As I was thinking about what to title this post, the song Slow Ride by Foghat kept popping into my head for some reason, but the words kind of sounded the same and so, Slow Write became the title.
The song starts out…
Slow Ride, Take It Easy…
And that’s the approach I’ve chosen to take with my writing for the time being, for the near future, maybe longer. I don’t know.
I’ve always loved writing in notebooks and buying all the cute pens and pencils, color coordinating everything, including the story within. It sounds strange, maybe, but it sort of fit with my own brand of OCD.
Author Whitney G. writes her books by hand, has them typed up by someone (she used to do it herself) and when I first found this out, I was really kind of…surprised, I think. In this current landscape of write publish write publish write publish, there’s someone who still writes their books by hand? I was fascinated and tucked it away in the back of my mind. Then, a few things happened.
One, my office. I now have an office. I could move out of the family room into the converted dining room, repaint the walls, add my own things. This led to going through old notebooks from the past decade of writing for publication. I have a few dozen notebooks and hundreds of pages with notes and the beginnings of ideas and a chapter here or there and in some cases, half written books. And I got to thinking…
Two, NaNoWriMo. I was planning to participate. No one is expecting anything from me. I think, in part, my readers have given up on me which I understand, so, why not try this writing a book by hand thing. I’m writing by hand in journals every day, taking notes by hand in a mindset course, taking notes from books by hand… It seemed like the perfect time to play with it. Besides, if JK Rowling could write Harry Potter longhand on legal pads, then dammit, I could pants a novel or a couple novellas for NaNoWriMo.
Three, my eyes. They don’t like looking at screens all day long anymore. Computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, television. My eyes get tired much quicker these days. They get scratchy and dry and honestly, I get tired of being in one place to write, I get tired of being constantly distracted by the bright colors of the computer and the million other things I could be doing.
And so, here we are…
It’s not easy. Some days I want to just sit at the computer and type because the words would fill the page much faster. But I don’t give in. This blog post is the first time in a week that I’ve turned on the computer and let me tell you, it’s hard updating the NaNoWriMo site on my phone cause their site is not mobile friendly.
The process of writing by hand is a deliberate one for me. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me… The notebook has to be just the right one, the right color. The pencil has to be comfortable and also, the right color. But it can also be a whim… I can pick up the notebook and start writing at any moment. I can get a few lines of dialog or a paragraph in whereas with the computer, it’s not quite that easy unless I’m carrying a laptop or Chromebook or tablet around with me. The phone can be used in a pinch and I’ve done that before, written a thousand words or so on the phone in an app. But this process of writing by hand, writing slower… I’m enjoying the deliberateness of it. I’m enjoying the freedom and constraint of it. I’m enjoying the numbers adding up at the end of the day without me stressing over the word count at the bottom of the computer screen.
And yes, I have to count out each and every word, each and every day to figure out where I’m at for NaNoWriMo, but it’s been worth it for me. Of course, we are only on day 8, but that’s 8 days of writing something, writing anything and that’s something I haven’t done in a very long time.
There’s something wonderful to be said for slowing down, for being deliberate and intentional with the formation of each word.
…Really Are Freakin’ Lost!
I was laying in bed this morning. It was warm and I didn’t want to get up yet so I broke my own rule and opened up Candy Crush. I usually don’t do that. I’ve been trying to revamp my mornings and help my brain function a little more clear and all, but… Best laid plans and shit.
Y’all know I’ve been lost for a really fucking long time. Like so fucking long. And I’m still lost, so don’t go getting all excited. I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing or where the hell I’m going. As tired as y’all are of me being lost and seemingly saying the same thing over and over and over again, believe me, I’m even more tired of feeling it. But… A lot of the mental work I’ve been doing, a lot of the searching myself, mainly asking What Do I Want To Write followed pretty closely by Do I Even Want To Write Anymore? is paying off. I’m shedding a lot of the crap that was built up over the last 48 years of my life.
There’ve been some real, hard truths that have come out in my journal lately and I’m kind of freaked out because I don’t quite know what they mean for me going forward in this business. Yesterday, loneliness grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let up. I’ve become the quintessential hermit writer… I journaled my hand off sitting outside in the sunshine, listening to some music that I don’t usually listen to. I jotted down some titles that came to me for possible stories. I stared at the sky and enjoyed the sun on my skin. I went through the rest of my day and night the way I always do, figuring that loneliness was going to follow me around for a while until it worked its way through. Then, I woke up this morning and some ideas began to snake their way through my mind in a way that they hadn’t in longer than I could remember. And as I stayed there, playing that stupid game, the more clear the ideas became. (Yes, I am still feeling the loneliness, that didn’t go away.)
