Beautiful People: In Which You Get to Hear All About My Writerly Habits

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Today I will be participating in one of my favorite linkups, Beautiful People, hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I think I got really serious about my passion for writing when I was in seventh grade. My passion has only grown every single year since.

2. How/why did you start writing? I have always been a reader. Even when I couldn’t read, I tired my parents out every night by asking them to read the same Hawaiian Mother Goose book over and over again. When I finally could read and write, it was only natural that I begin emulating my favorite authors and stories by writing my own stories. I filled up notebook after notebook with stories and articles. (Yes, I wrote articles avidly when I was little. They were cheesy ones about fishing and Native Americans and pioneers, but I still think it was fascinating that I loved to write nonfiction when I was little, and still do.)

3. What’s your favorite part of writing? My favorite part of writing is seeing an idea come to life as I write it. I get excited about so many of my ideas, and when I start to see my stories, articles or poems coming together, it’s the most wonderful feeling.

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle? My biggest struggle as a writer is trying to write a story so that it matches what I have in my head. My writing is never as beautiful as it is in my head, but the more I write, the better I get.

5. Do you write best at night or day? I write much better at night. I used to be better at writing in the morning, but then high school happened. Now I have to wake up really early and I’m too bleary eyed to do any writing in the morning. At night, my writing flows.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!) My writing space changes all the time. It is most often my desk, but sometimes I write sitting on my bed. It all depends.

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft? Well, the first novel I wrote took me about a year to write. Now, I’m in the middle of the first draft of a second novel, and I think that this will be finished in a total time of three months. It’s a big difference from my first novel, which I’m quite happy with.

8. How many projects do you work on at once? I try to only work on one novel at a time. However, I can work on some short stories, poems or articles at the same time. 

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between? I like to write mostly happy endings, but some of my story endings are happy with a twinge of sadness.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey. ALL OF THEM. Every single book I read has influenced my story. I suppose I still have to narrow it down a bit, though. Let’s see, J.R.R. Tolkien, Harper Lee, C.S. Lewis, Clare Vanderpool, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Rachel Coker, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and so, so, many other authors have influence my writing. I’m probably forgetting a bunch of them.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not? Oh yes, all the time, but I only let other people read my edited writing. NO ONE gets to see my first drafts. Showing my work to other people makes me braver with my writing and allows me to get valuable critique. Also, if I want to publish a book someday, I better get used to showing other people my writing.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream? To get a book published. I know this won’t happen for a while, but right now I’m just trying to improve my craft. I would also like to see my work in a print magazine. This is happening soon, because an article I wrote already got accepted, but the magazine hasn’t actually come out yet. I’m so excited!

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do? Do you mean if I didn’t write for a living? Because I don’t plan on writing full time. I want to become a computer engineer for my main job, but also be a part time author and freelancer.

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? I hope to someday write a family history memoir, but that would require a lot of research and a lot of time, so I don’t feel quite ready to attempt it yet. I want to do justice to my family history, and that will take time.

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go? A new epic fantasy retelling idea that I have has taken hold of my heart and most certainly will not let go no matter how hard I try to make it go away so I can finish the novel I’m working on right now. I’ve already begun thinking about the story world and have begun planning, though, so as soon as I finish the first draft I’m working on now, I shall write this book!

BONUS QUESTION! This is my reaction to the questions: But…but…aren’t you going to ask me about my writing fuel? No? Okay, then I’ll just tell you. I THRIVE ON PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE, YOU GUYS. Anyone who can get me a whole closet stuffed with peppermint hot chocolate will win my heart. Okay, I’m kidding about the winning my heart thing.

What’s your favorite part of writing? What’s your ultimate writing goal?

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60 thoughts on “Beautiful People: In Which You Get to Hear All About My Writerly Habits

  1. The writer’s learning curve is so major in those first few books. The first draft of my first book took be easily 3 years to finish. The next two books I finished took me about 6 months each. I hope you finish your current project soon so that you can get to work on the book you talk about in Q15.
    Thank you for commenting on Inkined.

