Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Hack Writer

I've hit a wall in my writing endeavors. Though in the past week, I've been doing really well. I've begun my morning routine again and wrote 500 words every morning for over a week...until yesterday.

At Borders, I saw a book that caught my attention. "On Becoming a Novelist" by John Gardner. Okay, I've heard this guy's name more than once so I figured he was someone who was an amazing writer, thus credible (plus, we share the same last name.).

So I sit down and read a few pages. At first, it was hard cause his long sentences made me drowsy (they always do), but I knew he was saying something important here so I stupidly bought the book.

I wish I hadn't.

The way I interpret what the first chapter is saying is that there are certain traits a writer needs if they wish to be a true novelist. The first one I didn't have; a passion for language. I had none. None at all. Hell, I didn't even want to write till I was in High School and it was the only way I could share the stories that played in my head like movies. I was very content with keeping them there and just telling people, but that wasn't working out. I thought writing was a chore. And lets face it, it is a lot of work.

Then Gardner talks about what he calls "hack writers". They are those who don't really think about the phrases and words they use. It's usually cliches or have the same feeling of cliches. But they are idealistic and don't have no real truth to them. He writes that they can be successful and admired, but they are not true artists. He claims their works wouldn't survive and don't add anything to humanity.

What sucks is that I agree with him. It's true. This is the first time I really came face to face with the Literary vs Commercial Fiction debate. I really didn't think about it till now. But now I totally understand the "elitist's" point of view. The fact is the way I write and the way the stories I love are written aren't going to change the world. They're not really thought provoking. And no way they're going to win any Pulitzer Prizes or impact humanity in any way.

Unless I decide to become a "true artist" and seriously work on my writing style, I wasn't going to impress anybody with my simple (almost lazy) style. My English education has been somewhat limited since I've lived most of my life on island where Spanish is the primary language. It would probably take me years of study, maybe even decades before I'd be "good" enough to publish anything "truly worthy."

But here I was stuck. Did I really want that? Can't I live with just being a commercial fiction writer? Do I really want to put in the tremendous effort to be great, immortal even?

I stopped writing. I was confused...until today.

While at Borders, I bought another book. "Beyond the Shadows" Book 3 of the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. It's a dark fantasy about assassins and immortals (and sex. Lots of it). I had already read the book (I read/own the first two books and NEEDED to read the last so I downloaded it, while feeling bad about it), so I bought the third to complete the set and pay my respects to the author.

After reading Gardner's book, I picked up Brent's book and skimmed through it, paying attention to the words and sentences he used.

Sorry, Weeks. It's true. Though the phrasing wasn't cliche, it was simple and had the feeling of cliche. There was no heavy thinking in language or style here. There were no complicated, deep metaphors. No unique word usage. Nothing. This was the type of book Gardner was referring to.

But I realized something. As I was just skimming through the book, more than once I laughed. More than once I stopped and re-read entire scenes again. And more than once I flipped to my favorite scenes to read again.

Goddamnit, the story was entertaining.

That's when it hit me. The first time I heard the name Proust, it was in a writing book. Not just him, Gardner and other writing books refer to these other literary giants that not only have I never heard of, I've never heard of their works either. Yet they were giants? Immortal?

So what about us? What about those who get drowsy when reading long sentences and poetic imagery? What about us who never read a serious literary book? What about us who just want a damn good story? What about us who don't have that big of a vocabulary and can't understand half the big (or small) fancy words that are original and unique?

If I am a hack writer, does that make my readers hacks too? Or worse, stupid? Maybe. I don't know.

All I know is that the types of books I love, the stories that have moved and influenced my writing me over the years, are the types of stories I wish to create. I wish to give those emotions, those feelings to others. I may not become immortal or whatever, but at least I've been true to myself. And that's really what it comes down to.

And that's all I wanted to say.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Consistency

What did I write today? 520 words of my NaNoWriMo novel.

The return of the word count! Let's see if I don't embarrass myself this time.

I took a good hard look at my writing goals and I realized it doesn't really matter what I produce at the end of the day as long as I produce something.

