Writerly Musings: First Person or Third Person?

Greetings! I haven’t written here in a while, mainly because I am trying to focus on writing and working on a few projects of mine I’ve been putting off (more on that later…at some point).

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TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY WINSTON. Anyway, moving on.

Today while I was having a really good surge of writing motivation, the following thought crossed my mind:

I have heard a variety of individuals state their distaste for novels written in the first person. I personally have always enjoyed them, and was surprised to hear the negative feelings from others! So, I thought I would turn to you and ask you what you prefer, both as a writer and as a reader.

Do you prefer the first or third person tense? Pending on your answer, why or why not?

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Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, and I look forward to hearing your insights! For the time being though, I will resume my power hour of writing. πŸ˜‰

Sincerely,

The Shoe

Nick Miller flower power

My First Paid Writing Project

Granted, it was Z’s parents and came in the form of an electronic gift card to a massive coffee chain known for mermaid cups and great benefits, but it most definitely counts as compensation.

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I even confronted Z about the whole thing. I thought they were being nice, spoiling me once again as the daughter they never had, but Z of course had to go and ruin that whole thought by telling me it was because they were blown away by my work.

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You see, Z* and I are both storytellers. Z is a visual cinematographer, and I am more of a self-proclaimed word artist. These similarities are why we work, and sometimes why we don’t…as well. (hehe)

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Anyway, Z was assisting his parents with a project that required his mad film skills, and I tagged along. Long story short, he needed to create a promotional video of sorts which ultimately will need a voiceover which means a script needed to be created and hey WORDS.

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I must confess I didn’t actually do a lot of the writing, I more took the general idea they had written out and played typographical Tetris with the document for half an hour. I tweaked, shortened, and downright moved some sentences around, and added a smidge of classic Shoe flair. I had fun dissecting the entire piece, and most importantly I was glad I could help out Z and his parents. (brownie points)

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(No, seriously, I was and am very glad I could help. Even before I knew I would be rewarded πŸ˜‰

I wasn’t expecting anything. Maybe a “thank you,” and most definitely edits and changes, like I receive at work on the regular. However, I instead received a highly professional email from Z’s dad, which Z had to explain is him giving high praise. Like when the farmer told Babe “that’ll do, pig, that’ll do,”-it was kind of like that. Simple, yet very meaningful.

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Both his parents highly praised the piece, which I thought was okay but figured would need additional work. That alone warmed my heart like a white girl’s pumpkin spice latte. However, them going the extra mile and kindness to compensate me for my time, that brought everything to a whole new level.

My writing has a value to it.

In other of Back to the Future this past weekend.

In honor of Back to the Future this past weekend. Happy Belated BTTF Day Everyone!

That’s something every writer needs to realize some point. I guess that moment happened today.

What’s even better, is I know that the people that believe in my writing also believe in me, because they love me and support me. And, trust me when I say this, but if they truly didn’t see value or believe I have a chance they would not be as encouraging.

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Overall, I can’t think of a better way for my first paid (freelanced) writing gig to go.

Sincerely,

The Shoe

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* Z, my one letter nickname for the dashingly handsome, highly incorrigible, and overall wonderful human being I have had the pleasure of dating for the past five years. The nickname is to keep serial killers at bay and to protect him from any embarrassment my articles may generate for him.

Writer’s Lament 1: Lazy or Just Uninspired?

I haven’t posted to this blog since August 6th. The last time I wrote (non-work related) was a few weeks ago, on a rough draft that wound up becoming far too long and is now extremely irrelevant.

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For someone who loves writing, it is amazing how often I don’t just sit down and do it.

In my defense (because I need to validate and excuse myself), I write at work. I write, edit, proofread, and debate grammar and punctuation on a daily basis. Right now we are in the middle of revamping our company website, which has meant long hours simply adding and filling content to pages and pages and pages of website (interspersed with banging my head against the wall in our conference room).

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One could possibly understand why I haven’t written on this blog, or in general, simply due to the demands on the job at the moment. In all honesty, the last thing I want to do is type/write and stare at a screen for a few hours after staring at a screen all day. (Of course, this means that I am then staring at my phone’s screen, texting le boyfriend, Facebooking, or mindlessly browsing the web and slowly killing off brain cells and damaging IQ points.)

