On JUST WRITE, DAMMIT!

Feb 08

Ever since writing and releasing Terra, I’ve been getting a lot of communication from people I hadn’t spoken to in a while–old friends from middle and high school, acquaintances and friends of friends who’ve heard about the book, even strangers who are simply book fans or aspiring writers themselves. And let’s be honest, it has been AWESOME. I’m a people-person, always have been, always will be, so getting to connect (and reconnect) with so many people over this little ol’ book that I wrote has been seriously wonderful.

I get a range of questions, of course, from those who are interested or invested in what I’ve produced, a few of which tend to repeat themselves more often than others. And as of this point in time, I’d say that the number one most-asked question that I get is simply, “How did you do it?” As in, how did I write a book–an actual, real, totally legit, full-length freaking novel? How did I write at all? And sometimes, I don’t even really know how I did it. Especially when I’m sitting in front of my computer with every intention of working on book 2, and no words come, and I’m like, “HOW THE HELL DID I WRITE AN ENTIRE BOOK, I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO USE WORDS, FLARBITY GLARBITY JARLJUG.”

But then I attempt to compose myself and realize that I did, in fact, already a book, and I am going to do so again, and so when someone asks me how I did it, I probably need a better answer than, “Um… I dunno, I just did.” Mainly because it sounds kind of snobby (though let’s be honest, so am I).

Unfortunately, I have yet to really come up with one. How did I do it? I dunno, I just did. Should anyone come and ask me how I finally worked up the courage to put my ideas down on (digital) paper, my answer is simply that I wrote. A lot. And it was frustrating and it took a long time and sometimes I wanted to claw my eyes out and sometimes I wanted to throw my admittedly very expensive new laptop across the room and watch it satisfyingly shatter into a floppity jillion pieces but in the end (thankfully, I restrained myself), I still wrote.

So to those who might be aspiring writers, to anyone who has ever said to themselves, “I want to write a book!” but has no idea where to start, I simply say this: just write, dammit. No, actually, I say it in all caps: JUST WRITE, DAMMIT. I actually get a little frustrated with people who swear to high heaven that they want to be a writer, that their life’s ambition is to write a book, but they never actually try to do it. They never actually, you know, write. They say they can’t, but really they won’t. And hey, don’t get me wrong, I totally get it. It’s tough. The reason why there are about 4 billion people out there who say they want to write a book but only a fraction of a percentage of them who end up doing it is because it’s not easy. You have to fight every step of the way against your own brain, your motivation, your inspiration, and pretty much ALL the self-doubt that exists… ever. Writing a book requires diligence and perseverance and a strong sense of denial and not a small amount of egotism. But, man oh man, is it worth it.

So if you want to write, then write! Try. See if it really ends up being for you–if it’s not, then it’s not, and that’s no big loss. And if it is… then you could end up creating something amazing, and getting to feel the amazing sense of fulfillment that I have been lucky enough to already experience in my admittedly not-that-long life. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? And hey, if you’re still apprehensive, just think of it this way: Every single book out there–To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Old Man and the Sea, the Babysitters Club, 50 Shades of Crap, you name it–started with a single word. With an author sitting in front of a pad of paper or a typewriter or a computer and just writing, dammit.

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On my brain being a douchebag

Jan 02

Well, friends, I have good news. Well, good news and bad news. The good news is that the writing of Terrestrials, book 2, is officially underway! I wrote a few scenes last night, as well as an opening line that I’m already pretty sure I’m going to change, haha. But this one scene… oh man… I mean, I’m the one who wrote it, and it still had my heart racing and blood pumping. It is goo-ood stuff (is that super conceited-sounding? Bahahaha.)

Of course, I already mentioned that there’s a second, less happy part of this announcement. So, the bad news isn’t really bad news. It’s more like… a revelation of douchbaggery. Because, yes, I have discovered that, truly, my brain is a douchebag. Why do I say this? Well, I say this because even though I sat down in front of my laptop in the afternoon yesterday, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to write my little heart out, I didn’t actually do any writing… until after 1 AM. Yep, as I was laying in bed, having not written a single word despite my best intentions, a scene started to play itself out in my head. And yeah, as mentioned, it was a good scene, too.

