A piece of cake. Error: Not.

Do you know what the hardest part is after you have finished your third draft? In case you were wondering by the way, I’m still on my fourth draft (and hopefully very last one), however it’s going incredibly slow because of something I realised when I got the feedback from my closest people. What I gathered was a heck of a lot of conflicting and confusing comments. So what happens then?

Not everyone will like what you do, and I thought that was fine, but when the people that adore you and care for you can’t make up their minds, what do you do then? Whose opinion should matter most? Yes technically the last word should be mine, but since a book it’s for the readers and not just you, how do you choose which reader’s comments to go with? You could technically argue that with choosing the one who matches your preferred demographic e.t.c, but how can you really choose one of your people over the others?

It’s like if you’ve made a cake, the best cake you’ve ever made, and you shared it with four of your closest, most dearest, friends and each person had something to say about it. It may not have been all negative, but it was definitely conflicting. “That’s too much sugar,” “I find it a bit too moist.” “No, that’s what I love about it! I actually think it needs more sugar.”

All these words cloud your mind, and blind your artistic vision. So that’s where I am right now, trying to see again. Trying to find what works for me with everyone’s comments, and if you’ve ever tried to do that before, then you know how hard it is.

But fear not, dear fellow writer, for I’ll get there. 2,000 words a day, at a time.

Love,

Nina Econ

World class tea drinker and newly art enthusiast.

x

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Nth Draft? Never ending loop, ABORT.

So I lied. Didn’t I write “I’ll be watching films and reading books?”? I did, didn’t I? Reading books and watching films, my ass. That’s so NOT what happened.  I finished my second draft on a Saturday and on the Monday I was already working on my third draft. Why you ask? Well let me think…

I am insane. That’s why. I clearly want to self destruct. Thankfully I reasoned with myself and took it easy, followed by a month of my parents visiting – so obviously I needed to keep my writing on the down low. (It sounds like I’m a spy or something – It’s not that fancy, really. I mean you are a writer too so you know.) And then, I decided to learn Korean. Yes Korean. You’ve read it right, I’m not joking. I’ve also started making Youtube videos about my journey.

As I’ve said before I am apparently, absolutely weird.

Today I wanted to talk about what I call ‘The Nth Draft’. It’s so easy to keep writing and keep changing, as I found very recently. I have finished draft number three and my parents are currently reading my book (the big dogs, I know) and I already have so many things I need to change. What you need to remember, myself included, is that you don’t have to. There are no set rules. Seriously, I’ve checked. There’s nothing. So you don’t have to. Now before you try to send your first draft to the agents, let me stop you right there baby writer. No.. PUT THE DRAFT DOWN. Down… That’s it. Your first draft is shit. I’m sorry I’m mean to you, but that’s how it is. Just like how the sky is blue, or the flowers blossom in spring, it’s a fact. All our first drafts are shit. Like have you seen mine? No, so stop feeling sorry for yourself and read it again. Find the changes that it needs, read books, watch films. Get out there, and see things. And when you get to draft number three, read this post again.

Maybe you have finished your third draft too? Well done you! Most agents prefer to read 3rd or 4th drafts, because any changes after that are minor and wouldn’t make much difference. Now if you absolutely have to make a fourth draft then be my guest (I will as well), but that will be it. You can’t have unlimited drafts and never send any to an agent.  So let people you trust read it, that’s a very important point. And all you have to do is wait for comments. Listen to what they have to say and then adjust if you need to.

Let’s make another draft, and after than we will find agents to get them to read it. And hopefully they will!

Love,

Nina Econ

part time wannabe magician, and always, excellent, tea drinker.

x

P.S If you have finished a draft, please take some time off. Don’t be like me. Just do nothing for a bit, if you can.

Second draft, done. What’s next?

WARNING: THIS POST WAS MEANT TO BE UPLOADED ON THE 25/7/2015. PROCEED WITH CAUTION, AS EVENTS MAY HAVE CHANGED. (I’m kidding, I did finish the second draft. I’ve even finished the 3RD DRAFT. Yes. I know, insane. I know. Keep reading.)

“Oh my giddy aunt, it’s done. It’s done. After an eight hour shift at work, and 7000 words in three hours (don’t ask me how that is humanly possible) I have finished the second draft of my book.

I can’t describe the feeling of finishing your second draft. It’s different than the first draft, but it’s still exciting and nerve-racking as the first time around. Finishing it means I did it. That I worked on it, everyday, I kept writing, and it’s here. It’s done. 99,560 words in total, 349 pages and 33 chapters. My book is done.

