bed yesterday, with my heated blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, watching the fireworks, that I realized just how much I needed the release of tension it brought. That while things are far from being perfect, I don’t need to make excuses anymore. Because I’m going to wake up tomorrow lighter than I did yesterday. I’m going to be able to not worry about what nonsense the president has wrought and what it means for me and my kids.
Mental space. Its real. And it just multiplied tenfold.
So, now that I’m done writing this post, I am gonna put new words down, thank you very much. Because I’m not satisfied and there is so much more work to be done.
Book of the month side note: I am making very slow progress on Black Leopard, Red Wolf (read: 10% in two weeks). I keep telling myself that it’s not for me and I’m gonna DNF it, especially since I’m running out of time to review it this month as promised in my New Year’s Resolutions post. And yet… I keep coming back to it. I can’t get through more than a few pages at a time, but I’ve yet to convince myself to set it completely aside.
So I may be late with my next review, is what I’m trying to say. Please look forward to it.
The thing about blogging every week is it’s been hard to come up with topics, which is what has lead to these more free form posts of late. But I figure once I’m in the groove and habit of doing it every week, it’ll come easier to think of things to say. Thanks for bearing with me while I, once again, try to find my sea legs with this whole content thing.
Until next week! May your writing be plenty but your struggles be few.
Hello friends and welcome to an on topic edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Whilst fumbling around for a topic this week, I turned to last year’s January posts for inspiration. How was I feeling at this time last year? I had promised to blog once a week, just like I have this year, and I must have been motivated, right?
Funnily enough, it’s almost been a year to the day that I shelved Border Towns.
I didn’t know I was shelving it at the time, though. Back then, I had only just realized the fatal flaw of the novel and was optimistic that, with a little revision, the third draft would be an excellent launch point for eventually querying.
And then the bulk of 2020 hit and utterly drained my muse of it’s life force, and the revisions that I once held so much hope for instead withered on the vine. No matter how many times I convinced myself I would come back and finish that damn book, the spark for it just never materialized.
Coming to the conclusion that it had to be shelved was a laborious, at times even emotional process, but I later came to accept that it was for the best. In the months since, my creativity has blossomed once again, whereas every time I sat down to brain storm Border Towns revisions, I felt smothered. Perhaps this shouldn’t have come as a surprise – this is, after all, the second time I’ve had to trunk a project I had pinned a lot of hopes on.
Yet, that fact alone, in turn gives me pause. Am I really the kind of person who can’t revise? Who comes up against flawed but fixable stories and just… folds? Do I have any creative willpower at all?
Logically, I know that many, even most, writers have a stack of unfinished or unrevised novels underneath all of their published and perfectly good ones. So, logically, I’m right on pace. But, still, it doesn’t feel good to leave projects I once felt held so much promise, and still do feel could be whipped into shape given the right motivation, languishing in the trunk.
That being said, I’m not gonna let myself dwell on that too much. I have a new project to shed blood, sweat, and tears over, after all, and besides, if I’ve learned nothing else these last few years of trying to be a writer, it’s that you’ve gotta take whatever stories come your way and roll with the punches they deal you.
Nothing ever goes according to plan. Isn’t that what makes writing so much fun?
That’s all from me this week, thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back next time with another look into the life of a struggling writer. Until then may your writing be plenty and your own struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to a creatively frustrated and mildly indulgent edition of Just Another struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
I know it’s only been a few short weeks since I lamented the very real, exceedingly likely possibility that I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but already I am starting think about scrambling something together. It’s not so much that I really want to exhaust and stress myself out for 30 days straight the third year running, it’s more that I just really miss being in the weeds of a writing project.
(No disrespect meant to my Short But Sweet Pillar-verse, of course, but there’s a reason I’m not presently drafting it as a novel, after all.)
Last week I thought I might be ready to try my hand a wildly different version of Border Towns, but after a bit of sleep and a maelstrom of brainstorming, I realized that though that reimagined draft may come to fruition one day, that day is nowhere near at hand. Border Towns, loathe though I may be to admit it, has to go back in the ground as a seed, just as it was 5 years ago when I first conceived of it.
But that itch it write, to create, to commiserate and celebrate with fellow writers about the pitfalls and successes, to pour out my mind and my heart and my soul onto the page, to edit and refine, to be a writer again, that never went away. It never goes away, as I’m sure many you can attest. And it’s all becoming a bit more than I can handle, frankly. I have reached a kind of critical mass where I either explode into a fit of unbridled creativity or I collapse in on myself like a dying star and give up completely on the dream of ever seeing my writing published.
