What Really Hinders My Writing Progress

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, poetry, short stories, journals. Those are the places where my love of writing really took birth. I’ve always been scared to let people read my work, not because of self-doubt but because of bullying. Me, writing diligently to get my story out appears as a joke to many people in my personal life. I don’t hold it against them as many people don’t understand why some of us love to write things, they don’t understand the pride we take in creating a story.

These are some of the things that puts me in a bind me as a writer:

Finding My Voice

It took me a while to finally figure out what finding my voice as a writer really means, and I’m not sure I understand the full dynamics but I think I have a better handle on it than I did on it before. Like I mentioned before, I started writing from a very early age in a particular way. It wasn’t just writing for writing’s sake. My story was also structured in my own way. My language flowed freely as my own. Somewhere along the lines, in the bigger world, I felt intimidated to be true to myself as a writer. As someone who has touched on poetry to be able to combat feelings of depression and self-doubt, I found myself beginning to write like a robot. He said, she said, and I failed to stay true to my characters’ personalities and also my own. Having grown up in the Caribbean, we share similar slangs to that of England as well as our spelling. I’m now based in the US and it does make me feel strangely about how my voice may be received. It’s not that much different but readers may notice and that’s something I always take into consideration. I’ve had to learn how to consciously omit certain ways of speaking as well as the “u” in words like favor and color among others.

Point of View

This has been very tricky for me, even now. I began writing in third person, past tense. I write as a narrator on the outside but still in my character’s head, so I don’t head hop. This is my comfort zone, always has been. In the last few years, I became more aware of first person POV as a writer. I’ve always read first person and it didn’t bother me but I’d never written in first person except for my journal and a few very short essays. To create an entire plot and world from one character’s point of view was a challenge for me. I kept thinking that I had to join that bandwagon if I want my work to be read. Readers will think my third person is heavily outdated. It sounds stupid, I know, but all of these things go on in a writer’s head especially when you listen to other bookish people talk about their preference for this kind of writing. It stuck me the whole of last month writing one chapter back and forth in third and first person POVs. I had to take a break and reconnect with my voice as a storyteller.

Writing as A Reader

All writers began as readers, that’s something I believe. And when I read over my work, I don’t read it as myself as a reader. I read it as hundreds of others readers and critique myself from that. It sticks my story to the point of “Where the heck do I go with this?” I don’t expect everyone to love my work but I do want to feel like a credible storyteller at the end of the day.

My Own Worst Critic

With my teaching experience in English and learning to find mistakes where there really aren’t due to teachers making us find things wrong with a classmate’s essay, I always feel like every line of my first draft needs to be rewritten in a better way. And believe it or not, I spend more time than I should just rewriting things. 2017 has been the year of rewrites for me.

My Stories Might Be Crap

I appreciate all kinds of storytelling, the good and the not so good. A story comes from an author’s head or heart, someone who thought it worth writing, and for that I won’t bash anyone’s process, or manner of storytelling. But I tend to bash my own. There’s something sinister about reaching 30,000 words into a novel and just thinking, “What the heck am I doing?” At that point I shelf the story until further notice and begin working on another. I should get a “Work in Progress” medal.

How Do I Keep Writing?

Because I can’t stop. Writing has been my secret for a long time, a way that I’ve dealt with the harshness of the world and the people around me. It remains my greatest form of therapy. And more than wanting to get published, I write for myself so there’ll always be that.

Last week I sat down and had a long mental chat with myself about how I lost sight of the one thing I know I can do. It’s tough, it’s nerve-wrecking but nothing gets completed without perseverance. I came across a video of Hank Green(John Green’s brother) talking about how he doesn’t go for 100% because his 80% is good enough. And that resonated with me. If we keep thinking perfection all of the time, then we’ll always finds errors. I’m learning, slowly that writing comes with all of the above and not just writing.

What are your major problematic areas as a writer and how do you combat them? Have a great week all.

xo Kat

 

Every Story Has A Reader| Writing Fiction

Last week, I worked diligently on my current “work in progress”. I was happy, I hit word counts and managed to clean up the messes on the way. Over the weekend something happened, that something that always happens. I feel hopeless, incompetent and I want to discard this entire story. Not even midway in each of my manuscripts I feel whatever I’m writing isn’t interesting. I get embarrassed by what I’ve written, and I feel relieved that I haven’t published such an atrocity for people to read.

But…the flame hasn’t completely gone out yet. I think about the books I’ve read that had no great writing or insane twist and you know what? I’ve enjoyed some of those. As a book reviewer and lover of storytelling, I hate to call someone’s work bad writing. For me, books comes in different flavors, some are great tasting and some are less tolerable. That being said, there are some works that I simply could not get through but that isn’t to say the writing or form of storytelling was horrible.

