I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

September 29, 2019

Happy Sunday!

Originally, I was planning on finishing the theme of TV shows with a post on My Hero Academia, my current watch and obsession. (If there are any fans among us, tell me in the comments so we can fangirl together. XD)

However, although I talk about writing on a general basis a lot on this blog, I don’t really talk about MY writing except in monthly wrap-ups. I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings lately about my stories, so I just wanted to talk about it.

So, welcome to another Brain Dump with Nicole. There will most likely be no direction to this at all. You’re welcome.

Something I’ve been learning is that no amount of how-to books and videos you read and watch can prepare you for actually writing a story. The saying goes that practice makes perfect, and that’s definitely true in the case of novel-writing. The more you write, the more you get better.

It sounds logical, doesn’t it?

Apparently, it isn’t logical for me at allllll. Yay.

I . . . haven't been writing a lot. I'm not one of those people who just casually finish 100k stories in four weeks.

But I also just . . . don't write much in general. Part of that is because of my busy schedule, and part of it is because of procrastination, and part of it is because, well, I just don’t feel like it.

For the past six months, I’ve been trudging through second-drafting the first book in the Inhumans trilogy. The reason it’s been taking so long is because everything feels off about it. And I can’t quite figure out what it is. I’ve gone through many, many ideas. For instance:

- I have a bad habit of not world-building unless absolutely necessary, so a lot of details in The Inhumans are . . . messy.

- I also have a lot of insecurities about my writing style. To me, novels have a certain writing style to them. And whenever I read through my writing . . . it doesn’t feel professional or logical or coherent at all.

- This is a small fact, but my “elevator pitch” is super long and I can’t figure out how to shorten it. And I also still can’t figure out a name for the book. Whoops.

A week or so ago, I sent what I have of my second draft to my first ever alpha reader (!!!). It’s both exciting and terrifying, to say the least. A few days ago, she got back to me with initial critiques, which were SO helpful. (Alpha reader - you’re awesome. <3)

The thing about having other people read your story, though, is that you realize JUST how big of a mess your draft is. XD

So back to the title of this post. I have no idea what the heck I’m doing - with my prose, with stories, with everything. It’s like my mind forgets all creativity whenever I pull up that second-draft document. And the revisions of The Inhumans #1 - both what my alpha pointed out and what I know I need to fix - is very daunting.

It’s not writer’s block. I’ve still been writing. But it’s like that spark is gone, and for the time being, I have no clue how to get it back.

You know, it might have helped me to start writing the story when I was inspired to do it, instead of waiting, you know, EIGHT MONTHS to begin the first draft. :D That’s just me being cynical, though.

I think I’m at some sort of transition period with my writing, when I have the knowledge I need to write a book - I just . . . have no idea how to write a book. If that makes any sense. And I'm just in a constant cycle of

writing --> rereading --> finding issues --> stress --> break

I’ve got a month until NaNo begins (and yes, I am doing it - for those of you interested, my NaNo username is nicoledustwriter). I know what story I want to write - and it’s a completely new one that I’ve barely even begun plotting, and I’m SO EXCITED.

But I’m thinking I might have to take an Inhumans break soon and reevaluate the literal entire story. So that’ll be fun.

Lessons learned?

Don’t be lazy. Seriously, Your hard work WILL pay off. Probably. World-building is not as scary as it sounds. For the most part.

Writing is hecking DIFFICULT. You’re not alone in figuring this stuff out.

Experience is the best teacher when it comes to writing - not any how-to materials.

Um . . .

I can’t really think of any other lessons, other than this was truly a ramble and I don’t know what the point was, except to yell at myself for not world-building and for being lazy. XD

Anyways, see you in October! (AKA Preptober! AKA the month when we begin to truly lose all our sanity!)

-Nicole <3

Do you guys go through transitional periods? Who here has seen My Hero Academia? Does ANYONE know what they’re doing in terms of writing? Let’s talk!

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  1. I've been doing close to no writing, too. And it's a lot of what you said; lack of motivation, procrastination, busyness. (For heaven's sakes, why can't we just have the time to sit at home and read and write all day? Sure would make this easier.)

