“And those things are a space that must be cultivated in the self.”

Musings on the romanticism of writing and where it’s done.

via Writing Spaces — Points of Light: Dreaming with Your Eyes Open


Most of my writing happens in bed, too.

This morning I was trying to stay asleep, but my brain kept trying to write something in my head. Eventually I caved and reached over to start typing on my phone, because otherwise it was going to bug me.

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#AtoZChallenge — Voice

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


Your writer’s voice is supposed to be something that is uniquely your own. But what does that really mean? What the hell is writer’s voice? And how can you find something when you’re not even sure what it is?

Is it your style of writing? Is it your tone? Or is voice something else entirely?

According to one article I came upon, “voice is not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches a writer’s oeuvre.”

I’m sorry, but that didn’t help at all. “A writer’s oeuvre”? Seriously?

V is for Voice, Fandango

I read this a few hours ago, and it’s occurred to me that since I left such a long comment it might as well become my post for the day. So here’s that comment, with some additions.

My concentration in college was Creative Writing, so I took a lot of writing courses. One of them focused specifically on “voice” — a concept that I’m still a little shaky on, to be honest, but hear me out.

Throughout the semester, the professor and I had a running argument about fanfiction. I am all for as a writing exercise, because it creates opportunities to be creative within a finite set of rules (canon) and a somewhat less finite set of your own personal take on things (head-canon). The professor argued that it was merely taking on the voice of other creators and not exploring my own.

But how are you supposed to figure out what your voice is if you don’t have meaningful examples? The course did attempt to provide some, but none I really clicked with. And I’m saying that as someone who read Grapes of Wrath in high school and couldn’t stop writing like Steinbeck for weeks. I didn’t even like that book.

For me, the iconic example is Douglas Adams — because I spent so much time writing Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fanfiction. For a while, I had the Adams voice down pat, and that time it was intentional. I’m still not able to articulate what my own voice is, but I wouldn’t exactly be able to describe his either. It’s not something you define, it’s something you feel. Rhythm, content, it all blurs together into this thing that you kind of only identify from a distance, as an afterthought.

You know what I think? I think your own style is something you’re so intimately familiar with that it’s like… the taste in your mouth when you’re not tasting anything. It’s like the air you breath. It’s like water to a fish. Part of why I’ve come to this conclusion is because, if you try to think too hard about “sounding like yourself,” you overthink how to start the next story or the next scene, and you either end up staring at the blank space or forcing out some crap that you don’t really like.

oeu·vre
noun
the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively.
“the complete oeuvre of Mozart”

So maybe your voice just is what it is, and only your readers can properly identify it because they have the necessary distance, the necessary perspective, and usually a fair amount of time to absorb a selection of your work. You can only know your voice when someone else hears it, and tells you what it sounds like.

#AtoZChallenge — Racing

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across.


Let’s start with a scenario…you’re scribbling (or tapping) away, totally in the zone and the characters are behaving themselves so it’s smooth sailing. You’re totally going with the flow, your mind is racing, the words pouring forth, and you start to wonder why you ever thought writing was so hard. Then the inevitable happens, you stumble over a simple word choice and reality hits you like a slap upside the head.

“Rack your brains,” Melissa Barker-Simpson

This is pretty much where I am with the story I chose to dedicate myself to for Camp NaNoWriMo.

When I started out, I was flying. So much so that I had to break the first half of what I’d written for chapter one into a prologue because it covered a ridiculous amount of time. By the time I was done with that, I also had a chapter by chapter outline, with notes and relevant songs to use as prompts/inspiration for setting the kind of mood I want. All of this was still vague enough that by the time I got to chapter six everything was still on track as planned, with the addition of some cool little plot developments that I’d figured out along the way.

And now, most of the way through chapter six and 45k words already in the doc, I’m starting to hit The Wall.

In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.

