2019 Writing Goals

Writing Life

As the new year rolls around I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to spend all of my 2019 future time. I don’t know what this year is going to be. Happy, sad, vicious, exhausting. Lonely? Definitely. But determined and pernicious also.

So, here’s a tentative list of all the writing projects I want to complete and publish before this same time next year:

Havoc’s Moon (Slaughter Chronicles Book 1): paranormal horror

Resonance: stand alone sci-fi novel

Here and Away (The Heart of the Forest Cycle Book 1): urban fantasy

2 Slaughter Chronicles short stories

Another Slaughter Chronicles novella

So that’s 6 things. I have never completed 6 works in progress before. I’ve already got one of the short stories done, more on that later, so really I only have 5 but still, I am being extremely ambitious right now.

I also want to write more poems. Even though I revamped my two poetry collections last year, I have only written like maybe 4 new poems since 2016. I need to fix that.

But the biggest thing that I want to do is change who I am as a writer–not change my writing style or anything–I want to be a bigger, badder writer. I want to be a braver, more fearless writer. I want to make writing a happy thing.

Right now, whenever I sit down to write, all the negative thoughts–

This is shit

No one will like this

You’re doing it wrong

–can’t leave me alone and sometimes I don’t have the strength to push them away.

I want to be a stronger writer.

I also want to win camp nanowrimo this year. And nanowrimo again in November.

That’s it, simple right?

Let’s make it happen.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Whatโ€™s gonna happen to all these books when I die?

Writing Life

This is going to be more of a personal blog and less technical writing stuff or nanowrimo progress stuff.

Trigger warning for death. I will be writing about my feelings about death. My feelings about death might not be the same as your feelings about death. That is okay. If thinking about death makes you uncomfortable you might not want to read this.

So I think about dying every day. I think about how I might die: I get hit by a car while driving, someone shoots up my place of work, inclement weather throws a building on me, I spontaneously combust or catch the plague, I drown, I get hit by a car or a bus while not driving. You get the idea, there’s lots of ways to die.

And because I think this way I try my best not to get too stressed out about things (maybe death thoughts are a holistic way to cope with my anxiety) and tell Mr. J and the cats that I love them as many times as possible because. I take the saying: ‘dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.’ I also really like: ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst.’ All the while I try to exist in the world as a not-depressed person.

So back to the question at hand. What is going to happen to all my books, all these projects I’m spending my time, love and tears on? I don’t have children and I don’t want children. My mother will hopefully die before I do so I can sell her house and pay off my student loans so they won’t go to her. My cousins and their children will probably not be interested in some distant relative’s self-published poetry. I have no idea what will happen to my digital book babies when I die.

And what if I did die tomorrow, Mr. J would be left with 11 unfinished manuscripts and nothing to do with them. I know some people who want their work published posthumously by a trusted party. I am not one of those people. If it’s mine and it’s not finished, don’t publish it. Because it’s not finished and I don’t want unfinished, sloppy work under my name.

I do know that once something is up on the internet it can be hard to get it off, so that’s comforting, I guess. But how to keep it from disappearing into the either? This is where traditional publishing is handy because you have someone else keeping your work in their archives if they decide to stop printing/distributing.

But I’m thinking 100 years in the future. Will my books still be on iBooks or Barnes and Noble’s nook store? The hope is yes.

But will the world still be around in 100 years? Will the internet still be around? I hope so.

But if not and the apocalypse happens when I’m an 80 old lady I will have to suicide out because fuck it I have arthritis and I’m not going to run around killing zombie mutants with my bad hip. Some aspiring, young adventurer will stumble upon my domicile and find a big 3-ring binder full of printed out copies of every word I’ve ever written and think, “I can make a fire!” And I’m glad that person would be warm that night. But still.

So if my work is going to be either burned for fuel or simply get deleted with a website goes offline forever AND if I could die today or tomorrow and my projects will never get done and it might not even matter if they do, then why am I wasting my time writing?

1. Because I’m writing for me. For now. I want my stories in my head out on paper for me to read in the now (the generalized now, not the now now).

2. It’s either this or binge watch Netflix and at least this way I won’t be napping all the time and my brain won’t rot.

3. I need something creative to do while I work at my day job (not at the same time, obviously. Though it would be awesome to tell a patient, “hey, I can’t give you a shot right now, I have to finish this chapter.”)

