One of my favorite authors Jo Whittemore mentioned, recently on Twitter, a quote from Margaret Atwood that she found insightful with revision: “Revision means re-vision. You’re seeing it anew. And quite frequently when you’re doing that, you see possibilities you didn’t see before…” It’s helped me at the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, where I’m taking the opportunity to use this month’s session to revise my novel for the third time for publication instead of creating something new.
Originally I had plans to write an update last week as I got started with Camp NaNoWriMo, but I took the opportunity to enjoy my birthday weekend at home and also on my novel. I’m already flying past 10,000 words revised, thanks to feedback from my friend and co-worker that has made me view my novel anew. You can see my progress on the NaNoWriMo website throughout this month, where I’m also interacting with fellow local writers and getting motivation. Normally, I focus on the big aspects first but those were going to take more time. So I did the small things that I could quickly complete first and that made it easier to focus on the big things that would take time. Just a reminder, everyone has a different way to write, and revise, even writers change their own setups over time. I’m thankful that most of things that I need to improve have been easy. I believe that comes from all the planning I did before I started writing the novel.
I started planning out my novel with figuring out my idea in my journal. So paper and pen, and then I moved towards the computer to really detail my plans with figuring out the story, the characters, the timeline, and the setting of certain areas. So that helped make the story have a solid foundation. My first revision focused on making sure everything worked. I did most of it on my own. I only received feedback on the first chapter, and had a friend read a few chapters. It gave me enough to view my novel with a different perspective, but with this second revision, I received feedback on the full novel, and it really provided me an idea what works and what needed to be improved.
Since I checked off almost everything early on, I’m focusing on adding more details with the characters, the setting, and a bit more on certain aspects that happen in the story. With this feedback, I’m going through each chapter with my manuscript in a Google Doc, where it outlines per chapter and move around easily, and keeping track the short synopsis of each chapter and word counts by chapter and full manuscript with each draft on a Google Spreadsheet. My system works for me, but like I mentioned before, there might be a better version for you. You’ve got to experiment and continue to do so.
I’ll do my best to update my progress in the next few weeks. I’m determined to win the upcoming unpublished novel contest for a chance to get published. Submissions are due in September. I think I’ll get everything done in time with my progress so far. Keep me motivated with your support. I really appreciate all the support from my incredible team that always makes me a better writer.
Mary Shelley wrote her novel Frankenstein because of a ghost-story competition within a literary group. In many cases, we get inspired to write different stories for many reasons. Sometimes we reveal what inspired us and other times we let the audience figure it out. Recently, I was trying to figure out what gifts I could give to friends of mine for their birthdays. I thought about writing short stories for them. They challenged me to write stories that were inspired by them in some way. During the week that I’m sending their gifts, I felt like sharing how creating these gifts also inspired me to step up my writing skills.
I’m thankful to have friends in my life that support me and my writing. So it was special to write two short stories as a way to show my gratitude for their support and especially their friendship. It started off with thinking about ideas that they were interested in, and connected with me. Once I had some ideas, I narrowed down those ideas to plan out how I would write out the short stories. I wrote some notes and drew this mermaid, which is a hint to one of my stories, in my journal. Then I started typing out the stories into Google Docs.
One of the stories came to me really quickly, but I realized that both would delve into ideas that mattered. I find that I’ve been doing more stories like that lately, and I enjoy doing so. Some thing that Jeremy Jordan inspired me to become a better writer, and led me to my friends. I did a bit research, and started writing out the first story that seemed to flow out of me, which included mermaids. I did a bit of revision and editing afterwards, but I felt good with it. I look forward to sending it soon. The second story took a bit more time to write and revise. It was closer to reality and I wanted to write it the best way I could. I had to do a bit more planning after I had originally planned to get a better idea of what would happen. I’m thankful it turned out better than I expected.
All you can do with writing is do your best, and hope it is received well. Even though my friends are supportive, I still wanted them to get my best work. Keeping them in mind, made writing these stories a different experience because normally you don’t know who your audience is, but you can imagine it. I brought in ideas that made me think of them too, which made the writing personalized. I hope someday to share these short stories in some way, but I’m glad that I was able to write them for my friends as birthday gifts. Thank you to them for helping me to be a better writer, and inspire me to keep improving on my craft. Most of all, thank you for being my friend. I wouldn’t be me without you. Check back next week as I prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo’s July session.
Two rejections of my novel, and I’m moving forward. I know my novel is worth publishing. I’ve always known the power of writing. In recent years, as well as this year, I’ve realized that I’ve grown as a writer because I’ve realized how much writing can make an impact.
