Own your shit

own your shit

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward’s writing. There. I’ve said it, again and again.

I’m a fan. And not because of the steamy scenes. Even though I like those. They were kind of a slap in the face back in the day.

I’m an enthusiast of her so distinctive writer’s voice. She’s a badass writer. The work shows it and the fans know it.

I have been an admirer for more than a decade, since her “Dark Lover” first came out. I have induced others to read her work, and it didn’t disappoint. I know men that read Ward’s work. And I find her writing-craft-personality very masculine.

And now?! In this moment of my life?

Now, I’m a huge fan of J.R.Ward’s as a person-writer… to the extent of what I can perceive about her (which I may say it is not much on the personal side, but enough in the writer’s one).

I did not pay much attention to her online presence over the years. I don’t remember her to be that present there.

I usually don’t go down the rabbit hole for most writer’s that I know. Too much time to waste in that. If I’m am intrigued by something, or I admire their work and want to know more about them, I’ll go investigate their website or blog, or buy some kind of Memoir or Letters written.

The rest? The YouTube and social media stuff? I figure that, it’s just stuff to occupy idly the time I have. So I try to avoid that.

Quaint detail about J.R. Ward: her looks kind of surprised me.

It was not what I was expecting. And, at first, I couldn’t wrap my head around how a vanilla-like-lady could write so many cuss words, hard-core relations and witty remarks. The lesson’s on me.

Her works had been a constant in my life, since I first bought the first book.

I collect the Portuguese editions every time-o-money I can. Also, I buy the English originals every time a book truly speaks to me.

Because I am all in for an original.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood had been a constant, but also the Jessica Bird’s books and The Fallen Angels. I have still The Bourbon Kings saga to pick up… and now there’s a new pet project of Ward’s, in a more Dark Academia theme, which I’m putting in my tbr.

Then Ward got herself a YouTube channel. It has two videos, and two shorts, in a bit of insight into herself and her life.

The simplicity, and fun in them got me wandering if I had been missing something online about her work and her author’s mindset and routines. Did I ever…

It has been a while since I searched for anything online about this author so this came as a surprise: There are basically two types of content about J.R.Ward on YouTube: fan made videos about books and characters AND J.R.Ward’s interviews and public events.

First, were the usual stuff being filtered through magnifying glass search. The fan videos are fun. And that’s it.

The second type of content out in the virtual world consists of interviews and public events. And…

She sure can draw a crowd in. Entertain it too.

In these, we get to know a bit about the writer behind the successful writing. Commercial success, as she puts it. But I figure it’s a Writing success with no bullshit about it.

I have been listening attentively to her answers. She’s big on giving insight to her listeners. And not just about her routines and creative process.

No. If we listen carefully, we find an inspiring kind of justifiable obsession with writing. A true, not emphasized by wanting to sell books on the craft business side of things, genuine life experience on devoting herself to writing.

Writers Write and that’s it, isn’t it? And she puts it as it is.

All the career stuff, and public relations stuff, and fame stuff is an expensive accessory that entangles an author in a too-self-important trip… instead of writing.

All they have to do, their first and foremost activity, is Writing.

All we have to do for our Writing is Write.

And own our shit frankly.

She has a big kind of speech in this video that culminates in:

So drop your emotions at the door, pull in your big girl pants, and if wanna do that, than you fucking own that shit. – J.R.Ward in Unabridged: J.R. Ward @LFPL @LFPL_Foundation @JRWard1

It’s a good, inspiring piece of knowledge. Of Writer’s professional knowledge.

Maybe we should all own out shit. Just saying… I know we suffer more when we don’t.

In all that Insta wisdom’ness look for Mel Robbins full post (find it here…)

hard stuff

All things we avoid become breaking point harder.

Let’s not avoid writing… or own our weird shit. There’s no easy way to go about it. Just

Own your wants and dreams. Own your shit, not your bullshit.

***

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

 

Know Thy Human

know thy human

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

Know thy Human.

Not ourselves… of course, it kind of means know thyself and not just know others but…

Why? Why is it important to know human minds and not just the gist of how a human mind works? Why is it useful to understand the different ways each one of us has to perceive, and act upon something, in our lives?

