Saturday, July 31, 2010
Boring, plain and restrained.
I am forced to smile.
Even when I want to cry.
But at night,
I am completely different.
I am happy, talented and free.
I even smile because I want too.
I dread when the morning comes near.
The bright beautiful day,
a symbol of my restraints
Welcome is the sight of twilight,
signaling that my real life,
is about to begin.
This is a poem I wrote about how I juggle two different lives. During the day I am the receptionist and during the night I am an aspiring writer. However, I never stop wanting to write. During the day I just pretend to be someone else for 8 hours.
Me not being able to write is driving me insane. I am suffering from a lack of sleep, yet again. Not that I could sleep at all before. I feel sad and I just don't seem to have any energy at all. Instead of adapting to working and writing, I am mostly just working. I don't seem to have much time for anything else.
But I am hoping to get a lot done this weekend. My family life is still strenuous, but we try to tolerate each other as best we can.
I have a constant headache and after three weeks of working there, I have decided I don't like my job or working with people. But I will keep working as the temporary receptionist. After all it is a job and it is an income. The whole point of being an adult is making sacrifices, right? So what if I am not happy? At least I have an income and I am employed.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Only problem is that our local library is not very well stocked and most of the bookshops are very expensive. I don't mind paying a lot of money for a good book. But one mistake I usually make is that after I bought a book, it doesn't read as well as it did in the shop and I don't seem able to get past the first three chapters. I suppose you can say I am a fussy reader. If I don't like a certain writing style or the voice in which the author writes, I won't the finish a book no matter how much I paid for it.
I never read a lot in the bookshops because of the way the clerks always glare at you but next time I will simply just not give a damn. Because there is no way I am spending another dime on a book that sucks.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
My oldest sister, the avid reader, I would say is probably the most supportive at the moment. Even she was a bit sceptical at the binning. But even my brother the most judgemental one is asking me how far my first novel is from submission. It is really weird. My mother and my other sister, the chef, can't understand why I keep writing. I might never get published and I might never make more then 25c off my writing, but yet I still write.
Just the other day my brother told me that I can write but to not embarrass him by writing crap. So with my family I think you have to take the sweet with the sour. We are a pretty old fashioned family and in our country becoming a successful fiction writer is unheard of. So, if I want to submit my work I will have to submit it overseas, which just reduces my chances even further. Because if American agents don't want to accept most American authors, what are the chances they will want to accept work from a girl from South Africa? Very slim, but still I am going to try.
I love my family a lot and I truly understand their concerns, but I have to keep on writing, no matter how hard it gets. Maybe they are supporting me now, but will they still support me when the rejection letters come in? I think not, but I refuse to let their prejudices keep me down. After all, what do I have to lose?
I am no longer going to try and write at work, no matter how much time I have. It is too irritating and I don't feel relaxed there. I will still take my little notebook and scribble some ideas in there, but no more attempts to finish scenes. And when I get home, no matter how tired and unmotivated I feel, I will have to write. I need to finish this second book.
That might sound simple but it has been hard these past two weeks to get myself to do any of it. I even started counting my calories again full steam and I already lost 1 kg. So, I am happy all around.
My sister, the chef, recently got an article published in our local magazine. I am very proud of her. She worked hard to get what she wanted and now she is finally head chef, getting articles written about her and everything. What is really good for her career is that the whole country reads that magazine religiously, so her future looks very bright.
Friday, July 23, 2010
I recently bought myself this book, The Only Grammar book you'll ever need by Susan Thurman, from the writersdigest.com and I must say I am pretty happy with it. It told me everything I wanted to know, so I can use it as a quick reference from now on. Every time I am unsure of something, I can just go look it up. I am definitely not memorising everything.
For those who might want to know, it is a paperback with 184 pages and it addresses every writing dilemma imaginable.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The reason I feel confused is that all the submission requirements asks you for maximum 100 000 words. So, now I have to either split the manuscript in two and make it 2 separate books or reduce my manuscript size drastically (I don't like this option). And for those of you who read paranormal romance, you will notice that those ladies who write in that genre, have far more pages then me. So obviously their word count has to be higher then mine too, right? Is it because they are already published authors that their works can be longer or is there just some simpler answer and I am just being a moron?
I hate to bring her up again, but lets take Stephenie Meyers debut novel, Twilight as an example. Nobody knew her then, but her first book gets to have something like 478 pages, after her editor reduced the final word count. Meaning, she submitted an even bulkier manuscript with a very high word count and still... she got published (it got picked out of the slush pile by the way). No disrespect intended.
I already know if I submit my novel as thick as it is now, I will get rejected on word count alone. So what is a girl to do?
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I started writing when I was ten. At first it was song lyrics, then poetry, then lyrics again, followed by short stories... the list goes on and on. My point being that I have always written. I wont even count the crap I wrote when I was younger (4-9 years old), I will just write that stuff off.
