Coming Soon – The Evolution of a Writer: The Middle Years

Wow, 2015 has gone fast! It’s been a crazy year, and while we Ferrets are not too eager for it to be done already, we’re also very excited for 2016. We have some awesome stuff coming up!

Mainly, in January we are kicking off a 5-week series that we’re calling…  Continue reading

The Act of Writing

Alright, so our lovely Michelle is on vacation this week, so I’m filling in. I want to talk about the actual act of writing.

If you’re a writer–professional, aspiring, or anywhere in between–then you’ve probably read an advice column/blog post/book or two on writing. More than likely, those pieces of advice all had one thing in common: in order to be a writer, one must write.

Which is absolutely true.

But I think, sometimes, that people–especially new writers–get bogged down in the act of writing. We all know that we need to write. We even have a vague idea as to how. And yet, the act of just getting your butt in the chair and get to work is, well, difficult.

And yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.

But unless you actually get your butt in that chair (or couch or balance ball or wherever it is you like to perch on in order to spill out your words), you’re not really going to do any writing. So, as a person who can have an incredibly difficult time of convincing herself that she needs to actually work on her projects, I have compiled a list of ways I have managed to successfully get myself into my chair in order to write. Some of them may work for you. Some of them may not. I’ve added in my two cents on what I think of them, but at always, your mileage may vary. Try them out at your leisure, and let me know whatever more tricks you have personally come up with along the way.

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F is for Fanfiction

FMy long, strange history with fanfic

I started writing fanfiction when I was eleven years old without the slightest idea of what it was. I kept writing it, on and off, for the next 10-12 years, for various fandoms—Star Wars, Final Fantasy, and Lord of the Rings primarily—and never published a single word.

I didn’t know there were communities where people wrote this stuff; I didn’t even know there was a term for it. I honestly thought I was the only one, and it felt like I was doing something wrong. I held this view for years, in a large part because I had no one else to talk to about it. When I did find out that fanfiction was a thing (and I found out what the actual term was), it was actually from this image. (As you can see, not the best resource, that.)

What little I learned about fanfic during high school and college was from sources outside the fanfic community, so I honestly thought all fanfic was something on the level of “My Immortal” with occasional forays into slash smut. As you can imagine, this did not do much to change my view that I was doing something “wrong,” and so I told absolutely no one that I wrote it.

It wasn’t until 2009, when I got more involved with NaNoWriMo, that I met people who were actively involved in fanfiction communities. For the first time in my life, I was talking to people who actually wrote fanfic, and weren’t coming to it with the biases of an outsider.

And over the next few years, I shed my own prejudices and came to realize a few things.

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Discovering Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing

In writing, as in everything, we all have our strong and weak points. The key is focusing on your strong points when you doubt yourself, and to allow your strong points to help guide the work you do. Discovering your strong points can help you discover your niche (or niches, as some of us have more than one) and find where you create your best work.

Your weak points, on the other hand, are not something to bring you down. They are the guidelines for telling you where you need the most practice or research, or sometimes they are the key to keeping you from wasting your time on a project that will never be your best work and your heart really isn’t in.

So what are my strengths and weaknesses? As I grow and work, these change, but for now… Continue reading