JB's Aphotic Scriptorium

...My writing sanctuary...

So, your sitting there, in front of your computer, looking blankly at the screen. You're mind forms the word you've dreaded since your story first started taking form. Your palms start to sweat, your pulse rises; ringing in your ears, and the palpable feeling of panic starts to build in the room.
Writer's Block.
It's definition: a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with writing a novel, play, or other work.
And lets be realistic and add to it that we all go through it. Every writer has had it; every writer will.
Perhaps you are sitting there, reading this, in the middle of it. Well good. What I've got to say should, with any luck, steer you in the proper direction.

So as is seemingly the tradition, I'm going to open up with stuff about what I've gone through and done to get out of it.
So you all know that I had the idea for the book I'm doing now for years. And you also should remember that it took me a long time to get going on it, and finally start writing. (and if you didn't remember I just said it so you're good). One would think that that would lead us to the present day of me writing away, but no. Now, what I didn't tell you (because I was waiting for this topic), was the time in between those two points. And it was rough. Really really rough.
So I started at what I believe to be a November, but I can't exactly recall. So I started writing some things down: character bios, family trees, summaries of plot, sub-plots et cetera, but with quite a lot of self doubt and nervousness. Those feelings were well founded because I had never done anything even close to writing a novel.
So, you'd expect me to go full-speed ahead, right? Well, not exactly.
For maybe three months or so I would write here and there; nothing really solid, and never for too long.
Then I hit the biggest Writer's Block in my history.
It lasted for more then nine (yes, count them; nine) months, and almost reached the tenth month mark. From January to August I wrote not a word for my story; nothing.
Perhaps you're asking"Well why didn't you? What was the reason?", but change the question around a little and ask yourself "Why have I stopped? What is the real problem?".
Okay let's do some self-searching. Look at the list below, and analyze each one to see if could/is a factor in your Writer's Block. I'm going to be specific, but if you need to (and I encourage you) change it around as you see fit.
1) task seemed to big so you gave up (whether you realized this consciously or unconsciously)
2) felt like idea has been done before, so no point was seen
3) no ideas came to mind/every idea tried just didn't fit
4) tired of writing

Now I will attempt to take on these problems and finally win the battle over the dreaded Writer's Block!
1) Okay, let's not beat around the bush here: writing a novel is a big task. A very big one. Naturally this reality is going to catch up with you so time or another, but remember that an impossible task and a big task are two completely different things. So what if it's a challenge? That's part of the experience, and you'll be all the better for it if you embrace the troubles that come along with writing than giving up on it altogether. Why? Because if you give up, your story will never be written. You will never get that euphoric feeling of elation when you finally finish your final draft. Above all, you need to try, and follow through with it and not be paralyzed in the fear of what's ahead of you.
2) News Flash; everything has been done. Name any book and I can promise you that the topic has been broached before. Perhaps it has been done in a slightly different way, but all in all there are no new topics to do. Don't let that make you feel down though; on the contrary, you should feel a sense of freedom now. Now you don't need to worry and compare you writings to other stories that hold similar ideas/topics/themes. But DO NOT steal the exact same ideas/character et cetera from someone else's work. I'm not going to write about a girl named Alison that falls down a hole into another world and chases a black rabbit that is obsessed with time, and then call it my own idea. Do you see the difference then me writing about a boy named Adam falling into a well that is a portal to another dimension where time runs backwards? Finding another world and the theme of time and dreams have been done, but remember to make the story your own, not just copy someone else's.
3) I put these two together because they encompass the same basic idea; things just aren't working out. To be honest, it happens. Sometime characters or plots throw you a curve ball and you've just got to take it as they come. My advice on what to do next: go read a book, watch a movie, talk to people, watch television; anything to that could spark your interests. I know, the advice is simple and nothing innovative, but sometimes you need someone else to tell you (which is where I come in). Often you will be focusing too hard on our story and what you want to happen, that you won't see all of the other wonderfully creative ideas around you. So take some time away, and put it out of your mind. Give your mind some time to build up those creative juices again.
4) I like this one. Why? Because the answer is the easiest. STOP.
Yes, that's what I said: STOP.
You've hit the point where you just don't want to do it anymore because you don't like it. Why though? You've most likely over-written yourself. I need a break from writing sometimes because it can help me to refocus and let you find that passion again. Getting tired is a way of showing you need to rest and take a break, so follow that instinct, and leave for a while. Remember though, that's only half of it, coming back and starting to write again is the other part to it, so don't forget.

