If a Character Shouts

If a character shouts in a forest, but there’s no one there to hear them, do they make a sound?

I’ve been absent lately, I know. For a long time. I haven’t touched any form of writing, or even had it cross my mind for more than a minute. But life has been full.

I’m working two jobs while going to school full-time, doing honors and being involved with two organizations on campus. Not to mention being an aunt to my baby niece, and trying to fit in both a social life and something resembling a love life. There just hasn’t been room for writing in my crazy, hectic, but wonderful life. And I’m okay with that right now.

It took a while, but eventually my characters fell silent. I stopped having the urge to write. I stopped feeling bad about not writing. I put my publishing dreams on hold.

Some people think that if we’re writers, we should be writing all the time. That somehow, if we’re not writing, we’re not “real” writers anymore. But honestly, if you’re a “real” writer, writing will always be a part of you. There’s ink in your blood, and it will be there whether you write everyday or don’t touch a pen for months.

I’ve been content without writing, and even without being a part of the writing community, as much as I love it. Lately, my characters have started whispering to me again. A line in a song will trigger a scene, or a snippet of dialogue will pop into my mind. I’m not sure where I stand on my manuscripts. I don’t know if I’m ready to dive back into edits, but I don’t feel strongly enough about anything new to start from scratch.

So I’m here in limbo, standing at the edge of the forest. I can hear my characters in the distance, but not enough to make me go in. I’m not ready to write yet, but I’m getting closer.

In the mean time, I’ll try to be as active as I can, and I appreciate your continued support. Y’all really are the best. Hope everything is well, writing and otherwise ❤

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Good Isn’t Good Enough

I’ve been telling stories since before I knew how to write. I taught myself how to type when I was five just so I could write out my stories. Writing is in my blood, and it probably is for a lot of you.

Then you’ve probably also been told many times throughout your life that you’re a good writer. It becomes a title almost synonymous with your name. Teachers, peers, relatives told me all through growing up that I was a good writer. Which at the time was great. It encouraged me to write more, to push myself further. 

And then somehow, it just stopped. I plateaued. I reached a point, around high school, where I was a really good writer. I’d written books, had my own style and voice, had a system. 

I was good. And that was enough. 

I stayed that way for years. It wasn’t until I finally ventured into the writing community that I got a rude awakening. Suddenly, I wasn’t the only good writer in the room, I was surrounded by them.


At first, I was intimidated, insecure, disheartened. What now? Surely I had no hope against countless other writers just as good as I was. 

It took me a while to learn and truly understand the answer, but I’m so glad I did. Over time, I stopped seeing the community as competition and started seeing it as just that–a community. A support group, a panel of advisors, a limitless encyclopedia, a family.

I learned more in a few months with the writing community than I learned in an entire lifetime of writing on my own. Good wasn’t good enough anymore. So I had to be better. 

Writers are a bit infamous for how hard we are on ourselves. But honestly, I think that’s what changes us from good to great. If you don’t ever think you’re good enough, you will constantly be working towards better.

If you want to be a successful writer, never stop learning. Have your writing critiqued as much as you can. Learn from those wiser and more experienced than you. Read. Write. Read again. Write more. Push yourself as much and as far as you can. Humble yourself. Learn. Grow.

Don’t ever be okay with being a good writer. Because good isn’t good enough. 

Calling All Beta Readers

As many of you know, I finished my YA fantasy Nightfire a while ago. While my other MS is out on submissions, I want to get Nightfire ready for querying. Which means edits, but at this point I really need a fresh set of eyes.

Life is great and busy for my CPs which is awesome but means I don’t have my usual people to go to. So I need your help! I’m looking to you, #amwriting community, for a few great beta readers that can give me focused, honest feedback that will help set me on the right path for edits. Are you a fan of YA fantasy? Have you read some of my snippets and want to see more? Or maybe you’re just a super awesome person who wants to help a fellow writer out 🙂 Please let me know! If you want to but don’t have much time to commit, I’ll gladly take more general feedback, or send a partial instead.

If you’re interested, you can read more about Nightfire under the My Books tab, or read some snippets from the Weekend Writing Warriors category. If you want to be a beta reader please comment below, message me on Twitter, or email me at vdavenportwrite@gmail.com.

Thank yall so much!

Followers or Friends?

This is something that’s bothered me, and I’ve wanted to write a post on for a while now. I talk a lot about how amazing the online writing community is, and they really are. Where else can you meet so many awesome, nerdy people from all around the world who love the same things you do?

