Tuesday, 3 December 2013

December's IWSG - Is my novel worth it??

Hello lovely authors!

Where does the time go?! It seems like only yesterday I was writing November's IWSG post...I do apologise for the delay in this December post - the only excuse I can plead is that on Saturday I returned to the UK from China, which resulted in me being awake for over 24 hours and being VERY disorientated for the rest of the weekend! But I've managed to catch up on my sleep, and now I'm good to go :).

*EDIT: Have just realised that I am, in fact, a day early in posting this - my jet-lagged-addled brain thought it was the 1st of the month when IWSG posted, not the first Wednesday of the month! That's what you get when you cross eight time zones and don't sleep for a long long time...*

Here's a quick overview of the Insecure Writers' Support Group, for those of you who are new to this blog :) - every first Wednesday of the month, writers from all over the blogosphere confess what's been troubling them in their writing over the past month. IWSG was set up by Alex J. Cavanaugh (you can check out his blog here!), and you can check out the official IWSG website here!

Insecure Writers' Support Group

I have one major fear that I'd like to share with you all this month - well, I actually have a bunch of smaller fears as well, but this the one that's causing me the most concern, so I'm choosing to write about this particular issue. My fear is quite a simple one: what if everyone hates what I write?

Now, I know that (apparently) a lot of authors go through this phrase of being convinced that no one will like their novels, but what I'm terrified of is that once I finished my novel (and I am determined to finish this one!) - what if people read it and think 'wow, that was pointless, why did this crazy author ever think that this story deserved to be told in the first place? I'd like the last three days of my life back please.'

I'm not only afraid that readers won't like my writing, I'm also afraid that they'll think that my story doesn't have a point, or that my characters are so boring/lifeless, their story didn't even deserve to be written in the first place.

The more I think about this, the more freaked out I get. Is my story worth telling? What story am I even trying to tell? What exactly is the message I am trying to get across to my readers? Do I even have a message? Why should anyone care what happens to my characters?! What should anyone even bother to read my novel?!

I don't know why this fear has gripped me so suddenly - possibly it's the aftermath of NaNoWriMo messing with my mind and telling me that there's no point in me even editing the manuscript I have so far, as my whole novel is worthless, or maybe it's just me once again over-thinking everything. I really am hoping it's the latter!

I guess the most I can do that this point is just to keep going with what I have so far. Most of the time, I'm still so excited by my novel idea and what I've managed to achieve during NaNoWriMo, and I think I just have to ignore that little voice of doubt in my head and keep ploughing forward. I just need to retain that spark of excitement that compelled me to begin this story in the first place - that overwhelming belief I had, that the world simply has to know about this story. I just need to figure out a way of transferring all that excitement and hope and determination onto the page, so that ultimately, my readers will love my novel as much as I do.

Until next time - happy writing, folks!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Just keep swimming...I mean, writing...

So it's week 3 of NaNoWriMo - where has the time gone?!

I was actually fully expecting that I'd give up again this year, and that I'd only make it to 1,000 words again - but to my surprise, I'm still so enthusiastic about writing my novel! I'm currently on just over 30,000 words, which I have to admit, I'm quite proud of! If this was a normal November, I wouldn't be so far ahead, by the way - my sister is coming to visit me next Friday for a week, which means essentially, I've only got this week to get to 50,000 words!

I'm aiming to get at least another 5,000 written today - although I'm feeling a tiny bit worse for wear today, as I went out with my colleagues last night! I guess that's spirit of NaNoWriMo - writing when you'd really rather just laze around watching films and sleeping!

I do still have some major insecurities about my novel - but NaNoWriMo has made me seriously think about how I write, and I've had some revelations over the past few weeks.

