Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Four-Part Writing Special // Part Four: Writing

Today, we have our last part of the 4-Part Writing Special: Writing! With no introduction because intros are hard and I've already done three in the last three Writing Special posts!

1. What do you do to get yourself in the story?

I simply write myself in.

'Jemma' is not completely me, but she's close enough that I didn't have to think up another name. Or personality traits. And I think that counts as me being in the story.

...hang on. *rereads question*

Ohhh sorry guys.

I sit down at my laptop. Stare at the wall. Read the last thousand words (or so) that I wrote. Stare at the wall. Check my private story + aesthetic boards on Pinterest. Stare at the wall. Type twenty words and backspace them. Stare at the wall. Give up. Go onto MyWriteClub and try to blast out some writing, flicking over to my story's Pinterest boards when necessary. Stare at the wall.

2. Do you do anything extra - art, covers, character journals, glossaries, playlists, etc. to help you with your story?

I did develop a bit of a playlist to get me through a difficult spot (it was supposed to be super-emotional...), but overall I don't really have playlists. Neither do I have covers or self-made art. I have done character journaling in the past, but not as much for this story.

Basically... no? (I am a very boring writer.)

3. What is your writing process?

See answer to #1.

It involves a lot of staring at the wall.

Occasionally with a face like this.

4. Anything you learned about yourself or your writing that you would like to share?

Staring at the wall is not very productive.

Also, I can only write any significant amount if it's Camp NaNo. And then it usually means a lot of late nights because I don't seem to be able to write in the morning. Which leaves me here:

5. What keeps you going when you start to worry you’ll never finish?

The knowledge that I have to finish a first draft someday, and I want it to be Three Sisters. Because I want to READ Three Sisters.

6. What inspired you to start writing, and how long have you been at it?

I have no idea what inspired me to start writing. I've always loved reading, from super young, but I hated writing in primary school. So it's kind of bizarre that I now write. (Especially considering that I recall howling at my mother "WELL I'M NEVER GOING TO BE A WRITER SO I DON'T NEED TO DO THIS.") (Top tip from my school experience: be careful what you say and keep your options open. You never know when you might be required to eat your words.) 
I've been writing "novels" (all unfinished) since I was twelve or thirteen, I think? And I choose to continue because I want to read the stories.

7. What author is your writing style similar to?

I haven't actually written enough to develop a distinct style yet.

(My current style can tend to be similar to whoever I've been reading recently. e.g. Grade 12 English gave me a bit of an Austen flavour. Which I think has worn off now, though.)

8. What writing goals do you set, and how do you reward yourself for meeting them?

I set myself Camp NaNo goals - 10k, usually, and 20k is my max so far.

And I reward myself for meeting them by stopping. Which is totally a good habit.

Actual footage of me not writing. 
what are you talking about of course I'm actually a middle-aged man.
everyone on the internet is actually a middle-aged man
didn't your mother teach you that 

[I am not actually a middle-aged man. ]

9. What does a regular writing day look like for you?

A... regular day. Because writing is currently a hobby, not a career. I do need to treat it more seriously... hopefully once I'm finished studying I can focus more on writing.

10. How many ideas do you currently have saved on your computer/flash drive? 


I've never completed a first draft. However, I have started MULTIPLE stories. There is  one only logical conclusion, Watson; there are multiple stories abandoned in favour of more glittering ideas, hovering around me like vengeful spirits. Or... y'know... lurking in the stacks of paper hunched all over my desk. Oh yes. There are many, many stories waiting for their time. Their time for revenge. Their time to-


(Possibly a good idea, Gollum.)


That's the LAST PART of the Four-Part Writing Special. Enormous thanks go to Julian for the idea, and to her and everyone else who developed it. If you kinda wished you could join in too (I know... I make things look like such fun...) you'll be pleased to hear that Julian is currently thinking of doing ANOTHER Writing Special Not-Tag-Thing (with different questions, I assume?) in February. So look out for that! 

And in the meantime, go read the other participating bloggers' posts.

Julian || Sarah || Ivie || Lisa || Carol || Faith || Lila || Evangeline

Is there anyone who hasn't finished any serious first drafts yet? (I can't be the only one, right?) What's your writing process? What extra things - playlists, mock covers, etc - do you use to excite yourself? How do you "get into" your story? Are you a NaNo fan - or are you not? (which is also fine. it isn't how everyone works.) Do your abandoned drafts hover threateningly? (no? oh... hahaha... just me then.)


  1. "Everyone on the internet is a middle aged man." Haha, you found me out??
    Just kidding. I promise I am who I say I am. Besides the pen name, of course. BUT that technically is part of me. And I'm going off on some weird tangent, not making sense to anyone who reads this comment. (This is normal for me to do.)

    This is awesome. I love your post. I can't believe its the last one already! Great job!


    1. Same! I'm still me, just using my writing name. (Although I do behave differently online... I'm way more likely to start a conversation and/or talk to "strangers", for example??)

      Thanks, Ivie! :D

  2. Why am I suddenly relating to Gollum THIS CAN'T BE A GOOD THING.

    But seriously, I just want to read my own stories. Why can't they write themselves so I can start reading them????