    But we got this! Maybe. xD *goes to add you on NaNoWriMo* *sees the new website for the first time and hyperventilates*


    1. Aw, sorry to hear that! (Haha, that would be GREAT. Why can’t life just cooperate for once?)

      We can do this! *pumps fist* *wait NaNo has a new website* *I didn’t realize it was new*

  2. Dude, I literally have the same problem. ‘Tis sad. X’D I also have come to realize that I can’t begin writing a story until I know the opening scene. So i have a pile-up of ideas in my head that have yet to be written. I’m hoping they just spill onto paper when I start NaNo. But that first scene...

    1. *nods* The struggle is real.
      Ooo, interesting! I feel your pain on the many ideas - the plot bunnies just never stop coming. Good luck with those first scenes - and with NaNo! You got this! <3

  3. Awwww, Nicole! I am so sorry you're having mixed emotions right now with writing. I hate when that happens. But, from my experience, it DOES fade eventually. Writing is such an emotional roller coaster of a ride. Sooo many ups and downs. Ugh. It makes me tired. BUT. If we have that passion for storytelling inside us, it is always, ALWAYS worth it to keep pursuing our dreams, no matter how many plunging downward rides we must face.

    And truthfully? I don't think a single writer knows what they're doing. XDD Fake it 'til ya make it, amiright? But seriously, there is no One Perfect Way to write a book. It's different for all of us. Sometimes it's different for every book we write! And that's okay. As long as we're getting words on the page, that's what counts.

    With that said! I'm discovering lately that writing flash fiction or short stories has really helped me stay in the creative mode when I need a break from my enormous, overwhelming novels. Having something short to write, with no pressure attached, it's such a freeing feeling and reminds me WHY I write: because I love it. It really loosens those creative muscles. And taking breaks is FANTASTIC too, yes! I think taking a break and writing something new for NaNo is a fabulous idea. Breaks and shifting gears to a new project for a while can do wonders.

    You've got this, Nicole! Do give yourself grace and know you are NOT alone. Writing is HARD, and emotional, and I seriously don't think any of us knows what on this earth we're doing. But at least we're all being confused together. And that's what makes it fun! ;D

    1. Aw, thanks! <3 Such a powerful statement - I’m hoping that drive keeps pushing me on!

      Haha, okay, yeah, that’s true. That’s definitely something I struggled with a lot at first. I like having The Perfect Way. XD Oh well.

      Ooo, yes, flash fiction is awesome! The freedom, the limited length . . . <3 But BREAKS!! I know if I didn’t take them, my mind would probably die.

      Thank you, Christine, and you got this too! :D Being confused together is honestly the best part of anything - because then anything is possible! (did that make sense? no. but I’m leaving it in anyways. XD)

  4. Writing IS hecking difficult. And I also have no idea what I am doing!
    AND YAY FOR ALPHA READERS! Its always amazing to get feedback but then you also realize just how much work your book still needs and aaaaaah

    1. Ugh, YES, it is! Woo-hoo, join the club! XD ALPHA READERS ARE BLESSINGS!!! Haha, true, it’s very much a mixed reaction and includes lots of screaming but oh well.

  5. WRITING IS SO HARD. *cries* I haven't worked on my WIP at alll for almost a month; every time I open the doc I just get so overwhelmed and start stressing out about how it's "not good."

    But although writing can be difficult at times, I feel like it gets much better when inspiration strikes. Maybe this is just a transitional period. Hopefully it will get better for us soon! We've got this. *fist bump* <3 <3

    1. IT REALLY IS. *hugs* I totally get it - that was my experience for a time this year. Don’t worry - no book is perfect. And your writing is SO GOOD, so don’t stress out! <3

      Haha, true, we can struggle through this time together! :D *fist bumps back*

  6. This month I have been having that problem too. My story isn't feeling that spark.
    Oh yeah, writing articles only go so far, you got to get your hands dirty to learn anything. ;)


    1. Aw, I feel you! Hopefully you can find that spark again and keep plowing through. You got this! <3
      Haha, yeah . . . whoops. ;)

