Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Today my Grandma took charge of my two year old, Noah, to let me have the afternoon to write. So I went to Pita's, got a chicken melt and opened up the laptop. About an hour and half later I stopped typing and realized I had just finished my first draft. I had actually written the last chapter during a writing class in my last semester at USF so today, when I finished the *second* to last chapter, it took me a second to realize I had just completed the draft.

I am still a little bit in shock. Excited, but still in shock.

There's a lot of work left to be done. A LOOOOT. However, as this is the very first draft I have ever completed I am still feeling very accomplished at the moment. We'll see how I feel in six months when I'm still wading through cut scenes and sloppy sentences. :)

I posted this on my blog

It's my Top 10 Myspace Bloggers list.

There are a lot of amazing writers on Myspace so I figured I'd let you all know who my ten faves are!

Happy reading!

First time poster, long time member!

I was going to do the survey, but it wouldn't let me copy and paste.

Therefore you get my thoughts off the top of the dome.

I always loved language. When I was little I felt as though the ability to read and write was this big secret that was being kept from me. All I wanted to do was be let in on the secret. I would stare at pages and pretend I could read until I actually could. After I got reading down pat I began to write.

It started off as something I was good at, but it grew into a love. I keep two journals. One is just day-to-day thoughts and emotions and the other one is my spiritual journal. I don't neccessarily have a ritual wiht my writing, but I like to write in mypersonal journal either in my room or at a bookstore. I like being an island in a sea of people. I think that's where I get the best self relflection. As far as my spiritual journal I like to be in my room by myself or at Bible study or church taking notes.

I used to think that my purpose for this gift was to write for Vibe and live in the City in a Brownstone and lead this somewhat superficial existence. As I mature and grow I feel like I'm supposed to be doing something else with this gift. I just don't know what.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's a great feeling.

Back in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo, a one month long writing challenge in which we were all trying to write 50,000 words. Besides reaching that goal, and having 50,000 more words towards my novel, I came away with something that has changed my writing: Discipline.

I'm not talking about discipline in the sense of forcing myself to sit down and write each day. I'm talking about having the discipline to push forward--to keep writing--and to leave what I've already written alone. My biggest problem before the contest was that i kept going back to what I had already written, deciding it was crap and starting over. I've been writing the same book for about two years now and have started over four times.

Now, its a different story. I'm approaching the end of my first draft, which amazes me. I have maybe six more chapters or so to write. Granted, the draft is a terrible mess. I have a point of view change about a third of the way into the story, I have characters who change personalities half way through, sub-plots that were either suddenly abandoned or started without set up. And of course there is the overal suckiness of my descriptions and sentences. But all of that is stuff I can fix and polish. I'm one of those freaks who actually enjoys the revision process (which is probably why I kept getting into trouble before) so I am really looking forward to finishing this draft. I've been averaging a chapter every couple of days so I'm hoping to have my first draft done before summer.

I know this is basic to a lot of you guys, but to me it has been a break through!

I'm also learning to let go of my rigid outline form of writing. I used to write out every scene--who would be there, what would happen, what I wanted to accomplish--before I even started going into the scene. Now I am just sitting down at the computer and going forward with the characters, thinking: how would they react to what just happened? And when they intereact with other characters, I try to imagine on the spot what would happen from both sides of the characters. Its really given me a new source of freedom and inspiration.

So that is what I ahve to report lately. Hope you guys are doing great!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I have yet to do the writers survey because I am a lazy piece of crap

Lol...just kidding.

But I have neglected it...

So...without further ado:

1.Why do you write? Gah! That's a tough one! No wonder I've neglected this for so long! Basically, what do I not write? Seriously. My writing's funny in a sense that I don't always necessarily write about things that I know. Sometimes I write something about something I've never experienced before. And for some reason, people tend to compliment those pieces a lot. I remember my first published short story, "A Bad Trip." It's essentially about a bad acid trip (with underlying main character development lessons of course) and I've never done acid in my life. Nor have I ever witnessed a bad acid trip. I've known people who've had them but they've never really talked to me about them. I don't know. I tend to just get a line or two of dialogue that just jumps into my head and then the next thing you know there's a story.

My poems? Those are about 85% based on real experiences. It's funny...when I'm single is when I write the most of my lovey-dovey pieces. Maybe it's a longing thing... *shrugs* A lot of times my poems are a product of people-watching.

My blogs are usually full of thoughts on things going on around me or in the news, etc. Or funny things that really did happen.

And last but not least...I do current event articles, famous women profile, and band and cd reviews.

2.When did you realize that writing was what you wanted to do for a living?

I was six. Seriously. I wrote a story about two squirrels fighting in my front yard and then I was hooked. I turned it in to my teacher and she gave me extra points toward my grade. I started doing that all through elementary school. In third grade my teacher told me I was going to be a novelist. Then in fifth grade I was given an old typewriter as a gift and I was beyond ecstatic. I used to put "Do Not Disturb, Writer at Work" signs on my bedroom door. Every "What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up" essay was about being a writer. Even my high school senior project.

3.Do you write full time?