The anxiety-brain, always: anything you write now would be forced and chaotic since it hasn’t had time to develop, therefore it would be a phenomenal waste of time to put any amount of energy into a new project, and you’re only going to hate it, and yourself, later, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
And the thing is, all of that might be true. Except the part about it being a waste of time. Because… what I’m doing now is already a waste of time. Waiting for the AHA moment that may never come is a waste of time. Procrastinating putting in real effort into developing myself as a writer by drafting new novels, even if they are destined for the trunk, is a waste of time. Writing, for a writer, could never be a waste of time.
So, I tempt fate. What’s the worst that could happen?
Yesterday I posted a poll to my Twitter: if I wanted to say screw it and start writing again, which new project should it be? It got exactly three votes. One for each of the suggestions. Cue the facepalming. But, this morning I made the decision for myself. I know which project I’m tackling next. I would say I’m hyped but I’m actually still pretty nervous. That anxiety-brain aint quiet. But I don’t care. I’ve made a decision and that, for me, is always one of the biggest hurdles.
Next week I’ll introduce the working title and concepts of the new project. This week, though, I’ve gotta figure out… what those are. Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Oop, almost forgot the Short But Sweet Prompt:
She was absolutely sure she would be weeping all night.
Hello and welcome to a post-hiatus, another-one-of-those edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Well, let’s get right into it yall. It’s no secret that, thanks to my lack of active project to work on plus the new content schedule for the blog, I’ve done a lot more reading than I’ve done writing of late. It should come as no surprise that this has been a great way to refill my creative well, and as such, I am starting to feel the itch to get back to writing. But this time, the itch has come with a difficult realization.
When I shelved Border Towns while I mulled a major revision, I was still sold on the concept and the core story arc. I was convinced that, though un-fantasyish in many ways, it was a fantasy story that I would want to read and if I wanted to read it, surely there would be others out there who would love it as well.
I started really devoting mental energy to developing that revision this week, and, as it so often happens, I got a bolt from the blue whilst lying in bed.
Border Towns, in its current conceptual form, is a bad book in which so little happens over the course of its 120k plus words it would laughable, if I wasn’t so horrified and embarrassed.
I touched on this 9 months ago when I ruminated if my fantasy was fantasy enough. Though my conclusion was in the negative, I was still enamored enough with my own story to believe that… it was still good enough to write anyway. I balked at the idea of adding elements that I had not originally planned on including.
Some significant distance has changed my mind on that, to say the least. Not only am I okay with changing the complexion of that original idea, I think it’s actually necessary if this novel ever wants to see the light of day. I can’t say I’m super thrilled about it, really, but the more and more I read, the more I have come to realize that my story idea, the one I have committed two drafts and a couple hundred thousand words (and countless untold hours not only writing, but brainstorming, worldbuilding, and obsessing over) just isn’t adequate as it stands today.
So I’m going back to the drawing board in an even bigger way than I thought. I don’t know if I’m excited. Resigned a little, I guess. Relieved, as always, to come to a decision. Daunted by task and doubtful of being equal to it. Hopeful that I’ve finally gotten over the hump that has held Border Towns back all this time.
This week’s Short But Sweet prompt (but for really real this time):
Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!
This kind of reads dark, but I’m honestly not that down on myself or even Border Towns in general. I think this is the most clear eyed I’ve been about the subject. And without a timeline to hold myself to, I don’t feel panicked or rushed into making a decision I’m not comfortable with. I’m going to let my muse supply me with ideas as they come and actively brainstorm when she doesn’t. I’m gonna get it figured out, with the help of some good books and the knowledge that my struggles have all been had before, by people way more talented than me. They’ve been through it, and now so have I. And that gives me hope for the future of this stupid book.
Oops I got introspective again. Okay I’m really done now. Until next time, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to another fussy, self-indulgent edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
This week has been an ass-kicking for me at my day job, and so I find it to be something of a miracle that I’ve had any mental energy to do blog-stuff at all. That said, I’m gonna do a bit of whining in this post, so… consider yourself warned.
I got nothing.
We writers are no strangers to disappointment. Your dream agent responds to your query with a form rejection. You spend months on submission with no offers. Your self-pubbed title doesn’t return the numbers you had hoped. Being a writer of the handful-of-unfinished-ideas and-exactly-one-completed-first-draft-of-a-trunk-novel-and-that’s-about-it persuasion, my disappointments are a bit smaller in scope, but I feel them keenly all the same.
The thing getting me down of late has been the realization that I probably won’t be able to compete in NaNoWriMo this year.