This isn't new. I've been told this for years and probably those who come across my blog have been told this too before reading it here. But you know, I hear somewhere that repetition is the key to mastery.

I may have a lofty goal. But the goal isn't worth it if it keeps me from writing anything. Habits are more important. Even if I write 5 words a day, if I consistently write those word as at the same time every day, I program my brain into thinking, this is the time I write. And I will write.

Even if I miss my own deadlines or am falling faaar behind, if I can just be consistent, it can't get any worse.

Maybe instead of playing catch up, I should just do my minimum the next day and then when I have a weekend, catch up then. That way I keep my momentum and don't overwhelm myself.

But where and when does quality enter the mix? When is quality becomes more important than quantity?

I'm honestly not sure. Any ideas?

This post is brought to you by the letter for Awareness.

I am aware that I know less than I thought I knew.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How I won NaNoWriMo 2008

Last NaNo, I stayed focused the entire time.

The complete opposite of what I'm doing now. It's like I've gotten amnesia. So, in an attempt to alleviate this condition and recover my memories, I decided to go back and think of what exactly I did in order to write those 85,000 words.

How I Won NaNoWriMo 2008:

  • The Snap
On the 9th of November 2008, I was behind by 12,000 words. I was angry at myself cause I had spent that entire year engulfed in self-help, motivational and productivity books and programs and STILL I wasn't getting results.

So I just snapped. I got fed up.

I spent nearly 30 minutes convincing myself mentally that if I don't write this book, I will never write a book, and I will never achieve my dreams. I was using what I learned from Tony Robbins' technique of associating pain to not doing what I needed to do, and then I followed it up by imagining how great it would feel to finish!

Afterwards, I was so motivated that I vowed to write the entire 12,000 words I needed that night... Of course it was early the next day by the time I finished, but the victory did wonders to my self-confidence and motivation.

  • The Goal and The Reward
Something happened the next night that I personally don't believe was a coincidence.
I checked my e-mail and found a advertisement for the Writer's Digest first ever Editor's Intensive Event. It was set in December and included a 30 min interview with a WD editor who has read the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

I didn't have the money for the trip, but I didn't believe in coincidences.

I jumped at the opportunity. I had enough to register, so I paid for it that moment so I wouldn't lose my seat. BUT, I strictly told myself that I couldn't go and lose my money (they didn't give refunds) if I didn't finish my novel by November 31.

Then I sat down and figured out what I needed to do in order to finish the novel. I did some research and saw that the max word count for fantasy was 120,000. So I calculated what I needed to do to make that goal. In the end, I decided on 3,000 words a day and a 85,000 word goal. Now to actually do it...

  • The Daily Routine
The idea of failing my goal and losing my money and not being able to visit the USA (which I love, so much) was appalling. So I made a routine and stuck to it.

I was up at 4am every morning. I did Morning Pages for an hour, then write from 5am-8am. I had class at 8am-10am and again at 10am-12pm. After class, I quickly finished whatever words was left from my 3k mark. Then I did my homework. Then I practice basketball (I was on the team). In order to wake up so early and not be a zombie, I went to bed every night around 9-10pm.

This was my ritual, every day I did the same thing. If I somehow failed to meet my words, I'd make it up that night or the next. That month I also spent a lot of time with a new friend (now my best friend) and slept over a few times. In fact, I wrote my final words at her house. She was very supportive and thought I was really cool writing a book and all. More motivation! And I had thought I was a geek...

  • The Sacrifice
I sacrificed a lot that month. I sacrificed sleep and entertainment. But I also sacrificed something bigger for my dream to be a writer. Like I said earlier, I couldn't afford the plane ticket and hotel reservations in order to go to the event. I didn't have a job and doubted I could get one in less than a month.

I had to get money fast before the ticket prices shot up.

I was/am into a lot of artsy things. One of earlier dreams was to become a musician. I even took a semester as a music major for the violin and piano. At the time, I was very serious and bought a piano and a violin, both of which were very expensive. So I made a decision. I decided to give up my dream of being a musician and focus on my dream of being a published author, like a proof of my devotion, and sold both instruments.

