Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Any time, anywhere?

I was writing earlier today. No big deal, just scribbling away in my notebook. The thing was... I was in a lecture, and should have been listening and learning about Viral infections.

It gave me a good idea for a blog post. As writers, we always like to write, no matter the time or place.

Here are some of my examples:

1. In lectures - Like today. Generally I'm a pretty poor student in lectures. After almost 3 years of University I find it quite hard to concentrate on my lectures. By now, I've worked out who you need to listen to, and who puts everything that you need in the notes that they give you. So, if we get someone who has good notes, out comes either the notebook or the iPod touch and some Temple Run.

2. At work - I've only ever had two proper 'jobs'. From I was 14-17 I worked as a babysitter for a family friend. I sat two boys, two nights a week, and on Saturday during the day. When they were watching TV, or napping, out came the notebook and I was writing. The second job I had I worked in a store that sells a bit of everything from when I was 17-18. Because of the ever present managers and customers it was much harder to write. Though when the store was quiet I still managed to jot down ideas that came to me on the receipt paper!

3. At school - At school they used to give us study periods around exam time. Mostly I had finished all my major exams but still had study periods because other students with other subjects still had exams to do. I wrote then too. Sometimes even when I didn't have exams finished, I usually rewarded a hard day's revision with a bit of writing.

So where have you written before in a place that might be a little out of the ordinary? Or maybe, like me, you've been so consumed with the urge that you've done it at a time when you probably shouldn't have been doing it?

Sarah x

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Green Brothers and insecurities.

This blog post comes to you in two parts. The first is about the TFIOS tour last week, the second is a response to the post I made through the Insecure Writers Support Group.

 Last Wednesday after I went to see The Fault In Our Stars tour, with John Green and his brother Hank. I really admire these two for what they've done on the internet, and for Johns writing. It was a great privilege to be able to go and see them and to hear what John had to say about writing and TFIOS was an absolute pleasure. I even got to meet them briefly. John had some wonderful things to say about people who want to be writers as well and I hope that I can take on board a lot of what he said and put it into practice. I look up to him so much, and also to Hank for all the science/learning videos that he puts on youtube. As a (hopefully) future Biology teacher, I got to say a very quick thanks to him for all the Crash Course videos (a series of biology based videos) that I will hopefully be able to implement or at least use for inspiration in my lessons some day!

I did a video blog of the whole thing to document it and my journey. I've always wanted to try the whole youtube thing, but never had enough of a reason to start. But what better way than my first video to be about seeing the great Vlogbrothers.

Secondly, I got some wonderful comments from the Insecurities post. It does make it a little better to know that I'm not alone in my feelings. I've just got to come to terms with why I feel like that, and perhaps learn how to turn off some of those doubts! I think putting myself on youtube, though it has nothing to do with my writing, is going to help. I've never been that comfortable about how I look on camera, so to publicly put myself out there and start doing some video blogs can only help get my confidence up!

Sarah x

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Here goes...

I kind of feel like I'm at a virtual alcoholics anonymous meeting. But surely that's the first clue to the reason why I should be here. I shouldn't feel like I'm stepping up to the gallows by admitting these things. So, here goes.

My name is Sarah... and I'm an insecure writer.

On the advice of Michelle who commented on my Re-introduction post, I've decided to join the insecure writers support group, and this is my first post.

My brain is both my best friend and my worst enemy. First of all, it gives me ideas, and then it taunts me with the ever present fear of those ideas not being good enough, or my own ability isn't good enough to make them brilliant.
Here are some of the thoughts that regularly fill my brain when I'm writing:

1. "You're the only one going to find this interesting, and because you already know what's going to happen, why bother to write it down?"

As I have stated many times before, I've never completed a manuscript of my own original ideas. The most I've ever written in anything is about 20,000 words. Then the doubts creep in and I find myself unable to move forward. The main reason, because I don't think anyone else will find my ideas and my characters interesting. 

2. "You dropped English for Science when you were 16. You've never studied literature or writing, what gives you the right to think that you're just as able to write as people who spend years studying it?"

This is one of my biggest regrets in life. I've always loved literature and writing. But, it's subjective. And I felt that if I put all my eggs in the writing basket, and it turned out that statement (1) was in fact, right, then I was going to have a useless degree and no job to help me clear the debt. Though now I realise that teaching was something I wanted to do... I could have studied literature and taught it. Ergo, regret.

3. "You're such a softie. Even if you get something finished and query worthy, the rejections will break you and you'll never write again."

This is true. I know that even the best writers have gotten rejected in their time so I'm under no illusions that if I ever get around to querying, that I'll be met with a lot of rejections. And it will knock me so hard I don't think I'll be able to get up again.