I’ve never seen another group of strangers be so supportive for each other and be so united, without ever having met. A lot of times, the #amwriting community is what gets me through the day, or what makes me keep going when I don’t want to, or keeps me from giving up hope.

The online writing community and those connections are very important to me. So I find it really frustrating, especially as I’ve become more involved and gained a larger presence online, to find more people solely concerned with what they can get out of you.

I rarely unfollow people, but it’s usually for the same reason I choose not to follow someone in the first place. If their feed is filled with mindless RTs, links, and promotions, I’m not going to follow them. To me, that’s not really contributing anything, but more screaming Look at me! Buy my book! I want to make real connections, not scroll through a bunch of links and tweets that could have been posted by robots.

Recently, I had apparently unfollowed a certain user at some point, and they left me a nasty comment trying to make me feel like a bad person for doing so. It certainly made me feel icky, but not for the reason they intended. I didn’t feel guilty, I just felt attacked. There was nothing personal about it, but they had made it personal. If we never connected, never talked, and there was nothing genuine there, why would I want to follow them?

Similarly, I’ve had several users with massive numbers follow me more than once, meaning they had followed, unfollowed, and followed me again (sometimes three or four times), without recognizing me and probably without ever knowing who I was. Clearly, there was no real connection there, I was just another stat to add to their numbers.

Another thing I’ve noticed is how many of these accounts simply RT and follow those on the #amwriting or other tags, without even seeming to read the tweet or notice the person. I’ve seen these accounts RT inappropriate and completely unrelated things, simply because they were tagged with the #amwriting tag, usually because it was trending. In that case, do those RTs even mean anything?

Obviously, no group is going to be perfect, especially when the internet is involved. But sometimes it just leaves me with an icky feeling, rather than the usual warm and fuzzies I get from the #amwriting community. To these people, you’re more important as a number than as a person.

There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of followers, or following everyone back. But I’ve become a lot more conscious on who I choose to connect with, and what their motivations are.

The online writing community can be whatever you choose to make it, and what you want to get out of it. I feel like those who are obsessed with followers and RTs, just for the sake of followers and RTs, are missing out on all the best parts. The #amwriting community isn’t just for gaining influence, building an audience, and selling books. Actually, most evidence has shown that social media isn’t a huge boost to book sales.

The best parts are everything besides the numbers. The awesome people, the friends, the diversity, the connections, the networking, the business opportunities, the support. Really, would you rather have all of that, or a whole lot of numbers that in the end, don’t actually mean anything?

Why I Said No To Nano

NaNoWriMo is not for the faint of heart.

I had always heard stories, but finally got a taste of it myself when I participated in CampNaNo this July. Though I only had a goal of 20,000 instead of the standard 50,000, I learned a lot about the process–and myself.

CampNaNo was a great experience. My favorite part was by far the community. I made new connections, and became closer with some I already knew. The support was amazing from my fellow writers, both those participating and those not. I also challenged myself, and I made my goal even though I didn’t think I could.

So, if CampNaNo was great, why didn’t I join NaNoWriMo this year?

I’ve been telling people that November is too busy in the semester for me to possibly do it. Which is true, but it is not my only reason for not participating.

While CampNaNo was a great experience, and I learned about myself, I also learned that I do not work well in that setting. Yes, I met my goal, and yes I got the words out, but it was painful. And when they were out, they were awful. Those awful words sent me into a battle with my writing, that lasted three months after CampNaNo. After writing 20,000 words in one month, it took me three months to write the next 20,000. Not only was I burnt out, but I lost my way, and struggled because I didn’t know how to fix what I had written, or where to go from there.

I love the concept of NaNoWriMo. I love the community and the challenge. But even if it is possible to do it, should you? I learned that yes, it was possible for me to do–but maybe I shouldn’t, because in the long run, it hurt my writing more than it helped me.

NaNoWriMo is awesome, and I’m cheering on all of you crazy brave enough to do it this year. But just know that it’s not for everyone, and it’s okay if it’s not right for you. That doesn’t mean you’re chicken, or any less of a writer than people who do NaNo.

Some people can churn out 5k+ words a day, and write for hours on end. Not all of us are like that. If you’re like me, you can go days without writing, then write two chapters all at once. Or write a few days in a row, but only get a couple paragraphs down. You might not have the luxury of being able to write for hours a day in order to meet that word count, or maybe you just don’t want to. Maybe that’s not how you work as a writer, and that’s okay.

If you’re participating in NaNo, you should get a medal. But if you’re not, be proud of your choice. We Non-Nanos have to stick together, and cheer our friends who are running  the NaNo marathon on. Because at the end of the day, NaNo or not, we’re all writers, and we’re all on the same team.

