After nearly a month of success at making writing a priority, I’ve slipped up this week. I went to visit my parents a long weekend for my birthday and I did not manage to get any serious writing work done. Not even brainstorming. Well, I thought of some ideas while I was driving, but nothing has been recorded. But since I haven’t read or blogged for the past week either, I think we can just say that it was an overall unproductive week and not just me avoiding writing! I was just a little too busy with life and school.
I decided to do a Novel Progress this week, just to show that I’ve not completely fallen off the wagon. I’m pretty sure professional writers have their weeks off as well. It was good. I feel a little refreshed and don’t really regret taking an unofficial break. It made me miss writing. So in this week’s post, I wanted to just talk about where I hope to go from here and also some random philosophical writing-related musings.
➵ What I’m Working On
I’m still working on the beginning of my story. I’m currently at 673 words, which consists of an introduction to my protagonist and her guardian and a flashback to the scene where they learn about the celebration they will be attending in the guardian’s honor. So I like what I have so far. I guess I have been procrastinating about moving forward because I have a bullet-point list of things I would like to happen at this celebration but I’m nervous about how it will unfold. Because I don’t know!
I think my biggest fear in writing (other than self-doubt) is my fear of the unknown. If I don’t know what exactly is going to happen, I hesitate to try and write it even though I know from experience that if I pay attention to the details as I write I discover my way.
Trust in the details…
Today, I’m hoping to dedicate to writing. I say “hoping” because I have a lot of other things competing for my time. But I’m hoping that if I set up at least a couple of hours with no Internet and think of nothing but the story, I’ll work myself out of my writing slump and rediscover some excitement that will motivate me to write this story! With luck, I’ll have finished the beginning of my story and be able to move forward with other parts next week.
➵ What I’ve Been Thinking About
Even when I’m not sitting down with my MacBook Pro or my writing notebook, I’m often thinking about my story, specifically details about what I can include. As I was driving home last week, a song inspired a bit of imagery I’ll be including immediately once I finally sit down to write. And this past Sunday, after I got upset about something and went to my room to cry. In the moments that followed, I managed to write a short paragraph of my protagonist experiencing what I felt. I don’t know how or if it will be included in the story, but in hindsight I liked that my first instinct was to apply my own experience to my protagonist. It’s moments like these that give me hope that I might have a future as a writer.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is why I write. I read a book called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud this weekend for my Digital Textuality class. One of the final chapters dealt with the question of why the artist is motivated to create.
Does the artist want to say something about life through his art or does he want to say something about art itself? – Understanding Comics, p. 178
Another related question is whether I have something to say at all. I don’t feel like it’s a secret, given my past Novel Progress installments, that I don’t know exactly what is going to happen in my novel. My novel was not born of a brilliant idea or need to communicate some moral lesson. I’m just trying to write something that my 11-year-old self would have loved to read. Something with vibrant characters and a world she would have wished she could visit. And at the same time, something that would have empowered her.
I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy at this point in my life, and I feel like the main thing I’m trying to do is avoid what I tropes I dislike and write a protagonist who is in some ways an extension of myself. A lot of my favorite fantasy series either have male protagonists (i.e. Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, The Bartimaeus Trilogy) or inevitably has a strong romantic arc (i.e. Howl’s Moving Castle, His Dark Materials, Throne of Glass). Neither of these are necessarily bad, but I do feel like I’m trying to do something different with my story and protagonist, while inevitably drawing upon my favorite stories for inspiration.
By focusing on what I think is making me and my story unique, I like to think that it’s making my writing better that it otherwise would be. So that hopefully will result in my happiness with the end result and also help in finding the right publishers.
That’s all I have for this week’s Novel Progress. In case this is the first Novel Progress you’ve stumbled upon, I encourage you to read about my more productive weeks in Novel Progress #1, 2, 3, and 4. Hopefully, I will have a lot more to share next week. Next Wednesday will be March 2nd, which means I’ll only have a month left to meet my self-appointed deadline for completing this first draft of my novel!
One more thing I have been thinking about is trying to start YouTube again. I’ve done two BookTube videos (a TBR and a Wrap Up) in the past but since pulled them down because I didn’t like the quality or how nervously I talked. But I’m thinking of trying again, specifically to do book talks and talk about my writing. I love watching others talk about writing and I’d like to try and expand my platform in that direction. Especially as I’ve been rethinking the direction I want to take this blog…More on that later!