It was a pretty close call and I barely had enough, but I did it.

And on Novemember 29, 2009 at 4:15 am, for the very first time, I finished the rough draft of a novel.

(I had wanted to win a day early just to be safe.)

That's how I did it.

Looking back, it seems to come all down to motivation. The Reason. What I lose by not doing it. What I gain when I do. When this clear and embedded in my mind, everything becomes easier cause I'm not fighting against myself. My mind and body is working with me cause it doesn't want the pain of not doing it.

Interesting. Looks like I found my answer ^_^.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Being Realistic

I'm not even going to bother putting up my current word count of the day.

When I have more time and life stops being so hectic and stressful, I promise to make more informative and entertaining posts. Also, more consistent ones too. Until then, you get these spur of the moment musings.

Now on today's musing...

I'm an ambitious and honest person. I am honest enough to know that I have great potential (though luckily modest enough not to say this out loud or in public). But I also have some anxiety issues. Like most writers, I have an intense fear of failure (or success; I do then to be self-sabotaging). So my ambition and my fear often go at it like mad dogs.

Unfortunately, fear wins more times than I'd like to admit.

Last entry, I made the ambitious goal of writing 210,000 words in November.

I think I spoke a little too hasty. School has become rather nerve wracking (life in general too) and I'm starting to recognize that perhaps my anxiety issues are affecting my life a bit more than the normal writer/student. Thus, I've made an appointment with a psychiatrist for next week. (Dun dun duuun).

So, I've decided that it would be smart to lower my ambitious goal (since I'm very behind as it is) from 210,000 to 90,000-120,000 words. That may still be too high, but I want to at least start and finish one complete novel and I don't believe 50,000 words cut it.

I hate eating my words, but I must be realistic. If you're also like me who bites more than you can chew, please look at your goal and look at your progress. If the over-ambitious goal itself is keeping you from even accomplishing anything at all, perhaps its time to reconsider your goal.

Achieving a small goal is better than failing a big goal.

Take it from me. And besides. A bunch of small goals all lead to one big one: your happiness and sense of fulfillment.

And that's all I have to say today.

To all writers (attempting NaNoWriMo or not)...

Have a great writing day! ^_^

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo - The Hiatus Buster

What did I write today? Nothing...yet XD. But wrote over 824 new words this week for a writing assignment.

I've been M.I.A. for a while now due to an evil bout of depression and apathy (which I find a much eviler foe for a writer). But I've gotten back in the saddle a few days ago and back with a vengeance!

See, I've decide to join the bandwagon and do NaNoWriMo this year. I did it last year and won by writing over 85,000 words that month alone, finishing my VERY rough draft of my first completed novel. I was very VERY proud of that. Still am.

This year, I've decided to go even more insane and somehow not only write a completely new novel, but finish the rewrite of my old NaNo. Thus...

I plan to write 210,000 words in 30 days!

Dun dun DUUUUN. Crazy. Will I do it? No idea. It's 7k words a day and I know I can do it if I have the right motivation.

Now, I must keep this short because I'm extra busy. I just wanted you to know I'm alive and well and am back. So I'll leave this with two questions.

When you have have a ambitious goal (writing or otherwise) how do you keep motivated and get the job done?

When depression and the "what's the point?" mood settles in, what's your way of snapping out of it?

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Heavy Mind

What did I write today? Nothing today or yesterday, but 767 words on Tuesday.

...Is not a creative one.

Lately I've been having some problems, mostly regarding money and my current lack of it, which have been weighing heavily on my mind. Despite all my attempts to put it out of my head when I try to write, I think it still lingers in the back and I cannot bring myself to even try to motivate myself.

I feel like my attention should be spent on more important things, or at the very least not on something as hard as writing (especially RE-writing). Doesn't help that I gave myself extremely ambitious goals and I still (for some insane reason) intend to meet them despite how behind I am.

I guess I just don't like to give in.