To write is to convey in a page how individuals think and interact with the happenings in their lives. It’s to respect and bring to life their differences. It’s to extrapolate, using what we know to be basics human behaviour and possible mindsets.

It is important to pay great attention to this because it’s how we get to write believable characters, how we are able to imagine coherent plots, how we create a good story, how we make the people in those stories freaking interesting.

And not just for the hero’s, and the lukewarm characters in there, but for the villains also.

If something feels not feasible, hard to imagine, or simply not in accord with what we know to be possible, maybe this is the reason why: We do not know Our Human of that story very well.

To understand human minds is hard, and usually, we get to imagine every other person in light of what we think we know about them, and in light of what we believe to be true about ourselves. We see others as we are and that gives us hell.

To write fiction, and non-fiction alike, we need to know people directly. To experience others perceptions. To live through situations that make us question why some people are, and act the way they do.

To make all that research into how an inexistent, or ficcional, being could come to be in this book of ours.

To have some accurate grasp on the well studied disciplines that provide scientific knowledge is adamant.

To study philosophy, psychology, and sociology, can give us the tools to understand people, and use that knowledge in our fictional constructs.

It’s not that we can’t write good characters without some measure of understanding in these areas. After all, writers tend to be good observants of others practicalities. We can do it, but it will be harder, and with a more drastic learning curve while doing it.

Maybe you do have a natural tendency to understand other people’s motives and actions. Maybe your passion has been to be a History devoted pupil, and it had given you the much needed foundations for your fictional writings.

Maybe you have lived through way too much hard/different/instructional or just plain shitty stuff, and have a first hand knowledge of the hard parts of life.

… Even then, to keep hungry for understanding it all a little bit better is what keeps most of us glued to this writing practice. I know I’m here in part to make reason out of no way in hell this is happening that is thrown at me every single day.

But what if we don’t like what we find about Ourselves?

And, let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t appreciate the scrutiny to begin with.

What if we find too much pain in our History, too much nonsense in our Sociology, too much of everything in Psychology and Philosophy? Too many misconceptions?

Now it’s the time that you’ll say: that is a given not an if.

Looking closely at something means that, we will find all the dark periods, the wrong choices, the massive unreasonable and unfair truths. We will take stock of diseases, influences, beginnings and mistakes, and a lack of answers for why it happened (and keeps happening still).

We will see unwilling relations, power moves and collective mind actions. Erasing all common sense and good judgement.

We will recognise logic but not heart.

… Like in the racial theories spread in the wake of the slavery business. Or the worldly religions distributing death, fuelling up conquests of power and riches. Or how pandemics took hold of large territories, killing people even at hands of the common cold. Sexuality being squashed under the heavy boots of the exploiters of others… there are lots of major trends like these throughout the centuries of human evolution.

Most of us are kind of trying to deal with some iteration, or other of this, by writing about the big issues. Stuff that happens to us, in our lifetime, but could easily be found in other ages.

But being the big issues, we need to keep them as small as possible. As unaffected, and manageable, by focusing on the details, instead of the impossible task of tackling the huge issue.

Learning from the Sciences always means you have to take it with a grain of salt. Nothing is infallible and trial and error has always been the way to go.

So we will never find definitive answers in science. We will find possibilities and scientific studies that work at some extent, and that may, or may not, be proof of some theory devised but another human being.

But even without absolute, one hundred percent, certainty it’s better to be aware of all that, and make it work in our Know Thy Human practice. Information can be power.

In my opinion, Science keeps being  better than to believe in the belief.

If we believe it’s because it’s not true. Truth is a matter of being, not a belief… I read this a few days ago.. not recollecting where it was. But it is an interesting concept and was duly noted.

To understand a tiny bit of the human mind (and use it wisely) is to accept this difficulty in taking in the Big Picture, and find alternative, corroborating stories in it. Find its truth while writing about it… or imagine it.

At least, this is how I like to go about it. Collect info, try to give them some rhyme and reason, and then make the best out of shitty situations. Learning and Creating and trying never to forget how important it is to Know Thy (My) Human.

