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Why do I do what I do? I’ve thought about that a lot, and most of the answers don’t seem to get at the whole thing.
Part of it is a passion for writing. I like it when people see what my writing, and their reactions always push me forward. I LIKE putting words on the page, I LIKE doing what I’m doing, and I LOVE knowing that people read it. Just getting that thrill of putting my words out there makes me happy. But that’s only part of it.
I keep at it because I believe in doing the work. I want to be a writer, or a blogger, or someone that people know through a specific kind of content. In order to do that, I have to take the time to actually get the work done. Carving out part of my day dedicated to creating content is part of being a creative. Working on your art, learning from what you write, truly pushing to improve with every post—that was something I avoided for a very long time. Making the conscious effort to begin my career as a writer brought on a lot of realizations. Following through on promises made to myself and others, making the time to create, committing to the process, creating with intention and the desire to improve—those were important moments in my growth as a writer. Again, that’s only part of it.
There’s just this sense of wanting to give of myself and give everyone something useful. Anyone audacious enough to write feels like they have something important to say, no matter how much they may try to downplay it. Several thousands of words have been written over the last year, and more in the last decade of my life. I’ve worked through a lot of personal stuff to find my creative groove. Those methods and habits have helped me shape my process into something that allows me to create the best art I can right now, and I’m always working on tweaking it. I want to share those things, along with the fictional fruits of those processes, because I truly believe that they’re important for people to read. Even if only a single person reads my material and takes away something, that will be enough for me. But that’s only part of it.
That’s three parts. Three reasons that writing is important to me.
I’m writing this for myself as much as my readers. I’m going to talk a little about what I hope to accomplish this week in my writing.
Last week, I announced that I was going to attempt a broad fiction project called Terminaburg. The larger vision of the project has been worked on for several years, consciously and not, but big picture vision doesn’t mean anything unless I have a plan of action to get the thing produced and published. To that end, I’ve started working up ways to streamline the plotting and writing process, which should help me set a schedule to get it all written. As it stands, if I keep with my rough word count limits for it, I’m looking at 400,000 words as the middle range, which will encompass both flash and short fiction, along with the tumblr updates that will be running daily. I’ll go more into the process as I get closer to publishing it for real.
My next goal is to get more of my non-fiction work outlined and ready to write. I announced in July that I would be moving to a daily content publishing schedule, and that will include fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and whatever else I might see fit to create. The first half of the non-fiction project has been drafted, and I’m currently in the process of editing for preparation in 2018. I’ll need to get after outlining if I hope to get it finished.
My final goal is to just start working farther out in the future. I’ve started setting a lot of hard deadlines for myself and my publishing schedule, and to hit that will require an immense amount of work. Getting that work done, and making sure that I’m not losing my mind over getting it done, means that I need to increase my productivity and start writing with an eye towards making myself more lead time in my projects. The more of that I have, the more work I can do, and having a comfortable amount of lead time means I can be more ambitious in my projects.
So that’s what I have going on this week. If you’re curious about what I’m doing or how I’m going to do it, feel free to leave a comment!
Just a quick update for anyone reading: I’m going to modify my schedule a bit in August. Starting on August 1, I’ll be posting twice daily in addition to the content already going up. The mornings will be non-fiction posts, and the afternoons will be dedicated to fiction. They’ll be short, but I’ll do my best to pack them with good stuff.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
The best part of creating a world, any world, is actually building the setting that your characters will inhabit.
Now, in the beginning, it doesn’t have to be very complex. In fact, you should keep it as simple as possible in your finished story. My rule is that the necessary amount world building you need for your story is only as much as your characters will run into. You don’t need to describe what they don’t see, or what they don’t experience. The bare minimum is simply what is required for the narrative. A good piece of advice is, “When in doubt, cut it out”.
Good setting details make for a richer story. Myths of creation, legendary heroes, the particular history of a building. Those are the kinds of things that really build context and make for a richer experience for the reader. Connect them to your characters, make them come to life on the page.
Only use them if they’re necessary, however. Packing in too much world building that isn’t experienced through, or relevant to the narrative can turn into dry exposition, which will make any reader bored. Leave some mystery in there. It will give you more to work with in the future.
Focus simply on the necessary components. How do your characters feel about this? What is the relationship to this part of your setting? Do they have a personal connection to it, is it something that is important to them? Ask questions to provide context.
Your world building should be in service of your story, rather than the other way around. The details should add context to your setting, make it feel richer and more whole. What world building should not do is devolve into overly intricate detailing and push out the narrative. Story should come first, and that will require restraint and a little bit of sadness when you have to cut out that cool building that just isn’t necessary at all.