Learning How to Plot and Love #Writing Again

booksI stopped writing back in October because I wasn’t feeling the writing love anymore. My books weren’t selling. I felt like I wrote crap. No one read my shit. So why should I continue? Yeah, I had a totally bad attitude. I started to write a blog post about feeling like a fraud but it was such a downer, I didn’t bother to post it. I deleted it. No one needs that negative energy anyway.

Then I began to get some rights back on books. I thought maybe I could re-release them with new cover art. In an effort to save money (because I didn’t have any) I purchased stock art and hired my step-daughter to help me. She has the Photoshop skills I needed. So she did some cover art for me and I re-released two books plus re-launched three more. Sales slowly trickled in.

In the meantime, I began to think about writing and if I really wanted to do it anymore. The thought of never writing another word again didn’t really bother me. But to keep myself going, I wrote short stories. And a lot of them. I snooped around the Writer’s Digest website and remembered that it was time to enter their annual short story contest. Back in 2001, I’d actually placed in honorable mention. I figured what the heck. I submitted three shorts (results yet to be determined).

I’ve mentioned before I’m taking this How to Think Sideways class from Holly Lisle. She only offers it one time a year because it’s an intense 7 month class. I had heard great things about it so when she offered it up back in January, I was all over it.

Anyway… now that I’m about halfway into the course, I’ve realized something. Well, several somethings. The first something is that I didn’t know what kind of writer I was until I took this class. It was eye-opening for sure. She has you do these exercises that really make you THINK about who you are and what you love/hate/drawn to, etc. I had no idea what kind of writer I was until I started the process. I mean, I called myself a “paranormal” writer or a “fantasy” writer but really I’m just a writer who loves a good yarn full of adventure and romance. Whatever bucket that falls into.

Second, I’ve discovered I have a rather bossy Muse. And even though she likes to know where the story is going, she demands there be surprises along the way.

Third, plotting. I have never much been for plotting. I’m the writer that says, “Hm. It would be cool to write a book about a jousting tournament,” and then sits down and writes a book about a jousting tournament (ONE KNIGHT ONLY). But the thing this course has taught me is how to take things I love, hate, are drawn to and use them to my advantage. And how to make ideas out of those and actually create a story. And so a book was born.

I started having fun again. The book that was born from the brainstorm lessons of the workshop began to gel and suddenly things clicked into place. I wrote a mini synopsis and sent it to my friend for her to read through to see what she thought. She loved it. She gave me some ideas to fill in the gaps of the places where I had story questions. I decided I wasn’t going to worry about sales or what so-and-so was doing and I was going to ignore social media (except Facebook and Pinterest, I’m kind of addicted there) and just WRITE.

I’m writing at lunch again on my aging HP Mini. It’s like old times except now I have my own office and can shut my door and no one bothers me with inane questions about why I changed my name or am I taking a class or what am I writing about today or where do I get my ideas, yadda yadda yadda. I’m adding anywhere from 1200-2000 words in an hour. And then I get annoyed when I have to stop because I’m just getting to the good part. Which motivates me to write at home in the evenings again.

I’m not done with the course yet. I’m still going through all the lessons and I intend to continue to do them and refer back to them when I get stuck or start to feel bad about my writing.

I love writing again. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this book yet – if I’m going to indie pub it or shop it around. I’m just not sure and I’m not going to worry about it until I’m done and it’s polished. And that makes me happy.

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By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.