Conclusion: Writer's Block is beatable. It's takes some patience, yes, but eventually you will get through it (and chances are it won't take you almost ten months, so find some comfort in that!)

Happy Writing

I said before in my "On Writing: Aspiring Writers..." post that I would come back to this, and today's the day.
So I have no personal support in writing whatsoever. No one knows that I'm writing a book, or everything that goes along with it: writing forums, searching the Internet for articles and good web pages, buying many reference books, keeping a "Writing Journal", and my general involvement in the world of writing.
I'm not going to lie; it was not easy.
I felt like on my own, I couldn't achieve anything, and certainly not something of this magnitude. At first, the reason why I didn't tell anyone because I knew they would tell me that I flat-out couldn't do it. Call it the rebel in me, but I decided that I would prove them wrong and try my hand at it.
That stage in my writing wore off pretty quickly, and soon I had bigger worries then people telling me I couldn't do it. I was afraid that if I told them, they would question me as to why I was doing it, and judge me about it. Things like:
-Why are you doing your story on that?
You should do it this way.
-It doesn't make sense. Do it like this.
-No offense, that is a really stupid idea.
And I think you get it.
I had (and still do have) a very clear idea of where my story is going (just call me "uber organized"), and I was petrified that people were going to change my story.
And I don't mean sneak on to my computer at night and write it themselves, I mean pressuring me into changing it.
Let's face it, I have never done this before, and I want to know that I'm doing a good job and doing it right. If someone came in and said one of the comments I listed above, it would eat away at me until I changed it to exactly what they wanted. Which is exactly what I don't want.
The story I'm writing is for me, and only me. Yes, the dream is to get it published, but right now, I have an audience of one, and that one is the only person that counts. I don't want to change my story into something I don't like, and didn't originally want.
So it was just another reason to keep it to myself.
Then I got to the point where I thought "Okay, you've gotten really far, and your story is looking fairly good, so tell just one person. This way you can get another opinion than your own. Maybe your story will turn out better with some criticism, and you can get someone to edit after you have edited.".
Fairly good argument, really.
If you haven't already guessed, I am territorial about my book to an extreme. So I needed to find someone that I wouldn't have a panic attack even thinking about giving them my book.
At first I thought of my family. That way I didn't have to email my story, which basically would be putting it online (*shudders*), and they could just read it off of the computer. Those were the pros. But it didn't make sense for a couple reason to have them read it. One was because my family is not big on reading. Yes, they do read occasionally, things like magazines, or work related things, but not novels. Also, they weren't my target audience, and are not interested in the genre I'm working in. It didn't make sense because there opinion wasn't one that really counted.
So family was out. What about friends? I had one friend in mind specifically, so I went the hypothetical route, and thought of what would happen if I did give her my book to read/critique/edit. Well, first I had would have to get it to her. Email was out, because I refuse to put my work over the Internet and have who-knows-what happen to it. So that left giving her my printed versions (After I finish a chapter I computer edit, than print it out and edit/leave comments for further revision). What if she lost it? And someone found it? What if?
What if, What if, What if...
So many of these ran through my head, a panic attack was imminent (the one thing I was trying to avoid in this whole process).
I eventually can to terms that I just can't let anyone know; at least not until I'm finished my first draft.
So know let's relate this to you. Ask these questions and be honest.
-Do you think that people will tell you you can't do it?
-Do you think people will judge you?
-Are you writing for yourself? And if yes, do you think telling other people will change that? (if no you should seriously pull back and reassess your motivations)
-Do you want someone elses ideas, maybe to help you see a different perspective?
-Do you think that having someone cheer you on will be beneficial to you?
-Do you know someone that is in your target audience, and/or likes your genre?
-Would you be comfortable telling someone?
Those questions should lead you into the right direction.
Now, I'm not saying that support is bad. It isn't at all! I'm sure that having someone there to cheer you on is wonderful , especially when things get tough and you need some encouragement.
All I am saying is that it isn't right for me, and that you need to think about everything pertaining to telling someone about your writing. Don't be flippant about who you give it out too, your work is valuable, and you need to be able to trust it with someone that you can trust, if that is the way you want to go. The way I chose was to keep it to myself until the first draft is done. You will probably chose something different because you are a completely different person. But please, be careful about who you give it too, and remember; what you are doing is astounding, it really is, and some people will no doubt be jealous of what you are accomplishing.

