26

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

ZERO DAYS

Have you heard about the concept of No More Zero Days? It’s a motivational speech that some aggravatingly happy person who obviously loves their life came up with on Reddit. The speech has since turned into a feel-good movement helping people reach their goals. The idea is that to reach the most important goals in our lives, we must focus on having No More Zero Days. In other words, every single day we do something that invests in our goals, no matter how small or big. As writers, that means if we want to write, and be published, we work on it every day, whether it’s fifty words or five thousand. We don’t leave any days at zero. This works on a lot of other goals, as well.

One of the worst things about writing is…writing. But on the other hand, the ABSOLUTE worst thing about writing is…not writing. Consider:

– Every day that we don’t put a few words down at least, we turn into cantankerous old coots yelling at kids to get off our lawn. If we don’t have a lawn, we yell at kids to get off the neighbor’s lawn, which ends awkwardly because it turns out those are the neighbor’s kids.
– It feels good to see the end results of our hard labor, but we don’t ever get to enjoy those fruits if we don’t make them grow. Turns out there’s no magic wand we can wave, and according to Harry Potter we’d have to learn magic first anyway, and that’s hard too.
– We were called to be writers for some reason, so I suppose we ought to listen. Our brains aren’t going to shut up about it anyway, no matter how much ice cream and toys we buy to distract them.

No More Zero Days. We’re going to do this writing thing, when it’s working out and going smoothly, and when it’s bad and like trying to climb a mountain with our bare hands and an angry 500 lb. gorilla on our backs. We’re trying to reach the summit, and we’re not going to get there until we turn our gaze upward and climb.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll give this writing thing one more try.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.


Well, IT’S OVER, folks! I hope everyone made it through the challenge unscathed, with your mind at least partly intact, and you feel like you learned and/or accomplished something. The wild ride of April has finally pulled into the station, and honestly, it’s kind of a relief.

On the subject of No More Zero Days, Eli Pacheco introduced me to 750 Words during the challenge and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s a great way to not only get a little writing done every day, but there’s lots of motivation in the form of collecting badges and exploring a community of writers. It’s free for 30 days and then $5 a month after. There’s also monthly challenges. Come on over and join me and reach your goals!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came by my blog this month, left comments, followed me, and just made the challenge in general the great, interactive good time that it is. I’m an avid blogger so this blog won’t go quiet after this, not by far. In fact, I’ve already got posts queued up for this week. Hope to see you back!

A to Z Challenge, over and out!

14

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

YOU

One of the worst things about writing is you. Yes, YOU, the one reading this. You’re the worst thing that’s ever happened to your writing. And you, and you, and…me? Yes, me too. I screwed it up for all of us! I regret nothing! Well, I do regret a few things. I guess if I had ignored the muse in the first place this never would have happened. I could have led a nice quiet life as a firefighter or lion tamer, which are far less stressful and chaotic jobs, I’m sure. I mean, you never see either of those people crying over their keyboards or punching computer screens.

It turns out YOU are the worst enemy of your writing, and I am the worst enemy of my writing. How did this happen? I just wanted to write about werewolves and sex! Here’s how YOU get in the way of your writing:

YOU judge your work too harshly and criticize it constantly.
YOU spend time doing other things instead of writing, all this procrastinating and wasting time.
YOU feel like a talentless hack even when you finish something, see it published, or get a glowing compliment on it.
YOU feel like everything you do is unoriginal and awful.
YOU have a tumultuous love/hate relationship with your work.

It seems I do these things too. It seems we all become our biggest haters and harshest critics, we trash our work far more than any reader or reviewer ever could or would. We doubt ourselves and our work, we feel like we’re not writing enough, or good enough, and compare ourselves to others needlessly. We’re always getting in the way of ourselves and the joy that writing can bring. We would never tear down other writers the way we tear ourselves down, yet here we are.

Gosh, WE are just awful people, aren’t we?


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

20

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

XERISCAPING

I always hate when we get to X on this challenge, because I have to get creative and as we’ve all learned from this theme, I need to preserve all the creativity I have for my writing. But here we are, on the worst letter day.

