What’s Your Favorite Part of Writing/Being a Writer?

I happened to see an old friend last night and whenever we see each other he always asks about my writing. And every time I have nothing to say. Which is frustrating because just a few nights ago I was flipping through my book thinking about why I haven’t written more. I have no excuse.

But I got to thinking about it. What’s my favorite part of writing? And I’m not sure I even know the answer. I’d like to think it’s the fact that I get to create something. But it’s been so long that I think I’ve forgotten what I really loved about it. And that’s sad. The even worse part is I still have no idea when or if I’ll get back into it. *sad face*

What’s your favorite part of the whole writing thing?

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Writing on a Schedule

Okay guys, there’s this NaNoWriMo thing coming up next month and I’ve already begun seeing the posts about people prepping and planning for their month of writing. I am not one of those people and I’ve made my stance about NaNo very clear. I hate it. I wrote a post about it earlier this year. So the timing of this post couldn’t be any better.

Okay. Not talking specifically about next month, I am still very much against writing on a schedule. I mean, the whole thing about it getting your creative juices flowing or that it helps you get words down that can be edited later or whatever reason people try to come up with is flat out annoying. Who came up with the notion that ALL writers must write using the same philosophy? Who decided upon some of the other “rules” of writing? Cause I don’t have a handbook here and I’m not paying any union fees for collective bargaining on my behalf.

You’re probably reading this as me hating people who write on a schedule. That isn’t true. What I do hate is when someone who writes well on a schedule seems to think that their particular writing philosophy should be followed by every serious writer out there. If you decide to write 1,000 or 3,000 words a day for a set period of time, be my guest, but don’t sit there and say that because you think it works for you that it absolutely positively must work for me too. ┬áCause no. Why don’t you let me figure that out.

I’ve tried it in the past and it doesn’t help me accomplish much of anything because instead of writing a story I find myself writing words that have no business being written. So if writing on a schedule works for you, great, but don’t tell me that it should work for me too.

“Write What you Know” or “Write What you Read”

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Photo Credit: Ezine Articles

I have to be honest here. This was the first time since I adopted my Monday-Friday blogging schedule a few months ago that I wanted to just skip a day. Not that I think any of you would notice or care, but blogging is kind of important to me. Sounds stupid but it is. My reason for almost not posting today was because Team USA is set to play Germany today in their final Group Stage match right around the time this post will be scheduled to publish. I’m not the biggest soccer fan there is, but you bet your you know what that I’m a fan of Team USA. I was going to write about them and the World Cup and all of that, but I guess not.

Okay. we’ve all seen the writing tips credited to famous authors and also the advice that just seems to be from nowhere. I can’t tell you how many times in the last year I’ve read the phrase “Write what you know.” More honesty, I hate reading this crap. Write what you know. Well what if you’re like me and you don’t know a damn thing about writing or being a writer or plotting or any of that stuff? And your life experience is as ordinary as it gets.Then what the heck is the advice? “Write what you know nothing about?” That sounds about right to me. I’m sure y’all think I’m exaggerating when I say I don’t know anything about all this writing business, but I am telling you right now that I’m being completely honest when I say I’m clueless.

Let me repeat what I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Here’s how I write: I sit down. Write between 700-1500 words. Stop. Go about whatever else I’m doing that day or night. Write another 700-1500 words to finish up that chapter and move on. I’m not thinking about anything I know. I’m just writing whatever seems like it continues the story okay.

Now, I’m not sure that I’ve ever read anything about “Write what you read.” Maybe it’s been said a bunch and I’m just not in the loop, but maybe it hasn’t. No matter if writers all across the world believe in this philosophy or not a single one, this is me. You guys should know pretty well by now that I read crime fiction all the time. I love it. I write it. Why is this? Because over the years i feel that I’ve read enough perfect writing in the genre that has given me some ability to write my own stories. I’m not saying I’m some expert or that my writing is any better than the next guy, but I am saying that I write what and how I do because of what I’ve read. That’s it. Plain and simple.

My question for you is this: Do you believe in either of these writing philosophies?

