Day 23 – “W” Writing
I’m sure that “Writing” will be a popular choice for “W” in the A-Z challenge. I’ve seen quite a few writing surveys/questionnaires circulating lately and I’ve put together one of my own; pulling from a few surveys, I tailored the questions to create a short questionnaire with a focus on goals and the writing process.
What is your ultimate goal for your writing?
Like many writers, my ultimate goal is to have my novel published. I’ve had some short pieces published (poetry, reviews, articles in newspapers, etc.) and as wonderful as that is, my next milestone is finishing my book. I’m open to options for getting it out there, even self-publishing during the first go-around, and am looking forward to this stage when I am done with the writing and editing process!
That being said… I notice a huge difference in my writing when I’m writing with a goal of “getting published” or achieving some award compared to when I’m writing for pleasure, because I feel passionate about some subject, situation, person, or topic and want to express that through the written word. My writing is so much more personable and deep when I write for me than when I try to appeal to a certain audience. Don’t get me wrong, writing towards a target audience is necessary in certain situations, but I find that when I write to please others, the quality of my work tends to falter.
What goals do you set daily? This week? This month? This year?
Lately I’ve been striving to write something every day. Whether that be a blog post, some outlining for my book, a short story, a excerpt that will make its way into my book, etc., I have been really pushing to get into a regular, daily habit of writing rather than a writing binge fest when the inspiration strikes. If I’m feeling inspired, there is no stopping me from spewing out pages upon pages at crazy hours. But, I’m finding that I really enjoy and benefit from the regular, disciplined routine of writing daily.
I have short and long-term writing goals with regards to how much I want to get accomplished every week, month, year, etc. I don’t really focus on word count so much as projects completed. For example, this month has been the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Next month will likely be to hit another milestone in the outlining/writing process of my book or to finish reading a certain number of books for research.
What kind of writing schedule will you/do you keep?
I have a full-time “day job” so I try to get as much writing done in the evenings as I can. As far as a schedule goes, I’m currently trying to write something every day during the week and I like to dedicate one afternoon on the weekends to staying home and getting some good writing in. During the week, I’ll usually plant myself at my desk for an hour or so when I get home and have unwound a bit after work. On the weekends, I find that I am most productive in the late morning and early afternoon. I like to either curl up at my writing desk, window open, candle going, or (weather permitting) I’ll set up my writing base camp on our back porch, overlooking the stunning Willamette Valley.
How do you deal with writer’s block or periods when you lack motivation?
I am terrified of writer’s block. I am an obsessive-compulsive outliner, plotter, and planner so I typically will get all of my story mapping done prior to starting the actual writing process to avoid writer’s block. However, everyone deals with periods in which they lack motivation. I find that one of the best ways for me to overcome writer’s block is to read up on writers who inspire me. Articles, interviews, etc., in which they talk about their own writing processes are incredibly helpful to me in that they often offer up tricks to bust through those periods of un-motivation. It is also comforting to know that these individuals who I admire have gone through, and continue to go through, similar struggles.
Where will you/do you write, and is it the most effective place?
Some place quiet!!! I simply cannot focus when there is too much noise circulating around me (conversations, music, city hustle and bustle) and need a certain level of peace to focus. Some people can simply hook up to some ear buds and drown everything out, but alas, that is not me. I love my writing nook I have created in one of our spare rooms. The room is lined with book shelves and my desk is set up in the corner of this room by the window, and is complete with twinkle lights and candles. I am big on ambiance! I can do coffee shops or book stores, but I find that the solitude of my own writing room or my back porch is ideal for solitude and inspirational flow.
Do you write by hand or on a computer?
Both. As I said before, I obsessively outline. Even in college I was never able to write an essay without some kind of outline prepped and ready to go to ensure I stayed on track. I research compulsively and take copious notes along the way. With the novel I’m currently working on, I have notebooks filled with scribbles and scrawls, maps, sketches, photos, lists, and charts. Any and everything that pops into my head pertaining to the plot, the characters, the setting, etc., I jot down to ensure that when it comes time to write, it is all there, ready to be transformed.
When the actual writing part of the process does come along, I will go through these notebooks, these outlines I have created, will sit at my computer and will begin typing away. The benefits of word processing are just too great to pass up when I’m actually writing versus outlining and planning!!
What do you hope readers get from what you write?
I believe I am an eclectic writer in that I can write about psychologically dark topics (my poem “Crash” for example), or I can write peaceful, happy pieces full of reflective stories with optimistic characters. When I write about people, about being human, I hope that my readers feel. Something. Anything. I hope they feel and connect with the character, the situation, whether that emotion be chocked full of gut-wrenching sorrow and anxiety or tear-welling laughter, happiness, and joy.
I also love using heavy imagery in my writing. I hope that with these pieces, I can transport my readers to that place, to that setting, through my use of imagery. As a reader, I love this type of writing; a style that vividly describes the surroundings. This style comes so naturally to me and I try to emulate this in all of my writing.
What about you, fellow lovely writers? What are your writing goals and what are your writing processes to help you achieve these goals?