I’ve been meaning to do this “tag” since it first came up in January, but I never managed to schedule it in. Today I’m very privileged to be participating in Project Inspire, a non-tag specifically created to encourage and inspire fellow writers, which is something I love being able to do. So without further ado… the rules. :)
1. Thank and link back to whose blog you first saw the tag on; link back to the creator of the tag.
That would be Jenna Terese, for both. I saw Project Inspire as soon as it was created. :) Jenna is a fabulous author and blogger, and her posts are so encouraging and uplifting. Definitely check out her blog if you haven’t yet. Thank you, Jenna, for putting Project Inspire together, and for your blog in general. ^-^
2. Answer the questions given (when you mention a person in your answers, link to their blog/website if they have one)
3. Include 5 of the biggest things you’ve learned about writing, and how they’ve changed you.
3. Don’t tag anybody. 😉 We want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to take part in this. So at the end of your post, leave the open invitation to any of your readers that wants to do the tag.
1. Who’s someone who’s inspired and motivated you to pursue writing?
So many people, honestly. I’ve been blessed with amazingly supportive family and friends. I guess to begin with it was my dad? Really both of my parents. My mom has been more involved with my writing (I always go to her if I need a near-final read-through person), but my dad is a writer himself and his barely-started book is amazing, so he motivates me to keep going if only so I can convince him that he can finish his book. ;)
2. Who encouraged you when you felt like giving up?
This is actually kind of backwards, because he encouraged me to give up, but that was what I needed at the time. So, when I was aiming to publish House of Mages, I went to my small handful of friends a few times, actually, and talked over how I didn’t really want to publish it but didn’t want to give up on the project, either. During one such conversation, my friend Michael recognized I was making myself work toward publishing a cruddy book just because I didn’t want to let people down, and he encouraged me to give it up and move on to a better project. So I did. And I’m very glad I did. Don’t discount your friends who tell you when it’s time to set a project aside.
3. Was there a person (or even a blog post) that came at just the right time to give you the boost or motivation when you needed it?
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on here (I think I have) that The Shadow Raven is a very emotionally and mentally draining book to write; it hits too close to home to be easy. My only consistency in writing it is in not writing it, I procrastinate so much and wonder so often if I should even keep pushing through or if it’s better for me and the book to just let it sit. That ended up coming up in discussion with Allie a few months ago and she asked, quite simply, “Why do you write it?” (It actually sparked a whole blog post.) It was a question I hadn’t honestly considered before, and it led me to the realization that this book is important. It’s not just something to write for fun like all the stories before it, it has a purpose, and even if it takes me ten years to get through the darn thing, I can’t completely give it up. And it also helped me to realize that I’m going to need God’s help (a lot of it) if I want to write this book and write it right.
4. Who’s always been there for you, through thick and thin, with your writing?
Again, so many people. My parents are another good answer to this. So is Allie. But I think I’m going to answer with: my younger sister, Syberyah. (Don’t ask about the weird spelling. I don’t understand it myself, but it’s intentional.) She’s listened to me ramble, she’s put up with me calling her up into my bunk in the middle of the night to work out a plot problem, she’s tried to help me brainstorm numerous times (even if she just ends up a sounding board)… She’s super long-suffering and tolerant, and I’m very thankful for that. XD
5. Who’s helped you make your writing better, wasn’t afraid to give you honest feedback, and helped improve your craft?
Um… I don’t generally show my writing to a lot of fellow writers (it’s not a conscious thing, I just… don’t), so we’re still pretty much limited to my family and three friends. XD But I have actually gotten feedback from Taylor Clogston on both a short story of mine and the first chapter of Slander & Steel, and both were excellent and super helpful.
6. Who’s given you doses of healthy laughter that brightens your day and brings a smile to your face?
Um… There are three bloggers who come to mind, and I’m not sure which of them makes me laugh the most.
Can you tell I like sarcasm? (Also gifs. Gifs are good. Check out Snapper if you like gifs.) All three of these ladies have a great sense of humor, and I always love reading their blog posts, whether they’re funny or serious.
7. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
It’s a long one, but well worth it.
“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going, because they were holding on to something.”
