The Lonely Writer (excuses)

My name is Aryn, and I’m a writer. (even though I may not have a book deal–I AM a writer.) And this is my Friday rant:

The Lonely Writer:

Talk to any writer and they’ll tell you how lonely it is. This is a fact, not a lie. Writing is a desert island. Sometimes it has to do with your muse. The only way to isolate the perfect ideas is to to sequester yourself from outside influences. (And I don’t mean you stop reading other books, or participating in general every day life. That’s crazy.)

Then there is the actual work. You don’t need (or want) a buddy pushing the keyboard buttons for you. Thus, again, alone. Fingers tapping on keys. Tap-a-tap-a-tap. In solitude.

Then editing… (editing is like literary plastic surgery. It puts you elbow deep in syntax and metaphors. E’s everywhere! Cover your eyes…)

But let’s not forget the other factor. After a while, non-writers really get tired of hearing your ramblings about your next “big idea.” I don’t know why… I mean, seriously, it’s genius! My ideas are brilliant!

Ah! funny….

Anyway, I have been “on a break” this past week. Trust me when I say, it’s me–not my writing. My writing is beautiful and kind–but I’ve drifted from it’s side. Now I feel more like my writings friend than a lover, which is a BIG issue. Not insurmountable, but that feeling is what led to this weeks hiatus.

Luckily, it’s not the total white noise of writers block. There are still some plot lines trickling it, but they’re all unrelated to my current WiP.

This is the curse of being a writer–besides feeling alone there are all the fake people in your head demanding you tell their story–NOW!

And suddenly I realize that I’m writing this blog post to justify my week off. HA! I may be alone in this, or maybe you feel the same–but I don’t regret the break. I needed my brain clear. I needed to be able to see the trees from the forest. And I needed to clean my house. It’s kinda gross… I mean, if I HAD friends and they stopped over, I’d be super duper embarrassed..

In the end:

Life is what you make of it–so is writing. And that means some times you need to stop what you’re doing to regroup, allowing you to move forward with all those plans. (and stories)

I hope you’re all well and enjoying a fantastic day, where ever you are. But most of all, I hope you’re listening to good music, embracing the life you have. Even if today is the day you look to excuses, let tomorrow lead to your truth.

Happy writing! xxoo-a

Plotting and planning

Welcome to another week in the life of, well, me… Yup! I’m sitting here doing what I do weekly, blogging while I think about what I need to get done.

This is a long list.

I’ve spent the last few weeks distracted and consumed by many other things, thus sucking up my writing time. Before the turn of the calendar, I had a plan. I had time mapped out. And I stuck to it.

There there is the secret of writing, my friends. Make a plan, and stick to it. Make time to plot your book, outline your book, write your first draft, and then make the most time for the edits you’ll be doing.

Because you’ll be doing freaking edits. I bring this up a lot. I’ll keep bringing it up a ton. Why? Because no book is written in one sitting. Maybe on a rare occasion–but for the most part it’s a succession of repetitive writing and editing.

This the week I get back to this routine I worked out months ago.

Also last week, but in my writing world, I mad two major (massive) changes to my WiP–this will create a time delay. But they changes are important. They elevate my idea, raising it to a level that it deserves to be in.

My hope is that this spot–this Monday post–will transform into my actually showing you portions of said WiP within the next month or so. Feedback is welcome. Feed back is–always–welcome. 🙂

So, to all you writers out there who stumbled upon this post–lets get to work. The world needs some words to read. And not just mine. You’re too.

Happy writing!! xxoo-A

drafts

Drafts.

I think if there was one thing I could go back and tell my younger self about writing, it would be, “write multiple drafts. Do it *before* you turn to beta readers. Trust your gut.”

This is a tough lesson. We live in a digital age where people can self publish in the wink of an eye. This can make you feel rushed. Like you should be “first draft ready.” But all that ever will do is hurt your work.

Currently, I’m writing the second draft of a novel. My biggest problem is impatience. I feel like I should have been done a month ago–but life has bulldozed me. In these moments I flinch. I think about how uncertain I can be.

I hate that feeling.

I want to chuck the other drafts–the drafts that will make my story stronger and better. SO I CAN’T CHUCK THEM! Oh, life. You are a wicked, wicked things.

And that, my lovely readers, is why I need to get off the internet and on Word. Sneak a moment here. Sneak a moment there. Suddenly they add up, and you have a finished manuscript.

