I Want to Write …

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jaime Morrow wrote a blog post called What to Write? As I read her post, I just nodded, as I understood every single word and feeling she spoke of. Then I remembered about Andrea Hannah’s post about writing the book after the book of your heart (thanks Jani and Dahlia for posting the link!).

(Bear with me, I’ll connect these two topics in this sorta venting/ranting post)

 

See, the thing is, I don’t think I wrote the book of my heart yet.

Ever since I decided to take writing seriously, I wrote *does the math* 6 novels (Destiny Gift, the one I’m self-pubbing next month, was #4), 4 novellas, 2 short stories, and several chapters and scenes that never became anything. I started about 10 new wips, wrote about 20k words in some of those – even 40k in 3 of them, I think – but never finished them. I have a folder with ideas – I just went through them the other day. There are hundreds of ideas there, and some of them have detailed outlines and even 300-500 words scenes written down … If I dove into them, I would have what to write for the rest of my life, no doubt. But none of them call to me the way I want to be called.

Right now, I’m working on two wips – one is 20,3000 words long, and the other is 27,200 words long – but they don’t call to me either. I have these moments when I get in the zone and write 2k or 3k words non-stop. But then I skip a day or two, cause I can’t get into it again. And these two wips aren’t new. I’ve been working on them for quite some time now. Though I would love to finish them NOW, I’m getting the feeling that I won’t. That these two projects will be the ones I pick in between other projects and take forever to finish …

During this journey, I found out that though I love and write contemporary, my heart is on the fantasy/paranormal department. Side note 1: I think that also influences the two wips I’m working on now – they both are contemporary. AND I just found books that have similarities to these wips.

My first 6 novels were fantasy/paranormal – you can see about them on the WIPs page. In order, I wrote Sands of Hope, Dark Pact, Princess of Magic (which isn’t there and never will be. It helped my writing A LOT, but it’s a generic story), Destiny Gift, Gypsy Heart, and Amber Energy.  Then I wrote 47,000 words of Warrior’s Legend … and noticed it was too slow and started on the wrong place, and I should rewrite it all. But by then I was revising/editing Destiny Gift, preparing it for submissions, and I didn’t get to rewrite all the stories I wanted to.

ShannonBesides being my first serious manuscript, Sands of Hope was my first manuscript in English – so you see why it needs to be rewritten. My English will never be perfect, I know that, but it got so much better since then. The story also needs a BOOM, you know. I have to work on the outline, to include a bigger mystery … Still, I love it. I love the main characters, and the setting (Ancient Egypt, yay!), but now that I know how worldbuilding should work, I’m afraid of rewriting it. What if I mess this up? What if people read it and say “ha, it’s not like Ancient Egypt” … I know nobody will know that for sure, but still. I don’t want to sound like I’m an expert and get it all wrong.

__Pandemona___by_AnathematixsDark Pact may become the book of my heart some day. It’s high fantasy, which I love, but I don’t think I’m ready to write that yet. When I first wrote it, I was a newbie and had no idea how difficult it was … The story is different, unique like my “Megan” said. I wrote the 120k words that makes this story in 20 days. That’s how much I love it. BUT when I think about it, I want to change some details, pick up the pace, and the worldbuilding is also “wrong” … like any other, I want to rewrite it.

Princess of Magic was about a girl who found out she’s a mage, and a princess! Heard that one before? Yeah, I know. The story was bleh, but I think here was when my writing took a turn.

DestinyGift coverThe next one was Destiny Gift. I love Destiny Gift – and I wrote it quickly, which means I was into it, I breathed and I dreamed about it. I think it’s good enough, otherwise I wouldn’t be self-pubbing it … but I know it’s not THE ONE.

Up to here, getting 6k words per day was normal. There were days I got 8-9k words. It felt good. Even if only half the words were usable. IT FELT GOOD … BUT here’s where everything changed. Here I became more active online. Here’s when I let the agents and editors’ wishlists influence me. Here’s when I met other writers and found out a few of my ideas were like their ideas.

inspirationally_yours_pt_1 (gypsy)___by_anathematixsI still managed to write Gypsy Heart without that influence, and I like this manuscript. Even so, it should be rewritten (I already have the new outline). But the plot is about a girl finding out she’s a special kind of Gypsies, with special magic, and there a tiny mystery that leads to the climax, and a bigger surprise there. That’s a lot going on, but it’s like all little stuff. It’s a nice, fast-paced adventure, but nothing in here is a BOOM. Maybe just the very end. AND there’s the whole girl finds out she’s not exactly human – which is way overdone.