Good luck, and keep writing!

6 Month Blog-a-versary and Thank YOU

Six months ago to the day (minus one) I started this whole adventure. I’d been writing my whole life, but finally decided to dive into the writing community. I had no idea what to expect, and no idea that it would ever become something that truly has a piece of my heart.

Six months ago, I was just another blogger, sharing her love of writing, and talking to an empty room.

I started this because it was what I was supposed to do. I wanted to build myself as a professional, get involved and plugged in, and learn about the industry. Which I did, and it’s been great, but I didn’t plan on meeting people who were genuinely kind and went out of their way to help me, or just talk about life. I didn’t plan on really making connections over the internet, because that seemed like such a strange concept to me, but I also didn’t know the writing community then.

Oh, I had no idea. 🙂

Six months later, I have over 1,000 total followers and have made true connections, relationships, and even friendships in that. I think that is the biggest thing that surprised me; how close the online writing community feels. We are separated by miles, countries, and even languages, but you have become a part of my life.

Some of you have helped me with professional questions, or writing dilemmas, or finding inspiration. Some of you have debated opinions with me, or talked about life, or supported me in my illness even though most of you have no idea what it is like. When I am having a bad day, I can always count on words and the writing community. No matter what, there is always a smile there for me.

Six months ago, I couldn’t imagine what this would be like. Now I can’t imagine what it would be like without all of this.

Really, I couldn’t do this without you.

So, here I am, sending 1,022 virtual hugs to each and every one of you.

I have learned and grown so much, and gained so much happiness since I started. You have made these six months amazing, and so worth it.

So thank YOU.

 

What’s Up Wednesday

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What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. If you’d like to join us, check out the blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! 

What I’m Reading

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The Park Service by Ryan Winfield (Park Service Trilogy #1). I totally happened on this book by accident, I was actually reading another book when I found it and downloaded a sample on my kindle. This book is a perfect example of two things you’re normally not supposed to do (prologue, and opening with MC waking up) and doing them so well it blew my mind (a further blog post to follow regarding rules and how to break them). I was so hooked by the end of the prologue, I put away the other book and haven’t been able to put down this one since. Winfield has created such a vivid, resonating, creative, and yet realistic world. He has done post-apocalyptic society in a unique way that is also entirely believable. I can’t wait to see what’s next 🙂

What I’m Writing

Well, I thought I was done with my MS. Seriously, I had started printing it out for a read-through. But of course my characters wouldn’t let me get off that easily. I already knew I had to change my climax and pacing, but wanted to find that out in the read-through. As part of the pacing, I counted how many scenes each POV had, and found an overwhelming gap. So I went to even that gap, and Crow (one POV) yanked the pen out of my hands and started writing his own story. I’m serious. I’ve added over 6k of purely his POV so far, with more scenes planned. He is even fighting to become the ultimate love interest, instead of the guy I’ve had planned all along. It’s kind of frustrating but amazing all at the same time. As I also talked about in this post, I’ve unbound his restraints, and he’s shown me all new depths of darkness and depravity, but it’s kind of brilliant and exciting 🙂

What Inspires Me

This week I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by support from the writing community. I’ve been a little out of touch with my online presence lately, with so much else going on, that it seemed a lot like a chore. Then I came back, and I remembered why writers and book people are the best people in the world 🙂 It is amazing to me that I can connect to people I’ve never met before, some who are across oceans and continents from me. And I love when I see bookish things trending on twitter, hashtags we created, because it reminds me of the impact and influence we can have when we put our minds to it. I kind of picture us like a little nerd army, wielding books and laptops as weapons 😉

What Else I’m Up To

SUMMER! Sorry, this has been a crazy semester and I am so glad to be done with it. I’ve been enjoying the time off with much needed naps, binge-watching Netflix, and pool time. This summer, boyfriend and I decided to try something different, since we’ve kind of gotten into the lull of just spending time at each others houses, watching Netflix or movies, usually in our PJs. Boyfriend actually came up with the idea, and I was inspired by many similar lists we found on Pinterest.

So, we made our very own Summer Bucket List! The idea is to (at least) once a week do something new or different than our usual. It includes everything from roadtrips to frisby golf to reading a book together, and we have 75 on the list so far. Boyfriend even had the added idea of writing them down, sorting into categories, and drawing randomly (ie places to go, museums, free, restaurants, and whichever we pick, we have to do). What do you think? Do you have any awesome summer ideas for us?

Happy Wednesday! 🙂