Posts Tagged writing goals

WRITING CHRONICLES #16: Finding Focus

Via: Daily Prompt – Root & Blanket

I have decided that procrastination might be the primary vice of my writing career. I used to think I was too preoccupied with my corporate responsibilities but. now that I have switched to writing full-time, I realize the problem is that I can find ways to become preoccupied with just about anything. The burning question is how can a person who loves writing as much as I do be so out of sorts with the writing itself.

Well, I know how. Fear is at the root of my problem. I keep stalling because becoming a novelist is something I always wanted to excel in. Even with my multiple fallback plans, I have stored all my eggs in this basket. Honestly? I don’t want to have to resort to those fallback plans. The pressure is real. Hence, even though I can, in theory, believe in my writing capabilities, living by that faith is a whole other ballgame. Even when what I write seems to satisfy me, I keep wondering what if it’s not good enough.

Resulting in all the bottlenecking of my creative endeavors.

There are some ground rules I try to follow to jar me out of my whack. Mostly, it is to keep me from lulling myself into the fear sinkhole. They work too. Often enough to share the list of precautions with my fellow writers:

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WRITING CHRONICLE #15: Contest! & #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Via: Daily Prompt – Climbing & Jolt

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I have been very erratic about posting on the blog recently. It’s because I’m preparing for a writing contest! Amazon UK has launched a writing competition, the Kindle Storyteller literary prize, and I’ve decided to give it a go. Aside from the £20,000 cash award, it also offers the opportunity of being recognized in a well-publicized platform and a book marketing contract by the sponsors. The money is tempting but the glory would be nicer. That’s one way up the ladder, right?

Now, here’s the thing. No way am I delusional enough to believe that I’m winning. But it will ensure that the judges will read my story and who knows, I may pick up a contract anyway. The award program was announced last February but for some reason, I only received the reminder e-mail, which was sent last week. And the entry closes on May 19! It has to be a previously unpublished story of minimum 5,000 words (which is manageable). I had thought of putting in one of my short stories (we fiction writers always have a few completed works lying around) but decided I was to write a fresh one.  Read the rest of this entry »

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WRITING CHRONICLES #13: Quantity Vs Quality

Via: Daily Blog – Pause & Prudent

 

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Image: Pixabay

 

My weeklong departure from writing gave me time to stop and reflect my goals for producing fictions. While visiting my Grandma’s, I took with me books and TV movies as a fallback plan if village-trotting no longer suited me. It suited me fine but I still found time to finish one novel and two sets of TV movies. They provided good points of activity and discussion with my cousin-sisters.

Living amid rural grace, I felt watching the BBC adaptation of Flora Thompson’s trilogy Lark Rise to Candleford and Hallmark Channel’s adaptation of Jannette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series would be fitting. Both were good choices but I think I was more swept away by Thompson’s work. I had read Love Comes Softly as a kid and, coming by the movies was a nostalgic experience. However, as my cousins and I worked our way through Lark Rise to Candleford, it dawned on me that writers whose work I have come to most revere all have produced so few books. Of course, I have contemporary authors on top of my list who have produced over two dozen novels each in nearly half as many years, but the works I believe to be truly timeless were written by authors who had very few books to pen. It got me thinking, was it the age-old trade-off between quantity and quality?  Read the rest of this entry »

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An Absence of Passion

Via: Daily Prompt – Symptom

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Should a slump be considered an absence of passion? I was watching Bones earlier. Episode 10 of Season 12, The Radioactive Panthers in the Party. While the main story revolves around the panthers, the secondary plot shows Bones regressing into deep reflection over the “passion for work” after meeting one of her senior colleagues who has retired upon “waking up one morning and feeling that her heart was no longer in it”. Throughout the program, I was thinking Bones must be considering quitting for good. It is the final season and she is plenty stable, so, yeah. [With a show of hands, how many of you think you might go into withdrawal when the show ends?]

Turns out it’s not her future she’s reassessing but her intern Wendell’s. It was all really well done. I was so sure that Bones was going to make an announcement at the end of the episode. Instead, she ends up advising Wendell that maybe he was having so much trouble choosing a topic for his dissertation because it wasn’t his calling to be a forensic anthropologist, maybe he is not passionate enough about the subject.

It got me thinking about how I left my work to start a new career path. I, like Wendell, was good at what I did but I always wanted to do something else. So now, when I hit a writer’s block, I panic twice as much. I never hit blocks in my old work, I just tackled each problem with my sheer force of logic. But my desperation to be a successful author has me questioning every piece I compose.  Read the rest of this entry »

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State Your Price

Via: Daily Prompt – Conquer

 

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Image: Flick, CC

 

When I left my career to pursue writing fictions, I knew the day will come when I start freelancing. After all, unless you become an instant best-selling author, you must find some other means to pay the bills. And regardless of how sternly you saved your income to one day pursue your lifelong dream of becoming a novelist, the fund will deplete sooner or later if you do not keep replenishing it.