Xeriscape means to landscape with plants that need little moisture and irrigation, when you live in a xeric, or arid, area. I’m going to oh-so-cleverly use this as a metaphor for trying to make our stories grow when they’ve gotten dry and shriveled. This can include shoving a cactus up that difficult character’s rear end, or throwing a shrub on the fire to liven things up. When you need to xeriscape, you may find it difficult because:

– The story may need to be reworked if it’s stumbled into the desert and can’t find water. If you let it bake in the sun too long, it’s going to get crusty.
– Not everything grows in arid soil, so you might have to go back to the place where it was fertile and try again. If you’re terrible at gardening like I am, try watering the soil with your tears of frustration.
– You may be already delirious from heat stroke and think that mirage of a good story on the horizon is real. You may be dead wrong.

If a story has galloped off into the vast wasteland and gotten all turned around, giving it water might be hard. It’s important to step back and look at the parts that are still growing, and try to bring that growth back, if you can. This can be frustrating and difficult, but might be worth it in the end. Or, as it’s a mystery why humans insist on living in inhospitable areas of our planet, like it’s some kind of challenge from the earth and we simply must answer it, you might realize you’re just insane, not plucky.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

29

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

WORD COUNT

How long is a book? One million words? Two million? At least five pages, right? As if writing wasn’t hard enough, there’s no set amount of words that make up a book. Some books are short, some books are long, most fall somewhere in between and here we are, us writers, with no guidance. Would you tell a surgeon to just cut however much he wants? Would you tell a cook to just put however much butter in a recipe he feels like? I mean, butter is great, but you can’t just make a whole cake out of butter. Or can you? Should you? I mean…mmm, butter.

One of the worst things about writing is figuring out how many words make up a book. We wander about, all anxious and squirrelly, being told to shut up and write stuff and then see if it’s long enough. When considering your word count, you should remember:

– The general accepted length of books varies by genre. Fantasy and sci-fi novels tend to be longer than mysteries and romances because you gotta describe spaceships and wizard spells and stuff. However, books still fall outside these guidelines in all genres. How many words should you write? I don’t know. Write at least six words, that sounds about right (that includes the title and your byline).
– Check the guidelines of the agent or publisher you’re thinking of sending the book to. They usually let you know how many words they want. Sometimes they’re not helpful at all though, so just assume between one word and ten million, that narrows it down.
– The word count of your book will change, and maybe dramatically, between the first draft and edits/rewrites. This sucks when you wrote 60,000 words only to discover one paragraph is useable.

Word count is an amorphous thing and you’ll get better at hitting targets the longer you write. Paying attention to guidelines and studying other books in your genre will help. You’ll learn to tailor your stories for the length that’s needed. Or you won’t, and you’ll keep writing encyclopedia-thick books that people only buy to use as doorstops and to reach the butter on the top shelf. It’s too bad there isn’t a publisher out there whose focus is publishing bricks and stepstools. Maybe I should start one, and then I wouldn’t have to edit my books down from their initial ridiculous word counts.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

23

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

VIEWPOINT

Who’s telling your story? You? Oh, the characters like to let you think that, at least at first. You give them life, create their story for them, and assign all their attributes, so you’d think they belong to you, right? No, because you’ve just created a Frankenstein monster that wants to trample the town, fall in love with the wrong person, eat paste, and veer wildly off the plot. If you think using first person POV helps, like you’ll feel more connected through the use of ‘I’ and ‘me,’ boy are you in for a surprise. You’re about to find out just how much you don’t listen to yourself.

You can also use third person—she, he, it. She, he, and it will still not listen to you. But, it’s still important to pick the right viewpoint for the story, because:

– Viewpoint is about more than just point of view. You need to tell the story through the eyes of the right character. Which one is it? The police officer? The criminal? The stray dog? The angry old widow with the pick axe? Choose carefully, or this story won’t work. No pressure.
– Choosing a point of view is important too. First person is more immediate, but limited, so if you’re the police officer you don’t know the widow is sneaking up on you with the axe. Third person is broader, and can shift from person to person, so we can know that the widow thinks the police officer is full of bees and they must be released.
– Experimenting with weird points of view like second person can be tricky, but sometimes you can pull it off if you’re clever enough. Just be careful not to sound like some bitter, bitchy blogger talking down to their readers about writing.

One of the worst things about writing is the pressure to pick the right point of view. This choice is important, because it sets the tone for the story. The viewpoint character also dictates what kind of story you’re telling. For this reason, the possibilities are varied when you use viewpoint as a tool. It may even help to switch viewpoints if a story is struggling, or try experimenting through the eyes of another character. And then, release the bees! Maybe tell the story through the many eyes of the bees? I would read that. Bee Cop: The Unleashing.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.