It can empower. It gives voice to what we believe matters, and what is right. It gives us a chance to express how we feel and what we struggle. We can demand change for the better. We have the power make our words make a difference. It’s up to us.
Everything we do, we have a chance to change from the way we were before. That’s what writing is also powerful. We have the chance to look at our words each time and see what we can do to make it stronger. We can realize our faults and move with understanding.
I’ve realized that even though I enjoy stories that explore a new world. I rather have stories that bring a message that impacts. It’s something that connects. We can’t make that happen if we don’t keep moving forward to tell stories, and take risks towards sharing our writing.
I know I’m privileged. I have so many opportunities, especially for my writing. I am willing to wait. I’m thankful to know people that are willing to help me improve, including my novel. When I do get published, I want to be able to amplify others, but I know I can do that today. There are many voices that aren’t given a chance to be heard.
How do we move forward? We have to plan and make steps forward. We have to support others when we can. Be thankful for every victory. Even setbacks will teach us to grow. Do what you can to focus on your goals that will lead towards success. We all have we need within.
Jeremy Jordan once said, “A risk isn’t a tiny step, it’s a leap. A leap blindfolded while having a parachute ready to go if need be.” He continued by talking about how reaching a bit outside our comfort zone every day will help us grow and change us. I’ve taken leaps in different ways in my life, but thankfully they have lead me to grow. When things weren’t working out in my life, I made changes. When I realized what I needed to do to reach my dreams, I took chances and made them come true. Taking risks isn’t easy. We don’t know what will happen when we take that leap. It’s like when Jeremy has talked about with auditions. He doesn’t play it safe. He brings all that he’s got, and hopes for the best. It’s something that can be applied to with life, but also with writing. You can’t hold yourself back from letting your writing reach it’s full potential. Sometimes holding back can be the negative tapes that you’ve allowed to run through your mind, and other times it’s not making the steps towards submitting your work.
It can be scary. Not as much as being fearful of physical dangers. That fear or doubt can stop you from being the best version you can be, and especially the best writer you could be. You have to stop comparing your work to others, and reminding yourself that you’re unique and have the power to improve. You can’t let the thoughts that others might think that you’re impatient and quick to submit your work. There is no rule that applies to everyone with writing. No matter what anyone says. If you’re ready, you need to take that risk, even if it means that you learn that you needed more time. Most of all remember, the best writers have already had years ahead of you and teams to work with. Even their work that they submit isn’t perfect, it’s the best that they can do and they are willing to work with others to improve it. So what do you do? Some cases it’s taking an effort each day to meditate and journal out your thoughts before getting started. In other ways, it is accepting you’ve done the best that you can do, and taking that chance because you never know what will happen.
I’ve submitted something recently that I’ve been working on for awhile, but recently put in a lot of effort to revise and edit to make it ready to submit. I’ve grown to enjoy not only the process of writing, but also refining my work. Especially more so when I create a deadline for myself. It pushes me to get more done and take chances. When I submitted, I felt it was the best that I could do on my own (with a bit of feedback). I still feel that way. I’ve realized that every time I’ve submitted something, I’m proud of what I’ve written, but I know with more help, I can make it even better. The act of submitting my work will provide me more feedback, but most of all, I hope to receive more help towards accomplishing my dreams. We need to be open to feedback and assistance because eventually even writers need a team, filled with supporters and people wiling to put in the effort.
I’m thankful for the team that I have so far, but I know needs to expand. I hope others will be willing to take the risk to help me become the best writer I can be. If you know me, you know I love this quote, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” The best team is always there to support you and work with you to make incredible things happen. Stay tuned. I hope to share good news soon. In the meantime, I plan to create more blog posts. Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far in my writer’s journey.
When we return, we’ll be in the new normal
Let’s not rush there yet until it’s safe
We’ve lost too much already
It will take planning, work, and time
I believe it will be worth it when we do
We can see the changes now
A lot of people being more cautious
Technology used for good more than ever
We need it to educate, work remote, and connect
Yet not everyone has access and we must change that
Our new normal means wearing masks until a vaccine
Social distancing is the key, as much as we can
We can’t be part of intermission forever
So we need to create space in each building
Blended learning could be an educational revolution
We’ll need to be creative to change how we work
We can’t go back to the way things were
Only look back to the past to see all we’ve overcome
That even our difficulties lead us to victories
That even we cannot imagine yet
I’ve studied enough history and stories to know
We’ll find a new normal that changes the future
It’s up to all of us taking the best steps forward
I believe it will lead to better chapters ahead
By Christy V.