So far on writing goals

Writing samples: Parker 75
Image by churl via Flickr

Starting the third month into the year I was prompted to evaluate how my writing goals have worked so far. Kind of assessing if I actually kept my new year’s resolutions or if they were already been postponed.  I feel closer to my writing than I have ever felt. Writing has slowly snuck up on me and it’s a need like eating and I love to eat! Every day I feel the need to write, but not every day I think I have something relevant to say.

I’m pushing myself to be a better writer and what are some of those things that I have put in place to accomplish that in 2011…?

  • I’ve returned to my reading roots. Last year I dedicated a lot of time to writing, but not enough to reading. I believe that a healthy balance is important for any writer.
  • I’m actually following my calendar. In December I created a calendar of contests I wanted to participate (if you’re interested in peaking at that calendar it’s on the publication and achievements page). Last year I created the calendar but actually did only a few of those. So far I have submitted to each and every one of those competitions that I committed to participate in. It doesn’t matter the outcome, it’s about the exercise of meeting deadlines and writing more.
  • Joined wordpress post-a-week challenge where I’m committing to at least post on my blog once a week.  I’ve been trying to post more than that. At my current rate I could have joined post-a-day, but at least once a week still gives me the necessary breather for days when things get complicated.
  • Accountability- I hired a proofreader who is aware of my deadlines, so the expectation of the workload I have to provide for her it’s a constant reminder that I have to come through with my committed contests. Also, I have some readers who have decided to contact me when I go without posting for more than two days to ask when the next post will come. I’m flattered that they enjoy this blog, but also the feedback gives me the sense of responsibility to keep it up.
  • Class- I have committed to be part of at least one writing workshop before the end of the year to improve my skills. I have invited a teenager aspiring writer to take the workshop with me. Have you been able to promise something to a teenager that they will forget? Trust me we will go to the workshop!
  • Social Media- I’ve subscribe to the Kristen Lamb’s Blog. She not only gives great advice for writers but also advises about how to utilize social media more efficiently. I just found this blog last week and I’ve learned a lot.

So these are some of the things that I’m doing to take my writing to another level and so far so good… Have some tips of your own? Share them!!!

Stay tuned.

Having a bad writing day, week, season… you get the idea!

Some women experience bad hair days, I think I’m having a bad writing day (or season) not all days are inspired in a writer’s mind. Some days words flow and some days it’s really hard work. Even I’ve had great revelations when I’ve been tired or sick, but lately it’s like my brain has ran out of steam and finding the ways to express myself has been nothing less than challenging.

I guess it’s because I’m trying to force myself to write in a certain way, my head is not going in the direction that I’m trying to steer it. So it basically has come to a halt. I’ve been having somewhat of what I have called writer’s ADD. Multiple ideas, stories and sentences are all popping into my head not enough to do anything with them or that would make any sense and by the time I sit down to write, they are gone. Having lost the routine of walking around with my netbook, which has been in ICU for a while, giving me only glimpses of available usage every now and again; I have missed plenty of opportunities of random usable muses that have crossed this brain of mine. (My netbook has been crashing and freezing and now that finally I can get a new one, I’m emotionally attached to the dysfunctional one and can’t part from it. You don’t have to say it, I know!!)

I went to the website of writer Lisa Scottoline. I recently read one of her latest non-fiction books; she’s funny and real and I wanted to gain some perspective from a professional writer. On her website,  She was talking about the everyday of a writer. She has a word count goal everyday. I started thinking that I write most days, but not everyday. Not because I don’t want to, I just don’t do it. Ironically, the day I don’t write I spend the day agonizing about the fact that I have not written a thing.

 Then I started feeling insecure about my writing. I think most writers would agree that there are days when you write exceptional things and some days you just write junk. I think that’s part of why there are some days where I don’t do the commanded “butt and chair” exercise of writing is because I already know in my head that whatever is coming out is junk and I don’t like to write junk. So I get discourage before even sitting to write trying to achieve perfectionism, where do you even find such thing?

I had read about writing everyday before, I want to come up with a reasonable word count goal, as I’m not yet (calling it in faith) a full time writer and I hold a normal 8-5 job and a life, (well something like a life…hahaha!) I don’t consider writing a hobby. Writing is a part of me; it’s my way of expression, so even when today I think that my writing sucks, I don’t think I could stop doing it. The times that I did, I felt dead and I’m not going backwards. Writing like anything in life takes practice, so the more I write, the better it would get.

I decide today to start writing everyday, (not necessarily a blog post). I’ll think of my reasonable word count after a few more hours of sleep, right now I couldn’t decide between chocolate or vanilla ice cream. I promise to start browsing for a new laptop, and pray that I fall in love again with one that will follow me for a few more years in this journey.  I chose to just abandon myself in the words and allow them to flow instead of trying to control them…that’s why they don’t want to come out…LOL! …and look, who knew? I had tons to say from someone who didn’t know what to write about! (All 650 words and all 🙂 )

Process of writing this blog

I was asked how long it usually takes me to write a blog post. The answer, it depends. I try to write often because it usually means that I’m connected to the source of my inspiration, God.  Also through the process of writing I can learn and understand the spiritual impact of my surroundings and compare it with what the Word says regarding my experiences. There are days were I can be sleeping, and I’m awaken and I just turn on my laptop and start writing and the words flow. Sometimes just a scripture or a situation triggers me to be inspired and write.  If I’m connected and inspired I can even write two or more postings in one day and save the extra ones for rainy days (days where I can’t even remember my name).