I’m a planner, not just in writing but in every facet of my life. Every Monday morning, as soon as I get to my desk, I fill out the week’s events in my planner. I write in my schedule, I make a list of tasks, both work related and home related, I fill out a handy habit-tracker chart. Throughout the week I tick off the boxes of completed chores, and add new ones. I adjust my schedule as needed. I make little notes about my successes and failures. Even on my commute home, I’m organizing in my head what the first, second, and third things I need to do when I get there. I largely dislike surprises because a lot of my mental health is wrapped up in being prepared.
So believe me when I say, when it comes to NaNo, I can’t just wing it.
September is the month I typically spend brainstorming a NaNo project. My ideas usually need years of percolating before their ready to be developed, so when I choose one to blitz-write in November, it’s already somewhat matured.
This year, however, the fruit of my muse is woefully unripe, leaving me with three less than optimal choices.
Take another, exhausting crack at Border Towns. Spend September and October mentally working through the necessary revisions so I can dedicate my THIRD NOVEMBER IN A ROW to this WIP.
Un-repurpose the Pillar-verse, the setting I’ve been writing my Short But Sweet vignettes in, despite the fact that I know it’s a mess, I know it’s a trunk novel, and I’m having more fun with it in its current format.
Allow my “opus,” the novel I labored over for 10 years without ever getting beyond the 10k word mark, to resurface. I’ve matured a lot as a writer since I last took a crack at it and it could be fun. But I’ve already spent a decade of my life on it only for it to flop back into the depths of my brain.
Or. Just… forgo NaNo entirely. Spend this year percolating and brainstorming and be ready with a fresh project.
None of these choices feel great, honestly. And that’s disappointing to me. I enjoy NaNoWriMo. I mean, I hate it, but I enjoy it (much like writing in general). It succeeded two years running in actually getting me to put words on the page when I would otherwise procrastinate. I also like the feeling in the community in November. The rush, the exhaustion, the elation, the motivation. It would be a bummer to miss out on that because of poor timing with the tide of my creativity.
But, I also have to accept that it might be the right thing to do. It’s a disappointment, sure, but as far as disappointments go, it’s one I can live with.
This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:
Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!
Or maybe… I’m just performing some Olympic level procrastinating and this is all my way of rationalizing it. So says the anxiety brain. In any case, thanks for joining my pity party. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday with a Your Mileage May Vary review of N. K. Jemison’s Fifth Season (I’m at 63%, I think I can make it!). Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to another introspective, wakeup callish edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my heretofore WIP (now trunked) Border Towns. If you’ve been with me on this journey since its inception, you might be familiar with my struggles with it (and subsequently a little bored of hearing about it). Well, strap in, because we’re taking another cruise through Border Towns.
About a year ago, I was approximately 8000 words into the second draft and I was stuck. No matter how many times I rewrote it, no matter how many ways I approached it, no matter how long I spent bashing my head against it, I could not get the inciting incident* right. I got distance from it, I came back to it. I told myself I was overthinking it and moved on from it. I came back to it. I stopped writing entirely. I came back to it.
Eventually I just scrapped the scene and wrote a hollowed out version of it just to get me through NaNo, but I was never quite satisfied. I told myself, and others, that I just couldn’t figure out why this scene was so difficult to write.
But… well, that was a lie. I’ve always known what was wrong with it. I just also thought I could force myself to make it work anyway.
The thing is, my main character, L, turned out to be a spitfire. She was spunky, she was decisive, she took absolutely no shit. I thought, as I wrote, hell yes this is a female character I want to read. The first version of that scene was no doubt its best iteration.
Then, I remembered that her inability to take charge and make hard choices was sort of the whole narrative thrust of the book. Getting the point where she would make a stand in the face of adversity was her entire character arc. If I let her be a spitfire now, what the hell would the rest of my story be about?
And the thing is, I’ve realized, is I should have just let myself… find out.
I’m a planner. I’ve expounded on that at length. I love outlining, and I love having my roadmap, and I absolutely fear the unknown. Despite that, I always thought that if presented with a case of the story taking on a mind of its own, I would let it. Yet here I was, resisting with all my might the idea that my character was going to be this way, from the beginning, whether I liked it or not. Would that change really have altered the trajectory of the story that much? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll never know now, because instead of letting L take the reins, I forced myself to remain inside the extremely rigid box of what was, in my own mind, canon.
Man, I was an idiot. But that’s what first novels are for, right? Making mistakes and, if you’re good enough, learning from them.
I find myself wondering now if Border Towns can be salvaged by starting fresh with this new perspective in mind. But, even if it can’t (after all, my struggles with Border Towns did not begin and end with L’s characterization), I’ve learned a valuable lesson I could have sworn I already knew.
