Tag Archives: about writing

#100daysofwriting, day eighty+, 2021-08-20

It’s been a while, I know. It’s kind of difficult for me to think about a daily question, read all the answers that come in (even though those have become less) and also write my own post.

So I stopped. At the end of the day, this blog is not mission critical for me, I don’t have to write a post when I just can’t make it.

Why am I making this post then?

My tumblr post for 2021-08-19

I asked about my participants how they feel about their old writing and as a bonus homework I had them say something nice about their past-writer-selves. And that got me thinking about my own past-writer-self.

My beginning of writing is fractured. I remember being a kid, almost breaking my fingers on a mechanical typewriter as I wrote stories about girls and horses. Then there’s a break and I have some vague memories of writing short stories for the university paper, I think? And then it all stopped.

Years later, after studying and working and children and a lot of self reflection and after discovering fanfiction, I started again. I wrote my first porn in 2012. I was 43 and I started a brandnew chapter of my life. I have a feeling that I saved my life in that moment because it opened up a world for me, a world I couldn’t even imagine before. I didn’t even know how happy I could be.

Past-writer-me went through all the difficult steps that we all go through, the self-doubt, the perfectionism, but still, she did it. The story of past-writer-me is one of saying that it’s never too late to start something new, it’s never too late to give your life a new direction, it’s never too late to pick up a new dream. And it’s also a story of daring to take a new step and just do it.

I’m not that carefree writer anymore that wrote a story of a human and alien having sex in two days and published it on fanfiction.net, and I miss her sometimes. But she was awesome, and I still am.

#100daysofwriting, Day Eleven, 2021-06-11

In today’s tumblr post, I asked:

How do you create your characters? Do you make a profile of them? Do you know your character before you start writing the story?

I asked this question out of curiosity because I’m always interested how other people do this. For me, my characters are usually just there, often representing one part of me or an idealized version of me.

I can never fill out character profiles because I know nothing about them. I discover the characters as I write them. If I’m smart, which I’m not often, I’ll fill a second document, my scraps file, with the information I come up with on the fly as I write. If I don’t have a scraps file, I’ll probably start one by the third time of searching through all I have written to find the place where I described the character’s hair color.

What I’ve also done is using characters from media I know well. They change of course as I write them, but a Varric and a Hawke from Dragon Age are a nice base to start a character on. I did that for the fairy tale I wrote for the anthology. I don’t know how obvious it is for the reader but for me, basing the characters on these games characters, gave me a starting form for them to work with.

All in all, I don’t feel like I’m creating characters, I rather feel like the characters just appear and force me to deal with all their antics.

#100daysofwriting, Day Eight, 2021-06-08

I had to skip over the weekend, the weekend is always way too busy. Today, I asked on tumblr:

What is your favorite trope to write and/or read? And is there a difference between reading and writing the trope?

What’s your favorite trope and why is it Found Family? 😀

Ok ok, maybe there’s more tropes to like. Friends to Lovers, Enemies to Lovers, Fake Dating, Idiots in Love, Soulmates, One True Love.

I could go on and on. Writing and reading is equal here, I love to read these tropes just as much as writing them. Enemies to Lovers can be a bit tricky though, I can’t see an evil, morally corrupt enemy to ever become a lover so the trope should probably be called Adversary to Lover, at least for me.

In other news, I finished an exchange fic on Sunday, posting it two hours before the deadline. Lucky for me, it stays hidden for a few more days, so I could add some descriptions and pretty words to the story today. I have to add descriptions quite often, if you let me, I’ll be writing blank people in front of an empty green screen, just talking to each other. Just talking heads in white rooms. Even the smut was over in three lines!

I think it’s pretty good now, but I can’t think about it too much or I start doubting myself again and will convince myself that it is bland, boring, and ugly. My recipient is such a great writer themself, that fact alone had me blocked for days! Now, if I could just scrape my motivation together for the short story I want to submit in two weeks…

#100daysofwriting 2021-06-01 Day One


Over on tumblr, I posted the first question for 100daysofwriting:

We’re starting with a bit of thinking about motivation. Write about what your motivation is to write at all. What got you started? What keeps you going?

It’s funny that I posted this question myself because it’s one of the hardest to answer for me. Why do I do this? What compels me to use my free time to write, often not even in my own world but in someone else’s universe?