One of things I used to try and do with my books was make some part of them part of me or maybe it’s more some part of me part of them and after some things happened, I didn’t think I fit inside my own books anymore, that none of the stories were any part of me. Everything I tried writing felt fake and forced and not only did I feel it, but you did, too. It’s a lonely place. It’s a hard and dark place to be. The messages and noises and shoulds and shouldn’ts are all around and they’re loud and drown out all whispering inside the heart and soul.
I couldn’t hear the whispers. I could only hear the noise of write this, no not that; jump on this trend because you don’t want to miss this chance; you know, just make your books funny and hot; gangsters, bullies, reverse harems, high schools and academies, mafia… They’re all the rage. Or… Why not try… Quick release; don’t do what anyone else is doing; why aren’t you doing what she or she or she is doing because it clearly works; rapid releases like, weekly or every two weeks at the most, okay maybe three but that’s it, etc…
When I started out, I didn’t pay attention to what anyone else did, but we’re supposed to be social and talking and sharing and supporting and doing and coming and going… And you can’t help but notice everyone else’s sandboxes and how full they are of writing and friends and fans. The noise was all I heard. My own voice wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t loud enough and I couldn’t hear it anymore. Except… Except when I heard the expectations that I had of myself and those of my readers, the expectations that I no longer knew how to meet.
The ideas I had this morning? They’re precious pieces of thoughts and pains and traumas and things I never thought I’d write about, but they’re me, they’re part of me and I’ve been trying so damn hard to get back to something, anything that felt like me, that felt like my voice, that felt like who I am now, that felt like who I am becoming, that felt authentic. I’m a little freaked out and a little scared, but I think I’ve found this year’s NaNoWriMo project.
It’s been a minute, yeah?
More like thousands of minutes.
It’s hard to write bogs or social media posts and think or believe or whatever that no one is reading them. Hell, it’s hard to write books and think or believe or whatever that no one will buy them, but that’s a discussion for another day.
However, I miss blogging. I loved it. It was writing and I loved writing. Long winded writing most of the time, but sometimes, it was just snippets of happenings. It was my avenue to share things that I liked or thought or cared about. Even on the days I dreaded it. Even on the days I was like… Well, fuck. What do I write about? I loved it. I loved being part of a group blog and I loved blogging solo. Blogging was more than a sound bite or a clicky headline. Blogging to me was…love.
Now, I was never good with the keyword stacking and SEO and getting my blogs to rank on Google or Bing or Yahoo. I never really cared, either. All I cared about was it was my way to connect with the people who liked me and liked my books, who liked what I had to say at any given moment about any given subject. And I was thinking the other day about the epic giveaways I had on my birthday or at Christmas. KitchenAid mixers, Keurigs, cookbooks, fiction books, Kindles, etc… I loved it all. And I miss it. I really fucking miss it.
Blogging is going or has already gone the way of the dinosaurs. Unless one already has a really well established audience, blogging as an individual is no longer relevant. Bloggers and readers migrated over to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or some other platform. But I have to be honest here… I’ve spent my fair share of time on Facebook (hate it), Twitter (just so much drama and people telling other people what to think, do, read, write, etc…), Instagram (comparisonitis is really prevalent, but I do enjoy Instagram and spend way too much time there). There are others, too, that I honestly haven’t investigated because time, time, time…
I also got lost in what am I supposed to say on my Facebook profile vs my Facebook page vs my Facebook group vs my newsletter vs my blog vs my Twitter feed vs my Instagram feed vs my Instagram stories vs… See what I mean? I just don’t have that much content or brain space or… And so, I pretty much just… Yeah.
But back to this post… I miss blogging. I miss the writing and the talking to y’all whoever y’all happened to be at the time. One person or twenty. I miss y’all and I miss this platform because it’s mine. This platfom is all MINE. Even with all the social media pages and profiles and feeds and stories and whatnot, I always go to someone’s website. I always look at someone’s pages and blog posts because I want to know them, the them that gets watered down through the variety of social media posts. I read newsletters, too, but truth be told, I have more than 1000 unread emails piled up over the last year that are primarily newsletters. I don’t always read them when they come in. They get lost in the shuffle because some people send out newsletters every single freakin’ day. Some I’ve been subscribed to send out more than one a day and it’s like…OMFG STOP!