So… how’s that going for you?

***

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

we are what we believe we are & to be of service

we are

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

Wondering about what means to be a writer seems to be part of this thing that I have chosen to be.

We choose and we become that which we have chosen. Even if it seems a dream. Even if it doesn’t seems feasible. Even if it’s so damn hard to do.

But the Truth is, if we choose to do it, an put in the actions to have it, we are it.

This argument is part of a few books. Works about the writing craft, books by those who struggled in the pursuit of this work, even philosophical, and religious spokespersons believe firmly in this idea: We are what we believe ourselves to be.

It took me a while to understand it.

After all, we are told that, it is through outside validation of our work, through making money with it, that we believe ourselves to be validated in our choices.

But should it be? Are we what we believe we are?

Is it not by doing the work itself that we become professionals? Is it not by writing that we become writers?

Is it not that by writing, I become a writer? That I am what I believe myself to be? 

This is a rationalisation that I find myself drawn to, for the good and the bad parts of it.

Good because we feel that we are something, and feel proud by being it, getting ourselves more motivated to pursue it.

It’s kind of fulfilling our dream without actually having the solid proofs to back it up, but building the structural base as we go along.

Bad because, if we are not willing to put the work in, we end up convincing ourselves that we have already achieved it, we are already writers, and we want what is due to us… without actually becoming the thing that we want to be. Without actually Writing and learn to write.

Quoting from the already mentioned poet  Jacqueline Suskin:

“What it means to be a writer in this day and age?”

Jacqueline answers this for herself with the following words:

“My job is to be in service as a writer, and my specific outlet is this kind of accessibility, this thing that I can write for anyone. I can write a poem for any type of person.” – in The Poem Store: A Life Changer | Jacqueline Suskin | TEDxSouthPasadenaHigh 

It’s not without great effort that we try to find our own answer to this question. Specially if we consider all the writing-for-hire and AI-knock-off’s out there.

I know I keep searching for my particular answers.

What does it mean to me to be of service? What does it mean to be a writer? What can I consider Writing?

I do write loads of blog posts. Are they, in due legitimacy, Writing? – is one of my most asked questions.

This reminded me of…

I have served. I will be of service.

in John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

… and it’s kind of like that, isn’t it?!

We have served by writing. We will continue to be of service by writing. We might find other venues that support our writing efforts. We might teach, perform, add other means to one’s end. But we will be contributing through Writing.

Each one of us have to find our own answer to what means to be of service to mankind.

What means to be of service to people? What means to contribute to this big, huge, world of ours?

And how our own experience will provide something for others to discover their own questions and answer them.

For me, it’s being here, writing my way through books, articles, poems, short-stories, videos, notes, journalling and all that brings this activity alive.

For me, it’s to provide entertainment, to pass inspiration along, to connect and feel connected, to share my journey and hope it will be useful for other’s pursuit.

To be of service is to serve our passions. So that, through them, we may be here for someone else. We may be here, and let them know that they are not alone.

We believe so we can serve, and that is what has some chance to make a difference in this weird world. 

***

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

***

References: 

Ideas are Variables. Use your own personal flavour.

personal flavour

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

The Idea is everything. Or is it? When working on some art project, the idea, the first concept is the most important. It’s what make us hooked on the work.

But…

All have been done one thousand times. Plus one.

I grew up listening to my father say: “It has all been done before” or “there is nothing new, because everything has been invented” or “We just need to see the variables” or “there is a finite quantity of musical notes and we are bound to find similar combinations in different songs“.

All different iterations of the same thought: It is all finite and it’s a matter or reorganising the material we have to work with.

Or is it?

I still struggle with these teachings, as my insecurities play their part in the evaluation process of the ideas for my writings.

And even though I agree with the principle of this (we have a group of stuff that we use in repetition), I’m not quite convinced about the part that it has all been done before. After all, between his time and mine lot’s of new things got worked on and created.

And I’m not convinced because it lacks the personal fingerprint, the noninterchangeable factor that each one of us puts in all that we do.

We keep evolving and there are things today that didn’t existed back in the (his) day. So I figured there is no argument there.

