So I changed my calendar because it is now June and there was a picture of a fish. That made me happy. Nothing else today has made me happy. That is why I needed to preface this post with THAT. The last time I did one of these is not even worth mentioning because it was so long ago. Let’s just get into it.
I am rereading my first draft and having a hell of a time with all the problems I am finding.
There is a lot of editing to do.
But let us talk about the bright side lest I depress us all. There are some good things that I am happy with. yay. I wrote a first draft in the first place! Also yay. Am I struggling? Yes. Am I pushing myself anyway? Yes. Because there is something bright waiting on the other side of this draft.
I’ll just keep telling myself all this as I slog along. It’s all part of the journey.
I haven’t posted since November 2021. Ever since I started there had never been a moment when I didn’t post at least once a month. That is until November 2021. Life is a weird and funny thing. I started this blog because I wanted to join a community, I wanted to share my work with others, and I wanted to record (in a way) my journey to hopefully one day becoming a published writer. I am pleased to announce that that is still the goal.
Let’s just call that the “Places I Am Going” bit of this post. One day I still hope to have a published book under my belt that one day you all (or anyone really) can just walk into Barnes and Noble and see there just sitting on a shelf. Yeah… that would be pretty cool.
Right now, I am going through a major life change. Which is also cool! And scary! And fun! And weird. But all in a good way! That is “Where I Am” lol.
I don’t know how much I will be posting on here or when or what. But I am going to try to write something at least once a month. It might not be scheduled poetry or snapshots like I used to do but I will be writing something. Something.
How enticing, am I right? 😉
All my sarcasm aside, I am just happy to be here typing away again at my computer. Regardless of who decides to read my dribble, if anyone even wants to anymore. Now we are heading into the “Places I Have Been Bit” and I totallyyyyyy get it if that’s not your cup of tea. The important bits about my blog I put first, so feel free to jump ship now if need be.
I won’t judge you.
After the past seven months I’ve had, trust me, I won’t. But you can feel free to judge me if you want. At this point I don’t really care. And I don’t mean that crassly. I just mean that I realized a lot of things are more important than me worrying about what others think. What’s important is what I think of myself, and that I listen to myself and trust myself. And I am. I really am.
At the end of 2021, my life started to control itself. Let me explain. I was no longer the driver of my destiny. I was letting destiny, drive me. Work got hectic, my healthy habits I had taken years to build started to chip away and then, I stopped doing the things I love most.
I had been working at the same place for the past three years. When I started I was an anxious, lost and unconfident little girl who was a rock stuck at the bottom of the ocean. Gradually, the more time passed I came to love my job and the people I worked with. I wrote at home in my off hours working on my blog, writing the first draft of my story The Lowell Saga, and reading book upon book upon book. I wasn’t nervous anymore I loved everything I was doing. I found myself and my confidence grew. Then as time wore on things started to change. The pandemic happened, attitudes at work shifted, and suddenly I couldn’t focus on anything else besides waking up and going to work and coming home. I stopped hanging out with my friends. I started binge eating on the weekends that eventually slipped into the weekdays. I stopped playing video games. I stopped reading.
I stopped writing.
At the end of March 2022 I caught COVID again, for the second time. I was home sick from work for two weeks. Those two weeks of solid rest opened my eyes. I hadn’t had a week off in over three years. It took me getting sick to realize that I had lost control of my life. I wasn’t happy at my job anymore, I gained weight, I wasn’t seeing my friends except for rare occasions, and I didn’t have any time to enjoy my life’s passions.
So, in May I left my job. Anxious and lost again, but having gained the confidence that everything will be okay. I learned all I could and now it’s time to move on.
I am not a trapped rock anymore, more like a little blue fish drifting through the deep. And that is me.
ALL me. The place and person I need to be right now.
My last writing update feels like it was so long ago, and it was. June seems like a dream from where I am standing now in September. In July and August I took some time away from my WIP, The Lowell Saga, because I had just finished the first draft. A major accomplishment that I had never done before. Never have I ever finished a book and now I can say that I have. Is it perfect? LOL HELL NO. But it’s done and that makes all the difference. Since I have the bones now I have spent September working on building up the flesh of the beast that is my book in revisionsssssss. Yay.
