nanowrimo

Happiness, Like Opening Your Eyes to See Other Bright, Kind Fishes Swimming Alongside You. #amwriting

You know how sometimes you’re moseying through your life, teaching classes, reading great books, tending to the family, house, groceries, and pets, writing each morning before work (like you promised yourself you would, yay), and then someone says something nice to you out of the blue like, “You’re pretty,” or “You told me something wise in high school that stuck with me,” or whatever it is, and suddenly life feels more sparkly? There’s a shift. The current changes, and you feel as if you’re not swimming upstream anymore, or maybe your eyes are open wider to see the other bright, kind fishes swimming alongside you.

Three things happened this week that made me feel that kind of happiness, and they all have to do with writing since that is my life’s ambition and mostly what I blog about here. 🙂

  1. Melanie Noell Bernard invited me to post a guest blog in a special series she’s running in January. I really love Melanie’s blog, and it’s an honor to be asked. (I hope I don’t let her down.)
  2. My first reblog–thank you, Elizabeth Huff of the Well-Rounded Writer.
  3. A writer I crossed paths with during NaNoWriMo 2015 messaged me through the NaNo site (it’s crazy that I decided to check my message box there six days after the event ended) saying he “liked my style” in the WIP excerpts I posted in the forums and asked to be a beta reader for my novel. Wow, someone WANTS to read my book.

It’s been a good week.

–Eve Messenger

 

 

To Publish Books, You Must Write #amwriting

https://ebmessenger.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/2c858-ahappywriter.jpg?w=219&h=238

In the mad rush of writing, reading, and living life, it’s important to pause and reflect because from reflection comes awareness, and from awareness comes new goals. Setting new goals helps me continually improve myself both as a writer and as a human being. It isn’t always easy, especially because there are so many things I could improve upon. Where to start?

I decided to reflect upon why I was able to write twice as many words during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last year than I did this year.  This November, I crossed the NaNoWriMo 50k finish line with 1,535 words to spare. Yay, I’m a “winner,” but it’s a far cry from last year’s 112,000 words. What changed? Here are some of the things I did differently during NaNoWriMo last year.

-I wrote every morning.

-I frequently left the house to write. Coffee houses, the public library, and the university library all worked well.

-I had not yet started blogging and tweeting. Surprise, social media sometimes draws my attention away from writing.

-I wasn’t reading nearly as many books. This November I read eight novels while participating in NaNoWrimo. In order to do this, I had to cut out pretty much all TV shows and movies–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

-I was a lot more interested in last year’s novel than the one I wrote during NaNoWriMo this year.

-I wrote with 100% carefree abandon. This year I was a tad bit more careful so the resulting first draft wouldn’t be quite such a traumatic mess.

-I didn’t have other areas of my life crowding out my writing time so much. Oh, dear reader, over the past couple of months I had a major personal thing happening and, boy, did it take me emotionally and physically away from writing, but hey, no excuses, right?

So. . . this year, things changed. Life does that. In reflecting on the differences in productivity between NaNoWriMo past and present, I’ve decided to:

  • Make it a priority to reestablish a morning writing routine.
  • Be more mindful of the time I spend on social media. I’m SO grateful for the kind and talented writers and readers I’ve connected with through blogging and social media. They have made the pursuit of a writing career so much less lonely. And I’ve learned so much about publishing and writing, as well as great new books to read. I’ve also gotten a good grasp on what makes a good query letter (thanks especially to literary agent Janet Reid of Query Shark). And I have assembled a long list of excellent literary agents with whom I’d like to work, thanks to lots of internet research, agents’ blogs and tweets, and industry insights gleaned from sites like querytracker.net. Those are all good things to be aware of, and to be prepared to execute well when the time comes. But…

To publish books, you must write.

Though I’m not at a place where I feel the need to set limits on my social media time, I do realize that–as a person whose dream, goal, and mission is to publish successful YA books–more of my free time should be spent writing.

If you’ve come up with good ways to create a balance for yourself between social media and writing, I’d love to hear about them.

–Eve Messenger

Be Outlandish. Write Books with Wings #amwriting #nanowrimo

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Photo credit: front-porch anarchist 2012

 

As a writer, here are some things I try to remind myself.

Reach out for, and welcome, scary, crazy ideas because those can be the most brilliant. (Ask Vincent, Sylvia, F. Scott, and the gajillion artists who’ve come before us.)

Don’t be afraid to be outlandish. Think outside the box. Believe there is no box. When writing, allow yourself the freedom to freewheel unfettered through a galaxy of creativity. God, I love that part.

Revise with confidence. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t immediately get things right. Big, scary, daunting, multi-faceted, novel revision is a marathon, not a sprint–a marathon during which you get to stop and smell flowers, daydream, listen to music, and read other books (how cool is that?), with the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line with a novel you can be proud of.

Polish your novel until it has wings to fly: to overworked literary agents who perk up because you’ve written exactly what they’re looking for; to readers who are moved by your words, excitedly turn each page, and feel a sense of loss when they reach the last word.

Then write more novels to make those readers happy again.

–Eve Messenger

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way Into NaNoWriMo 2015 #amwriting #nanowrimo

I discovered that my writing habits during NaNoWriMo are pretty much the same as they are during the other eleven months of the year; every day I squeeze out writing whenever I can. However, NaNo does push me to work toward higher word counts, and the write-ins and online word sprints make the journey a bit less lonely.

Though I was tired after a long week, I was proud of myself tonight for getting out of the house and driving to a write-in. Laptop in hand, I settled into the coffee shop with some friendly local writers I remembered from last year. Problem: throughout the entire write-in these writers gabbed with each other like a gaggle of geese. None of them wrote! It got to the point where I went online and did word sprints with people on Twitter and the NaNoWriMo website. The woman who runs this particular write(not TALK)-in is actually a nice, smart lady, but I think she was just off her game tonight. Anyway, at one point, one of the gabbling writers said, in reference to me, “I’m impressed with how well she can concentrate on her writing while we’re all talking.” Ask me if I responded. Yes, I did.

Okay, so tonight’s write-in was a bust, but at least it gave me something to talk about on my blog. And there are other, better-organized write-ins (including a write-in on a train, which I LOVE), so I’ll hit up some of those later this month. In the meantime, my new YA fantasy novel is up to 16,000 words, and one of the characters busted out with a cool surprise tonight.

Have a great November!

Writing and Waiting and Plane Flights, Oh My #amwriting

Can it be? For the first time in recent memory, I’m between writing projects, mainly because NaNoWriMo doesn’t start for another week. So today I got to have fun with a writing prompt (not that I’m supposed to be getting ready to board a plane in a couple of hours or anything). I’ve been writing prose non-stop, so it was fun to play with language in poetry form today.

Nina’s writing prompt photo that sparked my imagination:

The writing prompt details:

#‎MY WritersWritingPrompt‬ – Week 43/2015

Write a piece of micro-fiction/non-fiction/poetry in English or Malay inspired by this image – word count: between 50 to 200 words

What I wrote:

Heart invisible, all face and hands, an imprint on the fabric of the ethos.

Degrees of gray. A brow but no eyes, existing beyond dimension.

On which side of the cloth do I stand?

Arms folded, timid, watching

Or a soul pressed, and expressing, against impossible vastness.

Step closer, lean in to hear.

Her mouth is open with the promise of truth, of a scream, of emptiness.

Beauty in the exertion

And a thrilling threat of rupture.

— Eve Messenger