One of my goals right now is to move my literary ambitions out of the box and onto the shelf, by which I mean that I no longer want to ignore how much I enjoy writing. I love the idea of this meme, and I'll quote from Sarah's post here:
I often find myself searching the web for information during my struggles as a new writer. So I wanted to start a place where us future young-adult authors can come together to ask those questions, share our stories, and get feedback.
I'm supposed to come up with my own question, but I didn't read that part until after I'd written my reply to Sarah's so it stays for this week. Given the stage of my novel, I have the same questions because I'm impatient to be finished editing.
Where I am in the writing process: I've been writing since August of 2009 (or maybe October?). I wrote a lot when I was younger, but I strongly disliked it and threw it all out. My mom encouraged me to pick it up again as a creative outlet last August (or October), and after telling her that I was a terrible writer and hated everything I wrote, I promptly went home and started a story that I actually thought was pretty good. I'm in my 2nd round of edits, smoothing out the flow of the manuscript. I've also started a 2nd novel, which I am much more pleased with, but I'd like to finish up Novel #1 and try to get it submitted before I work too much more on Novel #2.
My current problems: Finding a publisher. Where do I begin? Do I need an agent? What's a query? I'm a scientist, not a lit major, and we certainly never covered this in college. How much editing do I do before I submit it? Do I leave it raw, to be tweaked by a much-more-knowledgeable-than-I editor, or do I risk butchering it from its freshest form? Do I need to find a critique group?
Question(s) this week: Staying motivated? I've really been having a hard time staying focused lately. The end of my book is near but I keep finding myself struggling to just sit down and type. Any advice on ways to stay focused? What do you do to keep yourself going?
To stay motivated, I started Novel #2. I had come to a dead-end on Novel #1 and had fresh, new ideas bursting out of me for a completely different setting and plot. Once I set the beginnings on paper, my brain was empty enough for me to be ready to hop back into Novel #1, in which I soon finished the plot and where I've eagerly been ever since, adding to it, adjusting sentences and staying up far too late because the creative juices are flowing.
To stay focused: Don't snack!! You'll get the keyboard crumby. Make sure to have a beverage (because nothing is worse to my productivity than thirst) but don't eat. Don't let your hands leave the keyboard. Also, don't do your thinking at the computer. Create your ideas while doing something else like driving, showering, house-cleaning, anything that frees your mind. THEN sit down and start typing, but don't worry if what flows from your fingers isn't what you had initially imagined. I'd bet that it's better.
If I get really tired of writing and can't keep going, I read a book. Deliberately taking my mind off of things clears my head and makes me want to start fresh and finish up my own novel. To prevent writing fatigue, after every major addition or revision, I take a few days to a week off of Novel #1 to clear my head and step away from the writing process. Writing is addictive, and after being away from it, I can't wait to dive back in.