I knew I couldn’t just go to sleep and leave it for the morning, for fear that not only the idea itself, but the motivation to write it would be gone by then. So I sat up, pulled my laptop back out, and started to type. Flash forward two hours, it’s 3 AM, I’ve written something that is, in my opinion, pretty banging (I really hope I don’t need to change it too much as the book comes together, as it’s a scene that takes place pretty far into the book), but it’s THREE FRAKKING AM and I have to go to work in the morning. Le sigh.

Oh well. C’est la vie. The burden of having the tortured soul of an artist, or some crap like that, hahahaha. Thankfully, this late night spurt of writing has really invigorated my drive to get book 2 going, and am really excited to keep going with writing. So I guess the ends justifies the means in this case. I’m trying out Scrivener for book 2, a novel writing software that has been getting super high praise from authors–self-pubbed and traditionally-pubbed alike. Sean got me the software license and a “Scrivener for Dummies” book as one of my Christmas presents, so I’m slowly working my way into it. It’s definitely a different way of working than my old open-multiple-windows-in-Microsoft-Word-and-do-tons-of-copy-and-pasting method… and by different, I absolutely mean better. It’s just taking me some time to take full advantage of all the functionality and whatnot.

And now for a semi-exciting, semi-announcement: book 2’s working title! Terra was originally the working title of book 1, and I ended up sticking with it (I just loved the double meaning too much to let it go, y’know?) so who knows if this will end up as the final title, but it most certainly works for now. Drumroll? No? Oh, fine.

underground

Yep, Underground. Are we starting to sense a theme here? Hehe. Well, I’ll just let you all mull over that as I get back down to work, hehehe. Allons-y!

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On totally not freaking out no not even a little

Nov 27

TYPING. DELETING. CUTTING. PASTING. EDITS. REVISIONS. MICROSOFT WORD.

This has become my life. Waiting with baited breath for my editor extraordinaire to send me snippets of her comments that I eat up like tiny rainbow nuggets (uh, Skittles?), immediately incorporate, then send back to her asking for more comments. Poor, poor Aileen. (Looooove you!)

See, the thing is, I’m still aiming for a December release. It’s official. Well, officially self-imposed. But look! Up at the top of the screen! It’s a bird it’s a plane it’s in writing! And as silly as I know it is to get wrapped up in a deadline that I SET FOR MYSELF, it’s still something I’m desperately striving to meet. Which means I’m just a little bit crazypants right now (well, more than usual, at any rate).

But! Other than the general state of panic that I am living in, things are going well! The revisions of the book continue to make it stronger and better than ever, although in a mildly ironic twist, the experience of editing has meant I’ve actually ended up adding MORE WORDS to the book. About 10,000 more, in fact. Granted, I cut a lot of stuff first, and then rewrote that stuff, and THEN added more, but still. I always imagined editing as taking a giant machete to my hopes and dreams. And it is. But then it’s like wrapping those cuts in fluffy gauze and building the book back up into something even stronger.

See? Imagery. I’m totally a writer.

Of course, at some point, I have to recognize that I need to either be happy enough to publish, or I need to not publish yet. And knowing that I’m the kind of person who could nitpick until Kingdom Come, I’m hoping that it’s the former. But even with my precedence for being extremely impatient and driven by immediate gratification, I will do what’s best for the book. FOR THE GOOD OF THE BOOK. It’s gonna be a thing. There will be rubber bracelets and everything. Still, with every change and every rewrite, I’m happier and happier with the strength of the book overall, even though the story itself hasn’t really changed one iota since finishing. So that’s the good part. The story is the same, it’s just the outlying things, you know, like characters and dialogue and whatnot, that are changing. NBD.

Anyway, this has all pretty much just been one long-winded update on why things aren’t quite ready yet. But soon! And as soon as I’m actually able to forcibly shut myself off from my keyboard, I will be sending the final version over to my copyeditor for a last read-through, to catch all those typos and grammatical errors and places where I just started typing and then forgot to finish my sentence so the line reads, “There was a.” A what? THERE WAS A WHAT?!

I’m so anxious to get a copy out to people to start reading and reviewing, that I may send out a few ARC (advanced review copies) to bloggers and whatnot before the final copyediting is done. People do that, right? I mean, that’s why it’s called an ARC, and not a Totally Perfect Copy? The first step is going to be getting bloggers to even agree to read/review my book in the first place, of course. Baby steps, baby steps.

So! That’s my totally not freaking out or panicking or going crazy or anything update for you all. Doesn’t self-publishing seem like fun? 😉

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