I think though, even if no one reads my blog posts, I’m going to start blogging again. Blogs, to me, are more intimate than social media, like a conversation or a letter among friends. I know they say newsletters are supposed to be like that, but honestly, I haven’t hit my newsletter stride yet, because reasons… I’ll come back to that one on another day, too.
If you read this, feel free to say hi. If you don’t read this, well, that’s your loss.
Until next time (probably tomorrow or one day later this week)
So, #boutofbooks started today (at midnight) and I’ve done some reading. I have had a stack of books to choose from that I’ve been collecting for just this week. I won’t get all of them read, but I’ll get a few of them finished.
This is what I’m reading:
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (I started this last year, but I’m determined to finish it this week)
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Did you join Bout of Books? Have you ever participated in a readathon? If I organized one, would you participate?
The other part of my post title… About Getting My Write On? Yeah, I’ve been doing that, too. I have started Mac, Simple Need, book 4. Vinter will re-release later this week, with the other Simple Need books coming out every 3 weeks until Mac is finished and released!
I’ll have a cover for you soon!
Have a great week and stay warm!
In the #RWChat last night on Twitter (this morning for me), they talked about writing goals and the end of the year and what goals do writers have for the last 3 months of 2017, what obstacles are in the way, what changes can be made, and how are you feeling as a writer about your writing…
That chat prompted me to write this post.
I hate and love my lists of goals and my attempts at creating workable schedules. Hate because, yeah… Love because they make me feel productive when I actually stick to them. Which, again, yeah…
I mentioned in my newsletter a few weeks back that with the deep level of depression that I suffer from May through the end of July (I suffer all year long from depression, but it’s noticeably worse in Summer), my productivity suffers as well. I can’t write. I try and I can’t. I spent most of my Summer this year reading. I’ve read more in the last few months than I have in the last year. I watched movies and I read. I sat outside when it was possible (meaning when it wasn’t 300 degrees in the shade) and read. I read big books and a couple small books. I read physical books and Kindle ebooks. I read.
But I also thought, planned, and tried to get something in place in my head that when the fog began to lift, I would be able to tackle what needed to be tackled. I bought a Happy Planner and I keep track of what I’m doing every day in it. That has helped me a lot. And it allows me a little creativity to add to it and make it prettier than it already is. But, I’ll talk about that another day.
So, what does this all mean? Well… It means, I’m going to work off a school calendar. August through just a few days into May. Work meaning writing. I’m working off a goal list of 3 months at a time… August-October, November-January, February-April. I’ll wind down the writing around the second week of May and then give my mind and spirit the rest that depression demands of it.
I find that come August, I start feeling brighter, happier, more motivated, and more creative. It’s a different feeling than when I go into May which is a sensation of dread and darkness coming in from the edges. Those who suffer from depression will understand what I’m talking about.
We are in October now and so far, I’m still doing well. I’m working through my writing list and my goal list. I have a better idea and plan of what I want and need to accomplish with my time. There’s some refining I want to do to make life flow a little easier, but for the most part, two months in, I’m feeling good and staying positive, not so overwhelmed. I was afraid I might feel the overwhelm, but because I’ve set a stop date for writing after 9 months, it’s actually eased a lot of the anxiety and tension and stress.
I have realized that it is imperative with age and depression and learning/knowing myself better, that finding the right time of year to work is as important as finding the right time of day that is most productive. I’m still working on that second part, but I’ve put this all in motion to hopefully find that this is my right time of year, these particular 9 months.
I’ve been lost for about five years now. Maybe longer. Lost in life, in writing, in just who I am. And it didn’t seem to be getting better and frankly, I was losing more hope by the day. I no longer have the confidence, the support network that I once did in writing and publishing. Depression demons talk. A LOT. In whispers and in loud bullhorn voices. They feed other demons until there is no way to drown it all out.
My sincere desire is for this new schedule to work. For it to be the one thing that finally clicks for me and I’m able to get back to my productive self. The new Starbucks down the street can’t hurt, either, right?
If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave a comment!
Have a great one.