The Enduring Writer

Finding time to write makes for the writer’s eternal struggle. I am learning this lesson the difficult way with many new opportunities and surprises in my own life; a new day job, new friends, new schedules. I’ve been overwhelmed with these changes for the last two months.

And, please, do not think I am complaining. I most certainly am not. I am more than thrilled with the newness in my day-to-day life. I am experiencing and learning more than I ever thought I might. However, this has caused a setback in what stands as most important for myself.

My writing.

I haven’t had the time to seriously write on a daily basis. I am trying to balance writing with my day job, social life, schedule, etc. It’s very difficult to eek out those precious moments solely for breathing life into my characters and stories.

 

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A sunrise. Seriously, how does anyone get up before the sun? Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

 

Writing in the mornings seems to be the key to creating that equilibrium. Two hours before work, I just tap away at keyboard as I allow my characters to guide me through their world. I spend the rest of my day in the real world at work and in the evenings I give my time to friends, family, and promoting my name: Kat Devitt.

At least, in theory, this should work. I’m finding it hard to wake up at 6am to write for two hours, until it is time to rush to work and beat to the drum of a job I hold a passion for. However, this job does not equal my passion for writing. I become tired and drag during the day. And, I find it hard to not take a catnap at least somewhere in the afternoon.

This is a common problem for many, if not most, aspiring writers. I made a blanket statement there, perhaps, but I view it this way in speaking to writers through various outlets and venues. Its hard to find that time. Its hard to dedicate yourself when it feels impossible. Its especially difficult when you are starting over in the writing world.

 

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A sunset. Usually when the fun begins. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

I’m not imparting much advice in this post, because I am still exploring the possibilities for making a balanced life between the practical and the writerly. If anyone has any tips or solutions, please drop it into the comments below. I am certain several writers out there would be interested in any imparted wisdom, myself included.

The Enduring Writer: Lessons Learned

After I graduated more than a month ago, I swore I was going to buckle down and dedicate myself to my writing. I swore I’d dedicate myself two hours a day to the craft alone, then work on this blog in my downtime outside of work. I really tried, and I succeeded for awhile.

Then, other things hit me. Not essays, exams, or textbooks. Desires to spend time with friends and escape into other hobbies. I did some silly things, which I will not go into detail with on here. And, I even allowed my heart to get distracted for awhile, but that didn’t last.

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Credit: Dreamstime Free Stock Images, by Darek2u

 

I gave into distractions for the last month. I allowed myself to have some of these distractions. I saw it as a writing hiatus. And, I regret none of it. I only regret allowing it to drag on a little longer than I intended.

And it would have continued, but something happened.

Last week, I had a realization slap me in the face. Quite figuratively. I realized many of these distractions are passing fancies. I realized some of these distractions were not worth my time. And, I realized I was wrapping myself up in the protective blanket of distractions, because I was scared to reenter the writing world.

I’ve had triumphs as a writer. I’ve had failures. I’ve had pats on the back, and I’ve had punches in the gut. I am scared of the failures and gut-punching, but this is a part of the industry. It is a part of being a writer, which I had forgotten when I’d put it on the backburner in order to complete my master’s.

I’m done being distracted. I realized it’s now or never. I realized either I start now, or I never start at all.

I’ve taken to a schedule. I get up at 5AM and write for two hours before work. It sounds difficult. And, for the first few mornings, I fought myself to swing my legs over the side of the bed, stumble to my laptop, and start to write. Those two hours are reserved for writing my novel. Everything else–my blog, short stories, social media–takes precedence in the evenings. But it works for me.

Since I started this morning routine, I have written the first few chapters of a novel. This week alone, I have written more than 5,000 words. I am also keeping up this blog, researching, and working on a few short stories.

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Credit: Dreamstime Free Stock Images, by Luis Francisco Cordero

 

So, I’ve learned another lesson as a writer. When you fear the craft, you give into distractions. I gave into this, but a real shakeup reminded me what is most important. It’s writing, and writing everyday.

The Enduring Writer: Where Are All the Beta Readers?

This week’s writing adventures have been limited as I prepare for my graduation. I started to work on a  new short story, inspired by Madeleine Smith and her poisoning her lover with arsenic laced cocoa. I have written two thousand words in the story, but I am uncertain about the tone and direction. I was aiming for a romantic tone with smatterings of suspense throughout, but it has taken a much lighter, sarcastic tone thanks to one character. That character is Thomas.

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How I envision Thomas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thank you, Thomas, for upending my entire plot.

I’ve also done research into Thornseat Lodge, which I will be writing a blog post for this coming Thursday. As requested, by popular demand. Well, by the kindly request of one reader.

I am also reading a book called Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese O’Neill. This is a surprisingly hilarious nonfiction book. It takes a subject you would not think humorous and makes you snort with laughter as you read about the oppressive, and what we now know as ridiculous, rules and attitudes towards the social lives of women, female sexuality, and marriage. I highly, highly, highly recommend this book.

But, the one thing that has been troubling me all week. Where are all the beta readers? I have six short stories in need of critiquing and beta reading, but I cannot seem to find anyone. I had the fortune of finding two beta readers who are not family or friends, who do not care about me or my work in any way, and who will provide unbiased opinions.

Unfortunately, I need more than two beta readers for six short stories. Not to mention the need to have more than one opinion for each work. It’s like beta readers, and good ones, at that, are like unicorns. Mystical creatures difficult to track down.

You know what, I think I will also blame Thomas for this.

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Thank you, Thomas. Thank you very much. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Thank you, Thomas. You, Thomas, a fictional character of my creation. You have upended my story, and you have also upended my search for beta readers.

Bravo, Thomas. Bravo.

 

The Enduring Writer: My First Post

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

My name is Kat Devitt. I am a writer emerging from the shadows of anonymity, and I am here to say hello. Hello! *waves through the screen*

Kat Devitt

I am not as new to this writing game as I might appear. I have been writing stories and manuscripts for the last five years, but I have finally decided to take a gamble on my dreams. See, I am a recent graduate from Drexel University. I have earned my Master’s degree from that fine institution, but I have always harbored dreams of becoming an author. I would scribble poetry and stories between classes. I would read genre fiction, when I should have been reading the drier textbooks of academia.

And, now here I am. I graduate within a week. I am excited and proud at this accomplishment. I really like the job I will be entering into to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly. Clichés, clichés. Common motivations, but a girl has to survive, right?

Anyway, I am here, shouting into the void to see what echoes bounce back. I want to dive into the risk of following the threads of my greatest dreams to see what tapestry I can weave. I am here to pull hidden desires from my cave and let those fantasies take root in the sunlight. I want to be a rose, and I want to grow a name.  Will I succeed? Will I fail? Only time will tell.

Until this is determined, I want to extend a hand of greeting. I am Kat Devitt, dear reader. Please tell me your name in the comment section. I would love to get to know you, too! And, please keep an eye out for these posts.

I plan to run two blog series on this blog. One called “The Enduring Writer,” which will post on Sundays. I will reflect on my writing progress and adventures in these posts. You might even see the occasional guest star. His name is Bucky, and he is a gray tuxedo cat, pictured here:

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My second blog series will be called “Turning Through History.” This will focus on historical fascinations I unearth during my research. Some of these interesting tidbits might make the cut into my writing, but others might not. You will just have to read to find out! This series will post on Thursdays.

In the meantime, enjoy your week! I hope to see you around, and please, check out my works in progress page or my author bio to learn more. Without further ado, I will (hopefully) have you returning on Thursday for the first posting of “Turning Through History”!

 

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