How I Learned To Love My Writing (And You Can Learn Too)

Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I keep telling myself I’m going to finish my TBR pile soon but then I just want to watch Avengers: Infinity War on repeat until Loki is alive again (spoiler). Also, let’s face it, part of the writing process is just opening your Word document and then your just end up watching YouTube videos for five hours straight. Don’t act like you’re not guilty of doing that. Anyways, I wanted to talk to you about how I learned to eventually learned to love what I write. I made a previous post about my crappy writing habits and I mentioned how I don’t always like what I write. While that is true, I’ve learned more about how to appreciate what I write. I’ve decided to share with you all some of the things that keep me loving being a writer.

  • Accept that it’s not going to be perfect the first time around. We all wish that we could have a brilliant idea during the first draft. That, however, is not true. Chances are that you aren’t going to like how your plot sounds on paper. As someone who has studied editing and publishing, I can tell you that the process to “perfect” a book takes a very long time. The writing process itself may take along time and it may not be perfect even then. As long as you have the commitment and patience, you can accomplish it.
  • Don’t write hoping to impress others. In my sophomore year of college, I decided to start to pursue a minor in Writing. This made sense since I was (and still am) and English major. Once I got into the classes, however, I realized I was trying way too hard to impress my professors and classmates. It got to the point where I would spend way too long even thinking about the story then I would end up writing at the last minute. Most of those stories didn’t turn out great. Don’t forget that your writing is for yourself, first and foremost. Enjoy the solitude that comes with the writing process because plenty of people will come along to go over every detail of your work. Make yourself proud by just fulfilling your accomplishment.
  • Let your imagination run wild. It’s easy to get caught up in the genres. We all want to fit into one specific genre because we love certain authors so much. This, however, shouldn’t limit you. Your ideas are going to sound silly sometimes. Your worlds and characters are going to raise eyebrows but that’s perfectly fine. Get weird with it. Don’t settle for ordinary, regardless of your preferred genre. Let loose once in a while and that might be how you strike gold.
  • Tap into your emotional side. The best stories are the ones that move us emotionally. It’s hard to communicate your emotions. I still have a hard time with it. Don’t let this hold you back, though. Make your story sad. Make your story angry. Make your story joyful. Don’t be afraid to put a healthy dose of “the feels” into your writing. I’ve learned I feel more in tune with my emotions once I put them on paper.
  • Congratulate yourself every so often. If you’re a person with a day job, like me, then you can have a hard time finding time to sit down and just write. You might be too tired or just not in the mood. When you do find the time, make sure to give yourself a nice little pat on the back. It doesn’t matter if you get one page or ten pages done, you still made progress. So give yourself a round of applause for hitting your goals because you deserve it.

So those are the ways I have learned to love my writing. Let me know about how you learned to love your writing as well. I can’t wait to hear from you all.

I have crappy writing habits – and I’m okay with that

Hello everyone! As of this moment, I don’t have anything new to read and, unfortunately, I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t want to buy any books right now. I can hear the e-readers saying “But just get an e-book! They are so much cheaper!” Well, I’m old-fashioned and I can’t bring myself to invest in any electronic versions of books. Back to the subject, I want to talk about my personal writing habits that may make my fellow writers cringe to death or you might say “yeah same.” I’m also going to talk about the bad habits I’ve embraced and the ones I want to change.

My first crappy writing habit is that I don’t plan any of my stories ahead of actually writing them. I’ve seen all these “worksheet” type things on Pinterest that are meant to help you really get the details of your story straight and flesh out your characters. I’ve known people who have created entire maps for their fictional worlds. I am proud to say that I don’t do any of that. Sometimes, I can’t even pick my character’s name right away. I’ve changed pronouns midway through a story because I couldn’t decide on the character’s gender. Settings and time periods mean nothing to me until I feel like its important (which might not be until after the first chapter). Every time I tried to map out a story ahead of time, I ended up feeling discouraged because then I feel as though I’ve put too much work into something I don’t even like anymore. Feel free to call me lazy but I am proud of my spontaneous planning.

My second crappy writing habit is I can have a difficult time committing to my stories. I don’t even like some of the stuff I write. One of the most common piece of advice for writers is “The only obligation you have is to love your story.” Guess what? I don’t always like what I’ve written. I’ve thrown away entire stories just because I got fed up or even bored. On one hand, it is very liberating because I don’t have to commit to something I don’t have confidence in. On the other hand, it makes me feel bad because maybe I could have fixed it but I didn’t even want to look at it again. I’ve been doing my best to try to work on my stories, rather than just throw them away when I feel like it. I’ve been pretty good at it too. Some of my ideas just need a little more tweaking.

This next writing habit I’m going to talk about is probably the one I want to change the most. My third crappy writing habit is that I hate sharing my stories. I am horribly self-conscious about what I write and I panic at the thought of having to share my ideas. They sound great in my head but I find myself having a cringe attack when other people read them. As you can imagine, my Fiction Writing I class was absolute hell. But, that class kind of sucked regardless. Anyways, I am trying my best to become more confident about my writing. I am perfectly capable of handling critiques when it comes to my technical writing (i.e. essays) but when it comes to prose I can’t stand it. This one will take a while to break but I am determined to be confident.

What I’m trying to get at here is that there is no way to be a good writer. Every writer has their own style and process that they have honed over the years. You know what they say: it isn’t stupid if it works. You are a writer regardless of what you write, when you write, and how you write. Don’t be afraid to change, either. Keep going and I guarantee that you will find that one story that you fall in love with.

PS: I’ve found a really good writing app called Werdsmith. It’s free and it has been a really good writing tool for me. Check it out if you want.

Breaking It Down: Reviewing Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People who Love Books and Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

I don’t know about anyone else but I didn’t have very good creative writing classes in my school career. I did competitive writing in grade school in a competition called Power of the Pen, which is a regional thing in America. I didn’t have anything available to me in high school and the classes I took in college were tedious. This hasn’t squashed my passion for creative writing but it has dampened my confidence in being able to execute my ideas on a technical level. I was browsing around the bookstore when Prose’s book caught my eye. Normally, I don’t gravitate towards non-fiction but I was certainly interested in this. I am happy to say that it was the right choice to take home.

Francine Prose, a prolific author with a fitting name, takes a realistic and informative look at the art of fiction writing. Like most authors, she learned from reading other famed authors and studying their techniques. Starting with a chapter just focusing on words and building up to the full story, Prose teaches you how she and other authors craft their stories in ways that are succinct and impactful while still being unique. She also reflects on her time as a teacher and how she found her way in the literary world. With an honest and friendly voice, Prose provides a helpful and detailed way to improve your writing and reading skills.

The first thing I enjoyed about this book is that it doesn’t feel like its too technical or condescending. I’ve taken literary theory classes and those made my head ache. Prose, however, provides an honest look at how to better improve writing and reading skills. As fun as fiction is, it is still a pain to master and Prose understands that completely. This book is a great learning tool for writers and readers alike. It dissects famous short stories in a way that shows why they are so effective. This has already taught me more than I have learned in actual classes.