After a week’s break of reading everything on my to-read pile, and watching every show I’ve been postponing, I will then start the process of finding which agents I should send my manuscript to. If you are at the stage where I am right now, then you need (and I can’t express just how much you do) the “Writer’s and Artists’ Year book”. Every year they bring a new one with an updated list of agents and publishing houses, their areas of expertise and preferences, and how to write summaries and cover letters and all the details you will need to do to impress your potential agent/publisher.

You don’t need to, per say, to have an agent, but it is hugely advised by anyone you will meet in the industry. Long gone are the days where publishing houses read manuscripts left on their doors and fell in love with them. It may still happen, but their time is limited now and can’t be “wasted” on just any manuscript. That’s why they want manuscripts sent by agents. If the agent went through the time to read the whole thing, and select it, then it means it’s good. You have to admit they have a point, but it’s still scary. Sending your baby off to someone who will judge it it’s torture and borderline masochism if you think about it.

But this is the stage I am on now, on my road to getting published. Preparing for how to approach an agent. Which in my books (no pun intended) is just like birds falling off the tree for the first time not knowing how to fully fly. And those birds don’t have parachutes. They can fall and die. They can die I tell you! But let’s not get hasty with our imaginations, fellow baby writers. If we have improved our work in the best way we can, then all we can do is let it fly. Even if it doesn’t fly and it crashes flat on the ground, you can still proudly announce that you finished a book. There aren’t many that have spent time on 70,000-90,000 words. People would rather watch Netflix and eat pizza, which ultimately is what I want to do in my life, always.”

Expect a new post of what actually happened the week after I finished my second draft. I’m sorry I’m so late. I’m a despicable human being. But don’t you worry, the new post will be up tomorrow. I promise. (maybe I shouldn’t but I am. There you go, it’s done. I’ve promised.)

I hope you are still writing, don’t you dare procrastinate on me. Okay? We are in this together. So get finishing on whatever draft you are on, so we can be on the same page. Either way, keep on writing and I have the most absolute faith in you. If I did it, then anyone can. After all I am the Queen of Procrastination.

Love,

Nina Econ

a still struggling, always working, writer.

Women, just stop!

If you live in 2015 then you’ll probably have heard all of the things that women are doing wrong. They wear too much make up, they wear too little make up, they are not fit enough, they are not feminine enough. Women are seducing men through all these different lies, and can I just say, stop!

Can you, the man who is reading this, who probably saw a no make-up faced girl and thought she was ugly, or saw a full make-up faced girl and thought she was insecure, can you just fucking stop. In all that is holy in this God damn world, please just stop. Firstly, I’ll have you know, most girls don’t wear make-up for you. We wear make-up for ourselves. Yeah, our world doesn’t revolve around you, unlike yours does. We pretty much don’t care what you think. Some do of course, as some men care about women’s opinion, but trust me that make-up is not our cunning plan to hide the monster we are so you can love us. No. Make-up is fun. We love to show a different side of us, which is what it is. And if you are dumb, or shallow enough to think that the woman beneath that make-up isn’t worthy of your feelings or your compliments, then please go fuck yourself in the corner of the universe. We don’t want you on this planet.

Women are real. Women are beautiful humans, not sexual desires men create them to be. Women are curvy, and thin, and tall, and short, and they have acne, and they have broad shoulders, and small boobs. Women are miracles that create life out of nothing, so please shut the fuck up. Not all women have the perfect nose, or the perfect hair. Their skin changes monthly. We get periods, and yes you can think bloody mess and mood swings and I don’t care if it grosses you out because it’s fucking nature. So you, man, who thinks women are the reason of your trusting issues, they are bloody not. You are the problem.

I’m sorry, did that hurt your pride? Did that hurt your fictional world you have lived in for so long? Well tough. You don’t get to call anyone ugly, or think you are better. That’s not what a man is. A man is not someone who is shallow and minimises women by their freedom of expression, even if that is make-up, or by their clothes. You don’t get to call the shots because someone looks a certain way. They do. A woman isn’t bossy because she is opinionated. She is a strong individual who aspires to do better with herself, unlike your arrogant, selfish, twat of a face. A woman isn’t weak if she is crying. A woman isn’t an object you can toy with. Women have muscles, and nerves, and a heartbeat, despite your tries to mould them into sexual inanimate objects.

Am I hurting you? Good. Now you know what your comments feel like.

There are so many things I’d like to say about what is wrong with the perception of women in this apparently man’s world, but I won’t say anything more. Instead I’ll ask you kindly to just stop. Stop being a horrible pain in the ass, and be a person; someone who admires and respects a woman no matter what she may look like or wear.

Please be a person, not “a man”, and realise that the word ‘woman’ is something so incredible you can never truly, fully define. So please treat the female humans of the world just like that.

Thank you.