High school was not fun for me, like it wasn’t for many MANY others. College was better, but still not the best of times. I struggled a lot with my mental health through school and especially post college after entering the workforce. But through my education I continued to read and write fan fiction because it kept me sane and was a great space for my imagination. Looking back on my past now, as a 26 year old sitting at the kitchen table at 6:43PM on a Tuesday night, has me wondering something… discomfiting.
Am I losing my imagination?
When I was younger I needed it to survive. Right now though I’m realizing that back then wasn’t surviving. Despite how much I loathed school, I had time to be myself even as I was figuring myself out. Now as adult, more attuned to who I am as a person and finding myself and all, I barely have time to breathe. Adult-ing is hard. Very hard. There is only so much time in a day and trying to squeeze in my passion is hard when there are other things pressing down. Bills, health insurance, direction, pandemic, stress, work, sugar, high cholesterol, so yeah you know…. life.
I almost wonder if I lost some of my imagination along the way. When I was younger it seemed so easy to think up stories and get lost in other worlds. Nowadays I am finding it harder and harder to focus. My full time job keeps me busy, and working late hours. I don’t have as much time to day dream as I used to.
I miss that. I miss day dreaming. That was where I got my best ideas for my stories. I know all you writers out there with day jobs can relate. With this writing update, I suppose I am more or less giving a pep talk to myself and any of you readers out there who need to hear this too.
Our imaginations aren’t going anywhere. They are within us, always. Sometimes they fall just a little bit farther down the rabbit hole. All that means is we have to dig a little deeper. I feel it as I am typing this line at 6:50 PM sitting at my kitchen table. I thought writing this update would be hard. And it started out that way but now I’m finding it hard to stop typing. It has been a long time since my thoughts just bled over the keys so easily. Wow.
Keep going all you writers out there. And I will too. Even when it’s tough , especially when it’s tough, because fighting that fight is the only way to get your passion back. Wow.
And after you write you’ll feel better. Writers always do.
I definitely do, and so does my imagination. Sorry if this was a weird post overall but …. just the act of writing again is making me feel so much better. I promise my next writing update will be more cohesive! I just needed to ramble a bit here to get my steam back. Life has been a bit rough lately, as we all know, given the state of the world. I lost my path a bit but I’m finding it again. All my garbage here was another step back on track. Okay, okay my musings are over for today 😛
Revising is new territory for me. I have never had a complete first draft to revise in the first place. But this was my plan of attack. First, I let my novel sit for a bit and focused on other things (that was why I was so MIA over the summer) and then late August I reread my whole first draft to get the story back in my mind. Now I am revising: changing scenes and character nuances and changing the vibe of some paragraphs. All of which is me saying I have no idea what I am doing.
Mostly, I am going off my intuition.
Yeah, yeah, yeah… and I am also quite terrified at the same time.
Wow that is a lot of honesty for one post. I think I’ll sign off now. Ha
Okay, um… so! I am just going to cut straight to the chase. I have some news.
I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT. I DID IT GUYS. I ACTUALLY DID IT. I REACHED MY GOAL. THE FIRST DRAFT OF (BOOK 1) OF THE LOWELL SAGA IS FINISHEDDDDDD!!!!!!! (But more on this later!)
It feels so weird to me to have actually finished a draft, because in my whole entire life I have never written a whole book before. I always stopped or had gotten bored with the story way before I reached the end. If my high school self could see me now!
As I mentioned in my last writing update, when I was in high school I didn’t want to be a writer. I loved writing and because I loved it so much I never thought it could actually be my job. School was my job back then and I hated school. Wrongly, I believed, that work had to be difficult and something that you really didn’t want to do. (How naive and misguided!) Thankfully, the universe had other plans.
One of the first signs that put me on the path of being a writer came in my sophomore year during English class. We were studying poetry and our teacher assigned us, simply, to just write a poem. I remember I didn’t think much of it. In fact I was in the mode that I just wanted to get it done so in the class following (Driver’s Ed) I finished the assignment. Just like that, between studying the driving manual and scribbling in my notebook, I wrote my poem.