The same goes for all literary creations. New versions of old stories keep showing up and there are good iterations, bad, awful and so-and-so.

There are repetitions and do overs but are they similar to each other? Or is there novelty in them?

And does this matter? Does it matter how many times somebody reiterates the story of ‘The Beauty and the Beast’? Or that the retelling is being made?

I confess that, I have been caught mumbling my dislike about the lack of originality, and constant reiteration of the same stories. This process of recycling the same old entails a lack of novelty that frustrates me, when there are so many choices out there for making new films, books, and art in general.

But the truth is, there are different ideas, concepts, ways to create something. There are different views that we can take on an old matter.

Okay, we do not start from scratch. We have concepts, reorganisation of ideias, our own experiences and inputs, that we tap into in order to create an art work.

We do not start from an empty vessel…

…or toddlers would be creating full symphonies at the piano, and writing new future classic stories.

But it’s our time in this world, our own personal flavour that makes us grown upon an idea, and infuse it with our own way of work it into a specific creative work.

This is why some creators are so well attached to their initial ideas. They believe in the uniqueness of them, detached from the surrounding world.

They do not share them, afraid they would be stollen and maybe done better by other creator. (Ego scam right here, isn’t it?)Even if it’s not in their best interest to keep them secluded.

Yes, plagiarism happens. And there is a big fish pond out there, just waiting to take advantage of any crumb tossed into it. Mainly in some quick and easy scheme. More usual than not, it get’s eaten pretty quickly and disappears for never to be seen again.

But for the bigger part of my experience, a good idea isn’t fundamentally new. Somewhere, somehow, it had been imagined before. Even if it is a quite clever idea. Clever ideas do not mean successful art pieces.

The idea per se isn’t worth much if it’s not masterly executed.

More, it might be fairly new, and interesting, and well executed, and still end up in the trash can of humanity (of our fellow readers), for a multitude of possible factors.

A fenomenal idea isn’t any guarantee of a well accomplished art work. But it’s a start. And backing up that start with good working skills, a personal style, and some natural tendencies to network, and sell, it might be a success as any other with the same characteristics.

Is it special? Hell, yeah! For the creator, it’s always special.

For the world? Maybe not so much. Not at first and maybe not ever.

But with time, effort, and a grain of magic, it could transform itself into a worldly special.

Having great art concepts, interesting ways of exploring the idea, different backgrounds and experiences to support sources of inspiration, and contributing references, being moved by the need to create good work and devote ourselves to it, is as important as having a great idea.

An example of a frequent failed experience: to successfully transpose an art work into a different means of presenting it.

I was at the movies the past weekend, as I took my daughter to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023).

We loved it.

***

Let me be clear, so you know where I come from in this subject: I dislike playing highly stressful games. And to me, they’re all that: highly stressful.

They make me lose my calmness, and get me riled up, when there is no logical reason for it. I just don’t handle stress well.

So I do not play video/computer/phone games EVER.

Exceptions were made, occasionally – after I experimented some games and got myself hating the activity, – to Tetris when I was a pre-teen, and the recent Words Of Wonder game, that I enjoy moderately, but rarely play on my phone.

I do like board games, and again, Scrabble is my favorite, even though I rarely play it.

***

I enjoyed The Super Mario Bros. Movie immensely. It has color, action, plot, strong and evolving characters and I know it had a lot of game references that were kind of lost on me (even if my daughter was giving me some tidbits on that).

I specially loved Princess Peach, doing all kinds of fighting exercises in her gown, riding a motorcycle, and basically leading the way. That’s a badass Princess over there!

Also, loved the depressed star, Lumalee:

“In an Insane World, the Sane are called Insane.” – Lumalee

Lumalee…

But how many good ideas like this end up falling short?

Inspired in great works, how many films (reiterations of some art form or another) end up frustrating people’s expectations, for a lack of something in the making process?

It isn’t just the idea behind it. Because the initial idea is known to have had success previously under some other form. It’s something in the current work, in its process, in this particular project, in the people infusing it with a new life.

It’s this specific vision, for this particular iteration of the work, that doesn’t work.

