Looking Back On 2017
I’m a very private person, the exact opposite of sentimental, so it should come as no surprise if you have no idea what I was actually doing with my time. 2017 was not a difficult year, but neither was it easy–a sentiment which I know many of you share.
Too many stupid things happened, and we learned once again why aliens will never invite us to join their galactic senate.
2017 was a good learning year, however.
For me at least. Like, I re-taught myself how to make gifs, and I found out that you can actually animate things in Photoshop! With that realization I was brought so much closer to an old childhood desire: to create my own Pokemon movie. I just wanted to create something so bad when I was a kid. It physically hurt knowing that I couldn’t. Though the desire to create a Pokemon movie has long since passed now, the desire to animate something has not.
If you really think about it, animating a short will be the closest thing to real necromancy that I will ever come … If, through sheer coincidence you happen to be a bonafide lich, please contact me ASAP.
The Three Things I Learned
1.) Always write an outline.
I accomplished something monumental for myself this year: I finished my very first rough draft. Everyone has their own writing process, but the one that I’ve been using for forever, known as pantsing, has never taken me to where I needed to go.
I’m not a pantser. I’m a planner. I spend a good chunk of my time outlining thoughts and ideas, thus it made sense to do the same with my story. The transition was easy for me. Sticking to a writing schedule was another beast. During the the first half of 2017 I would start writing in the morning–following my outline, of course–and I would finish a chapter in the evening; when one chapter was complete I would get a head start on the next and then turn in for the night.
During the summer I ended up focusing on outlining and writing a new story. If I didn’t do that I would have lost my mind. An idea always has to be put to rest on paper, or else it will haunt me until I do (this is and always will be the closest thing to performing a real exorcism I will ever come; if you happen to be a bonafide exorcist CALL ME NOW). That’s how most ideas have been with me: write it down and then I won’t have to constantly think of it. When ideas get too big I simply keep writing. If they give me nightmares, I illustrate those nightmares until they love me.
The summer passed me by with a whimper. Then Fall, my favourite season, rolled in. Closer to the end of October I made the decision to participate in Nanowrimo: it was a good excuse for me to finish my book (not that I needed any). I finished the book half-way through the month and started a new story, writing about another idea I’ve been toying around with for several years. Sadly, November was a stressful and busy month, and I didn’t win that sweet Nano badge.
Whatever. Me and my completed rough draft are going to be best friends. Until I edit it, and it’s a totally new rough draft …
2.) Google Docs is your friend.
I love writing by hand but trust me on this: Google Docs is your friend.
I really wish I had more to say about this, but I don’t; to be able to connect between any of my devices on my free time to continue writing a story (or a blog post) is a luxury, plus there are many features you can take advantage of.
3.) Save the editing for last.
In 2017, while I was writing my then-unfinished novel, I refrained from editing. Rough drafts are not meant to be pretty. Editing comes later, and I will fight you if you whine about this.
No, wait … Rhonda and I will BOTH fight you! We learned this the hard way and we’re going to reiterate this mantra for the rest of our human lives: EDITING ALWAYS HAPPENS LATER! XD
Back in my pantsing days I had the bad habit of–No, screw that–I had the UNHEALTHY habit of stopping after a few chapters and then editing. On the plus side I have become a very good editor (or at least I think I have), but at the time I went virtually nowhere with my writing. It was such a bad habit that I actually believed for a time that I would never finish writing a book.
Well, tough shit to the side of me that’s critical of me overall, you can suck it because you’re wrong!
Sorry for being redundant here, but this is why Google Docs was my friend: if I had a change of thought on something I wrote, I made a comment and then moved forward from there.
These three tips may not work for everyone (except for the tip on editing), but it’s a place to start if you’re not sure what to do. Once I start seriously editing my first book … Well, you can expect an article on that …