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OTGP: The journey of a passionate writer. 2nd Drafts

Excuse the horrendous acronym but it was getting too long and I couldn’t find anything cool to change it to. So OTGP (On To Getting Published) it is. The title is still ridiculously long, but trust me, as I’ll keep posting these I am absolutely positive it will end up being something along the lines of ‘OTGP: AHSGAKHSGKB’.

Today I’m going to be talking about second drafts. If you are currently working through one then you know exactly what I’m feeling. Which is the lowest point of the roller-coaster. I even think I know how scrambled eggs feel like, just in a pile of mush together co-existing but not really being. You are not an egg anymore, you are just this mixture of substance. I don’t think people understand how uninspiring second drafts can be. You’ve already written the book once and now you are re-writing it? What? Who even has time for that? You do. And if you are anything like me you spend it unwisely… yes Netflix, I’m talking about you.

Of course it wasn’t always like this. In the beginning you were excited to start on this adventure, to perfect your once shitty draft. But there is a point, the one I’m at, where you just don’t want to. It’s not a writer’s block exactly because you are simply following your first draft, it’s more of a rut. A rut of word vomiting that you can’t get out of. I don’t always feel like this, there are weeks that everything goes great. But in the very moment of now, I am feeling uninspired. I did a month ago as well, when I realised it was taking longer than I wanted it to. It’ll take longer than you plan and that’s okay. (I still have to tell myself once in a while, but it’s true.)

Second drafts can also be very stressful. If you have a word limit per day (I do), and you don’t get those words done you feel like a complete failure and want to do nothing ever again. Soon you’ll find that writing takes over your life and it’s not fun anymore. And you feel guilty for doing other things. One of the few things that helped me reduce the amount of stress I put on myself was to give myself the weekends off. It’s true that writing never ends, because writers simply have the need to constantly express themselves. It’s an inner hidden need that you can’t switch off I’m afraid, it’s as beautiful of a gift as it is a curse. Which is exactly why allowing yourself to not be guilty for having a life is crucial. Having the weekends off changed the way I wrote. I was more inspired during the week (don’t take this week for example, it’s just a bad week- most weeks I’m absolutely on point). The other thing which I found absolutely useful for my health and sanity was to have a schedule. You can’t force creativity and inspiration, but like any beast you can tame it. Before I managed to do that I was sleeping badly because inspiration would hit me at 2 am and I had to write for two hours. They were ugly, really bad weeks but I got the words down. I am a morning person so I hate wasting the morning by sleeping till noon, which is what ended up happening till I realised I had to do something about it.

So I started a ‘let’s work’ group. Me and my friends would get together and work at the same time. Writing is a very lonely task and a path you are most likely to take on your own, but you need that human interaction. I work better when I’m with people, it helps me stay motivated. We went at 11 am and left at 5pm and after that I would do no writing. As soon as I went back home, I would stop and relax for the night. That’s how I started having a structured schedule and I did 2000 words a day (my goal).

These are a few pointers and they are by no means absolute or the only ones but they are what helped me. I’m currently half way through my second draft, page 122, Chapter 13 and 33827 words in total. It’s getting there but slowly, and yours will do too. So my dear friend don’t lose hope, take the bad days as they are, make the most you can on your good days and keep going. I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end. It already kinda is.

Lots of love and magic,

Nina Econ

Struggling writer by day, Netflix extraordinaire by night.

Ministry of Magic correspondent.

xx

On to getting published: The journey of a passionate writer (part 1)

That is probably the longest and most unwitty nor carefully selected title but it is the truth and I figured the truth is better than nothing, right? As you can probably tell from the title, I am a writer (amongst other things). And not just any writer, but a passionate writer. What I mean by that, is through my acquaintances with writers I have come across some that weren’t passionate about the craft and were eager for a quick result. But I am the kind that can’t sleep at night because an idea is circling around my brain and I need to write it down immediately. I am the kind that is annoyingly observing everyone and is always coming up with characters and stories. I am the kind that is always asking why.

So if you are like me or just fairly new to writing then join me in this process of trying to get my book published. I am currently re-drafting my first draft. I have read many books on writing and most of them don’t comment on how difficult re-drafting is. In fact they say it’s easier than finishing the first draft. I have found it can be both. Most of the time you’ll find the first draft, appallingly bad. It would be so bad you’d want to quit right then and there, and turn into a couch potato for the rest of your days. As appealing as that is, don’t. If you love writing then keep doing it. We won’t get into the endless debate of what is art, and is art mainly something that is acknowledged and praised by certain individuals or is art simply a form of expression. That is a conversation for another time. This time is yours. Simply, write. Writers breathe, sleep and eat, to write. There’s something powerful that overtakes your entire being. Sometimes – more often than not, it leaves you. And you are simply left with nothing but agony over the 120 words you wrote on that day, when other days you write 3,000 words. But if you have finished the first draft then you know all about it. For you beginners out there I’ll get back on first drafts on later posts. I want this to be a documentation of emotions and struggles I’m going/will go through during my second draft.

