The Benefits of Writing a Terrible First Novel

Excellent post! I think for a lot of us it might apply to the second and maybe even third book! What is that they say about writing a million words before we produce a really good book? 😀

Words of Margaux

As some of you may know, I recently completed a novel for the first time. After two failed attempts to complete manuscripts before, just the fact that I wrote “The End” was an accomplishment to me. I took some time away from the book in attempt to return to it with a fresh perspective. What I saw upon my return, however, shocked and disappointed me. My finished book, the one I spent three months writing, was not worth reading. Many find it difficult to admit this about their own creations – believe me, it took me a while to accept the fact myself. In spite of how disappointed I was by the first draft of my book, there are invaluable lessons that I learned throughout the process.

Many might say that I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself, a first draft is never as good, and it was only…

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What Inspires You to Write?

Ever stopped to think of all the random things that inspire you to write?

I can immediately think of a few that are common for many of us:

  • Music – soft quiet one for those love scenes, heavy-metal for those action scenes
  • Weather – for some it’s rain, while others get excited by a bright sunshine
  • A good book – the feelings it stirs up and how it moves us
  • A movie – same as a book but with sound and visual elements added

But there are other, more subtle reasons that inspire us to write which we don’t realize at times, that come with being human and living among people:

  • A story we heard while in line at the supermarket
  • A wrinkly hand of the mother that reminds us that the time together is limited
  • Sickness of the family pet that brings everyone together
  • A promise you made to a loved one
  • A promise you made to yourself
  • Legacy you want to leave your children
  • Curiosity and wonder
  • A desire to make someone’s life better

The reasons go on and on as are the books that were inspired by them.

What are the things that inspire You?

 

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My 500 Words, Day 32

YES, I DID IT!!! I completed my 31 days of writing 500 words a day!!!

Phew, it’s been hard but very rewarding. When I started off my writing schedule was very spotty.With a full-time job and kids/husband/house to take care of, a million other things would take up my time, but somewhere deep inside I knew that a lot of that were just excuses, simply because I was afraid to write. So, I decided that I needed a challenge and accountability to myself and to you, my dear readers, to give myself a kick in a butt and give writing the time it deserved.

Let me tell you, writing EVERY day is hard. No matter how often you write and how much readers might like your last post, as soon as you start writing another line, it’s like starting with a blank slate. The desire to procrastinate is great and there are all these chores to be done. Having a goal of sitting down and writing 500 words every day gets you going though. For me, it’s like having homework that you have to turn in, but instead it’s you and your audience who are the teacher.

When you know that you have this commitment to fulfill, suddenly there are bits of time that begin to show up, suddenly you are firmer about what’s important to you and your family begins to get it and helps you more; watching mindless TV is not as attractive anymore and your fingers reach out for the keyboard every chance you get.

Better yet, you develop such a strong habit of doing it, you crave it when you are not writing, you get withdrawals for the lack of better word. You can’t wait to get home, hop on your laptop and get some words out of your system.

There were days (like yesterday) when I drove for four hours straight and was completely wiped by the time I got home; I couldn’t make my brain come up with any more words. On days like these I did my best not to give myself any guilt trips and knew that tomorrow would be a new day and new chances to get back to writing.

Will I continue with my 500 words? You bet! In fact I am going for 1,000 a day as my new goal. Definitely wish me luck with that one!

Here are my totals since the last check-in:

6/17 – 866 + blog post 315

6/18 – nothing, lots of reading on marketing

6/19 – 619

6/20 – nothing, blog post 444

6/21 – 1113

6/22 – 101, traveling

 

Keep on writing, fight the good fight!

See you on the battlefield!

 

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I love my Kindle

Ok, I know, I shouldn’t be professing love to an inanimate object, but I do love that darn thing!

My Kindle is the first generation, nothing fancy (ok, it has the 3G, hallelujah!), but I love it just the way it is. I received it for Christmas few years ago and it’s the best “toy” I own.

