Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

One day about two months ago, I was sitting during my lunch break and got the idea to write a list of “rules” that a writer should live by. I came up with about forty (really 31 rules, but some had sub-rules). Really it was just another expression of my nerdiness in trying to quantify/describe something. Here are some of them, and in brackets what I now think of them a couple months down the road:

1. Write every single day, no exceptions.

[I still believe this is true, though ONE exception might be made – if you are editing a book you have finished, this counts as writing. I think it is still important to create new content, like a blog post.]

2. Write at least 1,000 words per day, even if you have to bleed for them.

[This is Stephen King’s and many other writers’ adage. I think it is a great rule. Granted you do a thousand words or more every day, you can be done with the first draft of most novels in two to three months. Novellas are even shorter, from a month to a month and a half. You can do a short story a week, counting editing and everything else.]

2a. Don’t wait to become inspired. Just become inspired.

[I still think this is VERY true. I’m not really a believer in any sort of mysticism, even if art seems to have a mystical quality to it. I think the idea that inspiration drops out of the ether takes credit away from the ingenuity of humans. I think we are all capable of amazing things…a lot of it is believing that we can do those things.]

2b. Some days you won’t want to write. Maybe most days. Write anyway.

[Like above, still very true. Sometimes, writing is a job. But as far as jobs go, it is pretty fun.]

2c. The Muse is a flighty thing; don’t wait for hours for her to arrive, like a pretty girl not arriving on time for a date (if at all). The Muse keeps her own schedule you are not privy to, and besides, you have writing to do. When she comes, do not dismiss her; let her guide you for her powers are far beyond that of you, a mere mortal.

[I still like the analogy of the Muse being a pretty girl who may or may not show up for a date. I think the Muse is a mysterious thing – some days she likes you, some days she could care less, some days you are own your own. But when she does decide to show up, amazing things happen. It’s not really our place as writers to question where she has been, or why she is not spending more time with you – it is just to be grateful for her company, because the Muse is always out of your league. Have a set time you write every day, so the Muse knows where to find you. Nothing is more annoying than the Muse showing up at an inopportune time when you are far from desk, notepad, and pen (though she will always do so anyway just to mess with you As a side note, I think the wording is kinda silly toward the end, but I may have just been feeling silly that day.]

Maybe I’ll add some more of the things I came up in a future post. After all there is still 30 or so of them.

Since this is getting a little long, I think it’s time to go. I have an interview this morning. It should go well, but wish me luck, ladies and gents!

Toughness

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Inspiration, Writing
Tags: , ,

Haven’t posted for a while. I want to post at least three to four times a week, but lately I really haven’t much to talk about.

Apocalypse is doing just fine, thank you. It’s actually doing slightly more than I expected to, which is great. It feels good. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather discouraged concerning my writing, but seeing the results is giving me a much needed push.

I’m 4,500 words into my next novella, a new series that has working title of Dark Prophecies. I got some cool ideas (I think). The trick is just weaving them together into a compelling yarn.

All that news aside…for those who follow my Facebook, you know I have taken up running lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed the inundation of running alerts that seem to fly at your stunned and disbelieving face approximately once every several hours. And I know you love them.

I took it up last year for a brief stint (about two months), but had no idea what I was doing. Curiously, I didn’t research it to find the most effective way to do it and improve.

I’ve been running since October, and I’m in much better shape than before. I’m on a 10K in 55 minutes training plan…not because there is a particular 10K I’m training for, but because I want to use that plan as launching pad to jump into a half-marathon training plan – probably two hours, which is very doable by late April. I may adjust for a faster time, depending on how training goes.

I write about running because I’m at a point where improving is starting to become increasingly difficult. I was amazed with my training plan that by week three I was running five miles (albeit at a very slow pace). Distance was no problem.

Going faster was the hard part.

I just got back from an almost seven mile run, where I had to do seven half mile stints at an 8:30/mile average pace. For a serious runner, this is a breeze. However, being a newbie meant this was the most difficult run I had to do.

I’ve never really been that physical of a person. I sucked at sports as a kid. I had a zero batting average one year in little league (no…I’m not joking. I was pretty pathetic). I was better at art and, yes, writing. And video games.

It never really occurred to me for most of my life that I might be able to do something physical, because I had failed at it so hard my whole life that had no success to reinforce me in that direction. In fact, the first time I ran I was embarrassed and thought I looked stupid. I guess I just didn’t see the point. But after graduating college, being inactive sitting 8+ hours a day at a desk, I knew something had to change. I didn’t really gain weight, but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I wanted to be in shape while I was still young, so I made a goal to make working out a priority.

I started running last October, and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner. Those first runs were hard – even getting to two miles nonstop was very difficult. It took toughness, even if a little bit – the willing yourself to go on, despite pain. That is how we all grow, physically, mentally, spiritually.