Live long, and write often. We need to hear lots of great words these days. The more the better.

xxoo-a

Words on parade

The words run circles in my brain. Round and round and round… It gets so bad I have problems focusing on real life issues. Have I eaten? Should I sleep? Where’s my child…?! (kidding)

This hasn’t happen in a very long time.

At this moment, I have a scene trapped in my head. Each time I play it over, it grows. A little bit bigger, and bigger still–now it’s cutting into my editing time.

When I was younger, and would free write–or go the route of a pantster–this was a normal thing. Distraction by words. Distraction by imaginary people begging to be met in their own space. But once I began plotting , these episodes of utter chaos dwindled.

I didn’t realize how much I missed them.

Now I have research to do for this budding idea, and with only two weeks left until the Holiday Break at my child’s school–I have to get my butt in gear. Edit, plot, draining words so overly swollen they distract me from my current goals… It’s like a word lobotomy, but much less permanent.

Oh, words… how you love to haunt me.

xxoo-A

Are you there, God? Oh, wait…

…I forgot. I haven’t done the whole ‘god’ thing in circa twenty years. So maybe I should say ‘universe’ or something less religion specific.

I sit here, as my dinner slowly burns on the range, with my fingers hovering over this neon blue keyboard attempting to articulate the myriad of thoughts devouring my brain. I am consumed with to many it’s become hard to sift through them all–searching for the right train of thought.

Frustrating building, I’m now calling to the heavens for guidance.

My writing inspiration seems to be an situation of ‘all or nothing.’ Either I have so many ideas I’m lost (like right now,) or it’s a blank desert–endless miles of dust mote dunes suffocating my brain. If only I could find a trigger… Oh, wait!! (again!) I entered a contest. I did! I entered #PitchWars, and now I have a list longer than the Mississippi to choose from.

Here is my question for you, my lovely readers. How do you choose your projects? What is your process? Normally, mine is I wait until an idea keeps me up at night–but I have a bit quandary, for I have a WIP that needs tending, another MS plotting on a promise–and then there’s the one that’s keeping me up.

Do you see what the problem is? What should I do?!

So, now you are god (this could go poorly quickly, but lets do it any way.) All of the help you provide (aka–advice) is greatly appreciated!

Now–if you’re also entered Pitch Wars, I wish you luck! And to everyone else. Happy Writing!!

xx-

-A

 

 

The continuous road of writing…

I’ve now been sending queries for 25 days. I know this because one agent I emailed sent an auto-reply telling me after 30 days–it wasn’t me, it’s him or her.

Why is sending queries like getting dumped? Besides the obvious rejection. But seriously, that is what all auto-rejections feel like. And here I am–in my teens again, getting the, ‘It’s not you. It’s me,’ speech from some catholic school boy whose name I can’t remember.

The only difference is I’m not sixteen any more and I’ve matured enough to believe that the sender is correct. You can’t please everyone now can you? And why would you want to for that matter?

As the query wheels roll I’ve taken the time to look at what else I have in my writing armory. There is full history fiction novel, a half novel that still has potential not to suck a ton, and then the long queue of new ideas burning holes in my brain.

[They keep me up at night. Does this happen to you?]

Most ideas I let sit for a while. If they vanish I know I was right to wait. How great of a concept could it have been I can’t even remember it existed? Then there are the others… Over a dozen random characters in my head poking my frontal lobe just to see if I’m paying attention.

My brain needs a receptionist.

On top of that I have one other problem: two of these stories are promises–one is a first draft (a very, extremely, oh god help me! first draft,) that was a promise to a friend and the other is for my son.

I came here to write about it because seeing the problem on the computer screen helps me make decisions. I suppose that is another cure of being a writer–the transition from brain to page. My hazel green eyes need to rest firmly on the blackness of the text in order for my brain to calm down and make a decision. It also allows me to distract myself–because while I’m busying myself filling out beat sheets, typing up character breakdowns, and deciding where to put a big chunk of my energy for the next four weeks, I’m able to hold onto the notion that I won’t be sad on June 16th when I don’t hear from that agent…

Querying is such a roller coaster! (which is an amazing place to pick up emotional traits for the characters I write about. Damn it. Writing is like the song that never ends. It just keeps going and going and going and going…)

 

Day 5 – I’m alive!! (maybe)

I’m on day five. (It’s day five! I’m alive!!) Ha! Bad humor is mucha diversion!