This is probably why I prefer writing in the very early hours of the day. It's too early to worry about anything because it's do early to do anything about them, but the problems have gotten to the point that even then its hard to focus. Even at night, it feels as if I am burdened with guilt of "why didn't I do more?" or "what am I going to do tomorrow?" or "what will I do if ______ doesn't happen?" etc. Even if I make a plan and put it out of my head, I still feel that lingering stress that doesn't want to leave.

Maybe I'm just down because I missed so many days of writing. I think most writers just don't feel right if they don't get words down in the day. I know my day will be absolutely dreadful if I don't do my Morning Pages.

I suppose the trick is to write when I can (in the morning!) and not be too hard on myself. Even a little productivity is better than none. If it isn't even writing, that's still good. I also had college responsibilities I also had to meet and so it isn't really surprising that I couldn't bring myself to write anything creatively yesterday.

In the end, these are all excuses.

An empty is a productive one.

If I just stop worrying so much about everything and just sit down and write, the words will flow.

I know this. It just feels a bit too hard to do at the moment and I felt like ranting a little.

Don't we all at one point?

(Sorry for skipping a post. That time I actually had homework and ran out of time. Next time though I have an interesting post already planned. An idea inspired during my Morning Pages. ^^)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Originality is Overrated

What did I write today? 263 words of Chapter 2. Am I officially in a slump?

Got your attention with that, didn't I?

Actually I enjoy originality. I love when a story surprises me in a good way and takes a well-known concept to a whole new level.

But notice how I said taking something already known. Though originality is good, it's near impossible to be the first to create a completely original idea.

Today at class, I was reminded of this. I'm a Communication Major and it was a T.V. Production course. At the end of the lesson about storyboarding, we had to make our own on the spot to see if we grasped the technical aspects of it. So, the professor played on some instrumental music and told us to create.

I listened for a few minutes and I instantly had the picture of a beach in my head. I then saw a woman standing on the beach, waiting. Who was she waiting for? Ah, her boyfriend! He appears and hugs her from behind. The end.

I knew it was nothing special or terribly original, it was the easiest thing I could grasp.

The professor took my paper and asked me what it was out. I told her and suddenly, a fellow student exclaims, "No way! Stop being creepy! That's what I did."

She also made a storyboard about a girl, waiting at a beach...and meets a boy.

And the professor asked who else had a similar idea, and at least one more raised their hand.

But the interesting thing is, I went over to see what she did and besides being a totally better artist than me, her story wasn't exactly the same thing. Her woman was younger and appeared lonely. Then when the boy appears, she looks at him surprised and happy. She rushes to him and hugs him. The end.

Same idea, but done differently. Mine, I had the boy go to the girl and they seemed to be much older, like their twenties. In hers, the girl was the one to hug the boy and they seemed much younger, like teenagers.

I think this happens all the time and it's fine. Many say Twilight and Harry Potter are completely unoriginal, but I disagree (though I didn't read Twilight and I don't really like using them both in the same comparison, but it serves my purpose). True, teenage vampire romances have probably been done a billion times before and a story set in a school for wizards probably done even more.

But its the way they handled it that inspired readers to go crazy over them. The author's unique view turned something that was supposed to completely unoriginal and overdone, into something groundbreaking (the popularity, the sales! They're insane!).

So what do you think? Is it possible to be truly original anymore? Or are we somehow destined to share the same ideas and all we can do is put our own unique spin on them?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Responsibility of Self

What did I write today? A little over 500 words for Chapter 2.

For the last few days, I've been seeing blog posts about this article written by Josh Olson titled "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" about aspiring writers asking professionals to read their work and how that's wrong.

A lot of people agree wholeheartedly with his opinion. Well, at least agents and professional writers do from what I've read. I only read agents and author blogs, so maybe there's another view I'm missing out on.

But this has been popping up so much, that I finally read the article and felt a strong opinion about it.

There are some things he said that I totally agree. Mostly the quotes you can find on the previously mentioned blogs or even being twittered around. And I agree with them, but I don't agree with Josh Olson's view on the whole situation.