So here we go:

You’ve just finished your first draft? Holy smokes, well done you! (Seriously, I’m not kidding even though that sounded very sarcastic). I do mean it, well done. Go celebrate! Do you know how hard it is to write a book? I bet you do! But I want you to acknowledge it now, in this moment go celebrate. You might think it’s the most disgusting pile of shit you’ve ever read when you read it back, but I promise you that it’s not. I haven’t read it, but you are a writer so I trust you. So celebrate, enjoy a week off. Because the one thing I’ve learned over these 7 years that I’ve been writing, is that writing never stops. And you need to give yourself some time. Yes your brilliant brain, deserves some time off. Get yourself some tea, some cake and some Netflix and do nothing. Or whatever else you want to do.

Part of the struggles of re-drafting is seeing the good in your work, because all we ever see are the horrible mistakes and everything we don’t like. It’s very easy during re-drafting to change everything. But I would try not to do that. Change what ever feels necessary, but trust me not all of it is as bad as you think. So before you start onto your re-changing the whole bloody thing, get people to read it. Not many but a few very trusted, goodness overloaded, hearts. They can help you see the good in your work. I found this to work brilliantly for me as I was writing my first draft. I kept sending updated version of the book as I was working on it to two friends of mine, who were so helpful and bless their souls they read it all. They kept me going till I finished it. So I knew of their comments and what needed changing. And as I re-read my first draft, I found that experience gave me an advantage. It wasn’t complete, utter crap. I actually saw, some good in it myself. And then I started re-writing. And things changed, for the better. I kept some things exactly the same, word for word, but others I made better. And I found that easier than past projects. In past projects, letting go of such precious work was hard. I found it really hard to allow change to develop in my writing and stories. But not in this one, and the only thing that helped was time. And experience. So new writers, I know it seems like shit, but practise makes perfect. It’s now a fact. (I made it so. JK.)

So this is part one: The celebration stage of finishing your first draft and realising how much work you still have left to do. As I said, writing never ends.

Much love and good luck is send your way (I’m literally crossing everything I can cross).

Nina Econ

Fellow self-established writer

Ministry of Magic representative

and world class tea drinker. xx

Enough?

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There is a point in everyone’s lives, maybe for some is their entire life or simply certain times, where they are told they are not good enough. They are told by society, by the media or even by family and close friends. And we start to think just that.

“I am not good enough. I am not skinny enough, curvy enough, or tall enough. I am not pretty enough. I am not strong enough.” Everyone thinks they are less of “something”. And the saddest part is that we believe it, so clearly and dearly that we start becoming less than we actually are and deserve to be.

Maybe you feel that you are not smart enough, or fun enough. If you are not into maths it doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. Or if you are into maths it doesn’t mean you are not fun or are lacking in any other aspect of life. A few days ago I had realised that I was putting so much pressure on myself to be more than I already was.  I was doing just that, thinking of all the words I was not “enough” of. But at the end of the day they are just words. We are far more than that. We are more than words can describe. We are incredible beings that can dream, create and achieve so much. And I had also understood the very thing that was creating this illness in our minds, and it was society. There is a certain expectation of how things should plan out, how lives should be lived and how people should be like.

Well, que sera sera, what ever will be, will be. I always thought of myself as someone who lived by quotes and was influenced by many things and people, but it upset me how much hurt I put on myself without realising. This is my realisation: We are enough. We really, truly, most importantly, are enough. You are beautiful, strong, smart and you are incredible. Your body and soul are enough. And things will get better. If you are in school, things will get better. You will meet people, and you will meet yourself. If you are in your twenties still figuring stuff out, it will get better. You will figure them out and there is an end to the tunnel. It may take how ever long it will, but you will get there. Just keep going. And if you are in your later years in life and realise that your life isn’t what you wanted, it will get better. It all starts with a choice. And you can make that choice. You are brave and you can have that life you wanted. And it’s never too late for you to try.

You have already done enough. You are already doing enough, and you will not stop.  That is your greatest achievement. It’s not a failure, is the most incredible gift of all. That even without seeing any or many results you are still at it, like a bloody pro.  Things may take a while, but trust me, you’ll do exactly what you want to do. You’ll travel the world if you want to, you’ll finish that film, you’ll move out. It will happen.

So if you are hurting yourself like I did, then take a break. You are worthy; you are enough.

 

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