Why are you telling us this you boring, odd, short woman? Well, when I was 18, I threw all of my work that I have ever written away, as I went to college to pursue a more serious life. I never considered becoming a writer. And to this day, I regret throwing everything away and turning my back on my writing. I regret not deciding to be a writer from the start. I could have saved myself 4 years of torture and my family a lot of money.
What I am trying to say is that those of us who choose to write, are blessed. Because we have a unique way to better the quality of our lives. We can escape to worlds that may only exist in our imagination but we bring those worlds to life, by the ink of a pen, the lead of a pencil or just by typing on a keyboard. We are just borne to write. As simple as that. It doesn't matter if you don't think you are good. Just write.
You are probalby thinking '' What are you talking about you moron, you haven't even submitted your first manuscript yet''. I have not submitted any of my works for submission yet and I don't know what it feels like to have that piece of paper in your hand that notifies you that your project has been rejected. But I know what rejection feels like. I had people laugh in my face and just out right humiliate me while I applied for job after job and getting rejected each time. For two years I struggled to become employed and to this day, I am still doing part time jobs. So, I will probably have to go through the embarrassing part of asking (begging) for a job again soon. Meaning, I know rejection and I decided not to give up, to push through. My brother always says ''Nothing worth having is ever easy''.
If writing makes you happy, then please don't stop. No matter how many rejection letters you get or how bad the comments are. Keep writing. Don't give up on something that makes you happy. I will regret those 4 years I lost till the day I die, no matter how many manuscripts I write in the years after.
I just wanted to provide some motivation to all those writers who might be thinking of giving up. Sorry if I came across as depressing, instead.
I have noticed that my level of creativity is dependent on my diet and lifestyle. If I don't eat the right foods or if I don't exercise, my creativity suffers. Today I thought of a way to change my first 3 chapters, all while sitting at my desk, waiting for the phone to ring. Is it a coincidence that my creativity level increased just as I had eliminated certain foods out of my diet? I think not.
I have been going to bed really early these few days and it didn't do anything but make me grumpy. It might sound strange, but I think I do better with less sleep. I think I could get away with only 7-6 hours of sleep. Hell, if it helps my writing why not? I would probably get up to write in the middle of the night if it wasn't so damn cold at the moment. Winter use to be my favourite season, well not this year.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Anyway, everyday she starts off our day with more weight remarks and I can't ignore her because my desk is right next to hers. Maybe I am too sensitive but I think that there is something wrong with my human chemistry or something. I keep on pulling all the mean people to me and I don't want to keep saying that I am not a peoples person because that makes me sound like a complete freak of nature.
Honestly, I do struggle with my weight, but I am doing something about it. I already made peace with the fact that I wont lose all the weight fast. It will take time and I would rather make sure the weight stays off instead of picking every kilo back up after a week. Usually my writing is my coping mechanism, but I haven't been doing much of that lately, which probably explains my horrid mood.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Anyway, I am starting with the outline for my third potential novel. I just have to write everything down, so that it can get out of my head. I am still editing the first one and should still finish the second, but this story is haunting me. So, I am going to grab a book, a pen and plant myself in front of the fireplace and just let my ideas flow unto the paper.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
1. I don't like it when people read over my shoulder so, if they can't read what I write maybe they will stop attempting to read it.
2. I am too lazy to write out all the words in full. I don't have a lot of privacy to type on the computer and I think writing stuff kind of helps me get into the writing mood.
I know what you are thinking, when does this chick work when she is writing most of the time? Well, it is very quiet at the moment and they won't let me read at my desk, so I write. I can't just sit there and stare out of the window. Yes, I have an active imagination, but not that active that it will keep me amused for hours.
People are becoming friendlier and I am starting to adjust to the new work environment. But I have to be aware of certain people at the office who are constantly trying to take advantage of the new girl. Why can't people just leave you alone and let you do your job?
Anyway, I will start making the big changes to my first manuscript soon, just waiting for the computer to be reformatted and then I will start. I am dreading the changes to my first three chapters though, but I know it is necessary.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I wrote about 5 pages today while I was at work. I am very happy with what I wrote. Only problem is that it is a scene for my third manuscript and I am only busy with the second. But I guess I can always put it away for later use.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Most of the book focuses on the basics of writing. Which was absolutely perfect for me, because he tells you what to do and what not to do. As well as what to look for when you edit. Not to mention all the handy writing exercises.
Basically, what I learned is that there is no formula to perfect editing. Your manuscript quality will depend on you, the author and you alone. All I can do is polish my manuscript to the best of my ability and hope it is good enough for who ever reads it.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Didn't do any writing at all. I just read the book and studied, again. I can't wait for the test to be over and done with. Honestly, this is my last exam ever. I really don't have the capacity or patience for studying anymore and because I am so obsessive, I can't let my mind think creatively till I finish this damn test! Urgh!
I learned today that some people are really manipulative. At work I noticed that certain female colleagues are nice when they are with you, but behind your back they are completely catty. I am just going to do my job and not care about making friends or being liked. I don't want to get involved in any of the drama.
