Reflection On Transformation: A Poem

I shed much hair,

With zealous flair;

I binned dresses,

With those tresses;

Then changed my name,

So that my life would never be the same;

Now, I am finally free,

In a life that better represents me.

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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.

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.

May The Words Be With You…

It’s no coincidence that I’m making this post today, as it is after all May 4th, better known as Star Wars Day to some, or if you’re misinformed about one particular culture, the day before Cinco De Mayo, to others. As I am not the latter, I choose to identify with the former, and celebrate my spouse’s favorite fandom instead.

So, yesterday I talked about consistency, and making an effort to include writing into our everyday lives. Sometimes that can be hard to do, depending on what’s going on in your day to day activities. Still, to reach your goals, it is a must. Even if it’s only a meager couple hundred, as I’ve heard before, writing begets writing.

It’s as if the act of placing one word after the other and creating something tangible for others to see, becomes like oxygen to a flame. It breathes new life into a person’s mind, and inspires more to develop than before, when thoughts were allowed to remain more stagnant than not. I’ve noticed this in my own life, as well as others. If you’re having trouble scrounging up the barest of word counts, then here are some tips that may help igniting the catalyst of your own  imagination:

1. Keep a journal.

Everyone needs a place to spill their thoughts. While some prefer divulging their most intimate secrets onto social media, I prefer to have a place that I can explore the inner workings of my mind, without everyone and their canary chiming in. Like with Facebook, I can go look back at what I’ve written. Unlike Facebook, I don’t need to worry about my next employer or a hacker getting a hold of my private convictions.

2. Consider different points of view.

Personally, I can’t stand reading or writing in first person. It feels so constraining to me, and does not allow the reader an accurate scope of the whole story. There are a few books I have read that are exceptions, but they are rare. Most of the time, the novel merely ends up being a contrived version of what it could have been, had another point of view been utilized. This brings me to my next point.

If you’re stuck at a certain spot in your project, attempt to write from a point of view.  Even if you never include this bit into the actual completed work, at least allow yourself to see from a different perspective. Maybe, this could help you see where the plot needs to go next, or perhaps, it will help illuminate where a character needs more development. Either way, sometimes, all a person needs to move forward is a new vantage point.

3. Think of your characters as real people, rather than merely vehicles for their actions.

One thing that bothers me infinitely about certain books, is that the characters feel so contrived. Reading them is never any fun, because it seems as if their sole purpose is to keep the narrative moving. This, of course, should not be the case.

Real human beings have thoughts, ideas, fears, passions, and the list goes on. So too then, should the characters. Even though characters are not in fact real, they are meant to mimic those that are. Meaning, a writer needs to be aware of all of the qualities that their character possesses, even if one is rarely mentioned, these attributes will affect their actions at some point, in some way.

Therefore, when I’m going through my usual routines, I think about how my character would react to this or to that. I wonder, would they enjoy doing this, or would it irk them endlessly? These are the types of questions that should be answered while creating a role in a project, because it is vital to understand the character that you are trying to fabricate.

Well, that about wraps it up, for now. I hope at least one of my points will help you at some point down theΒ road.Β Good luck in your writing, today and everyday. May the force be with you.

Consistency Is Key

So it’s been a while. Almost a year, to be exact. It seems that’s been the norm for me, up until now at least. In spite of what I have managed with this blog, I actually have developed consistency in other areas of my life. Namely, with my writing, as of late. Yes, I still do that, even if I’m terrible about the upkeep of this blog.

If I’ve learned anything, especially if I want to continue this venture, it’s that I need to foster a schedule that will allow me to incorporate it into the rest of my life. Therefore, I am going to attempt a post once a week. *gasp* I can hear naysayers already, my inner conscience being one of them. Hah. Well, buckle up you negative Nellies, because this is happening.

Now, moving on. The whole point of this blog was to talk and/or vent where applicable about my experiences as a writer. Over the course of the last three years that this blog has been published on the open internet, I’ve done very little writing about writing. Mainly because, I spent a good deal of time procrastinating and/or waiting until the Muse decided they were ready to make an appearance in my daily routine. Well you see, as much as I am terrible about consistency, my Muse is even more so. Which brings me to my next point.

As a writer, or artist of any kind really, you CANNOT wait until inspiration strikes. If you mean to make it a career, it means working on your latest project (s) with the same intensity daily, regardless if it strikes your fancy or not. Because writing or any other form of art is work, no matter what anyone else tells you. It is not easy, and if you got into it because that’s what you wanted, then you may as well tuck tail and run, because this is not the career for you.

In regards to my own writing, I’m still working on the novel I started now eleven summers ago. It has gone through so many different outlines and drafts, that I have lost count at this point. There’s no telling how many versions I’ve made, because as the years have gone on the story has evolved to the point where I changed my main characters entirely, different characters have been scrapped and/or added, the point of view has been swapped from first to a version of third person, and the main overall plot has been changed. If I were to see the very first version of this draft, I might weep out of sheer embarrassment. Yes, it was really that bad, if memory serves me correctly. Which, knowing who I was at roughly 13 years old, I’m sure it does.

My goal for this year is to finish the first and second drafts of the novel, depending on how well I keep to the schedule I’ve set for myself. Where I’m at in life now affords me more time to work on it, if I manage my time wisely. I no longer have a newborn who needs every ounce of my attention, so that does wonders for productivity. So, I should *fingers crossed*, be able to do this.

As I write, I will update this blog on my progress. It keeps me accountable, and talking about it bolsters my excitement to continue. So, that will be the bulk of my posting as I start getting back into it the swing of things. However, there may be some posts here and there, discussing the process of writing, publishing, etc., depending where I’m at with it all. Overall though, I’m glad to be back, and I look forward to producing more blog posts, filled with writerly content for all of those searching just for that.

Until next time,

T.J.