When I used to start writing a novel before (note: start and never finish), everything I wrote had to be perfect, first time. But now, I'm slowly beginning to accept that nothing I write will be 'perfect' the first time I write it - whereas before NaNoWriMo I would've spent hours choosing the perfect word for a sentence, or desperately trying to think up of a new scene, or feel like crying over the thought of finishing my novel, only to have to go back and revise and write yet ANOTHER draft - now, none of that seems to bother me so much. If anything, I'm actually looking forward to December when I can edit and rewrite my novel!

Although I have the main plot points in my novel planned out, there are still large portions of it where I have no idea how the characters are going to get to A to B, or how one plot point will lead to the next. But for once, I'm not that worried. I know I'll figure it all out in the end, and I'm so looking forward to discovering new things about my novel as I write. For once, I can actually imagine my novel as a complete, shiny, finished product - and I can't wait to get there! All I have to have is a little patience and determination (and tea...let's not forget the tea).

So here's to the next 20,000 words! Roll on next week - and December!

How about you? How's your writing coming on this month :)?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

IWSG - Character fears!

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Every first Wednesday of the month, writers from all over the blogosphere confess what's been troubling them in their writing over the past month. IWSG was set up by Alex J. Cavanaugh (you can check out his blog here!), and you can check out the awesome brand-new official IWSG website here!
(P.S. If anyone knows how I can add the IWSG button to my blog, please let me know! I'm really not tech-savvy and I have no idea how to do it!)

So this month, my IWSG post is focusing on, yup, you've guessed it – NaNoWriMo.

So far, I'm doing an okay job of turning off my inner editor, and refusing point blank to listen when that little voice pipes up saying 'hey, you know those last 2,000 words you've just written? It's utter crap! Why don't you just go back and tinker with it a bit....' So while learning to lock my inner editor away in a cage and throw away the key is proving to be a little difficult, that's not the aspect I want to focus on today. Today, I'm feeling insecure about my NaNoWriMo characters.

I know these 50,000 words are going to be crap. That's fine. But what I'm terrified of is that even when I come to edit this 50,000 word monster, readers are still going to hate my characters.

What if they can't relate to them at all? What if they think they're 'wooden'? How on earth do I inject life and soul into these characters, that are so alive in my own head, but aren't necessarily coming out well on paper??

I'm so scared that people will think my FMC is just completely cold and un-relatable - true, I intend for her to be cold hearted at the beginning of the book, and as I'm planning on writing a series, I don't want her transformation to be completely obvious by the end of the first book. Yes, I want her to grow and start to see the error of her ways, but I don't want her to change instantly – otherwise, how else can I develop her in the next two books?

What if people also think my MMC's motives are questionable too?? If all goes to plan, he's going to develop/change/grow a lot quicker than my FMC does, but what if people flat out don't like him? I'd be heartbroken! I love my MMC to bits – in fact, when I first thought up of my plot, it was originally going to be about my FMC's journey, but now, I think I want it to be more (or at least equally) about his journey too, as he's just as pivotal to the story.

So that's my neurotic rambling for this month! Sorry if the post is a bit long, but it feels good to get it all off my chest ;). I can't wait to visit everyone else and cheer them on today, whether or not they're doing NaNoWriMo!

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

NaNoWriMo....Day 5!

This is just a quick update, to let you all know that I'm still alive and drinking lots of tea to get me through NaNoWriMo ;)...

It's day 5 of NaNoWriMo, and I'm pleased to say that I've passed last year's word count - hooray! Not that that was very difficult, mind you - last year I wrote about 1,000 words then gave up. This year, I've currently written over 8,600 words :), which makes me very happy! I was hoping to break through the 10,000 word barrier over the weekend, but I went to see a friend on Sunday and ended up hanging out with her later than I thought I would. Not that I mind - it was nice to get out of the house after writing all day Saturday!

What I've written so far is a complete mess. I'm not afraid to admit it - it's appalling. If I was writing this normally in any other month, I would have burst into tears, deleted everything, then thrown my laptop out of the window long ago. But this November, I am determined to turn off my inner editor and just write - it's so hard though - I'll think that I've managed to ignore what my inner editor is saying, but then I'll realise that I haven't written anything for five minutes, because I'm searching for the perfect way to word a particular sentence....but I just have to remember that NaNoWriMo isn't the time for editing and getting everything perfect - it's about writing.