Do I get paid to write full time? No. Do I do it full time? Yeah. I'm always writing something even if it's just in my head. It'll get to paper and/or screen eventually. I always see something that sparks some creative candle within me and then the next thing I know a story or poem or something is written. It's like a writing demon possesses me, lol. Then sometimes he goes away and I get depressed because then I'm blocked. I do have a couple of freelance gigs that pay me a little bit though.

4.If you could spend a week with any writer (living or dead) who would it be and why?

So hard!

I'm going to do both though.

I really would like to spend a week with Brad Listi (alive) because come on...he's a witty guy. I'd want to totally smoke a bowl with him and just listen to his diatribe...about well, everything. He'd have me laughing the whole week and I love laughing. It's my favorite.

Dead: Hunter S. Thompson of course. Mainly because of all the drugs he'd have me try. (Kidding!) No, seriously. He's just so out there! Even if you don't'd still want to have at least met him once in your life.

5.Where does your inspiration come from?

*currently wearing a tee shirt that reads "Find Inspiration Everywhere"*

And it's true. There's no specific thing really.

6.Do you have a writing ritual? If so… what is it?

Not really. Whenever it hits, it hits. I usually put music on if it's just a blog or article. For stories or poems though I need to turn the tunes off. I don't know why, I just do. I might have a drink or some "herbal inspiration" if I'm sitting down specifically to write and I do most of it on my computer. However, if I'm out and about and I have my notebook, I'm constantly jotting things down.

7.What is the best writing advice you have ever been given?

"If you want to know if you're really a writer, try doing something else."

Brad Listi told me this on a blogtalkradio show that I called into one time when he was the guest. He stole the quote from someone else but I can't remember who she was. He also told me what a "cocktail party writer" was and that the best thing to do is just work at writing. ("Cocktail party writer": People who say they're writers at social gatherings but don't really have anything substantial to rest their foundation on. Like...when you go to their "office" they're never there. Get it?) So, ever since then...I've seriously worked at putting myself out there and it's starting to pay off!

8.What genre or genres do you write?

I generally write coming of age type stuff. Always some deep dialogue driven story where something really crazy happens but everyone comes out ok in the end...if there's an ending at all. I like to leave readers wondering.

I also love writing inspirational stories and poems. It means something to give back some inspiration to someone else.

9.What is the greatest obstacle you face as a writer?

Right now a huge obstacle is that I need to still pay my electric bill. I can't focus on writing as much as I want to because right now I'm not getting paid enough to do it. I have to work a "job" to live, ya know? I manage my time pretty well but I haven't seriously done any freelance searching or submitting in a long time. I'm getting things done I just need to send them off ya know? So, money, or lack there of is a huge obstacle for me right now.

10. Do you have a “writing” website?'s not a "writing" website persay. But I do have my own personal blogsite called Conversations with Jenn. ( and I even have my own BlogTalkRadio show with the same name!

Be sure and check them out!

I post all of my "writing stuff" here on The Table.

Well, that was fun and made me think about things a little. I never really thought too much on the things that I write. I just sort of...write them?

Believe it or not doing this survey gave me a little bit of motivation.

So, for that I thank Robert for posting it again!

Happy creating everyone!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Writing Wisdom - Lesson #2: The Perils of Partners

As all writers are painfully aware, the writing process can be excruciatingly slow, and oftentimes, finding the motivation to actually make progress can become a problem. In some cases then, working with a partner can be a smart move.

In this scenario, writing together can potentially make the entire process so much smoother. When two people collaborate on a project, you're usually less likely to get stuck, as your partner is always there to re-focus you and offer his or her own ideas. You can also divide up the work, assigning certain sections or aspects of your story to each of you in order to expedite your project's progress.

However, despite the undeniable benefits of writing in pairs, I have found a number of problems which can only hinder the creative process and lead to frustration or even disrupt a meaningful friendship.

Now, I'm not even going to pretend to be some kind of expert on this or anything, but let's just say I've had difficulties finding a reliable writing partner. A couple years back, a friend and I were working on a screenplay. We had developed the story, devised an outline, and were about thirty pages in when time began to run out. You see, my friend is now in his second year of med school, and while I totally understand that he did what he had to do and I have zero resentment towards him, part of me is still disappointed that we did all that work and never got anywhere with it. I keep doing my own writing anyway, but I still hope one day we can get back to that script.

As if this one experience with writing partners is not enough, another friend and I have been wanting to get a novel together for the past several months, but once again, life keeps getting in the way. Frustration ensues as the months roll by. Thus far, we've completed a prologue and the very first chapter. That's it. Now he is now planning on trying to get into law school. So the destiny or lack thereof for this project is becoming all too apparent. Again, it's not like I haven't been through this before, but that just makes it suck that much more.

If there's anything I hope to convey with this post, I guess it's this: Having a writing partner can be an awesome experience (so I'm told) and can oftentimes speed up the writing process, but it's important to make sure that your partner is in it for the long haul. You might be all gung-ho for your story, but be careful or you might end up with a lifetime supply of half-written projects that will only take away from your solo efforts.

I'd still love to team up with a writer for a project, but I now know to be more choosy who I work with. I just want to get something finished and out there already! If any of you are willing to collaborate on something this summer, let me know, as I will have much more free time during my hiatus from classes!

ttyl everyone and happy writing,