Writerly Notions: blogs and purpose

tl;dr: I’ve tried various times to create and categorize writing (and related) blogs. But I can never maintain interest (except in ones I delete or revise the intention of). Until I know what I’m doing with my writing and my various categories of purpose (for me, for fairy tales, for sharing stories, for sharing experience), I won’t be updating this blog on a regular basis, if at all. Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my weird little posts. 🙂

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At the beginning of the year (February, to be precise), I typed up an initial post, which has been on my to-do list for…maybe a year?, about this blog. And it’s various incarnations.

The central question was why? Why do I even have this blog?

It started as a place to post detailed responses to books I’m reading or have read. But my motivation and interest in that only lasted so long.

Then it was supposed to be a writing blog, with posts of my writing, especially my daily writing exercises. The trouble with that was two-fold: making sure I didn’t publish anything online I wanted to publish in some other way (and the added analytical sieving to make sure the stories or vignettes I post/posted were not something I wanted to publish in some other way) and a lot of what I would post/posted weren’t really that important. About the most important bits I’ve posted about my writing is my Writing Demons posts.

Then it was supposed to be a place to post my experiences, struggles, and thoughts as a writer. But doing that felt too messy for a blog, so I made a writing journal. But that has since ground to a halt. Likewise, this blog’s venue as a writing blog has ground to a halt. And my question is why?

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Writerly Notions: Stress & Focus

This morning I spent a few hours calibrating and analyzing what causes me stress and my stress levels. Or more specially “needling things that send me into a mental whirlwind panic/confusion.”

I won’t go into the details. Suffice to say, the categories of Creator, Writer, and Promotion feed off one another to create the highest levels of stress and the highest amount of stress. Additionally, as with this blog, some of the trouble comes from the simple question of: what am I doing? What do I intend? (I hope I’ll be able to post my thoughts on that, which have been waiting in my drafts, soon.)

A few, unrelated tidbits I learned about me and my writing today:

  1. a playlist I made of songs I can listen to over and over without getting sick of them lend themselves to worldbuilding and character development in Nights of Heroes. Which is interesting since it may imply that if left to it, I might think about that series a lot.
  2. I realized the third section in my recently complete novel (which is in revision) is more incomplete than I realized. Getting a handle on the chronology has helped a whole bunch (i.e. cementing dates so they don’t wiggle around; I have a tendency toward flexible dating…) Additionally, I realized why the second section comes off as different than the rest — it has subplots! The trouble is I’m unsure how much the content of those subplots plays into the larger story. So anyway, it gives me focus. I can work with that.

Sorry if this was a short and brusque.

I took an iPad photo of by analysis notes, if anyone’s curious.

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January Summary

a day late

As part of the Every Day Challenge, instigated by the-cassandra-project, I set up two challenges. The second one, or Challenge #2, focused on Nights of Heroes — revision, outlining, character development. I posted about my progress it every couple days. These posts can be found here at my writing journal.

Other general writing posts can be found here.

My Challenge #1, which was to write 100+ words every day, can be found here (among other material and inspiration related to the story.)

Finally, I made character aesthetics.

What to write?

11 December 2016:

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a lot of my thoughts and feelings down. It felt as if I was pushing myself to really think and consider things: how I felt, what I felt, my situation, who I was, what I believed.

I didn’t post any of it; I never post those kinds of reflections. I have a writing document, or a journaling word document. It’s where I can work through thoughts and confusion and realizations. Or at least it feels like I am. I don’t have to worry if the paragraphs fit together, or if it makes sense, or if it has a unified topic, or if it is writerly or witty or just good writing. I don’t have to worry about if my feelings sound good. I can just focus on what I mean or what I feel.

Almost two weeks ago, I posted a verbatim one about my purpose and why I write. I hadn’t written anything since then.

Today’s the seventh Anniversary of The Princess and the Frog. It’s the only Disney movie that directly influenced my writing. That winter soon after it premiered, me and my immediate family went to Walt Disney World and stayed at resort near Animal Kingdom. It was an awesome place. (It was connected to the safari/savanna so there was a waterhole area outside where you could view animals; we saw a giraffe drinking on the last day.*) But it was really out of the way.

More importantly there was a lot of PatF stuff being promoted. So, the African décor, animals, PatF, and the Christmas lights and spirit mashed up in my mind to deter and take over the second book of my Aladdin-lyric story.

That’s a really bad working name, but it’s the best I can think of to explain it.  Essentially, I wanted to take the cut lyrics from Disney’s Aladdin and see if I could create a compelling story out of it. Or more precisely, if I could take a lazy character and a spoiled character and see if I could make them compelling. By the end, it had begun to deviant from that idea and sink into a strange fog focused on the early stages of my Dreams. Then PatF came out. And I got two new characters that changed the plot.

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Writing, Worth, and Purpose

Dying is easy. Or giving up is easy. The trouble is how to know when you’re wasting your time on something (even if it’s what you decided to do since you were ten) or whether you just need a good dose of focus and hard work.

That’s been my dilemma for years now. I’m at attempt #3 for finishing a few novels, connecting with other writers, connecting with others in general, connecting with the writing world, finding people to share my writing with –

(i.e. beta readers! Cause I realized that I can write easily; I can even see where and how my rough drafts need help, but I have the hardest time trying to 1. Figure out to actualize these changes, 2. Actually actualizing these changes, 3. Seeing how to alter and change content/plot/characterization/dialogue. Basically, I’ve been thinking I could benefit from another pair of eyes on my writing. But that’s really difficult because I could throw like 10 things at a beta reader: 5 novels, 2 novellas, and a sprinkling of short stories and snippets. And that’s just included finished rough drafts.)

