Be open to the feedback you’ll get.

You’re going to get criticism. You’re going to be told to change things. Be able to process these sort of things productively. 

A common thread I’ve seen throughout my research about writing and publishing is that it’s often hard for writers to hear feedback and constructive criticism about their work.

I haven’t gotten to the stage yet where I’ve had anyone else read my manuscript – from what I’ve researched, you bring in readers after your second draft, and it makes sense, because my first draft is a tangled mess of sentences and structure and ideas.

I’m nervous to have people read it, because I know they’ll have feedback. I hope I can take it positively, and move into revising with gumption and not much dragging of my heels. I’m worried constructive criticism will discourage me, because it’s hard to imagine that I’m going to devote an unknown amount of time to creating the second draft, and that after that, my work still won’t be over.

I know it takes a long time, but I’m starting to feel impatient, and nervous, and edgy. It’s been a while since I’ve worked now, you know? It’s been a long time now that my husband has been waking up every day, sitting at a desk, putting in hours, making money for the both of us. Maybe I should get a part time job as I approach the second draft, but I’m afraid that I’ll derail myself if I do so. And after so many months of stressing and not working, should I risk derailing myself but easing some financial stresses, or push it for a couple more months?

How many more months? How much longer can I keep trying like this?

Okay. *deep breath* I’m digging worry-holes again and I’m going to roll my ankle in one of them if I don’t stop thinking now.

All I really came here to say is my lesson for the day: I want to try and be ready for constructive criticism when it comes, and be able to take it in with a positive attitude and an open mind.

Also, I just really want to be done, too. But I have to keep taking it bird by bird. Step by step. Word by word.

Advertisements

And then I did nothing.

Writing progress today: None (again). Yay! (that was a sarcastic yay.)

Excuses:

– It’s Saturday. Everyone needs a break, right? Except for when I’m hardly ever writing, I don’t know what I’m taking a break from, exactly.

– I had to get my dog vaccinated (which took up like a whole hour of my day, so clearly nothing else could get done).

– It’s hard for me to get work done when my husband has off from work. I just want to hang out with him! Although I suppose I could have wrote a little bit while he went to the gym. But I have this library book I need to finish before it’s due, you know?

See? So many good reasons why I couldn’t write today. So many legitimate excuses…sigh.

Good job, me. Now keep it up!

I finished my short story! Yay! *throws glitter in the air and dances around as it rains down* It’s going to take a lot of revision, especially since I changed one of the characters’ gender halfway through, but I did it! I finished it!

This is the first fictional thing I have actually finished since maybe sixth grade. Since I was like, what, twelve? The first fictional thing I have written and finished in around fifteen years. It feels fantastic!

It’s sort of a simmering fantastic, where after I wrote the last line I sat there and thought, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna end it here.” And then I sat back and realized, “Well, that means I finished it then. I’m finished. I finished a short story. You did it!” And it felt pretty good, but then I walked over to the couch and started reading a book.

And now, an hour later, I feel even better now that I’m writing about it. Good for you, me! You actually finished it. The first draft, anyways. It won’t be finished finished until after I work on revising it a while.

So, here’s my pat on the back (I mentally just patted myself on the back for anyone else reading…har har. Anyone else reading. Yeah.), now keep going! Keep moving! Keep working!

Also, I told my husband out Yallfest happening in South Carolina in November. He nodded and said it seemed cool, but we’d have to figure it out. I also kind of presented it in a very roundabout way where I was like “well maybe it could be my birthday gift? It could maybe be really cool….la la la maybe…” so I know he probably thinks I’m just being lacksadaiscal. And sometimes I think he knows me better than I know myself, so he could be right. But I think I’m serious. Also, I didn’t tell him yet that I actually already bought tickets to the event (they were only $13!). I just need to get airfare now (it’s only $350! Pocket change! Sad face).

Okay. So I made some good writerly progress so far today. Now to print out my first draft and start revising.

Also – thanks so much to all of you who were kind enough to comment and/or follow! Even though I shouldn’t need you guys to encourage me in order to keep working, it really was a motivation. Wishing you all some positive success in your writing today (and this weekend)!

Well.

