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Writer losing her mojo

We all have heard the saying that “writers write as simple as that” and it is really is as simple as that, but most don’t actually do it as regularly as they should or at least believe they should.  For me, I do not write as much as I believe I should because in the last few years I have lost my mojo, I forgot what it meant for me to write and I have done a lot of soul searching in the past year to find out where the passion has gone.

I did something rare for me – I re-read a book, usually I don’t re-read books unless I put them into a reference category but this particular book I re-read and saw it with fresh eyes and read things I didn’t remember were in the book in the first place.  The name of the book was “Big Magic” written by Elizabeth Gilbert.  When I read this book I asked myself a question; “Why do I think I have lost my love for writing”?  It was a simple answer really upon reflection and I would never have gotten this answer if it wasn’t for this book.  My writing became too focused on financial panic, the urge to write as much as I can so I can earn a living because I needed to break out of debts, but instead, this kind of pressure halted everything about my creative mind and I found I couldn’t do anything other than dramatic self-pitying poetry on mass, the stories and the playtime died, literally.

For the word, nothing has been published except for the things that are published on this blog simply because I didn’t want to approach a publisher with such depressing poetical themes, because I still hold to the idea that I am primarily a fantasy and horror story writer, not a poet!  I am also an essayist I suppose, because I like writing and hoarding information I have learned about my favourite subjects, but I am not sure how to become a paid essay writer and I am not really going to approach that as a career until I learn more about it. 

Anyway – getting back to the main subject of this post.  I forgot how to play – yes, even in real life, I have forgotten how to play and to laugh because of my severe depression, breakdown and financial worries.  I became so down in the dumps about my life that I had two years of being carefully guarded by Paul my fiancé because I couldn’t be left alone for fear I’d commit suicide, seriously.  One point it got so bad, Paul had to go out somewhere without me and he needed to ask a neighbour to sit in with me.  To say I am over that now, would be wrong, the slightest thing brings it back, but I am not as bad as I used to be, the self-harming has stopped a little bit and I am more predictable these days; but ultimately, the depression is still there and I am trying hard to find out how to play again, how to feel happy again and how to enjoy life.  I don’t enjoy anything anymore and it is getting increasingly difficult since the doctor is now looking into what they believe to be a very serious neurological problem, either MS or motor neurone disease, but like always there is a long waiting list here in the UK and I won’t really know what’s going on with me for several months apparently.

So, how does one go about trying to find out how to be happy again and learn to play again?  It turns out according to the book “Big Magic” and a couple of other books I have read recently that it is something most adults get out of practise of, that once you start trying to become playful and do things which are generally playful (even if you don’t feel happy doing it or feel that it is playful) you will eventually trick your mind to becoming playful and you will build up a type of momentum.  Once the momentum is built up, you will start to feel a change – well I hope so.

I thought hard about how I write stories now in comparison to how I wrote them ten years ago, was there any notable differences in how I produced work back then than now?

Yes there was a huge fundamental difference in fact. 

A decade ago I wasn’t afraid to be thought of as eccentric or insane, I would play with my imagination and I would share my thoughts and ideas no matter how obscure and strange they were with people around me and then I would write about those ideas.  I used to have a lot more creative friends too, but many of them have creative careers which have made them too busy to socialise even online, some have died, some have decided that they too have lost their playful side and have become super conservative people.

I have also found that my social circle is smaller these days which is amazing because I used to think my social circle couldn’t get any smaller ten years ago, the people who I do talk to these days are very serious people who have a worried look on their faces whenever anybody talks about anything out of the ordinary, even if you were to explain that you are an artist and a writer so it’s not a mental health problem, it’s just my mind playing with ideas and therefore there is a story in this.  You’d be surprise how people like that can dry up your will to be imaginative or to share your ideas.

Some people who have very little imagination tell me that they wished they had more of an imagination and they start to tinker with my story ideas themselves (which I don’t mind) but then they start demanding that they must change my concept on my fantasy worlds because things are just not plausible and that readers are real people who live in the real world and they want something believable, so they start pulling at the threads of my fantasy infrastructure and start literally pulling my fantasy communities apart by the seams.  It turns out that even my perfect all powerful fantasy God is not infallible, that he has other beings that will cause problems he can’t deal with and that even this God ponders who created him and so forth.  I told the person, you are going too deep here buddy, I don’t want to go that way in my story, but they insist that I must.

I became a fantasy writer because I find the real world too boring and predictable for me to want to think about and write, the idea of making a fantasy based novel plausible, to me, is laughable, because fantasy is supposed to be anything BUT normal. 

To cut myself off from such people will almost completely isolate me again, which I don’t want.  But can I really sit through another conversation where my worlds are being shattered write before my eyes?  I often feel like screaming at the top of my voice “Of course this fantasy God has a creator you dumbass, it is me, I am their goddess, I made them, but I am not egotistical enough to put myself in the book as the all-power”, does any other writer go through this?  Or is this situation totally unique to me?