Sorry. Got distracted.

So. It’s the eternal question. Why do I write? Also: is writing worth it? Or more precisely: is my writing worth it?

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Dreams, Giving Up, and my Thoughts

I feel very mixed up. 

Tumblr indicates that learning to live with what you get is what growing up or real life is like. Or is it more that sometimes having a job and money is not inferior to your dreams? But like…I’ve always tried to live with small dreams. Small desires. Small goals. Keep thing small. Be quiet. Non-obtrusive. Live quietly. I just want to be stable and have financial security. I’ve accepted that any job I have will be low level and maybe not the best but it will be better than nothing. 

At the same time… 

I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m saying. I just…I don’t know. Like I never had any big dreams. The most I ever wanted was to experience new things, live a little. But that was six years ago and I still haven’t gotten to do that. So it’s not like I can have less of a dream or that I’ll have to settle for less of a dream, but I’ve accumulated myself to the veracity of drudgery. Of a future that is hard and probably with money and hopefully some security. It’ll be the life I see other people my age living. I’ll be like everyone else. But that’s the story of my life. Be like everyone else. I hear and read other people’s stories — about college, about work, about their art, about their relationships, about money, about bills, about mental health — and I absorb that. That’s the right way to be exist, you know? And I’ve never existed right from the day I was born. 

But what do I want? Or more on point: is it okay to dream for big things? Tumblr says not to. I tell myself not to, either to ensure I don’t do better at things than my twin, I relish in failure (at least when it comes to my creative writing), or I’ve never had anything I wanted.

If I’m honest the only time I burn with any meaning is when I love someone. That and environmental subjects. 

All I’ve ever wanted is a quiet life. I also wanted to create pictures with words. That’s why I decided to be a writer. Not to tell stories (although I love them), but to create visual art with words. Like animation with words. It doesn’t have to tell a story or have engaging or deep characters, but it has to have some kind of art to it. At least that was my initial impulse. But if I could write a story that matters to someone that would…that would be grand. But is that possible? Is that something I could hope for and work toward! Is that something I could aim for? Is that allowed? Is it okay to want something?

I guess I’ve never had any strong goals, except experience life (“I want to see the world and write a book about it!”). I can get by on gliding but working hard… I give up so easily. If something was too hard or made me anxious or felt like too much work, I always had the option of backing out. If anything at all bothered me growing up, I could just stop and not do it. Usually. I only did things because I liked doing them. I think this originated with being a preemie. Like a really critical preemie. Like I don’t have functional esophagus preemie. (I got better, though I still got to make sure I don’t get clogged on certain food textures.) The problem was that it made my mom not want me (or my sister) to have any difficulties while we were growing up. The problem now is that this instilled in me an easy-out card. Damn.

Of course that doesn’t explain why I have no belief in my writing ever really being published, why rejections relieve me, or whether it’s okay to have a concrete dream.

Chronicle #3: 10 Oct 2016 – 18 Oct 2016

I was on a trip most of this week, so sorry for my absence.

  • Finished the fourth story in my NaNoWriMo 2015; it ended taking more time because there were way more scenes than I had anticipated/planned (I thought I had one scene left but it became four scenes)
  • Started the completion of the (extensively outlined) fifth story in my NaNo 2015
  • Started the completion of the sixth (and final) story in my NaNo 2015 (yay)
  • Did some mapping and history clarification
  • Wrote a vignette about characters sharing feelings
  • Attempted to move my google docs to a new owner/email
  • Did character and plot building for Garden of Flowers/Chthonic Flowers (I really need to 1. Explain what all my story categories mean, and 2. Come up with a better title name
  • Wrote a short action snippet from Romance of Three Jewels
  • Wrote a character birthday drabble (11 October)

Chronicle #2: 9 Oct 2016

To get right to it:

  • finished (for the most part) the third story in my NaNo 2015 novel; I’ve started to finish the fourth story which I’m excited about (I have a loose outline of events)
  • touched up a character head-shot for Romance of Three Jewels
  • reformatted an old story I’m thinking of going back to revise and edit (exciting!) mostly because I’ve realized that I still care a lot of about the subject and themes (what happens to invasive species if they adapt to a new environment and fear of the unknown/night and the monster’s pov in a legend)

(I promise that 1. I’ll explain what my stories are, and 2. I’ll try to figure out a more consistent time to post these.) Much good will and thanks to all!

Chronicle #1: 1 Oct – 8 Oct 2016

As I said, I want to start sharing my writing or at least what I’m doing with my writing projects. Now that I’m more settled (on a New England autumn foliage tour), here’s what’s I’ve been working on since October started.

  • wrote two scenes in my unfinished NaNoWriMo 2015, decided that that story (since it’s a collection of interrelated short stories) would be better written after the one before it (since writing a novel in the order its read in may work better for me), and have since made good progress
  • said content (witches) of said progress inspired me to write a vignette (~1,600 words) about one character’s backstory and the comparison of witches from different parts of the world he inhabits
  • sketched, inked, and partially colored a picture of a character from NaNo 2015
  • did some initial brainstorm writing for some old ideas (Garden/Moon Lineage)
  • sketched, inked, and fully colored a picture from a recent Drabble A Day (I was quite pleased with it)

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