New Years, Anniversaries, and Stuff Like That

While most people are making posts about their “New Years Resolutions/Goals” and whatnot, I have something else to be excited about today—it’s the day I officially started writing.  December 31, 2010.  I’d been writing a little before that, but I’d never taken it seriously and I didn’t do it consistently.  But that one day, everything changed.  (And it didn’t include any attacks from the Fire Nation.  Err…never mind.)

So, New Years Eve is, for me, my writing anniversary.  This year, I’ve been writing for four years.  It seems kind of fitting for today to be the day I look back at what I’ve accomplished for the year, doesn’t it?

So.  The beginning of the year, was, well, uneventful.  I wrote, but I didn’t write anything memorable and I didn’t really make any progress in writing.  I hardly learned anything, I completed absolutely nothing, and my confidence suffered greatly.  My blog suffered, too, I think, because I mostly posted complaints about this.

In June and July, I took a break from blogging while I went on vacation with the family (and I got to see more of the US in those two weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life).  I participated in Camp NaNo in July.

In August, or thereabouts, I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my writing life, and I killed two of my favorite darlings.  The character that I’d started my writing off with four years ago, as well as her “partner-in-crime”, neither of whom had a real story, and because of that, when I tried to write them, I wrote a whole lot of nothing.  Giving them their “happily ever after” and saying goodbye to them was the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing, because it forced me to move forward, but also the hardest thing.

In September/October, I wrote a…I’m not even sure if it’s a short story or a novella.  It’s like right there in the middle between the two.  However, I think that that story might have been one of my best works, ever.

In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo, and I completed my first novel in a year and a half.  The novel has a lot of flaws and weak points, and probably more of those than strengths, but I’m confident that I can make it something to be proud of with a lot of editing.

So…looking back?  This year has been slow.  And it hasn’t been my best year.  I could have done a whole lot better.  But I think this is ending on a higher note than it started off with, so I’m content for now.  Even if I wasn’t content, though, I don’t exactly own a time machine to go fix the year with, anyway.

Now, as for next year.  Do I have writing goals?  Of course.

  • In January, I plan to start editing my NaNoNovel, Oracular, and this time, I want to actually finish the editing process.
  • I want to finish one of my other long-time novels, Half-Cursed, and possibly edit that one, as well.
  • I want to do my research on traditional publishing versus self-publishing, and make a decision as to which one I want to do—and start preparing for it, hopefully with one of the two novels I mentioned above.

Those are the main ones.  I don’t have any particular reading goals, except to read a lot.  There are a few other goals, however, including some school related ones…

  • Do well on my school work.  I’m in my junior year, and I want it to count.
  • Finish up my drivers ed course and get my driver’s license.
  • Perhaps figure out what I’m going to do concerning college and whatnot.
  • Keep up in my German homework…at least do a little every day, including over the weekends.  If possible.
  • Exercise more.  I want to be able to do some every single day, but I don’t know if I can reasonably expect myself to do that, so at least several times a week.
  • Work on my self-esteem.  ’Nuf said.

And so…there it is.

Say, Kiwi, still need that link? Heheh.

Advertisements

And So I Return

And, I’m back! Yay! The vacation was amazing. I got souvenirs from…a lot of different places. Like, in Arkansaw, I got a bug bite on the bottom of my foot. And in Kansas, I got a scrape on my arm and a pulled muscle in my leg that kept me from walking for two days.

Okay, maybe those aren’t really souvenirs. They’re probably just me being a little foolish. I couldn’t have done much to prevent the bug bite, but the latter two I got from climbing a tree in flipflops, then falling off of said tree. Brilliant, I know. I do try.

Anyway. The important part of all of this is, the break really helped me out with a lot of things. I feel like I got a fresh start, not just to my writing, but to, well, everything. I’m coming back to my characters with a clear head, and it feels amazing.

I’m doing Camp NaNo, as I may or may not have mentioned before. I planned on only continuing my 500 words a day, but when I had nothing else to do the past few days (lots of driving), I got my word-count up to just over 8,000. I think I might extend the goal, if only a little. I don’t want to do too much, because I don’t want to make the mistake I’ve done previous years and burn myself out half-way through the month. So I’ll take it easy, so long as I don’t get lazy and stop writing.

I realize that there’s like two dozen posts for me to catch up on from the rest of you guys, so I apologize if I miss something. I’ll try to read and comment, but I can’t guarantee I’ll comment on everything. That’s a lot of reading, and I’ve already been doing lots of reading, trying to finish Sanderson’s Words of Radiance before I got home.

Geez. That thing was huge. But awesome. I might do a post in the future on some of the things I really liked about that book, and hopefully some things I’ve learned from it.