So I am currently on a journey to find “My tribe” as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it and to find my playful imaginative self again and to have the confidence and focus of not listening to those who are dismantling my worlds and to continue with what I had always planned instead.  Which is a shame because these people used to feed me ideas, used to support me, but these days it is just soul destroying.  I have to ignore the world destroyers.

I wanted to join a writers group, but not sure what is involved with those and I am scared to find more people who are like that, once they’ve heard my stories.  I am trying to forget the people who are making me focus on writing purely for financial reasons and try to focus once again on writing for me, for fun, for release and for pleasure; the way it should be for all writers.

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TASKS AND PASTS

I have this book called “365 Ways to get you writing daily, inspiration and advice for creative writers” by Jane Cooper.  I have been thinking about what to post on my blog to keep it active, I am not sure I want to post up my snippets for actual things I am planning as I find it a bit personal, but I thought that perhaps these tasks would help me show you my creative writing so you can critique me, thus help improve my style or enhance my work. 

I don’t lack confidence in my writing, because each to their own and I understand that not everyone is going to like my stuff, but I do want to be more involved with my blog and I do want to know if my writing does need more improvement.

I don’t want to worry about grammar and punctuation at the moment, because the priority for me is to get writing and be more active in the creative community than be a pedant, because being a pedant (and coming across many other pedants) was what made my writing stop for several years.

I have many friends who are artists and not many that are writers and the artists tell me that the worst thing that any artist can do with their creativity is to try and make it too perfect before it’s finished, because then you lose the heart and soul of your work and nobody will like it then; writing is not different, many writers like to look at themselves as a form of artist and visual artists like to consider anyone who is creative as an artist too!  Actors = performance artists, writers are verbal artists, painters are visual artists, singers are music artists, you get the picture – if you are creating something or trying to show something in a new light YOU ARE AN ARTIST!

One big thing I learned recently is that my writing from 2002 is completely different than the writing I did in 2008 and though you would think that I had been writing that time and had obviously improved my craft, you would be wrong!  I became a pedant and people who read my work were also pedants, they were grammar Nazis and they were not interested in my genre and they were going on about honing in on my style of writing before I actually wrote the stories I aimed to write to the extent, I found I lost my heart and soul and so did my stories.  I became a show don’t tell writer who turned into a tell don’t show writer and I didn’t know it until only last month, when I was revising three neglected stories to revive, two of which came from before 2002 and were rewritten in 2008 and 2016 – that is how I could tell that I had lost my way. 

I also sat back and wondered about why I had lost my passion to research, read and write?  I blamed a lot of things and people for it, but ultimately it was because I had lost heart and I was no longer giving momentum to those three things that used to bring me joy every day.

I lost contact with several of my favourite forums and journal sites because of some spiteful bullying I endured at the beginning of 2009 from a scorned ex – that broke my network big time, I had developed decade long relationships which were broken down very quickly with his childish games and I just didn’t want to be anywhere where his energy had been at the time.  This caused me to go into what I call “Creative Isolation”.  I had only two creative friends who stuck by me after that event which spread across thirty websites!

But anyway, the blame still lies with me.  I allowed this to affect me in such a way that I created this creative bubble around myself, thus my writing suffered due to lack of oxygen and lack of oxygen made me lose momentum and once momentum is gone it takes will power and a lot of pushing yourself to get it back again, but you can get it back again. 

This is why I mentioned the above book.  I am going to do tasks in the book and post them on my blog for you to critique, I may not respond for a few days at times, as I often forget to check my mails and comments, but I will get to you in time.  I take my craft very seriously, sometimes too seriously that I forget sometimes that it is supposed to be fun.  I know the book has 365 ways, but I will not do one task per day, I may do many a day or my own random tasks whenever I can.

Another post may follow tonight, dependant on what’s going on with the family tonight; We’ve been pretty busy lately and it’s not just me who appears to be sick either, so bear with me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNoWriMo update 5th November

Doing well, despite being in bed most of the day, sick with whatever I’ve got.  I think it’s mostly throat and ear infection rather than flu, but anyway.  Forced myself to do 2592 words towards my novel today and 1717 words towards the nano badge of 750words.com

Not bad considering I feel like passing out, though everything took me four hours longer than it would have been on a normal day to do.

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Words, NaNoWriMo and more…

A pixabay image

Despite what I had promised myself last year, I am trying to do NaNoWriMo again this year – why did I make this decision?  Simple, in the past six weeks I have been consistently writing daily my 750 words along with a random two thousand other words (mostly not towards a novel). 

