Friday, January 12, 2018

Powering Through

Being creative is hard work. It takes effort, commitment, time, dedication, and tenacity. I've seen artists become successful on a local level, but I also know how many years it took them to get there. Writing and editing are no different from other forms of art.

Writing for me comes naturally. My first drafts are messy, convoluted, and sometimes need a huge overhaul, because I do a little bit of outlining and a bunch of pantsing. I go into writing with vague ideas that end up getting fleshed out halfway through, which means I always have to go back. Rewrites are a big part of my writing process, and they are also more time consuming than writing.

There's something about re-reading the first words I've put down that makes me a bit disheartened. I think in my head, "This isn't good." I second guess myself and my art. It pushes me to the edge of wanting to give up, because the words didn't flow the way I wanted them to.

Rewriting is where I get stuck. It's the part of the process where I have to power through and just "do it." The only person holding me back is the inner editor inside me that dislikes (hate is too strong of a word) my first draft.

Drafts are not supposed to be this shiny, perfect thing that you can push out into the world. Drafts are for shaping and folding, mending into the story you want it to become. This part of the process should be fun (at least on some level). I have this novel in my hands that I created, and now I just have to make it better. I should look at this as enhancement, but I always struggle to get through.

All writers struggle with some part of the process, and despite the struggle, you should never give up.

Being creative takes time and dedication. You have to forgive yourself if it's not perfect, and then you have to work on making it better. I could throw this book aside and say, "Eh, I'll get to that later." But if I stop now, I'll lose momentum. I'll, essentially, give up.

What is your reason for powering through when you are struggling creatively?

Mine is the characters I create. I know they have a story worth sharing, which makes me want to finish what I've started. Even if the story is over, the characters never really leave me.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year, New Planner

I'm a saver, not a spender, and as such, I hardly ever buy things for myself. Sure, sometimes I splurge with this "I really need this," but I have to justify it to myself, much like a child would a parent. I have to explain to myself how vitally important this item is.

One recent purchase was The Simple Elephant Planner. I tried doing the bullet journal thing last year, but I found the page set up to be tedious. I wanted my planner to look cool with awesome spreads, and I spent so much time making each calendar month look great, that I spent less time actually doing the items on my list.

This year, I decided to try The Simple Elephant, and so far so good. It's simple and goal-oriented. It has to list the five most important goals for you to do this year, and it comes with a few easy instruction guides to give you advice on how to set up your goals.

Mine are:

  1. Shop Dissimulate to 50 Agents
  2. Publish two additional works
  3. Better Overall Health: Mental breaks, meditation, and lowering waist size
  4. Read 50 books
  5. Take a Vacation
Ideally, I won't reach 50 agents with Dissimulate, but since "get an agent" isn't a quantifiable goal, because it depends on the agents I shop to. So, I've decided on something more straightforward and gave myself a number to shop by the end of the year. Dissimulate has a lot in it though: a futuristic sci-fi theme, existential discussions, and a GLBT main character. This one will find a home.

I wrote most of it for NaNoWriMo, took December off to get Overwatch loot boxes (I'm a bit obsessed with opening shiny treasure boxes in that game), and I'm finishing up the book now. I'm at 64,000 words and approaching the end. My rough drafts always skimp on description, so the rewrite usually adds 10k in story and descriptions.

While it is only January 4, I feel really great about the simplicity of setting up this notebook. It breaks down overall goals into monthly goals, breaks down monthly goals into weekly ones. Then, it helps recap your week with successes as well as what can be done better.

Now, I know I have to have Dissimulate done by March for shopping. Now, I know once that's finished I can pursue the other two titles I wish to publish this year. I expect big things from myself in 2018, and you should expect big things from yourself, too.

What are your plans for the new year? Any big goals? What are you using to track your progress?