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(So maybe not wanting to stare at a screen is a bad excuse.)

As I have mentioned before, (this post is starting to sound a lot like one I did in July-I am THAT out of practice) if you want to write and succeed at writing, than you have to make time. You have to make it priority. You have to treat it like any serious relationship in your life.

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But how do you do it when you are exhausted because you’ve been doing it at work? How do you do it when you keep telling yourself to relax instead of pushing yourself to write? How do you do it when you keep telling yourself you are feeling uninspired, and no matter how hard you try to push forward, you can’t create?

I’m looking for advice friends. How do YOU do it?

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Sincerely,

The Shoe

5 Things I Learned At Summer Camp

Hello again! As some of you may know, I did something kind of crazy last month: I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. My goal was to write 50,000 (later changed to 20,000) words of a novel within 31 days.

I’m sure you are all wondering if I actually wrote 20,000 words, or just copy-and-pasted the same sentence several thousand times.

Did I write 20,000 words?

NO.

Did I fail?

No.

Really? You originally had a goal of 50,000 words, then changed it to 20,000, and you still couldn’t achieve that goal? Sounds like failure to me.

Heck, Nick Miller was even able to finish Z is for Zombie.

While the above are both fantastic points, I beg to differ.

Because while I may not have reached 20,000 words or have finished a terrible zombie novel, I succeeded nonetheless.

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Because he was so popular last time, I asked the ever wonderful Nick Miller (with special guest star Winston) to once again illustrate each of my points.

On that note, how did I succeed I may ask? Let me share you a few things I learned:

1) I WROTE

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While I didn’t reach 20,000 words, I did hit wind up with just over 11,500. Eleven thousand, five hundred words that didn’t exist prior to July 1st. Words that created a world and characters and a story that before July 1st had not been granted life. Now, while their stories aren’t complete and some of their personalities are a little haphazard at the moment, they still exist. While various portions of the story are missing, like scene transitions and major plot points, I managed to write a beginning, a middle (albeit a murky middle), and an end. Which brings me to point 2.

2) I ACTUALLY WROTE AN ENDING

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Ideation is my strong suit. Great story ideas and concepts come to me as naturally as freckles on fair skin. What I struggle with is taking those self-proclaimed brilliant ideas and actually fleshing them out. Taking those winning thoughts and twisting them into a story is fine for the first couple of pages (as I have a tendency to write chronologically), and by page ten I give up because I have no idea what direction this so-called amazing story is headed. Outlines for research papers were never quite habit forming in school, which is why a majority of my projects mirrored my personal writing style. However this time, I broke from tradition and wrote sporadically and scene by scene. That change in behavior while completely uncomfortable was extremely freeing, and led to a fairly satisfying rough ending.

3) I WENT OUTSIDE OF MY COMFORT ZONE

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As mentioned above, I have a bad habit of writing chronologically (it’s right up there with my anxious habit of hair pulling and absentminded forgetfulness). I like building upon the momentum from the scene before, like a play. However, sometimes a story isn’t all about the build, and for someone that spends too much time agonizing over symbolism (I have a raggedy book of baby names and meanings from when I was kid that has been exasperated through and through from my early writing years while in search of the perfect protagonist name) I get caught up in the details too much and forget that the story has to move forward. So, for camp, I forced myself to write whatever came into mind. I gave my characters random names that fit for the time being, and kept plugging away. I wrote an introduction, and then wrote a random scene that probably will be placed somewhere in chapter nine. Then came a surprisingly inspired (but as mentioned above, rough) ending. However, after the ending I jumped right back into the realm of chapters two through six approximately, and wrote a boring though necessary description. Had I not done this, I would have barely hit 1100 words, let alone over 11,000.