  7. LOVING these brain-dump posts. Literally. xD

  8. Elevator pitches are sooooo hard!! And I too cannot name a book to save my life. Send help. I liked the post!

    1. So trueeeeeeee. (I would send help, but I don’t think I’m a good person to turn to for naming advice. XD) Thanks, Bethany! <3

  9. ACKK me neither girl ur not alone
    I have brilliant ideas but no writing capability -___- help me
    good luck with nanooo I am so pumped to sit on the sidelines and watch you all die slowly :)))))) <3

    1. Aw thanks, Isabel - hopefully we can get through this together <3
      YOU CAN DO THIS. (I’m learning that the only way to get better at writing is to write, so . . . yay?) I believe in you!
      . . . thanks? XD I mean, watching us descend into madness should at least be interesting. ;)

  10. I'm in a bit (okay, a lot) of a writing rut right now too! Mostly because I'm just really busy in general but also because of insecurity regarding my writing abilities. It's even starting to impede my confidence when it comes to blogging (ughhh). It's comforting to know I'm not the only one feeling a little frustrated! :)

    Don't be too hard on yourself, Nicole! When the time is right, the words will come--you just need to trust yourself! I know that it's certainly not as easy as it sounds (believe me, I know), but we all have stories to tell and when the time is right, the words will come. And when they do, it's the best feeling ever.

    That's so so exciting that you're starting a new story for NaNo! It's always fun to start on a fresh project. :D You've got this!!

    1. Aw, I'm sorry to hear you've been going through something similar! (Hey, you've got this blogging thing - your posts are always so good, no matter what they are. :) ) I definitely feel you on the insecurity part, though - but we can both get through this! <3

      Thank you! <3 That's super encouraging to hear right now - beautiful words!

      Haha, I'm hoping all goes well with it! Thanks! (Are you doing NaNo this year? If so, GOOD LUCK!!!)

  11. <3 YOU CAN DO IT.

    Writing is HARD, no doubt about that-- I have had so many periods of time when I scrap a draft and start over. #Andromeda BUT I KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO IT.

    Also... did someone mention something about worldbuilding? *hums and looks at sky*

    Also I'm curious since I know... nothing about your WIP. And also I know nothing about your NaNo WIP either. :)

    Anyway, Nicole... I have full trust that you WILL, eventually, no matter how eventually, carve out a great novel and be proud of it and make us proud of you. :)

    1. <3 THANK YOU MERIE.

      Haha, SO TRUE. (and I don't recall hearing much about Andromeda, but oof, I feel your pain.) THANK YOU - AND SO CAN YOU.

      Hehe . . . *cough* um, so mayyyyybe . . . *okay but you're one of the people who give me a desire to worldbuild*

      XD I mean, I barely know anything about your WIPs either. I suppose you'll just have to wait until after November to hear about my NaNo WIP. (I think I did a post about The Inhumans last August???)

      Aw, thank you. Those words mean so much to me. <3 And I will say the same to you. :)

  12. Because I'm in Germany and trying to prepare my last two novels for publication and learning German, my writing is in a weird transition right now, as is my life. Like I basically have six months of my life in which I can do a lot but I'm still figuring it all out and it's scary and weird. So yes, I relate to a lot of the randomness in this post ;p

    Good luck to holding onto your sanity!

    MB: keturahskorner.blogspot.com
    PB: thegirlwhodoesntexist.com

    1. Oh, wow, that's crazy! I wish you the best of luck juggling all of that - but you totally got this! :)

      Thank you - and you too!

  13. Hey, Nicole! GOSH it's been a while since I've commented, and I'm so sorry!! But can I just say that even your rambly posts are just so relatable and fun and... Nicole XD AND NO YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY THAT YOU DON'T WRITE MUCH *ahem* this is the girl who hasn't touched her novel in MONTHS yet claims to be a writer... *sigh*
    Jokes aside, I haven't had any inspiration to write, but I really want to do NaNo this year!! I haven't done it in two years and I definitely miss it! Haha I love books with world building... but I'm absolute trash at writing it XD And hey, lemme know if you ever want someone to look over your story! I'd love to help out a friend :D

  14. I've been feeling the exact same way about my writing! You're right, it's super hard! You can do it!!!


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