To those who are not in the know, you may be thinking “What are 750 words”?  Well, 750 words should be daily written and is an idea based on Julia Cameron’s activities for helping your inner creativity to flow.  This idea can be found in a book she wrote called “The Artist Way”.  There is a website to help you track these daily words, Julia doesn’t specify 750 words, she specifies three pages of long hand written work to be done in the morning, I don’t do long hand so I decided to join this website called 750words.com which worked out that three pages of long hand writing averages to around 750 words per day.

So every day I try to accomplish 750 words from the website, plus adding to my novel and doing poetry, writing songs and research papers for my novels and short stories.  All in all I average around three to four thousand words a day, not really focused in one area – NaNoWriMo is trying to teach me to focus my efforts on one particular thing – I may be successful this year, who knows?

I have heard of a method which kind of makes wrimo easier for people during the flu season, which is reversed NaNoWriMo, where you do three thousand and odd words on the first day and condense it down every day so that on the last day you only write one word, which I think is a brilliant idea because most people are pumped up for NaNoWriMo in the first ten days and then they kind of get fed up, a bit like a diet.  Not to mention a lot of people quit halfway through wrimo because of the flu, as I said it is flu season, so, do a lot now whilst you’re healthy and you can lose a day or two without affecting your goal.

Anyway, daily updates on NaNoWriMo and other writing activities will be posted on here.  There may be fewer poems this month, who knows?

The words for NaNoWriMo yesterday were 1672 (I know, not the three thousand I said I wanted to do – that’s for today) along with 1711 words for my 750words.com account (sometimes I get carried away ranting about life) and another 495 words elsewhere. 

Today so far I have done 1784 words for 750words.com and nothing towards wrimo and around 500 words with this post and I do have an urge to write a poem right now.

So I am going to get going with that and I shall do my wrimo words when my son is in bed tonight.

Fingers crossed I will accomplish wrimo this month and this year, just for the feel good factor, I am writing about my vampires in a new story, as I said many times before, I am very possessive of my vampires so it is unlikely I will get that book published by the end of it.

Ciao for now.

 

 

 

 

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1st draft vs 2nd draft

I would like to know as a reader which of the two opening paragraphs below makes you want to read more?

1.            The explosion could be heard for miles and the scent of smoke from the fading buildings tainted the air for days afterwards.  Maud, a nine year old little girl was found in the nearby cemetery, huddled by the cemetery wall shortly after it happened, she was discovered to be the daughter of the local priest, Father O’Hara and his wife Mildred O’Hara, they were killed in the blast and half the church had gone too. 

2.            Smoke and dust filled the air and sirens deafened all around.  Her eyes filled with tears as she saw her home being bombed by the unknown attackers of her city; a little girl no younger than nine was holding onto her ears with her eyes closed crouching by a tombstone in the local cemetery nearby.  It was an awful sight; it was an awful noise, much more awful for a little girl like Maud.  After a while somebody found her crouching there all alone.  They asked her name, they asked where she lived but all she could do was cry and point at the pile of smoking rubble that was her home.

This is based on the novel I was writing for NaNoWriMo, the first paragraph is the absolute first draft of this story, and the second paragraph is the revised second draft.

Would you keep either of the paragraphs or revise again?

A little information here, I never completed NaNoWriMo or this novel, the story is on hold until after Christmas.  I managed to write approximately 37,000 words towards this and I didn’t consider it to be a half way point. 

 

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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNo No No No DON’T DO IT!

I do not recommend NaNoWriMo to any writer who has been writing for a while, whether published or unpublished to partake in NaNoWriMo unless they are used to writing more than 1700 words per day under pressure.  In fact I would even stretch to say, unless you are used to writing at least 2000 words per day, because when you do NaNoWriMo you become obsessed with having certain amount of words rather than good quality work.  This can be especially true for those writers out there (and I am one of those writers) who are highly competitive outside of writing in every other thing – this feeds my competitive nature far too much.

The work I have done on NaNoWriMo is shockingly awful; it is the worse stuff I have ever, EVER done.  It will take me much longer to edit the first draft than would have been usual for me.  I am dreading to re-read what I have done and for the record, no, I haven’t won NaNoWriMo and I will not by Wednesday, simply because I stopped writing the novel altogether last week at 37,504 words.  I am disgusted at myself for the quality of work I have done; I am not used to creating that kind of garbage.  With that said, the novel in itself isn’t too bad an idea; there are many wonderful things that have happened during the NaNoWriMo challenge, some of which are pleasantly surprising and helpful to enhance the richness of the plot as a whole, but in practise, the story is unemotional and I missed several key points in my plot because of the word count. 