4) I PUSHED MYSELF

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I don’t have one of those glamorous writer lives where I spend all my time in a coffee shop or in an exotic country writing away to my heart’s content whenever it pleases me (at least not yet. I can continue to dream that will come someday πŸ˜‰ I work a full-time, 8-5 Monday through Friday job that delves into editing and writing and story creation on a daily basis. Some may view that as the perfect job for someone who loves to write, and I do enjoy what I do-don’t get me wrong. However, staring at a computer screen after a long day of staring at an even bigger computer screen isn’t always the most desirable. On top of that, sometimes my job dries out my daily dose of creative juices, and the mischievous mistress of inspiration is nowhere to be found come 7:00 in the evening. One may suggest, “Well, just write on the weekends when you have off!”, which is a fantastic idea, it really is-until you factor in that friend you promised to help move, that errand you most desperately need to run, and that boyfriend you should probably pay attention to you since you know, you love him and what not. In short, I’m busy, but I pushed myself to find the time. I stayed up late and sacrificed sleep. I gave movies and television a break (quite easy during the summer months). I didn’t go out with friends for drinks, and I may have cut a phone conversation with La Boyfriend short on one or two occasions (thank you again, honey). I wrote when I didn’t have any sort of idea in my head, and I wrote when I didn’t want to. I wrote 1,000 words, and then 1,000 more. It was tiring, and exhausting, but while I didn’t hit 20,000-boy was it rewarding.

5) I HAD FUN

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Most importantly, I got back to my roots on why I love writing in the first place. Aside from the obvious reasons like forcing my opinion on an unsuspecting reader (see what I did there? ;), what I really love about writing is simply being able to tell a story. Whatever that story may be, be it silly or serious or completely and utterly stupid. I love telling stories because it is fun to create worlds and characters and bring them into existence. It’s fun to explore scenarios and how they play out, and to vicariously go on adventures through your heroes that for some reason can’t take place in your world. I love writing, and while I didn’t get 20,000 words, I had fun creating the 11,500 that I did.

Overall, I am very glad I did Camp NaNoWriMo, and I look forward to competing again and hopefully hitting my goal.

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However, even if I don’t, I know that at the very least it will force me to learn a thing or two, which ultimately is success either way.

Sincerely,

The Shoe

Nick Miller flower power

P.S. Anyone have any fun Camp NaNoWriMo stories to share? Post them below in the comments-I would love to hear your results!

Righting Writing

I cannot believe that it has been three weeks since my last post.

I could use the typical excuses of being extremely busy. I do have a major project at work that has kept me on my toes. However, as a dear friend once pointed out, one should always make time for writing if writing is what one loves.

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Which is why I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

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For those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it is a month (November) set aside where individuals will write a novel in a one month’s time. Camp NaNoWriMo is very similar to what goes down in November, but with a bit more emphasis on fun and keeping writers writing, even during the busy summer months.

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I have always (and by always, I mean, ever since I became familiar with this challenge) wanted to give it a try, but truth be told? I always claimed I was too busy, or I didn’t have a fleshed out idea in mind.

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The real truth is I was too scared to try, because if I tried and didn’t succeed, I would fail.

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Which is completely silly when you think about it.

My goal is to write at least 50,000 words for a potential novel. I am in an online cabin with a few friends to help keep me on task, and I them. That’s it. So why does that seem so daunting?

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To me, it is probably because I grow far too attached to my ideas (or as I call them, my potential bestsellers because I like to dream big πŸ˜‰ and that attachment honestly hinders my work on them. I’m so scared I’ll mess up the story lines or destroy my carefully crafted characters that I do them an even larger disservice: I don’t even grant them life in the first place.

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Which is why I’m sucking it up and doing Camp NaNoWriMo.

Me, myself, and I sat down around a cup of coffee and discussed how the three of us were going to accomplish this.

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Me was freaking out, but myself calmed her down and told her to remember to just have fun with it. As I pointed out, that’s why you write in the first place-because you enjoy it. Because you have something to say. Because above all, it is just fun to tell a story.

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The three of us also agreed that we would come up with a new story idea, fresh and with no strings attached, to eliminate hours of agonizing over…everything. Plus, creating a story idea that we haven’t completely fallen in love with would eliminate not placing the invisible pressure of wanting it to be the most excellent piece of literature since Judy Blume. Avoiding that pressure will help us focus on what the camp is all about. What the camp and writing should be about: FUN.

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The camp officially kicks off July 1st, so we might experience another month of distance on here. I promise I’ll try to post updates, and of course whatever things life throws at me will force me to share my ramblings on here either way.

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If you would like to join my cabin, or participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, please visitΒ https://campnanowrimo.org for additional details!

Sincerely,

The Shoe

Nick Miller Smiles