Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
I had planned to write a first draft of Orion – Volume II of my Pushing Boundaries series, but I just couldn’t. Every time I sat down at my laptop my mind went blank and I had no motivation to write, despite the fact that I’ve been working on a novel outline for months now. I also feel incredibly tired and drained whenever I try to sit down and write something, which is why I haven’t written anything for the first week of NaNoWriMo. My mental state is… frustrating. I’m so tired all the time, even when I’ve had a good night’s sleep and lots of water. My partner suspects I’ve been having some problems with sleep apnea, so I’ll be looking into a sleep study to see if that’s the source of the problems. So, I figured I’d stop working on Orion for the time being and work on something else.
What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
My “novel project” isn’t really a novel project, it’s more like a series of Thought-Dump style journal entries, because of the personal nature of these entries, I don’t plan on publishing them, however, this is the first paragraph of one of the entries:
“I have a long habit of hyper-focusing on songs, usually specific songs, I play them over and over again, and it’s taken me longer than it should have to note the patterns of my musical obsessions. While I have the tendency to gravitate towards specific genres, when I obsess over specific songs, there is a not-so-subtle correspondence to the emotional state I was experiencing at the time.”
Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
My novel project is more like a diary, with myself as the only character, but I don’t particularly like me as a main character, I don’t think I’m interesting enough, but as no one’s going to read this particular project, I guess it doesn’t really matter.
What do you love about your novel so far?
At this stage, I think “love” is too strong a word for my novel project, I think the difference between this novel project and Orion – Volume II is that I feel motivated to write. I can ramble on and on, at this stage it doesn’t need to be perfect or make sense, but with Orion – Volume II, I just feel stuck and I can’t move forward.
Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
It’s mostly me wandering off topic into tangents and then saying, “What was I talking about again? I’m sure there was a point to be made here; now what was it again?”. Although, I will acknowledge that as editing isn’t my strong suit, so there’s probably typos everywhere.
What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
My favourite parts of my novel to write is banter in general, but especially unintentional-flirty banter between two subjects of romantic interest.
What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I’m not very good at developing a writing habit, and I’m not consistent with timing (I tend to write all over the place), however, I have noticed I tend to have my better ideas or stronger motivation to write at night.
How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
Batman-style, I find sounds and noises to be ultra distracting, so if I’m working in a group situation, I must have my mp3 player in order to block out noise. Kim has also given me some great instrumental music, but I’ve only just started using it, so I’m not sure if it’s productive or not.
What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
I find this element of writing to be the hardest, it’s easy for me to become demotivated and lose focus on a project, I rarely finish my projects. As I’m an over-writer, I don’t think reaching the 50 000 word mark means you’re finished, if I’m lucky it’s the mid-point of the novel. A work of fiction should have a distinctive beginning, middle and end. With my projects I have managed to finish, I’ve noticed that I’m more inclined to get the work done if there’s a fixed deadline and I have good momentum with a novel. Anxiety about getting the project finished can sometimes work, but it can also be a double-edged sword.
What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
01. Don’t keep doing something just because everyone else is doing it, if you’re struggling with something, pay attention to it. Don’t try to force it. There’s more than one way of doing things. If it’s not working for you, acknowledge it, and change it. Also, reward yourself when you get it right, you deserve it.
02. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve often found that it’s so much easier to help someone else with their WIP novel then fix my own, however, in saying that, sometimes all you need to do listen to them talk about their current WIP and occasionally they will come up with the solution on their own. If you don’t have someone to talk to about your WIP novel, try doing a thought dumping exercise and see if that helps. There’s also heaps of online resources available for Writer problems.
03. Try not to compare yourself to other writers. “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and writing should be a joy (although it will not always be the case), and it doesn’t matter if that writer is “further ahead” than you are. There’s only one you and no one else can do what you do (possible Dr Seuss Quote? IDK).