Day 8 – WIPtember 2020

Day Eight – Writing Advice

The idea of giving writing advice seems self serving to me, but alas we find ourselves at this place so I shall comply. The type of advice requested depends precisely on where in the process a writer finds oneself. There are stops along the way where I could actually have some potentially helpful advice. There are many more bullet points that I have not yet reached in my own writing journey. That said, I’ll share what has actually been helpful to me.

1) Just yarf it out.

No excuses necessary. Just grab your favorite method of recording – pad of paper, computer, audio transcriber – and spew that story. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to be complete. It doesn’t even have to make sense – yet. But you do have to get it out of your head and birth it into existence.

2) Read as much as possible.

Good writers, read – and broadly. Read the genre you want to write. Read a genre you have no experience reading. Read outside of your preferred age range. And while you are reading, take notes. Mental notes are good, if your brain works that way. Most people seem to have better luck taking actual notes to reference later. Notice how stories are constructed. Pay attention to how story and character development happens.

3) Find a mentor.

You are probably surrounded with people just like you. Many people think about “writing a book” but never tell anyone, and fewer still even bother to start. Put the word out and you’ll be surprised who jumps out of the woodwork to share their experiences. If you don’t have anyone IRL who can – or is willing to – be a mentor, find a virtual one. Twitter is a mine field, but there are a lot of talented and helpful people tucked away over there. Instagram has more writers camping out these days, and they are slightly more …friendly. If those options fail you, get a book by one of the Big Guns. I can personally recommend On Writing, by Stephen King – but there are others that a simple internet search can lead you to.

Day 7 – WIPtember 2020

Day Seven – Publishing Path

After many conversations with writers of all stages, I feel comfortable saying that most writers who want to get published believe that they want to be traditionally published. This is also true for me, to a point.

I am currently not in receipt of a project that I would consider finished enough to publish on any forum, much less to ship off to a publisher’s office. Additionally, it is (currently) enough for me to just say “I wrote something!” And then move on to the next project.

I have investigated self-publishing via several types of modes but not having breathing work to share is a deterrent. I know that when I get to a good place, I will probably self-publish initially. I have done enough poking around to know that traditional publishing isn’t really what it seems. With that in mind, I’m keeping my options open. Who knows what will be available when I get any of these dozen semi-close projects polished?

Day 2 – #WIPtember 2020

DAY TWO – Introduce #wip

TW: death, loss, suicidal ideation, religious themes, mental health

My current WIP (work in progress) is the final book of an accidental trilogy. I thought it was going to be my #nano2020 project but I’m not sure I can hold off that long. It has been haunting me for about six months already.

So far all I have is that the Main Character is male, and we already met him in last year’s #nanowrimo project. He is on a journey of spiritual discovery after losing his family to a medical incident. This has put him into a tailspin of questioning and pleading with a God that may or may not actually still exist, for him. He feels that something is not right with his life and figures out by chance, that he has possibly ended his life and thrown himself into an alternate reality.

#WIPtember v.2020

Welcome to WIPtember. If you’re new to this concept, I’ll give you a little lowdown: prompts, daily ones.

I started this endeavor last year, but never finished. I got completely overrun by NaNo Prep and abandoned ship. But this year, nay nay I say. We shall finish.

So, let’s go. Day One. Seems a little odd to do an intro on *my* blog, when you clearly could click my Bio link, but for the sake of continuity…

WRITER INTRO: Aging punk rocker with two adult kids and a toddler, living in rural New York. I used to write to fight the patriarchy. Now, I write to keep my sanity. My style is paranormal voyeurism.

Software Wars

Evernote vs. Scrivener

The unofficial report…

I’ve been using Evernote for years. It took me a solid six months to figure out what exactly I was supposed to do with it. Once I discovered how to organize files into a living outline, the game was officially changed.

The second year of using the program, I started three new large writing projects. Not only was I able to juggle the different projects and keep progressing, but I was able to easily organize any research or notes related to each one.

The following year, I started really unlocking Evernote’s potential. It has become my go-to organizer. Photos, notes, websites, recipes… Nothing is safe from the vault with the little green elephant icon. Until now.

I started noticing that I was having formatting issues with longer documents. I am not the type of personality that can take time for simple issues with no blatant answer. My ADHD simply will not allow me to just tinker and figure it out. After losing a day to formatting, I started looking into Scrivener.

In my writing forums, there seems to be a very definite split between the Scrivs and the Scriv-nots. I’ve considered trying out this program for a while now, but always got that nagging worry about user-friendliness.

In June, I made the jump. You get a 30-day free trial and it is based on 30 uses, not a time frame. Considering I don’t consistently write daily right now, it was kind of a no-brainer. I became a Scrivener test monkey.

Back in July, I hit my Camp NaNo goal and that meant I got some interesting swag. One of the prizes offered to Camp winners was a 50% off code for Scrivener. During my test period in early summer I got to where I felt comfortable enough with it to put up the small fee for the download.

The program gets a lot of mixed reviews from writers. Most of the seasoned users will tell you that it takes a little bit of a learning curve, but that it’s worth it. A lot of the rest of them will bemoan the day they ever thought they might attempt to conquer that beast. The “it’s worth it” is why I decided to go for the full access program.

Honestly, it’s very much like Evernote — for books. There’s been almost no learning curve for me, but admittedly I haven’t attempted to publish or query yet. Soon enough, I’ll report back on that.

If you’re on the fence and serious about finishing your project, go for it. Actually, if you can wait you should win NaNo or Camp and get the 50% off code. It’s a great program, but saving money is always better.

 

Winning

August 1, 2019

I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for 10 years, and Camp NaNo in April & July for each of the last 5 years, for a grand total of 20 attempts. This is the first time that I have finished a brand new writing project during one of the month-long events. It is a rough draft memoir about motherhood and mental health.

It’s ugly. It’s nowhere near done. And it will probably stay that way. However, I did learn a few things about myself during this process — and got a new novel idea, which I started mapping out today!

Campasset-Instagram

Honestly, I don’t feel that much different than I did a week ago — except that now I have actually set a writing goal that I achieved. I always get around to getting it done, but never on time. Frankly, my confidence about my writing has been in the toilet lately. There’s been a lot of *meh* in my notebooks these last few years.

  • My lack of teasable and usable ideas
  • My inability to commit to any ideas long enough to create something worth getting excited about
  • My obvious ignorance about the entire process
  • ADHD (that actually explained A LOT)
  • Lack of time &/or focus in my personal life
  • Overall ennui

To be able to say that I pushed through even when I had no idea how I could, would or should, has been a boost to morale around my writing desk. I know that I can finish these other projects. More than knowing that I can, I now how to get it done. I’m excited to move onto my next project, and I hope it turns out to be worthy of sharing.

Keep on scribbling!

~K~

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