Angela is an 18-year-old college freshman who lives in Tokyo, Japan. Other than reading and writing, her hobbies include watching zombie movies, looking up random facts about Regency England, and kickboxing. She is currently working on a historical novel about a young debutante whose London debut goes bad. She also hopes to dabble in other genres such as science fiction and fantasy in the future.
You can find her on twitter: http://twitter.com/aekubo
She also blogs about Japan, random things that tickle her fancy, and her writing exploits on livejournal, which you can check out here: http://aekubo.livejournal.com/
To be honest, I never thought about wanting to write my own stories when I was little, unlike a lot of other writers I’ve met who were writing with Crayola crayons by the time they were five. I tried writing a few stories once in a while over the years, but they never got past the first page. However, I have always been a bookworm, and I used to spend a good amount of time at the public and school library when I was living in the United States.
My writing began in an unlikely way: by roleplaying. When I was twelve, I used to create characters and roleplay on the forums at Neopets before moving on to other communities online. It was there that I learned how to create strong characters, likely situations, and plotlines. If it wasn’t for roleplaying, my grammar and spelling would be atrocious, and you would be squinting at the computer screen, wondering what is being said in this post (of course, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t discovered roleplaying).
I started to dabble in novel writing when I was sixteen, but it was only until recently, thanks to friends on livejournal and a lovely blog called Let the Words Flow, that I began to take writing seriously.
In order to write, I need silence. I usually write at night or early in the morning in bed when there are no blaring sirens or screaming kids (I live next to a school) to annoy me. However, I have written in the school library, at Starbucks, and even on a crowded train in order to finish something in time for a deadline. Although I have a playlist for each of my WIPs, I rarely listen to music when I write. Instead, I like to take walks and listen to the playlists on my I-pod while I try to think of how a certain scene will unfold or how a character will react to a tough situation.
My frequent walks are important for my writing. They’re how I come up with story ideas, characters, and plot twists. Whenever I’m having one of those days when I can’t think of anything to write, I always put in my earphones and pace around my room. Sometimes, it’s a bit embarrassing because my grandmother or younger sister will walk in on me and wonder why I’m walking in circles with my music at high volume.
Of course, there are times when I can’t write a certain scene no matter how much I pace. I usually go ahead and type up a future scene that I have less trouble writing and go back to the troublesome scene later. One thing I learned is that you should never force yourself to write something that you don’t want to write, because it will end up being crappy. I have numerous story excerpts and school essays proving just that. If all else fails, I curl up in bed with a good book, because reading other people’s work always makes me want to write.
There are also other cases where I cannot write at all. One is when I’m being overwhelmed with schoolwork and the other is when I don’t have any names for my characters. Characters without names feel incomplete, which makes it impossible to write. I’ve spent hours going through baby-naming sites coming up with the perfect name for just one character.
Lately, I’ve been more open to other writing methods. For example, I’ve never written an outline for any of my stories, but now I’m considering creating an outline for my historical novel and rewriting everything I’ve written so far. I’m also planning to write my future WIP—a supernatural YA about zombies—on paper instead of on Microsoft Word, because I heard some writers say that pen and paper are better than the keyboard.
Last week, I also set myself a daily goal of 500 words to encourage me to write more. So far, it’s been going well, and writing has gotten a whole lot easier. I haven’t encountered any problems with fulfilling my goal yet, but I like to use chocolate as an incentive to get myself to do something. I’m excited to say that I might be able to finish my first novel by the end of this year.
I’m also on the lookout for other ways to write. As I stated earlier, I’m always open to different methods of writing, because I can find out a lot just by experimenting. To me, writing is not only a journey where you follow the characters around on their exploits, but also a journey where you find out what fits you. I always try to go out of my comfort zone by writing in a new genre or taking risks. For example, before I started on my historical novel, The Debutante, I was a bit shy about writing about a period different about my own. In fact, the thought of romance used to put me off since I was still in the stage (and still sort of am) where I thought that most boys are yucky. However, as I wrote my historical novel, I was surprised to discover that I loved what I was doing.
I believe that not being able to write constantly has nothing to do with creativity or your writing ability, but the methods that you use or the environment that you write in. For example, you would never write a romantic comedy in a dark, stuffy room. Sometimes you might have less trouble writing if you set yourself a daily word count or pick out a specific time of day that you spend writing. Maybe the problem lies in the lack of inspirational music to listen to while you write.
I challenge you, readers, to do a little experimenting of your own. Never been a plotter? Well, take out a piece of paper and try a little brainstorming. Never write anywhere but your bedroom? Go outside with your laptop and see if the grass and trees give you inspiration. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.