I loved writing as a child; I loved the essays in school and always got good grades for them. When I found the old manual typewriter my dad used to use for filling out tax forms, I started writing stories about horses on there. (I recently found the folder with the pages but I haven’s dared to look at them. In my mind they were wonderful and people went to the toilet. That was important to me. People in books never had to pee! So unrealistic.)

I thought about being a writer one day, but then I gave up on that. Why did I give up that idea? One thing I remember was looking up how one could get a book published and the entire process, with a gatekeeper deciding if you get published, basically depending on that person’s mood for your livelihood, came across as ridiculous and unsustainable to me. And I also remember going into a bookstore in my hometown in Hamburg, Germany (I must have been 17 maybe), looking at the books that I liked to read, fantasy and science fiction and at the authors and not a single one of them was german. They were all translated. Getting published as a german author writing fantasy or science fiction — the chances for that were non-existent. Playing the lottery would have made more sense.

Now this was the late 80s, early 90s (yes, I am that old); we realized we might not die in a nuclear blast before we turn thirty and life happened. I went to uni, I started to work, I got a kid, I finished uni at some point, had another kid, kind of got lost in life, got depressed and luckily pulled myself out of that. (Ask me how Mass Effect saved my life.)

I started writing again, after thirty years of not writing. I wrote a smutty fanfic and people liked it. That pretty much blew my mind. And because people told me they liked to read what I wrote, I kept doing it.

Can I even call myself a writer, if I didn’t write for such a long time? Is “people like reading it” really enough motivation to keep going? 

My motivation to write is that I like to read my stories and other people like reading them too. It makes me feel good; it makes me feel connected with people. Is that enough?

Writing — online or offline?

Hello friends!

I have just been on vacation, had hardly any access to free WiFi and/or reliable mobile data connection.

no-wifi

And that’s when I realized that my writing process is flawed.

Recently I have been writing exclusively in Google docs. I’m not even sure why I like it so much but I just love writing in it. Maybe it’s the reduced interface, it has everything I need and nothing more. And I can easily switch over to another tab in the browser if I want to reward myself for a good writing spurt by looking at tumblr or twitter. Yes, that’s the kind of thing I do and yes, sometimes I kind of lose time on those  sites and I have only myself to blame but you know, life is hard enough and you got to keep the little things you like alive and I’m a grown ass woman and if I want to look at pictures of sexy aliens I’m gonna fucking do it.

Anyhow.

As it turns out, google docs swallowed a lot of data from my data plan. I could live with that but when we were at our vacation home, the cellphone connection was so bad that I didn’t even get a connection at all and docs stopped working on my phone, despite all the documents having been set to offline use.

So there was my first clue.

I managed to successfully write on my phone at the beach right under the cellphone tower with my little bluetooth keyboard. Which drained the battery of my phone in the span of an hour. Lesson learned for next years vacation: bring the netbook again.

Now today, Google Drive fails to connect to the server. Has failed for over an hour now.

internally-screamingI’m taking this as my second clue.

I need to check my writing process again.

I used to write everything in LibreOffice. But it felt like work, it looks too much like a program for tables and invoices and my creativity shrivels and dies when I look at it.
Writing in FocusWriter worked for a while but then I still had all these odt documents that I needed to open in LibreOffice to work over. Back in the invoice writing thing and ugh…

I tried Scrivener for a while about 2 years ago and I was thinking of giving that another try. I don’t remember why I stopped using it. It even was in limitless beta under Linux so I could use it as long as I wanted. But now I checked the site and it seems like the company does not plan to further develop the linux version. As almost all my computers run linux, it looks like that software is now out of the race too.

Now what?

Writer’s Cafe has a linux version, maybe I’ll try the demo for that. Or should I just overcome my disgust with LibreOffice?

Come on Google Drive, give me back my chapter!

become a writer

Has someone found my time to write by chance?

1am last night: I’m lying in bed and I have written maybe 50 words on the current WIP all day. It was a workday but still, I was able to go home early and still didn’t manage the minimum of one hour daily writing. I came home, turned on the laptop, launched the pomodoro timer on my phone and — it sat like that for the next four hours. By the time the evening had progressed to 23:00 (11pm), I resigned myself to some tumblring and TV watching. (I know from experience that my ability to produce coherent sentences rapidly declines after 22:00).

