Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing Excuses

As I am once again gearing down to get writing done, I am looking for new ways to inspire myself. To light that spark that my fellow writers know and love (and hate!) so well. I find that is better to actively seek out inspiration than to sit around hoping it will come, and something that I found recently is the wonderful podcast Writing Excuses.

I am not generally a fan of podcasts. I never feel that I have a good chance to listen to them. In my car, I listen to radio or CDs (I have no connection for my ipod). At home, I read or watch TV or do something else that doesn't lend itself well to listening to someone drone on. At work, any personal electronic device more complicated than a wristwatch is banned and can't enter the building.

But when I read about Writing Excuses on another writing blog I follow (the Scribophile blog), it piqued my interest. It's short, so I don't feel like I have to have a long block of time available to dedicate to listening. It's done by authors that I know dealing specifically with the genre (science fiction/fantasy) that I write. And I've found that it is easy enough listening that I can listen while I workout.

Best of all, listening to an episode of Writing Excuses makes me want to write. It reminds me about the joys in writing and is a welcome reminder that I am far from the only one that struggles with any given issue that they are tackling.

They give writing prompts at the end of each episode, and so far I have yet to act on those. I have been so focused on needing to find an idea that I can carry through to a novel that I haven't been writing anything at all until I have that magical idea. And this is leading to my previously-mentioned atrophying skills. So now I am going to actually take these writing prompts and use them as an exercise. Just as I am spending the time now plugging away at getting miles so I can perform well at my upcoming 10K race in March, I need to put in the time practicing writing, even if just for my own benefit, so I can eventually produce a publishable, readable product.

And along the way, I'll be stashing ideas into my Bag O' Ideas to pull out later for a "real" writing project. Win-fucking-win!

Happy New Year! Um...

Okay, so I've been trying to convince myself to write a new year's post for a while now (about a month and 8 days!), but I kept putting it off. Because it was a pitiful year for me. Truly, gut-wrenchingly terrible. I'm pretty sure at this point my writing skills have atrophied into a twisted ball of lols and emoticons. (The majority of the writing I do consists of gchats with my boyfriend and the occasional tweet or facebook update.)

For a concrete measure of how little I got done, in the entire year of 2011, I wrote 24,045 words (according to my spreadsheet). Which I guess is better than nothing, although one could argue that it effectively is nothing, given that none of those 24k words have gone to a project that I think has real potential.

Reading through last year's wrap-up is painful. 2010 ended on such a great note. I was sending out a few queries in January 2011! I had novel ideas galore! I was going to have SO much more time! My goal was 180,000 words! And yet all that time came to nothing. I can blame it on my divorce, or stress at work trying to get through my training pipeline at the front of the group, or the happier distractions of a new relationship, but the truth of it is that I just lost the will to write. Not the desire to write, but the will.

So: no lofty goals for 2012. My only writing goal for this year is to write. And that is, hopefully, one that I can keep.