If you haven’t heard “write what you read” before, then feel free to go ahead and credit the saying to me. Ha. Just kidding. Kinda.

Writing Everyday

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Photo Credit: Shift Writing

I’ve been pretty vocal about my opposition to writers having to write everyday. And also to word count goals and a million things that other writers seem to think are necessary to be able to call yourself a writer. All because I managed to write a book by doing it my way. Well, my way hasn’t worked the second time around and I’m about sick of it. I still don’t believe in this whole write everyday business or word counts or any of that stuff, but I’m in need of a change of pace. Right now.

People tell me that not writing for nearly two months is nothing. But these people don’t realize that I wrote my first book in less than three months total. So again, it doesn’t matter if two months of not writing isn’t a long time to you, it’s more like an eternity to me. This is the longest I’ve been away from my characters since I created them. Not any more.

I’m not going to set any goals for myself in the coming days or weeks because this whole thing may prove useless. But I’m going to give it a shot. If I fail, then so be it. I need to at least try to get some writing done.

I know a number of you write everyday or most days or whatever it may be, but I don’t want to hear about it. What I do want to know is whether you’ve ever changed any part of your writing process. If yes, how did it go? Major failure. Success. What?

My Writing Process Blog Hop

ImagePhoto Credit: Empi Baryeh

First off, I would like to thank Hayley and Crystin for both tagging me in this wonderful writing process…thing on the same day! I’m convinced they’re after secret information I don’t know I have. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get started. I’m sleepy and it’s late. Like always.

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the second book in my Andrew Banks series. Unfortunately I haven’t given away the title and am not going to do so now. I have it. And I’m sticking with it, but you guys just aren’t in the know as much as you think. Ha. But it’s a suspense novel that follows him as he works a case. This time it’s quite a bit more difficult because his client is a prominent activist known across the country. Again, not saying what he advocates for. Sorry guys.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Quite simply, it doesn’t. I’m okay with that. Have you not heard that there are a set number of stories to be told? Well it’s true. How many authors out there write detective fiction? Too many to count, right? Well I’m not going to sit here and tell you that my stories are so much different from all the thousands written before it. Let’s be real. The one thing that I’ve really tried to do with my character is to make him real. You’ll read other detective stories in which the main character almost walks around with superpowers. He or she knows things no one else would or catches on to something that is irrelevant to the case and ends up solving it. I’m not complaining about that happening, but it definitely doesn’t happen in my books. Banks isn’t a superhero. He’s a detective. Hm. I guess I did have an answer.

Why do I write what I write?

Come on. This is easy. Look over at my shelf about ten feet away from me. What do you see? Detective fiction. I love the genre. Can you believe that my reading is the reason I earned my degree in criminal justice? Believe it, because it’s true.

How does my writing process work?

You’re not going to like this. I don’t really have any kind of process. I just write when I want to. If I don’t, then I don’t. Other writers place what I believe to be unnecessary burdens upon themselves by aiming for certain word counts each day or this number of chapters to be edited and all of that nonsense. I don’t. I was lucky enough to write my first book in less than three months, which is right in line with that great Stephen King quote, but I’ve been lazy with the second. No real reason, to be honest. Just have been. My only real answer to this question is that now I write my chapters in two sittings. So maybe I’ll sit down and write 1,100 words and then write the rest the next day. I’ve never once worked on multiple chapters in a single day. But I did write the last seven chapters of my first book in 11 days. It was only 21 chapters total. I guess it’s possible to light a fire under me and get me writing, but I haven’t experienced that this time around. I’m okay with that.

So now I’m supposed to tag others, right? Well call me a rebel because I’m not going to. I already wrote my Liebster Award post two weeks ago and I would likely tag those same people. Don’t want myself becoming an annoyance now.

At least you know a little about my writing process now, A little.

An Author’s Worst Enemy: Writer’s block

Photo Credit: zazzle.com

I have written several posts during my time on WordPress detailing my avid attitude against the existence of writer’s block. I’ve always said that it’s not a lack of creativity but rather a mind game that the author is losing to himself. I’ve said that it’s an excuse not to write. That it’s ridiculous to sit there and think that a writer can be writing along and then have no idea where to take the story. I’ve said all of these things about the phenomena known as writer’s block, and I’m ready to admit that I was wrong.

