The Writing Monster: Why NaNoWriMo will be the End of Me.

In the past I have mentioned how tremendously hard it can be to beat the clock, but now that its November those posts seem like nothing. NaNoWriMo is here, and it is blowing up in everyone’s faces. Do we have the time to conquer this new quest or must we fall like every other year?
Fight  I say. Today I am skipping the day…not on writing but on life. I am dedicated and will finish this book if it is the last thing I do.

I can see it now, by the end of the month I will be typing so ferociously, and so intensely that not only will I forget all of my bodily duties, but I will become one heaping hot mess. My clothes will be scattered across the apartment, my hair will be in tangled knots from my uncleanliness. My showers will have been forgotten as my mind glazes over and can only focus on one thing- the screen.

My hands, typing so fast, will grow dry and cracked. It should annoy me to the point of putting on lotion if I am in a sound mind, but at this point I would be too far gone. My school will be put on hold, throwing away my very education. The place I call work, may very well be a foreign mishap when I forget to clock in mentally.

There is no telling what I will become, but today is the start of whatever fever I am catching. To stop the world around me is what I am conquering today. Forget the real life I amcurrently living in and delve into the world of my characters. This is the way I must be when writing. If I want to finish NaNoWriMo, and if that wonderful book truly is going to be great.

The risk of being a full time writer is that you have to start thinking like one. Let go of the world and enter the forbidden fortress of your mind. There the creature of a dark world enters your soul and all you are left with is a beast on the outside. For the people that watch you fall into this realm they will be scared. They will witness before their eyes a monster coming out and replacing the person they once knew.

Don’t be scared of this place my friends, it’s a necessary part if you are to participate in NaNoWriMo. Because this month is beyond the possible and in itself is insane, YOU my dear writer must meet its match and become the abominable creature you never knew lived within yourself.

Wish me luck. This month I’m tackling the impossible and you must remember, nothing should be more important to you then your writing if you are  going to be successful.

…Well with a few exceptions of loved ones of course 😉 Please don’t ignore your child or spouse, that’s just asking for a sorrowful chaos to last longer then just our precious November.

As always feel free to comment below, and tell me about the monster you have seen come out of its shell this month!

A. Willow

 

Moral Message: Is it Necessary?

Hello Everyone,

For me in a story everything has to have an outcome. Now that doesn’t mean it has resolution, but that the story gave you a certain moral or idea that you will possibly take with you for the rest of your life. Reading books is learning, and that means that every word you put on a page you are sending a message. This message on your blog could be “I hate my job” or it could be, “Cats are the best pets in the world”, but with books it might be slightly more difficult. They can send mixed messages and be contradictory at times,for example its like after reading the Grapes of Wrath where you learn that your life isn’t actually as stressful as you once thought, but you could also get from it that people will do really weird and somewhat horrific things in desperate times (if you’ve read the ending, or heard about it then you know the exact  part I am talking about).

So I’m here to tell you that I zone in on certain aspects of books, and in my own writings I try to really emphasize between light and dark.  At the beginning, stories tend to capture my attention by action, romance, or simply new ideas, but its the author’s message that will have me either stop or continue.

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Stories about ending the world and how humans are hopeless, now it’s those authors I cannot stand. All the author does is tell his/her readers that they don’t have any hope of improving and they should only look forward to going downhill.
Well excuse me if I am interrupting anyone’s fantasy bubble, but humans need growth in order to live. We can’t just sit on the couch playing Left for Dead five hours in a row and use the excuse, “Zombies are going to take over the world, so why should I try?”

That is ridiculous! Sure, whatever, play the games, I couldn’t care less. But its the attitude that goes with it. We see it in the media, TV, Movies, Magazines, and even on the radio that we humans are worthless and shouldn’t continue to try.

What have we as a society come to?

My solution to everything is this: We have to stop spreading around garbage and negative energy and start helping each other. We need to work together through our words and helping hands. That is why writing is so important. It’s because it gives future generations hope to look for a brighter future,and that darkness will not swallow us up as long as we keep trying and are working together.

So yes, when I read the hunger games, I really fell in love with it. Until the second book came out and it was likeable, but as soon as I finished the third book I got MAD! With all the fans, and how many people the author reached out to, THAT WAS HER ENDING!?! Her message was horrible, and to basically give up on civilization as we know it!

