500 Words ~ Day 10

Je suis Charlie

photo credit: Mike Licht
via Flickr

Something amazing happened today:

For the first time, I felt like writing could be my calling. It felt like: “Yes, I am a writer!” Not a blogger. Or a poetess. Or a hobby writer but simply a writer. I like that feeling. I also realise that it takes so much pressure of yourself when you realise you write a first draft in the beginning, and you can just let your imagination work its wonders. Nothing to do just let it flow. Maybe my Stream of Consciousness writing with “Lean against … and listen” and Linda’s SoCS has taken away a blockage that has stopped me from bringing all those stories to you that are hiding in my subconsciousness. That would be cool!

As for Zara: 513 words today and it looks like there is a romance in the making. I had not planned that. Of course, there was Ciar who secretly was in love with Zara but that was never going to work out. I knew that much. Two days ago though Flor appeared on the scene a young friend of her father’s who protected her when she woke up from a vision in the River People’s land. And his green eyes had a deep impact on our young girl.

Let’s see where that one leads us….

Where do you come from as a writer?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Have you ever had a look at your own beginning as a writer?

For some strange reason I have been thinking a lot about my identity as a writer lately and I think to answer those questions give you a good idea of what writing really means to you.

So where do I come from as a writer?

Well, if I consider writing as “holding a pen in my hand and write something on a piece of paper” my beginnings would be in journaling. I started school at the age of 7 and by the age of 9 I had my first journal. I did not write daily and I did not write literary worth pieces but it was my start. I jotted down what happened in my life and how I felt.

But I think writing as in story telling has started a lot earlier. There goes the story that we visited family in the East of Germany the then communist GDR and I loved to bring my grandparents, my great-uncle and his wife, their children and my parents together in a play I invented. My great-uncle was called “Arthur the Angel” and everybody was having fun. It is still something everybody talks about even though no one can remember how the story itself went.

I have been told fairy tales, poetry and other children’s stories from an early age on and as soon as I could read I was given books and later on was a regular visitor in the local library. This is where story telling starts I think. All the stories we’ve been told and we read from an early age on give us an idea of how a story works subconsciously.

Writing wise my next step was letter writing. I started with a friend I have met in Switzerland where one of my uncles lived and then went on to a girl in India and Jamaica when I started to learn English. I had many more but those are the ones that stayed in my mind. My parents had a book of poetry of Erich Kaestner the author of “Lisa and Lottie” and I read it at the age of 13 or 14. I have no idea why I did it I just loved it even though I hardly understood any of the topics. There was no adult who asked me to read it. We had a huge bookshelf full of books and I just looked through it and read what I could. Just after that at the age of 16 I wrote my first poem. Again out of nowhere. I have no idea what made me ~ it just felt like I had to do it.

Meanwhile I was reading books to my younger brother and was reading ferociously for myself. I read the Luther version of the bible even though no one asked me to as well as “Das Niebelungenlied” as a whole. We had to read parts of it at school but I wanted to know the whole lot.

I was allowed to go to holiday camps in summer and at the end we usually created a little play where we put in things that had happened in the camp. One I wrote mainly and it was quite successful.

At school we once had to write a description of a landscape and I got the best mark for it. It think that was when I started thinking that maybe writing could be something I could do. But my life was difficult and of course no-one thinks that being an artist or writer could be a “good” profession. So instead of studying German and English which I wanted to do originally I went for social work. Mind you it is not a bad thing for a writer as you learn a lot about psychology, sociology and you meet an awful lot of characters :-).

I did not pull it off though. Yes I have been working as a social worker but not very successful. In my spare time I wrote and wrote and read up on writing and wrote for a union I was member of as well as for a church magazine later on.

And then there was the internet. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. Well, I despised it at first. Really! Can you believe that?

But once I got over that initial block I just loved it. A homepage lead to a blog and then more and more.

I am not quite sure why I started reading or writing. It seems to me more and more that I had to do it. It was what interested me and as my family was so occupied with “adult” issues I was left alone in my search for new reading material as well as in my writing. Well not alone in finding reading material as I was always given loads of books for Christmas, Birthdays ect.  But I did not tell anyone about the writing bit or let anyone read it until I was well in my twenties. But I think this is the best thing one can do:

Just start and do it! Let no one interfere and when you get more interested in learning more than you are ready to show what you have been doing so far and then learn more.

I have never done a formal education in writing. I have paid for some courses but never really finished them. They did not seem to give me what I needed. But I have always searched for books and later on material on the internet that gave me ideas on what to work on. Which would make me an autodidact ~ oh how I love this word :-).

I never realised how much I was writing and reading. The reading bit yes but not the writing bit. The longer I read up on how to become a writer the more it dawns on me that not the “master piece” makes you a writer but the daily exercise of writing ~ be it journaling, letters, poetry ect.

And where do I want to go to? I do not know exactly. I have some projects for this year and then I’ll see where it leads me. That is how my writing life has always been and it was and is a good way of doing it.

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Do writers have a social/philosophical/political responsibility?

Stamp wich represents Sophie Scholl (Personal ...

Stamp wich represents Sophie Scholl (Personal stamp-collection of Gretaz). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been wondering about this question a lot lately.
Can’t remember why it popped up. Probably with reading up on how to be a good writer they sometimes ask the question

Why do you write?

and

Who do you write for?

When I read these questions I remembered when I started writing poetry some 20 years ago that I always wanted to be at least a socially critical writer. I used to be a very religious person but I have never followed any dogma without questioning it. So some of my more religious poems were quite critical. But I suspect as a teenager you are bound to be ;-).