So that's what I'm going to focus on this week - simply getting the words down onto paper. There'll be plenty of time in December for me to edit and rewrite to my heart's content, but for now I'm just going to box up all my doubts and shove them into a dark and dusty corner of my mind...

I also received some unexpected news this morning - when I turned up to my first class of the day, the classroom was empty and the teachers were stripping everything off the walls. Turns out some of the kids are suffering from the 'hands, foot and mouth disease' - don't you just love it when things get lost in translation? I'm pretty sure that means chicken pox...but anyway, the whole class is off school for the next two weeks, which means I now have even more free time in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I hope all ,y cute little Chinese pupils get well soon, and I can't wait to see them again, but I'm not gonna lie - two weeks worth of free mornings, right when NaNoWriMo is running (when I actually only have 3 weeks instead of 4 to write 50,000 words, as my sister is coming to see me at the end of November), - kinda seems like a very odd blessing in disguise ;)....

So, how's your NaNoWriMo coming along?? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

It's almost here!

The countdown to NaNoWriMo has begun!

In just one and a half hours (if you're running on Beijing time that is), NaNoWriMo 2013 will begin! Although on the one hand, I'm completely psyched to get going on my novel, at the same time, I'm terrified! All I can think about is - have I put enough work into planning my novel? What if everyone hates my characters? What if I hate my characters? What if my world isn't believable...? Wait...stop, stop, STOP!

I'm actually having to try and mentally shut my brain down before it goes into overdrive - NaNoWriMo isn't about having the perfect plot or story arc, or characters....it's about writing. So that's what I'm going to try and do - from tomorrow, I'm going to stop worrying so much about the nitty gritty of my story and just simply...write! Who cares if the background to my world isn't complete yet? Who cares if I don't know every little thing about my characters yet? NaNoWriMo will give me the chance to discover all these things - and once I've written my 50,000 words, that's when I can go back through it all properly and edit it. But for now, I'm just going to have fun letting my creative side out!

I'm off to bed now so I can get a decent night's sleep before the craziness of November kicks in tomorrow. Good luck to everyone who's participating this year - I know you'll do great! And if you fancy having someone to cheer you on/cry on, feel free to add me on the NaNoWriMo website - my username is REPattinson1 :).

Good luck!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Three days to go...

...are you ready yet?!

I know, I know I keep going on about NaNoWriMo (you can check out it's awesomeness for yourself here), but I really am psyched to properly try and win this year! For the past few weeks I've been waiting impatiently for 1st November to roll around, so I can properly get stuck into writing my novel - but now I can't believe that it's only three days away!! Ahhh!! WHERE DID THE TIME GO?! For the next few days I'll be frantically putting together the last of my notes on my world-building/characters/plot etc (I know you're not really supposed to do this, but trust me, if I just jump straight in, I know I'll hit a wall in about two days time, and that'll be that). 

I've also taken the plunge and re-joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group (you can check out that awesomeness here!) - when I joined last year, I, er, may have got taken off the list because I didn't post for more than two months in a row - but this time I am determined to keep up with it! I already know what a couple of my upcoming posts will be about (and no doubt my first one for November will include NaNoWriMo...) and I've also made a note in my diary every first Wednesday of the month to make double-y sure I don't forget again! I may also put a reminder on my phone, just in case...

I hope everyone else's plans for NaNoWriMo are coming together - I'd love to hear about your plans for this year, so feel free to post a comment or two!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Writing ups and downs...

This week has kind of been up and down, in terms of my writing. On the plus side, I'm all fired up and ready to go with my new novel idea for NaNoWriMo - I'm planning on spending the weekend fine-tuning the plot/setting/characters, so hopefully by November 1st, I'll have some clue of what I want to write about!