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How could someone with such power, downgrade the human worth and tell everyone that there is no hope for humanity?

I apologize because I know how many people loved it, but I can’t stand that we are limiting ourselves to such a low standard.

When you write, make sure you know what message you are sending out to everyone. That is my advice to you, because if you create a book just because you thought it would be a cool idea, well think again. Your sons, daughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and so forth are going to read this and what type of message do you want to be sending out to them? It doesn’t have to be filled with rainbows and ponies, but at least try to make it worth the lesson.

Do we really want to be telling our children, “Oh don’t worry about going to school today, we humans are worthless anyways.”

So yes, I do judge a book by its message, and I can’t stand that when someone has power that they waste it on negativity. So if you want to write out to the world, please, I am begging you, to think twice before you send your manuscript.

If you would like to tell me what you are thinking feel free to comment.  I would love to hear about anything: what your morals are, why you look for a message in books or don’t, what is your favorite book that has a message etc.

-A. Willow-

The Flames of Destiny

The feeling of loss surrounds your soul waving in currents to soak all that was whole. Your hands fly to your throat in a desperation to end the rising smoke.  Your full grasp of love and life has fallen from your hands, tumbling down into the depths of the cold dark floor of the forgotten. Searching through the haze of smoke you wish to find a light. Searching for the one who can end this cursed blight.433399

But you stop, for there with a flickering in your eye you see the man who once did this to you as he smiled.  He starts the fire and mocks you as he strolls away with a laughing vile. The smoke clears, but the energy in the room thickens. The fire grows and blocks the doorway to your freedom.
What to do, what to do, shall you fall as well to the blackened tunnel?

The image of the man haunts the corners of your mind. You reach out to the flames ready to tackle them without hesitation of any kind. Your life may be at stake, and the world you knew was gone, but now at the uncertainty of your faith you stand strong. With nothing left to use you pick up your shoes. Storm through the front gate of this hellish world of late. You pummel through the door, with the flames sucking on your clothes that want you to deplore. You scream and yell, but in a triumphant chant of excel. You fall through to the other side in a place where you cannot hide. Out in the open with the air above. The world finally screaming out its love. You feel the passion like a lovers kiss, as you wake up into this new world of bliss.

Sometimes when we feel that our lives are slipping away, all it takes is one faithful stance to stay. Keep your heads up my beloved friends, for soon one day we shall all be together in the end.

(Feel free to comment and tell me what you think! 🙂 )

Am I Meant To Be A Writer?

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Are you prepared to come face to face with the one question that has tortured the best of us? Wondering if you are good enough to make it in the world of writing. There never has been a question so vile and yet so beautiful to your soul.  At the beginning this  question made me toss and turn in bed until the light began streaming through my blinds. This question tortured me as I finished my first book doubtful of its worth. I always thought I writing came naturally, but I never thought I was meant to be one until now.

You may ask me, “How on earth do you know you’re meant to be a writer A. Willow? Did God come down and tell you this is what you are  going to do? Did He already plan out your life so you know you’ll be comfortable financially?”

My answer to you is a bit long, but the short answer is this “I can Feel it!”

If you are unsure of if you want to be a writer in your life, then listen close. I will reveal what it takes, how hard it is, and what your life will most likely look like.

I have researched to the point of exhaustion, and I am still learning everyday forcing myself to learn about the writing world. The truth is making it as a writer for a living is hard work.  If you write beautiful stories, if you structure a poem perfectly, or even if you think of the greatest character in the world, if this comes to you naturally then hooray for you. But that won’t be enough!

The writing industry in this decade is excruciatingly hard to be apart of and even harder to be successful. That is why I am trying to show you that if you are not already working hard then you need to. It’s just like everything else in this world,  if you don’t work for it you will not get anywhere.  It’s not just about writing every day, it’s about promoting yourself everyday.

I learned from a very helpful book  that you are your own marketer. You are the best person to promote your work, sell your work, and find the best agents, publishers and etc.  So to put it blatantly, besides working hard to write everyday, the hardest part is to promote yourself everyday.

In future posts I will tell you how to promote yourself.