The End

Sitting here, right now, I’m trying to figure out the answer to a question.  I know I’ve wondered about it hundreds, maybe even thousands of times, but I still can’t answer it.

The question is, what do you do after you finish reading a book?  Are you supposed to just move on and pretend that you didn’t really get anything out of the book?  Even when you really did?  Or are you supposed to sit and think about it, even if you’re getting strange looks from your younger siblings because you’re sitting on the stairs, with a book in your hands and tears streaming down your cheeks?

About a month ago, I was sitting next to a friend at church, right before the sermon started.  Her friend had just given her back a book that she had borrowed.  It was a book I’d heard of before, but didn’t know much about, and, of course, hadn’t read yet.  My friend offered to let me borrow it, and there was no way I could turn it down.

The book was titled The Book Thief.  Basically, it’s about a girl living in Germany during World War II.  It’s not a simple read that you can demolish in one afternoon as a time waster.  You might be able to read it in one afternoon, I don’t know, but it’s still not a simple, easy book.  It took me a month to read it.  I feel really ashamed about that, but I was having a hard time reading anything.  It wasn’t until yesterday that boredom finally cured me.

And so, I finished it today, about ten minutes ago.  It was a good book.  I enjoyed it.  It did make me cry, but I am a female who finally understands the taste of grief, so I’ve been crying at a lot of books lately.  (Believe it or not, A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass is in my list of books that I cried at.)

So, now I’m just wondering.  When a book really touches you, what are you supposed to do?  I’m not particularly fond of the idea of sitting on the stairs while my brothers half-argue with each other over something ridiculous and half-stare at me like something weird happened.  But, at the same time, just continuing on with my life like nothing happened feels wrong, somehow.  Like I’m not giving those poor characters what they deserve—even if they’re entirely fictional.

As you can tell, I ended up writing this blog post.  But I still don’t have an answer to that question.  Do you?

Getting Back Into Writing…

It’s been a little over two weeks since I decided to stop writing.  And… it’s worked.  I’ll admit, I haven’t really stopped writing; I’ve just stopped forcing myself to write.  If I was inspired for something, I wrote it down.  Otherwise, I didn’t do anything related to writing.

A part of me feels slightly guilty about not writing every day, but, overall, I feel a lot better.  Two of my stories still have frustrating elements to them (mostly, plot holes), so they’re pushed onto the back-burner, to be dealt with later.  For now, I’m working on a story that really is being made up in my head as I’m writing it—but I’m rather inspired to write it, so that’s good.  I think.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to branch away from my normal fantasy in my reading list, and so currently, my mom and I are reading the complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I’ll admit, the biggest (only) reason I’m reading that is because I’m a big fan of BBC’s TV show, Sherlock.  Still, three chapters into the first book, A Study in Scarlett, I’m definitely intrigued and going to read more.

Writing Needs Motivation, Part Two

When I want to be, I can be a very stubborn person.  I’ll admit, when I don’t want to be, I can give into things far too easily, but that’s beside the point.  When I’ve really put myself into something, I’m not going to just go and give up.

So, as you can probably guess, I’ve still been trying to write.  I did some brainstorming with a friend of mine, fixed about half a dozen plot holes, and I started to feel confident again.  I wrote an outline for my story, and although it’s not as good as the outline that I wrote for NaNoWriMo (which is kind of ironic, considering that most of what’s written during that is…not very good at all), I think it’s not too bad.  Of course, when I started writing it, I was immediately unhappy with it.  Nothing came out how I wanted, even remotely.  It didn’t even sound how I wanted it to.

It didn’t occur to me what the problem was, however, until earlier this evening.  After deciding to take a bit of a break, I decided to rewrite a scene that I’d written a few weeks ago, and immediately, it came out disastrous.  Frankly, I’m not even sure what went wrong—probably a mixture of things, really.  So, I decided to go read one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan, but it only seemed to make my own writing seem worse.  I think I write too wordy, with long sentences, but it throws my flow off, and even with all of the words, I lack description.  Oh boy, description is definitely one of my weakest points.

As I realized that, my first thought was, Well, there goes my chance of trying to go somewhere with my writing anytime soon.  Then, I realized something else.  I want to publish one day.  I’m not trying to, say, get on the Bestselling list (though that would be awesome), because I doubt that would ever happen, but I would like to share my stories with the rest of the world one day.  But, of course, if that’s why I keep writing, then am I ever going to get anywhere?  Probably not.

Frankly, it embarrasses me that this has become what’s making me keep writing, so, I’m going to change it.  I am writing for me, nobody else.  I have a story to tell (or three), and I’m going to tell it, whether it takes me three months, or fifteen years to do so.  I’m only a teen, right?  I have my whole life ahead of me, and I sure don’t need to rush anything.  In this case, quality over quantity.