For The Super Mario Bros. Movie it did work beautifully. Game to movie resulted in a very good entertainment moment.

But just look at how many Spider Man movies have been made, to finally achieve some measure of success – even if, to me, it still seems very far from my best experience from those comic books. (Nop. For me, they still haven’t nailed it.)

While working on our special kind of art-poison, listening to our instincts is paramount.

It’s not just having an idea but expanding upon it. It’s working in finding our personal style. It’s knowing what we love and let it lead us to a good iteration of the idea. It’s devoting ourselves to our process. It’s never giving up as long as we see the magic in it.

And having compassion for ourselves as creators. Find common ground between what we know about ourselves as artists, and what we need to be and do.

Ideas are great. Developing the mastery is a messy trip.

But we are here for the long haul. True?

So let’s keep having creative ideas and working on them.

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

 

Beautiful Imagery and our best work

images

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

Imagination and Imagery are intimately connected. It’s the power of combining images, transforming them into our particular reality, and even going beyond that.

Writing is constructing images in our heads and in our readers minds.

While building a story we recur to different strategies to visualise how characters, locations, and objects, will appear to our readers.

I do believe that, all that we can see in our minds will translate into a page in the most effective way we can imagine, if we just put the work behind it.

I also believe that usually this happens in ways we can’t perceive objectively. It’s kind of a shadow work that occurs inside our minds, fuelled by all the collected inspirations.

The act of describing what we are envisioning, letting what we absorb come through, will make reading a lively experience.

This means building ideas about how the elements will be, and master its materialisation on the page. Whatever the story, in whichever genre we fancy.

How we find imaginative inspiration?

Some of us, writers and imagery builders of sorts, have a fondness for reading and imagine things in our own way.

Sometimes, this ability gets us to have a book turned into a movie just because the imagery used was totally wrong from what we had envisioned.

Others, find it useful to look at correlated art works and give our imagination a hand at picturing worlds, creatures and even human faces.

There are a few theories about this brain ability of ours, categorising people into types of learners, just by figuring out our abilities to retain information and, therefore, use it in creative ways, accordingly to our main senses of vision, hearing and touching.

I found that, for me a mix and match of all of these, work in different projects and situations. So I learned to use visual aids, and well as hearing and touching.

In some projects I use music. In others, drawings and pictures. With more, or less, emphasis on each aid, according to what I feel is most needed for me to capture the full experience I need.

Because to learn about these characters, and this world, and these objects and locations, I need to attune myself to their particularities. And this is only possible if I keep my sources of inspiration in an expanded mode. Always looking, always alert, always integrating fun little snippets of information that might seem to be just there for the taking. Just so I have some places from which to draw inspiration from.

Where do I find some inspirational imagery?

Just looking at other people’s rendition of something, a picture, a drawing, a digital art work, a description, a capture of some sort of inspirational material, allows me to let me own imagination guide me into my own world building, with all it entails. Browsing through Pinterest, DeviantArt, a Google search on Images tab, can get me some much needed help on figuring out some writerly things.

How do I use it in my writing process?

I use it for inspiration, to build up my mental muscles on the much needed imagery.

Exposing myself to beautifully composed images, to gruesome battle outcomes, to twirls of abstract imagination, will get me content enough to start thinking about my own creative processes in my stories.

Also, I use it for writing exercises.

To have a prompt, and to build upon that little morsel of imagery is a pleasure, and alleviates me from having to start with the dreaded blank page feeling.

Just like painting uses references, the  writing practice also can, and should, do it. Imagery serves us as guides in this unthreaded wordy land.

Is it beneficial to my writings?

Yes. It is indeed. My imagination needs all the aid she can get. My writing efforts benefit from everything I throw at them. All the little unsuspected efforts we can make to help us write more and better are welcome.

If we find a notebook full of clippings is the way to go, we should try it out; or a mood board hanging on the wall; a Pinterest album full of scary pictures; a reference book on imagery; a subscription to a travel magazine; or any other way of collect those images we will be recurring to intentionally, in order to make our writing process smoother and more inspired.

Standing in the shoulders of giants has its downside?

Do not copy. Do not steal. Do not use without permission. Do not go into that unimaginative, hurtful, dishonourable lane.

