February is for slowing down…

So February arrived, and I believe January has been one of the longest months ever!

I started 2015 really well, with my goals set in mind all the time. I feel they are already so engraved in me right now, that it would take the end of the world to drag me away from them, which is good.

The problem now, is that I need to slow down. I have managed to cultivate the habit of writing every single day or else I cannot go to sleep.

In this month, I’ve read a couple of books on grammar, styling, and how to write in general. I’m also about to finish revising my first manuscript. Then, the second revision round will come, and maybe my beta readers will have to wait until March to get their hands on the story.

But right now, I found I’m overdoing the process of writing. After I finished the first manuscript, I didn’t get away from it for a considerable amount of time (as everybody suggested) before revising. Now, I find myself confused about my main character, his role, and why he has become boring. Additionally, the story seems a little bit overwritten, too many things going on, too many things to tie, etc. So, it’s time for a break from the manuscript. I’m really looking forward for my next vacation, which will be exactly in ten days. I’m not a beach person, but this time, I’m really looking forward to go, sit, and just relax.

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Slow down, should be my motto for February now. Sometimes you can be so motivated, so full of energy, that you don’t pause to breath and risk of wearing yourself out.

So February will be the month where I find myself relaxing. I’ve already started yesterday. I’ve been reading so many books on How to Write, that it had been one entire month since I hadn’t read a good novel. Yesterday, I grabbed one book from my shelf that I haven’t been able to put my hands on yet (Exposure by Kathy Reichs, yeah, big fan of Bones over here), and the feeling of getting into a novel, discovering characters, and following the suspense building of the story, had no price. Damn I said to myself, I forgot about this, about why I wanted to be a writer in first place. I have promised to myself, that no matter what the current events in my life are, I should never forget about going without reading a good book.

For those who write, have you ever come to a similar problem like mine?

Why I decided not to do a resolutions list for 2015

I used to do a resolutions list every single 31st of December of every year. It always felt as if the beginning of the new year would bring the new opportunities, the new hopes, for the life of my dreams.

My resolutions list for 2014 was different. It was not focused in the common wishes like losing weight, exercising, eating healthier, etc. They were mainly focused on writing goals and other objectives that would lead me to achieve the personal growth I wanted to achieve. I reviewed that list in the early days of December. I found out I didn’t achieve most of them, not because I’ve been lazy, procrastinated, etc. but because most of them were not the the right goals.

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In 2014, I started to find my way, to grow as a person, to understand what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, to work hard on it, and to persevere until I learned what working hard on your dreams really meant. I completed all of that.

This December 31st, I sat down with an empty paper ready to write my 2015 goals. It took me less than 15 seconds to realize that I didn’t have to write anything else. I knew clearly where my mind was heading, I knew what I have to do, I knew I was already working on it, and finally, I recognized that I was just fine, I was doing what I always wanted to do and I was on the right track. So, there was nothing else to write, things were crystal clear in my head as to how to proceed and act.

Of course, I still have some big goals for this year, but I know them by heart, I don’t need to write them down or make an elaborate plan on how to achieve them, I already know how. I already know that it’s just about hard work, and I’m already into it. Gosh, this feels so wonderful.

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And you, do you write resolutions every year? do you achieve them? did you write resolutions for this year? I would like to hear about you in the comments. 

The quirky/cheesy/comfy workspace of a person aspiring to be a writer…

Last week I came across WeWork, a very interesting co-working company, and I was inspired to write a post to share a little bit more about my workspace (the one where I do the creative stuff, not the gray & white boring one from my full time job. When are companies going to realize how much the workspace “look and feel” influence people’s effectiveness and inspiration?)

So going back to my true workspace, I must refer to my home, more specifically my bedroom.  I don’t have a desk in my bedroom to work on; I mainly lay down on my bed with a bunch of pillows behind me. Do I like working this way? I love it! I spend eight hours in my full time job working on a desk to arrive home and sit again at a desk? No way! All I want to do when I arrive home is to throw myself on the bed, get comfy, cosy, and start writing the fun stuff.

So how would I describe this inspiring/comfy place? As a total reflection of myself. I don’t believe in rules for combining colors or patterns, I just do it the way I like it, so yes, as you can see in the pictures, there’s brilliant red combined with lime green curtains, so much for learning how to nail the right palette of colors right?

As you may notice, I love beanbags, they are perfect for relaxing, and whenever I’m not writing on my bed, I just let myself be in the beanbags.

Now, decoration wise? I just put everything I like. I love art, I love vintage, comics, pop art, everything, so there’s a little bit of these things everywhere.