Initially, I wanted a Kindle to slow the growth of book piles in my house because I love books (another inanimate object I’m in love with). I thought buying a book in digital would a) help me de-clutter my house, b) save some trees. And as much as I love the smell of new books, my small house could only hold so much. So my lovely husband gave me the Kindle.

That very night I hooked it up to my Amazon account and the rest was history. First of all I was ecstatic that one of the free books on it were Sherlock Holmes stories (my favorite character of all times!). Second of all I loved that the Kindle was so light and small, I could fit it anywhere and read it any time I wanted. And the battery held the charge for weeks! Those were the obvious benefits.

The more I used it, the more benefits or shall I say Reasons To Love I discovered.

Here are my top ones:

  1. Kindle is for reading only. There is no temptation or capability to freely browse the web and get distracted. It is electronic, but it’s just a book.
  2. I can get a new book any time I want. Once I was home sick and ended up reading 4 of the 10 books from “Mary O’Reilly” series by Terri Reid. As soon as I finished one, I got the next one, it was AWESOME!
  3. I got to discover indie writers that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. I think this is the part I love the most about Kindle and Amazon, the chance for the writers put their books out there in the world. I found and read many great indie books and got introduced to some talented people.
  4. Since I got my Kindle, I have read more books than ever before.
  5. When I read my Kindle, no one has to know what book I am on – there is no “book cover”.
  6. My reading progress is synchronized between all of my devices and I can continue to read the book on anything I choose if I happened to forget my Kindle at home

What are your favorite things about e-readers?

What indie writers have you discovered recently?

 

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Writing is My Lifeline

I am here to profess my love for Writing.

I am not ashamed to admit, that when we first met, I was very intimidated and shy around Writing. I wasn’t sure if I was worth It, or ever be good enough for It. Writing seemed so well defined and polished and I surely would never be like that, I’m just me, nothing special.

I was looking up at Writing and worshiping its perfection and its influence and hoped that one day I will be allowed in its ranks, even if just as a humble servant. I was happy to be associated with Writing even in just a small way.

Over time, however, I began to realize that the pedestal that the Writing was standing on was built with my own hands. Writing wasn’t a stuck-up, out-of-reach, too-good-for-me as I originally thought. It wanted me to get to know it better and get closer.

So I decided to give it a shot. I began to approach it more, write more often and more openly. The closer I got to Writing, closer it got to me. It is still a work in progress as it’s often so mysterious and larger than life, but I am making the effort.

So far, the Writing hasn’t let me down yet. Every morning I wake looking forward spending time with it and every minute I can steal is so worth it. It makes me a better person, helps me grow and explore new horizons. It teaches me so much more than just write a good prose. It’s about trusting myself, speaking the truth, being brave, building relationships and helping people. What can I say? I Love Writing.

How is your relationship with Writing?

 

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My 500 Words, Day 25

I can’t believe it’s Day 25 of My 500 Word Challenge! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

I set out on this challenge over 3 weeks ago not knowing if I’ll be able to stick to the habit of writing daily, but I really wanted to. I felt like my writing goals were taking too long and I was honest with myself to realize that it was due to my inconsistent writing routine. I would write a few times a week, but I always felt at the mercy of the next event to interrupt me.

Setting a goal of writing every day and setting a minimum of 500 words, caused a couple things to happen.

First, I knew that 500 words was a very doable number and no excuse was valid enough not to write this much. On a few of the nights I was falling asleep in front of my laptop, but I didn’t allow myself go there until I had my 500 words. I had to do it because often it’s hard to tell – was I really tired or was it the resistance masked as tiredness? So, I had to show “it” who’s the boss.

Second, I noticed that writing was becoming easier and I have been writing more almost every time. On some days I wrote my novel and a blog post and a short story. Instead of resisting sitting down to write, I felt a need to sit down and write. I even did some writing during Father’s Day party (hey, some people jump into pool, some people rather write!).

Third, the self-guilt trips of not-writing are getting smaller to the point of extinction. I really love that part. I look at my laptop and smile, rather than mouthing “Sorry!”.

