five things i have failed at while writing

16 October 2016


it's no secret that i am a nefariously rubbish writer. i claim to want to become a published author one day yet i never actually put that plan into action - for various reasons, i have yet to even finish a single first draft of anything in particular. nope, i haven't even finished writing my autobiography which is absolutely ridiculous considering i've had such a fulfilling and exciting life these past eighteen years...
yet as someone who does love to write, i thought i'd write a list of all the things i've failed at in my writing journey: for your entertainment, for my procrastination. (wow, actually, i'm going to copyright that sentence, it's catchy, one day, it'll be the title of my autobiography. watch this space.) (no but don't, watch that space i mean, carry on reading would you? i just spent precious moments of my time rhythmically tapping at a rectangular object with raised bumps on it, please appreciate the effort that took.)

1. development: surprisingly enough, for someone that absolutely loves to plan everything (and i mean everything. who needs to waste money on wallpaper when you have to do lists covering your wall? not me) i tend not to plan and develop my novel ideas very well. after continuously seeing the same message (outline outline outline) on cait's wonderful blog i decided that enough was enough, i was going to plan my WIP. it lasted about...half an hour? i sat down, read over what i'd already written (clearly not very much if it took such a short span of time) and then started writing character lists and descriptions, a plot outline etc. it went well until i realised i had a plot hole the size of azkaban in that particular WIP, so i just pretended it didn't exist and opened the other WIP i was working on (which surprisingly went a little better, probably because it's a contemporary novel compared to the other...sci-fi..WIP (who in their right mind decides to write a sci-fi/fantasy(ish) novel when they have no clue about anything sci-fi at all), (obviously, me.)

2. entertainment: my plot's are absolutely rubbish. let's just put that out there now. i love creating characters, it's my favourite part of writing. to get all the little quirks and traits and nuances of each individual character is so fun. i also love writing dialogue and thinking of creative and intriguing book titles. actually creating a decently interesting plot though? ahahahah, let me just go and hide under my bed..

3. memory: i should probably know all the names and ages and hair/eye colour of the characters i'm writing about yes? well. no, not really. the contemporary WIP i have festering in a word document on my laptop right now has the protagonist of an - (ok i'm actually not even joking, i can't remember, let me check) - 11 year old girl. i've only written 16,000 words but her age has changed from 10 to 12 then back to 11 and then 10 again. and i forgot the names of her two best friends three times in one writing session. which doesn't bode well, i mean if i can't remember anything about my own novel then why would anyone else? it clearly means the WIP is so boring even my own brain is having quick naps every now and then..

4. consistency: ah, good old consistency. imagine me sitting at my desk every morning for half an hour and every evening for half an hour writing a little more of my WIP(s) in between work and art and other responsibilites. ok, now imagine me not even touching either of my WIP(s) for months on end. that's the real picture. i feel like i should just binge write. every holiday or half term i should set aside a couple of hours each day and just pound at the keyboard and hope something of consequence appears on the screen..NaNoWriMo here i come?

5. perfectionism: this issue probably relates to my problem with consistency. i don't write every day, i don't even write every month. i write when i'm 'in the mood' aka 'feeling inspired to continue my WIP' aka 'only when i think what i write will be any good', which is not very often. i'm still in the rut of wanting my first draft to be bestseller worthy when it will never ever be. and i know that, i'm just still denying it.
so what have i actually not failed at? you ask with a bemused expression. 'NOTHING' i shout back at you, absolutely nothing. but i guess that's ok because the process of writing a first draft of a novel is knowing your failing but carrying on anyway? or is that just me...

12 comments:

  1. I have heard (and I am a hypocrite for even saying this because I do not do it) that it's okay to get a character's age wrong in a first draft. It's okay to keep changing names. You can fix it when you rewrite/edit.
    I'm a character person too. My plots are awful - very simplistic or cliched - so I've taken to using them as an outlet for my character arcs. It's not about what they're doing. It's about what happens to them along the way.

