This One Time At Writing Camp…

Have you ever questioned whether or not the genre you’re writing is really the genre you want to be writing? Have you ever been like, “Why do I write (insert genre here)? I don’t even like writing (same genre)?” Has that ever happened to you? Tell me I’m not the only one!

So three years ago this month, I was in the middle of revising the last vampire story I wrote. This is important. Because after I wrote this story I made in change in my writing. It’s also important to note that writing this story wasn’t hard – after I got over the normal new story anxiety, of course. The thing is, I haven’t written a single thing since that wasn’t hard to write. Do you know what I mean? Since this story, I have struggled with absolutely everything I have tried to write since. EVERYTHING.

I would be super gung-ho about something for about 10k words, sometimes 25k words, only to suddenly drop it. Something about the stories are just nagging me.

One day I sat down to write and immediately wanted to crawl back into bed and cry dramatic, hot lava tears.

gif - crying
please don’t make me write this story!

Finally, I asked myself if I even liked what I was writing.

No, this isn’t another vampire rant. The little monsters wore me out. I bring it up because I feel like what I’m looking for is a story that makes me feel like this story made me feel when I was writing it. It’s not that I didn’t run into issues. I did. It’s just that it wasn’t HARD to write. I didn’t have to force myself to finish it. I couldn’t wait to see how the story was going to end! I didn’t have to force myself to edit it. I LOVED editing that story – I didn’t want to stop.

THAT is what I’m looking for. I’m looking for something I can’t wait to work on in the morning. I’m looking for something that will get me out of bed. I’m looking for something that I can keep writing despite whatever obstacles come my way and whatever crap is going on in my brain.

I do really like some of the stories I’ve written since then, but it doesn’t pain me to shelf them. It PAINED me to shelve my vampire story. That is what I want. I like DISCORD and I feel like it is the best estimation of my tastes and skill that I could give at the time I wrote it. But that story was so freaking hard to write.

To me, that means something is wrong. I’ve been writing my entire life. It’s not normal for me to have to drag myself kicking and screaming to the computer.

So, I really had to ask myself if I liked what I was writing. And the short answer is: No, I don’t. Everything I write lately feels forced, and I think I’m finally starting to see what the problem is. It’s not the genre. The genre I live in is my heart and soul. It’s the category. I don’t hate YA. I read it all the time. But just because I like to read something, doesn’t mean I like writing it. One of my favorite genres is Historical Romance. I do NOT want to write a historical romance. And I love the ever loving crap out of fairy tales and portal fantasies. Can’t write one to save my life. Different genres and categories just have a different tone. And it probably goes without saying, but just because a book has a teen protagonist, doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for the young adult category. Not all teen protagonists are in the YA section. We know this.

This is what happened. After I decided to give my vampires a break, I decided to try writing YA. While I had technically written YA, I had never purposely written YA. We all know I’m bad at labeling my stuff. So, I started aging down my main characters and making other changes so I could squeeze my crap into the YA category because…reasons. It was most likely because I had just queried for the fourth time only to be no closer to getting published than I was when I started, so I decided to try something different. I really don’t know, but it sounds like something I would do.

In any case, I tried it, because I will try anything, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. The problem I ran into though is that I’ve been stuck in it ever since and dumping a lot of other ideas because they wouldn’t fit in the YA category, and that is just stupid.

This isn’t to say that I’m not going to write YA anymore. I’ll write it if I want. I’m just saying I’m putting a ban on it right now to see if that helps with this writing funk I keep slipping in and out of. I honestly hate to bail on another story, because I know it makes me look like I have the worst case of writer’s ADD ever, but I promised myself I would stop forcing crap, so I’m stopping. Why be miserable?

I wasn’t going to say anything, but part of this blog is about my writing journey, and this is part of my journey, so I thought I’d get it off my chest. Maybe I’m not the only one who’s forced myself to write something I’m not all that crazy about writing to see what would happen? At least I hope not. 😐

Anyway, I am in the early stages of a new project, but again, I don’t want to say anything about it until I know I’m not going to bail on it. Cause we know I’m prone to bailing, and it’s kind of embarrassing.

story of my life
story of my life

22 Responses to This One Time At Writing Camp…

  1. Is this where I admit that I flove (yes, flove) reading historical fiction and I love it when it’s super detailed historical fiction and it’s got real people in it–maybe it’s all about a real historical figure–and they’re dealing with Important Historical Events That Really Happened…

    but omg, I don’t want to write historical fiction like that. A) Other people do it so much better than I can and B) I like researching to an extent, but that much research? Oy, no thanks. I know I went a bit crazy with the research for the Keegans, but it was my first time actually seriously going through with writing hist. fic. I’m being a lot less neurotic about the research with Victoria.

    Or, as my friend who hated social studies in high school said after reading Pearl, “It’s just the right amount of historical…I get the point and what’s going on in history without feeling like I’m getting super lectured to.” 🙂 So, I guess I’m kind of more on the personal/wallpaper end of historical fiction. Maybe?

    I also love historical romance. Love it! It’s my comfort reading. But I can’t write it.

    • ^_^ That’s exactly how I feel! I have this YA fantasy anthology that I’m reading right now and I freaking LOVE it! (Flove it! Lol!) But if I have to write another YA novel right now, I’m going to lose my mind.