The next thing you need to know is that writing can take a toll on you emotionally as well as mentally.

You may begin sending out your works, start a blog you think will generate popularity quickly, and even read out your poetry expecting a huge applause. Now, when I tell you this next part I truly wish the world worked different. It saddens me to say that more than likely these beautiful things of recognition, appreciation, and excitement for your writing probably won’t come right away. People will reject your work, your blog may start off with no followers, and you may not get a standing ovation and just a few scattered claps from the audience.

This is normal. Yes, I just said that you are a normal writer, but don’t be offended. Most of us start off normal, and must gain enough experience, and/or followers to witness all the beautiful things I mentioned above.

Yet again this has to do with building your platform, but to build your platform you need to understand that you do begin at the bottom no matter how awesomely fantastic your work may be.

Writing doesn’t just take talent, it takes a lot of time, energy, and sometimes even emotional stress.

Hopefully I didn’t scare you away by telling you what it takes to be a writer, because the overall outcome of writing is rewarding.

It may be different for everyone, but I want to tell you why I want to be a writer. Honestly there is no one answer that will tell you if this is the path you should take, but I can give you one definition of knowing.

If you feel like writing is your life, a part of breathing in and out, the sense that life fades away as soon as your pen touches paper.That is when you know you are a writer.

Writing for me is like writing out my soul. Feeling the words mold into my heart and I breathe them back out into the air to tell everyone about what I am experiencing.  There is no feeling that comes even remotely close as I type words onto a page. The reward is the feeling of beauty and wonder as you see your work. Creating a world in your head and exploring it as you find it on your page.

Writing is a gift only a few of us have, but it’s the ones that pursue it that are truly magical. You may be a writer at heart, but it takes a warrior to become a writer in this world.

Do you feel that warrior within you?

For me I don’t have it everyday, but I am struggling to bring that warrior to my everyday life. Please let me know if you feel the warrior within yourself, and what you find helps you overcome the challenges of being a writer.

Your blogging friend,

A. Willow

Struggling Through the Abyss of Time

Hello Fellow Writers,

Today I will share with you a problem I have been facing over the last six months. I have bashed myself down time and time again because I simply tell myself, “I don’t have any time to write.”

Is this statement true for me as well as for you? Do you feel that time is your enemy with your studies, work, family, and friends that you are unable to make time for your writing?

For some this is a daily struggle, others a few times a month, and a few that hardly have to worry about time. To those of you who don’t worry about timing Hurray to you! but for the rest of us time-crunchers, here are a few of my thoughts that may help you as well as me.

imageThe way we writers must view things no matter how busy we are is that time doesn’t stop just because you’ve stopped writing. You may want to be a big famous author or poet one day, but here’s the thing, if you aren’t writing you are stuck in time. The literary world isn’t going to stop the busy route it’s taking and slab you on the best sellers list.

You have to work for that all on your own.

You won’t be handed your accomplishments, instead you will have to work for what you want in life. We as writers must MAKE time everyday to write, we must make time to market ourselves every week, and we most certainly have to send out our works at least once a month. You need to start being that annoying writer who never takes no for an answer. Get your name out to the public, the publishers, and the literary agents. You need to imagine yourself as a persistent hornet, striking at every opportunity you are given.

Praying to God, talking to your friends, and writing when you simply feel like it isn’t going to be enough.

In america we have this sort of motto, that you can do anything you put your heart to, AS LONG AS YOU WORK YOUR TAIL OFF!

There are no tomorrows without the beginning of today, so start getting off the “another day” train and begin writing today!

Write, write, write.

Work, work, work.

And Advertise yourself.

I know that time might seem like it’s out to get you, but honestly only you can take time by the shirt collar and hold it down to go in the direction you want. Time is not completely our enemy, it just takes the courage to becomes friends with it and make it a frenemy.

The Problems with Being a Writer

A. Willow

Ever since the dawn of time, writers have struggled to survive.

We each have our own style of writing, a way we like to do things, and a certain audience we are searching for. We strive to become noticed, or talked to about our work, to see what other people are thinking and if you have changed any one small person in some way. Once people start reading our work we begin to love our job, and we take pride in what we do.

The burden of this task doesn’t lay in the writing though, it lies on the outside.

