What Happened to Millie?

Hey all,

It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it?

The truth is, since the new year began, things have gotten insane–in many ways.  I won’t discuss the specifics of anything because I feel it would detract from the focus of the blog, but suffice it to say, there’s been so much stuff going on that writing has become, annoyingly, a relatively low priority.  I’m trying to change that and find more time to write, but it’s difficult.

In light of how long it’s been since my last post, I’m going to share my progress in different areas of my artistic life and my ideas for the future.

#1: The Screenplay

This is sort of a good news/bad news situation I suppose, but I have a very optimistic view of it.

The good news: my ideas for the screenplay have been even more solidified since winning NaNoWriMo 2016, and I’m confident that I’m on the right track.

The bad news: like I mentioned before, it’s been very difficult to write recently, so actual progress on writing the screenplay has been put on hold.

In general, I’m excited for what the screenplay will become.  I’m planning on making it into a web series (instead of a full-length movie, as I had initially planned), and I have been embracing more non-traditional methods of storytelling and applying them to my writing.

#2: Writing in General

As stated over and over again in this post, I have had NO TIME.  It is actually crazy how little time I have had.

In the few moments I’ve been able to steal to write, I’ve been working mostly on poetry and flash fiction–basically, anything I can start and finish in a small amount of time.  I am planning on participating in the upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo, but with my schedule being the way it is everything is still very tentative as far as writing is concerned.

#3: Visual Art

It’s been pretty “meh” on this front since October or November, but I’ve been trying to step it up recently.  I’ve been working on a few portraits using acrylic paint, a medium I usually shy away from.  It’s been fun to try new things.

I also invested in a large set of Prismacolor brush-tip markers, something I have been fantasizing about for years.  I’m still getting used to using them, but I’m sure with practice I’ll learn to adore them as much as I do my Prismacolor colored pencils.

#4: Music

I have a complicated relationship with music, and in the past few months I’ve been intentionally avoiding music-making.  However, several instances over the last month or so have shown me that I should probably start composing again.  I never thought I’d see the day.

I’m going to try to work on some new pieces to hopefully be used in the soundtrack of my screenplay.

 

That’s basically it.  I’m very tired right now, so I apologize if this post was a little less eloquent than it could have been.  I hope all of you have been coping well with everything that’s happened worldwide in 2017.  I wish you all the best.

 

Millie

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Novel-Writing 101: Getting Through the “Crazy Phase”

So—you’re writing a novel.  You have a magnificent idea.  A magnificent plot.  Magnificent characters.  Maybe you even have a magnificent first draft (though first drafts can rarely be called “magnificent”).  Yet despite the fact that you’ve been working on this novel…

A month?

Six months?

A year?

Two years?

You still feel as if it’s going nowhere.

You are not alone in the slightest.  Every writer I’ve ever talked to has been in this predicament in one way or another at some point in their careers.  This is what I call the “crazy phase” of writing.  This is the phase that culls the weak from the herd, so to speak.  This is the phase where you stare at the ceiling for hours on end, obsessing over plot holes and lapses in character development and wondering if you’ve always been this bad at writing.

Then, ultimately, you do the absolute worst thing: you give up on your novel.

No.  Do not do this.  It’s not worth it, I promise you!  Part of writing a novel is pushing through the “crazy phase” and proving that you are strong enough to do it!  And I have some tips to help you do just that.

 

#1: Marry Your Novel

Yes, you heard me right.  Say “I do” to that ginormous mess of words, page numbers, and headaches.  You MUST be committed to your novel in order to finish it.  Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your novel for the rest of your days (divorce is always an option, after all), but once you have committed yourself to a project, try your best to stick with it.  By metaphorically “marrying” your novel, you will hopefully think twice when the next tantalizing, juicy “plot bunny” (a persistent new novel idea that has nothing to do with the novel you’re writing) threatens to distract you.

 

#2: Turn Off the TV

Depending on how addicted you are to technology, this could be either the easiest or most difficult step.  Television is wonderful.  It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it allows you to temporarily escape from reality.  Unfortunately, it is also incredibly addictive.  How many times have you logged into Netflix with the intent of watching just one episode and ended up spending 6 hours paralyzed in front of the screen?  Don’t lie to me, you know you’ve done it.  You cannot successfully write a novel if you regularly squander your weekends and free time watching The Office for the 5,000th time.  My advice is to cut out the television cold turkey.  The first week or so will be rough, but after a while you will get used to it, and I promise you: writing will be much easier.

 

#3: Take Inventory

I don’t know about you, but I am a very messy writer.  My work for just one novel can be scattered throughout 30 word processing documents, 5 notebooks, and dozens of random scraps of paper.  That is not an exaggeration.  When I start to feel overwhelmed and hopeless, I transcribe all my traditional writing into my computer, and then compile everything into one single word document.  Then, I organize everything by character, in chronological order.  After that, I read through all of it and take notes on what I have already written.  I read through the notes and take more notes on what I still need to write in order for the plot to make sense.  Is it time consuming?  Oh, yes.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely!  I understand this method might not work for everybody, but if you think it will work for you, I absolutely recommend giving it a shot.

At the very least, write down what still needs to happen in order for your novel to make sense.  I believe every writer needs to do that, no matter how organized they are.

 

#4: WRITE!

Magnificent idea?  Check.

Magnificent plot?  Check.

Magnificent characters?  Check.

The beginnings of a rough draft?  Check.

Commitment?  Check.

No technological distractions?  Check.

A list of what you still need to write?  Check.

Well, I’ve got some good news for you: you’re ready to write!  Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and create a masterpiece!  Remember: only you can tell your story.

 

So, what are you waiting for?

 

Millie

15 Joyful Things

By: Millie

  1. Your favorite song comes on the radio
  2. You see the one you love after a long absence
  3. A complete stranger smiles hesitantly at you
  4. Someone laughs, and it sounds like music
  5. You touch the pillow-soft black fur of a 10-week old kitten
  6. A phone conversation between you and your best friend accidentally lasts 5 hours because neither of you want to hang up
  7. You live out a day full of real and honest fun
  8. You and a friend make new private jokes
  9. You have a squirt gun fight with someone you love on a miserably hot summer day
  10. Someone gives you a clamshell of cake
  11. Someone tells you you’re never a waste of time
  12. “Thank you.”
  13. “I do.”
  14. Two wine glasses gently collide and make a soft “clink”
  15. A baby smiles

Day 1: Why?

 

Why start this website?  It’s simple.

As humans, we are living in one of the most confusing times our species has ever endured.  Opinions have never been more diverse, tragedies more documented, or lives more mourned.  Everyone has, to some extent, been witness to demoralizing, traumatizing, and altogether awful things–be it on the news, the Internet, or in our own lives.  I am no different.

However, we have also seen a great many beautiful things.  We have seen the sun rise and set.  We have traced constellations through midnight skies.  We have held babies, hugged elders, and grown plants.  We have loved truly and deeply and we have done everything possible to make that love known to the world.  There is good within us, there is joy; and while that joy persists we have nothing to fear.

 

So I am starting this website with the hope that I will help you realize humanity.  I hope that through my stories and through my art, you will realize the strength, the power, and the love that humanity is capable of.  I hope you will realize that you, as a human, are capable of that, too.

Philosophy aside, I do hope you enjoy my work.  I have worked quite diligently at it and I love sharing it with you.

Many thanks,

Millie