The Writing Life: Pacing Yourself

The Writing Life BannerWelcome to my weekly feature, wherein I discuss writing style of authors, elements of books that are particularly interesting to me, and at times my own writing escapades as I venture into the writing process of my fourth novel. And, as a researching and always-learning aspiring author, I want to hear your opinions on these bits and pieces that make up our beloved paperbacks.

Most of the time I find that in reviews we talk about the feels or the romance or the plot, but here I want to get to the nitty gritty of syntax and devices and whatnot. Mafi’s similes and metaphors? Sanderson’s world building? McGarry’s ability to write three books with the same romantic trope and yet all three books are freaking fantastic? All of that, and more!

When writing novels or blog posts, how do you pace yourself?

So I guess this isn’t specifically about stylistic points of writing, but who cares. My feature, my rules, right? Anyway, today I want to talk about the time you put into your writing, whether it’s your novels/short stories/poetry, or your blog posts. Because of course these things all take time, and I know a lot of bloggers recently (is it a disease? are we all susceptible??) have been feeling burnt out and/or uninspired.

When I was a youngster (think 14-16), I used to be able to write 10K words in a day. A. Day. I don’t even know how that happened, because I was in college at the time too. Did I suddenly find six extra hours in the day? Who knows! Nowadays, being the old fart that I am (a ripe 18.5), I can write about 2K in four hours, and then I’m done. And that 2K is usually the only bit I write in a week. Technically, my goal is this: one chapter per week, due on Sunday. It was a challenge Veronica and I gave each other, and it’s been working pretty well so far for me.

I know there are so many different ideas to how to approach writing (the most common being dedicate one hour per day no matter what), but that just doesn’t work for me. The book I’m writing right now is very emotional, and the chapters are like isolated events. So once I finish the chapter, I can release the emotion, but if I have to stop in the middle of a chapter, it’s like I leave half my brain in novel land. Seriously – ask my mom. I had to stop halfway through last week, and I was completely useless till I got home and wrote the last 500 words. The same goes with my blogging: I have a schedule that I generally stick to, and it works really well for me because I get a short, big burst of posts written and scheduled, then I can breathe for a day or so.

So while I may not be the most prolific writer right now, I’m at least writing. And I think that’s the main goal here, yeah?

Opinion time! How often do you think an author should write? How do you pace yourself, either in novel writing or blog post scheduling? 

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Blogger/Reader

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader. So, instead of doing this specific topic, I’m going to refine it a bit, and change my topic to What Blogging and Reading has taught me, and why I love these hobbies. Because I don’t have any other hobbies, and in the copious amount of time I’ve dedicated to blogging and reading, I’ve learned a lot, and I love it all!

What Blogging and Reading Has Taught Me:

1. Reading has taught me empathy. We’ve all heard the studies and scientific claims that reading makes you more openminded and empathetic, and I truly believe that this isn’t just a myth. Reading makes me face important questions and moral decisions, the “what would I do in this situation?” question, and I’ve learned that nothing is black and white, and to always gather information before making a judgement.

2. Blogging has taught me commitment. Being disciplined enough to sit down and write multiple posts a week isn’t easy! This is something important to me, so I make sure I set aside the time to accomplish what I set before myself. Though I’ve recently learned that sometimes in order to be committed, you need to take a day for yourself!

3. Reading has taught me that fictional characters can be an inspiration. This applies to movies as well. The greatest thing I’ve ever seen on Tumblr is this: “Tony Stark has anxiety and panic attacks, and yet he saved the world multiple times. You can do this.” [Paraphrased a bit there.] That was the most incredible moment for me – watching Iron Man 3 and seeing this badass dude having a panic attack – suddenly he was just like me! And if Stark can push past his attacks and go on to take down the big bad, then of course I can do the same and tackle whatever is happening in my own life!

4. Blogging has taught me that I have to work at maintaining relationships. While the internet is a beautiful thing, and I met my best friends online, there’s also a downside. I won’t run into these people in real life – Chiara is in Australia, Lillian is in India (correct me if I’m wrong, dear!), and Andi is all the way on the East coast! So I have to make sure I email, tweet, or at least comment on their blogs frequently. Not everyone is going to come to me; I have to come outside myself and actually make an effort in relationships – something I’m not very good at! Blogging has given me those skills to make friendships and maintain them.

