Ramblings of an Insomniac Writer

It’s 5 a.m. and I am unable to get to sleep. I could keep trying, and I’d end up falling asleep around 6 or 7, and accidentally sleeping until 1 p.m., which would pretty much ruin my plans for the day. So I’ve decided that instead, I’ll just not sleep. This might mean I’ll be too tired to be productive this afternoon, or that I’ll crash really early tonight and sleep through until Saturday morning. The only time I’ve ever pulled a true all-nighter (it wasn’t studying, in case you’re wondering), I slept for about fourteen hours the following night.

There are two upsides to my problem: 1. This gives me the chance to get things done much earlier in the day than I usually would. Prime example: I’m getting some of my daily word count in now, instead of starting in the evening like I usually do. 2. At least I don’t HAVE to be up right now, getting ready for work, or anything like that. I am convinced that it would make the situation far worse if that were the case.

I had a few days so far where I wrote nothing at all, and I was unhappy about it, but there’s no sense dwelling on that kind of thing. More recently I have been doing very well with keeping up with the word count, although I am about 1500 words behind. I’ve been writing all sorts of things. Stories, blog posts, journal-y rants about whatever’s on my mind. I’ve started to get a little farther on the first project I started to work on this year, a novel based rather loosely on Sleeping Beauty that I started years ago. (Side note: I should do a post about my fairy tale rewrites and why I approached them the way I did.) It’s becoming more and more clear that this is not going to be a good first draft. It will need a hell of a lot of revision in the second draft.

I’ve realized that the part of the story I’ve been working on is, in fact, incredibly boring. It’s sort of a between-plot-points spot that will most definitely have to be rewritten, and may end up being scrapped almost entirely. I think that in order to keep my own interest in the story, I have to move it on to when things are actually happening. When I was first writing it, I was enjoying the beginning of the novel. I happen to like exposition, if it is interesting exposition. But even if that’s the case, there comes a point when there’s just too much introduction and it’s not helping the story, it is killing it. So this will have to be remedied, but seeing as this is the first draft of the story, I’m going to let this be something I worry about later. As the outline I wrote a few days ago indicates, it’s not too long after this part of the story when things actually manage to get interesting!

But revising is going to be a bitch.

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What’s Up

Hi! It seems to me like a good time for an update post, just to take stock of things, and get all the informational stuff out of my system. Kind of like Spring Blog Cleaning. Or not. I don’t know.

Well, as you might have noticed, I’ve been having a lot of “deep thoughts” to write about lately. It seems a lot of people have liked these posts, so I’m going to do more of them whenever I have something along those lines to talk about. What about the writing advice? Do you want to see more of that? (I get so few actual comments that no one has yet mentioned caring about my writing advice. Statistically speaking, how many readers to you need before you start getting actual comments? Probably several hundred at least, right? I’m not really at those numbers, sadly, so comments are rare, although “likes” abound. So thanks for that.)

The No-Recipe Life is now the permanent home for food and lifestyle posts, basically everything that doesn’t fit into the whole writing blog interface. Those of you who might have liked reading about my random adventures, life events, happenings, and various and sundry other topics (I know those mean the same thing), check it out. I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to work on the site so the navigation is more interesting, and it has some new features as well–such as monthly favorites.

I have been trying to clean/pretty up this blog as well. You may have noticed the “What I’m Reading” page, which I don’t expect will be extremely in-depth. Just a short account of the books in my life. I don’t know if I’ll actually include reviews. Maybe if anyone asks about a particular book.

I might be rewriting my “About” page, and adding a new picture. I like the one there, taken on the grounds at Bennington College in 2009, but it might be nice to have a more recent one as well. I’m not sure how much I like the text that’s there, so if I come up with a better bio, I will be replacing it.

Considering that my Helen of Troy novel is on hiatus, I am going to retire the “Helen” page. The chapters will still be available to read in the posts that I put up, however long ago that was–a year? Two? I know it was a while ago. Instead, I’m going to turn that page into a “featured story,” which will change as often as I have a new one ready to post. As soon as the first one is done, you’ll see that switch. I’m sure I will take a moment to announce it, so don’t worry about keeping close tabs on my tabs. Hehe.

For those of you who come for my microfiction, I am sorry to say I just haven’t had much inspiration lately for other lives or strange things, so my micro series are currently languishing, half-remembered, while I try to get things done like cleaning my room and trying every cafe in Boston. (And if you want to hear about those things, again, head over to the No-Recipe Life, linked above.) I’m really hoping for some flash ideas soon, but for now maybe you can just go read the old ones. Tell me which is your favorite!

Finally, I just want to briefly mention that I have created a twitter account. I’m the last one on that bandwagon, I know, just squeezing myself in where there’s room. It’s a pretty big wagon though. If you’re interested in following me, it’s @devawriting. If you’re on twitter, let me know and I can follow you!

Thanks for reading this essentially boring post. Stay tuned for something more interesting to read.

Another Life #31

I want to be a character in one of those dramatic change-of-life novels that always seem to occur at the beach. Because those characters are always artists who don’t seem to have day-to-day commitments, so they just get to lose themselves in the constant leisure and spend all their time working on their craft, creating some masterpiece or other. I bet if I lived in those circumstances, I’d have a novel done in no time. And it wouldn’t be one of those dramatic change-of-life novels that takes place at the beach, with a little temporary romance thrown in. It would be – how shall I say – larger than that.

