Going Back To My Escape Plan

Monday, November 2, 2015

I'm writing a book right now. -everybody.

No, for real this time. -everybody.

Truthfully, I'm always writing a book.

I've been writing books since I was three. The difference is that when I was three I actually had a little grit and could finish something. I wrote some killer stories about cats, dogs, girls with dark curly hair, and ghosts when I was younger. Mostly because of that adorable girl in the Pepsi commercial (and Ruthie from Seventh Heaven) I would have murdered to have dark curly hair. Thus the leading lady in all of my novels written in the early 90s had curly hair.

And her name was usually Madison Zoey Brown. Or Lexi James Macintosh. And no, I didn't watch porn flicks as a child. I just happened to like porn star names.

When I was little, writing stories was like playing Barbies for me, I could get lost for hours in the pure joy and imagination of it all. (Sidenote: someone remind me to write a post about this Barbie commercial. I'm kind of obsessed.)

Then into junior high and high school I used my "study hall" class to write stories. It was a fun way to disappear for an hour. And even in college when my sorority made us have study hours (thanks Theta) I would go sit in Love Library and write for hours and hours about anything I wanted. But most likely at that time I was working on a very deep short story novella about life after high school entitled "Now What?"

I still remember the first line,

As we tossed our graduation caps into the air I couldn't help but wonder if I should be feeling more. But more what?

All the lols. I was big into Carrie Bradshaw then so every story I wrote contained the line "I couldn't help but wonder.." at least 100 times.

And then after studying writing in college, receiving an English degree and a concentration in creative writing (I didn't do well in the grammar/punctuation section obviously) somewhere during that time I stopped writing for fun.

I just stopped.

I think it's because after I got into the "real world" I realized I finally wanted to write an actual book. I wanted it to be my job.

So I told myself to write a book that people wanted to read. I would spend hours researching what was popular and what was selling. I could write about vampires? Maybe. Yea. Or about the world ending. Anything YA that contains a love story where two very attractive guys want the same girl who is usually totally unlikable and mean.

Done and done. Except I didn't like reading or writing that kind of stuff...

When you put pressure on yourself to write a story for someone else it doesn't work. Not for me anyway. My writing was bullshit, just like my plan.

And so after nearly five years of terrorizing myself for not writing anything worthwhile, I've changed my outlook on my writing process.

I've gone back to my "escape route." Just like I did in middle school study hall, I'm back to using writing to get away. I'm not thinking about anyone else ever reading the book I'm working on. For now, it's just for me. It's my Barbie play time.

I'm 25,000 words in at this point. It's the furthest I've been on a book since "Now What?"

Baby steps.

Of course I still have days when I'm certain it's terrible and a waste of time. But then there's the other days when the writing just feels so good. The characters start writing themselves and I can't get the words out fast enough. Those days don't happen a lot, but damn it they're good when they do. And so I remind myself if I enjoy doing it and feel passionate about it how could that possibly be a waste of time? Who cares about the outcome?

November is National Novel Writing Month. So I'm jumping on board with all of the other dreamers and trying to write a little harder and a little faster.

Helene, the blogging community guru, and myself decided to make this a team sport so we've even created a fun Facebook group to bounce ideas off each other and keep each other motivated.

Click here to join the Novel Blogger group on Facebook. And because Helene goes above and beyond whenever she does anything, she also created a calendar and checklist to get your writing on the right path.

So there you have it.

I've given myself two months to finish my New Years Resolution. From 2005.



  1. I don't care what your novel is about.....I'll buy it! Good luck on completing your masterpiece!

  2. Writing for yourself is the only way to do it. And I'm with Kathleen - I'll buy whatever you write, because your writing is amazing, funny and unique! Good luck, we can do this!

  3. I need to remember this, write to escape, don't write something that's sole purpose is popularity.

  4. about to start writing... right now! says everyone.

  5. I had the same exact thoughts this weekend about losing my ability to free write. Where/When did it go??? I long for those stories with the Zoe's (I remember first hearing this name in like '96 and absolutely thinking it was everything) and the "I couldn't help wonder" beginnings.

    I'm getting back at it too, wishing us all the best in completing years of writing resolutions :)

  6. I love free writing. I do a lot of it for school.
    Abbie E.

  7. I did exactly this. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I went to college and suddenly it all dried up. The fun, the creativity...all of it. I'm trying to get the fun back again...but it is slow going.

  8. I need to get back to writing just for fun. Like you, I got to a point where I wanted it to be my job and since I know how lazy I am at work, it makes sense that I completely stopped writing fiction just for the fun of it.

  9. Good luck! NaNoWriMo is how I wrote the first draft of my first novel. Just remember that it doesn't matter if it's crap - the important part is to get the words out. Then you can rewrite it a million times to make it great!

  10. You can so do this! I for one would love to read anything you write! Keep writing!

  11. Let us know when the book is done and published

  12. This is me, too! Always writing stories and books as a child, entering writing contests in elementary school while all of my friends played softball etc. and had actual human interaction, ha! Good luck to you as you work on your current project! One day I'll finally get my thoughts together enough to do the same.

  13. Good luck, girlfriend! You can do it! And I can't wait until it's hit the bookstores so I can read all the goodness ;)

  14. I totally want to write a book for black women on health and wellness. 3/4ths of us are overweight, so I think I want to be the Bethanny Frankel of black women. Not quite a novel, but I plan to write every single day this month. Thank you for the push!

  15. what a fabulous idea! good luck and i hope more people than just yourself do see it!


  16. You've already done more than most people I know who set out to write (seriously, when I published my first book a couple years ago, everyone I ran into said they wanted to write a book). Go you! Keep it up!

  17. I just recently had the same realization myself. I had become so determined and focused on wanting to make writing a career that it sucked the fun right out of it. I've let go of my desperate "write what others will like" bit and suddenly everything is coming easier again, the only problem I have now is that I spend time writing that I really should be spending on homework, haha.

    I would really, really recommend reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It really helped me rework how I think about my writing and creativity and I think it is a huge reason I'm doing so much better now. It is FABULOUS. Theres a short review of it in my October Wrap Up post from Monday if you're interested. But seriously check that book out; it changed everything for me.

    I can't wait to read the book you're finally writing!

    Katsyxo.com <3

  18. Everything you write on this blog is great so there is no doubt that your novel will be great too! I'm looking forward to hearing more about it!

  19. So true, I love this! I also wrote my own book and am now working on my second. It definitely takes a lot of courage and grit, but it's worth it!