On this winding, wandering, wild road trip I call writing, let the damned characters do the driving.
Mental Health Check-In: Last week turned out to be the perfect black hole for productivity. Busy day job, doctor appointments, birthdays, and my main hobby coming out with some attention grabbing things. The anxiety brain was loud as each day passed without any blog-work getting done, telling me I failed and this is why I will always fail, because I won’t prioritize writing, yadda yadda yadda. That said, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve overcome with my mental health this year, is knowing that no matter how many times I fail, I can always get up and try again. So here I am, back on track, and with a reminder to be kind to yourself. Thanks for reading.
This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:
And now the star is dreaming.
That’s all from me on this Thursday Words Day. As always (or as near to always as life allows) I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet Prompt, and watch this space Tuesday for my next installment of Why I DNF This Book. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to another rambling, existential, content-packed edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Today I’m going to unveil the NEW CONTENT that you can expect to see on the blog going forward, but before I get into that I first want to talk a little bit about what I hope to achieve with these additions and why I’m making the change in the first place.
When I started this blog – yikes, almost two years ago – I had two goals: the first was to establish a place where I could scream into the void about all the parts about writing a novel that weren’t sunshine and rainbows (okay, so like 90% of it). I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on that, even if the screaming has been sporadic. The second goal was to, maybe, possibly, hopefully, form friendships or a community of fellow writers who were like me: near to the very beginning of their author journeys, and having to fight tooth and nail for every tiny success.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at making connections. I’m shy, riddled with anxiety, and possessed of fluctuating mental health that often times means I’m a bit of a flake. So, that’s on me. With that said, I’m ready to make a change, not just to my own internal mindset and habits, but my exterior activities as well. So, while these additions to the blog were first conceived of with the goal of getting myself engaged in the writing community even when I’m between projects, the more I thought about it the more I realized that it can use this newfound desire for growth to forward along that original ambition, the one where I’m no longer just another struggling writer, but Just Another Struggling Writer.
Ultimately, I hope that one day this blog will stop being “the lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel” and start being a rallying point, a safe haven, a creative sounding board for those of us who just can’t do this thing alone. More than anything, I hope you join me on that journey.
So, without further ado, behold the new content schedule for Just Another Struggling Writer.
Tuesdays: Your Mileage May Vary or Reasons I DNF This Book.
Guilty confession #1: I am not a great reader. I am slow, easily distracted, and tend to put off reading for other leisure activities, a bad habit I am desperately trying to correct.
Guilty confession #2: I am also really discerning when I read. Actually, that’s too charitable a word. I am fucking picky. I don’t even know why. All I know is most books tend to turn me off by the second act, and even the ones I end up binge-reading to the end don’t really stay with me. Doesn’t mean they’re not good, of course. Just that… well, I’m evidently really hard to please. Sorry.
So, in an effort to broaden my library (and maybe figure out whatever the hell my taste in books is), on alternating Tuesdays I will post book reviews of different persuasions.
The first, Your Mileage May Vary, will cover books that I read to the end, loved or hated. Take these reviews with a grain of salt; because I’m thinly read I honestly haven’t the faintest clue how to write a “proper” book review. Most of the time, I imagine, I’ll probably just be word vomiting my thoughts and feelings without direction or structure. Please look forward to it.
In Reasons I DNF This Book I will dive into specific moments that turned me off of a novel. Whether it’s due to my inner editor not shutting up and letting me enjoy something, or a protagonist I just don’t get along with, or a cringey awkward moment that forces me to put it aside until the second hand embarrassment subsides, these posts will explore what makes a picky reader (me) so damn picky.
Thursdays: Your Regular Weekly Blog Post
Thursdays you can expect to remain pretty much the same, with random topics and thoughts on the struggle that is being a writer. In the past I talked about the progress of my manuscript, and revelations I was having along the way, but now that I am (at least for the moment) project-free, the discussion might trend more toward current issues in the book world. This is the least “content” like of my three planned weekly posts, and mostly will just be a continuing chronicle of my experience in the writing community. One thing I do plan to do every week is include a one-sentence writing prompt for….
Sundays: Short But Sweet Sunday, flash fiction or vignettes
Well, I couldn’t go this whole time without doing a little bit of fiction writing. Can’t let these razor sharp skills get rusty, can I? Now where did I put that sarcasm font? Anyway, at the end of my weekly Thursday posts I will include a one-sentence prompt, and on Sunday I will post my answer to that prompt. All pieces will be less than 1000 words and I intend to limit them all to the same setting and group of characters, which I am tentatively calling the Pillar-verse. The Pillar-verse was once an old fantasy novel idea of mine that was undoubtedly destined for the trunk, and though I still think it is too unfocused a concept to be drafted and revised, I would still like to share it in some way. (Hell, maybe if I dabble in it often enough I’ll get that spark I need to actually write the damn thing.) But going beyond that, I hope that others might eventually partake in Short But Sweet with their own takes on the prompt.
