Editorial Assistance

How (Not) to Survive Nanowrimo

I read a lot of writing blogs (like dozens a week). Nanowrimo, which has been going on for a good decade, is the key topic of choice right now. The literary madness starts in two days, and I'll definitely be joining the party. I've noticed that a lot of people, including me the first two times I tried, didn't manage to survive...as in, they didn't make it to 50,000 words.

According to Google, there's about 1,330,000 posts about how to survive Nanowrimo, but there's not really any posts on ways NOT to survive.

Why not? D: This is a sad, sad thing.

What better way to learn about how to survive than learning about the many ways people haven't? Plus, come on, it's really amusing.

Here's my list, from experience and observation, of ways to NOT survive, in the hopes that you take something away from it. Also, they are in no particular order of importance:
  • Get Super Addicted to Addictive Blogs: Yknow, blogs like Hyperbole and a Half. I went to the blog right now solely to get the link, and I ended up spending five minutes reading a blog post and smiling like an idiot. It felt like 2 seconds. There goes a whole sentence you could be writing for your Nano masterpiece.
  • Have an Emotional Breakdown and Fall Into a Deep, Dark Depression: Those can easily last the whole month. Before you know it, it's December 1st and only 1000 words have been written, and the depression worsens. See, emotional breakdowns probably can't be put aside, but try I tell you!
  • Become a NanoForum Supastar: The nano forum is made of literary awesomesauce and inhabited by fun, amusing writers. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to spend the whole month posting everywhere. The good part? You end up writing 50,000 words. The bad part? Those are 50,000 words that didn't go toward your Nano masterpiece.
  • Come in With No Plan Whatsoever: I think this is the most important. Some will argue that this is a matter of preference. It's fun, to a certain extent, to start a full novel with no development beside the title and a very vague idea of what the hell the story will be about. But this is what'll usually happen unless you're different and special - story will be even more nonsensical than it ought to be; story will, in fact, make no damn sense whatsoever in terms of plot advancement; editing will be even more terrifying than it ought to be. In fact, it may take you 50,000 days to figure out everything. Just maybe knowing who your characters are and what the beginning, middle, and end consist of would be a great help.
  • Procrastinate: Nanowrimo and procrastination go together as good as a cat and a swimming contest. Life will still happen, but you've gotta find some way to schedule around life. That is all.
What'd I leave out? What are some ways you know of how to not survive Nanowrimo?

Stop Observing and Start Doing

I'm an observer. Klout says so, and I know so. I watch Facebook and blogs and my e-mail all the time. That's how I know that Amanda Hocking's book Switched is one of the four most requested books on the Library-Thing's early reviewers program; that's how I know that the cover for Michelle Davidson Argyle's book, The Breakaway, has just been revealed; It's how I know that Tiffany White is building her publishing portfolio and her hard work, as proven by the fact that three of her stories have been published, is finally paying off; and it's also how I know that J.S. Chancellor is back on her writing cycle with an admirable, inspirational fervor. There's probably also a lot more I'm aware of. Hell, I could send a weekly newsletter gathering all the info I pick up when browsing the web.

As a person whose life is for serious based around the writing world, it's important I observe and keep track of what's going on. To improve my writing, editing, and coaching, I need to know what's happening. Still, there needs to be a limit to all this observing. What happens is that you read about all these OTHER people getting their success that they've worked hard for and will continue to work hard for, and you start to live vicariously through their lives. In spite of all the goals you may have set for yourself, in spite of all you want to do, observing makes it easy for you to slowly but surely put your own goals behind you.

Also, it feuls that dreadful voice all us writers have that tell us we're not good enough and will never be good enough. You start to think, "Damn, I could never reach that point."

Observing all these success stories is good and inspiring, but you have to be willing to get out there and make your own success. Or else it'll pass you by and you'll be saying, "Damn, I could never reach that point" forever.

Any measures you could take now to assure that doesn't happen to you?

On a Researching Roll...But I've Watched Lots of Movies Too

So, today has consisted of breakfast, a movie, class, a meeting, lunch, and blogging (which I'm doing now). After blogging, there'll be another class, a guest lecture, a phone call, and then research. I'll probably be up until around 2 am doing research. Nanowrimo is in 5 days, I have two papers due, and I still feel like there is a lot I need to know about dream catchers, witchcraft, and downtown Chicago.

