Keeping My Mind on Writing

I want to be a writer.

Technically, I suppose I already am a writer. It’s what I spend most of my time doing, and I daresay I’m rather good at it. What I should have said is, I want to be a professional author. My dream job is to make a living writing books and blogging on the side. When I imagine my ideal life, I picture myself living in a nice high-rise apartment just big enough for me and my cat(s), earning money via royalties, with my books on sale in Borders and Barnes & Nobles everywhere.

Of course, writing a novel is a tricky process. Right now, I’m almost done with the fourth draft of the first chapter of the first novel of a planned trilogy (it started out as a single book, but then the idea exploded outward and, well, I liked it better that way). My personal process is a bit odd, because while my inspiration is sporadic, my brain does not enjoy shifting between mindsets. I often end up writing a scene, but then getting stuck at a transition with a nice momentary bout of writer’s block and not wanting to stop writing because my brain is still in “writing mode.”

That is pretty much where this blog came from.

In the past, this mostly led into “side projects” that I would write in Google Docs and pretty much abandon because I had nowhere else to put them. Now that I have this platform, though, a lot of them are going to come out. Generally, they come in a few categories, the most common of which are below in no particular order.

  • Random Research Project: I latch onto a detail of something I have read, watched, or heard recently, and run with it until I know everything about it. This is the kind of thing where I see a scrap of Ancient Greek or Classical Latin and absolutely must translate it. This kind of side project often happens in “breaks” where I actually get out of writing mode, and serves as the vehicle back in. It can also happen as a product of research for any piece of writing, if I end up finding something to be abnormally interested in along the way.
  • Bout of “Literary” Criticism: I have a tendency to be rather sensitive to poor writing and an insatiable urge to correct perceived inaccuracies. With those traits combined with my love of writing, it’s no surprise that I end up writing extended critiques of bad media. Note that although I say “literary” criticism, it isn’t necessarily literature that gets criticized: film, visual arts, and music are fair game too. Random Research Projects may end up integrated into these on occasion, e.g. if critiquing poor science involves an explanation of why x scientific inaccuracy is so wrong.
  • Short Story: I have a great many random ideas floating around my head at any given time, so when I take a break from writing my novel, one easy road to go down is writing one of my other concepts as a short story. Sometimes it grows a bit too much, and I end up with a linked series of short stories, or something that might grow into a future novel; however, many of these do end up as legitimate short works. A related field is…
  • Spitefics: I am a huge fan of the sporkings of Das Mervin and co. As a result, I occasionally write “spitefics” about the things she’s reviewed, drawing either from my own ideas or from her critique.

In the interest of adding content to this blog, I may end up posting some of these side projects here. Spitefics are more likely to be posted on Mervin’s spitefic comm, but the rest are certainly fair game, particularly the Random Research Projects and Bouts of Criticism. Bouts of Criticism even has a few projects that might become ongoing series: in particular, I’ve been working on some sporkings of creepypastas, and an extended chapter-by-chapter critique of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (in which I have been careful to not simply repeat Mervin’s points from her still-unfinished recap).

I may also post updates on my novel’s progress. This would include pieces about my writing process, discussions of the setting, and perhaps even introductions to some of the main characters. Samples may come eventually, but they’re far off; I want to make sure that everything is nice and polished before it hits publication, whether traditional or on the Internet.

If you have any suggestions for topics I might want to consider in these little side projects, I’d love to hear them!