A week later after we had handed them in and our teacher had graded them, she said something that I still think about today. It was a small thing. But isn’t it those small things that make us wonder what if ? My high school English teacher was notoriously hard to please. She was a difficult grader and held us, her Honors English class, to a high standard. What she said was small, and maybe not that significant, but it meant something to me, and apparently still does because here I am writing about it. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but she said something like this, “Some of you should consider having your work published in our newspaper.”
When my poem was finally handed back to me there in bright red pen was just simply the word “Wow!”
And that’s when it hit me she might have been talking about me.
At that point I hadn’t really considered publishing my work before. I was too shy and too nervous. I didn’t want anyone to see my work. I was afraid. I dismissed the idea of having my poem published immediately after the thought had been born. The me back then in no way would do something like that.
The me who exists right now though is completely different. I still wonder what would have happened if I had submitted my poem to the paper. But then I know it’s an impossible thought. Everything happens for a reason and that moment in time served as a marker to set me on the right path. It was a crucial stepping stone, one that seems so small but actually since I’m writing about it now, means a lot.
Especially now. Especially with this particular writing update post.
(And that poem, believe it or not, was eventually published. Just a few years after the fact 😉 Here’s the link if you want to check it out!)
Honestly, I am still in awe. I finished a draft.I finished a draft. I finished a draft!!! Is it perfect? No way in hot hell. But it is done. It is done. IT IS DONE.
I still have a lot of revision to do. That’s a given. But, from everything I’ve read and from all the authors I’ve listened to, I know getting the first draft done is huge. No matter how terrible it is. Because at least now I have something to build up from. You can’t build up from nothing. And I have something!
I plan on The Lowell Saga being four books. The first draft of book 1 is now complete. At the moment I am currently letting it sleep for a bit and letting my mind focus on other tasks. But then I am going to dive straight in and try to read the whole draft through in a day and see what all the major things I need to fix are.
After that revision begins. Then when I feel comfortable enough there I will be moving onto book 2. Then the same process will ensue through the last two books, until the whole story is finished and then I will make sure the whole series is cohesive and that all the foreshadowing is correctly plotted and all the little nuances make sense all throughout. Then the story really will be done.
It’s a wonderfully scary thought. A very far away thought but one I know I’ll reach.
My writing friends I have a question for you. What do you do once you finish a first draft? Do you have any advice for me? This is new ground.
Doesn’t May make you sad sometimes? I don’t know… this could just be me rambling but May means summer is almost here, but not yet. And that’s the thing. Summer isn’t here yet so I’m sad. But also, the year moved by so fast and that means that summer (once it comes) will end again too. I don’t know about you but I love summer and I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for it to come back.
What my beautiful metaphor of an opening paragraph is alluding to is that with writing too I’ve been sad this month, and I’m a little worried about like… everything. My emotions have been up and down, riding all the waves of May. Self doubt is a killer. Everyone has those moments of what am I doing with my life? I had a few this month, and I’ve come to the realization that at the end of it, even if I don’t “make it” or whatever at least I tried my best. At least I listened to my heart. I’ve been writing when I can and planning when I can’t. But I keep going and that’s the point.
Probably because I’m stubborn as shit. And I feel this weird incessant calling to have to write. So. There we go.
In high school, I loved to write for fun. I would scribble poems in the margins of my notebook and I would write fanfiction on the back of handouts. I think in the back of my mind I was subconsciously aware that one day I would end up as a writer, but freshman/sophmore year of high school it was just a very distant dream. I would even go as far to say that the me at that time would say she didn’t want to be a writer. Maybe even at all. You see at that time in my life I wanted to do something with my life. Like, be a firefighter and rescue innocents from burning buildings or be a physical therapist and help injured athletes rehabilitate. I (wrongly) didn’t view writing and becoming a published author as doing something with my life at that time which is so vastly different to who I am now.
So I resisted.
