You know when you make biscuits and you plan to make a certain amount but there's leftover dough...not enough to make a reasonably sized biscuit yet you don't want to chuck it away?
Well sometimes writing can be a bit like that.
I end up having to take out a lot from my chapters, but can't let them disappear and be nothing in a press of the backspace button--so, I save them, name them 'leftover dough' and use them later on. Whether it's later on in the book or used in the rest of the series, every sentence or paragraph of information is relevant and useful. You make use of it one day.
Like an idiot I made a fatal mistake of accidentally deleting over three pages of juicy content written in the POV of one of my characters.
I'm still mourning the loss.
Unfortunately it's just one of those things that still happens. It didn't help that I had several documents open and I was flicking from one page to the next. That's where it helps to have some guidance so you don't get lost.
Another reason why 'leftovers' should be kept aside and not thrown away:
i) Even if you don't end up going back to it later on, it can be used to help rediscover lost inspiration or creativity! You may find that it can push you to continue making more dough until you can make a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies.
ii) It can hold information you completely forgot about.
iii) It could act as a age monitor for your writing. Sometimes you look back at your old work from school and notice just how much you've grown as a writer. You familiarise yourself with your old writing style and compare and maybe decide what you could do better.
The way I see it, hitting the backspace button and deleting a whole batch of information is like throwing away a book or an idea. You've pretty much thrown away something that could have turned out to be a sick creation! BUT it's not so bad when or if the content is gone...because (like me) new ideas keep popping out onto the page and you actually end up writing better than you did before.
There's always a positive to a negative, remember that!
I've just completed an emotional scene.
Yes, I've done them before, actually last year when I was in the initial throes of the writing process for Tempted I wrote a scene that had me in tears, sobbing like my cat had died (I don't have a cat--was the closest example I could come up with).
I do a lot of scenes with emotion in them, you know...anger, lust, pain, hatred, passion...it's easy to feel what characters feel, see what they see and almost be there with them in the moment. Like a ghostly bystander where you just want to shake some sense into the character or punch them in the face.
But really emotional scenes where the characters have to make a life-changing decision, or face death...now that's just different for me.
The first time I did that it truly devastated me.
You suffer real loss. Especially when you made the character. He, or she, or even it is a part of you, almost like your child. So naturally their death means a part of you is now dead with it. Empty and alone. It can be hard to accept a new character in its place. But that's life, right?
I hate emotional scenes, when the lives of my characters are in danger, or facing some heartache, or betrayal. But I'm grateful for them too. Scenes like that evoke emotion within the reader, it often presents them with something they can relate to or understand.
In order to gear myself up for an emotional scene/chapter I have to mentally repeat the event in my head and tell myself that this is what is going to happen and I can do nothing about it. Otherwise I'd be making life just a little bit too easy, and possibly boring, for my characters if I allowed life to be all rainbows, unicorns and sex, right?
I have to go through the acceptance stage first, convince myself that it'll work out, that my characters will become stronger. I need to have just as much faith in them as I would in a real human being.
Once the scene is done...well I take a timeout, make an earl grey tea, sigh sadly while holding Mr Julian Leopold (my leopard) next to me and stuff my face with cake. Life isn't easy for a writer...you have to make tough choices. Sacrifices.
But I'll talk more about the sacrifices in my next post.
Point is, when you read a book and you come across a scene that is heart wrenching and you start cursing the author, just know that they went through the pain long before you did and had to deal with it a lot faster!
With love guys,
When you're working 8 hours five days a week the last thing you'd think about doing when you get home is working again.
I spoke to my editor yesterday and she admitted that it can be very hard and exhausting and motivation can abandon you BUT there are ways to help locate motivation again, which is where the writing challenges come in.
My approach to keeping my motivation and that flow of writing is to take my laptop to work. I find that I'm more likely to get more writing done during my breaks at work than when I step through the house door at 5pm.
I was stuck briefly today though. I did my #1k1hr challenge on my lunch break but couldn't help prettying up my sentences and over-thinking. Did I reach my goal, no! I could have kicked myself. But I continued later on because as you're probably aware by now, I'm working to a deadline.
I adore deadlines. They keep you in place and on the right track, forcing you to plan and prioritise. Though in University I was never part of the group of students who would still be working on their projects on the actual D day. I like to complete and edit my work well in advance. The competitiveness comes out.
But in order to reach my personal deadlines I often sacrifice sleep.
Guys...let me tell you now. Sleep is crazy important. More often than not I have finished writing at 4am then wake at 6am to get ready for work. I get through the day in a daze. I'm so spaced out it's unreal.