Anyway, after Gypsy Heart all my ideas came with “what agent would like this?”, “are there other stories out that are similar to this one”, “is this genre crowded?” and other questions that really mess with my self-confidence. Then there was the submissions calls from small presses, and more agents’ wishlists, and contests with specific samples/entries.

Confession time: I haven’t finished an entire novel in almost a year. For someone who wrote six novels in less than 2 years, that’s HUGE! Yes, during the last year I finished novellas and short stories, I worked on revisions and editing a lot. But no novels. I feel like a failure because of that.

I can’t seem to focus long enough on one idea to write it for long. The problem is, I don’t think any of my ideas is good enough anymore, they don’t have the BOOM they would need to make it, to get an agent’s attention, to get an editor’s attention. Then I have a new, shiny idea … just to find out there’s a book that is about to be released that sounds just like it. And my mood goes down the drain again …

I know that writing these new ideas, even if they don’t have the BOOM, is better then not writing, that “wasting time” writing a manuscript that won’t sell isn’t actually wasting time, that it will help improve my craft … still, I really didn’t want to waste time. And I know that sounds ridiculous, especially in this career.

I think I keep waiting for THE ONE to hit me in the face. Look! New, shiny, PERFECT idea! With lots of BOOM! If only it was that easy … I think I elude myself that now that I have two novellas out, that everything I write will be publication-worthy. Worse: I think people, especially family and friends who don’t understand about writing and publishing, expect that every word I write from now on will be publication-worthy. Ha! I wish! I know that likely will never happen. Still, I can’t help wishing it …

One good thing of all of this mess is that I know my writing is improving. Last September I received an email from a known author telling me “Your voice is so rich, and your worldbuilding absolutely lush.” I won’t get in details of what she read and how she read it, and who she is … But you bet my confidence got a boost! And my CP and dear friend Jani keeps telling me that she notices my writing improving with each new thing I send her to read. Btw, Jani, I <3 you. So, see, I’m getting better. I think. I hope. The problem now is what to write?

Next, I should write DG#2, which has an outline already, since DG#1 is releasing soon, and I don’t want to have many months in between them. But I would rather write something else before it, so when I can busy my mind writing DG#2 while I’m querying this one. I hate not having another manuscript ready …

IDFJul2I would like to rewrite Sands of Hope and Gypsy Heart, and continue my Into the Darkest Fire short, cause there is a novel behind it, and come up with a BIG, SHINY idea. All at the same time. Dreaming, much? Side note 2: Into the Darkest Fire is about witches, witch hunters and ghosts … and, as you may know, there are thousands of books about that kind of story out there. I know, I know, I should bring something new to it, write it and stand by it. It’s easier said than done.

For real, I just want to start something and WANT to finish it. Even if it doesn’t have  a BOOM. I just want to like it enough to finish it. I want to feel like I need to be writing it, cause I love it, cause I can’t get enough. I want to remember, to relive the days I wrote 6k words each day until the damned manuscript was done, cause I just couldn’t stop. I miss that!

Side note 3: I just did some math, adding the word counts to all main manuscript I wrote, and started, etc. Total = 800,000 words. I bet it’s even more, if I really search for every 1000 words I wrote here and there. I don’t know about you, but 800,000 words seems like A LOT!

Anyway, if you read it all, thank you for putting up with me. This was a long rant/venting …

And here’s to finding a WIP that inspires me again ;)

Cheers,

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10 Responses to I Want to Write …

  • I hope you do fine the WIP that keeps you awake at night writing and wakes you up in the morning with the itch to get right back to it.

    It seems to me that it’s better to just get an idea and write it rather than get all wrapped up in what’s selling, who’s buying, what’s overdone, etc. that you can’t write anything. Write what moves you, write what you’re inspired to write and let the cards fall where they may when it’s finished.

