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  • Word Vomit

    The biggest obstacle my writing has faced in recent years (or, if I'm being honest with myself, ever) is my tendency to want the words that come out of me to be perfect the first time. I'm generally a fairly smart and creative person, but this tendency of mine is NOT conducive to actually getting large amounts or writing done. The short stories, poems, and blog posts I've written have just enabled this shortcoming.

    In the past year, the main advice that has stuck in my brain from talking to other writers and listening to panels, classes, and podcasts is that you just need to write SOMETHING down. It doesn't have to be perfectly written or extensively researched (a major obstacle for me as well, considering the type of writing I do), because you can go back and fix it later. My inner perfectionist has had a very difficult time trying to deal with this. But over the past week (thanks, LTUE!), I have been inundated with this particular advice again and again. Likely it just stuck out because I knew that it was my main obstacle to having something publishable, but it has now become my mantra.

    Every time I sit down to write, I will catch myself thinking "is this the best description I can come up with?", or "oh, that idea is great for 7 chapters from now. I should go work on that!", but the repetition of my new mantra "JUST WRITE SOMETHING DOWN" has helped immensely. I'm getting more done than I have in months.

     Inevitably, I will continue having awesome brainstorms, or picking up on questions that need to be researched during my writing sessions. That isn't going to change. It's how I've treated those questions and ideas. I'll be writing about sick villagers, and I will suddenly have the impulse to research waterborne diseases extensively. I've indulged that in the past, and fallen down a Google-induced rabbit hole far too often. Now I have just added a "list of things to research", and plopped the question "what kind of water-based diseases could have ravaged their village?" and MOVE ON. Or I will think, "what if I wrote this in third person omniscent?", or "oooh, this character should be a Templar in his next life!". I now have a list entitled "list of things to consider at a later time (e.g. when you're finished with your first draft!)". It seems to be effective so far. I avoid writing on those lists for as long as possible, since I don't want to stop the torrent of word vomit, if I can help it (oh, the imagery!).

     Distractions are also a major pitfall for me. I will come home from my full-time job, eat some dinner, and watch an episode of Modern Family, or Face Off, or Brooklyn Nine Nine. By the time I'm done with an episode, I am relaxed and want to catch up on all the shows I like. I've been preventing this lately by either turning off my tablet immediately once I am done with an episode, OR, not watching TV at all, and instead listening to an episode of the podcast Writing Excuses. It keeps me in the right frame of mind, and I can be productive, even after a long day. I've also been listening to episodes of Writing Excuses on my way to and from work. It keeps my creative energy going, even when work would normally have beaten it out of me, and I am ridiculously grateful for it.

    Basically, I just wanted to talk about the fact that I'm getting over such a stumbling block and blossoming into a better writer. I keep having "Look, ma, I'm coping!" moments. I am sure I'll get over how proud I am of myself soon, and this will become the norm for me, but for now, being able to word vomit onto the page is ridiculously satisfying, and I feel so much more productive!

    [photo credit:
    [photo credit: http://kamicomics.com/comic/word-vomit/]
    [photo credit:

    Getting back my motivation


    I have been slacking lately. I've got several projects that I am working on, but I keep getting distracted by work, or TV, or books, or sleep. I've been having a rough time snapping out of the real world and into my fictional ones.

    I got talking to a nice couple on the way home from FanX a couple of weeks ago, and in the course of that conservation, one of them told me about a local sci-fi/fantasy/horror writing symposium, called Life, The Universe, and Everything. It was kismet. I needed to recharge my creative batteries and get some motivation back, and here was this timely opportunity, that somehow I had never heard of before.

    So I went home and looked it up. Apparently it's been going on for years, and I had just been in the dark about it! *sob* Luckily, it was only two weeks away, so I scheduled time off from work, registered for the con, and booked a hotel room, because I'm a lazy bum and didn't want to make the 45 min drive to and from every day.

    The writing convention was amazing. Tons of friendly people and insightful panels, time to focus on just being creative, and a very welcoming and amiable atmosphere. I was quite impressed. I may go further in depth about the convention at a later time, since I took copious notes at every panel and kaffeeklatsch I attended, but for now I will just mention that it was a great experience.

    I was inspired to start carving my name into social media sites, but I have linked it back to other things I've written in the past. There are links to the right for my Facebook and Twitter (Google + to follow soon), as well as my personal blog that I have completely neglected for a couple of years, and a blog that has various things that I've written over the past 10 years (and have not posted anything new on in a while, unfortunately). I've also included a small synopsis off to the right about the two main projects I am working on at the moment. This weekend has re-energized me to work on them, and I will do my best to blog and tweet and post all about my progress! So feel free to follow along with me, and I'll try to make it worth the effort.

    [photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/LTUELifetheUniverseandEverythingSymposium]
    [photo credit: http://www.happyjar.com/comic/the-creative-process/]