Hello, and welcome to Writing Week! My name is Bea, and I’m a writer. Phewf. It’s taken me awhile to affirm that because in 2013 I was distracted by things that did not involve writing. Fun fact: I auditioned to be a radio DJ, on live air! It did not go well!
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to do a themed week for awhile but I cannot sustain a conversation about lipstick or a single brand for a week. Hell, I can’t even write about makeup for an entire week. Hopefully Writing Week does not go the way of MoBloPoMo, which is phonetic for the disaster that it was.
What to expect during Writing Week?
Mainly posts about my writing processes + tools, an overview of Scrivener, maybe some essays. I will still post about other topics because not everyone finds writers writing about writing exciting. Unfortunately, there will be scant few posts on how to get published, because…lol.
To kick things off, here are my answers to The Writer Tag! I’m terrified no one else will do this, but if you are an aspiring or established writer I hope you do! I love knowing how other people get shit done.
The Writer Tag
1. What type of writing do you do?
I write fiction, nonfiction articles, and occasionally middling poetry. As a sample of my recent bombastic efforts I invite you to check out my Ode to Potatoes.
2. What genres and/or topics do you write about?
I write YA contemporary fantasy fiction, but I get paid for nonfiction journalism covering beauty, lifestyle, and profiles. I have neglected creative nonfiction essays but love writing them. The genres I would love to explore in the future are magical surrealism and longform creative nonfiction.
3. How long have you been writing?
My earliest memory of writing a story is in the first grade, when I had to get a second page and was so excited. But I only declared wanting to be a writer in a third grade journal, one “more famous than Shakespeare.”
4. Are you published?
Most of the articles I write are online, but I have been pursuing more print work as well. My most recent article is the cover story on Lovi Poe in Meg Magazine’s April issue. I am not a published fiction author. Usually that statement would be appended with a cheeky “Yet!” but it’s gotten so depressing lately that all you’re getting is a wan smile.
5. What was the first story you ever wrote?
I can’t remember, but it involved a haunted house. It was probably a rip-off from one of the creepy stories my sister would share before bed.
6. Why do you write?
Because I’m surrounded by great stories.
7. How do you find time to write?
As a freelance writer my schedule for writing is pretty generous. My problems lie in discipline, motivation, and execution.
8. When and where are the best times to write?
The best places to write are outside the house. A bright sunny cafe with just enough of a thrum. A place where I can leave my laptop under safe watch because I pee every five minutes. A place that’s not too cold, because it makes me pee even more.
The best time to write is between the hours of 3AM-9AM. Lately this has been difficult because I’ve been sleeping late. The worst time to write is in the afternoon/early evenings – I use this time to brainstorm, or surrender a heap of brain cells as a tithe to the Internet overloads.
9. Favorite food/drinks while writing?
If at home: cold water or hot instant coffee. If outside: a glass of house white, or cold Stella.
10. Your writing playlist?
Fiction: The Final Fantasy soundtracks (like all 20GB of them) are always reliable good music. My favorite soundtracks are the piano collections from VI – X.
Articles: I just need background music that is pleasant but relatively monotonous. Lately I’ve been listening to Lorde and Lana del Rey for this reason. Otherwise I just plug in some Miike Snow into Spotify radio and listen to whatever pops up: M83, Passion Pit, etc.
God, I am so ambivalent about music. I used to just start my boyfriend’s “Because Bea Listens to Shit Music” playlist on Spotify, which he now uses as a dumping ground for all his favorite songs. Lately his taste has been all over the place so I need something more consistent.
11. What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing?
I’m lucky in that my family is very supportive in more ways than one (AKA, I acknowledge my privilege in getting to live at home rent-free while pursuing my dreams). My boyfriend is also very supportive but is definitely holding me more accountable to the “doing” part. My friends who are writers are extremely supportive and thank God for them.
12. Parts of writing you enjoy the most?
When a scene comes out exactly how you imagined it in your mind – this has happened once or twice, ever. I also enjoy when you’ve built up momentum and are writing 5,000+ words a day. Finally, I enjoy writing with a glass or two in me. Alcohol kills your inner editor and makes you feel more brilliant than you are.
13. Parts of writing you find challenging?
The discipline portion. Committing to complete a project. Not abandoning at the first sign of struggle. ALSO, the story aspect. Crafting the right story. Being okay with completely gutting a story because it doesn’t work/stakes aren’t high enough, even if you’re 10,000 words in.
14. What do you use to write with and on?
I’ve been realizing that I’m a more productive writer on paper. I use a Rina Designs notebook for drafts and “throwaway” notes that I won’t have to reference again, because I toss out these notebooks when done. For notes I want to take around, I use 4×6 index cards and my Midori. I write with a 0.8 or 0.7 UniPin. When writing with my laptop, I exclusively use Scrivener.
15. How do you overcome writers block?
I work on something else, or I give permission to myself to suck. Or I read. Or I…don’t overcome it.
16. How do you motivate yourself to write?
Sometimes I will read an awful book just to stoke my ego so it will tell me to write something better. Sometimes I will just sit at the desk, all day, until something comes out. Sometimes I read again. Reading fixes everything.
17. Authors who inspire you as a writer?
Sherwood Smith, a YA fantasy author whom I admire for her prolific work and extensive worldbuilding. She writes upwards of 500,000 words a year, despite being part of this and that and not always being in the best of health. Since my biggest weakness now is discipline, I admire any author who is highly disciplined.
18. Books that inspire you as a writer?
Other books in the genres I write (Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith remains a favorite) but also books from the business/self-help side. It sounds hokey, but it helps to view writing as a discipline! My favorite is “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher, which talks about people who are “scanners” (jump from one thing to another) and how they are not doomed to a life of ineptitude. It helped me realize that it was okay to be this way, and also no matter how many times I jumped from thing to thing, I still wanted to write.
19. Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer?
1. BIC: Butt in Chair. That’s the only way you’ll ever get anything done.
2. “You can’t edit a blank page.” I think this comes from Alyson Noel. It’s true – things will always be perfect in your mind, but if you don’t try to get them down on paper they’ll forever be a dream.
20. Writing goals this year?
To complete a YA novel. To apply for an MA in Creative Writing. To write one article that makes a difference.
And whoever wants to join in!