So, moving on… This week–the week I decided to make this jump into life preservation, self discovery, truth, honesty, yoga, and writing–has been a royal pain in the ass.

I’m not kidding. Not even a little.

From insomnia, to sickness, to soreness, to the fact I bit my tongue SO HARD talking isn’t an option–it’s been a roller coaster ride. And by roller coaster ride, I mean I feel like I’ve been rolled up in a pile of snow and pushed down the side of a hill.

Have I mentioned it’s down right chilly in L.A.?! It’s hard for me to remember the days when I thought forty-degrees was warm. Evidently, back in the day, I was dealing with the side-effects of hypothermia. (Kidding. I lived in Cleveland. All you do in Cleveland when it’s cold is drink. I never would have noticed I had hypothermia.)

SO! Back to coming alive on day five.

I have no lessons for you, right now I’m still trying to hold on and not let myself quit. Maybe there’s a lesson in there… the whole, “quitters never win, winners never quit,” spiel. But… there has been an excellent battle of faith happening.

Not that I’m a religious person, because I’m not.  And I don’t care if you are–I’m not a fan of judging. I am, however, a fan of people following their heart and gut. For me, that has led me to a non-secular path.

Maybe you’re thinking, how can one question their faith, if they don’t worship in the traditional sense? Let me tell you, it’s simple. I just wake up and do it.

Lately I’ve been having this, “What if I’m wrong?!” argument dancing in my head. What if all this time and energy I’ve put into my personal (and maybe a little warped) belief system is a waste of time because it’s just a pile of nothingness?

Thoughts pop into my head that, two years ago, I wouldn’t have questions, but now… I can’t stop questioning them.

I question everything. Why this? Why that?

Then the doubt creeps in… what if I’m wrong?

Okay, here’s and example: What if I’m putting all this time and energy into writing, when–at the end of the day–I’m just not that good.

I don’t want to believe this, because I love writing so much–but how do you know?? [insert Whitney Houston song here]

And the most ridiculous part of this internal struggle/constant argument? The one thing I use as an example is one of the few things I won’t quit. I just can’t. Maybe I should have chosen my new desire to distance myself (physically) from humankind? That may have been a better example, but that ship sailed… and I’m left with my previous example.

As I’m sitting here writing this, now I’m thinking, “Is this a mid-life crisis? am I old enough to have a mid-life crisis? Don’t have to be in my 50s and 60s to have a mid-life crisis? WHEN IS MID-LIFE?!!”

It must be what it is, right? Because I don’t know where it’s all coming from. No, I may not always be the most over confident person, but I can hold my own when need be. And right now I can’t find the root of all this squabbling in my brain, and I fear that until I do it’s going to be months and months of me changing the lyrics of “Who Will I Know,” to fit my life…

BLURG!

I guess I’ll just keep “being alive” and also a little “confused” all the time.

This is what happens when you take time for yourself… you start to analyze things in order to make decisions to better yourself.

I just hope that, when I’m done, I am a better person, and not just the crazy woman on the internet who wishes there was a “jazz hands” icon on wordpress, so she can convey sarcasm with hand gestures other than the middle finger…

What will day six hold?!! What rhymes with six? (besides dicks.)

Now I have to go… ten pages left on this edit, so I’ll be back tomorrow!!! Hopefully with a better song to get stuck in your head…

Railbirds

you+suck

Critics.

All of them.

The people who tell us to give up, are the ones who feel they have failed. But the truth is, the only way to actually fail – is to give up.

This is the speech I give myself each and every time I want to throw in the towel. Life would be so much easier if I stopped trying, because then I wouldn’t have to be disappointed.

The railbirds in our lives add to the perpetual need for an escape plan. The people we thought were our trusted guides turn out to be nothing more than pessimistic and downtrodden folk who love to share their disappointment.

At the end of the day, their supported is about as effective as a ten-year old bra missing it’s underwire.

It’s good to remember that are a product of our decisions – both the ones we make and the ones we avoid. It is an inescapable fact. So is – we can’t really blame the critics for saying what they think, we can only monitor how we react to their words.

If they speak at all.

Sometimes silence is the loudest critic. Not hearing, not receiving feedback, not getting a reply to an email you sent a week earlier. It is the one thing you so desperately desire.

The want is almost crippling.

As writers we are creative folk. We’ve decided to spin and weave and knit facts and fiction together – creating thoughts, emotions, stories, etc. And when you reach out and the person doesn’t reach back… Our stories leap from the computer screen into our head, worst case scenarios on steroids.

