Love & Inspiration

Oh heeeeyyyyyy… it’s been a while, huh?

Look, I have a life, you know! I mean, I definitely do not spend most of it sitting alone in my house playing video games or reading NOPE NOT ME.

Anyway, I’m here to give you an update on that thing I’m always talking about, you know the one. It’s been awhile because life stuff. Like dang life you so crazy!

Okay, so writing. What am I even working on anymore?? I am working on A Novel. It doesn’t have a title. It doesn’t even have a real working title. I’m calling it S&S right now, which makes no sense unless you’re me, so I guess let’s call it Novel S.

I actually started the very beginnings of Novel S two NaNoWriMos ago. Not last year, but the year before, I started with almost nothing. I wrote about 13,000 words that year. Then I kind of messed around with it for while until NaNo came around again.

Last year’s NaNoWriMo was by far one of the best I’ve ever done. I actually wrote 50,000 words!! That almost NEVER happens! It got kind of dumb toward the end, though, when all my characters got super formal and stopped using contractions.

So yeah, I wrote a ton that month. I’ve also finally figured out how my process works, which is something I never fully understood until now. This was mostly due to my belief that all books must be written the same way. As in, you need an outline and character sheets and you should write a little bit every day and don’t start over and then when you’re done you revise and so on and so forth.

Rubbish, I say!

I am NOT an outliner. Character sheets are useless for me, too. This is because I will write out all their info before I start writing, but then as I write practically everything about them changes. I’m way too lazy to go back and fix all the stuff in the character sheets, so they just remain forever inaccurate, which I think kind of defeats the purpose.

I also don’t write every day. My junk needs time to simmer in the pan that is my brain. It’s like I spend several days cookin’ up hash browns so I can sit down to a mountain of seemingly endless inspiration. Mmm yes hash browns.

My point is, I’ve figured out the right way for ME and that’s what matters. Everybody is different. Everyone will find their own way. I had to realize that I didn’t have to do things the way someone else says I should. In the end, who would even know? As long as I finished with a book, who cares how I got there, right?

Another thing I do is rewrite. I do start over. I have to! My process actually DOES NOT WORK if I don’t start over. The trick is learning when to stop starting over, but don’t worry, I’ve finally figured that out, too.

Right now I’m working on the restart. I’ve got another goal of 50,000 words, but I’m doing it in three months instead of one.

I MEAN MAYBE?

I was PLANNING on three months, but guys I’m writing SO MUCH. It’s insane. Depending on how long this lasts, I might be done with 50k in less than a month.

This is it, I think. I feel like I’ve arrived. I feel like I’ve been riding the train for almost twenty years, but I kept getting distracted by other people’s stations instead of getting off at mine.

I’ve rambled about writing in the past and I’ve written a lot of blogs that said stuff like THIS IS IT and I FEEL SO GOOD ABOUT THIS BOOK GUYS and I’M ACTUALLY GONNA FINISH THIS ONE. And then none of it was true.

So I’m like, yo, no expectations for Novel S. The only way for me to really feel like I can write something I enjoy, something that I will finish, something that I can be proud of is if I have no expectations for it. If it gets published one day, that would be great, but if it doesn’t, that’s also fine. You have to fail before you can succeed, that’s just how life works. So why stress about failing to the point where I can’t even finish something? That’s really just another form of failing, anyway. If I never finish a book so that it never gets rejected by potential publishers/agents/readers, isn’t that worse than failing?

What matters to me right now is that I’m doing the thing that I love. I’m spending my time writing instead of feeling guilty about not writing. I’m doing it because I enjoy it. I’m doing it because when I see it starting to take shape, I get so excited it’s like I’m floating. I’m doing it because I love that feeling of being a Word Wizard who casts Spells of Fiction.

I found a quote recently that blew me away with how relevant it was to this feeling I’ve been having.

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” -Ella Fitzgerald

I’ve always believed that to be true. Now I’m actually applying it to my life. I’ve got the love and the inspiration, so you better believe I’m never giving up.

What My Novel Is About

There is a question that I get asked every time someone is told that I’m writing a novel. It is always, “What’s your novel about?”

I used to have very strong feelings about this question. Basically, I hated it.

I have been working on a novel of some kind since I was fourteen. I’m going to be thirty-two in a couple weeks. For a large chunk of that time, I suffered from social phobia. It was a dark, horrible place. Talking to people at all was a struggle, let alone trying to answer that question of horror.

The reality is that novels are complex beasts and since I’m always in process and never finished, it’s actually really difficult for me to summarize what I’m working on.

This is probably different for every writer, but for me, it’s practically impossible to tell you what my novel is about. It’s not because I don’t want to share it with you. It’s because I don’t actually know.

The trick is usually trying to figure out if the person I’m talking to is someone I can trust with the information that I don’t know what my own novel is about.

When I was young and terrified, nobody could be trusted with that information. I wouldn’t willingly hand it out. So what did I do? I usually tried to get away with saying what genre I was writing. “Oh, it’s a fantasy novel.” If that didn’t work, I tried to summarize. And I failed. And then I felt like an idiot. And then I probably resolved never to talk to that person again out of shame.

So I think you can see why I hated this question back then.

Nowadays, I’m not as scared of people or what they think, so I find in most cases I can go ahead and tell them that I don’t know what my novel is about. It’s actually the perfect mechanism to change the subject from what my book is about to how I write. Since the next obvious question is something like, “How can you not know?” or “Are you some kind of idiot?” Then I can answer, no, not exactly, I’m just a discovery writer. I find my story as I go along. See? Now we’re talking about my process and I no longer have to attempt to summarize the slush that is currently my novel.

loooove talking about my writing process. I could talk about that mess all day long.

And since I no longer hate and fear the dreaded question, I can instead appreciate the person who asked for being interested in my writing at all.

I find in most cases, gratitude can change your outlook on anything. Something I used to hate is now something I can be grateful for. I know that people who ask aren’t trying to make me feel anxious or stupid. I know that they simply want to get to know me. So instead of telling them what my story is about, I tell them why I don’t know what it’s about.

So if you ever ask me what my novel is about, you can be sure that I won’t give you a direct answer. Even if I had some kind of summary to provide, it would be meaningless. If you asked me the same question a week later, the entire summary would be different. This is how I work. My creative process is a mess. It works, but that means my story is also a mess and thus summary is impossible.

In conclusion, I am grateful to anyone who expresses genuine interest in my writing, no matter what questions they ask. Just remember that I’m dodgy and don’t be offended if I don’t actually attempt to summarize my novel for you. I’m still happy you asked about it.