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    1. Ahha yeah i guess it is, it just annoys me that even I can't remember! And ooh i like that idea, that's very true. i really want to work on my plots though - especially after reading the six of crows duology by leigh bardugo!

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  2. N'awww. I SHALL SEND YOU CAKE BECAUSE I THINK YOU NEED IT. And honestly? Can I tell you a secret? Shh, come closer now *whispers* I FAIL AT ALL OF THESE SPECTACULARLY TOO AT TIMES. Except for plotting. I've got that nailed (overnailed considering I wrote a 10K plot this week. Yikes) but it took me like 6 years to get here, SO THERE'S THAT. But seriously, you can't expect your novels to be perfect on the first try!! It's actually really freeing to embrace your mistakes and failings and just go with them. And who cares if your first draft has plot holes?!? You can fix it later! My first drafts have terrible plot holes and I just ignore them and keep writing fun dialogue and cake scenes TO MY HEART'S CONTENT. Everything else comes in rewrites/edits.😂 Anyway, I knooow writing is hard BUT YOU GOT THIS! I BELIEVE IN YOU!!

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    1. WHY THANKS CAIT. *listens to secret* BUUUUT CAIT YOUR BOOKS ALL SOUND WONDERFUL AND AMAZING AND IT'S FINE THAT YOU FAIL AT THESE BECAUSE YOU ACTUALLY FINISH BOOKS? i don't.
      i KNOOOOOOOW but i'm a perfectionist and ugh. six years? sigh. i'll try then..I CARE THAT MY DRAFTS HAVE PLOT HOLES BECAUSE I WILL NEVER FIX THEM.
      i think i should probably add more cake scenes in my books then right?

      HOW DO YOU EVEN WRITE 10K PLOTS MY OUTLINES ARE LIKE A FEW HUNDRED WORDS?!

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  3. I'm so bad at sitting down to work on my WIPs every day! But sometimes (especially for the sci-fis for example) I just write it without expecting it to ever see the light of day and that helps me get passed the need for it to be perfect.

    GOOD LUCK! Join in with NaNoWriMo, it's good fun. :)

    Astrid
    www.astridkaniele.com

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    1. yeah i know mine will never see the light of day but i still stress because i'm still a perfectionist aha.

      THANKS, i actually might..

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  4. Ok so from reading your blog I can tell you that you're a good writer, your voice is relatable and easy to read, even enjoyable! Maybe don't put too much pressure on writing and accept that the first thing you finish will probably be a load of crap (in your eyes) but hey from there the only way is up and you'll learn from mistakes!
    You could even take a class to help with your plot problems? :)
    Xxx

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    1. Awwwwh Anissa! thank you!! yep, everyone keeps telling me that so i think i'll have to ahah!

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  5. whaaa. Why are you putting so much pressure on yourself?! Halt and cease this self-doubt!! Go forth and write the crappiest plots with jumbled details. Get out the bad writing from your system and then you'll come across a gem, a gem that shines and launches your career as an author.
    And have fun while you do it!
    ~Asiya

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    1. I DON'T KNOW, BECAUSE I LIKE TO BE A PERFECTIONIST BUT I CAN'T REALLY BECAUSE IN ACTUAL FACT NOTHING IS PERFECT.

      i'm off to search for that gem.

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  6. Oh this speaks to my soul [particularly number 2]. I have so many ideas, but usually, like you they have 'plot holes the size of Azkaban' which is an excellent phrase by the way. That or there's a beginning and an end, but a hole the the middle which I kindly refer to as 'the Bermuda Triangle.' My characters are on point, fully fleshed out creatures, and yet I just can't get the whole 'actually needing a plot' thing down. I'm hoping that NaNoWriMo, or my version of it, can possibly help this. For now, thank you for vocalising your writer-worries and reminding me and the other commenters that we're not alone in our inky mess.

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    1. Hahah thank you, and yep, massive plot holes are my forte. or no plot at all really, that's more of what i do.
      I do love writing characters and developing them too..i think i'm going to try my own version of NaNo as well and haha YOU'RE WELCOME ;)

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