5. Reading has taught me to dream big. Sure, we make fun of the books where the hero always comes out on top, but those books are important. They teach me that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. So what if your goals are out of this world? There’s nothing wrong with trying, and in the case that you fail, you can always find something else to strive for. 

Why I Love Blogging and Reading:

6. Blogging has given me many opportunities. First of all, I get to work with publishers, authors, and other bloggers: experiences that can only help me when I begin to seek out publishing my own novels! I get to see the behind the scenes of how it all works, and the effort that goes into publishing and publicizing a novel. I feel more prepared (if that’s possible), and maybe like I’ll have a general idea of what I’m getting into as an author, because I’ve seen the other side as a blogger.

7. Reading gives me an escape. I’m totally honest here: I read to get out of my head. Which is probably why I read mostly fantasy or science fiction. The deeper I can get into another world, the better. I can ignore the real world for just a few hours, and return refreshed and better able to handle life. 

8.  Blogging has introduced me to new books and authors. 90% of the books on my shelves are there because someone has recommended them to me, or because I saw a review on a blog. I used to be so lost walking into the YA section at BN – all I saw was the vampire fad! But now as a blogger, I recognize names and titles and have a better idea of what I’m walking into. I feel like I’m more in control, and more relaxed when I explore the shelves.

9. I love reading because nothing is more powerful than imagination. Reading is like Star Trek – going boldly where no one else has gone before. Imagination is limitless, and seeing that boundlessness on the page, knowing that someone thought this magic up – that’s the best moment in the world. 

10. I love blogging because it’s just pure fun. This blog is my space – and people like my space! Never before this have I been able to be so freely passionate about books, to fangirl even when I annoy people with my caps lock and keyboard smashes, and to have serious, mind-bending discussions with people who share my excitement and passion and intensity.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

Top Ten 2014 Resolutions

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Edit: 10PM Monday night. I screwed this up and did next week’s prompt! So since I only have mobile and can’t write a post properly, I’ll just leave it and do the Top Ten of 2013 next week. Whoopsies!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014 (bookish, not bookish or a blend). I’m going to split it down the middle – five bookish resolutions and five life resolutions.

Book/Blogging resolutions

1. Only read what I want to read. Don’t request ARCs that I only have partial interest in, and DNF if I have to!

2. Take my time and enjoy my books. When I started reading again, I inhaled a book a day, sometimes two. And the truth is that I burnt out really fast. So I want to try and slow down a bit – be okay with not reading four hours a day. Savor the read! (Though if it’s amazing, I can’t promise I won’t stay up till 2 AM to finish it)

3. Don’t freak out about stats. My views have been up and down lately – with the downs being uncharacteristically low. Just realize that people have lives and my blog probably isn’t the most important thing to them!

4. Interact more! I’ve been so tired lately that I have a hard time leaving comments like I used to. I want to get back into tweeting and commenting and making even more blogging friends!

5. Stay in contact with the blogging friends I’ve made. Whether that means guest posts, having bookish chats, or just emailing/tweeting each other every once in a while – just stay in contact. I’ve met so many lovely people and I don’t want to lose them just because I’m shy!

Life Resolutions

6. Get back to the gym. I know it’s so cliche, but I really do need to do this. Since that thing happened in the summer, life’s gone crazy, and I’ve gained ten pounds. I want that off, plus some more!

7. Be more prepared. This relates specifically to my teaching position. I want to make sure I get ahead on planning so I’m not cramming at the last minute and feeling like I’m breathless every time I walk into a classroom. 

8. Get healthy, mentally and physically. I guess this is kind of linked to #6, but not really. Mostly dealing with the anxiety/panic/depression, which leads into the headaches, neck stiffness, chest pain, and exhaustion. No more of that please!

9. Write my book. I’ve got two beta readers that keep asking me for chapters, and it’s high time I sat down and wrote this thing. It’s time to ignore all the voices, both in my head and what other people say, and do what I really want to with my life.

10. Pay off my debts. You know you’re an adult when money makes it to your list of resolutions. I want to get rid of those student loans!

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!