Most of my life, I've been miserable and it took me long time to figure out how to be happy no matter what. I discovered it and though I've yet to master the art, I am practicing it daily. What is it?

Responsibility.

Olson gives this story about how this bad writer asked him to read this synopsis and how he didn't really want to read it, but would feel guilty because it was a friend of a friend who was asking. The writing was horrible, he agonized over how to critique it, and then after he finally gave the writer a response, the bad writer got insulted. Thus Olson thinks amateur writers shouldn't ask professionals to critique their work for free. For him, that in itself is an insult and a "dick" thing to do.

This is how I understood it anyways.

I felt his words were a little contradictory.

He wrote this: "Because here's the thing: not only is it cruel to encourage the hopeless, but you cannot discourage a writer. If someone can talk you out of being a writer, you're not a writer. If I can talk you out of being a writer, I've done you a favor, because now you'll be free to pursue your real talent, whatever that may be. And, for the record, everybody has one. The lucky ones figure out what that is."

I believe this to be true. But if this is true, then what is the problem? There is no consequence of giving a honest critique because you either helped someone realize he's doing the wrong thing or helped a real writer get better. True, the non-writer may not believe you and feel insulted, but that doesn't matter.

Here is the point of this entry and the lesson I learned on how to be happy no matter what:

Your reaction to other people's words have nothing to do with them.

Other people's reactions to your words have nothing to do with you.

Take responsibility of your own feelings. If you say no (as politely as possible) to reading a person's script or story, it is not you who are making them feel bad. If you're the one who received a bad review, it's not the critic's fault why you feel like crap. And, most importantly, if you say no to a writer and then feel guilty, it's not the writer's fault why you feel guilty.

Do not blame others or yourself. You are solely responsible for the feelings you feel.

There's a difference between blame and responsibility. Blame makes you feel bad or angry. Responsibility doesn't. Feeling responsible gives you power while blame takes your power away. With blame, you can't really do anything about the situation but feel upset, but with responsibility, you're given the opportunity to do something about it.

The only thing I did not like about Olson's article was that he blamed the writer for his situation and not take responsibility. Not only that, he generalized and blamed all the amateur writers that desire feedback or "a pat on the head."

This is the easy way out and though it will probably make you feel temporarily better and feed your ego, it does nothing for your personal growth. Eventually, someone else will do something that will bother you or you will make a choice and pay the consequences of it (which is what happened to Olson). You will get angry and upset...again.

That article would probably never have been written if Olson just said no to reading the script and simply not cared what the person thought. Olson knows he's NOT an asshole (or at least I hope so) and thus, it shouldn't bother him at all. Its the writer's problem, not his.

If he had put himself first, thinking of his work load and what was more important to him, Olson wouldn't have read that "fucking script." This does not make him an asshole. This would have made him a wise human being.

But it's not the writer's fault for asking. The writer, especially this one, is very oblivious to other people. He would not have known Olson was busy, or that he didn't want to read his story, or understood that it put Olson on the spot. If he did, he wouldn't have asked (if he asked while knowing, then he really is a "dick"). But we're not mind readers. We don't know until we ask.

What I'm asking is not easy. Trust me. I know this advice is true and yet even I have moments where I forget and blame others. Its hard to take responsibility of your feelings and, even harder, attempt to change them through will and mind power alone.

It's hard. It takes practice. It will change you forever.

Finally, if amateur writers never sought professional feedback, how will we ever know when we've reached their level or if we're even on the right path? If professionals never give amateurs a chance, how will amateurs ever become professionals?

How can a broke, starving artist ever know he's great if he has to pay someone-who really-knows to tell him so?

If someone wants something from you and it's too much hassle for you, say no. Don't feel guilty. Or experience your guilt without blaming others or yourself.

If you ask for something and they say no or give you something you didn't expect, accept what they give you. Don't feel bad. Or experience feeling bad without blaming others or yourself.

Sometimes it feels good to feel sad or guilty or angry. Sometimes we enjoy it, and that's okay. But once you get enough of it, move on. Don't blame.