I'm still slapping my hand, berating myself for putting my body through it. But it's just that I'm a stressy-betty. I forget that lack of sleep affects my quality of writing--so even if I reached 3K by using matchsticks to support my eyelids, the content will likely suck.
Something to keep in mind.
Don't over-exert yourself to reach deadlines.
Remember to eat, drink and sleep!
Day three - Just reached the 1k in that hour...proving to be a little bit frustrating but all I can do is keep going!
I used to think that doing all-nighters staring at a dimly lit computer screen meant I was guaranteed to produce top notch results, but actually when my body is in between consiousness and unconsiousness and absolutely trembling from exhaustion, I ask myself "How useful will I be if I collapse?"
Not very I imagine.
So I've settled for a little drive --just a cruise with no destination-- to allow that break from robotically writing throughout the night. It's maddening when you want to get something done but feels there's just not enough time. That's me. The ever-so-impatient hermit who doesn't see the bigger picture.
Ideas can be collected very easily nowadays, all you need really is your mobile on hand to open up a note app and jot down thoughts or inspired ideas (if the traditional notebook and pen isn't within reach). I even find that recording my narration on my phone is a great way to archive and store ideas quicker. I don't particularly care for the puzzled glances I get from people when I'm walking past them saying something like "He touched her body and she shivered from anticipation, drawing him closer against her naked flesh, gasping when his fingers teased her wet --" Yeah.
My 1k1hr today had me a bit stumped. I hate when I have so many ideas but don't know which one to settle on...especially when I'm rushed for time. So I end up going with one idea hoping it'll fall into place. It's a risk, a bit like a gamble. But when ideas are constantly streaming through your mind I find my brain will consider all possible outcomes until one idea flashes before me, a "light bulb" idea. I love when I get these light bulb ideas...they're occasional, they make me smile, make me feel my the random plot ideas were there for a purpose.
So something to take away from this is don't ever feel your ideas are nonsensical thoughts...every idea has a purpose even if you feel they don't add up, keep a note of every single one. You never know when the light bulb will ping.
Praise for the light bulb!
Interesting...I beat my count by 200 words tonight.
1,219. Better but I feel I can really push myself...but it's only day two, I can't be too hard on myself. Hey, small progress is still progress right?
Free-flow writing is a challenge for me. But, in this circumstance, is needed.
Do you know how many times I stopped writing because I felt I was no longer making sense? But I think I'm starting to realise that editing and the changing of words comes after not during the process -- this is best just to avoid the distraction of getting caught up over-thinking than getting the story down.
Is it out of my comfort zone? Yes.
Am I going to stay in my comfort zone? No.
I love learning this kind of stuff, it's experience that I can't afford to give up on or push aside. As much as I paused to re-phrase a sentence/paragraph, I had to push on. (To meet my deadline of course).
Writing with auto-pilot disabled allows me to fully be in the mind of my characters and I find I'm pouring their thoughts out like water on a flat surface. This is why I'm not going to wave the white flag so soon. I love being in the mind of my characters, specifically Ken and Viera. There's so much emotion that needs to be released.
Even if it's just for an hour, it's worth it.
Boyce Avenue helped me get through this challenge. I think I'm in love with this man's voice. I can't write without music, music for me is like what water is to plants. It's just essential. What isn't essential is the distractions surrounding me when I'm in that writing mode, i.e television, mobile phone, tablet, humans.
So I use my Skullcandy headphones, open Spotify and enter the Ken & V's world.
I feel like I'm in Avatar.
Anyway time to edit the nonsense I've extracted from my devilishly naughty Jackson J man.
I was recomended the 1k1hr challenge yesterday and was instantly intrigued by the idea. For those of you who haven't heard of this before, it's a daily challenge on Twitter where the aim is to write 1000 words in 1 hour, once the hour is done you post your word count with the hashtag #1k1hr. I've heard it's a great way to motivate yourself on projects, homework and stories, as well as a great way to discover other fellow writers in the same boat.
I did the challenge for the first time today and just managed to get 1,058 words down.
It's crazy when you're up against the clock and the time ticks away, is it just me or do you find that when you realise your hour's almost up you start to write like your being held at knife point?
I'm highly competitive naturally and beat myself up when I've failed a challenge. I hate losing. The fact that the last ten minutes was spent with me literally free-flow writing shows just how much time I take thinking about re-wording and prettying words up. It's an interesting eye-opener for me and actually I'm more than determined to beat my word count tomorrow.
Give it a shot, I honestly recommend it. You'll find that while it's fun, it's also addictive and very productive, especially when you're trying to meet deadlines!
You can keep track of my challenge progress on my twitter (click on the icon below), but I'll also be making the effort to post my word counts on here too!
Just another way to keep you in the loop!