Got some feedback from my manuscript. She also felt that the flow wasn't exactly write and that I used too much commas, which is a mistake I had picked up on my half of the manuscript too. But overall she liked the style of writing and she thought I was creative.
So, I am pretty happy with the events of the day.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I haven't started making changes on the computer yet. I think that might take a lot longer to fix. After all, I made quite a lot of changes and I already know that I want to rewrite the first three chapters. I need to make it a bit more original and a lot more memorable.
I am psyching myself up for work tomorrow. I don't think I will ever get use to working with people. It will always be a source of fear and intimidation for me, but it is also a great source of inspiration. It gives me lots of possible characters and personalities that I can use for my novels.
I had my first glass of Cognac tonight. I liked it but I still like my local brand of brandy better. I am not really a drinker, but I like to have a little brandy every now and again. Why did I drink Cognac? Because my brother thought I should know what it tastes like. Me, liking brandy instead of wine or beer. My brother wants to broaden my horizons, let me know what else is out there, so to speak.
I just hope the brandy doesn't keep me up the whole night. I need to get some deserved sleep, before I go work tomorrow. Oh, I also have a cold, again. Also contributing to my lack of sleep. But I am off to bed now. Have a great day everybody!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
But I still have a few days to study, so no worries.
Friday, July 9, 2010
So, I am sorry if it may come across as deceitful, but if I want to write it has to be anonymously. Though funny enough, my pen name is really close to my real name. Ha! Ha!
My books from writers digest also came today. Now I can really get things going. I am getting my other half of my manuscript back next week, so I am excited about that. I didn't write yesterday and I probably wont get to it today either. I am going to try and finish the last few chapters of my manuscript this weekend. I hate editing at work, because I can't deal with it when people star reading over your shoulder.
Well, I guess I have to start editing now. And I know I am a freak, but I am going to watch eclipse again, tonight. It's OK, you can judge me.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I edited three chapters while sitting at my desk, today. It was a really quiet day and I was surprised I got so much done. I am a little bummed because I don't seem to have any energy left to write. And this was exactly what I was afraid of. Now that I am back at a demanding job I don't get time to write, accept on weekends, but at least I am getting a lot of editing done.
I am afraid to say it but things are actually going well for me for a change. Accept that one of my friends sent me one of those chain letters that say ''if you don't foreword this you will have a lifetime of bad luck''. Personally I don't believe in stuff like that and why the hell, would a friend send you crap like that? I wouldn't send another person an email like that. So, if anything happens to me and I am no longer blogging, then you know my friends little email got me.
I am going to edit a few more chapters. I feel inspired and determined to make that manuscript shine. I am actually excited to get to the stage where I get my first rejection letter. It sounds weird I know.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
I got a few very good ideas while I was working. However I still struggle to make my two main characters appear in love. It is a lot harder then people think it is and yes, it is necessary for this story, seeing that it follows on my first one and as you can imagine the characters relationship evolves. I end up making a passionate scene sound really corny and the flow is all wrong. I still need a lot of work in that department. My first manuscript is going to need a lot of work too, before it is going to be anywhere near ready for submission.
Now I am torn. Do I write on the second novel or do I edit my first? What a dilemma. But I am going to try and do both. I really can't let either projects go. I know I am trying to do too much but I just can't lose momentum now.
I am still suffering from a lack of sleep, but when I write I hardly notice the fatigue. I don't mind losing sleep but I do mind the nightmares I have whenever I try to sleep. Overactive imagination I guess. For some strange reason I get my best ideas late at night, which is funny because I use to be one of those children (and teenager) who use to be afraid of the dark and now I seem to be more comfortable during night time then daytime.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I started reading through my first manuscript and I will start editing it soon. I only still have half of my manuscript. My second book is sort of on hold for the moment while I am reading through the first one. Now that I am reading it after taking a break from it for a couple of months, I can see where I have to change certain things or tweak it. I even bought me books about self-editing on writers digest.com to help me even further, but I already know exactly what has to change and what I have to take out.
Once again thank you for all the helpful advice from the writers digest community. They made my writing life so much easier.
Friday, July 2, 2010
But when the inspiration hits it is hard to ignore and these days I don't ignore it at all. I had done enough ignoring when I quite writing for 4 years and I still regret that decision to this day. I have wasted so much time doing things I thought I liked, when in reality I turned my back on the only thing I ever loved doing and that had gotten me through the worst times of my life, my writing. So, no more regrets!
When I feel like writing, even when it is 02:00 am, I write. I love it! And even now, when I read other aspiring writers blogs and see, that like me they also struggle to cope with wanting to be writers and having other priorities in life, I suddenly feel comforted and honoured to be part of their writing worlds . And let me tell you these ladies write fantastic and realistic posts that make me proud to be an aspiring writer.
As you can see I have been very busy today chatting up a storm. And I truly just get carried away. Maybe I should use this energy on my novel.