Sucking (Writing) a Little Every Day

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “You must write every day!”

I hear it every time I read an author interview, when I read a book on writing, or when watching a Youtube video featuring a prominent writing figure.

No exceptions! You have to write at least a little bit every day.

I’m trying to ease my way into that habit.

I love writing so, truth be told, it isn’t that difficult.

What is difficult is making myself stop reading the previous sentence I just typed and thinking “Oh my God, this is awful.”

That’s how I get stuck on most days. Every line I write is awful and somewhere out there, there is a thirteen year-old that just finished their first novel on Wattpad and is going to be an overnight international sensation. Warner Brothers will buy the rights to their movies and they will be cemented as the greatest young writers of their time.

Don’t look at me like that. That’s totally a thing that happens.

Regardless, I’m going to try to keep at it.

I will suck a little bit every day until I stop.

Nothing is preventing me from moving forward except for myself. Namely, my love for all that is good and literary.

Still, statistically, it has to get better.

My Thoughts On “Uprooted”By Naomi Novik Becoming a Movie

WARNING: THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE NOVEL “UPROOTED.” IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK AND WISH TO DO SO, DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST.  

So after finally finishing Naomi Novik’s excellent fantasy novel, Uprooted, I decided to do more research on her via her website. I was thrilled to discover she’s written several other books that I will greedily dive into as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

While perusing her page, I also discovered some interesting news regarding Uprooted.

Novik proudly announced  Warner Brothers will be making a movie based on the novel.

My reaction to this news:

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It may seem weird that I’m resistant to the idea of an Uprooted movie, especially because I enjoyed the book so much.

But here’s the thing, regardless of how well-written a book is, some novels just aren’t meant to be translated into a visual medium.

The Lovely Bones was one book, and I believe Uprooted is another.

“But Rachael,” you say, “Uprooted was full of beautiful imagery and action-packed scenes. Surely you can’t be suggesting Uprooted wouldn’t look gorgeous on the big screen!”

The imagery was one of the most appealing aspects of this book. However, what also made the book so vibrant and powerful were the metaphors and descriptions.

All of which would work for the book only.

It’s not nearly as impactful if we’re just being flashed CGI imagery we’ve seen a million times. I want to be able to feel what the characters are feelings like I can in the book.

The way Novik describes magic is so much more personal than any other writer I’ve come across. It’s not just a bunch of fancy made-up words, it’s part of a person’s essence. It’s an individual language that can transcend conventional understanding. It’s an experience.

This entire book is an experience.

To strip away all of that depth and detail to just a visual?

It’ll be like a fantasy version of The Happening.

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Well….okay…not that bad.

Still.

Freaking CGI tree-people. I don’t think I will be able to take that seriously.

Especially since it will likely be morphed into an “OMG save the trees!” message.

To be fair, the book did that to a certain extent but…it was complicated, okay?

Thinking of the cinematic portrayal of the relationship between The Dragon and Agnieszka fills me with terror as well.

Especially because their relationship isn’t entirely conventional. Yeah, they smash and they clearly like each other, but it was never really a “for sure” thing between the two of them.

Hollywood will turn it into an all out bleeding-heart kissing-in-the-rain romance that involves a lot of soaked through clothes and sex.

Let’s face it, the movies do subtlety as well as Edward Scissorhands knits sweaters.

Again, I say, CGI tree-people.

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How many books must that accursed industry claim?!

Thoughts on “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but it was recommended to me by a creative writing major at my university so I thought I’d give it a read.

I am so glad that I did.

This is, unquestionably, the best book I’ve ever read on writing.

And, yes, that includes Stephen King’s On Writing.

In retrospect, it’s so strange that it’s a mere 237 pages because every inch of it is jam-packed with wisdom and personality.

The latter brings me to one of my favorite aspects of this book: It does not read like a manual.

It’s like you’re talking to your cool aunt from across the kitchen table. In fact, I wish Anne Lamott was my aunt. She’s hilarious and passionate without coming across as hammy or pretentious. I can tell she genuinely cares about helping writers improve in their craft.

She has made several of the mistakes she lists in the book (and sometimes continues to make them), so she knows what she’s talking about. She understands rejection, jealousy, and wanting to be successful.

Her honestly can be a bit discouraging, but hope is a theme that resonates consistently throughout the book.

If I still haven’t convinced you to read this, here are reasons you should:

  1. It’s hilarious.
  2. It’s honest
  3. It’s short
  4. It’s personal.

If you want to write, read this book!

A Most Photogenic Cat

My boss went out of town to a business conference in another state and asked me if I wanted to watch her house and look after her neighbor’s cat while she was gone.

She had forgotten she told her neighbor she would look after the tabby while he was out of town, so she would need me to make sure his pet was taken care of as well.

It wouldn’t be difficult, she assured me. The cat spent most of its days outdoors but had a food and water bowl in the garage that needed to be filled regularly.

When I first met the cat, I noticed he was different from most of his kind in that he was unusually friendly.

I named him Barnaby and we became best friends.

I ask you, is there anything more beautiful than a low-maintenance relationship?

All I had to do was feed him and he would treat me like Cat Jesus.

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We had a good thing going.

I’d take care of my boss’ house, make sure Barnaby had enough food and water, and then we’d hang out and take a bunch of pictures at his place.

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I remember when we sat by the pool for the last time. He stretched out on my lap and I thought this would be a perfect time to snap a photo.

My instincts were correct.

The wind picked up at just the right time, causing my hair to fan out to the side. It would seem the tiniest bit of dust got into Barnaby’s eye at that moment because, when I examined the photo afterwards, I saw that he appeared to be winking at the camera.

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My brief friendship with Barnaby taught me a lot of things that will follow me throughout life.

However one lesson stands out above all the rest:

I am horribly allergic to cats.

Prior to this experience I had no idea. While many of my friends have owned cats, their felines typically just eyed me suspiciously and flounced away.

Barnaby, however, was intent on killing me with kindness and I didn’t even know it.

I’d go over to the garage, take care of him, then I would come home and feel like I’d been hit by a semi.

My head would feel as it it was grow exponentially and congestion would make it impossible to breathe. I thought I was coming down with the flu.

But I put the pieces together as soon as I realized I always felt worse after coming to see him.

So thanks for the memories, Barnaby, I forgive you for trying to kill me.

At least I have photos to remember you by.

The Second Draft of Doom

What is writing a second draft like?

It’s like going through a wonderful hike in the wilderness on a clear summer’s day with friends, seeing spectacular sights and creating life-long memories…..

And then remembering you left your backpack with all your expensive camping gear at the last rest stop, running all the way to get it, then hoofing it back to discover literally everything is on fire. Including your backpack. And your friends.

What I’m trying to say is that it can be hard. Especially when you know that altering one aspect of the story will have a domino effect, resulting in other changes that you might not have wanted to make but must in order for the story to work.

I’m writing this post now because I’m nervous about beginning. I like my little imperfect story, but I also know it needs to be fixed in certain areas if I want it to be the best it can be.

If you don’t hear from me in over two weeks, send someone with chocolate.