Part of the reason I believe I felt this way was because I thought that if writing became my profession than that would suck all the fun out of my favorite thing. Writing when I was young was escapism, it kept me calm, it made the world seem like a beautiful dream of possibility. But the reality of my life was school, and if I haven’t already said it enough before I loathed school. LOATHED. Literally.
School was my job and my job wasn’t fun. I never wanted that to happen with writing. That was part of the reason and the other was my idealistic sense of purpose that I wanted to be a hero. I mean who doesn’t, at least at some point in their life?
But honestly, maybe I was just afraid.
If I am being honest, I still am.
The Lowell Saga (TLS), as you all know, is the working name for my current WIP. The more I work on it the more I see all its faults. 😦 But I also see all its potential. 😀 If I can figure it out, then I know I can make this a great story that will hopefully one day be published. Gosh that’s my dream guys. I’m trying here.
This month I got more writing in. Not a lot, but something so I can keep moving in the right direction. May was all ups and downs for me but June will be much more steady. Calm shores and not rocky waves. No one can predict the future but this is what I am trying to manifest lol.
This month I think I’ll talk a little bit about one of the main premises of TLS which is what essentially the entire plot revolves around. The treasure hunt. Their is no one great category to put my weird WIP in but if I had to I’d sayTLS is some weird mix of fantasy, magical realism, young adult/coming of age/new adult, adventure, mystery, noir, anime inspired beast of a story vibes. (That is such a weird combination, Jai, like WTF?) Yes I know that is what you are all probably thinking haha, BUT by the time I actually finish with the story though who knows what it will be? The beauty of drafting is that things can change at any time.
But not the treasure hunt aspect. No that is a main part of the story and always has been. There are seven lost artifacts that my main characters, essentially the main trio, will be revolving around for the entirety of the books. And I can tell you they encounter at least three of them in the first book. 😉
How are your stories going? I would love to hear so we can vibe together!
Ahhhh April, yes. April so far as been a month of getting into a new routine. As the weather has been warming so has my writing. I cleaned my writing space up a quite a bit this month. I guess you could say I was…. spring cleaning lol. It was good for my head and it was good to head back into my WIP, The Lowell Saga (TLS). I cleaned up all my whiteboards and corkboards, then refreshed myself with my notes. Now I am going back through my rough first draft and making a storyboard/outline of all the scenes I have already written so I can better visualize and finally write out… the end… of draft 1 book 1. Wow…. still so much to do but guys…. this might actually be the year I finish a draft!!!
The first time I honestly ever really considered being a writer as a profession was when I was probably around 16 years old. This is a small story, a small memory really, that I will never forget. It was tiny and when I tell you it might not seem like much but in that moment it, and still today, it means a lot to me.
My family and I had gone to a craft festival. It was small, at a convention center not too far away, where all of these artists got to show off their wares and creations. My mom stopped at one particular booth. The artist was a photographer who had taken pictures from all over the world of letters in real life places. For example, a window in the shape of an “O” or a the arch on a bridge that looked like an “N” from just the right angle. Then he would take a frame and place all the pictures in a frame to spell out a word. I remember my mom wanted one really badly but she couldn’t think of what special word she wanted to frame and hang up in the house.
We paced around that whole showcase floor, all the while trying to think of the right word. We passed by so many vendors and artists selling all these beautiful, striking things. Music had been streaming through my headphones on the car ride here and I was totally zoned out… when this particular song came back into my head. I sang it over and over. Repeated my favorite verse again and again, humming it under my breath. The song was “Vienna” by Billy Joel.
That’s when I knew exactly what word. I told my mom and she agreed on the spot. Yes, that was it. That felt right.
Seeing all those artists following their hearts…. I knew one day I would have to write a book. At least try. Follow what my heart said even though it was risky, even though I didn’t know when I would attempt it… but that memory, that moment just solidified the dream in my heart. I was a step closer to deciding to follow my ….
“You got your passion, you got your pride But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied? Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true (Oooh) When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?”
The Lowell Saga (TLS) really is where my heart is. As I am rereading my draft I just keep reminiscing and knowing why I wrote what I wrote. I can tell just how I felt skimming through a certain scene. I remember all the feelings that went into creating a certain character. I remember why I am doing this. Even if I had been lost, now I am being found.