It’s Book Quote Time!

From Ocean Sea by Alessandro Barricco

“Where does the end of the sea begin? Or, indeed, what are we saying when we say sea? Do we mean the immense monster capable of devouring absolutely anything, or the wave foaming around our feet? The water you can hold in a cupped hand, or the abyss that none can see? Do we say everything with a single word, or with a single word do we conceal everything? I am here, a stone’s throw from the sea, and I cannot even understand where it is. The sea. The sea.”

 

The plot is a little bit odd. The writing is wonderful.

Remember That You’re A Writer

To recap: I have started a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which, I have no doubt, is very different from every version you’ve ever heard, seen, or read. I wanted to finish writing my first draft by Tax Day and have it published as an ebook later this year.

I realized a few days ago: I’m doing it wrong.

I don’t mean that I don’t want to publish it as an ebook or have it done by this year. Here is what I mean –

I’ve been obsessing over my plans for the end product (i.e. something that does not yet exist) instead of focusing on the process of writing. Yes, while I’m actually putting words to the page I’m thinking about writing it, but the rest of the time I’m just thinking about publishing. And it’s great to have goals and plans for your work, because otherwise, what’s the point of writing at all? Right?

Wrong. The writing itself is the point for all born writers. We want to have our work published because we want others to read our work, but let’s be honest – we write without the promise of ever being published, even if we expect that one day we will.

I’m going back to the core and just writing the project. I’m not setting deadlines for finishing the whole book or publishing it. I am going to write, a page at a time, and make this story something I can be very proud to publish. I want there to be no question of my talent and effort when I send this thing out into the world. It’s not ready yet, and I may have been putting too much pressure on it by giving it a coming-out date too early. It will be better if I coax it out slowly. I’ll let the story unfold, see what emerges in the first draft, work hard on the first round of revisions, and THEN we’ll talk about publishing the damn thing.

In the meantime, I plan to start doing some research about self-publishing and ebooks, so that when I do start figuring out what to do with Sleeping Beauty, I’m not just launching myself blind into a vast and judgmental world.

2010 in review

This is (basically) the email wordpress sent me about my stats for the year of 2010 – which aren’t bad, considering I started the blog in June so I only had half the year. I’m wondering, though, why chapter 1 of Helen had so many more views than chapter 2. Do you think people lost interest, or do you think someone read chapter 1 a whole bunch of times? I like that option better.

 

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterâ„¢ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 59 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 22 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 6th with 40 views. The most popular post that day was Helen: Chapter 1 (full).

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, michael-jackson-secret-exposed.xpac.info, and latest-payment-proof.co.cc.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for deva jasheway, essay about helen of troy and to helen, helen hunt front teeth, the tale of murasaki- liza dalby, and clytemnestra tyndareus’ favorite.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Helen: Chapter 1 (full) July 2010
6 comments and 2 Likes on WordPress.com

2

About the Writer June 2010
5 comments

3

About This Blog June 2010

4

A Lyric Essay August 2010
3 comments

5

Helen Update: More to Come October 2010
4 comments

End of Year Update

I’m going to take a moment right now to do something I hate to do – talk about how little I’ve written.

Totaling everything up, I’m fairly certain that I didn’t write nearly as much this year as I did last year. I did that thing, where I made a New Year’s resolution to write every day. It didn’t have to be a lot, just a few sentences would have been enough to get me into the habit of productivity. The trouble with New Year’s resolutions, I find, is that most people make them at the New Year but forget to renew the resolution every day, which is what you have to do in order to stick to it. Me, I didn’t make my daily resolution to write, so I didn’t write every day.

This year I won’t make a resolution. I’ll just kick myself every once in a while instead, and say, “Hey! Why aren’t you writing?”

I bring this up because, since my last post, another Another Life installment, I really haven’t written anything at all, aside from Christmas cards. Between finally having some work (and being out of the house for large amounts of time because of it), making holiday plans (much traveling involved), and watching lots of Buffy with several of my housemates, most of my time is forfeit. The good news is that over the holidays, I expect to have at least a few hours with absolutely nothing to do, and I hope to take advantage of those hours for a bit of productivity. Maybe in Helen, maybe in an adaptation of Sleeping Beauty which I might self-publish (more on that later).

I expect that I’ll do another flash piece or two before 2010 does end, but here’s what you might expect in 2011:

– more Another Life pieces

– Chapter 3 of Helen, as well as updates about the process and progress of this project.

– links posted for my fictionpress.net account, where I plan to publish some of my fairy tales, and possibly other short stories. For those of you who are unfamiliar, fictionpress.net is a free site, where all writing posted is free to read i.e. the only payment I’ll get for publishing my stories there is publicity – maybe. The site itself is the original fiction version of fanfiction.net, which… I’m not going to explain that one.

Assuming I ever actually write/edit these short stories I want to submit to online publications and fiction contests, the ones that are not published elsewhere after being submitted to multiple places will end up on this site. I would like some real publication credits, but I also want to have these stories read. If no one else wants to publish them, I’ll put them up here myself. The downside to that – I am very certain that my blog has a lot less visibility than those sites to which I submit.

 

Ah, well. Perseverance is the thing. I’ve hardly had enough rejections to merit a publication accepting my work. Who was it who got 38 or so rejections from publishers? It was someone famous, I know, for a very well-known book.

So, in short, have some happy holidays and look out for one or two more posts before the end of the year.