    Trust me. I have a number of drafts hanging over me, all demanding that I write them. Some are more nice about it, but others...*thunder crackles in the distance*

    1. We are all Gollum, deep inside...

      I KNOW it's horribly cruel of my stories. To demand my LIFE before I can read them! Why can't they write themselves!

      I'm glad I'm not the only one, Julian!

  3. May I call you the gif queen? Seriously, those gifs are brilliant. XD

    I'm really bad at finishing first drafts too. :)

    1. yES I am now only responding to 'the gif queen' xD Thanks, Gray!

      We can do it! *highfive*

  4. Great post, Jem!

    I tend to find staring outside tends to be more productive than staring at a wall. Walls are blank, and staring at them only increases the blankness of the mind, I find. Music tends to be my ticket of inspiration, so looking at Pinterest while listening to music tends to get the flow started.


    1. Staring at nature would probably be much better for the mind/eyes, but my desk faces a wall, so... *shrugs* Pinterest is definitely a popular tool among writers! What kind of music do you use when writing, Catherine?

  5. Another awesome post, Jem! I love reading your answers, especially the part about rewarding yourself. I do the same, which is probably not the greatest thing for me to do.

    1. We need to reward ourselves for achieving writing goals, right, Sarah? but I need to make sure my rewards are not distracting rewards. Like Pinterest. Especially during NaNo.

  6. Your posts are always the most amusing Jem. I love them. xD I'm sad to see the last of this series (for now), but can't wait to hear more about your story. Best of luck writing it!

  7. Seriously, where are you FINDING all these cool GIFs (not just for this post, but for all the others too)? Your answer for number 8 was hilarious! #cantotallyrelate

    1. *whispers* Just call me the gif queen... ;P

      I come to a spot in my draft post and think "That would be a good spot for a witty/etc response! WHICH OF MY FANDOMS HAS A LINE THAT WOULD FIT HERE". And Google (e.g.) "gollum gif". When you go to 'images', they'll all be gifs. :)

      ...basically, blame the fandoms?

  8. The Gollum gifs are the best! I love to go for a walk when I'm having trouble with inspiration because then I talk to myself as my characters. It's a problem. My neighbors probably think I'm stark raving mad. I started screaming at one of my characters once, utterly inadvertently. Thank goodness no one saw that...I would probably have gotten sent to the mental institute...

    1. BAHAHA The problems of a writer's life!! Thank you for confiding that in us, Faith! (we won't send you to a mental institute ;P)

  9. I loved what you said about staring at a wall...but actually, what you're doing then (and yes, you may quote me on this) you are actually writing because you are THINKING. And who can write without thinking? I stare out the window at my lawn, the house going up behind us, the weeds, you know...it's better than a blank wall! And it counts. :)

    1. Thanks, Mrs Baldwin! I'll definitely use your advice as permission to stare blankly into the distance instead of typing ;)

  10. My mental illness inspires me and helps me with my writing very much......

    1. Taking troubles and turning them into something beautiful is an amazing thing to do, Evan!

  11. Jemmmmmmmm!!!! Your posts NEVER FAIL to make me laugh. You are just lovely, friend. And so relatable!!! Like staring walls and being Gollum and Lestrade (Greeeeeggggggg!!!!) and writing since you were little and never really finishing anything... *distant sobbing* THAT IS ME. Also... I don't like playlists for some reason, either. They don't help. *siiiigh*

    1. Kaaaate!! Thank you, friend! <3

      Greg?? do you mean... Gavin?? (And as for Gollum... we are all Gollum. :P)

      I know! I WANT to listen to music while I write (so I can spend more time listening to music, if for no other reason), but I'm more productive if I don't. And then all the other young writers are like "hERE'S MY 57-SONG PLAYLIST AND THE 150K BOOK IT HELPED ME WRITE" and I start wondering if I am, in fact, just a fake writer?? because apparently music should make me a super-writer, but it doesn't? *sighs with you*

    2. Poor Greg. ;))

      EVERYTHING YOU SAID. Especially the part about just doing it so that you multitask and listen to more music because apparently everyone manages to listen to like 70 HOURS of music each year and I listen to only 2 (Spotify told me that, to my shame)???? But if I listen to music I end up singing/lip-syncing the lyrics, dancing in my seat or just sitting there in a trance of "preeeetty muuuuusic" and don't get anything done. (On the flip side, I get REALLY intently into writing and then I don't REMEMBER any of the music that I heard SO WHAT'S THE POINT??? It's not like the music actually penetrated my brain -- I'm just going to have to re-listen to it again later to see what it actually sounded like!!!) I DEFINITELY WONDER IF I'M A "FAKE WRITER" TOO... ALL THE TIME. Why do people actually believe me when I tell them I'm a writer. Ha. Lies.

    3. Geoff, you mean??

      (my sister's reading over my shoulder and she's so confused. "Why Geoff?? why Greg?? who is this?? what's going on??" xD I told her it's an internet thing.)

      YESSS. I've actually just got Spotify (find me!), but I don't listen as much as I'd like because I'm actually trying to do stuff? and I can't while I'm listening? Although I can use sad music to get me in the mood my scene requires. But it's still not my most efficient, unless I'm in that strange state where I actually manage [half hour] word sprints.

      Maybe we all wonder if we're "fake writers"? But you just had a book beta-read! You're definitely a real writer, Kate. ;D


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