Even though I managed to be a lazy bum all week and postpone my posting, which you would think would mean I would’ve have ample time to come up with post topics, I am completely without a thought on what I’m talking about.
Commence ramble blog.
I started this blog over three years in much the same fashion; I had no idea what I was doing. The only blog I’d previously had was one on which I posted my poems and short stories, which were plentiful back in the day (aka high school). Now that I’m out of college and working full-time, though, I don’t write as much. I still have ideas, but instead of writing poems in the corners of my textbooks and transferring them to the internet, I’m trying to write a novel. I’m channeling all of my creative juices into getting at least 50,000 words on my book, and so far I have almost 10,000.
For me, getting past the first 20 pages has always been a challenge. For some reason, I can write like it’s my job (which, actually, it is now) for the first ten pages, but then I hit what I would consider the ‘middle’ of my story, and the plot…disappears. Just poof, gone, nothing left but a really awesome ending that, without that elusive middle, doesn’t make any sense at all.
So I stop writing. I get another idea and repeat the same thing. The only stories I can say I’ve finished have been ten pages or fewer, and every one of them has a weird, jumpy timeline (except for that two-page one, but that doesn’t really count). I could put together a book with just short stories and poems, but somehow that just feels like giving up early.
I also have this thing where I don’t want people to read anything until the story is perfect. As you can guess, this is a problem when I don’t have a middle or, better when, when I go back and change something that affects the whole story and just decide not to change the other things. I have problems, guys. I know that showing someone else my writing would enable them to help me find the holes in my writing, the ripped plot-seams, and the dubious characters, but I just can’t hand over something I put so much effort into unless it’s beautiful and perfect. Which basically means it will never be perfect. C’est la vie.
Through college, I got to see a lot of different writing styles and plot-lines. I got to see the way people use time-lines, jump scenes, and character development. I learned a lot about how I can use their techniques and I was forced to show them my work. I heard a lot of positive things from my peers, but I also heard a lot of not-so-stellar things from my teachers.
“Your dialogue seems forced” “This character is too unrealistic” “Where are you going with this?” “The idea is good but the execution of the plot is shaky” and other, less ‘gentle’ things. I’m very grateful for their feedback but I would’ve appreciated a little more guidance, a little more “here’s-how-you-fix-this” type…well, teaching.
I honestly think I learned more about writing and how to improve from my high school teacher than I did in college. Not because my college teachers were necessarily bad, but because my high school lit teacher was so phenomenal. I seriously consider Mrs. Fisher to be the reason I pursued an English degree. She made me write things I hated writing, made me read books I will never pick up again, and gave me passion for reading and writing with those assignments. I consider hard teachers to be the best, and I had to work to keep my grade up.
But when you’re in high school, your writing style is not what it will be for the rest of your life. My writing changed so much, it’s hard to believe that the person who is working on Alice, Undaunted (title subject to change) was the same person who wrote a book report on Lord Of The Flies (which is, incidentally, still one of my favorite books. I know, I’m weird).
I wish I could still take creative writing and essay classes. I will never stop learning about writing, and I really really wish there was someone to grade my papers and push me to be better even though I’m not in school.
I wish there was someone who would force me to show them my writing and then tell me it’s a load of crap…
But I guess that’s what friends and moms are for.
(I’m a little bit scared to go back and re-read this post…let me know if it’s crap, friends!)