    ~Sarah Faulkner

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  2. I feel you so much on peppermint hot chocolate. (Okay, I really prefer caramel to peppermint, but still. HOT CHOCOLATE. I cannot live without sugar.) And yeah, I really really don’t like showing people my first drafts. I’m okay with sharing revised versions with CPs and friends, but in real life I just hide everything in my drawer, ahaha. Thanks for sharing and commenting on my post!

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    1. Anything hot chocolate will do. I really like caramel, too, but it can’t quite beat out peppermint. I’ve never actually revised/edited a novel completely, so I’ve never shared one with CPs or friends, but I plan to this year. I mostly just show people my articles or short stories.

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  3. Oh I love your answer to #11. ME TOO. I cannot even fathom the idea of someone seeing my first draft. I would die of mortal embarrassment! But true, true, it’s really hard to put yourself out there for people to read but then…..that’s what writing is kind of about right?! Especially if we want to be published.

    WE DID HAVE AN EATING QUESTION. It got taken out though because we had too many. But omg, I’m craving peppermint hot chocolates now. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

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    1. I die in mortal embarrassment when I read my own first drafts. Imagine what would happen if someone else read one of my first drafts! They’re like word vomit with a bunch of telling and not showing, and inconsistent characters, and everything horrible. But yea, writing to publish is all about people reading it, so I have to get used to being brave enough to show my edited writing to other people. At least I can run away while they read it so I don’t have to come face to face with their reaction. And if it’s online it’s even better. I’m shy. 🙂

      Aw, man. I can’t believe you did not put the eating question in. I guess that’s kind of a generic question, though, and I liked all the unique questions you had. Haha, now go drink some peppermint hot chocolate.

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  4. BAHAHAHAH If someone read my first drafts they’d die of the horribleness. No really, you don’t even wanna put that to a test. I LOVE TO HAVE ALL MY PIECES WITH KINDA SAD, SLIGHTLY HAPPY ENDINGS. Which I guess is the opposite to you since you do more of vice versa. But then again, I’m no writer like you are, I only write when I’m coerced by my english and creative writing teachers LOL.

    I loved your responses, Ana <33

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    1. Same here! My first drafts are all kinds of horribleness. I don’t even know how I make it alive through my first drafts. I think it would be nice to have kinda sad but slightly happy endings, but I’m not good at writing sad things. Every time it just comes out all dramatic and cheesy and stuff. Oh, you’re as much of a writer as I am. Writers write, so if you write you are a writer. Also, blogging totally counts.

      Thanks!

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  5. If I was back in high school, I’d definitely agree about the first draft thing. I was mortified to even tell people I was a writer, let alone showing them an unpolished draft of my writing. Now I’ll show people any story if they ask, even if it’s extremely awful. A lot of times, I’ll post a story I’m working on on wattpad just to see the initial reactions. xD

    My ultimate writing is publishing, but I also want to touch people! Even if only one person bought my book and loved it, I’d feel content.

    I haven’t tried peppermint hot chocolate, but I’ll keep it in mind. Is it weird that I don’t have a favorite writing food, but I have a writing mug? It’s an m&m mug from m&m world world. It has a huge face on it and I always feel happier drinking from it while writing. 😄

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    1. Oh gosh. I would never have the bravery to show someone an unpolished draft of my writing. It’s an inner struggle every time I show someone a draft that’s actually polished. I still show people my writing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of it.

      I really want to touch people with my writing, too, just as so many people have touched me with their writing.

      I’m sure you’ll love peppermint hot chocolate. Plain hot chocolate works, too, but it’s not as awesome. I think it’s pretty cool that you have a writing mug. I should use one.

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  6. Um, YES on the first draft thing. The only person who ever gets to read my first drafts is my CP, but she has nerves of steel and therefore can actually stomach my horrible drafts, haha 😉 I’m a night writer as well – I’ve tried to get up early to write once or twice, but it’s never really worked out. The words just flow so much better at night, you know?