On the downside though, I had a very unpleasant surprise this week - I thought I'd open up my other WIP, just to see how far I'd got with it, with the vague idea that I may add to it again, if inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel failed to strike. However, when I opened up the folder on my computer, I couldn't find my 20,000+ manuscript anywhere....as well as that, all my spreadsheets with my plot outlines, and several other Word docs with notes/scribbles in, had gone too...after searching around my laptop frantically, I decided to check the USB stick where I know I also saved the file (in fact, I'd transferred the file from the USB to my laptop). Unfortunately, there was nothing there either - I don't know how I did it, but somehow when I transferred the file from my USB to my laptop, these documents got lost along the way.

I'm so annoyed with myself for not checking my USB before I put everything on my laptop and it's disappointing that all that work has gone - but not all hope has been lost yet. I've asked my lovely Other Half back in England to check my old laptop just in case there's a chance they are still saved on there...so I'm crossing all my fingers for luck! I guess if they have been lost/deleted by accident, then maybe it's the universe's way of telling me it wasn't very good - and luckily, I still have a majority of my notes on this laptop, so if worst comes to worse, I'll just have to start again ;) - slightly irritating, but hey, that's life!

In other news, I told myself last night that I'd get up early today and get a good morning's writing done...however, due to the fact that I stayed up til after 12.30am writing, that kinda didn't happen...BUT I'm up, showered (not quite wide awake yet - but that's nothing several cups of tea won't fix...) and ready to rock 'n roll!

To be honest, I don't really mind that I've lost a few hours this morning, as I'm happy with the notes I scribbled down last night, and best of all, instead of waking up and thinking 'I suck at this, what's the point of writing, no one's ever going to read it anyway', I'm still absolutely determined not to listen to that little devil on my shoulder - instead, I'm going to keep going until I have a reasonable plot/outline/setting, ready for NaNoWriMo. I may not be the best writer in the world (yet :p), but I'm still going to try!

How are all your plans going for NaNoWriMo? Are you writing up plans, or are you just going to wing it? Let me know - I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo '13...

So it's almost that time of year again when we writers go into hibernation (not that I'm constantly in hibernation anyway...ahem..) for the month of November, locking ourselves away into some dark and dusty room, only to dash back out into the light when the food/chocolate/tea supplies start to get low....yup, NaNoWriMo is here. In just 9 days time, the frenzy of writing, word counts and tears begins again....

I'm really looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year - mainly because I am DETERMINED that I will actually achieve my 50,000 word count (last year I managed a pitiful 1,000...) - I'm hoping that being in a new city, and the fact that I only really work for four hours a day, will mean that I will finally be able to knuckle down and get some proper writing done.

I've already updated my NaNoWriMo profile on the official website (which you can check out here), said hello to my fellow NaNoWriMo'ers that are in Beijing on the forums, and for the rest of the night, I'm going to get a head start on my novel by writing out my synopsis/plan (is that cheating? I hope not....). So things are already looking up from last year!

I can't wait to get involved properly - I'm so looking forward to hearing about how other people's work in getting on, and sharing mine in return.

Let the writing commence! (Well....in approximately 219 hours and 30 minutes, if you're on Beijing time...)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

General musings and a bit of an update....

Sorry for the un-inventive title, but my brain is a bit frazzled!!

Anyway, this blog post really is just a general catch-up, so feel free not to read any further if you don't want to ;).

So, I'm still in China - woo! Trust me, this is quite a big achievement for me - only two weeks ago I was *this* close to booking my plane ticket home. I missed the Other half, I missed my family, I missed my friends and, dear God, how I've missed the food back in England!! I am doing my very best to try and fit into the culture here and I'm determined to see this through to end, but I'm not gonna lie - I think this is going to be very tough for me, especially in December when it's my birthday and Christmas. But I have cheered up over the past few days - mainly because the Other Half came to visit me in Beijing! He was in China on business, so I saw him for a few days before he flew down South, and we had a lovely weekend together before he flew back home to England this morning. After he left, I found this amazing bookshop/cafe in the centre of town - I literally spent the whole day in there, and I'm not joking when I say I think that's where I'll be spending a majority of my Sundays from now on!!

