A New Story Direction | What I’m Writing Wednesdays

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve struggled with the direction I want to take my story. There have been several versions of the story I’m writing, with no full-length drafts to show for months and months of brainstorming. I can’t even begin to try and wonder at why I’ve had such a hard time, other than, you know, lack of confidence, commitment, and dedication. But I’m feeling closer than I’ve ever been before to being happy with the story I’m turning out and I thought I’d share a little bit about my most recent progress finally.

My progress started with a sketch.

I drew my protagonist’s childhood home, the place she’d be forced to leave, and all the while I was able to think about the place and the things that happened there and the things that could happen there. It was really inspiring.

Then I had a light bulb go off over my head. I don’t remember exactly how it came to me, but I finally had the kind of realization that I had been waiting for. It changed the magic system in my world, but also helped me learn what my protagonist would care deeply about and how it would relate to the antagonist and the state of affairs in their world.

So this weekend I figured out what my protagonist cares about and how it will lead to the story’s conflict and her consequent adventure. I also have finally committed the journey I want my protagonist to take. I think this new version of the story is a lot darker than previous iterations, which makes me a lot more excited to write it. I don’t read a lot of dark YA, yet alone have I ever tried my hand at writing it, so I feel like I’m charting new and exciting waters.

I don’t think I mentioned it in last week’s blog post, but I’m hoping to write a first draft of this whole story by March 13th, the beginning of my spring break. I want to be done by then so that I can read it and begin to think about revisions during that free time. I also am tired of procrastinating and letting myself off the hook. A month would be far to short a time, but about two months should be plenty. I don’t anticipate writing a very long draft, I just want to have the bare nuts and bolts of the story down.

One thing I’ve long considered is that it might be better for me to write a short story before I write a full-length book, so I’m still taking this in mind as I work on my story. I think it’d be a fun, more manageable challenge to write it in snippets that way, so I’ll let you know how this experiment goes. I wouldn’t want to write “the novel” in fewer than four short stories, so I need to work out how the divisions should work and the content of each unit. That’ll probably be next week’s post,  if I haven’t changed my mind by then!

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it in some way useful for your own writing endeavors. It’s going to be a busy week for me (I’ve actually drafted this post about two days early), because I’m preparing to take the GRE, which is a graduate school entry exam similar to the SAT or ACT. I don’t really know why I’m taking it anymore, to be honest. I have no idea if I still truly want to go to grad school (this is a post that will be in the making soon), but I’ve paid for it so I might as well take it and do the best I can.

Thank you for reading!
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Making Time to Write | What I’m Writing Wednesdays

Miraculously, Wednesdays this semester look like they will be pretty open; all I have is Media Psych from 4–6:45 p.m. but I should have a lot of time on this day to write and blog as long as I’m maintaining my readings and homework over the weekend, which is a major goal of mine this semester.

I want to talk about making time to write in this week’s post because it’s something I’ve struggled with since losing my weekly in-person writing club and becoming a graduate student. It’s all about managing your time, and I’m been pretty bad at that. I feel like my entire adult life has been a war between my ambitious side and my lazy side.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my busiest days as I have learned I will be a TA for three classes which meet twice a week on these days. Additionally, I will need to keep up with the readings as much as possible. So I’m essentially going to be reading for four classes this semester in addition to completing my own coursework, grading undergrad work, and I still have no idea at this point what my Capstone will demand.

I feel like I’ve done my best writing when I’ve been my busiest, and since it’s going to be a busy semester I’m really looking forward to what comes out of it. Below is my plan for how I’m going to make time to write.

The Plan

#1 Figure out the best time of day that you are most inspired to write.

For me, I think it’s between morning and the mid-afternoon. I like having the morning sun burst through my curtains and to have the morning calm lull me into my story. This is perfect for a grad student who has most of her classes at night, but this semester I have daytime commitments that I will need to work around. I also need to make sure I’m not using this time to study or prepare for classes at the last minute, so I need to get all that stuff done ahead of time in its own designated time slot, most likely after dinner and in the evening.