On days when I’m not inspired or not connected with God and I’m trying to write just to make sure that all my readers don’t think that I’ve fallen from the face of the earth, a post is like pulling teeth. Nothing makes me flow, nothing makes sense and I end up writing ramblings that I end up not publishing.  This is an inspirational blog, so if I have nothing to say that can enrich my reader’s lives, it’s better for me to shut and see why I don’t have anything enriching my own life that day to share.

After I write the content, I look for the specific scriptures that will exemplify what I’m talking about. I know the words in the bible but not the biblical references and that’s when biblegateway.com becomes my friend.  For example I know that the Word of God says he will renew our strength and that we will be able to fly like eagles, but I have to look up where it says that. (It’s on Isaiah 40:31 by the way)

The last part of the process is the visual additions. Looking for the perfect picture or the perfect song to add can take some time, especially when Google is not cooperative or when our internal WordPress Zemanta (an image system) thinks that we’re talking about dogs when we’re talking about burgers  and it gives you all the wrong images.

Back to the original question, how long does it take me to create and publish a post? On a good day, thirty minutes. On a hard day, which is a day when I can’t find the right or perfect images or sounds, then it can take me up to two hours in any given day.

So now you know the secret behind this blog’s writing.

Have a great day and enjoy this song!

I’m posting every week in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog from one to three times a week for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The Daily Post, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Naty

The Road to Nanowrimo

Never underestimate the places were God puts you. I’m not saying that it was God’s will for me to be sick for the last week, but  he knew I needed to stop the train of life I was running and there was a lot that I had been praying to hear from him, but had not stopped to listen. Few days in bed shivering with fever, dragging to do every move and knocked out on medication will do wonders to your spiritual ears.

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on the anticipation of my yearly writing main event, Nanowrimo. This is the race to write a novel in a month of 50,000 words or more. Last year was the first time I ventured to do such thing and I was nervous due to the unknown. It’s worth mention that Nanowrimo was the precursor of The Rising Muse. I had so much writing energy after being in writing boot camp that I needed to channel it somewhere, that’s how The Rising Muse was born.  It also gave me the opportunity to finally finish a novel, which in itself was a great accomplishment, winning the competition was not bad at all. The rest of the year has been dedicated to editing the fruits of my labor (hint, hint to my editor, get yourself in gear, we’re trying to publish a book here! LOL!)

Anyway, at 52 hours from facing the challenge one more time, I’ve taken the time to review my life within the last year and see how far God has brought me during this time.  A lot of things have happened in the last 12 months.  I don’t work in the same position, I don’t drive the same car, and I don’t live in the same place. My spirit and my love for God are not even at the same level. I do have more responsibilities, but I wouldn’t trade it for the past. I have new friends, 20 less pounds (that I hope not to gain in November, it tends to happen); a total new life.

In my writing career, what have been those accomplishments in the last 12 months?

  • My first publication, the short story “The Janitor”
  • Winning Nanowrimo, “ The Road Home”
  • Starting my blog, “The Rising Muse”
  • Starting a Spanish Version of the blog with a collaborator (yes, Yanira you deserve a lot of credit too) “TRM en Espanol”
  • My second publication, the story “Obedience and Willingness”

I look at it and I can’t believe it myself. Someone asked me today which was the  accomplishment  I was most proud of in my life ; I responded allowing God to shine through the talents he gave me and letting him use my gifts and mistakes to touch other people’s lives. So to him the Glory of all he’s allowed me to do!

Now at 51 hours the clock continues to race for me to start writing, “Breaking Free”. I think we’re doing better this year. Last year my novel didn’t have a title until the very end. I think we have a good start. Last year the anxiety was because I didn’t know what I was facing. This year the anxiety is because I do know what’s coming.

I want to take the opportunity to thank God for his love, mercy and for giving me this gift. I thank all my readers, my friends and family for your support. Thanks to Yolanda and Jeff for inviting me for the second year to their house for Thanksgiving allowing me to write instead of cooking. I promised a pie and a cake, Publix may end up doing them for me…LOL! To Seth, my editor, for loving me and putting up with my Spanglish writing. Only he understands the things I write, especially when I write in a hurry.

To those around me, remember, as of Monday there’s no cooking. My dog will appreciate visitors to let her out and I will appreciate anyone bringing me a sandwich, a smoothie (Carrie hint, hint), a soy chai latte or (Noe hint, hint) just listen to me fuss about how this story is not coming along. Let the writing begin!!!! 50 hours to go!!!