See, this is why I love the internet. So far, I've learned that Joachim and Lottie live in Evanston, Illinois. Joachim will go to Northwestern University and work in some restaurant there. Lottie won't be a college student, but she will be working at Amaranth - a used book store in Evanston. I know exactly what apartment they will live in (I searched for apartments for sale there) and what it looks like when empty. I'm still trying to understand Northwestern's curriculum, but I can easily find that out with just a little bit of site searching and put a makeshift schedule for Joachim together.

I also found some cool sites for interpreting dreams and nightmares. The first chapter starts off with Joachim in someone else's dream. I'm eager to start outlining said chapter, but I can't...I need to have all the dreams I plan to use in Dream Catcher already written out. Preferably, I'd like them to symbolize things. I want Joachim to not only cure nightmares by rescuing people, but also by interpreting them. First, though, I have to become really good at interpreting dreams. I don't think it'll happen in the next five days, though. I can only spend so much time on research. I need to spend more time writing a general chapter guide to get me and the characters exactly where I need them.

As for witchcraft, I just need to know what the different kinds are and if one better fits certain type of people.

On another note, I've watched three movies in the past few days: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Adjustment Bureau, and Almost Famous. They were all good in their own right. I'm a critic of books, but not so much movies. I always get much too into any movie even remotely good. Anyway, I think it's important that I've been overdosing on movies lately. I firmly believe that it's a good thing for an author to surround themselves with lots of entertainment, definitely of varying kinds. It really complements the muse.

Novel Research

Nanowrimo is in 7 days. Dream Catcher is the book I'll be writing during that month, but I've realized that I won't be successful at finishing Dream Catcher unless I figure out a general outline for every chapter and learn more about what I'm writing. Basically, this means hardcore research. Some of the notes I took were as follows:

  • Research apartments in downtown Chicago, colleges, that college course guide, magic and antique shops, transportation, and popular jobs.
  • Research dream catchers. First, just the item itself. How well do they sell? When were they created and why? What are the varying looks?
  • Research symbols in dreams/nightmares. What does certain color, items, sounds etc. signify?
  • What different types of witchcraft are there?
I honestly think the reason it's taking me 5+ years to fully complete Savior of the Damned is the fact that I wrote the whole thing with no prior research, characterization, or goal. I just wrote it. And it was fun and wild that way, but also terribly wordy and much more harder to edit. Same thing happened with Lady Avarei, my High Fantasy story before that. I want to write the first draft the way I know is correct for me this time around.

Speaking of Savior of the Damned and editing, November will be dedicated solely to Dream Catcher. I'll dedicate December to launching Honest Crits and maybe editing a client's work. January and February will probably go back mainly to Honest Crits and Dream Catcher. Basically, Savior of the Damned will be put on the backburner for a while. It's an ambitious project, one that documents my entire teen life as a writer...and I think it's the series I'll also self-publish simply because I want to. Before I put it out on the self-publishing market, though, I'd like to at least finish the first three books. It's smarter to have more projects out there when self-publishing.

On another note, music I'm listening to. Right now it's American McGee's Alice in Wonderland. This song especially gets wonderful for me at 2:14:

Plot Layering

Last night, I started to plan out the chapters for Dream Catcher, the first book in my Insomnium series. I covered the first three chapters for sure. The first chapter has action and comedy. The second chapter has an argument and comedy. The third chapter sets up Joachim's living situation, as well as that of the secondary main character he lives with - Abigail 'Lottie' Hamilton, and has conversation and comedy.

However, after that, I'm not too sure what to do. I realized I needed to figure out the layers of my plot to continue. I know the end, the middle, and the beginning. The steps to get to those three major parts...not so much.

This story has what my other story, Savior of the Damned, didn't. These main characters have friends, family, school, jobs, relationship woes. They're not 'normal,' because I sincerely don't think there's a such thing as a normal person, but they're certainly more normal than Alecia - what with Alecia having lots of mental issues and only being a shell of who she used to be.

I've never written a story with characters who feel those range of emotions, who have those range of problems outside of their supernatural ones. Alecia later develops some semblance of all of those things above, but it's not on the scale of what I'm attempting now.

The three layers I need to construct first and then merge in the end are their real life problems, their supernatural problems, and the nightmares Joachim cures. I need to figure out what the meaning of said dreams will be ahead of time.

How Nanowrimo made me a 200k writer

Last night, at 1 am, I decided I'd do Nanowrimo to finish (or at least mostly finish) the first book in my Insomnium series - Dream Catcher.