During middle school, I got into cross country running for a while. I felt The Wall many times. It’s pretty much the same as in writing… At some point it becomes a lot more effort to carry on, I’ve been working on the project so long and the shiny newness isn’t as shiny anymore, and I start feeling like I’d rather be doing anything else when, ultimately, that’s not the case.

It’s as important to finish the story as it is to finish the race, but sometimes some foot-dragging in the middle is to be expected. Also, it’s encouraging for me to note that this is the first big, chaptered story that I haven’t abandoned the draft somewhere in the middle. I’m firmly convinced that this newfound endurance — as well as taking the time to build a solid yet flexible outline — is from doing NaNoWriMo for the past few years.

And also this: sometimes the step back we need to take while writing comes in the form of adding an [insert whatever’s missing here] and forging ahead. I haven’t exactly done that (with this current project) but I have written some bits out of order. Having plot point C written made figuring out a point B to connect it to the already written point A easier.

I’ve also come up with solutions at those inopportune times that meant staying up late and throwing off my already weird sleep schedule. Ah, the writer life.

Can you really never go home again?

Conventional wisdom holds that reading fanfiction you wrote six or seven years ago should be a cringe-worthily horrible experience. So… am I weird?

Because I’ve spent the past week reading through stuff I wrote in the last year or so of college and slightly after, and I don’t hate it. After all this time I’m basically my own, relatively unbiased beta reader and I’m polishing things up to post on Archive of Our Own.

Of course, I’m being selective. It’s only one specific fandom and only one specific pairing from it. Well… mostly. I have, like, three favorite characters that didn’t lead me to write things that make me want to dash my head against a wall and/or get a super-sized insulin shot from all that sugary sweetness crap.

That said, even some of the stuff I still like is pretty weird. Like, ‘oh my god why did I write this’ weird. But in a funny way.

Continue reading “Can you really never go home again?”

IWSG Post #13

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FEBRUARY QUESTION: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Before I googled some stuff to help me write this post, I didn’t even realize that New Adult was a genre. That’s entirely, completely what I write, and I love that I now have a label I can put my finger on! According to Wikipedia this genre “focuses heavily on life after an individual has become of legal age, and how one deals with the new beginnings of adulthood.”

In college, my usual MO for research papers was to navigate course concepts through whatever I was writing. A psychology/physiology class on emotions resulted in a paper where I explored the science behind emotions by comparing Vulcans to humans. An art history paper turned into an investigation of color choice and medieval pigments as I recreated an unfinished page from an illuminated manuscript and attempted to explain my color choices based on historical precedent.

In the present, I’m turning thirty in May and still don’t feel like an adult yet. So. I’m exploring that in my writing too. I love being able to do that.

Continue reading “IWSG Post #13”

IWSG Post #12

DECEMBER QUESTION: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

When it comes to writing…

I could not be happier with my NaNoWriMo success this year. A lot of it was building on my momentum from last year, which is ultimately what I want to do. I need to just finish a project, and then I can go from there! And the way I want to get there is writing a little bit every day.

Planning ahead of time and getting a complete timeline worked out for the story really, really helped.

If I’d thought of it more ahead of time I might have spent more time researching baseball teams and all that. My main characters are happily bonding over things I know nothing about, haha.

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When it comes to everything else…

I would go back in time and start actively balancing my checkbook earlier in the year. At least that would have felt like the sky was falling all at once when financial disaster finally hit.

Most everything I would do differently has to do with how I’ve been spending money.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was get more into yoga, and it happened relatively late in the year but it has happened! We made a friend who is now hosting a yoga group in the loft of her house. I finally have a reason to dig out my yoga mat. Success!

I’ve been baking and cooking more lately. The only thing I would change about that would be to start doing it sooner. It’s been very therapeutic, creativity inspiring, and also a lot of fun to share the recipes here.

And I’m not going to lie, the only way that could have happened is if I’d quit my job earlier. It had just become a place I didn’t want to be anymore, and was running me into the ground.