#2 Wake up everyday at the same time and immediately go through the morning routine.

This might seem a bit random, but if you’re anything like me, you may find it easy to stay up late watching YouTube or Netflix when you know you can sleep in the next day. This is how most of my free time gets wasted. I’ve found that it’s easier to wake up and stay awake if you go through all the motions that you would as if you have somewhere to be. So for me that means: washing my face, brushing my teeth, moisturizing my skin, and getting dressed. Then I feel fresh and ready to take on the day.

#3 Even on the busiest of days, try to look at your story at least once at any spare moment you have and jot down any heat of the moment ideas you may have.

A lot of days where I feel like I don’t have any time for myself, I usually actually do have some time, but I’m just so stressed out that I just want to vegetate so that I don’t freak out. This will probably be the hardest thing that I can personally do because it’s a huge behavioral shift for me. But that’s why I know it will make a huge difference.

End Note

Let me know if you found any of these “tips” helpful or if you’re already seeing results by having implemented them into your writing habits. I haven’t got any writing progress to share this week, but I am excited for Friday because this week I think I’m going to have my own personal write-in day as a show of good faith to myself that I’m going to write this semester. I’ll probably set an arbitrary word goal for the day and do a few writing sprints to keep myself moving. But I also think I’ll do a bit of plotting and research that day. I’m so excited and it’s great to be excited after a month of blah!

Thank you for reading!
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What I’m Writing In 2017.

I had actually been planning to have an entirely different writing-related post go up tomorrow, but my heart wasn’t quite in it so I completely scrapped it and decided to try again once I’ve actually gotten some writing done. Today is that day!

This morning after a late breakfast, I sat down at the breakfast table with my MacBook Pro and a mug of coffee to look at all the docs I have on my story and decide what needs to be done first. Yesterday I had actually done a little bit of work on my story (miraculously too because I’ve been sick pretty much all 2017 with some sort of cold thus far). I plotted out some ideas that would get me from the beginning to the middle of my story.

Today I’ve written about 601 words so far in Scrivener of a new story beginning because I had an idea for something in the middle that would require something happen at the start of the story. More often than not it’s been a daunting process, but luckily I’ve been having fun to adjusting and problem solving here.

I would probably say that I’m about 1/4 of the way through a first draft at this point, because I’m still trying to salvage what I started in November 2016. So this year, specifically this semester, I’m going to be trying to finish this novel piece by piece, and I’ll try to document my journey and share any tips or ideas that I find helpful on my journey.

I want to go back to weekly Wednesday writing-related posts. The first half will be a diary of the trials and tribulations in my novel writing progress, and the second half will be a list of some things that might help spur your own writing, such as writing prompts or short brainstorming/motivation/plotting activities. I also may share other smaller writing projects I start up during the year, because I do want to experiment with writing formats this year in addition to my writing.

To summarize, here are my writing resolutions for 2017:

  1. Finish my first novel (and have a query-ready draft by the end of the year)
    1. Sub-goal: Write at least one scene per day
  2. Complete a separate short story each month in experimental and interactive formats (i.e. Twine, animations, short story, etc.)
  3. Publish at least one writing-related blog post each week (on What I’m Writing Wednesdays)

End Note

Let me know if you have any suggestions for next week’s post, including any questions about my own story that you may be curious about. I’ve talked about my story in past here on this blog so you may be able to do some easy searching to find out what it’s about. Because it might change soon, I’m holding off on providing a new summary here just yet. I will dedicate an entirely separate post (and perhaps a static blog page) dedicated to my novel once the first draft is closer to being complete.

I’m off to go clean my room and read! I also want to finally break out my Wacom drawing tablet tonight so you may see some stuff about that soon. On another note, I am seriously thinking of starting up my YouTube channel again once I get back to Dallas. I bought a $15 tripod at Best Buy, so I’m excited to set up a filming space in Dallas and film a New Year’s Resolutions video as soon as I can. I want my channel to be about reading, writing, and creative endeavors so I’m excited to start creating and documenting there! More on what this channel will be will come in a separate post probably some time next week.

Thank you for reading!
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