In addition to the extra content, I also will be doing a bit of site maintenance, including adding a page for writerly resources. Most of these will trend toward fantasy writing, since… that’s what I do and all, but hopefully writers of any persuasion will find them useful. Be on the lookout for those updates in the next day or two.
One last thing before I go. That’s right, OUR VERY FIRST SHORT BUT SWEET PROMPT. A reminder: the goal is to write some flash fiction or a vignette, less than 1000 words, and post it Sunday for all to enjoy. It can take place in a world you already created, or it can be something entirely new. If you decide to participate, please feel free to tag #shortbutsweetsunday on Twitter, or even just drop the link to your own post in a comment here. However you get it out there, the goal is just to boost your creativity with some extracurricular words. Hope to see lots of great pieces on Sunday!
This week’s prompt: It was fall, the season of knowledge, but nobody knew that.
Well, I honestly think I’ve yakked enough for one post. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday for the first Your Mileage May Vary review, where I plan to discuss City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. Until then, as always, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello and welcome to another sporadic, possibly over-sharing, edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Where to start. How about with a general question/wonderment.
Wow, what the fuck 2020?
It’s no secret that I can’t write when I’m depressed. I’ve tried and I can’t. So, as you might imagine, this year has been more a less a vacuous wasteland for me. Between working in-office through the pandemic (I’ve never been less enthused to be considered “essential”), tryna home school my kids while working full time (fucking pay teachers ALL the money), losing a beloved family member without being able to travel to see them before their passing (thanks COVID), and just the general shittiness of the times we are living through, it shouldn’t be a surprise that my creativity went to the grocery store for milk and never came back.
(Which is not to say I haven’t been writing at all. In May I started journaling to help cope with *waves hands frantically* all of this, and I have been tenderly nurturing the seeds of an epic, EPIC fantasy idea I had a while ago. But the second draft of my former WIP… It’s dead. I realized mid-way through that the middle part of the story needed MAJOR revisions and, well, I decided that in this moment, in this year of everything being on fire, I wasn’t equal to it. Which is a shame, because I think it really does have potential, and maybe one day I’ll fish it out of the trunk and actually put in the labor to make it readable, but… not today. Not right now.)
Which leaves me adrift. No word count goal to strive for, no concrete project to feverishly outline (again and again and again). Just some vague nuggets to develop as the moon of my creativity waxes and wanes. It’s in moments like these that I wonder if I even count as a writer anymore. Hell, it’s taken me the better part of a day to write these some 350 words of this blog (so far). Why should I be allowed to call myself a writer when I’m not writing anything?
On and off since March or so I’ve told myself that I can’t force my creative well to refill itself when I’m depressed (and that’s true), therefore I’m better off waiting for my brain chemistry to sort itself out and then blitzing on projects while I have the chance. But… with the world in such a state as it is, it’s getting harder and harder to not be depressed. With each passing day, missing my mom who I can’t visit because she’s immunocompromised and my kids are in daycare (hot beds of germs at the best of times), or wishing my partner and I could do something normal like have a date night outside of the house, or crying because I can’t give my soon-to-be-8 year old daughter big birthday party, I feel my goal of being a professional writer slipping farther and farther away.
Some days, I’m so worn down from it all, that… I’m okay with that.
And those are the times that suck the most, because I don’t want to be okay with that. I don’t want to be someone who gives up on my dream.
So, to avoid that dark future where there is no writing but plenty of antipathy, I have to make a change. I can’t just sit around anymore waiting for the good ole muse to saunter her temperamental ass home. If the ideas aren’t flaring up on their own, then I need to be the one to stoke the fire.
All of that to say, you might be hearing a lot more from me coming up. I have some ideas on how to keep myself engaged with the writing community and my own creative impulses even when times are tough or I don’t have an actual project to be working on. I want to do more book reviews, writing prompts, or even flash fiction. I want to grow not just as a writer, but as a, dare I say it, content creator.
I might fail. I have many times in the past. This blog is proof positive enough that I struggle with habit forming and my writing goals are the first on the altar when times get tough. But that’s the other thing about me, ever am I willing to try.
So that’s all from me this week. Next week I hope to be back with an update on some changes and additions I’d like to make to the blog. I hope you’ll tune in. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.