Every genre or story has a reader out there waiting for it and if that’s not inspiration to share your stories with the world, then I don’t know what is. Of course it’s another miserable thing all together promoting your book and finding your audience but I think we shouldn’t be insecure of our ideas. 

As a writer, what makes you feel insecure?

Xo Kat

How Important is Momentum| Fiction Writing

I stumbled across a video about the importance of momentum when writing a book and although I know it’s a logical way of thinking, I don’t always apply that with my own projects. I allow many factors to affect me from completing a manuscript.

Basically, having momentum means finishing a book, at least a first draft. This is something I’m always struggling with. When I first started out writing books(not poetry), I had momentum. I wrote for a set four hours a day and in four to five months, I had a first draft and revisions completed. The book was a huge embarrassment to me mainly because I feel cheesy about writing romance and sexy times. Also, the book needs a little work before I republish it. It’s an ebook by the way. But…the accomplished feeling of having finished something that took sweat and tears was a great one.

Somewhere along the lines, I lost sight of the fact that I was writing for myself. I wasn’t writing for money, an audience or competition. In my head, I just wanted to write what I wanted to read. I wanted to bring the characters that I had invested so much time into to life. So I wrote, and wrote until I completed my story. Beginning, plot, climax. It was all there.

My insecurities started to appear after publishing my second book which I removed due to it needing a little more work. What made me feel incompetent as a writer wasn’t my newness to the field, it was all of the other things that comes with writing that I didn’t have before. It’s been hard for me during this journey to share my work as it’s always been something very private, something therapeutic in my life. Sharing my work made me feel exposed in a way. Now I’m not that writer that dislikes criticism because I believe our readers are where we grow and learn from. You learn what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and what you need to improve on.

I haven’t been able to finish one manuscript this year despite that fact I wrote over 50,000 words(different projects). Some of these projects began all the way back in 2016. It’s a failure, and I hate it, and I try so hard to work on it.

Coming back to the video about momentum. We have all read books that we didn’t like and books that we loved and adored but they all had something in common. They were completed. My take as a writer is not everyone’s going to love your work and you won’t be an established author until you write and write and learn from it but the importance of finishing, getting to the last page is very high. This is something a writer just needs to do no matter what.

Stressing over an audience and what you think they want to read is one of the most detrimental things you can do to yourself as a writer. You have a voice, you have a story and it’s your right to tell it the way you see fit. And I will touch on the subject in another post of do’s and don’t’s in writing and why I think it’s wrong to give people such a stenciled idea of a creative field.

Writing fiction isn’t like copywriting and I’m very much in my comfort zone with researching and writing articles but when it comes to creativity I let fear overtake the pen. I joke about it as writer’s block but it isn’t so funny when you feel like you wasted an entire year not doing what you love to do. So my takeaway from this video that I looked at is to have momentum. Just write. Just finish. Editing, formatting, promotions, all of that comes after. It really shouldn’t be our focal point when there is a story to be told.

As always, thanks for reading. Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

xo Kat

 

Where am I?| Writing Books

I talk quite a lot about writing novels on my blog, and although I haven’t been able to complete anything in 2017 thus far, I am writing everyday. Some days I write almost four thousand words, and the more I think I make progress, I feel like I just dig deeper holes for myself.

Writing is a complicated process if I’m being honest with you and I admire authors, especially indie authors that are able to put out multiple books a year. My main hurdle is time. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I struggle with time management with everything that I have to fit into twenty-four hours. It’s also hard to pull all-nighters now, especially with two kids.

So where am I in writing books?

There’s this one idea that I had for over a year now and I have been working on it for that long. Although it’s an awesome plot for a book, the details surrounding the sub plots are quite tricky. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve already written the ending of this book. I know how I want it to end. I know my characters inside out. Yet, why can’t I finish this book? It’s frustrating. I wrote forty-thousand words in my first half-finished manuscript and I wasn’t satisfied with how the events played out. So I kept re-writing the crap out of this story, until I changed the point of view it’s told in.

I am still unsatisfied somehow. And the clock is ticking. I’m not sure how many other authors do this but I really hate to get stuck, especially when I have so many stories going on in my head. So now, I’ve shelved that work in progress for the millionth time and I’ve been working on another half-finished manuscript which I hope to complete by Christmas, since it is a Christmas romance and a tribute to my love of cheesy Holiday Romance movies.

Where are you at in your writing? Has this year been a productive one for you? Let me know in the comments.

xo Kat