4. "You're just doing this for the attention. You just want someone to tell you that you're good."

This is a constant concern of mine. I'm worried that if, above all else I like the idea of being a writer, than the actual application. Do I just want to sit in a book store with a queue forming for people who want your autograph and to tell me how much they enjoyed my book? If I could make money from writing while remaining completely anonymous, would I still be happy, or am I after this because I want a legion of adoring fans? This I can't answer.
So there's an insight into my brain. A lovely place isn't it? Well this was never going to be a cheery post. But hopefully I'll be able to conquer these and other fears with time and the support of fellow bloggers! 
As for now, I'm off to see John Green in Dublin for his TFIOS tour. Lots of buses and trains but it will be so worth it.

Sarah x

Monday, 4 February 2013

January in Books

In an attempt to be a more prolific blogger, I'm going to write about about what I've read in each respective month.

I'm not a book blog, and I'm not trying to be a book blog. However, reading is just as important as writing because, well... how else are we going to learn? (I'm paraphrasing John Green at this point) I'm not much of a reviewer, so prepare for vague and un-spoilery reviews that will probably only tell you if I liked or did not like the book

Taadaa. This is what I read in January:

1. Hate List

There is no other way to describe this except that this book touched me. It explores guilt in a wonderful and (rightly so) troubling way. I found myself constantly questioning the reactions of the characters in the books and whether or not I would respond in the same way myself, with the conclusion that I don't know. It made me think and above all made me feel. 

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I wanted to read this before I saw the movie. For a start, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would because of all the hype that I've seen about it. The voice that it's narrated in is odd and it took me a few chapters to really get comfortable with reading it. When you get to the end, I suppose the 'big reveal' shows you why Charlie is the way he is... but I'm just not entirely sure how I felt about this book.

3. Insurgent

I had seen very mixed reviews of the sequel to the huge hit that was Divergent, so I was apprehensive of how I was going to find Insurgent. I wasn't disappointed, but it didn't excite me as much as the first one does. 2nd books rarely live up to their predecessor so from that viewpoint I was satisfied. One thing that did bug me was that it very much feels that it should be read immediately after Divergent. I read Divergent last April and so I had forgotten quite a few minor details and characters and felt that for the sake of a few sentences of re-introduction, I was left confused for quite a portion of the book.

4. Poison Study

A thoroughly enjoyable story. I liked the world building and the characters. I would love to continue the series if it wasn't for the horrible reviews I've seen about the other two books... if I can get them as library books I might consider it.

5. An Abundance of Katherines

My new 2nd favourite John Green book. I enjoyed this one much better than I did LFA or PT, but not as much as TFIOS. Perhaps because the main female character isn't as 'messed up' as Alaska or Margo. On the flip side of that, perhaps it doesn't have the same sort of 'statement' to make but heck not all books have to make you sit back and re-analyse the world!
I've seen a few comments floating around that John Green books are 'all the same' because all the teens are smart and quirky. But heck, if you have a formula that has worked in the past, why the heck not keep it like that? And with a guy that's appeared as much on best seller lists as John Green, he's obviously got it right.

Here's to what February throws at me!

Sarah x

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Does anyone actually write any more?


So today I decided to handwrite my blog, because...well... handwriting stuff is becoming a bit of a dying art.

I apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes because IRL there is no spell checker (unless you count a dictionary but I'm lazy and that involves getting up, plus I don't notice usually when I spell things wrongly.)

How often do you handwrite things? Do you handwrite the outline of blog posts, or the outline of a story?

For me, I tend to write down ideas but I have so many notebooks lying around that there are snippets and ideas scattered incoherently throughout many different notebooks.

Sometimes I also work on my stories (including fanfiction) in long hand. Usually it happens when I'm on the train going to and from University or when I find my fingers ineffectively hovering over the keyboard, unable to think of what to write, that's when I turn back to pen and paper. Usually, I find a few sit down sessions with a pen and not a keyboard will kick my brain back into gear.

How often do you, if at all, actually write your stories? I find my best productiveness in a mix of the two, but I do know that some of you swear by either the pen or the keyboard exclusively.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made a comment on my last post. I had such a great response and lots of suggestions and ideas to get me back into writing and blogging. I've got some wonderful new followers and as a result found some more blogs to follow myself. So thank-you to everyone who read and commented on my last post.

(I will type this out also, in case you can't read my writing!)

Sarah x

p.s. I've realised some grammatical errors in the post because I was just writing candidly and not reading back and correcting sentences. I think I got my general point across though!