I actually made a poster of this quote, and since I don’t have any wall space at home it’s hanging in my cubicle at work. I love this quote, because it’s something to seek after in writing (stories whose light shines out the clearer in the darkness), and it’s something to seek after as a person (not turning back when you have lots of chances, continuing on because you have something to hold onto).
8. Is there someone you just want to take a moment to thank, for anything?
Would it be cheesy to say “All of you readers”? ‘Cause really, I’m super thankful for you. I’m thankful for the opportunity to share what knowledge I’ve accumulated on writing over the years, even if I sometimes feel like it’s not worth that much. Y’all have told me it’s helpful, and I trust you, so… thanks, I guess. Or you’re welcome? Whatever. Y’all are awesome and I’m super thankful that I get to help y’all out every once in a while.
I’m also thankful for the encouragement you’ve given me, both in regard to blogging and just regarding life in general. Y’all are super supportive and amazing, and I’d like to thank you for that. :)
9. What author and/or book inspired you to write better stories and motivates you to strive to give your message to the world?
Um… Well… I don’t know. There are a lot of authors I admire for various reasons, and they definitely influence my goals as a writer, but I’m not sure they necessarily influence my writing otherwise? (That probably makes no sense.) Like… They emulate traits I aspire to have, but they’re more personal traits than writing traits, I think. So I guess I’d say the book/author who’s most inspired me to write better/motivated me to get my message out would be The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, and The Monster in the Hollows in particular. That book was so well-written, so emotionally powerful, so deep and raw while still being hopeful and light… 10/10 recommend. I can only dream to someday write books that are as emotional and well-balanced as Andrew Peterson’s.
10. What piece of advice do you want to give to other young writers?
Learn at your own pace. This is your writing, not anyone else’s, so don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. I know this has been said a billion times, but the only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Your writing is unique from any other writer’s. Your pace is different from any other writer’s. But it’s the pace and the writing that God has given to you, so steward it well and improve on your skills as He leads you, not as you feel like you should be as good as the next person.
Likewise, don’t take writing advice too seriously. I mean, there are some rules that should be followed (grammar and that kind of thing), but as far as your writing process goes, that’s unique to you, too. Try new things, experiment, find out what works for you, but if something doesn’t work don’t be afraid to go back to what did work.
Five Big Things I’ve Learned
I’ll try to think of things that will actually be helpful to y’all. Most of the things I can think of are personal realizations, which will differ from writer to writer. So the list is going to be a mix. :P
- Make notes as you go. You may not need to do this, but I personally have a bad habit of leaving a story for weeks or months (or years, if we’re talking really old, really cringey stories), and when I come back and read over it I see foreshadowing or hints I left in there and I think “WAIT. WHAT IS THIS THING.” It was when I was looking over The Elementals (old, cringey story) to rewrite a scene of it that I realized I should start making notes on what I foreshadow. I have yet to follow this advice more than about twice, but it’s something I’ve realized I need to do. XD
Similarly, I’ve realized that I like to know when I came up with certain ideas, so I’ve started putting dates on the notes and scenes in my notebooks, and I imagine my future self will thank me years down the road. XD
- I stink at plot. I mean royally. stink. at plot. I don’t understand it, I can never wrap my head around it and figure out how to make it work, I hate outlining and coming up with story middles… I just really stink at it. I’m still trying to figure out a way to remedy that one.
- I, personally, can’t write multiple stories at once. It doesn’t work. I give myself the excuse that it’s more productive, but it really just multiplies the procrastination. I can usually, however, work on multiple projects in different stages of development. Usually.
- Giving up is okay. Not dropping projects willy-nilly because you found something new and “better” and the old thing has gotten a little difficult; but thinking through a project, deciding this isn’t the time for it or it isn’t the quality it should be for the next step, thinking and praying over it, and consciously choosing to set it aside, either temporarily or permanently.
- Purpose and commitment are what are going to drive you to complete a story. You’ll need to know why you’re writing this story, and you’ll need to commit to seeing it through (at least to the next stage, or until such a time as it becomes clear that it’s time to let it go). It’s not inspiration or fun that drives a story beyond the first chapter: it’s determination.
There you have it: my contribution to Project Inspire. I encourage you to participate, if you haven’t yet. (If you have, I’d love to see your post!) It’s a great opportunity to reflect on your writing journey thus far, to give thanks where thanks are due, and to encourage fellow writers.
Have a blessed day. :)