Like You Mean It

Like You Mean It

Anyone can say that they are a writer, but it takes a dedicated one to become a published author or journalist. It is easy to fall into the trap of postponing the inevitable, but actually writing a novel, or any formidable piece of professionally written work, is hard work. When one has fallen prey to the excuse mill, there comes a point where it will catch up with them. To avoid this, the next course of action is simple – just write.

With that being said, there will be days, and months, and most likely even years where you will write crap, over and over again. Each piece though is one step closer to becoming the author you wish to be. It takes practice to know where you excel or lack. That knowledge is achieved in writing less than admirable work, and then afterwards, searching for ways to fix it so that the next time you may do better. It is a process, but one that cannot happen if nothing more than brooding or sipping coffee is done.

A myriad of excuses can be tossed out for why one cannot write on any given day. This writer in particular has used a handful of them on multiple occasions. The problem with that is it validates why we are not actively doing what we claim is the very essence of our identity. There are indeed people around the world who can get away with writing only ever so often. What are they called? People with a hobby.

So, if one wishes to avoid becoming little more than a hobbyist, there really is only one thing to do.

Write as if you could not live a day without doing so. Write as if your heart has bled for each word that you are allowed to type or pen on a page. Write as if the world would cease to exist as you know it if you did not. Write like you mean it.

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Becoming Nicole: A Book Review

Becoming Nicole: A Book Review

I’ll admit that I was skeptical about someone other than Nicole Maines writing about her experiences, as well as her family’s, and then publishing it into a book. However, after completing the novel Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family this January, those fears have since been allayed.

Within the confines of the pages of the aforementioned novel, there is much to process. We learn not only about Nicole and her family, but also the science behind certain socially taboo topics; namely being transgender and what that can mean. There are facts and statistics, but also heart within each page. Also, in accompaniment to Nutt’s words, are some of Nicole’s and Jonas’ as well, which were taken from snippets of past diaries, art, and social media posts, as well as photos of the family over the course of the time that was spoken of in the book. Other than the family themselves, of course, I feel that there may not have been another person better than Amy Ellis Nutt to have written this narrative.

The book itself encompasses a time frame that began before the birth of the twins up until just after Nicole underwent sexual reassignment surgery. Despite the span of over two decades being written about, the book did not lag. Each part of it seems to have been carefully chosen to illustrate the narrative of a family in emotional distress, transforming into one that would become unified around Nicole, as well as important in the LGBT+ community for activism. Through the narration of identity struggles, bullying, and court cases, this biography showcases what it can mean to be not only LGBT+ or an ally, but also, a family.

Despite my disappointment that it hadn’t been written by Nicole herself, throughout the book it became apparent that the author had worked hard to accurately portray not only Nicole’s struggles, but also those of her mother, father, and brother, Jonas. This story is theirs, and that leaps off of the page right from the get go. That in and of itself is a gift all of its own.

Overall, I am grateful that this book exists. As a biography, it read as a story of triumph, despite struggle. In the face of adversity, and the increasingly dangerous political climate of casting off those as what some deem to be as “other”, this also felt like a love letter to those who have been forced to endure varying degrees of scrutiny and hate for simply attempting to live as who they are. Moving forward, I think it is an important one for not only making transgender and LGBT+ issues visible, but also, because it is just another resource for those of us who might be searching for answers, questioning, or just need a reminder that we matter too.

On Goodreads, I rated this book a 5/5 stars.

Just a disclaimer: I receive no benefits, monetary or otherwise, from this review, or the link that I have included to the book above. These opinions are all my own.

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

I have raged against proper outlines from the moment I learned of them. I have never been a fan. In the past, I have info dumped, and then continued from there. At least, until now.

Be it the fact that I binge watch certain author YouTubers, such as Jenna Moreci or Alexa Donne, I felt compelled to work harder at my craft. At one point last year, I had almost given up entirely. Their channels, as well as others, kept me from throwing away a life long dream. But as with all dreams, there comes a point where you either have to settle for it as a mere fantasy, or bust your ass to make it a reality. I have chosen the latter.

Yesterday I outlined the first four chapters of a fantasy novel that I have been working on for a while now. By working on, I mean writing chapters or snippets, rather than outlining, when that’s what I should have been doing all along. Sure, I can get by without an outline, but that doesn’t mean I should.

Everyone works differently, of course. However, the more I prepare to write, or continue writing the books I have plans to one day query for publishing, the more I’ve realized my disorganization has affected my output and my motivation for the projects in general. That’s why this year I am sticking to firm goals and/or deadlines. It’s the only way to prepare for what I hope is a life long career of writing.