If you do this, you will feel so much happier every day or your life.

This I promise you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Impatience

What did I write today? ....Does this blog post count?

I'm having trouble getting rid of this belief that I can write a publishable novel and get it published in no time flat. I sometimes think of it like a race, even when I know and tell myself it's about the journey, not the destination. I can't help it.

I really want to get published.

I suppose it's harder because of my financial difficulties. Despite everywhere I left resumes and applied, not a single job has called me back and even my college can't afford the work-study program this year. I applied for a loan, but I'm still waiting for that to go through. My denial will cost me dearly.

If I could just get published, get something money from writing which is easier than waiting around and for a check to arrive in the mail, things will get better. Or at least that's what I want to believe.

But if I listen to the countless of wise and experienced publishing professionals and successful writers, it doesn't work like that. It takes time to get published. It takes time to be successful, no matter how well you write. And then the biggest blow...

It takes time to become a great writer.

I know this. I practice it. I slowed down and started reading my writing books which had been collecting dust for some months now. I enrolled in a writing course and started writing short stories, which I think is great practice.

If I feel like I'm progressing, even a little bit, the feeling is amazing and it can go on forever for all I care.

But when bills pile up, and I read really great writers and how far I have to go, and dream every night of greatness, I sometimes wish it would all just go faster or better. At least, I wish I could know if I'm getting anywhere.

This is why I believe a writing partner or critique group is very important. Even a friend or spouse who is in love with your writing is a godsend for a writer's struggle. It's easier to write or work for others than to write and work for yourself. They keep you going for the long run.

Patience is key.

Patience is necessary.

I think the reason there are more successful authors in their 30s, 40s and 50s than in their 20s and under, is because the older you get, the more patient and dedicated you become.

I hope one day I can learn this lesson early from my many teachers (from the books and blogs I read) and learn to go with the flow...

...even when at times it seems like a trickle.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Starting Your Day Right

What did I write today? The first 5 pages of revised Chapter 2 of my novel.

This entry is brought to you by the following realization.

It's easier to start the day on the right foot than it is trying to fix a day gone wrong.

This weekend was long and relaxing. Due to a storm warning, I didn't have class since Thursday. That gave me Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday to be productive and write like mad. However, despite all my free time...

I only wrote a pitiful five pages.

(Though if you go by word count, it was a whopping 1,548 words).

I can blame the fact that my younger brother called me and we haven't hung out in so long that I drove the two hours to go see him, saw a movie with him and his friends and then had him sleep over my place. Needless to say, I was distracted. But most of those things took place around or after noon.

So what about the hours before?

I'm most productive in the insane hours of the morning. In fact, my alarm always goes off at 4am in the morning with the intention of writing at around 5am. Unfortunately, my body sometimes doesn't like being dragged out of bed while it's still dark out because I went to bed too late, or I just had a great dream and wanted to finish it. And that's when it all goes wrong.

The minute my morning routine doesn't start the way I like, all productivity goes down the drain for the rest of the day.

I cannot concentrate. Everything distracts me. I spend my hours procrastinating and surfing mindlessly on the Internet, reading blogs and re-reading my e-mail. Even when I realize my behavior is totally unacceptable, I can't seem to snap out of it. I have already convinced my mind that it's another day off and it's having nothing to do with writing or work or anything hard.

If I do salvage the day, it's usually late at night when I force myself to write something before going to bed...thus going to bed late...then waking up late and repeating the cycle.

But this doesn't always happen. I often have great productive days! And today is turning out to be one of them. It's because I started it right.

Step One. Start the night before.

Sick of my lack of productivity, before going to bed last night, I mentally pumped myself up for the day before. I reaffirmed all my goals, visualized them complete and remembered why they were so important to me.

This makes you eager to wake up on time the next day and be productive.

I must have done something right cause that night I even dreamed I was writing.

Step Two. Have a Morning Routine.

Before getting to work, I have a ritual. I write my Morning Pages (Invented by the great and wonderful Julia Cameron in her work"The Artist's Way"), write down all that I'm grateful for, read my goals, write affirmations, visualize my goals completed and read or listen to a chapter of a spiritual book (I just finished listening to the audio book of "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" by Deepra Chopra).