I first did Nanowrimo in 2005, so I was about 14 years old. At that point in time, I was writing a fantasy series called 'Lady Avarei.' I didn't 'win' Nanowrimo. In fact, I only made it to about 10,000 words, but I was super thrilled anyway. Before that I could never write anything over 5000ish words. The little terrible stories I wrote in the 6th and 7th grade, dusting away in the back of my closet back home, don't count (trust me, they're that terrible. I was what?..11, and I wrote those things in a week in pencil).

Learning that I actually could write over 5000 words inspired me to put Lady Avarei on the backburner and start on a new story. In the 8th grade, I called it 'Corpse Eater' because I was tired of the oversaturation of supernatural stories about vampires. There were so many other creatures that could be explored, like the corpse eater.That first draft was almost 200,000 words. 200,000 words, effortlessly written for fun! I couldn't have done it without Nanowrimo (though that's not a healthy word count either. Trust me, with each draft that word count lessens by about 10,000-20,000 words, but it's better to have more than less).

Freshman year, the story became 'The Awakening,' since I realized I was going to make the story about more than just corpse eaters. Now it's called 'Savior of the Damned,' the first book in the 'Danse Macabre' series, and that's the name it'll keep as far as I'm concerned.

I never actually thought I'd do Nanowrimo again. Since I'd spent the last five or so years of my life only working on Savior of the Damned, I didn't feel the need to spend a month writing anything else. I was only editing and rewriting the same tale. When I was 16, I did update my Nanowrimo profile under the impression that I would, in fact, try to finish some of my fanfiction. I didn't, of course. 16 was a terrible terrible age for me. I was too busy living and almost failing at life to think about nanowrimo. Plus, I needed to come to terms with the fact that I was done with fanfiction.

It's different this time. I'm 19; life is really flipping stressful, but I'm hopeful; writing IS my life. Plus, I have an idea for something new, something that quickens my heart beat and makes me smile with excitement every time I think about writing it. The two new characters, Lotti and Joachim, are begging to be written.  I can't wait to explore the nightmares, based loosely off of my own, that Joachim cures. I can't wait to show Lotti's development as a witch. And I can't wait to write about their lives separate from their supernatural explorations.

Of course, I get this same level of excitement with Savior of the Damned. Last night I finished typing chapter 3 and wrote two pages of chapter 4. I'm really excited because the Big Bad is about to make his appearance, and Alecia's life is about to fall apart in the span of half an hour. Finally! It's when a character's life starts to fall apart quicker than they can process it that a story takes off. Let the horrors and adventures begin! I've rode this rollercoaster over 12 times, but I'm still excited to ride it again. Also, I love rollercoasters.

I've been writing with the two songs below on repeat pretty often. Oh yes, I'm very weird, but this is the type of stuff that inspires my muse to go wild.

Finished Chapter 3

All the things, writing-wise, that I wanted to become habits are automatically becoming habits. I'm thrilled by that. The past week, I've made sure to blog every day or every other day. The past three days, I've been up well past 12 am working on my story. Last night I finished the new chapter three. I couldn't stop writing, even though I was sleepy and hungry, and it felt wonderful. Except now I'm tired and sorta winding down, but I'm sure this has less to do with when I sleep (I don't have to wake up early) and more to do with the fact that I have too many things to worry about.

What makes all of this better is that I don't plan to write for 3-5 hours, and I don't plan to blog. I just do it.

I also found some cool free online college courses that I plan to take later on, namely the ones on grammar, entrepreneurship, and finances.

Oh yeah; yesterday, I put up my review and giveaway contest for Allan Leverone's 'Postcards from the Apocalypse.' I've noticed that review writing has gotten a little easier to do. It's a lot like writing a synopsis, but with a commentary. One day I plan to put up a post about what it's like to be a reviewer. Hm. I may actually write some articles about the many different hats I wear and try to publish it on other blogs through guest appearances.

Renewed Excitement

The song below is what I'm listening to now, and what I spent most of last night writing to (but very quietly so I wouldn't wake up my room mate)

Mostly, I just wanted to attempt putting a vid in the post. It's occurred to me that I've never done that before. I listen to a lot of music, mostly creepy instrumental music. That above is a small snippet. ^_^ Anyway, the all nighter I attempted to pull Friday night was mostly unsuccessful, as I discussed in my last post. However, I ended up pulling an all nighter (or at least staying up until 4 am; I would've stayed up longer if I could eat) last night unintentionally, and I think it worked out much better than before.

