Happy New Year!
It’s my first year as a writer, and am I any better?
I think I am probably exponentially better.
Do I think that is any good?
No, not even a little.
Let’s take a look at the past year in writing. Everything written on my dA has been written in the past year, in fact, all in the second half of the year. I would consider about 16 of those pieces to be deemable as actual writing, and not just drivel. Some of it was just a smattering of meandering ideas and rough drafts that went nowhere. Still trying to find my voice I suppose. I think just writing far more often has given me a ton of ideas that I didn’t even know I possess. Now that I have truly decided to be a writer, everything in life falls into that context. I am beginning to view the world through the lens of a writer, and it has been really exciting so far. My brain thinks at a mile a minute, so now that it has something to think about, it has been a lot more focused, and in turn made me a lot more relaxed.
I’ve read that writing is a very introspective art form, which has very much been the case. Writing down things that I am completely unsure anyone will like, and just putting it there with honesty is ridiculously tough for a person as private as I am. It’s another obstacle in the way of my writing becoming minutely better though, so my introverted attitude towards emotions is now another dragon to be slayed on the road towards a career in writing.
At least I still get to be cynical about everything. That is a great part about writing. Also getting drunk.
Anyway, before I go off on a tangent, let’s discuss my writing specifically.
My year of writing actually started about halfway through the year with uploading things to dA in June. Nothing much at all happened immediately after joining dA either. I chalk it up to being just another of the thousands of faceless people here, not to mention that writing is a more time consuming process for a casual observer than a pretty picture is, meaning less people are inclined to read a lengthy short story instead of looking at a nice photo of a sunset. That is my plight though, so I joined a few writing groups and began to enter a few contests here and there. I did this for two reasons. I learned writing is not fun unless someone reads it, and I want people to read, and enjoy my writing. The other reason is that I want to compare my talents against other writers, and obviously contests and tournaments are the best way to do so.
Just in the past week or so I won my first contest. A small poetry contest that only had 12 entrants, so I can’t get too excited, but it was certainly a nice feeling to win. You can see the final entrants for that contest through here. Shortly after that I got a DailyLitDeviation from, well, from DailyLitDeviation on dA which you can see here. That was pretty cool. It didn’t get a ton of hits or anything, but it garnered some attention, and for one of the works I am most proud of on dA too. I was really glad to get any kind of feedback for that story, since I uploaded it a good long while ago, and it just silently fell away without any interest. Finally, another short story I wrote came in second place for a Halloween contest about our worst fears. This contest was out of about 30 entries, so the competition was a little more fierce I assume. You can see the final tally through this link. This all happened in the very last month of the year, so I suppose my writing ended on a high note. I do wish I would have entered more contests though. I need to really sort that out this year, since I had actually planned to enter more, but ended up writing other things, or just not writing at all.
Of course, there was NaNoWriMo. I wrote an entire book. I might actually still be recovering from that fact, since December was not nearly as productive as November. I have more time this January though, which is why I am beginning to step things up again and getting this journal out.
I actually printed up a copy of my own, unedited, rough draft of my NaNoWriMo book. I have not read or heard or talked about it through all of December, so going back and reading it now should be very interesting. I plan to read it once all the way through, then start again, making notes and edits and such. I printed it out because I am much better at catching mistakes that way, especially on such a long book. (By the way, the book is 130 pages in 10pt font and 1.5 spacing.)
I handwrote 3 1/2 notebooks this year. When I began my wrists were brittle little things that hurt after one page of writing. That is now a thing of the past. I can now write with disregard for a good amount of pages. I have an antiquated sense of what it is to be a writer, so in my mind, a writer should be able to handwrite quickly and without fatigue. Like a 1920s reporter with a pencil and notepad. I am finishing up the fourth notebook now, and should be done by the end of the week. I hope to fill out a minimum of twelve through this year. Hopefully more though, since I know I can write a lot of pages every day if I just focus.
The notebooks have been indispensible in my life now. Far less often do I have an idea or story without my notebook nearby to jot things down in. A ton of ideas for stories, essays, and jokes have come out of these little things. Not to mention it is far more relaxing to write in the notebook on my couch or in bed rather than sitting at the computer all day long.
I saw someone use the verb ‘murderously’ once this year. I was as offended as I was amazed. What could you even do murderously?
I think just murder.
Anyway, if you know me in real life, expect me to use the word “murderously” as a descriptor of each and every one of my activities for some time.
So that was last year. What is on the agenda this year?
1. Learn how to edit, and revise. Learn that it is a normal part of writing, even though I hate it so much.
I hate editing, I am far more happy writing a story the first time. Unfortunately all my writing is terrible the first time through, so I need to take revision far more seriously if I plan to be at least moderately better at this whole thing.
2. Take criticism better. Stupid criticism that doesn’t help at all, you stupid idiots.
Ahem. I mean, critique is very important to me being a better writer. I know that, but some annoying reflex in my mind always gets offended before I calm down and think about what they actually said, instead of my first reaction of thinking that they think they are better than me and are looking for a fight.
3. Take writing more seriously.
Sometimes I only do the minimum amount of writing per day, and waste a lot of time lying around doing nothing particularly amazing. I need to begin buckling down again and getting more work done. This especially means finishing more stories instead of a bunch of half finished ideas.
4. Go outside more.
A big part of writing is simply experiencing life I believe. When they tell you to write what you know, to me that means, you should know a lot of stuff. You should also know as much of that stuff first hand as possible. So my hermetic ways have to come to an end at least slightly, and I have to go outside and do my best to be a normal human being. They could make a sitcom about it.
So those are my goals this year. I believe they are easily obtainable as long as I remain focused and serious about this. Of course, I am quite serious all the time, so no problem.