Well, yesterday the writing was briefly halted for a day since I was feeling under the weather. However, talking to my mother on the phone was actually what I needed. I needed to hear her voice and just talk to her; she’s my rock and my support. What she said to me will never be forgotten or shared, for it was only meant for me. I took a break of the writing to reflect. And then, I saw the marathon of Wife Swap on TV. Till this day, I can’t stop watching this show and seeing how totally extreme each family is. Like how did the strict ninja mom swap with the family who does theatre and arts? Just complete polar opposites. Is family life really so black and white like that? They say, “There’s always two sides of a coin.”
Anyway, I headed out to bed early like around 9 pm. I got up at 4, and now I’m writing until 6 am. It happens all the time! I’m such a night owl. I’ll probably try to go back and get some rest. I need to rest now… for I’ve been trying to work with some of the artists. I have two artists I’m now working with and possibly hiring. I will test both of them and see which one can keep up with me. Hopefully, these first sketches will go well. I’m a bit nervous and excited at the same time.
I gave them enough details and references of my characters, along with plenty of scene descriptions to give them an idea about each particular scene. This whole week I’ll probably be indoors. Some of my writing buddies are also looking for artists, but sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever finish their stories. For me, I can’t start on a few pages and then suddenly decide to spend money on character designs. I’m seeing a lot of writers do that nowadays. It’s their money and I know it’s their life to chose how to spend it. And in no way am I judging them, but sometimes I’m concerned about how wasteful a few character sketches are if you haven’t finished the story from the gecko. Grant it, I thought they were wasteful before and after, but I can see now how they can really help to promote a story.
I’m still waiting for my revisions to come in, but at least my novel is fully completed. Actually, the first novel and the sequel are fully done. All they really need is in-depth revising/editing and I’m good to go. A possible rewrite may be in the works for the sequel, but I actually like it so far and rewriting may not be the issue. The only time I do any major rewrites is if an entire story and overall content doesn’t make sense. I’ll rewrite sentences, but I don’t consider that rewriting. I just call that revising and editing.
Last year, I also finished a fantasy novel called Legendary Girl for the National Novel Writing Month Contest, which seriously needs a rewrite, for I had lost a few chapters on my computer. I had to rewrite them all over again. Well a funny thing happened… I visited my parents a week later and discovered a journal with all my original chapters still in tack. Now, I have to go back and compare each chapter or scene to decide which one was written better. I seem to have a ton of journals with several ideas and stories in them; I’ve forgotten completely how many unfinished tales I’ve actually written. If I have a sudden idea, I write it down and put in into a folder or binder to store for another time. Many ideas start off as pretty stupid, sometimes I go back and decide which one is really worth writing about.
When I tell some of my friends how silly a few of my ideas are, they remind that it can’t be as bad as that other book with vampires… in fact, silly and stupid ideas probably could be fruitful. I haven’t thrown these ideas out at all. I think there was one story idea that was really horrible that I did throw it out, for it was just too ridiculously unbelievable. That was probably my million dollar story! However, I still have no regrets about putting that one in the trash though. Usually, the ideas that I feel are the best, even though I keep notes of them, still linger in the back of my mind.
They are like ghosts that just won’t leave me alone. Sometimes, when I’m sleeping or daydreaming, I’ll hear and see the characters in my mind. I’ll see the same characters over and over again. These are like important celebrities or famous people that won’t go away. It’s like they are begging me to stay in this particular novel or genre, because their presence and personality are too powerful to ignore. I have to write a book about them. I can’t let them fade away forever.
That’s how it is sometimes. Even when I’m writing my trilogy it’s hard to stay focused on just one story, but I used to have a problem where I’d get a wonderful idea and then write like two weeks straight without even stopping. Then, I’d get another idea and stop writing the first thing I was working on, starting on another project. It wasn’t until one day I noticed I start projects and don’t finish them. A lot of beginner writers ask me how I even finish all these stories. Actually, I haven’t finished all of them to tell you the truth. To me, the job doesn’t feel finished until I actually finish editing and publishing them. I tell all new writers the same thing: stick to one story at a time. If you get an idea, you should write it down. Then, you should continue with the first project you were working on until it’s done. I know, it sounds so easy, right?
I’m not the typical writer, writing religiously everyday like some professionals do. I write a little bit, but not every day… whether it’s in my journal, I’ll take some brief notes or God forbid I watch TV while I’m writing. If there’s a chapter I want to look at, I’ll read over before I begin, etc etc. There will be times that whenever I force myself to write, nothing works. There’s no spark. I don’t force myself to write like other writers do. I know that sounds odd, coming from someone who’s written 3 1/2 novels in the last ten years, with the exception of one novel being written in a month. But I don’t see writing as a job that I have to do, unless there’s a deadline involved like NaNoWriMo Contest. I see writing as my way to escape from the daily pressures of the world.
There will be months I just cannot write. For me, this is what I do: I just wait it out and I do other things like read a book or go outside. I may work on another project for a little, which is kind of rare now. I’ve sworn to myself to work on one project at a time, even through the ups and downs. I am not a disciplined writer, like Stephen King writing a book every month. I’ve written a book in a month… but not every month.
Sometimes, forcing myself to come up with an idea to complete a chapter or a story does not work when it’s willed. I can’t will myself to write if my mind is still processing the data. I’ll be unconsciously figuring out the plot scenario from about eight chapters ago for weeks or even months at a time. Sometimes, I have to let my ideas simmer in my brain and cook slowly. Just like this trilogy I’m working on now, I was stuck on it for months (or possibly years), trying to figure out how to end it all. It was one scene that finally made it work. After thinking about how to fix each of my plot holes, the dots finally connected at the end.
If I take a break, I’m not going to kill myself over it. Sometimes, my mind is still thinking about the scene… it’s just in sleep mode right now. This is how I work. For other writers, their way is different. Some of them may have to force themselves to get up every day to write or they’ll never do it. I do not take much advice from the pros, because their ways are different from mine. Yes, I do read them. I’ve read Stephen King’s book On Writing, and I totally agree with him in many ways. However, my ways are in no way Stephen King’s way. King does his own thing and that’s what has brought him success. Stephen King is just being Stephen King. I am me. There’s no changing me.
I don’t imitate his ways. I’m not telling you or anybody else not to listen to him or to not read his books. King’s right on many points, but everyone’s different. I found out how I tick and work as a writer, but me advising someone else how to write may not work out best for them. I’ve read a lot of books on writing. How to write, when to write, what to write, and so on. The best two books I’ve read in my life that I will probably never forget is Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury and Rejection, Romance, & Royalties: The Wacky World of a Working Writer by Laura Resnick.
Now, you may like these books or not, depending on what kind of writing books you prefer. But I still think you should really check these two out at the library and give yourself time to read these two books fully. I have to tell you that Ray Bradbury’s book is for those writers who get angry or depressed over their writing, who are always seeking perfection when there’s no such thing. He tells you how to find peace with your writing, which is what I’m trying to come to terms with. He gives you advice on how to actually enjoy writing as crazy as that sounds. Okay, I’m still learning as I go along here.
Laura Resnick is hilarious! At least you’ll have a good laugh with her book, but she really is being truthful about some of the horror tales of traditional publishing and what it’s actually like being paid to write novels for a living. 🙂 I don’t know how she does it, but you’ll find a lot of humor and truth in this book. I have to say that I connected with this one really well and even nodded many times when she stated things about writers that we all go through. Take comfort in this book and read it whenever you’re struggling like mad to write something down on paper.