Free Writing

NaNoWriMo 2014 – WINNER

I honestly didn’t think I would make it, but as you can see from the title, I managed to win NaNoWriMo 2014! I was behind for almost a week, got caught up, and then fell behind again during the holiday. On the last day, I bust out little over 3k words to hit 50,002 words (according to Scrivener – Validation gave me over 51k.) This time I didn’t count any notes, blog posts, or word sprints. Only words that went directly into the novel itself.

 

Sadly, I’m still not finished with Soul Weaver. My word count currently sits at 115,806. I’m estimating about another 15-20k words (give or take) before I can officially say that the first draft is complete.

NaNo14WinnerGraphTo be honest, I’m worried that I’m pushing the limits on my word count. If I were to self publish I wouldn’t be too concerned, but I have plans to try to submit to a few publishers first and I know that they may refuse my manuscript on excessive word count alone. That being said, I know that a lot of it will be cut during the first round of editing. I’m banking on that.

With that in mind I’m fighting the urge to start learning how to edit. While I’d like to think that most of my first draft doesn’t have too many grammar and spelling mistakes, what I’d like to learn is how to make sure I have proper flow and continuity. That my characters are fleshed out and consistent. That there’s a great hook at the end of each chapter to keep readers reading. Everything that a professional editor would look at. That’s what I want to learn. My goal is to have my novel impeccable before submitting it to any publishers. The less work their editor needs to do, the better.

NaNo14WinnerCertificate2I’m also starting to do some research about beta readers. I won’t start taking names until I’m through the first round of editing. I’ve already got my two teenage boys who are chomping at the bit for me to finish so they can read through it and help me out, but I’ll need more. Preferably readers who have beta’d before and can offer some awesome feedback.

 

But all that can be saved for the future. Right now, I still have a few more chapters to write. If all goes well I’d like to be done with the first draft by the end of December. I’ve already got a few ideas in mind for what I’m going to write in April.

Speaking of April. I’ve managed to motivate both of my boys to join me for Camp NaNoWriMo! I even got them a copy of Scrivener to use. My younger son has already started using it to transcribe the book he’s been writing for the past few months. All he had before was a notebook full of scribbling so he’s excited to see it all typed out and divided by chapter. I’ve directed him towards the Young Writers Program that NaNo offers as well. So lots of awesomeness to look forward to.

 

For those who won WriMo – CONGRATULATIONS! To those who didn’t – as long as you wrote, you’re still a winner. Even if you only wrote a couple words, it’s better than nothing. Just keep at it! And keep in mind, there’s always CampWriMo in April and July too.

 

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Free Writing

Step One: Acknowledge, Accept, Admit.

My good friend Aaron Steinmetz and I were chatting last night and I was telling him about how I’ve finally accepted the cold hard truth. It took me a long time to come to the realization, but I was able to openly admit it to myself as well as him. I had denied it for a long time. Too long, in fact. Even when others were telling me the obvious, I refused to believe it. It took my experiences in Camp NaNoWriMo to finally come to terms with what I am and I accepted it.

Even now, as I confess to you who read this blog, it’s hard to acknowledge the truth of what I am. I want to hesitate. I want to shy away from it. I want to stammer and stumble upon my words, uttering them so quietly that you have to ask me to ‘speak up, I didn’t catch what you said, could you repeat that please?’ Much like when Twighlight Sparkle meets Fluttershy for the first time in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. (Yes, I do watch it. Yes, I do love it. Yes I suppose that makes me a Brony or a Pegasister [I prefer Brony]. Hey, I have a 2.5 year old little girl. So sue me.)

Wait a minute, did you see that? That’s pretty sad isn’t it? I’m more willing to admit that I’m a Brony than I am willing to admit that I’m a writer.

Eeeepp! *slaps hands over my mouth*

I just did it. I just said that I’m the “W”-word.

*sigh* Okay….here goes. I may as well just say it right?

I’m a writer…
I’m a writer…

I’m a writer!

I’m a writer!!

There…I said it.

Real-Writer-by-TerriblemindsWhy is it so hard for us to admit that we’re writers? That’s the discussion Aaron and I were having last night.

I think we realized that it’s because we compare ourselves too much to other writers.

I say, “I can’t possibly be a writer. I don’t have anything published. I’m not like Aaron, who’s got 4 books out there and is working on another one…”

While he’s thinking, “I can’t possibly be a writer. I still have a full-time job. I don’t write for a living, I just write on the side and manage to sell a few copies here and there on Amazon.”

Do we think that we can’t call ourselves writers because it’s not a full time occupation? Do we not call ourselves writers because we haven’t published anything yet? Or aren’t traditionally published? Or haven’t sold a million copies? Maybe we don’t call ourselves writers because – at the moment – we aren’t writing? Can you call yourself a writer if you’re between books? I mean, is J.K. Rowling currently working on another novel? If not, does that mean that she’s not a writer right now?

Let me quote you Google’s definition of Writer:

writ·er  ˈrītər/  noun
  1. a person who has written a particular text.
    “the writer of the letter”
    • a person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.
      “the distinguished travel writer Freya Stark”
    • a person who writes in a specified way.
      “Dickens was a prolific writer”

i-write-therefore-i-am-a-writerDo you see that? “…as a job or regular occupation.” We look straight beyond the first definition it gives us: “a person who has written a particular text.” (emphasis added because it’s most certainly needed)

This is what we need to realize. A writer is a person who has written a particular text. And by the way – there is no such thing as an “aspiring writer” or an “amateur writer”. So leave out the word aspiring and amateur. If you write – you’re a writer! Simple as that. There’s no such thing as an amateur writer unless you’re in pre-school and you’re learning how to write your name (even then it’s debatable). I’m pretty sure we’re all beyond that part right? Good, so then you’re a writer!

That means if all you do it blog…guess what? You’re a writer!

If you only keep a journal in a notepad that never sees the light of day: You’re a writer!

If you write short stories or poems that you think are terrible and you cringe because you’ve actually uploaded them onto your blog for others to read and laugh at how horrible they are (*cough*notme*cough*): You’re a writer!!

P.S. If you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, even if you didn’t win, you’re a writer. How’s that for earning the title eh?

You don’t have to be a famous NY Times best selling author backed by Penguin or Tor who’s ready to turn your book into a movie by Paramount and earning millions of dollars a year to be called a writer! That’s the beauty of it! You’re a writer whether anyone else knows it or not!

It’s hard to admit that you’re a writer. Believe me, I know! It’s especially hard to admit when you’re talking to another person (and maybe even harder to admit when you’re talking to a fellow writer who may be more successful than you *cough*notme*cough*)

Im-a-writerBut don’t think for one minute that just because you don’t have anything published that you’re not a writer. You ARE. Admit it first to yourself. Look in the mirror. Yeah, do it. Right now. Look into those awesome *insertthecolorofyoureyeshere* eyes and say it out loud, “I’m a writer!” Say it until you believe it. Say it to yourself. Then say it to your family and friends. Then get out there and when people introduce themselves, be PROUD to say, “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a writer!” (Well, I mean, you don’t have to shout the word “writer”, but if that’s what helps…..)

So to all my fellow writers out there I say, “Hi, my name is Amanda Davis. I’m a WRITER!”

I imagine the conversation going like this:

“I’m a reader……what are you?”

“I’m…I’m a writer.”

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

“I’m….I’m a writer.”

“Didn’t quite catch that.”

“I’m a writer.”

“Well, um. Okay then.”

amiawriterI-am-a-writer2

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