Over the past week or so, I’ve been doing things to kick-start the writing I want to do going forward. I’ve written, of course. I’ve written a post for my other blog, and I’ve started working on a new short story. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. It’s an interesting feeling not having a blog post to put up every day like I had when I was working on my 100 Days to Brave series for my other blog. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week for this blog, but then it came to me. Not all writing is practicing in public. We all have work we would like to eventually have published, and we also need to do research so the work will be the best it can possibly be when it is ready for publication. So, there’s my topic. Research. What goes into preparing to write a book or a story, and my experiences in coming to realize it is necessary for the writing craft.
As I have prepared for this time of being able to write full-time, I have come across many philosophies and methods for getting words down on the page. I know some writers can’t write without having an outline prepared while others are known as “pantsers” or being able to write by the seat of their pants. (without a lot of preparation). There are also people who like to write as quickly as possible and those who can only write a few hundred words once a week. There are those who can write and edit as they go (precious few of us, I would think), and there are those who need to make sure another set of eyes (more than one, most likely) sees their work before they try to submit it somewhere for possible publication. I’m sure we all have many other differences as writers.
During this time of preparation, I have come across one organization I would like to give a shout-out to. NaNoWrimo, or National Novel Writing Month. It happens in November, and the goal is to get a 50,000 word novel finished before the end of the month. I’ve participated a few times, and the files for those books are sitting on my computer. I had fun each time I did it, and my participation proved to me that I did have the capacity to put words on the page and to finish a longer work. I know people who have revised and had their books published from participating in this event, but I don’t think that’s going to happen from what I’ve done so far because one of my entries is a fan-fiction work and because I am still learning about revising, editing, and research.
That brings us to today’s topic. Research. From all of the reading I’ve done, I know there are some authors who put out work very quickly, and there are some who take their time. I’ve always known that research needed to be done, but I wasn’t sure how to do it for a piece of writing I was working on and I thought it was more important to put words of my own on the page. Because I’m a writer, of course. How would people know I’m a writer if I didn’t put words of my own on the page?
I’ve come to realize differently now. I need to do research. Read books in the genre I want to write in and other books to keep my mind sharp. Read books on writing craft which will help with developing my own voice. Participate in events which will sharpen my mind and develop my creativity. And of course, write. Write for my blogs, write my stories, and begin writing my book. These are all parts of the workday for a writer, and they will be things I incorporate into my schedule as I begin writing full-time.
Have a wonderful day!
When I was a child, there were very few times I was caught without a book. Books were my passion. They took me to worlds vastly different from my own and were an escape from my own world. I could use my imagination to pretend like I was any one of the heroes or heroines in those books–someone who traveled to different places and was able to solve mysteries, escape from bad situations, fly on spaceships, and help other people.
So, what were some of my favorite childhood books? I enjoyed reading a lot of the series books that were popular in the 1970’s. These included such series as Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, and The Hardy Boys. As I got older, I began liking authors such as Andre Norton, Peter David, Orson Scott Card, and Terry Brooks. There were other authors who wrote the Star Trek tie-in books that I also enjoyed. I think I began liking the science fiction and fantasy genres more at this point because their worlds were so different and because it was not expected that girls would like these books, at least in my corner of the world. For me though, I liked them because women made a positive contribution and were not in a traditional role.
What were some of your favorite childhood books or authors?
I like this quote by Maya Angelou which I read earlier.
“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.”
This speaks to me. People have things in their hearts that they’ve never told to anyone because they are afraid of being ridiculed, afraid of being rejected, or just afraid in general. We would call these things our baggage, and we usually bring it everywhere we go. We put up shields because we don’t want to show our real selves or don’t think we can show our real selves. But, books, books can break those walls down. Books show people who are overcoming their limitations, who are showing their true selves, and can help us all to open our hearts and minds to infinite possibilities. They also help us learn about any subject imaginable. Escaping into the world of a book can help us escape our baggage for a time, and I would heartily recommend it to all.
Hope everyone has a great day!
This is a different book than I’ve reviewed on this blog yet so you might be surprised. But, I did have a purpose in reading it. Part of the novel whose first draft I finished last fall is about when the main characters are hiding out on a ranch. I knew a few basic things about ranches when I wrote it, but realized that to make the details even more realistic, I needed to do some research about ranch life.
The book is written by a cousin of the Cowden family. What I particularly liked about it was that the chapters went back and forth from the history of the family’s ranching life to what was happening in present-day ranch life on Sam Cowden’s ranch in New Mexico. Some of the details that I read were things I never knew about ranch work such as what happens during branding, feeding, breeding, and shipping cattle. With not having the personal experience of ever having been to a ranch, it is hard to imagine all the things that happen between when a calf is first born to when a hamburger or steak is ready to be eaten. Now, however, those details are etched in my brain, and the parts of my novel that are about the ranch will be more realistic.
I also liked the parts where it talked about Sam’s family and how they homeschooled. I also homeschool my children and like Sam, my family is important to me. All of them worked hard on the ranch, but also took time to have fun.
In conclusion, if you are interested in the history of ranching life in Texas and New Mexico and how one family played a big part in it, this book would be a great choice for you to read.
I read a story in my writing inspiration book this morning that caught me off guard this morning. The author was talking about hearing a disturbing story about a relative. She later tried to write it down and had trouble until she told herself that she was not trying to publish the story, that she wanted to write it down. That gave her the freedom to write the story as it needed to be written. It took many drafts before she was satisfied, and the story turned into something that was publish worthy.
I think it is hard sometimes, especially for those of us writers who haven’t been published yet, to think beyond the goal of publication. It’s important though to get the stories down. I learned so much from my grandmother’s autobiography–about her life and the beginning of mine. These are things I wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t written them down. I am writing things down that are only meant for my children. It’s important to preserve history.
The thing I need to remember though is that all of my stories are important whether they are ever published or not, and I need to give myself permission to get the words down; to get the story down, and then it will be preserved for future generations to read.
Until next time, be real!
This holiday weekend promises to be very exciting for me because I will be going to our local sci-fi/fantasy/comic book festival. I went to the inaugural festival last year, and I believe it’s going to be even better this year. My favorite part of it, of course, is the literature component. This is where authors, editors, and other professionals come in and talk about different parts of writing. I also get to network and meet other people who are as enthusiastic about writing as I am. I can’t wait! Refilling my cup is important because I’m about to have more time to write. I will also be attending panels in the Science and Engineering track, the Star Trek track, and the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media track.
Science fiction and fantasy are two of my favorite genres because they explore new possibilities, new ways for human beings to relate to each other. They also help us to use our imaginations which is important to writing too. Looking forward to approaching my writing projects with new enthusiasm once the festival is over!
In my writing inspiration book this morning, I read about how all of us need approval even the most famous of writers. It was interesting to read a quote by Ray Bradbury who is a well-known science fiction author.
“We all need someone higher, wiser, older to tell us we’re not crazy after all, that what we’re doing is all right.”
Approval is a good way to describe this. Another good way though is to have someone who encourages you, that believes in what you’re doing even if you haven’t received the accolades of the world by being published. Fortunately, I have this in my life. I have people who read what I write and give suggestions on how it could be better. I also have people who tell me that my writing impacts them in a good way–in real life and through comments on this blog. It all means a lot to me because I know I might not ever be published. If my writing just impacts one person though, I am happy to have shared my gift.
Until next time, be real!