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!
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!
Over the past few months I’ve expanded the purpose of this blog from writing what I know or don’t know about writing to writing about what’s impacting my own life. Having a son who is two years from graduating high school, the purpose of college has been weighing on my mind recently.
There have been many articles out decrying the amount of student loans owed by people who have graduated and how expensive it is to attend college. The last few days have brought articles with a more personal touch discussing individual stories of how students weren’t able to attend the college of their dreams because of lack of funding and the sacrifices parents were making to make sure their students weren’t graduating with student loan debt. Some things bothered me about two of these stories. One of the stories talked about how the student was devastated they had to settle for a less expensive college. I looked back at what the cost was and was flabbergasted at the price. Is this what we have trained our students to expect–that the only good college education is one that is expensive? The other story talked about how a student was attending an Ivy League school, and the extreme sacrifices her mother was making so her daughter could go there. The per year cost was over $60000, and my first thought was ‘Was there ever any kind of conversation about going to a less expensive school? What about going to a community college for the first two years to get basic courses out of the way?’ I was able to answer my question almost immediately. The student probably did not see it as desirable to go that route even though the name of the community college would not have appeared on the diploma.
So, what is wrong with this picture? For that, I go back to the original question. What is the purpose of college? Well, I always thought the purpose of college was to get an education and then be able to go into the world, find productive employment and contribute to society. With the number of students who go to college with no idea of what they want to do and the colleges whose aim is to keep them there as long as possible, I think the purpose of college has gone by the way side. And society is at fault too, for training all of us to think that the only good education is an expensive education. For me, I don’t believe that is true at all, and that is what will be in the forefront of my mind as we begin the college journey with our older son.