Okay, what about the online resources out there, like forums, chat rooms etc.? My advice; again, be careful, but there are many writing resources online. I won't list any here, because I don't want to premote sites that might not be reliable, and have your work be stolen, or posted on the Internet for everyone to see (I do have some that I have looked into, and can help if you ask directly and understand I'm not responsible if you post things on the sites).
There is one thing I can help you with, though, and in this way you have more freedom in what you choose. On Google click the "more" button, go to the "Directory", click "Arts", than go to "Writer's Resources". On the page there should be many links in which you can define your search. They have thing like agents, poetry, organizations, non-fiction, song-writing, young writers, publishers, publishing, writing exercises, chat rooms and forums, along with many others. They have gone through and picked out some of the better sites, and have given them to you.
I hope that that helps you.
Remember, I'm here too and am not going to ask you about the specifics of your writing, so feel free to ask me about whatever. As I am finishing my first draft {*throws confetti*}, I'll keep you updated on my support status and what I've learned along the way (hopefully it will help you too).
Happy Writing!


I'm sure everyone is shocked right now, but it's true: this post isn't about writing! I figured that I should leave it for a while, and move on to other things (if only for a few days). AND I'll try to keep this post shorter that the others (key word "try" haha).

Okay, normally, when it come to music, I tend to obsess with one band/singer and play their songs constantly. And by that I mean over and over until I can not stand the band/singer or their songs. Occasionally I won't get sick of them and will love them forever : ).
Examples include: Tchaikovsky (1812 Overture is amazing), Evanescence, Michael Buble, Relient K and the list goes on.

But I've found a new obsession and it's name is Paramore. The lead singer, Hayley, is one of the best I've ever heard. It isn't as though the recording studio has made her voice sound good, her voice actually is good on it's own. Complete raw talent. They have a new CD out (their second, not including the EP) called Riot!, and I find it well worth my time listening to. It's considered Rock/Emo (and if anyone thought of them dressing in black and cutting themselves, you should be ashamed, because that is not what emo means! At all!), but even if you don't necessarily like that type of music, I would listen to it first and then decide.
They have a single called Misery Business, which I love, but if you want to hear how great her voice is on it's own, listen to Misery Business (Acoustic). Some of my other favourites include Fences, For a pessimistic I'm pretty optimistic and Hallelujah.
So for the next few months, if not forever, this is what I'll be listening too. I hope you like it, but I want to know, so leave me comments!


Misery Business Acoustic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiR838VOCrA
Misery Business: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYJEORHbIKE
Hallelujah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sApyi41SoVM&feature=related
Fences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeCxGXdtnxk&feature=related
Let the Flames Begin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPZrKRxQxYM&feature=related

Official Paramore Site:http://www.paramore.net/
Good Paramore Site:http://www.paramore.org/
If you want to listen to a little of all of them: http://store.fueledbyramen.com/albumview.asp?idproduct=30567

