The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Archive for the tag “fiction”

Updates…

Don’t kill me guys. 

I know.  I know it’s been over two months since I posted, and even though the last two months have been crazy, that’s no excuse.

I took a hiatus from writing these last couple of months, and now I’m going to try to get back into it.  It’s just that whenever I read a particularly good novel (Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys, for example), instead of feeling motivated to finish my WIP, I feel incompetent.  I feel like I’ll never be good enough, so why bother trying?

But that’s not the way I should think.  I need to remember that each published novel was at some point a messy rough draft, so it’s okay that mine is, too.  I have to learn to bury the perfectionist in me that wants to weave magical phrases and metaphors the first time around, or my inner editor that wants to keep rereading (and mentally criticizing) what I’ve written thus far.  I have to accept my work as it is–a rough draft–and realize that it will improve with each new round of edits.

Do any of you have tips for how to stay motivated and slay that inner editor/perfectionist?

NaNoWriMo… and why I’m not participating

November is National Novel Writing Month, my birthday month, and two-week-holiday-from-college month, which makes it three times as fantastic.  I actually found out about NaNoWriMo over the summer, and (naively) was looking forward to participating in it this month.

However, I forgot that I am in college.  Taking 18 credits.  With three exams in November.  Plus essays.  And failing at effectively scheduling writing time.  So I decided to forgo participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and am already regretting it.  Couldn’t I have made time?  Everyone else who participates obviously has other commitments as well.  Yeah, I’m not a fast writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I could have done something, right?

Maybe.  But I also realized that if I tried to start a new story, I would feel guilty about putting my current WIP on hold for the month, especially because I really wanted to finish it by the end of December.  To achieve this goal, I’ve decided to come up with my own deadlines for the next 1.5 months.  This way, I’ll feel like I’m participating in NaNoWriMo even if I’m not technically participating.  At the end of the day, I’ll be writing, and that’s the most important thing.  So here goes:

Goal: 60,000 words by January 1 (Yay for New Years!)

Current word count: 18,751 words

Words per week: roughly 5893 words a week, which is around 842 words a day

This is going to be rough.  I’m not even sure I can achieve this goal, but giving myself a concrete deadline will force me to write.  Plus, the holidays should give me plenty of free time to catch up.

*Deep breath*  Let’s do this.

I’ll update you all on my (hopefully weekly) progress!

Quirks

Everyone has their personal quirk–the one thing that they refuse to do because it goes against their character, against “who they are.”  My personal quirk is asking for help.  It’s an issue and I know it, and I am actively trying to change it.  Nevertheless, I always feel that I can do everything by myself.  What are teams for, anyways?  Other people only serve to disappoint, not follow directions, or do lackadaisical work.  The only person I can count on is myself… right?

Because I’m a business major, I hear the word “networking” thrown around a lot.  It’s gotten to a point where I cringe every time I hear the dreaded word, because networking involves interaction, and interaction involves giving another your time and trust, which may eventually lead to you (or them) asking for help.  That’s your network’s purpose: to serve as a pool of resources that you can call on when you need assistance starting a business, finding a job, or when you need the special skills and expertise of a more experienced person.  Which sounds great, but as my wonderful friend and roommate pointed out, dependency is weakness.

And then I thought about how this connects to writing.  If a writer simply wrote a draft by his/herself, revised it without getting any feedback from critique partners, then polished it without sending it to beta readers, and finally queried it with a letter that no one else has seen, he/she is sure to face rejection, simply because it’s impossible to catch mistakes, inconsistencies, and creative lapses without the help of others.  And then, the agent, the editor, the publicist… all of these people allow the author to succeed.  In short, there are certain things that simply cannot be done without a team.

I’m a member of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), and last week we did a group activity where five or six of us had to come up with a service project idea.  It was amazing how each group came up with such original, inventive ideas simply due to the combined efforts and brainpower of all its constituents.

A couple of days ago, I attended a business council meeting where the a major figure in the School of Business spoke about “leaders leading leaders.”  He spoke about how the dean often conferred with him and his team about new ideas, some of which were rejected.  And the dean accepted the critiques.  It was then that I realized the real importance of teamwork, of asking for help when needed, and welcoming others’ advice.  The willingness to do so has to originate internally.

Thus, I’m coming to terms with the idea of perceiving asking for help or needing help not as dependency or weakness, but as building a supportive team which mutually benefits each of its members.

What is/are your quirk(s)?

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