The current state of me writing is:

In the morning: I drink my coffee, take care of blogs, email and tumblr over breakfast. Admittedly, tumblring is not exactly work but keeping up with friends and knowledge is also an important part of my life.

After that, I either go to work or I have to get groceries or do laundry or other various housewifey things that need to get done. I have to feed the kids, remind them to do homework and do the general maintenance involving family life. And then I should have time. On an non-workday, I am basically free to do what I want until the evening.

There should be hours where I could write but somehow they disappear from me!

I honestly don’t know where they go.

One advice in Rachel Aaron’s book is to keep track of your wordcount during a writing day, to find out when your most productive time of the day is. I consider that a luxury that I don’t have but maybe scheduling and tracking the time of day where I do actually write would be a good idea? My problem is not finding out when my most productive time is but where the hell my time goes.
Nevertheless, I did finish another chapter of the Dragon story and will publish it soon.

Having 350 words critiqued

A little while ago, I submitted the first 350 words of one of my Works-in-progress to “Under the Microscope” on Ryan Lanz’ blog. The idea behind this cool feature is that most readers decide on the first few pages whether they’ll like the book and buy it or not. The first few hundred words have to hook the reader and make them interested in the story.

My submission is here, and since it is meant to be anonymous, I answered in the comments as “the writer”. I loved the feedback, it was so helpful.

I want to recommend this awesome feature to all writers!

planet-1

The best part about it is — it got me interested in working on that story again. The temporary name for it is “Spacedames!” but that will not be the final title because it sounds too much like a steampunk novel in space, which is not this novel but one I most definitely have to write one day.

This novel is going to be a science fiction space opera with a few dips into hard scifi. I had put it aside for a while and worked on a historical novel but then I began to feel like I’m not yet good enough to do either novel justice and…. I bet you know how that ended.

This story is about Hyperspace and female astronauts, aliens, lost-in-space, space fights, alien/human romance, and all that fun stuff. It has a really good opening chapter but as I kept on writing, I felt that it lost steam and became rather boring. After the feedback and the interest it seems to have spurred, I want to go at it again and finish it.

I’m going to rework that first chapter and maybe I’ll post it here in a few days.

 

Confessions of a Writer’s Block Survivor with John L Monk

[Guest Post 005] Confessions of a Writer’s Block Survivor with John L Monk

It was July 4th, 2013, Independence Day, when I published my first novel, Kick. While most Americans were shaking their fists in the direction of Buckingham Palace shouting, “Damn you tyrants, we shall fight you in the streets,” I was logged into KDP, struggling with how to unleash my typing practice on the unsuspecting masses. A heady experience, and deeply intoxicating. I knew when the money started rolling in I’d be able to quit my job and worry about the important things, like which color Lamborghini best matched my rakish personality, or how many crusts of bread to toss to the peasants from my palatial estate.

Time passed, and four months later I was still working my day job. I still drove a Toyota, and I didn’t have any peasants to throw crusts of bread at. I was not an overnight success. The book got some nice reviews after I did my KDP Select free days, and that was cool. Very cool. But when the free days were over, you couldn’t find Kick on Amazon unless you ran a search for: “crap nobody cares about.”

[…]

This post speaks to me so much! I also put my inability to get writing done to laziness and in that way I can nicely chastise my self and feel bad about myself.
Hello, mushy self pity!

It gives me hope that he managed to get out of it.

When Words Fail to Come

This really rings true right now. Not getting the words on page makes me feel like a failure.

The Sarcastic Muse

I stand in the mist and cry, thinking of myself standing in the mist and crying, and wondering if I will ever be able to use this experience in a book. ~Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

Happy Thursday!  I’ve been holed up in the one remaining tower of Muse Headquarters that wasn’t destroyed by, ahem, experiments in Amanda’s lab.  I miss hanging out and cleaning up whatever goo flood the lab or whatever substance is on the walls in the dungeon, but right now, the tower is where I need to be.

Sometimes, words can fail even the most prolific writers. I’ve never been one to make excuses or listen to them, but there are times life legitimately throws you for a loop and the words retreat. It’s hard not to panic, but of course they will return when I’m ready for them.

When the Words Won't ComeHere’s the thing about writing. There are…

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