Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Writing and God

I went to Catholic school 1st through 8th grade, so maybe that’s why I’m so into God. I don’t go to church every day, maybe on holidays, but that’s it. But I sure do talk to God a ton every single day. And honestly through everything that has happened in my life, I am truly thankful.

I never had it easy. I was a poor reader early on and then later in 7th and 8th grade I got bullied, which lead to bullying in high school till sophomore year. It was bad, got teased and chased all the time. I was praying to God that it would stop. Eventually it did, but I never stopped chasing myself. You live with those fears every day long after you were bullied. You become the biggest bully of all to yourself. It’s not fun. God, and it still happens to me every day. So…anyway, getting back to God.

I was diagnosed bipolar with psychotic features back in June of 2004. There was a build up of problems and it landed me in the psyche ward for the first time. It was there I prayed to God too, to help me get better and back on my feet.

God has blessed me with two beautiful children that are loving and honest and so wonderful in every way possible. God has blessed me with a rock solid marriage. My husband is amazingly good to me and our children.

I had several bipolar attacks after that. Oh, man, they were crazy, running in front of cars half naked and screaming, trying to jump from a 15th floor balcony, crashing our family car. Thank God no one got hurt. He was with me then, and He is with me now.

I got into writing because it was suggested by my doctor to write as a coping skill. Well, it ballooned from tiny little poems to full length novels. Some I’ve even gotten published. So many rejections though. Now I’m suffering even more because I’m setting the bar higher for myself and trying to get an agent.

I’ve written 4 novels after my last published novel back in 2014. So that was two years ago only, so not too long. Anyway, I’m praying really really hard to get through all the rejections, and you know what? It’s working. I’ve been writing another novel, I call it the “Dream Book” and I’m already at 20K words.

I’ve had physical problems and had surgeries. Had skin cancer growing in my shoulder. It was like this golf ball sized thing on my shoulder blade. Well they carved everything out. I had surgery on it twice. It’s all gone, thank God. See what I mean? He is always around.

I hope I’m not sounding preachy. I’m not asking you to believe in God. I’m only speaking of my own experience. I’m just really thankful in this point of the game. Bad things can happen. Horrible things. Devastating things.

But as long as you get through them, it’s gonna be okay.

Writing has gotten me through a lot of tough times. 

So write on my friends! Anything to get you motivated to write. Walk, read and maybe say a few little prayers here and there. It doesn’t have to be to God, just the beliefs you have in yourself. And as long as you believe in yourself, anything can happen. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Writing and Math: How the two add up in a big way

I wrote my first book in 10 days. It totaled 35K words which is kinda more of a novella than a full length novel. But that’s an average of 3,500 words a day! I know some of you writers out there can write this daily word count all the time. If this happens, more power to you. But I’m aiming this article towards the ones that can’t write that much, and the ones that struggle to even write in the first place.

Having a daily word count I think is a great way to stay diligent in your writing. If you can’t write every day, try to average out your word count goal weekly.

Numbers help in other ways and not just word count. You can challenge yourself to write a few pages a day. Learn how little or how much you want your chapters to be. I usually keep them short between 2 to 5 pages, sometimes longer. If you like to read short chapters, then writing short chapters might be the way to go. Same goes for reading longer chapters.

For a standard YA book that runs 250 words per page, a 50K novel would be a 200 page book. I always strive to write more. Many of my books fall on the short end.

When I wrote my first book, it was short. And my second and third. But gradually I was writing longer novels. Then for my 8th novel, it was a short one again. I think it all depends on what you’re writing too. If you’re writing an epic fantasy, you’ll want to strive for at least 80K or more. If you’re writing a short horror novel, you can easily keep it at 40K or so. This low word count usually only works for YA. MG can run even shorter.

Test yourself week by week and watch your progress. If you only wrote 2K words one week, strive to do a little more the following week. Also if you do the math, I want to write a 60K word book in four months, that would be roughly about 500 words a day. I’m using 500 words a day as an example. Maybe test yourself after a week and gauge from there how much you can do.

I strongly suggest staying in your word goal. You can write more than that of course, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes writing too much one day, can cause a lot less the next day or perhaps stalling you all together. I’m only saying this because it tends to happen to me. Everyone is different. But when you can find your writing pace, the writing tends to flow better that way.

So when you’re ready to write a novel, set word count goals and divide and average and come up with a deadline. By January 1st or something like that. This would be your own deadline and if you don’t finish by then, the world isn’t going to end, but your writing will continue to stall.

I know writing can be hard. It seems like it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But it helps me through my depression. I feel good when I meet my word goal for the day. It’s much easier to do everything else like the dishes and laundry. When I haven’t written for the day, I feel sluggish and unproductive, even if I cleaned the whole house. So writing for me is essential.

So if writing is essential for you too, then keep a habit of it. Challenge yourself even. You’ll be glad you did.