Feb 28, 2014

A Slave to the Manuscript

All hail the mighty manuscript.  No seriously guys, I am a slave to this thing.  Just the sight of the Scrivener icon makes my stomach flip.  So much work has gone into this thing. So much work. And wine.  And we're only at the beginning of the revision process.

In short: the revision process is where I make the mess of past thoughts and words appear to be something solid and understandable.
You're not a writer until you spend a full day with a hangover revising the junk you wrote when you were drunk.

Things people don't understand about writing a book until they do it:

  • It doesn't always fall together perfectly.  I go cross-eyed looking at my manuscript sometimes.  Is this part long enough?  Should this happen sooner?  Does the story climax too soon?  Are my characters relatable?  Is this confusing?  Did I explain this well enough?
  • There is no magic formula of success, but there is a lot more planning than you might have thought.  You have to think about tense, point-of-view, past/present, setting, length, chapter breakdown, etc. And no one can make those decisions, but you.  Shit, man.
  • You put in a lot of work never knowing for sure if you'll be paid for it.  Let's be real, writing a novel is a full-time job. And most people are writing their first novel while already working a full-time job.  The only problem with novel writing is that (unless you've been given an advance, lucky you), you're rolling the dice.  You can do the best you can, but it's a tough market and even if you do self-publish, that hourly rate is starting to look pretty dismal.  Not to be a Debby-downer.
  • You can get burnt out easily.  I love my novel, and I love my characters as much as the real people in my life.  Truth.  But yes, sometimes I get sick of them.  
  • You have to write even when you don't want to.  The muse does not always sing.  Creative juices aren't always a-flowin.  It's not all gold.  The most important part is just to write, even if it's garbage.  It's easier to clean up garbage later than pick up a dormant writing habit.  

Can you think of anything else?  Have you written a novel?  What did you learn?

Although I sound like a super whiner, I can't complain.  I'm doing it and have 50k+ words done and what was once a pipe dream is now a reality.  Twenty year old Jessica would be proud, and probably a little relieved.

Feb 26, 2014

Let's Skip the Awkwardness...

Let's just not talk about how long I've been gone.  Let's just not do that.

Instead, I think I'll just jump right in like I've never been gone. Sound good? Good.

Here are some topics we need to catch up on…yoga, school, writing, Germany, reading, did I miss anything?

So, yoga.  Yes, yoga.  I've started volunteering as an instructor at the gym on post.  I've taken the small first portion of my teacher training and I have a long way to go, but guys, how did this happen!  Seriously, within two months I vocalized the desire to teach yoga and bam, here I am.  It's been an awesome journey so far, and I feel so incredibly blessed for this opportunity.

School!  I have ONE class left.  Eeeep!  I have senioritis hardcore along with that "what now?" fear.  For those who don't know: I'm set to graduate with my Bachelor's in Creative Writing in May.

Writing.  So, the good news on the writing biz is that I've successfully started a writing group in the area.  I've found some other novelists and even some NaNo'ers.  It's amazing how quickly the writers will come out of the woodwork once you put the bait out there.  Every one has a writer inside.
As for my writing…the book is slow moving and I'm missing something in terms of motivation that I'm working on.  It's pretty much finished and needs heavy (HEAVY) revisions, but it's getting there.

Germany.  Life is good.  I've managed to make some amazing friends and although it's not really "home" in the same sense that other places have been, we're still happy and comfortable here.  We have some trips planned over spring and summer and we're always eager to soak up the culture (read: beer and food).

Reading.  Oh it's been bad. Very, very bad.  I can't tell you the last book I finished, guys.  I read everyday and I've been trying so hard to get into anything, but it's all coming up short.  It's been like speed dating, really.  I've started and ditched too many to count.  It's okay, I've built up a healthy obsession with BBC's Sherlock to compensate.

As for the book chat…let's take baby steps for now.  I tried to jump back into blogging and the book chat before and it backfired.  We're going to take this slowly.

I think that's all for now.  I'm excited to dive back into blog reading and see what you've all been up to. I have no idea where this blog is headed for now, but I feel like it's going to be something new and different than before.

Oh yes, and Jeremy and the boys are all doing well.  Guess I should mention that, huh?