I’m Going to Write A Novel

That’s right. I have been jotting and writing for years: ideas, blurbs, quotes, thoughts, geographical ideas, plot lines, and characters. Now, it is time to blend them together, and to create something.

Now, I’m no longer a student, and this is not a classroom assignment.

The rules have changed. 

Gone, are the days where brainstorm webs (or whatever they were called, you all know what I’m talking about) are mandatory and worth marks. Gone, too, are word and page length requirements, along with formatting guidelines (I would say, “Good-bye, double-spaced!” but I have come to appreciate that spacing, now that I not longer have to budget how many sheets of paper I have left). Along with these, however, we also lose deadlines (unless you are a professional, but I am speaking more to the hobbyist or first-timer right now) and dedicated time to work.

Now, maybe some find this list perfectly true. Certainly, some will find pros where I see cons, and vice versa, and some may even think I am 100% wrong (I’d be interested to hear why — strictly out of curiosity). For me, though, these are true — well, deadlines is iffy, and actually the loss of them is both a blessing and a curse, since I operate extremely well under pressure and have turned out some of my best school work after waiting until it was almost too late to get really working — and provide a unique set of challenges.

My approach here is what I consider free-form: I have a plot idea, I have a setting, and I have some characters. Now, I have a general idea of where I want the plot to go, and I have some key character development points plotted out. The rest, though, will write itself, with me as more of the man recording what is happening. I have said before that I have an active imagination, and I don’t foresee this to be a problem. What may be a problem, is continuity. With a free-form approach like this, the risk is always there that you will screw up something you created. I really should buy a giant white board and write down the major things as they go, but likely what will happen is I will have fifteen different documents in a folder on my laptop detailing what key events have happened, who is who (especially when introducing other characters on the fly, so to speak), etc.

The other concern I have with this, is that since there is no deadline, other than what I set for myself — and let’s be honest, who doesn’t set a deadline for something that carries no consequence for failure, and push that deadline back when it seems impossible to meet? That said, in writing, sometimes deadlines are detrimental and lead to rushed work that isn’t as good as it could be (Thank you, George R.R. Martin, for taking your time and producing gold). We shall see, I suppose, which end of the spectrum I land on.

Finally, and quite honestly the most major cause of concern, is that there is no dedicated time set for this. That means, it is up to me to decide to sit down, and write. Sometimes I will spend an hour or two of writing, and the next session, throw it all away because I no longer like it. I suppose this is an artist’s issue in general, but all the same, as a 27-year-old adult with a job and other obligations, time becomes ever more valuable (luckily for me, I have no children, and therefore actually have some free time). To waste it is a little discouraging, and even then, my average day contains much less free time than I would like.

The true challenge here, I suppose, will be to actually sit down and write. It is my hope that blogging about this as I go, will keep me motivated, and my novel more front-of-mind.

Wish me luck.

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If We Could Only See Us Now

I’ve been trying to come up with a title – a unique name for this blog – all week. I landed with this while listening to some old Thrice albums, and that lyric came out and spoke to me.

And so, “If We Could Only See Us Now” is it. The way I see it, my whole goal in writing this is to A) practice some writing by publishing things as I go, and B) Get more in touch with myself and what I’m about. It occurs to me, after reading the title, that perhaps I am not alone in the sense that I picture myself a certain way (if you read my last post, about being uncommitted), and that may not be how it is (Not having found the right motivation)

Self-Perception is central to how you live your life: if you think you’re ugly, you aren’t going to approach that gorgeous girl/guy; if you think you’re too shy, it becomes your crutch; if you believe yourself to be smooth, you maybe will approach that girl or guy, and if they walk away, they’re just a bitch/dick.

I’m going with the idea that everyone should carve out some time to learn who they really are. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? And then look at how you see yourself? Are you a better person than you think? Do you have some opportunities? You can always make yourself better; that’s why I chose the Hemingway quote.

Hello, World

My name is Scott, and I figure I should take some time on here to make my first blog post a little summary of who I am, and why I am here.

I think maybe I am a bit of a Jack-of-all-Trades, for one. I even chose “Hello, World” because that is the first thing any guide on computer programming teaches you to output. I’m a nerd like that (and no, I have not done any programming in a long time — I should get back to that).

