Writing Just “For Us”

Have you ever had the issue of writing no longer being something you enjoy? Whenever you sit down at your computer to type something, it’s not really about being “fun” anymore. Every letter you type, you’re thinking about your fans or judgement from publishers.

Will people like this? What if they don’t? What if I’m wasting my time? 

These questions echo over and over again in your head. Finally, you just step away from the computer because it all seems just too difficult. Writing means edits and judgement and hours upon hours of work. You never write anymore, and when you do, it doesn’t feel like it used too. You’re writing and worrying about the opinions of everyone else, instead of just having fun and doing what you used to.

I’m writing this because I’ve found myself feeling this way since last year when I started a new book. Maybe it’s just because as a writing major, writing literally “is” work that is always judged by someone else, whether it be the professor or my fellow classmates.

Every time I try to write something new, I don’t even feel like I’m enjoying myself. I’m sure that a lot of other writers feel this way too. In high school, I used to write nearly a chapter a day in my novels. I’d write so much that I’d given myself carpal tunnel and developed a cyst in my left hand that I later had surgically removed.

I think the point of this post is that we need to just remember all the things we loved about writing and somehow get back there if we ever feel off track. Everything we write isn’t going to be a masterpiece. Everything we write doesn’t have to come out perfect. Just sit down and type that story or blog post or whatever it is that you want to write. You didn’t become a writer because everyone else wanted you to, but because you loved what you were doing.

So the next time you want to write, just do it and leave the thoughts of everyone else behind. Write because it’s who YOU are.

Authors Need Love Too

Since I’ve been home for winter break, I’ve had some time to reflect. Last night, I suddenly started thinking about my future…I have no idea what’s going to happen. There is never certainty as a writing major. 

Anyway, I realized that being an author, like many other things, requires a support system. When I was in high school and all my friends wanted to read my works, I felt like I was on top of the world, and I wrote nearly every day, finishing books left and right. 

Now, after not having a publication in over a year and begging for beta readers, I rarely write anything that’s not for class anymore. 

The thing I realized about authors is that our career really depends on other people. A teacher, for example, needs a class. But students will always be around. An author needs beta readers, then for a publisher to like your idea, and then the public needs to love it as well. An unmotivated teacher can still show up to work. An unmotivated author can’t write. 

So this holiday season, I’d advise everyone to show some love for the writers in your life. Stop by their Wattpad account and read something, or ask them about that poem they scribbled in their notebook. Tell them you can’t wait for their next book. Chances are, they’ll appreciate it. 

Can’t We Just Be Friends? 

I guess I’ll start this post of with a scenario. So you’re reading a book/watching a TV show or movie. There’s a guy and a girl as the main characters. They’re great friends. At some point, feelings start to develop and they become romantically involved. 

At the end, they’re dating. Their entire awesome friendship is now ruined and it’s extremely awkward to read/watch (or it is for me at least.) Their other comedic friend has become the honorary Third Wheel. 

I’ve seen this happen so much. Far too many friendships have been turned into romance, which a lot of the time, really isn’t needed. So, the main question of this post: can’t characters just be friends? 

Think about it. In real life, guys have friends that are girls and girls have friend that are guys. Feelings don’t develop ALL the time. Would it really be that hard to have a story where there’s just three awesome friends of different genders who don’t get romantically involved? 

After discussing this with a friend last night, I have become so passionate about this topic that I am determined to write some type of story in which a guy and a girl go on some awesome adventure and don’t wind up in a relationship. Because in life, yes, relationships develop out of friendships.

 I’m currently in a 2-year relationship with my boyfriend after starting out as friends. Before we met, I had another guy friend in college who I hung out with all the time, and there were no “feelings” developing. 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to this story…when I get the time to do it. 

Realistic Character Introductions

While editing in the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of strained, forced character introductions.  You know, when a character meets another character?  This is something that I figured would be very simple, but a lot of today’s young writers are making much more complicated than it needs to be.

Mainly I’ve noticed characters, who later turn out to be friends, introducing themselves in the school hallway with their first and last name.  I’ll use an example with two characters (Bay and Adriana) from “Crash” my second novel.  Imagine this in a school hallway.

“Hello, my name is Bayleigh Garashian.” I extended my hand.

She shook my hand.  “My name is Adriana Cruz.”

Now, it’s okay to be formal sometimes.  But I can think of only a handful of time’s when I’ve introduced myself by my full first name and last name.  Acceptable situations for characters giving an introduction of their full first and last name are just like in real life: when they’re in a formal situation. (Meeting the Queen, going in for a job interview, etc).

But meeting someone in a school hallway?  I don’t know about you all, but I’ve never formally introduced myself to someone in a school hallway.  Here is how a conversation would probably go down in a school hallway in one of my books:

“Hi, I’m Bay.”  I extended my hand.

She shook it.  “I’m Adriana.”

The point about character dialogue is that is actually a lot like real life.  So go ahead and have your characters meet and greet, but keep it casual!

You’re Writing a New Book? How Many Chapters Will it Have?

After reaching chapter 8 in my newest novel/novella/whatever it turns out to be, Saving Flight 926, I have started telling my friends about how it is going/asking for advice, since I am having trouble with the length I want.

Anyway, every SINGLE time I’ve worked on a book, everyone asks me the same question: “how many chapters will it have?”  There’s something about this question that really bothers me.  It’s like asking a painter, “Oh, you started a new painting?  How many colors are you going to use?”

I have actually seen many authors who have outlined their story chapter by chapter.  They can say what they want to happen, but do we every really know if it’s going to happen that way?  Novels will take various twists and turns through the months it takes to write them.

For me, many of my books turn out to be much shorter than I originally wanted in the first draft.  SF926 I wanted to be 110 pages, when it will probably be somewhere around 80 or 90.  The thing is, author’s never really know what will happen in their stories will effect the length (or at least I don’t).  However, we do know what we want.

So the next time your author friend is telling you about their new book, don’t ask how many chapters it will have.  Ask, “How many chapters do you want it do have?”

College and the Friend Trend

After being home for three weeks, I was sitting with one of the few friends I have left here at the Cheesecake Factory.  We were talking about an interesting, tiny phenomenon, which I like to call the “Friend Trend.”

Now, as many of you know, I am in a sorority.  This means my Facebook is flooded with friends on all levels of college undergraduates.  After about a year of paying attention to detail, I’ve noticed a vast difference in freshman vs. upper classmen like myself: their friends back home.

Many freshmen, who go home for breaks have pictures of themselves and high school friends. While at school, they post about missing home. As for juniors and seniors, their posts consist of pictures with family and missing their college friends.

I myself have experienced the downward Friend Trend at home. Over the past two years, the amount of close friends I see when back home has gone from 7 to 3. Meanwhile, my amount of close college friends has gone up from 2 to 5 since freshman year.

I guess the real point that I’m trying to make is 1. this is kind of sad, and 2. I wonder why this happens? Why can’t best friends stick together through a distance? Does college really change people that much?