Maturing as a Writer

writingHey all!  This is a post I’ve had sitting around in my drafts for a long time.  Since August of 2014.  Oops.

Maturation is one of those things you don’t really notice as  its going on.  I certainly didn’t see my writing maturing much while I was in college, even though I was in many, many classes dealing with writing.  But sure as anything, I did this writing meme back in 2010, a few months after I had finished college.  I was finally able to see how much my writing had changed from when I was in late high school to just-finishing-college.

But of course, there were still many issues with my writing.

Continuing to Mature

I’ve been focusing on my writing for a long time now.  But when I graduated college, I think I was a little on the arrogant side with my writing.  I had just gotten my degree, so clearly that meant I was awesome.  It’s funny to me now, because my degree has gotten me nothing but a gigantic pile of student debt.  And polished my skills.  But it didn’t produce a job out of thin air.  I had kind of hoped for that.

Writing is really hard.  It’s one of those things where you don’t always see your improvement over time.  And that can be really frustrating.  It can lead to a depressive episode that nearly spans an entire year (though there were other contributing factors in that).

So I’ve started looking into how I’ve matured as a writer rather than waiting for me to notice it in the actual writing, if that makes any sense.

Outlines

When I was younger, I seemed to have an aversion to outlines.  I wanted to see where a story led me.  I wanted to see what characters had to say.  I didn’t want to feel like an outline was strangling me into doing something.  Outlines were reserved for second drafts only, thank you very much.  You know, when I was deciding what bits and pieces of the story that I wanted to keep around or throw out.

I love outlines now.  I have a really bad tendency toward starting about five million projects and finishing four.  I have an incredible amount of WIPs.  I don’t know how many of them will realistically be completed.

But outlines have started helping me toward completing things more regularly.  I actually managed to outline THE ENTIRETY of Opus Requiem.  I’m not flying by the seat of my pants for this one.  I know what I want to happen. I know where I want it to go.  Now the only thing I have to do is write the words.  And then not be afraid to let things deviate (and then re-outline if they do.  Maybe.  I’m still figuring this outlining business out).

Writing Buddies

One of the aspects of writing that always seemed to get me down was that it was very solitary.  And people don’t always care when you start rambling about your unfinished dystopian cyberpunk novel.  So I started going on the #amwriting tag on Twitter. And the #wordmongering tag.  The people there were awesome and we did sprints and the like.   But then I kind of stopped using Twitter as much (I’m getting back into it!), so I lost some of that support net.

But I started up on Tumblr.  And I’ve made some awesome friends there who also happen to be writers.  So we write together and get things done and support each other. It works really well.

Writing is done alone, but that doesn’t mean you have to handle the stress of it alone.  You can seek support from others…feedback helps.

One Thing I Should Improve On…

Marketing.  Even when I’m down and depressed.  This is what I want my job to be.  I want to be an author. I want to get my name out there.  That means that I need to be a pitbull with my marketing and social media.  I’m kind of more like a gentle giant sort of dog in terms of social media presence.  I’m there, but I’m likely taking a nap or too lazy to do something else.

Huh.

That’s actually a really good description of how I am on social media.

So that’s it.

I’ve finally started to see how I’m improving as a writer.  Now I need to be better at promoting author me.  HERE’S TO HOPING!

~LL

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2 thoughts on “Maturing as a Writer

  1. Great post! I love the meme with all the comparisons and am tempted to make one myself, starting from some of the things I posted online when I was 11 (although still not sure if I can even read those without cringing… eek!). But I agree that outlines and writing buddies help a ton! I’ve always done outlines because I’m a control freak, and got writing buddies from doing a nanowrimo a couple of years ago. I’ll have to start looking at those twitter tags though. I’ve only ever used the nano forums for support. As for marketing… yikes. I haven’t even thought of that. I’m hoping once I actually finish a novel it will market itself… 😛 Good luck with all your writing endeavors!

    • thank you! The meme was really fun at the time. I’d extend it to include later years now, of course, but I think the original meme showed a really great difference between high school me and post college me. Outlines are amazing. But I don’t have every little detail outlined. I still go rogue sometimes too. But yeah, the twitter tags are fun and if you’re on tumblr, its pretty easy to find a supportive writing network there too.

      As for the novel marketing itself? I had hoped that too. If you self-publish, be prepared to do your marketing and social media. And to be aggressive about it 🙂 good luck on your writing!

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