My Self-Help Challenge

I am obsessed with the idea of self-help books and courses. What does that mean? It means that my Kindle is currently packed with self-help books of all kinds, and I take advantage of every Udemy sale to buy courses that claim the ability to teach me all sorts of things from writing to drawing and learning German. I love the idea of these courses. But ask me how many of these books I’ve actually read, or how many courses I’ve actually taken the time to go through.

Answer: none.

You can only imagine how much money this has led me to waste. Just last week I spent about twenty dollars on Kindle books about writing. Each book was between one and three dollars. So it bought me quite a few. But upon buying the books I promptly shut my laptop and ignored my Kindle which had just downloaded them. And I went to work on my WIP (work in progress).

Why am I so obsessed with these books? Why do I continue to buy them without touching them ever again? The answer is simple. I like to think–stupidly–that the simple act of acquiring these books and courses about all sorts of subjects will somehow allow me to learn the material inside them by osmosis. All I have to do is purchase a drawing course to be able to draw like I’ve been doing it for years. It told me so!

Well no, not really. What it said was if I applied the lessons and practiced hard I could achieve this. But who wants to do all that, right? So I continue piling the courses and books up to one day be inspired to read and apply.

I have issues.

But realizing you have issues is the first half of the battle, right? And this is what inspired my latest challenge. There are two things I’ve always wanted to know how to do.

  1. Draw (like, you know, well)
  2. Write faster

So I recently bought this book called 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox, and instead of letting it rot on my Kindle, I forced myself to read it. And I am thoroughly inspired. I am going to apply it the way the author instructed, and will check in here every week, reporting my progress. And for drawing, I bought this figure drawing course by Riven Phoneix (an amazing artist) years ago, and I’ll be following the course as well, and will post my progress each week for that as well.

This is a lot, to go from nothing to something all at once. I don’t expect to do it perfectly, and I expect to miss a few days, but I will try my best. You guys will keep me accountable, right? I hope so. Over the next year I want to get faster with my writing and eventually I want to be able to draw my aliens and characters from imagination in non stick-figure form.

I can’t guarantee I’ll stop buying self-help books, but I am making a promise to myself that I will learn how to use the ones I do purchase instead of wishing they’ll bestow magical powers upon me.


Legacy of Sex Abuse and Terror

I loved this book, and only after extensive thought did I myself come to understand what the author was attempting to portray through her main character. It’s good to see my understanding was correct, and I continue to wait for the next book in this series.

AM Justice

The past week I’ve been thinking a lot about a headline from

Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF

In this article, Sarah Gailey bemoans the fact that sexual violence is the default character-building motif authors use when they need their heroines to suffer or overcome a challenge. Why not physical violence, or mental or emotional difficulties, or another form of negative personal experience? She lists several books where the female protagonists do not experience sexual abuse, then asks authors to:

Look at them and ask yourself why their imaginations are strong enough to let their female characters have stories that don’t include sexual violence. Ask yourself why those stories are so rare.

Ask yourself, and do better.

cover92828-mediumSuch admonishment puts me on the defensive, since I’m one of many authors whose female protagonist experiences sexual abuse. In A Wizard’s Forge, sex abuse is the driving force behind Vic’s quest…

View original post 975 more words

Exciting New Stories

I am so excited to be starting something new. You have no idea. I was writing the same story for years and years. Why? That… is a complicated question. Let’s just say I’m indecisive and wrote one million and ten drafts before deciding I was finished rewriting. And yes, by “let’s just say” I do in fact mean “this is exactly what happened.”

But no more. I closed that book (literally), and now I get to explore one of the millions of other ideas in my head. That brings about my next challenge, however. Which one? And that is how I’ve been spending my time for about a month. Writing down new ideas, separating them into pro and con lists and numbered lists and highlighting the ones I really like, etc etc. When I’m focused on one specific idea I can write about it forever, but I can’t do that until I have one specific idea, and I truly am one of the most indecisive people you’ll ever meet in your life.

For example, I thought I had a good idea a few days ago, but then I started writing it and realized I hated it, so another idea popped up, and I’m going to write a chapter or two of this one and see how it goes. The interesting thing, is that I could actually combine both ideas and make something completely new. One of the ideas is loosely based on my very first novel, actually. Novel Zero, I like to call it.

Isn’t it amazing how life can come back around to the beginning? Certain aspects can repeat themselves over and over again. I haven’t thought about that novel in forever, but suddenly I’m starting something “new” and it pops into my head? And it is exciting me, which is more than I can say for a lot of my ideas.

As a writer, my process is sporadic. It goes this way: get idea, write one chapter to see if it works (without any sort of idea where the story is going), if it works, stop and focus on the characters (developing them as necessary. My favorite part), then figure out the ending, then write. Basically. But it could also go in a different order. Sometimes I like to plan out everything. Sometimes I have thought about an idea and dream of it so often that I know every detail. Then there are the ideas I know nothing about but have such happy feelings about that I just start writing and don’t stop until I reach THE END.

And the best thing about that is that I’m not wrong. As a writer, I have the liberty to do as I wish with my imagination and my words. I can start and stop as many times as I want, go with my gut or with logic. I can write a book one way one time and a completely different way the next. I can write more than one at once, or nothing at all. I’m free to express myself however I want without consequence.

So I think I’m going to do that now. I’d write more here, but I’m too excited to get writing on my fiction. Question, though. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or both?