Beginning of Year 2017, I am pretty much living as a nomad. Not that I have been travelling aimlessly to anywhere, but I spent almost the entire month outside of home. Aside from camping at my parents’, I stayed at my cousin’s new place, which feels like staying in a resort — it came with a package of a great scenery with breezing air.
During the stay, I tried to list down things that I may wanted to do or achieve throughout this year. It’s not entirely a New Year’s Resolution, but more of a short bullet-point tasks to help me focus. Every year, I had some sort of motto that I created for myself just as a reminder for a big procrastinator like me to keep on persevering.
My 2017’s motto is: Make Things Happen — Less Talk, More Doing.
One of the things that kept badgering my mind since last year is the feedback from a publisher, whom suggested to prepare a complete manuscript — that means having a full commitment into writing something that may potentially turn to be a book/novel. It also means having roughly 60,000 words dumped on a blank page. I still couldn’t be sure if I wanted to do this. It would probably be easier if it’s my real passion or dream to write a book, this way, it won’t feel like a stressful work. Despite that, last year, I have sketched some ideas and jotted down whatever things I could think of; but to turn those ideas into a structured story is another challenge by itself.
Most of the time, in writing, I educate myself through my own effort without the aid of formal education or having a physical teacher. Sometimes I read on my own. Other times I watched webinars, online trainings or sign-up for online courses and newsletters. This month, I signed-up for two courses: a free Yale’s course of American Novel since 1945 (because there’s Jack Kerouac), and Novel Writing Workshop by Steve Alcorn (because it was on a 95% discount).
I am halfway through Steve’s workshop at this point of time before getting a certificate of completion. Steve Alcorn is the author of ‘How To Fix Your Novel’, and I must say so far, I am enjoying this course. It is clear, comprehensive and easy to understand. Aside from useful knowledge, guides and examples, he speaks professionally at a very good pace and manner, so that’s a big help for me. He teaches about story vs plot, character buildings and flaws, themes, premises, and much more. He is still actively engage with the students through the announcement and Q&A board, which is another plus point.
This month, I also managed to re-edit some of my old short stories and trying my luck by sending to other outside publications. I think at this point of time, I have made peace with myself by learning to let go any regrets and disappointment. If a publisher doesn’t accept my work, there’s no point to continue feeling sad about it; just keep sending the work elsewhere or keep practicing the craft by writing a new piece. Because if we tend to stick to the negative feelings too long, it’ll bring negative consequences to our actions. Stop beating ourself up over situations we can’t control and set ourself free from the past.
All in all, I guess it’s a productive start this year, perhaps one of the perks of being a temporary nomadic.
“One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.” – Alain de Botton
Currently Listening: Sonic Youth – Dirty Boots