Have you ever heard of a sheepadoodle? It’s a cross between an Old English sheepdog and a poodle. They look like this:
Despite my love of dogs, I have never heard of this dog hybrid before Rachel mentioned that the new family she’s going to be babysitting is going to get a sheepadoodle puppy. It’s a cross that I never would have thought of.
In a wayward way, it kind of reminded me of the more recent revelation I had with one of my WIPs. There’s a character that I had planned but, after scribbling down a very rough outline, realized that I probably had no use for her. Her bigger role was combined with another character’s to give him a bit more to do and to make the plot a little more difficult for the rest of the cast of main characters.
When writing, usually you would just write down everything you know about the story, make the document or notebook pages a word vomit of the story you want to tell. In later drafts, cutting out or combining characters is something that comes from editing.
In one way, I feel as if I’m a step ahead upon realizing this character is not needed, at least not for the bigger role I had originally planned for her. On the other hand, it is a little sad to already get rid of a character that I feel I haven’t known for too long.
We’ll see what happens with the rest of the first draft.
Fairly recently, Rachel and I started bullet journaling.
(Is that a word? Journaling? It is now.)
It was something that we always wanted to do, especially since both of us are on Pinterest and see all the pretty and extremely fancy bullet pages that people create to help get their lives in order. Our pages are nowhere near as fancy, but the few we’ve done have suited our needs.
I have a weekly spread for the rest of the year, mainly just to record blog posts for both this blog and Double Jump and a Word Count Tracker page. And, at this point and time, the Word Count Tracker is still blank.
I have been writing, of course, usually just small scribbles in my notebooks when relaxing before bed, but I haven’t been cataloging the amount of words in my journal. What I should do is date every little box I have on the tracker to try to write everyday on my WIPs instead of just sporadically, and color in the boxes on days that I actually write and don’t write. Like, have an angry red or sad blue on days that I don’t write.
Anyone else do bullet journals?
Someone on Tumblr asked, “What do you guys do when you feel down about your ability as a writer?”
Seriously. Write whatever comes to mind, make it deliberately bad to torture that little niggling pest in your head that keeps whispering to you that your writing sucks. The further along you go, the more you practice both writing and ignoring that inner pest. There are parts in my WIPs where I felt myself losing steam so I just hit the enter button a couple of times and go off the rails, talking to myself through the page and the story until I’m ready to go back to the actual novel.
Alternately, write something you want to read. Write something that only you will read (unless you later choose to share it), something that is completely and shamelessly self indulgent to get more comfortable with your writing. Try out new styles while writing these self indulgent stories or just use them to practice and bolster your confidence with your current style. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with self-insert fanfiction that will most likely never be read by anyone else but me, and I have a great time writing and rereading them whenever I need a boost.
Breaks are good too! Don’t forget to stay hydrated, to take a look at the sun once in a while, to talk to someone else beyond your computer screen/notebook pages.
We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again. Self-doubt is the permanent neighbor to creativity because you’re inventing something that has never been seen by anyone else in the world, and it’s downright scary to think that others may believe you’re just crazy rather than seeing what a brilliant gem you’ve just shined. Eventually, though, self-doubt will be like that old neighbor that spouts out conspiracy theories that you’re sometimes forced to hear, and you’ll learn to humor this neighbor, even if they make you a little uncomfortable, before taking a deep breath and going back to do your own thing.
You got this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, least of all a whispering pest that’s all in your head!
Now I gotta practice what I preach.
On Tumblr I was tagged in “Get to Know the Writer” kind of post where you thank the person who tagged you, answer some questions — some that had to do with writing, some that did not — and then tag other people to do a similar post. One of the questions I had received was, “What is your favorite word?”
After my initial, “I don’t freaking know,” response, I took a moment to really think about what my favorite word was (or, at the very least, what a more acceptable response would be). What would your favorite word be? Something that has sentimental meaning? A silly word? A word that is just fun to say, regardless of its meaning?
Because, let’s face it, the English language is ridiculous. And, hey, there were no rules that the word couldn’t be from a foreign language, either.
After a few moments, I typed out my actual answer: wanderlust.
Wanderlust means a strong desire to explore, to rove around the world. I’ve never really traveled that far from home, and I sometimes feel antsy, ready to shoot off to another place and figure out what’s out there. Like Bilbo Baggins, in all honesty. I’m comfortable where I am, I enjoy my life, but if a gaggle of dwarves and a wizard showed up at my door saying they were going to go find a dragon, you bet your ass I’ll be trailing after them.
It’s also why I tend to write stories with fantastical worlds and people. I’m homesick for worlds that don’t exist, and the closest I can be to them is to write them.
In one of my WIPs, I have this character who is creatively named Dark. He’s basically comprised of shadows, having been magically rather than naturally born. While he can seem stoic and content to stay in the background, he’s more of the type to try to herd everyone that he knows together to be sure everyone is safe.
As far as I’ve seen in the writing, anyway.
Dark’s followed around the protagonist to be sure said protagonist wouldn’t get himself killed because the protagonist really has no idea what he’s doing since it’s the protagonist’s fault that they’re lost. Basically, Dark just wants the protagonist to stay put while Dark tries to figure out how to get them all home. Each time Dark’s plans crack, Dark himself seems to crack as well.
It’s not until the third character — who happens to be a talking beagle — in their party explains to the protagonist, “Dark is made of shadows. He’s been doing better on his own but, like all shadows, he still needs his anchor,” that both the protagonist and I get a better understanding of the usually reserved Dark’s state of mind.
In a way, that tidbit about Dark made me think about how everyone is a shadow, following along in someone else’s footsteps, looking up to those they admire, while also being someone else’s anchor, someone else’s inspiration, someone else to help keep them grounded when they need it. It’s little moments like that that really make me enjoy writing. I’m lousy at getting plots to stay strung together — which I’m trying to be better about — but my characters and world building make me proud.