In an effort to flesh Alecia, her parents, and her rehab situation out, I wanted to add more chapters. So I did. I added like 6 more chapters of pure fleshing and build-up. And then, last night, I realized something: it was WAY too much build-up. Instead, I'd ended up making myself impatient for the action to start, and I figured readers would feel the same. So I ended up scrapping three chapters and totally reordering others. This way the Big Bad is revealed in chapter 4, all the major characters are introduced - to some extent - by chapter 3, and the new Exordium - or my fancy way of saying 'preface' - is a good fleshing out chapter for Alecia and her situation.

My excitement for this series has been totally and completely renewed. Man, I don't know why the beginning has got me so stumped. Part 2 is and has never been this hard on me.

I go to work in about 30 minutes. In those 30 minutes, I need to outline my review of Allan Leverone's 'Postcards from the Apocalypse.' After work, I'll need to write said review and type it up. It won't go public at Triple R until Monday morning, though.

At first I figured I would start reordering the chapters for SotD on the computer and not just in my notes after typing the review, but I've instead decided to outline the setting, characters, and plots for my Dream Catcher series - the one I aim to self-publish. I probably won't really start working on the Dream Catcher series until I start resubmitting SotD to publishers; still, I'm excited to see where my mind wants to go with this idea.

The All Nighter

First off, why am I blogging so late? Well, I've just finished reading 'Postcards from the Apocalypse' by Allan Leverone! I spent 10 hours, I kid you not, reading this collection and taking notes for the review that will be up on Monday. It was a wonderful ten hours, though. I don't regret it in the least. If I didn't love reading, reviewing, and promoting, I wouldn't have started Triple R. Fortunately, Allan is a wonderful person to work with. Him saying this really made me remember why I review: "I have to say you do a great job! Thanks for all your hard work..."

Now, about that all nighter. Sadly it wasn't an all nighter. I stayed up until 3 am before turning my computer off and climbing into bed. During those 5 or so hours, I ended up scrapping chapter 6, changing around some sentences in chapter 5, and coming up with ideas to deal with this change in part 2. In all, I felt it was hugely unsuccessful. When I shared my disappointment with my boyfriend, he pointed out that I was also a stressed teen living hundreds of miles from home, trying to work in a place I didn't exactly find comfortable, and that I may have been hungry and tired.

Then I cut myself a little slack. Every time I pulled an all nighter in the past, I had privacy, plenty of food/junk, and lots of music. This time around, I couldn't eat or turn on music or read aloud because my room mate was asleep and had an exam the next day. How could I possibly expect for a writerly all nighter to work with no music, no food, and no freedom to be spontaneously weird at 3 am? Also, how in the hell did I manage to convince myself that failing to pull this all nighter off meant I wasn't a real writer?

Honestly, part of me is amazed at Amanda Hocking's ability to write full novels in under a month. I so so so badly want to be able to do this! One time, I wrote 14,000 words or so in two days, where I pulled two all nighters. I'd never been happier (and more sleepy and deranged) in my life. I don't think everyone writes the same. Maybe I'm just not a speed writer. But damn it, I want to be, and I'm gonna keep trying.

Another thing. Somehow, someway, my long break in writing has managed to make me almost afraid to write certain scenes. Like when I know how long and hard and description heavy a chapter has to be, I feel this odd sense of dread I'm not used to. What? Where is this coming from?

Maybe it's because I'm wearing too many hats. I write books, discuss books, review books, promote books, and edit books. I don't know what's wrong, but it needs to go away.

Word Count Widgets!

If you look to the right, you'll notice something new and wonderful. There are word count widgets! This is supposed to be my way of forcing myself to start working on the other projects I've (sorta) developed and noting how far I'm getting. Also, something about making it public makes it feel more legit.

I've decided that I'd like to self publish the Dream Catcher series (name prone to change) and a short story collection and get Savior of the Damned - part of a much longer series - traditionally published. Savior of the Damned will come first, of course.

Why get into self publishing and (hopefully) traditional publishing? Because why not. It'll be hard. I'm not deluding myself on that. But it'll also be enjoyable to work hard on what I love - writing and knowing someone is reading.

Yes, I've been inspired by Amanda Hocking, but I don't believe I'll get her success (hopefully at least a third of it). Anyway, Amanda is not why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's simply because of what I've said above.

Now, about those word count widgets. What slightly frustrates me about those is that I don't know exactly what the word counts should be. The stories will be finished when they're finished. I chose the 7500 and 110,000 word count because, according to my editing services, those are just general word counts for a short story and a novel. SotD is at 160,000 because it was once up to about 160,000 or more in previous drafts and I'm not sure how much I will cut and add.

