wildfillysama: Useful writing motivationals

I have a mixed relationship with motivational sayings. It alternates between abject distaste, vague tolerance, and actually finding them useful. Consequently, I’ve come across quite a few writing-related slogans that I’ve kept because they’ve actually struck me as kind of handy, rather than regrettably cheesy. Here are some of the highlights:

0cc90218fc4f3115dee6025ec8771860I have a yes/no relationship with this one. If you’re writing something that you want to publish, then it does make sense to have a recipient in mind. However, it can also be very distracting to write with only one person at the forefront of your brain. Personally, I prefer to use this strategy when editing, not writing from scratch.

84d186e234b0af65505e082cee22aeee100% agree. Even if it comes out like mangled laundry, at least something’s come out and you can call it an exercise, if not a polished product. Sitting stuck for ideas is the least productive thing you can do. Just write around in circles about any aimless thing until something strikes you as useful or interesting, then move on from there. Or go and get another coffee.

fdaf4c0349b3c6374ddbb5760ac622f5I disagree. One of the best tests of your writing is determining whether or not it sounds good out loud, especially if it’s poetry. When you read, does it flow? Does it jar appropriately? Does it sound interesting, or unintentionally repetitive? As you read, you’ll also notice where details are missing or superfluous. Don’t underestimate how important the sound of reading your work is when you’re in the editing or shaping processes.

d974fa50a2ce7777b46bec697020a0aaWhat we idly write or quickly jot down can reveal a lot about how we immediately think or judge things. When editing, it’s important to go back with this in mind and decide whether or not it’s appropriate for what you originally had in mind. After all, if you’re writing over a long period of time, it’s very likely that your thoughts and stances will shift.

4741c7717e0774399d621565660e5db4This is what got me into writing fanfiction. I knew exactly what I wanted to read, but no one had written it yet. I find this statement particularly helpful as well because it reminds me that if I can’t read my own work and enjoy it, then it’s pretty unlikely that anyone else will either. If it’s too dull, then it needs fixed!

4885d8728e8d02ac32252b570d7c1aeeAnother one I have a mixed relationship with, based mostly on its abstraction. I think that creativity in writing can definitely be trained, but not always summoned at will. I do believe that not everyone has the same levels or directions of creativity, but that this isn’t necessarily an issue. I do believe in one of the centre comments here though: don’t demand perfection for creativity. Give it time and be prepared to accept the weird things that your brain offers up.

 

 

wildfillysama: Procrastination

I’m meant to be editing a paper for an academic journal. For no good reason, I’ve been putting off starting the edits (even though they’re actually pretty easy ones). So far my list of procrastination tactics have included:

1. Building large imaginary shopping carts of stuff I’ll buy online once the US dollar drops again.

2. Redecorating my wardrobe, complete with Ikea trip.

3. Cleaning most of the house in a fit of unprecedented attention to vacuuming.

4. Cleaning the car. (Seriously, it’s that bad)

5. Levelling up a thief character in Skyrim. Looting people’s houses and then parading out while wearing all their stuff that you’ve just nicked is so satisfying.

6. Writing Pokémon fanfiction.

7. Writing and rewriting this blog post.

8. Consuming more Nespresso coffee than is probably safe.

I’m officially a bad person. My sincerest apologies, poor little neglected translation theory paper. I’ll get to you soon!

wildfillysama: Twelve Days of (Writing) Christmas

a-non-writing-writer-is-a-monster-courting-insanity

On the first day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… one knackered spine!

On the second day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… two published papers!

On the third day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… three poetry collections!

On the fourth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… four poetry readings!

On the fifth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… five book reviews due!

On the sixth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… six thesis chapters!

On the seventh day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… seven scumbag characters!

On the eighth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… eight freaking rewrites!

On the ninth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… nine weird plot twists!

On the tenth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… ten calloused fingers!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… eleven alternative career paths!

On the twelfth day of Christmas my poor life choices gave to me… twelve months of frenzied typing!

