And welcome to my second installment of Writer Wonders, a new blog series where I answer questions about writing! I had so much fun answering questions in regards to plotting and worldbuilding last week and I’m excited to tackle some more questions today.
I also realize that I worked myself into a bind. I’d still really love to continue doing these posts, but I also just went on a social media hiatus, where I planned to ask people for more ideas. Do you think I should break that hiatus momentarily, in order to ask this question, and then disappear again? Or should I google ideas instead? Or hope readers ask their own in the comments? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Now, let’s get to it!
Alexia Chantel asks a few different questions that I loved, so I’m going to answer them all below:
How do you know which writing project you want to start next?
Gosh, this one is so hard! I’m constantly coming up with new ideas. Sometimes, it’s really certain. Like, the past couple of years, I have been working on two different series, so it was really easy to figure out what to write next–the next book in the series! However, soon (hopefully in the later half of this year), I’ll be needing to write something new and it’ll be challenge to figure out what to write next!
A lot of it is my mood. I keep a list of ideas I want to write about in a Google Doc, so I could pull one from there. Or, if I know that I’m going to want to start a new project soon, I’ll start thinking about that as I near the end of another. It’s usually something as simple as a phrase, an idea or a certain character or plot point. Like, I know I want to write a cyberpunk story someday and I’ve been thinking about it more and more, so that might be my next project. Or, I have an entire Pinterest board of amazing art I love that might be the source of my next inspiration. I also want to write more mothers-who-do-more-than-mothering in fantasy. And older protagonists. I’d love to write a story of the failed chosen one and the aftermath of that.
Honestly, I think I just set a goal start date and start writing ideas down and see which one excites me the most; or, which one won’t leave me alone long enough to do anything else but write about it. If I lose my fire 20,000 words in, I can always switch to another idea and come back to this one!
As a writer, do you read for inspiration or enjoyment?
Enjoyment, hands down. Perhaps I’m doing it “wrong,” although I don’t think there is a wrong way to do anything, when it comes to writing (well, almost, but that’s another post). When it comes to reading, however, for me personally, if I’m so caught up in the craft in it, it’s usually a sign that I’m not as enamored with the story as I want to be, for me to completely forget I’m reading one. Sure, I’ll still have moments where I’ll sit back and think, “Wow, that was an amazing way to worldbuild,” or “Damn, I wish I could nail a cliffhanger like that.” But most of the time, I read for pleasure!
Do you set goals for yourself (i.e., daily word counts, weekly milestones, monthly check-ins)?
I do, in a way! I used to do daily word counts I hoped to hit, but I’ve shied away from that. I’ve focused more lately on consistently showing up to write. I try to write five times a week–treating it like your average job, which consists of a typical five-day work week. Sometimes, I hit that benchmark and sometimes, I don’t. I’ll also totally write on the weekends if I have time! But I’m trying to get better at not beating myself up if I “only” write 100 words one day, because I know I’ll have another day where I’ll write 3,000 and feel fantastic. I do think I’m going to start doing monthly check-ins on my blog, mostly because I think that’d be fun! So stay tuned for that, starting next month. 😉
Ângelo Silva asks the most challenging question I’ve gotten so far:
How do you deal with loneliness that comes with the profession?
I hate that I’m unsure 100% how to answer this. I do totally recognize that writing is a very lonely profession. My boyfriend is amazing and gives me the space to write, but sometimes, when I try to talk about writing to him, I don’t get that enthusiasm and response I’m kinda looking for? My family is also very supportive, but my long-widen stories about writing or specifics are hard to get into. So it can easily become lonely, when no one close to me “gets” it, if that makes any sense.
Within the writing community, I definitely felt like an outsider for the longest time, especially right after I joined Twitter and saw how so many writers already had friends and groups to support them and industry professionals they knew. And I had none of that. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I basically was just myself online. I ranted about good writing days and bad, I shared books I loved and bad puns I thought were funny. I shared my love for video games and posted cute pictures of my pets. I commented on others posts and was genuine in my interactions with those I admired, while always respecting boundaries (even if I made mistakes a few times, as we all will!). I would retweet things to help support people and get involved where I could, like with remote internships, my own blog, writing book reviews and offering to be beta reader.
Slowly, that work turned into followers, which turned into acquaintances, some who leveled up to true friends (and I love each of you so much). I have a trusted beta read group who I will share my books with and who I’ll read for in return. I have a writing group who I write short stories with who I don’t know how I did this without, before. I have industry professionals who know of me thanks to my book reviews and positive demeanor and who I respect and work with. Sure, sometimes I still feel lonely. Sometimes, I still feel incompetent or like an imposter, waiting to be found out. But I think I found my group and they help, especially on the days when I don’t deserve them.
The biggest advice I could give here is: know that the writing community isn’t some closed, special club you need permission to get into, whether in the form of a follower count, the number of books you’ve written or your publishing credentials. You write, therefore you are a writer. The writing community is there to support you with open arms, but it takes work. Genuine connections take genuine effort. So put yourself out there, but recognize boundaries. Be yourself, but always give space when you need to or asked to. Take risks and say hello, but don’t pester if you’re turned down. Eventually, you’ll find your group, whether it’s online, in-person or a mixture of both. It just takes time, like everything in this business does. <3
Hopefully, you all enjoyed those questions (I thought they were awesome) and enjoyed the answers, too! Have anything else you want me to talk about? I’m hoping to try and start doing these type of posts once a month on my blog, usually towards the middle of the month. So let me know in the comments what questions you have about writing and I’ll do my best to answer them!
Thanks for reading!