Also, tonight will be my first writing all nighter in two years. I plan to stay up until at least 5 A.M. writing. The challenge will be not waking my roomie up and staying awake. However, if the writing really gets going, I know I won't be able to stop. I write my absolute best material at night (or at least it LOOKS like my absolute best material when I'm writing it in such a passion that my hands hurt and I can hardly breathe but I can't stop). That's not important though. What's important is that I tend to write a lot throughout the night, and getting stuff done so I'll at least have something to edit and get edited gives me such a feeling of accomplishment.

I really don't have time

Okay, so I have class in twenty minutes. I probably shouldn't be in this computer lab, reading blogs and blogging, but I am. Also, ever since I said a couple of days ago that I'd like to start blogging every day, I haven't been able to stop. I'm not sure how many people keep up with my posts, but that's fine. I just like being able to share my thoughts somewhere.

At the end of 2010, during the New Year's countdown, I had the new site I'd launched open in one tab (Triple R) and the manuscript submission I'd e-mail to my fave publishing house in the other tab. My goal that year was to launch my review site and send my manuscript to a publishing house. I did it. I spent that last day of 2010 feverishly working. I was thrilled and terrified, but mostly I think I'd lost my sanity.

I didn't plan that for this year, but I feel like it may be the same. Holy hell, do you know that it's October?! This year ends in TWO months. Seriously, the time has just whooshed by. Even so, I'm determined to end this year by having the website for Honest Crits complete and having my novel finished and in the hands of critiquers. It'd be too much to expect that I could have it ready to be resubmited to said publishing house by then.

For this to work, I plan on having all nighter Fridays. Initially, it will be hard. I've long since trained myself to be knocked out by 2 am. But it's very important to me that I make my goals come to life. So, starting this Friday, I will spend the entire night writing. I don't work Saturdays. In fact, all I do is stay inside and read the next book I need to review on my Upcoming Book List. I'll sleep in on Saturday and dedicate the majority of the next day to reading.

On another note, I really love the other novel/short story/series ideas I've come up with! Part of the reason I had a hard time sleeping last night (beside the fact that today is insanely nervewrecking. Too many meetings!) is because I really wanted to develop some of my other ideas further, especially the series ideas concerning the Necromancer Association and a fantasy for children (wow, I had no idea I'd ever want to write for children).

Ideas are coming

So, in yesterday's blog post, I promised myself that I'd start an idea booklet. Last night, no ideas would come to mind. I was confused and a little sad. Back in middle school, I easily had two notebooks full of ideas. Why wasn't anything coming to mind now (beside ideas linked directly to Savior of the Damned)?

Today all the ideas hit me.

I was walking to a financial aid meeting. The sky was big, blue, and beautiful, and my music blasted in my ears. Before I knew it, I couldn't stop the ideas from coming. All types of ideas too: A humorous fantasy, an off-kilter fantasy about the muse, a supernatural spin-off to SotD about necromancers, an alternate world horror/fantasy, a young adult coming-of-age comedy...

I found it odd that so many of my ideas were comedy, though not odd that so many were fantasy (I used to be a high fantasy writer before getting into horror and supernatural). I'm not really big on funny. Tragedy, yes. Comedy, no (not unless it's full of sarcasm and dark humor). Even more, I found it tragic that I was walking and going to a meeting, so I couldn't write it all down. They're in my notebook now. I'm gonna write the descriptions, in spite of the fact that the trade-off of writing these descriptions is pretty big, after I finish this post.

I've also been thinking a lot about short stories. I read lots of nonfiction and fiction, but I've read very few short story collections. In fact, I've only ever been determined to read short story collections by Stephen King. The next book I review, hopefully this weekend, will be Postcards from the Apocalypse by Allan Leverone. It's a short story collection, the second one I'll review (the first I reviewed was Florida Gothic Stories by Vicki Hendricks). Anyway, though I'm sure it'll be a wonderful read what with it being horror and all that jazz, I'll also be paying close attention to how the short story collection is put together. Plus, Allan guest appeared on Triple R a while ago, which makes me more excited that I've finally gotten to his stories.

I need to learn more about short stories and short story collections if I ever plan to take myself seriously when I say I want to self publish a collection. Even if it won't sell a hella lot of copies, or much at all (I'm having a hard time finding data about self published short story collections). Even though it will be very hard work. I want to try. I want to see what it's like to be part of the self-publishing world as much as I want to feel what it's like to be part of the brick-and-mortar publishing world.