This month I’ll introduce you to Quentin. He is brilliant, truly. But also cautious to a fault, and resigned with his life. Oh, my poor boy. Two Pokemon that would be on his team are Alakazam and Furret. Of all seven of my main characters I believe he deserves the world… but he has to go through a lot to get it. 😦
So the writing goes on. I’ll keep chipping at it, and some day I’ll get there. I have to finish this book. I have to. Even if no one reads it but me.
Hello Spring!! I’m glad you have finally arrived even if we have had a tumultuous relationship in the past. (I have had a tendency to get sick for the past two springs and I’m crossing my fingers this year will be different. ~MANIFEST~). Anywho, now that the days are getting longer my mood has perked up and so has my work ethic. I made a submission this month to one online literary magazine and am currently working on another to be submitted before March ends. Which all in all is excellent since I’m staying true to my 2021 resolution to KEEP WRITING!
This next trek into my writing journey takes me to the ripe age of around 15. When you’re 15 and high school is blah where do you turn? To your imagination on course! 😉 I’ve already told you about my ruddy red notebook in my previous writing posts but all I had were just a bunch of little stories a few hundred words or less in that. None much longer than that. Even though some of the writings that I did in that notebook and then later my black notebook, which followed after I finished my red one, were somewhat of a series I don’t really count it. Nowhere near the length of my Kingdom Hearts story (still lost in the void) that I mentioned a few writing posts ago.
My next full blown adventure into writing an actual long story was, *surprise*, another fan fiction and it stretched all the way back to my roots. Yes, y’all back to Pokemon.
It was going to be epic. I made my cousin and me the stars of said fan fiction and we were going to go on this epic quest to catch, like, all the legendary Pokemon out there. Starting with Moltres of course , who by the way the character based on me had an epic arc of bonding with said bird, while the world revolved around us into a full blown war zone. All the while leading to us then using the aforementioned legendary Pokemon we caught to take down the bad guys. Total self insert, and I am totally unashamed. For 15 year old me then and 25 year old me now I am still enthralled by the idea.
The point is though, that one story (that I never finished) snowballed and evolved and eventually became an entirely different story down the road. In a way it was young me learning how to draft. All throughout my room I have scattered notes about certain things that would have to happen in the story and I plotted out every character’s Pokemon team agonizingly. In fact I still do this today with every character I create. It’s a way of me bonding with them and figuring out their niche.
In fact two very special original characters from that Pokemon fan fiction were born. Now, they have evolved into key players in my current WIP, The Lowell Saga (TLS). I will even tell you their names lol. One is Catrina, and the other is Esmeralda. Catrina is my couch potato basically and Esmeralda is my flower child. And I love them both dearly.
Speaking of TLS, in between and around working on my submissions I did manage to get some writing in. I am still in the messy middle and figuring out out to get from Point A (the beginning) which is written to Point Z (the end) which is yet to be written but I do know what I want to happen. Now it’s just all the rest of the letters in-between. Sigh.
I find myself writing little notes to myself throughout this draft as I come up with some ideas of what I want to happen but as of late I just haven’t felt like writing it. I think I may skip around a bit more and see what happens. Not giving up though. Never giving up. Not in my character. But doing multiple things at once, oh yes that is me. Workaholic to the core, as well as an unfortunate procrastinator from time to time due to the very fear that lives in my bones. Okay, okay I’ll stop.
In the meantime though I am really vibing with just writing whatever I want. These books are going to be a real TRIP for you guys when you get to read them. Like, honestly. I am so weird and these characters are weird and this saga is going to be WEIRD. But also hopefully make you really sad and make you really happy. At least it will be memorable. Well, that’s the goal.
This time around I think I am going to introduce you a bit to Lowell. She comes from a family of 4, her mother, father, brother and her. Top three personality traits of hers are that she is original, longing, and confident. Two Pokemon on her team are Blaziken and Leafeon, and of all seven of my main characters she has the most secrets of them all. 😉
How is your writing going? How do you get to know your characters? Do you give them Pokemon teams like me, lol?