Some of the authors/poets that I like/d were socially and politically critical like Kurt Tucholsky, Erich Fried or Wolfgang Borchert. But looking at them I realise they are all German-speaking/writing. So might that be an especial German/central European thing?

I think I was also influenced by reading the biographies of Sophie Scholl, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Their example inspired me and I think one of my core believes is that you can not stay aside or keep your mouth shut when something unjust happens. I have spoken up now and then not as often as I wanted to and I have always gotten into trouble and hardly ever achieved anything which did not motivate me a lot :-).

But I also realised that I enjoy reading entertaining literature of any sort. There is an awful lot of fantasy and criminal literature that I have read. I would never have thought about writing “just” something entertaining which I now think is quite arrogant :-).

“There is a time for everything” to quote the bible and not the byrds:
Sometimes you just need to shut your overactive mind up and escape somewhere into a lovely story but sometimes it is good to have a close look at the drawbacks of society/politics/philosophy and stand up and say something.

I am not sure if you can have an overall answer to this question as our writing era is so much more individual than it ever has been. I think being a good writer today means being versatile. Not doing only one thing but being able to write about many things and with different goals. But maybe I am wrong about this.

What do you think?

Getting into gear

I am proud to announce I am getting there ;-).

Well at least I have pre-written all my blog posts from Monday onwards as I will be on holiday as well as getting married just the day before NaNoWriMo starts. What a set up :-)!

To be honest I am immensely proud I have managed that. I have set a goal and achieved it.

In the last few days I have not been working at all on the novel. My characters are outlined and I think I have to go into more detail after NaNo. I have started a scene list which hopefully will guide me along but I am not happy with it as it is. Still thinking about the form of the whole thing and probably figuring out the plot. Therefore I will use the last couple of days for working on that list and then I just keep going I guess…. I will also use the time to read some archived pep talks and what ever else I can find about NaNo. Not quite sure yet how the word count thing works. Where do I submit it and how often? Just in the end? Well, I am sure I will find out somehow :-).

Am thinking a lot about the fact that I have so many projects started but never finished. So much creativity wasted and so much energy used on unsatisfying day jobs! Really sad, don’t you think?But I know I am there now: I have started to follow through my goals and I am learning more and more about writing itself.

The most important insight I have gained lately? The first draft can be sh…! You work it over and make it into a jewel like polishing a diamond! That is the hard bit I suppose but I am determined to learn the craft and at last I feel happy :-).

What about you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Is it your first time or are you a veteran already?  Do you have any tips?

I am looking forward to read from you :-)!

Changes

 

Sometimes the strangest changes happen in an instant and this year seems to be a year of changes for myself.

Am thinking a lot about my priorities and where I want to go with my life. Writing definitely must have a space in it but I am not clear yet in what way. Today I had some trouble at work and even though I was thinking about it a long time suddenly it was totally clear to me that I have to leave this job.

Where it will lead me I have no idea. I will not just quit. I am not that courageous yet but maybe I should.

So if there is someone out there who has a writing job for an aspiring writer and blogger: Here I am and I just have to give one weeks notice :-)!

 

Some encouragement

Sometimes little things can motivate you without end.

A co-worker of mine is reading “Morsmart ~ at the end of the Galaxy”  on a regular basis and said to me today: ” You know what? The story you are writing on the net? I am printing it out and make it into a book!”

What else do you need as encouragement to go on writing?

A possibility to publish your short story

I am not sure if I have been writing about Derek Haines’ Blog “The Vandal” before in this blog:

Derek Haines the author of the hilarious “February the Fifth” writes in his blog about writing, grammar, self-publishing and much more. His humorous (and sometimes sarcastic ~ sorry Derek 🙂 ) way of explaining things is enormously entertaining and a blog you should really visit.

He offers the possibility to publish your short story and I have found a few really interesting ones there. If you are interested just have a look at “Derek Haines – The Vandal – Short Story Submissions” to find out the details.

Maybe I should not have started the new blog…

…. about my little sci-fi shopping experience ;-). So excited about it. Did some research about astronomy to get things right. Will line out the supermarket, the main characters and how society has evolved. But that might just as well be writers block as I still am not back with Zara and I miss that. We’ll get there though!

One picture to make you smile and therefore more creative :-)!

I hope I can do better than my first draft….

Oh dear I can see all the wrongs in my writing and it is only the first draft. I guess though that is how it is and the real work starts with working the whole lot over. Am already making notes around the text what I have to work on.

Today, my day off the day job, I had real problems to get going. Was procrastinating with Twitter, Facebook, cup of coffee, cup of tea….. you know the lot. But in the end I got myself around when I asked Stefan Dernbach and Peter Reuter to give me a push (Thanks guys for your support!!!).  Just writing that comment made me work. I inserted the parts I wrote last year April and May in this draft as I think they are still fitting even with my Snowflake approach.

So I am at 13 pages but have no idea how many words I have done so far. I think it might not make a difference as I have to change a lot anyway but I have planned to work out in the next few writing sessions how many words I do in 1 hour to get an idea. I read on Twitter the question if it works better for you to set yourself a word goal or a time goal. For me the time goal definitely works better. I set the timer and then just write. I have also planned to make myself a music list that keeps me writing, songs without words. The one I made yesterday is not good enough. And I also thought about joining a writers group preferably online as off line is difficult with my shifts.

I also realised that I can consider myself a writer already as I practically write every day be it a book review, the story, poems, blogs which ever. I just don’t earn any money with it yet. I like that thought yes I like that thought 🙂