Monday, February 1, 2010

Wannabe Writers

Wannabe Writers is a new meme created by Sarah of Confessions of the Un-published!

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.


  1. Generally I have heard that you deffinately should at least attempt to find an agent before you send it off to publishers, I think most publishers won't even accept manuscripts unless the author is represented by an agent - I could be wrong though.

    I love what you said about not thinking at the computer because it is so true, I think also that ideas come easiest while you're doing everyday things. When I am trying to think of something brilliant, something brilliant never comes. It is when I'm driving or taking a walk that the possibilities form in my head.

  2. I love that not snacking at the computer!!! Also not thinking at your computer, it's amazing what you can accomplish if you already have the idea in place before sitting in front of the computer screen!

  3. That was perfect--Don't snack! I do that all the time. Which is a horrible conbination, not moving and eating.

    And thinking about stuff away from your computer is great. When I go to bed or early in the morning I try to think about my characters and imagine scenes with them together. It's like daydreaming about a guy--expect I fill in my characters instead. And then sometimes as I'm writing it all just comes to me and pours out.

  4. Check out Barry's writing blog---
    He's a real live published author and talks about finding and an agent and all that stuff I'm not ready to face yet.

    And the first step is finding an Agent. There are lots of websites out the on how to find them. But I would recommend finding a critique partner first. And if I didn't already have 4 of them and way too much on my plate I would love to do it. Here is where I found mine though---

    Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. It's really about finding one who is in the same place as you as a writer.

    And thanks for posting on my blog :)

  5. Wow, thanks to everyone for the great advice/support! I can't wait to try out your suggestions. Happy writing!

  6. This is my favorite website for all of your questions about agents & queries & mss, oh my!

    The site's called The Purple Crayon, & it's filled with down-to-earth, honest advice that doesn't come across as too depressing or too condescending. In fact, it's so great, I chalk it up as a huge distraction to writing! ;)

  7. Don't worry, I did the same thing and copied her questions for Week 1. :)

    I never really thought about the no snacking, but keeping a drink handy. It's a good idea with the drink, because I know I loose track of time a lot. Then I re-emerge and am so thirsty!

    Staying hydrated, not only important during exercise! :D