New Writing Projects & Challenging Myself

Hello everyone!

I’ve mentioned a lot lately how with all the extra time I’ve had to myself during quarantine, I’ve been trying to experiment with my writing and produce more work than I normally would have time for. It’s been a little bit of a struggle due to some bouts of writer’s block and lack of motivation/structure in my routine, but I’ve gotten to a place where I’m settling into a rhythm and realizing what I’m currently inspired to write about. If you want to learn more about what I’m working on right now and how it’s different from what I normally write about, keep on reading!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might’ve noticed that I mainly post poetry, and poetry has been my writing genre of choice for a while. I love to read and write poetry, but I think my heavy focus on it has left me sort of lopsided in my writing abilities, making dabbling in fiction, prose, or creative nonfiction a lot more difficult. However, when I was suffering writer’s block most recently, I turned to my “writing ideas” list that I always keep handy and am adding onto, and found most of my unused ideas were for fiction pieces. I decided to take the plunge and run with one of my ideas from that list, and I am now working on a novel??? I’m not sure if I will end up finishing it or how long it will actually be, but I’m about 13,000 words in and it’s been really fun to experiment with dialogue and all the other elements I’m not used to because of my poetry focus.

I know it probably seems pretty peculiar to jump head-first into attempting to write a novel- almost like I’m setting myself up for failure. I’m trying to stay away from that mindset, because I do have tons of extra time because of quarantine, and I’ve always wanted to try and work on a book. The final thing that made me take the plunge and just start writing it was the email I got from NaNoWriMo that because of quarantine/COVID-19 they would have an April novel writing month challenge. I definitely won’t be finishing in April, but I took that as a sign that now was the time to get started.

I haven’t really been editing any of the book thus far since I’m still in such a beginning stage and I want to just keep writing, then edit when I’m done. I won’t say too much about the plot or even the genre since I think there’s a few major plot points from my original outline that need to be reworked, but I’m figuring out more as I go along. If you have any tips for sticking with a novel idea and writing it out all the way through, I’d love to hear them!

Besides that very ambitious new project, I’ve also been venturing into trying some creative nonfiction. I finally got around to reading all of the works in the latest Polyphony Lit issue (the teen lit publication I edit for, check it out- a new issue is coming out soon!) and a good portion of the pieces that stood out to me were creative nonfiction. The main reason I haven’t gotten into it is just because I think it’s hard for me to write about myself in an actual creative and good-quality piece, since I often end up going into blogging mode and being more informal. I’m still not sure how to make my experiences connect to others in a way that would make people want to read my creative nonfiction piece, but I’m trying to figure it out.

I’m working on two creative nonfiction pieces right now. One is about my background/family tree and my lack of knowledge about such making it feel like my family’s a mystery, and one’s about how the tension in my family has escalated since my grandmother moved into our house in January. I feel like most of the creative nonfiction pieces I’ve enjoyed have focused on people’s families or cultures and the influence those things have on them, so it only seemed natural to think about those topics in the context of my life.

That being said, I’m still in love with poetry and I’ve written a couple new poems while sitting outside and observing nature. We had a few days of beautiful, summer-like weather here and it gave me a chance to write a poem about a hummingbird that I think could have some potential. I’ll always find poetry a little bit more natural since it’s always seemed the most approachable form of creative writing to me and it’s easier for me to write a poem in a short amount of time if I just have a tiny spark of inspiration, but I definitely want to continue venturing out of my comfort zone.

Honestly, another main reason I pushed myself out of my comfort zone is just because I’ve been reading so many books lately and creative pieces that aren’t necessarily poems online, but I haven’t read any new poetry that resonates with me in a while. Whenever I’m reading a certain type of writing or genre, I automatically start thinking about how I can make it work for me and express my ideas in that form of writing. I reread the Harry Potter series for the first time in years (LOTS of tears were shed, I forgot how insanely amazing J.K. Rowling is at storytelling) and it had me itching to write a book or experiment with magic and the fantastical in my writing.

That’s what I love about writing and any creative discipline in general. It’s so easy to shift your perspective and see the limitless ways to craft your art and hone your skills by seeking a new source of inspiration. I hope my fellow writers out there are also taking advantage of this time to work on something new and expand your horizons. Let me know if you have any author/book recommendations or any writing challenges for me to try out 🙂

Brooke

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