You should try writing longhand.

November 27th, 2022

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

I decided to try something new (again) since my last update. I have a fond memory of reading the Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter. I had fallen in love with those books during middle school and continued reading the series up until my junior year in high school. The writing bug left me a love bite during my middle school years. I was the young girl who read so much, finishing five hundred (500) page books in three (3) days.

I started writing way back in 2009, but I didn’t take myself seriously until I turned fourteen (14). One of the first stories I can remember writing was based on the Warrior Cats. Before you laugh at the idea of talking cats, those poor babies were going through it, okay? I was so inspired by the world they were in, and while the series wasn’t my first adventure into such a vast, defined world, it was the first series that I felt inspired to write about. I created my own cat and off we went into the dangerous world of Warriors. It was so much fun, and I filled up two composition notebooks by hand.

Like most stories we write in our youth, I left it alone one day and forgot about it. Shortly after my journey with the cats, I found my way to fanfiction.net. Say what you like, but the feedback I found there was valuable for me as a young writer. I would write new chapters every week, driven by the imaginary deadline I set for myself. I thrived writing fanfiction, and to this day, I’m not entirely sure why. Part of me believes it was the responses; I always wanted to hear what my readers thought of each chapter.

Let’s all say, “Of course you did.” at the same time. What writer doesn’t want to hear other’s opinions? Getting feedback was also one of the reasons why I started a Patreon. I wanted a trusted audience to share my first drafts with. In my fanfiction days, I didn’t polish chapters every week. Instead, I produced the best chapter I could at the time and I threw it to the wind. Some readers liked it, loved it, didn’t fancy it.

Writing fanfiction was immensely helpful for my writing journey. I realized at sixteen that I wanted to write full-time. I imagined myself in a wonderful, bright home, typing away at a computer. There would be a shelf of published books behind me. This was the only glimpse of my future I could see as a child: being a successful writer. I never imagined book signings, but I knew my work was out in the world and all of my stories were loved. There wasn’t anyone else in my vision. It was just me and my books.

I say all of this to say: I tried writing longhand again. I grabbed my favorite pen and sat down one day with an old outline of Blood of the Fallen, a book I have been working on in spells since my last year of high school. I finished the first draft in April 2016, and it has followed me ever since. No matter what project I was working on during my college years, Axe and his crew were in the back of my mind, waiting for their turn.

In my last Fall Goals Post, I mentioned how I wanted to finish writing twenty five percent (25%) of the manuscript before December 1st. It was quite the goal I set for myself, and I didn’t consider how out of touch I was with writing a novel. I haven’t written a novel in years. I forgot about the planning and daydreaming. Somehow, I forgot how consuming novel writing was for me.

I started rereading my old outline with the new ideas I had spinning in my head, and I realized the pegs weren’t lining up like I needed them to. There were some beats I needed to salvage and tweak, and for some reason, I knew I couldn’t brainstorm in a word document. So, I went out on a limb: I grabbed a fresh composition notebook and I combed through my outline.

I managed to rewrite the entire thing in two weeks. There are some loose ends, some questions I need to answer before I can start drafting, but I have made more progress in this month for this project than I have in years. I am thrilled.

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Stay safe! ~ Taia

Regarding my other goals for falls, I had trouble finding a book that interested me after finishing Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I devoured the series in a month, and nothing has piqued my interest like that in a minute. I picked up Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh as my book for fall, but I’m a bit behind. I’m only on page fifteen (15).

I have the rest of the afternoon to myself, so I’ll see if I can make more progress on it today. Regarding the tarot quizzes, I regret to say I am at a loss for how to share them with you. I posted a poll on Twitter and it seems like most people prefer video quizzes versus your usual online quiz. I thought about typing it all up in a blog post, but I don’t think our modern attention spans would survive reading the long post. I’m still contemplating, but I don’t think I’ll have either one of them ready by December like I hoped.

Normally, I would feel bad about this, but I am so happy about my progress with Blood of the Fallen that I don’t mind as much. Know that I’m working on it. I think I’ll write up a short quiz on the blog, just to see what people think. I might be underestimating the public’s interest in tarot. After all, we all love a personality quiz.

I will update you soon! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!