As news got out that I had truly left my last workplace for self-employment, I was approached by more than a handful organizations to take over their marketing departments. I took to thanking them and the Almighty for the appreciation and vote of confidence but, of course, declined. It is difficult for people to fathom that given the workaholic I demonstrated myself to be for over a decade, I could trade in the euphoria of corporate stress for the more relaxed self-paced lifestyle of a struggling novelist. If you noticed the irony in that statement or are pursuing to become published, you would understand that writing a novel is no idle profession.

After volleying offers for six months, people are finally coming around to accepting that I’m not looking to peddle myself as a corporate monkey. So now the work offers have started to arrive in the form of developing contents for brochures, websites and the like on the basis of independent contracts. Very good. It sounds much more maintainable. I will not be obligated to maintain any fixed hours and can accept or reject work as per time suitable to my novel writing needs. In fact, I feel writing other materials will be a good way to de-stress from constantly working on my book. Novel writing as a career with freelance writing as a hobby sounds the right deal.

But now the problem is I have to state my price. I have to figure out what my talent is worth on the basis of the value I add to my clients’ projects. I have never been very good at asking for money. Sure, in the corporate arena, I know the structure in each industry for each position, so salary negotiation is a fair affair between each party. But I now realize that pricing strategy for a freelancer is a totally different ballgame. When discussing the work that needs to be done, I feel the excitement but the moment the topic of discussing the price of my work, I lose my place in the discussion.It is just so embarrassing. Especially, because the queries I have been receiving are mostly from people I have built a close bond with during my career. And frankly, I think most creative people seek appreciation more than money. Hell, I have done plenty of complimentary work in my life just because someone appreciated my talent.

It is just so embarrassing. Especially, because the queries I have been receiving are mostly from people I have built a close bond with during my career. And frankly, I think most creative people seek appreciation more than money. Hell, I have done plenty of complimentary work in my life just because someone appreciated my talent.

Upon discussing the problem with a few friends, I finally have realized what I must do. I must research freelance work rates in the market and draw up a table of standards for myself. Then if someone approaches me with work, just send them this rate chart. Like RFP-ing agencies. It’s just a matter of a little-bold application, that’s all.

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Just Add Salt

Via: Daily Prompt – Nuance

There’s a loaded word. I always felt that nuances exist on the precipice of stereotypes. You take the expectations cultural dogmas have conditioned in you and add a little something-something. Voila! You have nuanced characters for your stories. Personally, I use the following template to guide me when creating my characters. This should help a few writers.

 

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Image: Someone on Tumblr

 

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Such is Life

Via: Daily Prompt – Desire

Image: Pixabay

I have always had this lackadaisical attitude towards life and death. It’s always been, meh. Whatever will be, will be. I saw and heard people around me, fearing death – not in the “Voldemort kills to split souls and gain immortality” sort of way but the “I still have so much to live for” sort of way. For the most part of my life, I have dreamt and aspired to do great things. But if I were to die before fulfilling them, I wasn’t going to fret over something I cannot control. They weren’t something I HAD to live for.

Then I left my career behind last year and took up writing full time. I haven’t earned anything from it yet. I’m still editing the novel I just finished writing and have been outlining the plots for the follow-up series. But now, I’m no longer ready to die. Not just yet. I have to finish these books and a few more. I have to get them published. At most, I desire to write and let loose in this world six epic novels like Jane Austen before I call it quits. In the least, about twenty very well-written witty romance novels like Jennifer Crusie to gain a small-but-chuckling fan club would do.

Oh, and a bit more time to finish my reading list 😉

That’s about it. I’m working on it.

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WRITING CHRONICLES #09: Five

Via: Daily Prompt – Arid

Some five years ago, an interview with a college consultant motivated me to start blogging. A brief meeting with him informed me of the budding world of independent publication when he questioned me why I’m letting a delay in studying creative writing keep me from becoming a novelist. He showed me his friend’s WordPress blog and how this friend had set up an enterprise for himself online, already with a few novels published beyond the traditional channel. This consultant had practically chastised me for not taking the initiative on my own and I am so grateful to him. I don’t remember his name or his friend’s blog site, and I wasn’t yet convinced about self-publishing a “book”, but I was ready to start focusing on building a career as a novelist.