How wonderful would it be to be an island? Sadly, needing the help of others along the writers path is inevitable. Simone and Garfunkel are alone again.

This post is an example of me trying to bolster my own psyche as I wait for a return email. My mind has been doing flips for days and the imaginary railbirds I’ve concocted over the years  are drinking pints of ale, mocking me relentlessly.

“Told you, Aryn. You’re writing isn’t worth a dime!” Gin blossomed nose, stale breath, and a rotund disposition. I wonder why I paint myself as a down on your luck hobo circa 1925 when I choose to self sabotage? Oh, Freud… at least it wasn’t my mother.

Alas – it’s back to that “making a choice” moment… and while one little voice tells me its time to give up, turns out I can’t stop myself – even if I try…

Friday in Review

FRIDAY in REVIEW

 

There comes a time in every writers life when they must read. Or maybe there comes a time in a reader’s life when they must write – I feel this is similar to the “what comes first, the chicken or the egg” conundrum. One may never know…

But for me, the answer is simple – I was a reader and then at the ripe old age of 7 I became both.

As a writer, finding inspiration is a fundamental necessity to the craft. (& yes, hard work.) Finding a novel that instills the sort of inspiration that not only provides me with the courage to write, but motivate me to improve my craft, is a glorious feat. I have read many books (no, most are not listed on goodreads.) but sadly a lot of them have fallen through the cracked gray matter that is my brain. (If a reader reads a book and doesn’t post it on goodreads, does it still make a sound?)

But for every book that has slipped through my cerebrum, there are the few that stick like thick pancakes to your stomach lining. Each Friday I would like to share one of those books with you. My list of personal favorites. Maybe you will have read them, maybe you haven’t yet – either way I would love to hear your opinion.

To kick off this new line of blog posts I’m going to start with a wonderful book by George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London.

Down & Out in London & Paris

 

Published in 1933, more than ten years before the acclaimed Animal Farm and sixteen years before Nineteen Eight-Four, Down and Out follows George Orwell as he lives in squalor and sometimes locked up in prison blocks while taking on the life of those in poverty.

Yes, this sounds like a politically based book that shoves a part of the world in your faces most would like to pretend doesn’t exist – but that’s not it’s all about. Yes, there was, and is, an underlining issues of how the poor have been treated through time – but the story is really about the people he meets along the way.

As Orwell bonds with his subjects and they begin to trust him, you are transported to a world filled with lines, crusty bread, broken beds, repugnant bathing water, and incredible and indestructible people deal with the stigmas day in and out – for most of their lives.

Maybe you’ve read Orwell before and are reading this rolling your eyes a mile a minute – but I implore you (before your eyes  lodge themselves in the back of your head) don’t let past experiences sway you from the enlightenment of this novel. There is an easiness to this book, as if you’re sitting at a bar reminiscing with an old friend – a comfort of sorts. And if that isn’t enough you are treated to true craftsmanship in passages like:

Sometimes, he said, when sleeping on the Embankment, it had consoled him to look up at Mars or Jupiter and think that there were probably Embankment sleepers there. He had a curious theory about this. Life on earth, he said, is harsh because the planet is poor in the necessities of existence. Mars, with its cold climate and scanty water, must be far poorer, and life correspondingly harsher. Whereas on earth you are merely imprisoned for stealing sixpence, on Mars you are probably boiled alive.

or

Being a beggar, he said, was not his fault, and he refused either to have any compunction about it or to let it trouble him. He was the enemy of society, and quite ready to take to crime if he saw a good opportunity. He refused on principle to be thrifty. In the summer he saved nothing, spending his surplus earnings on drink, as he did not care about women. If he was penniless when winter came on, then society must look after him. He was ready to extract every penny he could from charity, provided that he was not expected to say thank you for it. He avoided religious charities, however, for he said it stuck in his throat to sing hymns for buns. He had various other points of honour; for instance, it was his boast that never in his life, even when starving, had he picked up a cigarette end. He considered himself in a class above the ordinary run of beggars, who, he said, were an abject lot, without even the decency to be ungrateful.

A fantastic read, and if you happen to have an eReader, chances are you can download a copy for free from your local library – or you can read it online at -> http://www.george-orwell.org/Down_and_Out_in_Paris_and_London/0.html.

 

Happy reading! Happy writing! Happy Friday!

If you have any books you love and would like to recommend them to me, please list them in the comments below.