Okay, by "Goals" I don't mean the ones that your teachers made you write out when you got your report card (I abhor those. Really). This only involves writing if you want it to.
Now, since you've read the post below this one and yes, I know, it's very long, but to save time throughout my posts I might reference it, so take a look.
Going back to my personal experience, I find goals to be very helpful (see "On Writing: Aspiring Writers..." post for my story). They not only put things in perspective for you, they add some motivation into your daily writing life.
Having a goal is productive, in my opinion, but at first when you set them, they might not be realistic. The first writing goal I set was few months ago (and I definitely should have made one sooner). I wanted to finish four chapters by my birthday, which is only a couple days after New Years. Sufficient to say that goal wasn't realistic. I finished doing a whole chapter in one weekend, so my goal was way to easy.
Advice #1: Set your writing goal, whatever they may be (i.e. one chapter a month, a book a year etc.), but make sure they fit you. If it's too easy, don't take the easy way out: make it more challenging, and makes sure it fits you. Don't say you want to write two full length books in one year like one author did, because you are yourself, not that one author, so you need to tailor you goals to fit you. And don't be vague with yous goal! Write them down if you won't remember, but make sure you have a specific target.
Advice #2: Stick to it. Once you have what you believe to be a realistic goal, don't change it around to make it easier or harder. If you become a published author, and have a deadline due, unfortunately to say, you are not going to have the option of moving it around, so practice for it now. Okay this is important; When things get tough, whatever you do, don't change your goals! That was always my first thought when I hit a rough patch in my writing. I would completely put myself down, and say that the goal now seemed to ridiculous to achieve, and I needed to change it. But that is normally when we doubt ourselves the most, and see things through black-coloured glasses as it were. You need to have confidence in yourself and believe you can do it, especially when things are hard. Which leads me to my next point...
Advice #3: Okay, so you set you goal, stuck to it and guess what? You did it! Now what do you do? Easy: Reward yourself! You achieved your goals and now it's time to feel accomplished about it. Do something out of the ordinary that makes you feel good, because after all that work, you deserve it.
Advice #4 (thought that was the last one didn't you?): Start all over again. When you think about it now, you probably don't think you'll want to, but once you hit the point where you are celebrating your newly accomplished goal, you'll want to start all over again. Not only that, but it's productive for you to have a motivation when things get tough. Instead of thinking "There's no point in doing it anyways" hopefully you'll be thinking "Okay, I have to reach that goal. Only one month. One month, one month...". It'll help you to push through the things you might not want to push through. But if you find yourself doubting, read the post below!
But what type of goal should be set?
I left this until last, because that is something you'll have to figure out. Factor in what you do with your day (work, school etc), and how much time you can reasonably devote to your writing (remember, you always have more time than you think you do). Also consider what type of writing you are doing, and how you are doing it. I have chapters that consist of about eleven Microsoft Word pages. I figured that I could finish at least eight chapters by my birthday, but I thought of the amount of time I can spend on it, the length of the pages, and I included editing and a little writers block into it too. You need to put it in perspective. Key word being YOU because no one else can do it but you, so step up and get it done. When you get to advice #3, you'll be glad you did.


Okay, this is for everyone that is currently writing a novel, has ever thought about writing a novel, or has given up on writing one.

Let me start off by saying: You can do it!! And I'm dead serious!!
You're right; I don't know you personally, or what your possible book idea might be, but I do know that everyone has the ability to write a book. I know that many of you will exit my page thinking that I'm deluded into thinking you could actually do it, but stay with me if only until this post is done, then you can decide.

First things first; my story (it's relevant, trust me on this).
Okay, a several years ago, I started getting these wonderful ideas about everything imaginable. I thought they were perfect for a story and naively sat around waiting for some other author to come up with it so I could read it. Then, a few years ago, I started thinking about what it be like if I made the stories come to life, because, by then, I was old enough to know that no one was going to come up with exactly what I had in mind. The only thing that got in the way of grabbing a pencil and furiously writing down my own ideas was...
I was the only thing standing in the way. Not the fact that I had no time to do it, or the resources, or the support. I was the only problem.
I had no confidence in myself what so ever. I told myself that I could never do it, so why even try? Which often became a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I wouldn't try, and would mentally go back to it later and say "See, you didn't do that, so what makes you think you can deal with this?".
Vicious cycle, really.
After a good 2 years, I was exhausted with having to deal with my constant belittling and negative thoughts on writing. It was then that I gave in to my ideas, and they have carried me far beyond what I had ever thought remotely possible.