Hello, red wine to my right and hello to the three amazing readers who clicked ‘follow’ on my blog today! I don’t know how you found me or why you decided to follow, but I’ve only written one post so far so clearly you just don’t realize how most probably boring/terrible/melodramatic this blog will be. But thanks to you three, I felt inclined to write a little harder today, because I didn’t want to check in here on my first evening starting this blog and not have much to say when I new three people may possibly skim it.

Ha. Who am I kidding. I honestly won’t be hurt if you guys hit ‘unfollow,’ I promise. I really did just start this blog to keep myself on tabs; I don’t expect anyone else to find it interesting. But thank you three so much for taking the time to show interest, if only for today! It gave me motivation, which was nice. I hope the three of you get some awesome, karmic writing motivation yourself in the next week.

So, that out of the way, here’s what I accomplished, writing-wise today: I only played Candy Crush on my phone for like…twenty minutes? And only watched one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And only surfed reddit for like 45 minutes. AND THEN I FINALLY SAT DOWN AND WROTE SOME STUFF. FOR LIKE AN HOUR OR SOMETHING.

I’ve been working on a short story, just trying to ease my way back into fiction (it’s been a very, very long time), and it’s been difficult. I’ve been working on this story for about a week now, and I know it’s terrible, but I feel compelled to finish it. Because if I can’t finish a short story, how will I ever work my way up to a novel? It’s grown to about 12 pages, so I don’t know if it’s even considered a short story anymore, but I hope I will finish it tomorrow – or at least by the end of this week (come on, June Get your act together!).

And now for a secret writerly thing I did today: I bought tickets for the upcoming Yallfest (Charleston Young Adult Book Festival) happening in November in…South Carolina. Except I live in California. I don’t even know where South Carolina is on a map.

I haven’t told my husband yet. And here’s the thing – I know (or I believe, I think he would, anyway) he would be supportive if I explained to him that I think it could be a good thing. That I would like to have something really done by then that I could bring with me, because I get the impression you can meet agents at these sort of things and YA is my jam – and he’s shown me so much support, and believes in me. But I don’t know if I believe in myself yet. I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can do this, and so far I haven’t done that, yet.

Since I quit my job at the end of May, I’ve done a lot of internet surfing, a good amount of reading, and a little bit of writing. How can I say this is what I want to do when I’ve hardly done anything yet?

So I have tickets to go to the festival. And I would like to go. But I don’t even want to approach it with my husband yet – not because he wouldn’t support me in it – but because I don’t feel confident in myself yet. I need to prove to myself that I can do this, and buckle down and get. writing.

So, three followers, it was really nice meeting you. But as you can see, I’m kind of a hot, rambling mess here. Unfollow button’s at the top, I get it.

And to me, I say – tomorrow’s a new day. Go get ’em, tiger. Rawr. Cat hissing sounds. Scratch at the air. I totally understand both motivational speaking and the feline species on a deep, deep level.

So, in summary,

let me try and catch you up.

A few months ago I had a moment of insanity. I wish I could call it a brief moment, but it was really more of a long, drawn out process where I hated my job and thought about what I wanted to do (write books), and continued to go to work and hate my job and think about writing and, well, it went on and on.

And then I quit. My job.

I didn’t give it much thought – I just knew I couldn’t be there any more. And I knew there was something that I loved burning inside me that I had to try and get out before it charbroiled me from the inside out. And so I quit. I didn’t really believe I had quit until it was actually my last day, and then it sort of hit me that I’d made a pretty big decision.

I spent the next week sitting around my house, completely overwhelmed by what I’d done. I didn’t write much, if anything. I just kind of kept thinking, “I need to write something. This is what I quit my job for. So I need to write now.”

I had talked to my husband before I quit and he was incredibly supportive, like he has been so many times in the past. But I’ve been amazed by how generous and patient and understanding he has been with me the past few months as I try to get my act together. He knew I wanted to truly pursue writing before I even fully realized it. He’s believed in me like no one has before. He’s helped give me structure  and time and space to try and write.

But still, I’ve been struggling. It’s all been rather terrifying, so far. And I haven’t achieved a whole lot yet. But I’m trying not to look at what I haven’t done. I need to start focusing on what I have done. And so I’ve created this blog to keep track of what I do every day now – how much I’ve written, what I’ve written, if I’ve submitted anything anywhere…I still feel scared, but if I keep busy enough maybe I won’t notice that feeling anymore. Maybe I’ll start feeling productive instead.