Reconnect the dots of all you have learned and add to the work already done. Be inventive, resourceful, creative in your own right. You can do the most beautiful, your own, work. And it will feel good to do so.

Be careful of the difference between gathering inspiration, to work out added value, and the already mentioned problem above.

Gather from all types of different sources and think: I am the sieve through which all comes in, and only a small combined part of it mesh and comes out.

Allow myself to be the changing factor, the added value, the combinatory and creative force behind whatever I create.

Will it be easy?

Is anything worthwhile easy? I don’t think so.

Was any of those drawings easy to make? Any of those books we read? Any of those creative breakthroughs?

Easy and Worthwhile are opposites, aren’t they? 

Having these processes available to tap into, allowing new inspiring imagery and information to come through, working out the effective ways they can serve my writing efforts, trying to be receptive to all inspiring tendrils is part of the fun.

All we can do is allow our minds to translate into our work the images we had envisioned. All we must do is ensure that the reading experience will be the best we can make it. And that all these inspirational processes work out for the best in each page we write.

So that our reader truly gets what we were aiming for: the best story possible. 

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

***

References:

Have a Romance Novel within you?

romance novel

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog!

A few years ago I discovered Romance. Not just the sub-plotted thread lines existing in which ever genre that I came across, but the innovative, new born, sub-genres of Romance. 

I discovered that I loved to read Romance and that I went by these books in a short breath time span.

This phase gave me a good perception of what was being created in those years and how some storylines were most attractive to me than others.

I remember crossing paths with Young Adult Romance and Adult/Erotic Romance. I remember the impact of Urban, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

But what they all had in common was the Romance part.

Even when the plot was about something else entirely, it was the quality of relationships and the love that bloomed, as well as the griefs and disappointments of an unrequited love, and everything in between, that were the propeller to read more on different genres.

I’m from a time when writing romance was still very frowned upon.

Fortunately I can now say that I am from a time that saw these preconceptions evolve into a more mainstream type of literature and are a bit more tolerated.

Just a bit. Let’s not go crazy over this.

[Was this the reason they were so afraid of? To have a lesser genre to be a big earner? Never mind.]

By now, I’m tempted to list a few of my most impactful reads. ***Should I? Let me know in the comments, if you’re interested in knowing what got into my Best Romance Books Ever.

There had been a great number of romance books written in such an impactful way that I do hope they withstand the passage of time.

A few months ago I came across a few lists all under the reference “Best Romance Novels of All Time”.

I was quite curious about what would pop up if I researched something as broaden as this and it did not disappoint.

Of course we had the classics in there, which contains some of my favorites, but there was also a few of the published (and self-published) ones that are now considered modern genre-classics.

Goodreads produced a list of 639 books on this query: Best Top Romance Novels of All Time . A list which needs to be revised since it has escaped the fundamental criteria for existing.

Criteria: The list is compiled from Amazons Bestsellers in Romance for the peoples view, from Romance Readers Top 100 Romance Novels for a Critique View, And from the Best books From last 10 years lists. Each book has been rated at least 4 star by at least 75 readers.

639! And some of those are series.

Then, it was time for browsing through a Readers Digest Article with the 55 Best Romance Novels of All Time. Last updated in January 2023, this list contains more recent romance novels, from which I spotted a few well loved of mine.

Since this article has the following disclaimer, and it fails to state the choice criteria, I don’t think it to be an unbiased list.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases. 

But its a list, no matter what. A list in which we may find some romance suggestions.

Then it was time to check out ProWritingAid‘s book list. The Best Romance Novels of All Time: Top 60+ Love Books contains a few well known works organised under the epithet’s The Essential Reading Lists: Romance.

Criteria: Top Classic Contemporary Romance Novels. Contemporary is the largest sub-genre in romance. It’s an umbrella term for romance novels set at the time the author was writing—from about the 1970s onwards. You’ll find stories about modern themes, challenges, and society, with most contemporary stories rooted in the real world. We’ve split this list into modern classics and rising stars.

I couldn’t avoid mentioning The Best Romance Novels of 2022 in The New York Times.

