{My 500 Word Challenge}: Day 6- Write about Writing

“We’re going to write about writing.

What do you love about the craft? What do you hate? What are you struggling with, when it comes to this challenge? 

Write about it, all of it.”

Writing about writing should be easy, right? I never found it to be particularly inspiring. In fact, it always came across as a cop-out to me. Almost like the easy out for those struggling with writer’s block. I have loved writing since I was seven. I’ve been reading since I was three, and I suppose the natural progression of things was that I would then venture into writing. It was because of a struggle discerning one consonant for another (I couldn’t distinguish my G’s from J’s, something I still struggle with when I’m tired, or my brain’s foggy) that I began writing, but I remember when I was about ten, the stories began pouring out of me. Whether it was the story of a dog with the ability to talk, or it was a story from the perspective of a slave girl, or it was a story of an unhappy princess, I would write and write and write. Ideas just flowed out of me so naturally. I remember in school, we would occasionally have assignments where we had to finish a story how we saw fit in the style of the author. I always loved those assignments.

Now that I’m a little bit older (only by twenty years or so), the stories do not come out as easily. Sometimes, I struggle with the wording. Sometimes, I get bogged down by the editing aspect. I feel there is an inner censor sometimes who bars the words I want to say most from coming out, but it’s more likely that there is an inner critic that comes out and tells me how dull my writing is. It says all these ugly, hateful words, and it leans in close to me so that instead of hearing the voices of the muses, I hear the distressing words of the critic.

I wish I could silence the voice, but often times, it talks over me. It’s loud and unapologetic, brash and uncomfortable to be around. I don’t love the critic, but it has also taught me to grow as a writer. It has given me areas to improve on. It helps me to rewrite sentences, remold ideas, shape new strategies, and figure out what works and what doesn’t work.

I’ve started writing novels recently, and for me, I’ve realized my major problems in writing novels is pacing. I remember my mentor in high school told me to, “Tame the beast,” and while this advice is sound, I still struggle to figure out how to do that. If the beast requires taming, I am still learning how to leash it and keep it under control. I’m very proud of my fiction, and even while following the five-act story arc, I still struggle to determine whether or not my plot is progressing too quickly.

I reread and try to ignore the critic in my mind, but I always wonder if I’m doing something wrong when it comes to pacing. I’ve read so many novels, and while I know they aren’t first drafts, I always wonder how authors know if they’re pacing their novels correctly. This is a huge worry of mine as I go about writing novels for the first time. I’ve gotten some positive feedback on my writing. Whether it’s from Jaimie Wilson, the young artist I discussed on Saturday, saying, “I really appreciate you taking the time to write that. You brought my wife to tears. …The blog you did about me was absolutely beautiful.” A poet nominated for two Pushcart Prize awards, told me, ” You writing style is story like loaded with rich imagery a huge plus in the world of poetry. I even had to look up a big word one doesn’t find that often “penultimate.” Very intriguing, the only suggestion might be to try to tell the story more condensed with your still extremely wonderful imagery. Well done.”

However, I feel nervous sometimes when it comes to fiction. Just worrying that I’ll tell the entire story within too short of a time frame and not have a novel and not quite a novella, somewhere in between. So, learning to pace is one of those things I’ll have to keep in mind as I develop my novel-writing skills.

These are some of my thoughts on writing. I just hope that I can take the good and the bad. I have a few people interested in reading my works and a few readers willing to look over my works, so I hope that I can only grow as a writer.

-L.G.

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