For centuries we have seen, or read about the penny-less writer. Starving artists who have no choice in the matter of doing something else because they know deep down in their hearts that they are meant to write.

So here we all are, poorer than we had hoped, but feel helpless in the matter because no matter what your family and friends say, no matter how many times people bash at your life choices, you have no choice but to write with all your heart.

Choosing the path to follow your heart and dreams is one of the many sacrifices we must make in this world. We could have went to school to be some sort of doctor, even with a little interest, but where would you be now? You picked the writer path because you loved writing, and when you type your words on a page it feels like your fulfilling your life with meaning.

In this world, we are supposed to strive to become wealthy, long lived, and have so many expensive hobbies that we can’t even keep track of them all.

But imagine, if we didn’t live in this world. Imagine a place where money didn’t matter, and all anyone cared about was the passion they filled their lives with. A place where everyone followed their hearts and nobody second guessed themselves as to what to do, because they could see their soul as clear as day.

*Sigh

But we do not live a part of that world…not now at least. Because beyond the boundaries of our human race’s small minds, we can’t see everything no matter how smart you think you are. Everyone may think they have life and our surroundings all figured out, but in truth I doubt God or the Divine, or whatever you believe in gave us the minds to understand everything. For if we did understand everything we wouldn’t have wars to see what religion is right, we wouldn’t keep a stock of food for months when people are starving somewhere else, and we wouldn’t doubt that love surrounds all of us, but it takes a time a serenity to grasp it.

So for me at least, and perhaps for many of the other writers out there. I am not just writing for myself, or for the people I think might be able to get me rich or whatever….but I am writing for my soul. For I feel deep down, within my very core, that I’m meant to write words to help people understand that love isn’t just a myth of this world, and that every war does come with a consequence.

Each of us writers have our own reason to write, some unseen force pulling us along to tell a story to the world. I hope you find yours, and you learn from your own writing just like I am.

To me, it doesn’t matter if I am  penny-less and striving to get by in this world, but what matters is that I strive to show the world how much love and passion there truly is out there.

Goodbye my fellow writers, and if you’ve found your own reason for writing let me know. It’s a special gift our creator gave us to write out our feelings in song, and it’s just as special to share it.

Love Always,

     A. Willow

 

An Expression of Rejection

To express one’s self on a page is hard to do. It comes from the soul hidden deep behind the corners of your mind. All you want to focus on is what feels real, what feels right.

But then you get rejection after rejection and you can’t help to think that maybe your miracle will never happen.

Becoming published is a business you must have patience in, which I lack severally. I wish the day would come where I can float among the clouds of achievement, where I can see my work on a shelf and I can say “That’s my baby. That’s my treasured book.”

To imagine that moment brings tears of joy to my eyes. To actually think I could be chosen for such a high achievement. I just have to keep telling myself, be patient, work hard, and  soon you’ll get there.

If you are in the same position as I am, I just want you to know that a rejection isn’t the end of the world. You just have to believe that out of all the thousands of literary agents out there only ONE is perfect for you. We just haven’t found them yet.

Stay inspired to write, and you’ll get there when the time is right.

A. Willow

A Scene’s Complexity

imageWhat makes your writing unique?

Is it the way you spill it onto a page or could it possibly be the types of things you focus on?

Everyone is unique in their own way, and when it comes to the image inside your head, nobody else is going to have the same thing.

The landscape falls with just enough sunlight to stretch across the grass. The flowers, blooming red, symbolize the new beginning to my life. Stress has overcome all the senses, but soon a tranquil breath will wash over and release me from this heavy burden. 

Seeing an image like this one in your head is all your own, and something you might want to share with the world. But how do we effectively put a strong image into words? No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t give every person the same exact picture that’s inside your own mind, but you can try to get close.

Here are the things you should be thinking about while writing a scene.

1. The mood-

You must insinuate the mood you are feeling while you see this image. Does it seem to lift your spirits when you do see that sunrise. Can you feel the taste of freedom in the soft flowing air?

OR- Is it a drastic change where darkness sets in and you feel lost. Its feels as though your trapped in a dark cave with no light around you. You can only feel the course dank walls of your tormented enclosure?