But getting out of the flat this weekend really made me realise that I don't want to sit around moping and counting down the hours/minutes til I can go home. I have 13 weeks left of teaching time - I may have mentioned before that I only actually teach for an hour and a half a day, which means I have A LOT of free time on my hands (to be honest, I think this is part of the problem - I don't know about you, but when I have free time and nothing to do, my mind starts to wander, and then I start to worry about, well, everything....). So I have decided to do something constructive with my time. Once again, I am going to attempt to finish a first draft of my novel.

I know I've said this before. I know I'll probably fail again. But luckily for me, NaNoWriMo is coming up too, and I am hoping that that, combined with the fact that I now know an awesome place where I can get out of my flat/head for a bit and do some serious writing (see the aforemetioned book shop), means that I will be able tog et some serious writing done, and do something constructive, during my time here. I'm going to find a timeline to put on this blog RIGHT NOW, to motivate me!!

So how about you? What are your writing goals for the rest of the year? And does anyone know that if you've been kicked out of IWSG once, if you can join again...? I want to be properly serious about joining this time! Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

On the road again...

Okay, so I know it's been a while since I've last blogged. It's been, what, six months maybe, or more? And I just cannot believe how fast that time has flown in!!

I remember in one of my last posts I wrote about how I'd made some New Year's resolutions that I was determined to stick to - well, let me tell you right now, they haven't happened. But not for the reasons you think (well, ok, maybe part of it IS that I'm still a bit lazy, but anyway, that's beside the point....). So why haven't I accomplished my goals yet?

Simple. Life got in the way. And life just seems to have this funny habit of throwing you into situations that you never ever expected to be in. I'll give you a brief summary:

Basically I quit my job. And I've moved to China. For six months....to teach english.

Yeah I know - a tiny bit of a bombshell! My parents thought the same when I rang them up out of the blue one day and simply said 'mum, dad, I'm moving to China for six months. See you in February.' Trust me on this - that kind of sentence can be a bit of a conversation killer....

Anyway, in regards to my writing, I still don't want to give up. I've actually managed to do a little while I've been out here in Beijing - see, I actually get quite a lot of free time at my job and so I figured, why not use that time to do something useful? Like learning mandarin and writing? (And obviously, planning my english lessons...)

So just in case you were a teensy bit worried about what was happening with me (unlikely I know but, hey, flatter me just this once please :P), that's what's going on with me at the moment. If you want to hear more about my China adventures, you can check out my special TEFL blog here. I'm hoping to get back into the habit of writing on here more - I miss you guys! I miss reading round the blogosphere and see what's happening with other writers, so it's definitely something I'm going to try and keep up with (though we all know how well I keep resolutions!).

Until necxt time, zaijian!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Okay, so this may be slightly belated, but Happy New Year to all you lovely people anyway :). I hope you're all wonderfully refreshed and raring to go after the Christmas holidays, or maybe you're more like me and have to dragged kicking and screaming into the real world again after a 2 and a half week break....

Anyway - to be honest, I don't have much to report. It's been a long time since I've attempted to do any writing, and I keep getting distracted by other things (e.g. reading and watching Game of Thrones). I have made a few writing-based New Year resolutions, and this year, instead of just telling myself I'll do something, I've written down a whole list of resolutions I'm going to try and achieve this year. Don't get your hopes up though - I love writing lists, I'm just not good at crossing things off!

But still, we'll see how it goes! I may share a couple with you over the coming weeks, but you all know me by now - I'm incredibly flaky! I always say I'll do something and mean to do it, but never do...perhaps that should be another one of my resolutions - no flakiness!

Anyway - how about you, lovely authors? What are your New Year resolutions, writing based or otherwise :)?

Have a great weekend!