My goal for this month is to finish that outline. In February, my plan is to be tweaking said outline. Then March the real fun begins with a pre-NaNo writing month that I hope will yield a majority of my first draft. In April, I hope to finish up my first draft during Camp NaNo. When May arrives, I will be taking a breather, for various real life reasons. Once June 1st begins, so will revisions. It is my hope that by July I will be able to write a second draft. Should I do that, August will be a break month. Then comes September and October, or in other words, the months leading up to the main event – National Novel Writing Month. It is here I hope to write my final draft, unless that has already happened in September or October. In which case, I hope that during that month I will be doing last minute checks on the last draft. At some point before January of 2020, I hope to be querying, and so on.

I feel like, given the year I know I have ahead, this is an ambitious schedule. However, it is not impossible.

With that being said, every other post here at least, will pertain to some aspect of the writing process, as that is the main theme of this whole blog. I’m not an expert though, just merely chronicling bits of my life as I continue to work towards what I have hoped to achieve from a very young age. Younger me is counting on older me, so I can’t let them down.

Uncovering My Truth

I was 14 when it became quite apparent to myself that I was different. Different, in the sense that I lived in a small town, where heteronormativity was abound, and I knew from an early age that I did not fall into that category. It was social suicide to be seen as “other” though, and when I realized I might have been part of that gray area, it didn’t take long for me to become depressed and suicidal. Still, I suppressed my urges, as if they didn’t matter, because lying to myself was what Jesus wanted, right?

I was 16 when I partially admitted aloud to others that I found people with female reproductive parts attractive. It was a new school, and a safer time for the most part; Obama was in office and I was no longer surrounded by so many small town minds. Still, I was anything but sure footed, and I had only scratched the surface of who I had always been. But, hey, progress is progress, right?

I was 19 when I married my spouse, and subsequently became pregnant. I was scared, and ashamed, but for reasons that my brain still refused to consider. It was yet again a time of depression and denial.

I was 21 when I miscarried what would have been my second child. Although a majority of my time after was fraught with depression, I also felt guilt. There was guilt, because what I secretly experienced in the initial aftermath was relief.

I was 23 when I admitted to myself, and then later a few close people, that my gender identity does not match what my genitals have supposedly relayed to society that I am. The dysphoria I felt had reached an all time high, and I could no longer pretend that I am not who I have always been. It took over a year of research and education after this initial admission to become aware that I am non-binary.

I was 24 when I publicly came out to everyone I knew. Well, almost everyone. But, that’s another discussion, for another time. The point is that 99.9% of people I interact with now know that I am gender fluid.

I bet you’re reading this, and wondering why on earth is this important. Who cares? Well, even though you in particular may not, there might be others who will. Mainly those who are looking for themselves in the writings of others like them, because representation matters, and when someone is still searching and speculating, it can be helpful to know that they are not alone.

Now, more than ever, when bigots are determined to squelch our channels of exposure, pretending as if we do not exist, the importance of visibility has mounted even higher. To be able to post this blog and write a glossed over version of the years of struggle that I went through is monumental. I can only hope that for those questioning, and wondering if they’re normal, that it might help one person. Every beacon of light, in the murky storm that is uncertainty, helps. This much, I know from experience. So if I can shed some light for another, then I will gladly take up that torch.

With that being said, going forward, I will be writing not only about writing and the craft itself, but about LGBT+ issues as well. It is something close to my heart, and as previously stated, now more than ever, it is important that #OwnVoices authors have a voice. We must speak up, when we are able. Now, that I am in a place to do so, I shall.

The Road Ahead

The new year has dawned, and now a day later, the fanfare has disappeared. Gone are the festive streamers, and out come the stark truths that we might not have been able to face until the afterglow of festivities had vanished. Whether it be that calories actually do count every day of the year, or that money really doesn’t grow on trees, we all have our own demons and detriments to face now. As for me, mine is that I need to take my own advice; consistency really is key.

With that being said, I’ve thought about this blog often, and whether or not I should chuck it. It was a serious consideration I had for a while. At least, until I thought on the idea some more.

The title of this blog is not “writerisperfect”, it’s “writermeetslife”. I named it that way nearly 4 years ago because I wanted this blog to be an accurate depiction of my trials and triumphs on the way to becoming a published author. If I were to omit my years of struggle with consistency, then it wouldn’t honestly reflect my life leading up to the moment I have dedicated my creativity to for over eleven years now. I would be nothing more than a glossed over version of myself on social media, which is not how I want to be.

So, in conclusion: this blog is staying. I will post about twice a month, at the bare minimum. Depending on where I am in my novel, and life, it may be more. Who knows? I sure don’t. Regardless, the point is that in 2019, I will continue to move forward towards my goals, because time waits for no one.