I love books, and that’s of course how I got into writing in first place. My dream place would be to have to book shelves from corner to corner.

I also like objects with quotes that remind me of what I want to do with my life, so that’s why I got a couple of quirky gadgets to remind me this, even advice quotes from the good Winston Churchill.

And I may not be the flower pink girl type, but my cheesy part allows me to keep these little ones.

Anyway, for many people out there, this bedroom/workspace may seem some kind of store with too much going on, to many objects everywhere, not the ideal representative of a minimalist decoration magazine of course. But I feel good here, I feel cosy, and surrounded by the things I love and get inspired by. This is how I get into the mood of writing every evening, and after all, it’s all about that, isn’t it?

And you how is your workspace? do you think it’s important to have a workspace that relates to your personality?

P.S. If you notice the British theme somewhere, it’s because of the good memories I have from the times I visited the UK.

I started to kill my darlings and it feels so liberating…

For those who have been following my blog, you know I’ve been writing my first novel during these months, and now I’m totally trying to finish my first manuscript by the hand of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). But being my first time experience as a writer, I’ve discovered so many writing tips during these months, that I would lie if I say I knew all of them existed, like the infamous darlings for example.

But could you imagine if I were oblivious to these writer’s tips, notes, methods, etc.? For a first time novelist, the most possible outcome would be a dreadful first draft.  Of course, I’m perfectly aware that my fist draft will not be the best, neither the second, or not even the first novel; it could take me years (hopefully not decades) to learn to write properly; but I believe that with practice and huge receptivity for criticism (read my previous post), I can actually improve a lot.

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But enough of rambling about all this writing learning-curve-process, I wanted to talk you about my darlings, yes you read well, my darlings, and I’m not talking about my beloved ones, or my several stacked virtual boyfriends (who happen to exist  in a quantity equivalent to zero), but I’m talking about William Faulkner’ famous darlings.  For those who are not into writing, a quick definition will help you not close this blog post immediately.

What is a darling in writing? A darling, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a literary advice that refers to the dangers of an author using personal favorite elements. In other words, I interpret the darlings as those phrases that look so cute or so wording abundant and excessive vocabulary that although, they make writers feel proud, they can actually cause readers to roll their eyes.

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I’ve been struggling with darlings for months, in my excuse to find my unique voice (which for some reasons started to come with darlings) until recently, when I realized that I only needed to stop worrying about them. That all I needed was to start writing a story with truthful characters and strong emotions, and that was it.

Darlings have started to disappear, and whenever I read my first chapters (which of course I will have to revisit later when I finish my first draft), I will be ready to push my magic Delete button on the keyboard, and kill all the darlings mercilessly, for they are only barriers that stop us telling a truthful story (no need of decoration).

And you have you ever heard about these darlings? If you haven’t, well now you know that writers are not crazy murderers whenever they talk about killing their darlings.

And if you’ve heard about them, how do you cope with them? Do they usually chase you in your writing?

P.S. I tried to google images related to “kill your darlings” but it seems that there’s a movie with Harry Potter in it (I mean the actor).

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Why we all need feedback and why we should embrace it…

I love feedback and with the time I´ve gotten more receptive of it. Many years ago, it would have been different. I would have taken it too harsh and felt discouraged. I think that´s sign of growing up and I embrace this idea.

Since I began writing this year, I’ve felt insecure about my writing.  The plot, the characters, the stories, have always been abundant in my head, but my problem was translating them into paper.  Having never had writing classes and having a different native language than English, there were  times where I questioned myself “What am I getting myself into?”

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Due to all in these insecurities, I’ve always looked forward for feedback, and expected the worst. However, some people have given me excellent feedback and I thank them deeply for that (even though I still feel they were condescending with me). You see, I’m actually my toughest reviewer, but isn’t´that the idea? If I were to believe that I write very well and that my writing doesn’t need improve, it would be a tragedy, I would be a mediocre writer.

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 Being able to realize that there´s always room for improvement is awesome; I mean the “realization” part. The fact that you´re not that blinded and that you can find your own mistakes, it’s rewarding. And believe me, there must be a bunch of people out there who still get sensitive with feedback, BS! This is not a career for being sensitive, it´s a career for those who accept all sorts of criticism, absorb them, and continue forward! The more you detect your mistakes, the more you’ll be able to improve and learn.

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Thanks for all the harsh reviewers out there. That´s what writers really need and I´m hoping to get as many as possible. That´s the only way up!

And you, how do you handle feedback? Do you let it get to you when it´s too harsh? I would love to hear what you think! Come on express yourselves in the comments section, if you want to complain against harsh reviewers do it! this is your chance  🙂