4. I’ve always been a writer. I was a writer when I was 4 and wrote my very first fan fiction (How Spider Saved Halloween, based on the book How Spider Saved Christmas by Robert Kraus) so I can’t really stop now.

5. And even though sometimes I am very cruel to myself about it, writing is fun.

6. My mom likes my stories.

7. You might like my stories too.

GO OUT THERE AND BE DEATH POSITIVE!

My Inner Editor

Writing Life

My inner editor looks like me only a little older, she is future me yelling at present me for all the mistakes I will make when I start writing.

On the plus side, my inner editor knows her stuff. She knows how to catch mistakes and detach herself well enough to catch most plot holes and inconsistencies.

On the minus side, I do this to myself every day; I am constantly berating and bullying myself–my past self–for the mistakes I made. Sometimes they’re yesterday’s mistakes but mostly they’re mistakes I made YEARS ago that probably no one remembers or even cares about anymore. No one but me.

So my inner editor is a reflection of one of my worst habits, which is self-bullying.

I love writing. I love it so much I don’t care if I’m “good” or “bad” at it. I think if you love something and it gives you joy you should do it regardless of what standards the “industry,” society, or whoever else you value holds you to. So why do I constantly tell myself this isn’t good or that isn’t good or something similar? Why do I do that so much that approaching my keyboard and the blank page becomes daunting and I get no enjoyment from the thing that used to keep me going during really tough bouts of depression?

It’s irrational and it’s mean. And I’ve often found that I have been meaner to myself than anyone else has been. So why do I do that?

I think partly because I’m not mindful enough, I’d rather think about all the things I have to do and get mildly anxious about not having enough time to do all the things than actually doing all the things. Because I’m scared that when the thing is done it won’t be good.

But if the thing isn’t good I can fix it because it’s MY thing and I have that power. So why do I still behave so irrationally?

Years of doing it and I don’t know how to stop? A little nervousness and discomfort is healthy?

You can’t have happy without suffering but this is definitely unnecessary suffering.

One of the things I like about National Novel Writing Month is that the pace keeps you so busy you don’t have time to indulge in those negative thoughts. Especially if you have things to do outside of writing, like raising another human being or paying the bills.

While your inner editor is a good thing to have on hand it definitely has its place and editing/revising is different from creating content. Yes you can edit as you create and sometimes that’s the best thing to do but other times it can slow you down and discourage you. You have to find a happy medium and it’s really hard to do that sometimes because feelings and desires.

I try my best to ignore my inner editor or tell her, “Hey, that’s cool, I’ll get to it later.” And when she screams at me to do it now I slam a door in her face. I don’t know if that’s the healthiest way to cope with my self-bullying because those thoughts always come back but it’s something that works for now.

The things I try to keep telling myself when I feel like I can’t do it anymore are:

YOU WANT TO WRITE.

YOU LIKE YOUR STORY, YOU WANT TO TELL IT.

YOU ARE HAVING FUN.

IT’S GOING TO GET BETTER.

Now go write!

Nanowrimo Day 3 (2018) Affirmations/Motivation

A Commonplace Book, Writing Life

“I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.”

–from The Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding

“I am good enough.

I am extraordinary in fact.

I have so much to give.

I am a wealth of creative energy.

I will dive into the depths of who I am.

I will face my fears and limiting beliefs.

I will be curious and available.

I will be open to surprise.

I will let go of fears, worries and doubts.

I will practice again and again, letting that little voice that says, ‘you’re not good enough’ become less and less impacting.

I will treat myself with love, kindness and forgiveness.

I will accept who I am, rain or shine.”

–from Yoga + Creativity by Lacey Haynes

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

–from Dune by Frank Herbert, the Litany against Fear

“When I opened the door, there was a weird blue light coming off the snow. I threw the book into the snow.”

–from Schizophrene by Bhanu Kapil

Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.โ€

–from Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

My National Novel Writing Month Backstory

NaNoWriMo, Writing Life

Shakespeare class 2005, Lynchburg, Virginia. The girl sitting in front of me was furiously scribbling into a green marbled (graph paper) composition notebook. I asked her what she was writing and she said she was writing a novel. I was totally impressed because I had tried writing a novel by hand in high school and I totally failed.

She went on to say that she was going to finish it at the end of the month because she was writing it for National Novel Writing Month. I had never heard of that before. I wanted in. She said it wasnโ€™t too late for me to start.