Here are the totals since last update:

6/9 – 351

6/10 – 771

6/11 – 525 + blog post 430

6/12 – nothing for novel + blog post 244

6/13 – 821 + blog post 153

6/14 – 1090 + short story 424

6/15 – 815 + short story 440

6/16 – this blog post (310)+ more writing tonight

 

If I can do it, you can do it for sure, I just know it!

Do the challenge with me, every step however small is taking you towards your dream.

 

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Writing – You have all the weapons you need. Now fight!

I’ve been thinking recently of what a battle it is to write. And most of the time, it is a battle with ourselves.

And a quote came to my mind from one of my favorite moves, “Sucker Punch”.

It applies to so many areas of our lives, and for me, it applies to writing:

“Who honors those we love for the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us and at the same time sings that we’ll never die? Who teaches us what’s real and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live and what we’ll die to defend? Who chains us and who holds the key that can set us free? It’s you. You have all the weapons you need. Now fight! Sweetpea

Enjoy the rest of your week and fight the good fight!

 

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Writing is Courage

Don’t let the inspiration hold you back.

Often, when we sit down to write, we don’t feel “inspired”. We are tired, reeling from stress from our regular day jobs and the last thing we want to do is open a page and be honest with ourselves. So we pretend that the issue here is a lack of inspiration, rather than our own fear of showing the world our insides.

We are afraid that once we put it on paper (real or otherwise), we will be vulnerable and the world will have a weapon against us. What we need to realize is that we are not alone in this. We need to realize that by being vulnerable we will find like-minded people that are looking for us to connect.

Once we write our souls out, the world might have a weapon against us, yes, but we will also have a protection in a form of a support, love, friendship of people that are not afraid to show the world what makes them tick, what helps them go on every day, what lights up or darkens their day.

Don’t be afraid to write. You will discover things inside of yourself you never knew where there. You will discover people who will appreciate you for who you are, real you, and help you be courageous every day.

Writing is courage, so fight on!

 

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My Must-Haves When I Write

In one of my previous posts I talked about the Inspiration and how, rather waiting for the inspiration to write, you should write first and the inspiration will surely follow.

However, there is that subject of actually writing. How do you make yourself get into that writing chair daily and stick to it? And once you are in the chair, how do you actually start?

I know everyone has their own place, routine, a ritual if you please, to start writing, to get into the routine and stay there. Here are 5 things that I need to get my writing going and keep me through it:

  1. A pair of Apple fitted headphones. Nothing is more annoying and distracting as a pair of headphones that doesn’t fit right, hurt the insides of your ears, falls out every time you move your head, crackle, the list goes on. The headphone I use stay put, don’t squeeze my skull, and allow very little of an outside noise so I can slip into my writing world
  2. A music player. Naturally, with the headphones come the music player you attach them to. I don’t discriminate between makers, as long as I can put my music on random, repeat or play an album in an order. I use my Samsung phone, Apple iPod, CreativeLabs Zen or simply plug into my laptop and find a good mix on 8tracks.com that I discovered thanks to Courtney Carver (Thank you!)
  3. A good music mix. I use a different type of music for different projects that I write, but universally I lean towards slower Indie music or movie soundtracks/scores for my writing. My favorite soundtracks are from “Twilight” movies (especially first three movies), “Titanic”, “Tron”, “Jerry McGuire” and “Fifth Element”
  4. My laptop. I used to be very unproductive when faced with an electronic screen and used paper to get my juices going, but the more I write, the more comfortable I become with writing digitally. My laptop has to be small since I drag it everywhere I go
  5. A blanket. Ok, I admit, I am a wimp when it comes to being cold and I can’t concentrate when my legs are freezing, so a blanket is a must to get cozy and submerge into the world of my book. My writing place has to be comfortable, so a pillow and a comfy sitting are my best friends

What are you secret tools for getting into the groove of writing? I would like to know, maybe I will include them on my personal list of must-haves!

 

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