So as I mentioned in my previous post, I have finally gotten around to publishing my first book (here), and publishing it has really gotten me motivated to work more on book two in the trilogy. This has resulted in my writing at all hours and places in the day: anytime I can slip out my computer or my phone, or even a piece of paper to write something down on to type up later. Some weird things have accompanied this new found motivation to work on this, and only this, particular story….
1-As more or less stated above, I’m writing on the story any chance I get.
2-I constantly have ideas bouncing around in my head and storylines and conversations running around up there waiting for me to sit down and get them written up.
3-I’ve got the exact opposite of writer’s block! So many ideas bouncing around that I can’t even get to sleep at night for want of writing them down and getting them out of my head, and I want to wake up earlier in the morning (despite the lack of sleep) so that I can write out the ideas that I forced to stop long enough to get a couple of hours of shut eye.
A weird side effect of all of that is this strange daze-like sensation I find myself in most of the day. I’m perfectly capable of carrying on with my day and my jobs, but at least a portion of my mind is constantly working on my story!
My question for you all is this: do you ever experience anything similar? What do you do to overcome the idea-induced insomnia?
Tonight, even though I’ve only gotten about 5 hours of sleep the past two nights and have had busy days in between, I’m still wide awake and can tell that my mind is working on ideas for my story. I’m heading to the kitchen now to make some chamomile tea and see if that will help! I’m also ridiculously tempted to pick up a book and start reading, but, as I’m sure many of you know, that will only result in zero sleep because I will be unable to put it down.
I suppose I was under the misguided thought that everyone around me knew that I was a closet writer… By closet writer, I mean that I had never intended to publish anything I was writing–obviously that changed! However, after publishing my book, and even immediately before when I was asking people for opinions on the book cover I had created from some pictures I had taken, I had a lot of people respond to me with surprise about my being a writer.
“You wrote a book?” is by far the most frequent of the questions I received, but it was usually followed by something else. “How long is the book?” “Like a book-book?” “A whole book?” these questions were relatively easy to answer and not really surprising, but I got a couple of questions, so far, that really jumped out at me.
One of them caught me a little off-guard: “how do you come up with the ideas?” This one followed the announcement that I have a folder on my computer with 20-30 different stories in it that are (all but one) incomplete. This one also made me pause, because I never really stopped to think about my characters or my stories… Their stories more or less just come to me as I’m writing and when I get stuck, I walk away for a little while, re-read everything that I’ve written so far, and usually get to pick back up where I left off with a new idea. But where do the ideas come from? When I really stopped to think about it, I realized even the simplest little mention of something will trigger some wild tangent of a thought in my head (sometimes) and it has a tendency to resurface when I go to write. I certainly draw inspiration from my daily events, or bigger life events. I did a study abroad in Ireland a while back, and it has become a part of a few of my stories… One that occurred to me while I was in Ireland, and one that occurred after I got back.
Another that got me was related to that one, where someone asked me (more or less) if my characters “talked” to me. And really, I feel like I’m telling their stories, not my own. I’m not writing the story of my life, I’m writing the story of their lives, so I would have to say that they definitely do speak to me in some form or fashion. It did make me wonder if some writers have internal conversations with their characters in their imagination…? Anyone?
I’d definitely have to say that related to those same questions was “do you sit down and write the story straight through or do you take breaks or…?” This one is linked back up to the answer I gave a minute ago. I have a folder on my computer with about 20-30 different stories that are incomplete. I work on whichever one I have an idea for, and on the off chance that I have complete “writer’s block” on ALL of them, I just start re-reading through them until I get an idea for one of them. I think it’s really beneficial, for me at least, to have multiple stories to work on because I don’t get frustrated with hitting an idea wall for a particular story, I just walk away for a bit and usually have an idea for something else.
I’m sure there will be more questions to come, and I’m sure I’ve had more questions, but those have been the ones that jumped out at me the most and really made me have to think about my writing process. I have, of course, received a lot of questions about how I went about publishing my book myself, but that’s a whole other topic, and again, one that has been well documented already so I’m not sure if I’m going to address it here.
So I have been writing stories, journals, papers, magazines, etc. for about as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil or pen to a piece of paper. My writing only grew more frequent when I got access to a typewriter and then a computer… But through all of that, through all of those years, I haven’t done anything with my writing!
This blog was the first step I took toward truly getting my thoughts out there to the general public, but a blog isn’t the only thing I wanted to do; it isn’t even the primary thing I wanted to do (as far as writing is concerned).
I have one of the biggest folders on my computer that you will probably ever see filled with various different stories that I have been writing throughout the years. As of this moment, two of them are complete. One I started writing back in seventh grade and I could never really bring myself to go back and rewrite it to not sound like it was written by a seventh-grader. The second, I finished over a year ago and I had a couple of friends read it, kept editing it and fixing continuity errors (well, one major one), and in October, I entered it into a writing contest. You may not think this is a big deal, but I never really thought I would put my writing out there for other people to read. I was too afraid that it would alter how they looked at me–I know this seems sort of silly, but I’m comfortable with the way I interact with people and the parts of my personality that each person sees….
So the announcement of the winner of the contest was coming up and I had only told one person, my best friend, that I had even entered the contest (which I’m sure he forgot soon after I told him). I made a deal with myself: If I didn’t win, I was going to self-publish. I’d done all of the research (it’s out there and it’s great so I’m not going to repeat it here), figured out what I wanted to do, and the contest winner was announced…. I didn’t win. I wasn’t even sad or upset about it. It was my first time entering a writing contest, and I couldn’t expect to win my very first contest. I did keep to my word though, and I set to work creating my book cover from photos I had taken (so it’s entirely my own concept–this made me really happy for no particular reason other than the fact that the book in its entirety is my very own), and I self-published through Kindle.
I am still freaking out about it, I’m not going to lie, but I cannot express my gratitude for the supportive comments I have received from people. I’m still worried that people who read it will see me differently–there are a couple of intense moments in the book–but I did it, and despite my slight “freak out” I’m not going to take it back.
I can’t express how important it is to follow your dreams as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. My parents taught me that I could do anything I wanted to do, and I greatly thank them for that, because it helped me believe that I could publish this book and put it out there for the world to see.
I’m linking to it, in case anyone is interested. But the point of this particular blog post is that it is completely worth it to take the big leap and pursue your dreams when you can. I encourage you to do research so that you don’t get swept away and lost in all of the craziness of the world, and so that you don’t get pulled into any kind of scam. Fight past the sense of panic you might feel, find a friend to confide in, and go for it! I wish you only the best of luck.