As well as The New York Times Best Sellers. [How many of these are Romance?]

I am contemplating doing a WTR list for my own purposes, after all, I love reading romance. I feel I have quite a few classics to catch up, I mainly disregard the contemporary romance best-selling books, and I write paranormal romance, so I should be reading further on these sub-genres across times. And a separate WTR Romance list would be wise of me keep.

For now, I hope you find some Best of All Times Reads in one of these lists and keep reading. Reading is very important if you want to keep writing.

And if you feel you have a Romance Novel in you, it doesn’t matter how many books are on these lists. There is always space for a truly brilliant story. The one you will write.

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

***

References: 

Writing a shitty first draft

first draft

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog!

Today, I want to talk about shitty first drafts and what it means to cope with first-draft situations.

Yes, because I’m 15 000 words into one of these myself and I’m fretting about it. And, yes. Because I need to find a way to cope with uncertainty so I figured that, maybe so do you.

Or a zero draft, as I heard Kate Cavanaugh from You Tube channel Kate Cavanaugh Writes call it. [Check it out, it’s a good channel to get me inspired for writing and think about writing themes.]

I keep repeating to myself, almost chanting if I’m being honest, that it’s okay to write a shitty first draft.

That I need to put something on the page.

That it doesn’t matter what I write on that first draft because it will be worked on, improved and thoroughly revised.

That without something on the page I have no chance to improve nothing… because there is nothing to improve upon.

[See? I’m almost making a song lyrics out of this. Just need the right tune]

I keep reminding myself of that chapter of ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott…

anne lamott shitty first drafts

At least, I know I keep repeating all of that to myself every time I’m in that phase of the process where I need to produce a first draft. And it’s truly alright to write a shitty first draft.

It’s not my first roundabout on first-draft-land. But it’s always tricky to drive in such a bumpy, too large, full of holes road… and it’s a roundabout, so I am to expect some curves and bad angles and some drivers out of their lanes.

I have done this first draft thing in the long format form for six times now.

I’m counting all of my finished novels, including a published one. But I’m not counting any other form of my writings, which all of them took a first-draft phase, including this article I’m currently writing, and that you are currently reading.

Maybe I should consider these also… and, suddenly, my life is made of first-drafts.

This is my seventh first draft and here I am, in overwhelm-land.

It still gets me every time. Six books in and I don’t feel prepared for this part of the process.

It’s like I keep looking for things that aren’t quite worked out yet to keep myself in the overwhelm state. I look at this first draft and wish I could make it perfect… as it is, and knowing very well that there is no such thing as perfect, I’m sustaining the eyes wide open, rapid breathing pattern and in a constant arrhythmia state, ready to flee or pass out (still haven’t decided which one yet).

But I’m not here to complain. Truly, I am not. I’m here to share that this is hard but that I can, and I will persist. And so will you.

After all, I have done it six times already for my novels and a few hundred times for all of my other writing works, like short-stories, poems, blog posts and any sort of creative texts.

I also know that, this too will pass.

I know I’ll end up moving forward, plowing ahead, or tiptoeing around obstacles. Or finding some mental assurances and some strategies to make myself cope with the first-draft situation.

Sometimes coping means:

  • writing my book plans in really big paper sheets. 
  • constructing cards for my characters.
  • writing every scene in a A5 card and have a visual of the story entirety.
  • even writing one version of it by hand in some lame notebook. 
  • enrol in any challenge that makes me forget the thing in itself and make me show up to the work (I am so doing #the100daychallenge that starts in Feb.22).

I’m even considering using the foolscap method, a Steven Pressfield’s suggestion (watch a quick introduction in his Instagram Reels).

Or any other strategy that I feel can help me cope, in this moment, with the uncertainty of it all.

Something like, remind myself why I’m writing this story. Why I’m involved in it. Why my creative path lead me here. And how I felt with a finished book in my hands (not literally).

And maybe get back to the drawing board. To plan my scenes in some way that helps me do this first-draft.

So, I have options. The only option I don’t have is to quit. And neither do you.

I’ll leave you with another inspirational quote:

writing a novel

Just keep driving!

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

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