Normally on my speed work (runs designed to help you increase your speed), I haven’t been able to maintain the target speed for the speedy stretches. Tonight was different, because I actually succeeded. In fact, for the first two stints I ran faster than I was supposed to (averaging 7:45/mile and 8:00/mile for both of them. I started to realize a lot of my limitations weren’t physical – they were mental. I did have the strength to push myself on if I willed myself.

I’m also realizing that if you want to improve at running, you have to be consistent. Thanksgiving week, I didn’t run once, and I paid for it. My average pace dropped almost by a full minute per mile.

I’m thinking a lot of disciplines are the same way – repeating a discipline builds a habit, be it a sport, martial arts, or…you guessed it…writing.

Every successful writer I’ve ever read says if you’re serious about writing, you do it everyday…not just everyday, but at least 1,000 words a day. I missed yesterday, but I intend to get my words done today. Not counting this post, of course. I’m talking fiction.

There’s a lot of toughness to writing, too. Like running, you can always improve. You can never just coast along, write the same book twice. I mean, you could, but you wouldn’t be getting better. I feel like I’m in a period of growth, writing-wise. A year ago, I would have said quality of writing, not quantity, matters. Now, I think it’s the opposite when you are starting out. Someone who’s learning, like me, needs to learn to write a lot. The more you write, the more mistakes you make. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

It takes toughness to sit down everyday and type words, especially when the Muse doesn’t want to show up. The Muse is a flighty thing – it’s your job to show up as the writer, but the Muse can do whatever the hell she wants. Sometimes, she’ll show up when you’re nowhere near a computer, and the words she whispers in your ear are lost. Sorry if that analogy was weird, it felt weird and creepy writing it.

Anyway, point is, this is something I want to show up to every day. I’m learning. I’m glad my new novella is doing better than I expected. I hope more people get to read it. I’m excited to write more on that series, as I really like the world. But I’m also very excited by this new series I’ve started. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to write in, if not my favorite. And it’s also exciting to not to do something medievally and cliche.

This has been a long post/rant. I apologize; I really didn’t have the time to write a shorter one.

I am in no way saying that I’m tough; I’m just saying we all have the potential to be. I’m just saying I’m starting to get it.

Don’t really want to spend much time on a post today, but I heard something that’s gotten me thinking: “Giving up is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

I’ve been thinking that as far as my writing. I came home, feeling pretty down. I don’t know why. I think it comes from the fact that I know I won’t ever be happy having a quote/unquote real job. I’ve always wanted to work/write for myself, and that’s it. Not that a real job is bad; maybe I’m disillusioned by the whole thing.

I’m getting better at not letting things get to me. It’s important to try and stay consistent and get things done, even when you’re not feeling up to it.

I started writing on my new story, getting about 1,500 words in. All in all, I really like it. I don’t know if any of it will remain in the final product, but it’s good to be writing and getting it out. This story has me excited.

As far as the quote, I think hard times, for the most part, are temporary. After one set of them, you’re onto another. And sometimes, feeling down for no reason just happens and you have to roll with it. Some days are just better than others, and oftentimes there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

It’s encouraging to see that my book is doing better than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting my job anytime soon. But it gives me hope that things might get better for me. I think, writing-wise, I want to stick with doing novellas on Kindle for a while. I do want to submit stuff to agents, someday, but for now at least this seems like the course for me. It gets me practice and I’m still in the learning phase.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it is taking a really long time to figure out what that looks like. I finally feel like I’m going down the track and making progress. I’m working on it every day. I’m always thinking about my next story. I get excited when I sit down to write, and I feel encouraged by everyone’s support. In the end, you can’t do it just for others; on some level, you have to it for yourself, because it’s what you really want, just like any other thing – or you won’t be happy.

I’ve doubted lots of things in my life. Nothing has been off the table. But rarely have I doubted that writing is what I want to do with my life. As I said, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the pieces are coming together, slowly, and I’m starting to see a picture. I’m realizing the picture is me, in a way.

Before that sounds too narcissistic  I just meant it in this way; I think when you know yourself, the rest comes a lot easier. Knowing yourself is one of the hardest things ever, and something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while. Then again, it’s a balance, and you don’t want to over-analyze, which is probably my cardinal sin. I think I’m getting better with that, too. Writing helps.

Anyway, I think what I’m working on now has a shot to be really good. It has darker themes, but in a good way. It’s still in its infancy, but this “figuring out the story” part is my favorite part of writing – when the possibilities seem endless and you write and experiment and fail until you find what works. You just dive in, trying new things, and pray that it works. Like life.

I said short post, but this is turning into one of my longest so far. So…yeah. That’s all I have to say about that.