So I opened this blog on February 25, 2012, with the hope that having a live audience would shame me into finally finish writing a full novel. In the end, I did sort of self-publish a novel on this site with serialized posts of the chapters. And even though procrastination ensued now and again, and for long periods at a stretch, I so appreciate the habit working on this blog instilled in me. I started the blog with the objective “It’s a site to make sure I write” and it made sure I wrote.

The career path I was on, tough I enjoyed, did not harbor an everlasting appeal for me. Life seemed barren, my dreams left to dry without nourishment. Now? I live, I thrive.

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Image: Vinegar and Brown Paper

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Read or Write? (05 min read)

Via: Daily Prompt – Overwhelming

 

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Image: Zaireen Lupa

 

Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And who better to listen to than this king of the craft, right? But even before coming across that particular pearl of wisdom, I had discovered the benefits of reading for the profession of writing. First and foremost, reading good literature (ranging from classics to simple feel-good entertainments) was what turned me towards the need to create literature of my own. I would read an especially eloquent phrase or passage and marvel at the world of meaning behind the selection of each word. I would be inspired to create in that all-consuming awe-inspiring manner and sometimes envy the range of skills, this depth of knowledge possessed by the authors I read – that they got there before I did – even as I devoted myself to their praise. To me, good writing has always been akin to godliness and the fact that I am able to partake of that godliness is an honor.

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Image: Pexels

So when I started roaming the WP blogosphere at the end of January and started perusing the reading lists of many book lovers and reviewers, I felt ashamed of falling so far behind. I read only one complete novel in the month of January 2017! I am that person in all of my groups who is defined by her reading habit. It is not uncommon for people to introduce me first as a reader and writer in social engagements. The summer I turned 12 years old, I consistently read 25 books every week and at the end was given a token reward by the Queens Library in Main St., NY, NY from where all these books came. As usual, I broke my reading challenge goal on Goodreads last year and I keep increasing the number every year because, to me, reading avidly is an accomplishment. So to have only one book read in an entire month? Stunning. Castigating.

It’s not that I didn’t see it coming. Every week, as the time came around for me to work on my WEDNESDAY REFLECTIONS, I would panic and pick up a book. But I just couldn’t push myself to finish any. What happened? I started writing. Those of you who have been following my blog the past month would know I’m taking part in this online fiction writing course. Well, there are multiple assignments every week that require us to come up with new characters and stories. We also get into a lot of group discussions on the forum based on our observations of the course materials provided. Then there is this blog itself. Apart from starting my two weekly articles to record my writing experiences and books/movies I am coming across, I have also been responding to these damn Daily Prompts. Why? Because the writing course is doing its job and has turned on the faucet in my head. I constantly write. Grammarly reported to me this week that I wrote 29,088 words between January 23-29. That’s just online. Never mind all that I’m composing on MS Word or my notebooks. Meanwhile, Goodreads sent me an e-mail prompt that I haven’t updated my Currently Reading section in a while. Well, slap me silly and call me a delinquent!

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Image: Pexels

The first three-quarters of last year, I hardly got any writing done because I was enjoying reading so much. This year, I have hardly read anything. Between writing like a maniac, I mostly shower, eat, and rest. On random occasions, I watch a movie; once or twice, I leave the house to see the world. A few times, I tried reading before bed but I conk out before I finish a single chapter because writing relaxes me these days as much as it depletes me of my energy. It’s such a high, it’s overwhelming – and I don’t want it to stop.

Meanwhile, so many promising books came out in the past few months and a lifetime before that, which I haven’t gotten to. And so many are lined up for the coming year. My reading list continues to grow and I haven’t stopped filling up my devices with e-books and my shelves with hard covers and paperbacks. And there’s the fact that Stephen King also said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Easy for you to say, Mr. King!

 

 

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Lazybones (01 min read)

Via: Daily Prompt – Resist

Laura lay in bed, being Miss Lazybones again. She tried to blame it on the kitten curled up on her chest but knew better. Her quiescent attitude towards life, in general, had helped her procrastinate from writing that timeless romance these twenty-odd years and the kitten was just a month old. Laura had been dubbed Miss Lazybones by her mother when she was only in fifth grade and would consistently fall behind on her chores. By the time she was a teen, her elder brother had changed the epithet to Miss Lazybuns since bones had become difficult to locate in her cushioned frame. Her elder brother was very athletic. Barf. But the laptop beckoned and she should get to those targetted 2,000-words per day. The only way to do so was to resist the comfort of her downy bed and the warmth of the purring fuzzball under the covers. Sigh…

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This kitten belongs to Zaireen Lupa and so does the photograph!

 

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