  • I understand you on every single part of this. @_@ It’s never easy to figure out what to write next, especially when you have a ton of stuff that you want to work on. I’ve been struggling with three or four different plots myself, and… yeah. There’s never a right answer, and getting a good way into a book and realizing you don’t want to write it anymore always sucks.

    But I have to agree with Ms. Lacy’s post above me: write what you want to, and worry about what will sell afterward. I’ve been given that advice before. If you write what you truly want, it’ll be better than anything you write because you’re thinking about publishing. So for now, just write.
    Mason T. Matchak recently posted: I’ve Done this Already.My Profile

  • Thank you for putting yourself out there, Juliana. Every now and then I feel exactly the same way. It’s frustrating not having something submission ready, and then worrying that what you are working on is what people want. It’s the downside of this whole publishing thing. I dislike that timing and trend play such an important role in getting your work traditionally published. But so it goes. I think at least 2 novels ahead when I’m working on something, and I can’t help but wonder if I’m wasting my time working on my current WIP when my second or third idea will be the one that gets me what I want.

    But at least I enjoy working on all of them, especially drafting. That’s my favorite part. Know that you’re not alone.

  • That is a lot of words…
    I went months and months without an idea that really called to me. In retrospect, if I’d been writing just anything, I might’ve hit that idea faster.
    I think maybe there is a fear, one that we won’t be able to duplicate that first published book.
    Just keep writing and keep looking for that bolt of inspiration. You’ll find that awesome idea!
    Alex J. Cavanaugh recently posted: Celebrating Milestones with Carrie Butler, Google Reader Discontinuing, Ninja News and Small Things, Music Trivia Answers, and Rick’s PicksMy Profile

  • “Look! New, shiny, PERFECT idea! With lots of BOOM!” This made me literally laugh out loud, because I could relate to it so much. Please don’t feel like a failure because you haven’t finished a novel in two years – it took me ten years to write ONE novel!

    Focusing too much on the industry is a surefire way to get serious writer’s block. As the commenters above have said, focus on your writing and your story, and worry about whether it will sell later. You said you’ve had some great ideas but they’re similar to other books that have come out recently. I wouldn’t worry too much about that if I were you. In fact, it could actually be a good thing. Think of it as riding the wave of a certain niche that’s ‘hot right now’. ;-)

  • I Get that you have the urge to find the book of your heart. But still you have accomplished a lot and that’s something to be proud of.

  • I think you’re a bit too hard on yourself, here, Juliana. You put pressure on yourself in order to write something that will be publication-worthy. But I believe this publishing process works the other way around: you write something you LOVE, something that’s FUN, then you edit it, and THEN you ask yourself if it’s something agents and editors would like. And most likely, it will be, because you will have put your heart in it and it will SHOW. So I suggest you just write what you WANT. That High Fantasy novel. Or that Ancient Egypt one. And see where this leads you… Best of luck, I believe in you! :)
    EM Castellan recently posted: My Week In Review – ROW80 Check-In 10My Profile

  • I’m really impressed by how many ideas you’ve come up with, and how many words you’ve written in the past couple of years. Amazing! I’m sure you will eventually find the book you’re dying to write if you keep going and keep trying out ideas. I wouldn’t feel discouraged that you haven’t finished a complete novel in the last year – you’ve taken the time to figure out what your next story should be. That’s fine. There is no right or wrong way to go about this, so don’t be so hard on yourself! You should feel proud of your accomplishments.
    Ghenet Myrthil recently posted: My Life in Instagrams (3)My Profile

  • “…All my ideas came with “what agent would like this?”, “are there other stories out that are similar to this one”, “is this genre crowded?” and other questions that really mess with my self-confidence.” Ugh. I know exactly what you mean. I do this to myself ALL the time too. I wonder sometimes: What if the book of your heart is something that the market is already flooded with? What a bummer that would be. It’s so tough to just write the story you want to tell and shut out all of those things that make you doubt. You are so not alone, Juliana! :)

    P.S. Thanks for the shout-out!
    Jaime Morrow recently posted: Currently…My Profile

  • 800,000 words is a ton!!!

Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

Author of New Adult fiction.

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