So, I’m going to take about a week break from writing, to separate myself from my stories and all of the frustration that I’ve been facing with them.  I’m not sure if taking a break from writing entirely is a good idea, but I’m not sure it’ll really hurt anything.  And, considering the fact that half the family (including myself, possibly) are fighting off the flu, I’m not sure I’ll be able to write much this week.  Plus, I think I might try to be more analytical in my reading, and try to pick up some tricks and things (which, admittedly, probably means that I shouldn’t keep reading an average of three or four books a week).

One. Last. Chapter! Nooooo!

Have you ever been really involved in a book and gotten so close to the ending—only to be interrupted? I’ve found that when I’m interrupted from the ending or a really good part of a book, I get cranky. I’m short-tempered and impatient.

Well, that’s what ended up happening today. I was in the middle of the climax when my parents announced we were going to go out for dinner. But I couldn’t stop reading now! So, of course, I used my long-since mastered art of reading while doing other things, like pulling my shoes on. Oh, okay, I haven’t mastered is, since my normal clumsiness seems to be intensified by about six times when I’m reading at the same time. I survive, though.

I kept reading in the car. Oh boy, I’m so glad I don’t get carsick while reading anymore. That would have been awful. Then! I finished my chapter just as we got to our destination. I was tempted to drag the book inside and keep reading, but I knew my parents would disapprove and make me put the book back outside. So I left it.

Inside, I kept bouncing on the balls of my feet. I couldn’t sit still. I managed to not be annoyed, but I was restless. It helped that my brother and I got into an argument on how much mexican pizza he had eaten last time we’d had some. That helped use up some of my annoyance.

After dinner, we decided to go grocery shopping. I managed to read about two pages’ worth before I had to go inside so we could shop. If it wasn’t for the fact that everyone was there, all seven of us, I would have rushed through the shopping, grabbing everything we needed myself just so we could be out of there. I had one chapter left! Just one! But noooo-o, I had to be patient.

I am not a very patient person, sadly. I barely held it in.

Finally, we got through. We went back out, loaded the groceries up in the car, and finally headed home. Again, I read in the car. Then we got home—and, of course, now we have to unload all of the groceries and put it away. No sense in buying milk if we’re only going to let it go bad in the back of the car, right? I was deemed months ago as the “pantry-organizer”, which is ironic since I’m not very organized, so I had to make sure everything in the pantry was put away properly. Plus, I ended up putting away most of the groceries, as everyone else hauled them inside.

But finally! I could get back to the two pages I had left! I rushed up stairs, kicking my shoes off as I opened the book up. And right there, sitting on my bed and listening to my sister ramble about…who even knows what she was talking about….I finished my darn book.

I’m quite happy with it. I’ll start reading the next one in the morning.

There, now having said that, I feel decidedly less frustrated. Well, I’m not really frustrated at all, now that I’ve read the whole thing. But I still feel better. And for anyone who’s curious, the book was Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook.

Fieldtrips!

So! I’ve had an eventful day. We had a field trip today—yay, no schoolwork! First, we went to my physical therapy lesson. Turns out that problems I’ve had in my hip were because of my scoliosis, and my shoulder-blade pain was from an over-workout at my last session, since I started doing my workouts with weights.

Lovely.

After that, we went and did some clothing shopping. Got some clothes for my little brothers and did not find me pants. I really do wish more girls out there were like me, so they’d actually make pants that fit me! Ah, but as my family always says, “if wishes were fishes, we’d have some to fry. But wishes aren’t fishes, that is no lie.”

After that we—finally!—went to the library. I haven’t been to the library since the city got rid of our book-mobile and children’s library. My mom kinda hates the library. Dunno why. Anyhow, it’s been so long since I’ve been there, I couldn’t even find the library catalogs, and when I did, I couldn’t remember how to use them. And then, I went and forgot all of the books I wanted to get.

Brilliant, Ann. Just brilliant.

That was sarcasm, of course.

Anyway, I did find two novels that seemed pretty interesting, and a few history research books that will be use both as history curriculum (My mom hasn’t said it yet, but I’m sure she’ll do that), and as personal research for one of my novels. I had decided the Internet was overwhelming me, and wanted an actual book (or three) to browse through and take notes from.

Then we went out to my uncle’s house to check his mail for a camera that’s supposed to be delivered today. It never showed up. We sat there for two hours. Luckily! I had a few books to occupy me and sat in a tree the entire time, reading. I just wish there’d been a few more leaves to keep the sun out of my face.

Few more months. Summer’s already begun to show it’s horrible heat—few more months, and all the leaves’ll be back.

But I’m finally back home! Yay! Now, to relax, between writing, reading, and probably eating some chocolate. Ohhh…..that sounds so good right now.