This sort of routine is also referred to as a daily appointment with yourself by Scott "the nametag guy" Ginsberg.

It can be anything you want to do that gets you motivated and focused.

After that, I'm pumped up and ready to work! Sometimes I get weak and check my email quick before getting started, but I refuse to let myself do anything more than that until I've written for at least an hour.

But I realized that after this great pick me up in the morning, my day sort of fizzles out by the afternoon. So I discovered a new habit!

Step Three. Mid-Day Pick Me Up.

I'm a spiritual person, so I practice meditation. Since I sometimes fall asleep if I meditate right after I wake up, I started doing it during the afternoon. This is a great opportunity to remind myself of my goals and commitments! I can take an hour, thirty or fifteen minutes to simply repeat what I did in the morning.

Again, this can be whatever you'd like, as long as it pumps you up and keeps you positive and focused on being productive. It doesn't even have to take long.

We all need a reminder now and again about why we do the crazy things we do.

So basically, it's a new cycle. This time a positive cyle that creates productivity. You pretty much repeat the same thing once at night, then in the morning and again in the afternoon. I think it's a great way to start the day right and keep it that way.

Do you have a morning routine?

Please let me know in your comments. I'm always curious to see how others start their day on the right foot.

-Till next time.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Just Do It.

I always wondered what is more important; your sanity or getting the work done.

Deadlines are important for writers working with a editor or just themselves. They help us be focused and adds pressure. But when you're writing on your own, when do you know you're pushing yourself too hard? How do you know your time line is insane and impossible, like say revise an entire novel in a month?

The answer I always find is: "it depends on the person." Meaning, it's up to us to decide.

But when you keep missing the deadline and never seem to ever finish the daily to-do list, is it because we're not pushing ourselves hard enough or did we set the bar too high?

I think I've finally found the solution to this problem of mine! I'm going to push myself till near the brink of death to finish everything I said I was going to for the day. Get it done even if it means missing sleep for a few days. At the end, if I'm barely standing or conscious, then its most likely I'm biting too much than I can chew. If I feel great and productive, then obviously I have to push myself and I can.

All it comes down to is action. I can second guess myself forever, but I'll never come to a decision unless I just shut up and do it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cold Feet

A lot of people assume that it's much easier to talk to someone online than it is in real life. I have lived by this assumption for years and until recently, would agree that it's true. But ever since I decided that I wanted to be a published author, suddenly it wasn't so easy anymore.

Ever since I learned the word "platform", saying something online has become a stressful event. What if someone important reads it? How does it make me look? Will it hurt my chances at being taken seriously?

I've suddenly become terrified of not only blogging, but of talking to new people I discovered online. Especially successful people who I admire and wish to become friends with in order to learn everything they know.

This blog is born out of that fear, and it almost never existed for the same reason.

It's similar to when you have a new story idea. It's amazing! Everyone will love it! Finally, I have something to say! A fresh new start! But then...what if I can't do it? What if I write it and no one gets it? What if it comes out as childish, mediocre dribble? Or worse, what if it's ignored?

But like writing a novel, I can't let that fear get to me. I'm a writer. If I don't write, I'm nothing.

Of course, I don't have to blog. I just really want to. But what if I'm not good enough? What if no one reads it? What if my message doesn't get across?...etc etc.

I want to create a blog that expresses myself in a professional light. I have something to say, something to offer, and I want you all to receive it. You can't if I'm unfocused, unclear, narcissistic or inconsistent. My fear of coming across like any of those negative traits is why I've decided to start this blog.

My fear of failing is why it took me so long to post this first entry.

But again, like a novel, I can't let fear stop me. I won't. And no one else should either.

And that's all I wanted to say.

Also that this post is dedicated to Divining the Words , a blog by a fellow writer which inspired me to finally suck it up and get my feet wet. His blog is beautiful and full of honest advice for writers. I highly recommend it. So, thanks David ^__^