I am an out-of-practice programmer, web designer, and general computer nerd. At 16 years old I was building computers and websites from scratch, for fun. I would spend hours, days, and weeks programming in any language I could get my hands on — from scripting in a then-popular game known as Graal, to Turing, to C++. I learned to work in PHP and loved the similarities and differences in these languages. My grade 11 computer science final project was a 2-level zelda game (I drew the maps in paint, but the collision detection and shitty AI was all done on my own).

And then I graduated, and fell out of practising.

I am also a mediocre musician, in a sense. I love music. I have played guitar since I was 16 years old, and also played Saxophone, and have even picked up a little keyboard (the similarities between guitar and keyboard/piano definitely helped). I peaked in high school when I played in a band, writing lyrics and tunes, harmonizing, and I grew in skill rapidly.

And then I graduated, and fell out of practice. In fact, it was probably 4 or 5 years that I barely even touched my guitars. I play again now, but I feel like I’m more or less the same skill level.

I also used to be a really good writer. I don’t say that from a necessarily egotistical point of view, either. I have loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember (which for the most part, is about the 3rd grade). If we were assigned to write a 3-page story, I would turn in 10. In our reading hours (Yes, we used to have those — an hour dedicated to reading silently), I read books on Napoleon and other historical figures, as well as fantasy and science fiction. I was truly passionate about reading, and I loved to write. I think maybe my wild imagination as a child could only ever be truly realized when I wrote it out. Hell, I would even act out the things I was writing. Sword fights? Check. Flying? Double check. Dying and coming to life in the classic “Oh no, the hero is dying, but wait he actually isn’t!” way? Triple check. In my bedroom, in the living room (when nobody was home, of course), even in the bathtub. My life was another world, and I loved it. My dreams and my imagination existed on the same plane, it seemed.

But I digress. The thing is, again, as I got into high school and busy with work, and computers, and everything else, my writing changed shapes. Instead of fantasy stories I wrote songs. Awful songs, mind you. I believe the first one was called “Might and Magic” (after the video game series from the 90’s), and the chorus was basically “M-m-m-might and magic, yeah”. Not encouraging, I’ll admit. But I grew from that.

In the 8th grade I wrote a survival journal for a final project (Our assignment was a survival journal) that earned me an award, a comment on  report card saying “I hope you try to get published one day” (not verbatim, by the way — this was 12+ years ago), and a general sense of pride and accomplishment. Perhaps the only downside here was I was so shy, I didn’t know how to even take a compliment other than turn red.

But as high school carried on, I changed my style more to poetry. I really grew as a lyricist, and as a poet, I think. I joined something called the Songwriter’s guild, and online community, and made some good friends who helped motivate me, as well as criticizing me when I needed it, and praising me when I did well. I searched for my old works on there recently, but came up empty-handed. I would love to look back and follow my own growth.

But then, as is the theme here, I graduated, and fell out of practising. I even stopped reading books. I read shorter articles on the internet, about health and such. I went to college, where I quickly became bored of my classes in Pre Health Science and didn’t even bother to graduate.

 

To let you in on a secret, when I began this article, I meant to make it short. As well, my own opinion of myself was that I didn’t commit to things. I would do something, show promise in it, and then abandon it. I even do this in my own career. My regional manager constantly tells me how much potential I have, and how quickly I learn and retain information, but I just have no drive anymore, despite wanting to do better.

But I think, now after writing this and reflecting, that I just have found things I enjoy, but am not passionate about. That all these creative things I did were just outlets – me trying to figure out who I was and what I was about – and that at the end of the day, I like to be creative.

I started dating someone recently, who I feel so comfortable with, I have started acting like my old little kid self again. I picture this and that, and act out these scenes from the comfort of my own home (Because at 27 years old, despite getting over being shy, I am still too old to do this in public).

 

So I will conclude with this: My name is Scott, and I am soul-searching. Why make a blog, though, instead of a personal journal? Maybe a bit of a sense that someone else will read this and connect, or find something similar, and maybe a little bit so that one day in the future, someone might stumble by and give a “good luck” or “keep it up”, which might be just what I need to keep going. Let’s consider this blog a public writing practice.

My intent is to partake in some writing challenges, share my own thoughts on different subjects, and just generally be heard.

 

Cheers!

-Scott