P.S. On another note, very exciting things are happening to authors I've recently been keeping a close eye on. Amanda Hocking's Hollowland's series will become graphic novels! I've always fantasized that, if I ever get published, someone will want to do that for my work. Author Michelle Davidson Argyle had her first book signing for Monarch, and it appears as though it went very well. I really wish I could've come.


Recently, I've been doing a lot of reading. Unfortunately, not of books (Though I did buy 5 awesome books at the Dollar Tree, 4 of which are nonfiction. I've noticed lately that I tend to read more nonfictions on my own time and more fiction only for reviews). Anyway, it's been of blogs. I look at a blog like I do a book. Whenever an author reaches some type of success, which is usually just getting published in my mind, I go back to their very first blog post and read up all the way until the recent post.

It's occurred to me that may be a little creepy. Not that I mind. I'm a supernatural/psychological horror writer. Or at least I'd like to think I could downpack the psychological horror part.

Neil Gaiman was the first person I ever did this with...or at least attempted to. I started when I was 13. But his blog has been going for more than a decade. Now I'm big into Amanda Hocking's blog. Her posts really make me laugh, nod my head, and rethink my creative process.

For one, I've noticed that a lot of aspiring writers tend to make a habit out of posting every day or every other day, and it's published writers who blog a bit more sporadically. I have my theories on this, but they're not too developed. Anyway, I would LOVE to post here every day or every other day. Generally, I just don't have the time. The only reason I do now is because today has been an entire day of chilling, for the most part.

But, if this whole college fiasco goes the way I want it to, I will soon have plenty of time. I will utilize the hell out of that time too by blogging and writing.

Speaking of, here's what Amanda has taught me as far as rethinking my creative process goes. I need to write lots of things. I have only finished one (hopefully) publishable novel in my entire life, and that's the novel I'm still working on and have been working on for five or so years. For some reason, I am nervous about short stories, even though I very much plan to write a short story collection one day and self publish it. I envy Amanda's ability to write a full novel in the span of a month, sometimes just in the span of half a month, and work on other projects meanwhile.

Unfortunately, I no longer keep an idea booklet. I don't really remember what other novels I wanted to write, what short stories I want to dabble into, and that's sad. It's cool to be super motivated to a series. My Savior of the Damned trilogy and the later books in the Danse Macabre series are ambitious and in need of lots of concentration, true.

But what if I do work on other things as well? I'm really excited about this! I have an empty composition book in my drawer. That will become my new idea booklet. It's a promise to myself.

Steady Steps

Yesterday, I finally finished typing Chapter 5: In-School Suspension (you can find it on Scribd and Fictionpress). Savior of the Damned is one chapter away from part 1 being completed! Today I wrote the first two paragraphs of Chapter 6: Danny.

It's taken me so long to do all of this. Now it's weeks, but I can remember a time in my life when I could get through full chapters in days (this is the 6th draft). Yet I still managed to finish, and that's what makes me most happy.

I want to be able to dedicate more time to my writing and business. Both are so close to the next step. Just a couple more nudges, a couple more days of sheer devotion, and they could be on their way to a higher level. For right now, unfortunately, that may be too much to ask for (I'm having college complications). I can't take the dangerously fast steps I used to. I'm like the baby bird up above.

For each step, I now have to put my arms out, look straight ahead at the light in the distance, and know that no matter how many times I struggle, I can get back up and spread my arms out again. It's no use looking behind me, unless to admire what I've already passed.

What has greatly helped me is returning to all the creative things I surrounded myself with when I first began writing. I don't know why, but when I got to college, I stopped...I stopped immersing myself in anime, losing myself in music, interpreting art, analyzing and enjoying movies, keeping up with the blog posts of those I admired (except for a very small few), watching game walkthroughs, and reading just for pleasure.

Recently, after even more baby steps, I returned to those things. I'd love to start this anime called 'Nightmare Inspector (Yumekui Kenbun)'; I'm searching for soundtracks I once loved; I often find myself on Google Images; yesterday I watched and greatly enjoyed Triangle (I am listening to the sountrack now. It's wonderful to write to); I bought two Stephen King books; I'm interested in finishing a walkthrough of Kingdom Hearts; and, last but not least, I sporadically read as many blog posts as I can.

It's been wonderful for my muse! All the passion to take part in these creative achievements has come back, full throttle.

One day, I hope to be published. I hope to be an editor with a good track record and an English degree. It's like what author James Fouche said in an article about balancing writing with another career - determination, determination, determination.

Each steady step is one of determination and passion.