Monday, May 21, 2012

I hate page 100.

Hello jell-os.

So, last night I finally got to page 100 in my current work-in-progress. Exciting, right? Well ... except this is like, the most slow-paced story I've ever written (and for me, that is saying something). I haven't even gotten into the main plot yet. Heck, the main characters haven't even met each other. (WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?) And judging by the ridiculously slow pace, and the fact that it has taken me about two years to get to this point in the manuscript, I predict I will finish it when I'm around 70 years old.

The other problem is, page 100 is always where I get really stuck. I don't really know why it is, but it always happens. Always.

I guess that whole "shiny new story" feeling has totally worn off by that point, and that makes it harder to be excited about writing it. And it's like, the point where I'm done with all the introductory stuff and then it's hard to transition into the real "meat" of the story.


Yeah I'm like, still in the top bun part right now. Or maybe I've gotten as far as the ketchup/mustard. Just not the hamburger part yet. And ... yeah. You know what? Forget this metaphor.

So, how about everyone else? Is there a certain point you always get stuck in a story? And how do you get past that part (if you ever get past it)? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wonderful Ways to Get Writing Done

I feel like lately all of my blog posts have begun this way, but OH MY GOSH I'M SO SORRY I HAVEN'T POSTED IN FOREVER. It's been ... um, almost two months. Wow. I apologize to anyone who actually reads my ramblings posts. I've just been neglecting this blog lately and ... yeah. The good news is, I'm done with my first year of college! (I know, I can't believe it either.) Anyway, now that it is summer I will be posting much more. So, hooray!

(Side note: Uh whoa, Blogger totally changed its style. What is this strange place?)

But anyway, onto today's topic. 

One of the hardest parts of writing is ... writing. And by that I mean, the physical act of actually getting your butt in a chair and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). It may sound simple, but let's face it ... Life is busy. We're always caught up in school and/or work, and at times it is hard to find the time to write. Even when you do have time, you might not feel motivated. Maybe you're not sure what's going to happen next in your story, or you're stuck at a part that's not particularly exciting.

Personally, I believe you just have to force yourself through a first draft. You have to write whatever comes to mind, even if it doesn't make much sense. You have to drag yourself through the boring patches. (I know a lot of writers who write things out of order when they're stuck, but that tactic is not helpful for everyone––definitely not for me. I talk more about why in my post "What order do you write in?".) The truth is, you just have to get the words out.

Sure, your first draft is going to be crap. It's going to be disorganized. Just accept it now. But getting it out of your head and onto paper is the first big step you have to take.

So, here are the places I turn to when I just need to pump out words:

Write or Die: 

I've probably mentioned Write or Die a billion times before, but I can't advertise it enough. This thing is the bomb. It's an application in which you set a time and a word goal for yourself. Then, if you space out and stop typing, the screen starts to turn red and it makes annoying noises at you. It may seem aggravating at first, but it can really help. Personally, using this application has trained me to usually write more than 500 words in 15 minutes (about 2000 words an hour!), so I'd say it's definitely worth it.

There's both a web app and a desktop app version of Write or Die. You can use the free web app by going here, and it's right above the "About" section. And the desktop app costs $10 if you want to invest in it.

Written? Kitten!

If Write or Die scares you too much, Written? Kitten! may be a better alternative. As the website describes, "We like positive reinforcement, so we decided to make something a bit like writeordie but cuter and fuzzier." Every time you type a hundred words, you get to see a new picture of an adorable kitten! What could be better than that?

Check it out here.

Word Wars:

If you have friends who are writers, this is a fun way to motivate yourself. The way it works is pretty simple. You get together with a group of writers (whether it's in person or online), and you all write for the same amount of time (usually somewhere between half an hour to an hour), and at the end you all share your word count and see who wrote the most. A little competition is always healthy, eh?

I've done most word wars via Skype with other writer friends. But I also recently joined a word wars group on Facebook, which writes every day from 7-8 PM EST ... and that has been extremely helpful lately!

#Wordmongering on Twitter:

If you have a Twitter account, I highly recommend making use of the #wordmongering hashtag. It's basically word wars, which happen at the beginning of every hour and end at the half hour mark. The best thing about it is that you can do it whenever you want, and there are usually a bunch of other writers participating. Just check out the hashtag for more information and to see who else is writing!

Hopefully these resources are useful to everyone. If anyone else knows of other good motivation websites/applications for writers, please comment and let me know! :)