How does this relate to you though? A completely different person, with a completely different life?
It relates quite a bit actually. You need to get over that first immediate and reflexive thought of "I can't". I thought I couldn't. I would have bet the entire world and all of it's inhabitants that I would never ever be able to write a book.
You're all really lucky that I didn't bet that, because what am I doing now? I am writing my very own book. MY own book. Something I would have never thought possible, but the fact is I'm doing it.
But what if you don't have the talent to? Firstly I disagree (I firmly believe you can, because I can, and what better example do you need?). Let me use an example to get my point across.
Okay, imagine there are 20 people in a room. Ten of them have absolutely fabulous ideas with practically no time on their hands, and the other ten have good ideas with some time in between their jobs and are committed to writing.
Who do you think has a better chance of writing a book?
I believe that less emphasis shouls be put on the actual idea of a story, and more on actually finishing it. I know, sounds off, but think it through a bit. If you don't put the time in, you'll get nothing out whether or not you have the best ideas. You need to put time into it while you are doing it, and time after to edit what you've written.

And no excuses! I relied on those to push down my writing urge for years, but in the end my creative side won out. Don't say:
-I don't have time
-I don't have the support I need
-My idea just isn't good enough
-I'll never be as good as the famous authors.
You do have time, and if you don't think you do than how do you have time to be reading this post (ha, got you there, didn't I?)? If you don't have the support, that's okay, really. None of my friends or family knows I'm writing a book, and won't most likely until I finish. Why? I want his book to be about me. I don't want other people influencing it, and I don't want to change what happens because that's what everyone else wants. My book is for me. Some people do need support, but I will come back to this at a later date (don't worry).
And really, I'm a fairly nice person, and would love to hear about your stories and what you need help with. I would love to give you all the advice I can, because I probably have come across it or problems like it at some point.
Don't think you ideas are good enough? Well, you aren't writing for the general public (yet), so write the book for you, and not for what people will think are "good" ideas. Remember, you are writing for you, so if you don't like the idea, find a new one. You have the control over this, so exercise it!
As far as the last one goes, if you don't try you'll never be as good as famous authors. Don't give up on it before you have even started. If it helps, I'm positive that even the most famous authors had some doubts about their work while they wrote their own books, but they tried and did it. So can you.

Now, before I end this, I'm not saying that it's always going to be butterflies and unicorns and chocolate bunnies all the time; you, like every other writer, will hit some rough patches, and hard situations. But that's just like everything else in life. You don't give up on sports because you sprained a toe; you deal with it, and work with it, and move past it, and remembered what you've learned from it. Hard thing to deal with means you have a better oppurtunity to grow from it. Count it as a blessing.

You can do it!!!
A few of the points I made I will come back a elaborate on, but for now, I'll leave you ponder (as you leave comments :D).


Hey! This is my first blog post, so I figure I better set some goals to accomplish on this, yes? Well I guess the main goal is to be able to express myself on different topics, and how I feel about certain things. From my stand point now, I suppose the main things I will be talking about are: music, literature (read and writing), as well as the big factors and situations going on in my life. Hopefully I can come on this regularly and talk about what's on my mind slash what things I have gone through that would be useful to other people.
Please be patient as I get everything figured out. Give me a little while to start blogging regularly, and leave comment to keep me encouraged! :)
Wish me luck!

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About this blog

This blog is devoted to the art of writing. It is here where I will post about my writing life and my novels, as well as give advice to other aspiring novelists. Remember to start with "On Writing: Aspiring Writers..." then work your way up.
Enjoy :D