I suppose the speed of NaNoWriMo assisted mainly in the brainstorming phase of my writing; I certainly had a brainstorm for something interesting to happen in the novel outside of my key elements as often as once every ten paragraphs approximately.  However, simply sitting back and doing my daily journal does that if I concentrate purely on the current novel I am working on; something of which I hadn’t had the energy to do throughout the challenge.  I had no energy to do any other form of work in writing or art; it was starting to burn me out.  I had no energy to read books or even update my personal diary and morning pages. 

The entire challenge zapped me; it absorbed me and ultimately slowed me down.  I wrote less per day than I would normally, ironic because of the word count obsession, but it did indeed; slow me down by 800 words per day.

I think I could have kept with the challenge despite the shoddiness of work, if there was more support.  However, my region seems to be a ghost town, hardly anyone has been seen on any of the forums or the chatrooms provided, the only support I had got were from people who were not doing the challenge and were writers who look at the challenge with a sympathetic eye.  I spent ages sitting around waiting for someone to talk to from the NaNoWriMo site, even trying to seek out NaNoWriMo writers from twitter and other places to come up against a social brick wall.

NaNoWriMo although was a terrible experience for me, was still fruitful in its way.  I brainstormed through the toil and was provided with small gems to make my plot as a whole sparkle.  But I have a lot of extra unnecessary work to do, when editing comes around.  Let me put this into plainer terms… The first chapter of the novel will be completely deleted and replaced with only a nice, neat three paragraphs and that is only the first chapter.  Something I am not used to doing, I am not used to creating that amount of rubbish.

I am bored with the novel at the moment, I won’t continue with it perhaps until way after New Year.  Meanwhile I will start reviving my blog again and work on the other two novels I wanted to do during the challenge, without the panic that I shall be a failure unless I reach 50k for just one novel in 30 days.

As I said before, I wrote more outside of the challenge, than I did within it.

So, will I be taking up NaNoWriMo challenge 2017?  You must be joking?  Of course I won’t.

 

 

 

 

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Half way through the challenge

I am over the half way mark in NaNoWriMo, not much over it though I just finished for the night at 25,066 words.

I slumped behind on the words for a few days because I was worrying too much about NaNoWriMo technicalities rather than just worrying about my novel. 

For example, I wasn’t sure that I liked what I had written and didn’t want to delete it because I didn’t want to affect my word count for this challenge.  I went onto the forums tonight for the first time since taking up the challenge and found out that other people know that they have written crap on their first draft, so go back to the draft later on and write underneath the former crap that you want to change the above and here is the newer version of that event.  I didn’t know this was allowed but apparently it is.

I also didn’t know whether or not I had to stop writing my novel 50k willy nilly, I am so glad I don’t because I think my novel is going to be approximately 150k when I have finished, so again another fear has been allayed.

Now I know this, I think I will finish the challenge much, much quicker than I had originally thought and I am personally starting to write again, how I used to write before NaNo, which is an ace for me!

 

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Plotter to Pantser

Despite it being crappy as I said in my last post I have persevered with my NaNoWriMo novel.  I have now added a further two thousand and odd words to my story and that totals to 18931 words all told.

So I haven’t given up yet and hopefully I won’t.

However, my story isn’t developing how I wanted it to be, I have gone from what NaNoWriMo veterans would call a plotter that is now turning into a pantser.  The new developments however are more exciting than my original plans, I am very happily surprised at what is happening in the story, in spite of hating how badly written it is as a whole.

Wish me luck!

 

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NaNoWriMo is making my writing terrible

I appear to be losing the plot 17k into my NaNoWriMo novel, it seems to be going against my plans and I am getting to the point where I need some sort of support and though my region is lovely, it is a very quiet and unsocial group.  There is usually no one but the bot in the chatroom, the forum isn’t very active and people are generally slow in my region to respond to E-mails.  There doesn’t seem to be a region group for people who are in Warwickshire, UK, so I have chosen to be in the region UK other group, I had thought of leaving the group to join the West Midland Birmingham group which is near me, but I don’t know if I can swap regions in the middle of NaNoWriMo month or not?

I feel that although I am working faster on my novel than I usually do, I think it is my worse work so far.  I know first drafts are notoriously shitty, but I think mine is getting to the state of time wasting and the point of no return.

The novel I am writing was planned to a t before the month started, during the month lots of new things and scenes have been added and I have forgotten to include some of the original detail, it’s just a mess and I am not sure if I want to carry on till the end and then clean up the mess at the end of the month or just ditch it now and say I failed NaNo this year.

It’s all full of dialogue, very little action and descriptions and I can’t just write a novel based on dialogue, it’s more or less like a film script, in fact I think that’s what it is!  I want it to be a novel, not a film script.

I don’t really want to fail this year, I don’t want to ditch the story per se, but it is a terrible, terrible mess and I just wish I had people to talk to about this who are also participating in NaNoWriMo and who are veterans of it, so to speak.

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