Try to make your audience feel the way you do. Once you’ve achieved that you are getting closer to showing your audience the essence of your scene.

2. Vivid Description-

Now the question is what do you want to focus on? Is the narrator focusing on one object?

The coffee cup was still dripping with condensation. Letting the water slide down the side, and drip off the edge of the table. It’s as if the cup knew he felt the stress of his job beginning already without even taking a sip of his black bitter coffee. The cup was white, like his pale face, and resembled the staleness of life he had possessed over his many years of greed. The cup was a symbol of his life, and he knew that eventually the cup would drain down his throat dry without any comfort from the outside world. 

Or

Is the narrator unable to focus strictly on one thing, where everything is in a blur?

I heard the phone ringing, but could only focus on the people around me. There was a girl talking so fast it was as though her red lips puffed out in a blur, the man next to her eyeing her goods on his way to his lower end table, the lady in purple drummed her fingernails against the counter impatiently, the man chomping on his gum so loudly it made my stomach twist in nausea …

“Excuse me, you gonna get that or what?” 

I heard the snarky comment from a flimsy girl, but my head grew fuzzy and everyone began turning into one big blur of solid movement. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of answering the bar’s phone like I was supposed to, I bolted out of the spinning room and coughed up my lunch from earlier. 

What was it with me and large impatient crowds?

By looking at these examples you can see a drastic difference when you focus on one main object or too many at one time.   Whether it be a really quick glance of a description, or a long enduring eye for everything in the room.

My last piece of advice on the matter is you should be able to feel the writing being soaked up by your story and not disturbing it. Even if the paragraph is phenomenally written, if it isn’t flowing with the story you might have to save it for a later date.

3. What Feels Right-

When writing out your scenes, don’t focus on anyone else’s opinion but your own. It’s hard enough to write everything by yourself, but when you have more than one voice in your head it can get stressful. All you need to do is close your eyes and visualize what you think you should focus on in your heart. If the writing is rough, and you don’t know how to fully describe whats in your head, just write down random words that make sense to you and the scene. Come back to it later, and fully edit in the sentences. Writing isn’t supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be an expression of thought.

If you want to share, I would love to see hear how it helped you and even share what you came up with.

Enjoy your scene writing,

A. Willow

Move On To Write Long

We writers have all been there before, the horrifying truth that you are, in fact stuck. You are unable to keep your words flowing, and you can’t seem to think of the next step. Some of us may call this writers block, and most of the time it is. There are other times though, when you just feel dry, like you’re sick of writing the same story over and over again.

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What I’m here to tell you is to MOVE on.

It does us no good to just stare at our computers for hours trying to think of the next big step you or your character must take. What’s important is that you keep writing.

Getting stuck on a certain piece of your writing may make you angry, and impatient to finish, but what I have learned is that when you push yourself to finish a project even though you aren’t feeling it, the story is going to turn out horrible!

Trust me I have done it many times. Staring at the page without a thought in my mind is torture, but what is even more treacherous is reading the end result after bulldozing through. To help you through this, I have something I would like to share.

There’s a secret I’m going to tell you about myself that might frighten you, but could eventually help you along your writing careers.

I am one of those people who have a million thoughts zooming through my head. I have so many ideas for books that I begin to start a few chapters into a new book, but then stop after the first day. At first I thought this was my downfall, because I’m also the type of person who likes to finish what I have started in a timely matter. (In other words I’m impatient and I don’t like a jumbled mess of projects- it distracts me too much). I have realized  over the past few years of my writing that this also helps me.

Let me explain.

To have more than one project to work on isn’t a bad thing. It helps you move along fluidly in your writing life. Yes, it might be a bit of a mess, but it sure helps you write longer.

If you are stuck on a story and it’s the only thing you are writing on, then you can’t do much practice now can you? With more projects its easier to move on from where you’re stuck and continue to write what you love. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there are certain ways to help you with writers block, or ways to help your creative juices flowing, but this is probably the most important to a writer.

As we all know,

The more you write, the better writer you become.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal, to become the best writer we can be?

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If you need more help on writing, look around at my different posts. If you can’t find what your looking for feel free to ask me a question in the Thoughts box below.

As always, I love listening to everyone, so don’t be shy.

A. Willow

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!