This writing update is little bit of a detour but an important one I want to talk about. In my previous post I mentioned a ruddy red notebook I had that meant a lot to me growing up. Basically, it was the tangible version of my imagination. To this day it is one of my dearest treasures.
Is the writing in there absolute garbage? Yes, 100% and it will never see the light of day.
But it was an important step on my journey of becoming a writer. Hell, it was an important step on my journey of becoming me, and who I am today. So it’s precious.
I’m sure some of you, if not most, have kept a journal or notebook growing up. Whether it was just for writing down your thoughts, creating stories or scribbling out the daily struggles of living. Anyone else also, low-key, have a diary too when they were growing up? Lock and key included, do not open marked on the front.
Writing might seem like a chore to some but it’s valuable. It’s a written record of your thoughts, your emotions, your life told through memories or experiences or stories. It helps you remember where you came from and also very importantly where you want to go.
Also can I just say it is the one thing that will listen to your venting with no complaints? Just the paper, a pen and you. No judgment all around. It clears out the clutter of your anger, your embarrassment, and your sadness but also highlights your joy too.
Back then, when I was a wee lass, I had no intention of ever being a writer. In fact I think I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a hero. I watched cartoons ad infinitum because the characters were always saving the day. I read because magic was real when I saw it on the page. I played video games because I wanted to fight monsters with a sword. And when you are a kid the only chance you get to do that is through stories. (Mostly because your mom won’t let you out into the woods by yourself to see if there are Charmander waiting to be caught, but I digress.) The point is that a notebook changed my life in becoming an integral step to who I eventually wanted to be. A little thing that meant so much.
These were just thoughts I wanted to highlight and to see if they reach or resonate with any of you guys whether you write or read or do anything else. Food for thought.
You never know what you can discover as you just let your imagination run free and basically that’s what writers do every time they sit down to work. But it doesn’t just have to be a writer, it could be anyone.
So for February I stepped back into the muddy waters of my work in progress, The Lowell Saga or TLS for short. No lie there was a bit of a struggle at first to get acclimated back in. It’s like in the summer when it’s hot as balls outside but the pool is Antartica. Sometimes you have to tread in slowly and other times you just cannonball right in. February needed slow treading but as I write this I am fully submerged back into the story, the chlorine reaching right over my shoulders. (Also, low key, kinda loving this analogy.)
I couldn’t write everyday BUT I wrote a little most days and my word count is slowly climbing back up. I would like to get back up to at least writing 1,000 words a day, and even though I’m not there yet I know I’ll get there. I’m a slow writer so I bow down to those of you who can bang out 5K in a sitting. Maybe one day I’ll get there too, who knows? Never say never!
I would say I’m in the middle bit of the story now. The messy middle I like to think of it as honestly. The beginning is down and the end I can see. The middle though, like I mentioned, is messy. This part has the most room I guess for my creativity to expand is the nicest way to phrase it. I’ve gotten a bit stuck here and there but whenever I do I reach out to… the internet!
Neil Gaimon gave some great advice about whenever you are stuck to always go back to what your characters want. And he is 100% right. Whenever I get stuck I rely on that and then I find the answer to drive my story forward. Susan Dennard also gave some great advice when she talked about the wonder of ‘magical cookie’ scenes! These are the scenes you want to write that propel the story forward as well. So if I combine the advice of two of my favorite authors I find I’m writing scenes I actually enjoy writing and the story keeps moving! The only downside to doing this is I am going to have to string together all these scenes cohesively in later drafts but that’s a problem for a later day!
Let us just get this first draft down, am I right?
So guys how are your WIP going? Do you have any tips for writing the middle? Let’s talk!
Hey guys!! I made another submission to Radiate Literary, an online literary journal focused on promoting young voices. For their Winter issue they wanted work focused on fairytales and those are my favorite types of stories!
Awhile back last spring I wrote a poem “Fairytale” that got a lot of attention on my blog so I decided to submit it here. I had the pleasure of working with one of their wonderful editors, Sam, and with some of his great suggestions I revamped the poem. The new version just went live!!