      Wallpaper historicals. 🙂 That’s a perfect description of it! Immersive without being hit over the head with a textbook. ^_^ I still want to try some kind of historical fantasy one day, but I really don’t like doing research, so I don’t know. Lol!

  2. I’m in a similar boat. I love a lot of genres, being the consumate geek and bookworm that I am. But to date almost 80% of what I’ve finish is Horror. Lots of family and even romance elements, but still Horror. I’ve got a Fantasy Romance waiting for me to
    finish and sub somewhere, but I’m not sure how likely that is to happen. Yes, it is a Dark Fantasy Romance in keeping with my love of Morticia and Gomez from The Addams Family. I would feel bad submitting it anywhere because I’m not an aspiring Romance Writer though, and I don’t think Romance needs another wannabe in it for the money no matter how respectful they are.

    • I love The Addams Family! I understand. I wrote a romance heavy (heavy for me) paranormal a couple of years ago that I can’t do anything with. I love it – it’s just not very good because that was the first time I tried anything like that and It may be a long while before I try it again.

  3. I think writing different stuff really improves a writer. I absolutely love YA and I want to be a YA writer, but I’d also like to do so much more. To keep my mind entertained I write different things so that when I work on my MS it isn’t so monotonous. I write poetry, songs on my guitar, and short stories (where the protag is not a teen ) 😛 and find that it really keeps me on my toes.

    • Experimentation is a great teacher. ^_^ I like to think bringing some of those other elements back to home base really strengthens my writing overall.

      I write songs, too! Only with the keyboard because I only know a few guitar cords.

  4. omg, yesssssssssssssss. I am really trying to understand another totally different area that I never thought I’d be interested it, but here I am, trying to learn.

  5. I completely understand how you feel. The whole reason I wrote my contemporary was because I felt like I wasn’t getting any where with my fantasies. They were what I loved, but I thought I’d change it up. Now I’m back to writing a fantasy again. it’s what I love and I hope it goes well. I really want it to go well. Or maybe I just need to accept that I’m a terrible writer.

    • Totally on the same page. I was starting to think that maybe I’m just not ever going to be good enough. But I know I learned a lot writing all this YA! So I’m hoping that everything will be even better than it was before, now that I’m back on my home planet. *fingers crossed for us*

  6. This rings true on a lot of levels. I think you are right on the money taking a break from YA. If you’ve been changing your stories to meet some category requirements, I think that is a bad sign. Let the story be the story and then when it’s done and it’s good you can find a home for it.

  7. I’d be doomed if I had to write what I loved to read. Nope, I won’t even go there because it’s better to let others write those. I’ll just stay where I am and enjoying reading the stuff.
    As to my own writing, I know some authors stick to certain genres. I could never do that. I tried only to write MG, but ended up hating so many WiPs after only the first few chapters-my story graveyard is pretty big. I find writing flows better when I simply write that what comes. If an idea is YA, then let it be YA! If it’s adult horror, then let it be that. If it’s a contemporary fairy tale for monkeys, then monkeys beware! If we try to fold stories into a certain category, then they get wrinkled and ugly. Plus, it’s good to jump into other areas, genres we might not have considered before. Even if those venture flop, it’s still a great learning experience and who knows what will come out of it. Write, the genre will follow.

      • Lol! You’re so awesome! ^_^ Doomed, indeed! I think you’re spot on with trying different things. I can’t finish most of them, but whenever I try something wild, I always come back to home base doubly inspired. 🙂 I never jumped around too much with my writing, but I do like getting a change of scenery now and then.

    • I don’t think the problem is trying to catergorize stuff before hand, it is to me in trying to force a story to be YA when it isn’t or to be a normal Romance when that it is is Horror Romance or Splaterpunk with a strong romantic element. Knowing where our stories fit does help I think, because it gives us power to knowingly bring in tropes and parts of other genres while still maintaining the one that fits the story the best. But that power can be abused if the writer is adamant all their work will be one type and thus any idea must be forced into that mold.

      I mean, I love vampires and get a ton of ideas for vampire stories from a Lit Paranormal to Horror set in the 1920s to Horror Romance to Historical Fantasy with a vampire spy for the Patriot side in the American Revolution. But I still write contemporary when the mood strike, and one day I WILL write a story about one of America’s early female spies. The story of agent 355 from the Culper Ring in New York is extremely fascinating to me, and we know little of her except that she was from a Loyalist family. I’ve even written a Horror Romance flash piece sanse vampires, featuring a pair of female serial killers. Being flexible is important.

  8. *Hugs* You should write what you want. Write it, query it, shelve it if it goes nowhere. And wait. Because one day, the cycles will run full circle again and what you write would be in fashion once more.

    I can’t imagine not writing something I love. That’s the only way you can persevere and work on it over and over again.

    *Hugs again*

    • Thank you so much, Ifeoma! <3 ^_^ You're so right. things do always cycle back around again, and It's near impossible to keep going when you're entire heart and soul isn't in the project you're working on. As much as it sucks, I rather shelve something I love than force myself through something that is making is miserable.

Hi! ^_^