You see, I have a very straightforward writing philosophy. I write a chapter. I read through it. Make changes. Take a day or two or five away from writing. Then repeat the process. It was slightly different for my first book, but this is what it is today. I’ve worked my way through ten chapters of my second book, and the process itself has never failed. It was me.

In my tenth chapter I took my story to a place that I probably shouldn’t have. I knew that it would be difficult writing from there because I was starting to write what I didn’t know. I was taking the story to a place I didn’t anticipate and, as a result, I’m stuck. I don’t know what I want to happen in the next few chapters. I don’t know what the heck my private detective is doing by handling his case the way he is. I don’t know how these next few chapters will allow me to finish the story how I want to. BUT I do know that I’m not going back and rewriting my previous chapter in order to make these next few a bit easier to write. The story is great how it is now, I just need to get moving forward again. And I will, I just need some time to think.

If you’re suffering from this horrible illness that seems to inflict all writers at some point, rest assured, you’re not alone. I’m right there with you. I salute your determination to keep pressing forward. Now if only I could do so myself.

Answering a Question I’m Often Asked: How did you actually write the book?

I posted last week about my successful first signing on the campus of my alma mater. I managed to sell 21 of the 25 books I took with me and discussed how great the overall experience was for me. Well, I was asked many questions by students and faculty alike and I’d like to take the opportunity to answer the single most asked question of me.

“How did you actually write the book?”

Remember this was being asked by college students who often express frustration with writing a very short essay on a topic that is likely uninteresting to them. My response was never the same because each time the question was asked by someone with a different point of view on things and with the intent to learn something different from the previous person. But let me see if I can answer it once and for all.

The one thing I told several people was that you’re always told that to be a good a writer or a writer at all that you have to write. And by this it is often meant that you have to write each and every day. I’ve mentioned in several previous posts that I simply don’t believe in this philosophy one bit. If you are forcing yourself to write even when your creative juices seem to be at a stand still, then what exactly are you accomplishing? I’ll tell you, you’re putting bad writing on paper that you’ll have to later edit or remove completely. How does that help you achieve your writing goal? It doesn’t.

My logic is to treat each individual chapter as if it were a college paper. My longest in school was only nine pages and my longest chapter in my first book was fourteen, but most are well within the length of a regular college essay. Doing this allowed for me to focus on a very particular part of the story and sequence of events rather than have me think of where I’d take the characters several chapters down the road. This writing philosophy allowed time for me to perfect a small portion of the story before moving on to the next small portion.

Another aspect of the same question I was asked during my first signing was what I thought of the process to write a book, whether or not I liked it.

This question was a bit more complicated for me to answer. You see, during my last semester of school this past spring I was terrified of the prospect of writing an entire book. I was. I can remember specifically in April becoming incredibly anxious as the semester was winding down to a close. I was scared of not being able to do it. This was all I’d thought about for more than a year and the thoughts that were coursing through my head were beginning to become more and more real because it was coming time to put up or shut up. Thankfully I was able to put those feelings aside and write me a novel. But here’s how I answered this particular question.

I didn’t enjoy the book writing process as much as I’d hoped. I love the story I wrote and the characters I created, but the process to get to this point was pretty rocky. I went weeks at a time without putting a single word on paper and faced holes in the story that I struggled to overcome. I had no idea how the story would end until I reached the last third of the book. And the final major obstacle I faced was getting people wanting to read it. I don’t mean potential readers, I mean people I know on a personal level. I mentioned several posts ago that I sent my book out to nine beta readers and only four actually read it. This is now what’s happening to me trying to get people to buy it. Which is perfectly fine, but also disappointing.

BUT I managed to finish the book and prove to people that I wasn’t just talking about writing a book, I’ve written one!

Don’t forget that my book is also on Kindle for only $2.99 and is part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library that allows Prime members with a Kindle the opportunity to borrow the book for free! Take a look at the Amazon product page!

In other news, check out where my book sits on my bookshelf. Right between Edgar award winners and New York Times Bestsellers!

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