 

Happy holidays everyone! 😀

wildfillysama: Why I haven’t done my homework

I was meant to edit my Nanowrimo novel work last weekend. Technically, I did edit some of it… just not nearly as much as I’d meant to do. 32 pages is better than nothing, right? But here is what I did instead:

1. Stalk mare and foal around a paddock, taking a few hundred photos.

2. Feed dried coconut to myriad of adorable small birds, one of which came to perch on my chair (almost my foot) to demand further snacks.

3. Chased a VERY LARGE lizard around a living room with a broom until it was embarrassed enough for the both of us to leave.

4. Chased another RIDICULOUSLY LARGE lizard around the living room, which outwitted me by climbing the walls to evade the poking of the broomstick. It resides on the carvings above the windowsill to this day, I believe.

5. Bothered mare and foal some more, mostly with slavish adoration and grooming. Also liberal posting-in of carrots and feed.

6. Defended veggie garden from four marauding chickens.

7. Spent about 7 hours driving back and forth between home and the house where all these creatures were residing.

In short, I had a pretty awesome time house-sitting last weekend. Editing fiction was an after-thought, but at least some got done. I hope that everyone else, if you were editing or meaning to do something more productive than frolic amongst animals, have been more successful!

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo – The Final Result

1526848_10152856419114323_8720131510297968200_nVictory is mine! Final word count: 50,028

I think I need a new keyboard.

 

It wasn’t pretty by any sense of the word. The last three days of Nanowrimo were absolutely appalling, and the fiction that spawned from them equally questionable. I was more than 9000 words behind schedule last Friday and needed to make up the headway almost all in one sitting. There was blood, sweet, way too much coffee, a cricked neck, and some questionable casting choices involved. I have no idea why characters have done they things they did. I’ve written a massive plot hole that threatens to destroy the entire world.

But hey… progress, right?

Now for the tricky part: sifting the trash from the treasure, rearranging floating bits of story, and taking out all the bits that just don’t work. I’m cautiously optimistic. Next week I hope to have most of it patchworked into a workable story, because I’m unreasonable like that.

 

I hope that everyone has enjoyed (ha!) their Nanowrimo experience, and that their novels are shiny and resplendent.

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo Day 24 (Intermission)

Words written: 36,519

Words should have written: 40,008

Verdict: 3 days off, plus a flight = not conducive to typing.

Also, I’m knackered.

This is why I should never remark on how well things are going; it will always invite disaster and/or disarray. In fairness, this has come in the form of a few days visiting friends in the south, then flying up to Hong Kong to visit family/do immigration stuff. However, my tentative lead has slipped.

Tomorrow and beyond will be a quick and brutal round of catch-up. Hopefully.

Moral of the story: no fun allowed in Nanowrimo. Only typing. Billions of typing.

On the bright side, the novel continues to be novel-shaped, which makes a pleasant change from the usual sea of notes, mismatching dialogue and vagaries that usually make up my attempts at writing fiction. The end is in sight, and it may even be legible.

 

Watch this space… and good luck with your novels!

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo – Day 17

Nanowrimo Day: 17

Words Written: 28,363

Words Should Have Written: 28,339

Verdict: My eyes, oh gods, my eyes.

 

I’ve overtaken the counter for the first time!!

Admittedly, that was after a considerable struggle. On Saturday morning a grim pact was made between myself, the counter, and my sanity: I needed to make up all the lost ground I’d created via laziness and skipped writing days. As a result, the missing 4700 words were hammered out in one glorious morning of frantic typing. Sweet was the victory, agonised were the fingers, dim were the eyes (and questionable the content).

But still… success!

I’ve found the writing process to be pretty interesting so far. Characters who I’d planned to leave for later have been roped into the story and are making a compelling argument for their continued place there. Characters who weren’t meant to be very helpful are suddenly being less cryptic because they’re sick of other characters jerking them around. In short, I’m actually having fun with this, even though I’m not using weird prompts any more. The characters and plot are actually settling down and getting into gear.

It kind of feels like it’s turning into a novel… I think I might be sick.

Not much long to go now – good luck with your novels! Type through the pain!