I met with a few fine folks in Busan last night – folks who like writing. As always, it was very relaxing, very laid back. We all had good comments on each other’s work, and there was no pressure at all. I’ve also come to love the way we handle submissions – we share work on Google Drive, and each member can either comment online or print stories and write notes on the paper. It allows everyone to read stories and do some brainstorming alone, and then refine those comments when we get together.
It’s totally awesome when we meet – my creative instincts go into overdrive, and I always feel so smart when I can offer decent commentary. It’s a great boost to the ego, and a great motivator to keep writing and sharing.
There’s no substitute for a good writing club – I think every writer needs one. If you ever happen to be in Busan, come look up the Busan Writing Group – we’ll be happy to have you.
The A-to-Z Blogging Challenge was an interesting discovery. As soon as I learned about it, I knew I wanted to do it. I put the badge on this site before I even knew what I wanted to blog about! The idea of Evil Spirits came to me as I remembered my most recent foray into NaNoWriMo and the creatures that had barred my hero’s way in that story. They were all generic evil demons, created from my own love of dark fantasy, with not much real rhyme or reason for harassing the hero. Thus the idea came to study notions of evil spirits from around the world.
As research for my novel, the A-to-Z challenge was great. I got a feel for seeking out and taking in different ideas for my stories, and I got a chance to write a little something for each find. Determined not to copy-paste, I made sure to reword my findings as much as I could, so that the info would be presented in my voice. I was able to share lots of cool things this way, and I can hardly complain about the flood of new visitors it brought in.
I found some other posts from past A-to-Z challenges in my adventure, and those were extremely helpful. From this year, my favorites were Moon, Light, and Shadow (the author had a theme very similar to mine, and did it extremely well) and and e-bookbuilders (which featured some very awesome and useful information for writers).
I’ve already decided that I will try the challenge next year. I’ll try something a little more directly and obviously related to writing – may be I’ll even do a themed series of super short fiction, as I’ve seen other authors do for this challenge.
Anyway, I’m very satisfied with the A-to-Z Challenge, and my thanks go out to the organizers for setting it in motion and bringing bloggers together!
The path of writing is narrow and treacherous.
It’s a good thing I’ve gotten more involved with a local writing club, and that I’m meeting them in person every two weeks. I’ve felt like I’ve been going at this alone, with only myself, the information I find online, and the books I have about writing. Meeting other people who are writing and who are serious about it has been great for me.
I often regret that I didn’t get serious about my writing sooner. I don’t hold any illusions – I know I’ve got an uphill battle now. My first published flash fiction was more of a fluke, it seems – it was accepted early on, before I got many rejections. Now I’m seeing the rejections, and it’s disheartening – what if I can’t do it again? What if I can’t get another work published by a reputable website or magazine? I’ve been steadfastly refusing to share these rejected stories on this blog – I don’t want to narrow my options for future publication (and so many publishers won’t publish something that has been blogged).
My ideas have stagnated somewhat. I have been working with drafts of older work lately – it’s been a while since I’ve written something entirely new. There were so many times I wished I could just hand off my ideas to a ghostwriter. Somebody who has higher degrees in creative writing, someone who’s been published many times. But I know I can’t do this – not only could I never afford a ghostwriter, the stories that came out wouldn’t seem like mine. I have to do this, I have to get the ideas out in my way. Nothing else will truly satisfy my urges.
April’s A-to-Z blogging challenge helped to reinforce this determination. Those Evil Spirits that I researched are ideas for a novel-length piece I’m working on, and doing the research helped me get some more ideas for the beings that will populate my dark fantasy world. The downside is that I didn’t do nearly enough writing in April. I couldn’t find the balance I needed between blogging, studying my edX course, preparing for the classes I teach, and writing. I won’t be doing daily posts on my blog any more. But I will post 2 or 3 times a week, and those posts will be helped by pre-scheduling – a trick I gained full appreciation for in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I also learned ways to keep my posts shorter, to keep them from taking too long to compose.
With my slightly reduced workload now, I need to get back to writing as much as I should be. I’m glad I did the A-to-Z challenge, but now I really need to get more manuscripts submitted. I must also try not to worry so damn much. I’ve got a long way to go, but I do have people I can meet – people traversing the same road of words & narrative.
My discussion question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is: What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? What is the cure for stagnation caused by just having too much to do?