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      1. I don’t have a CP yet because I haven’t finished editing a manuscript yet, but even when I do get a CP, I still don’t think I could show her my first draft. I would be way too embarrassed. They are a total mess. Words do flow so much better at night for me. In the morning, nothing ever works out.

        Thanks!

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  7. Oh, Ana, I understand what you’re saying completely! I’ve been wanting to get my own story published for a while, but a lot of facts bother me: My book is PNR/fantasy, how will I get it published when I’m living in INDIA? Will people read it? WIll it ACTUALLY get published?

    And oh GOD I applaud you for showing your edited work to others; I DON’T, because for some reason, I believe I can make it even better, and better, and then you know what happens. I am working part-time on the same novel I had written a while back and trying to incorporate more life into it. Let’s see where it goes. GREAT post, Ana 🙂 COngratulations with the magazine.

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    1. Hmm…I don’t know much about publishing in India, but hopefully you’ll actually be able to get it published. I’m not quite ready to publish any of my books, but I’ve been doing a ton of research on the industry for when I am ready.

      I sometimes fall into that trap of infinite editing, too! I literally have to jerk myself out of it.Thanks, and good luck with your writing!

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  8. Lovely answers! You are brave to be able to share your writing. I agree with you about first drafts, some of mine borderline black mail material. Oh and also, you have great tastes in authors. You listed quite a few of my very favorites : )

    P.S. I found your blog through the link up and am really enjoying it. Beautiful space you have here!

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  9. Wow, I don’t think I’ve known anyone to like writing non-fiction when they were younger! That’s impressive. Even now non-fiction is definitely amongst my least-favorite genre. 😛 I guess I figure I’m experiencing non-fiction all the time that when I’m writing I want to go somewhere else.

    Ooh, good answer for #4. I think all writers think things sound better in their head than on paper. 😄

    Random note: My male protagonist for my current YA novel LOVES hot chocolate with peppermint ice cream. It’s like a drug for him.

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    1. It is kind of odd. I only like to write non fiction when I get to choose the topic, though. I enjoy writing essays for contests or articles for magazines, but if I have to write something on a chosen topic for school and there is a grade attached, all the fun is sucked out of the process.

      Yep, that is unfortunately the case.

      Hehe, I’m pretty sure I am a female version of your protagonist. 😀

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  10. Ana, I love the fact that you’ve been such a dedicated writer all your life! I had a writing phase in high school which has completely dissipated the older I’ve gotten (I’m not that old though! :P). I have a story floating around in my head but I can’t bring myself to sit down and write. Gah, that’s so frustrating! Super congratulations on getting something published in a magazine! I totally know the feeling and I’m so excited for you!! Good luck with all your works, your family memoir sounds awesome, I hope you do get around to it one day lovely! xx

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  11. Ooh I love your answers Ana! I agree that the most exciting part of writing is seeing your ideas come out through words! I get really excited when I’m motivated to write, then when I do, I start seeing my stories and characters pop up and come to life. IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY 😀 hahaha. Love your answers! I’ve been writing as a little kiddo as well! It’s cool how we share this in common :)))

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  12. I write at night, too! I definitely love your list of inspiring authors, and I also enjoyed learning how you started writing. It’s really cool to see how we can progress over the years, right? Also, I KNOW what you mean about not showing people first drafts. It’s awful enough showing them one I thought was edited, much less my squalid first try. *sigh* Anyway, keep drinking that peppermint hot chocolate. 🙂

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    1. Another night owl! *virtual high fives you* My writing always seems to flow so much better at night. It is really cool to see progression over the years, but it is also really really embarrassing and *facepalm* worthy. I agree that even showing edited drafts to people is not much better than showing people first drafts. Showing people any writing in any stage is nerve wracking. However, it must be done if I want to be published. Drinking peppermint hot chocolate must also be done.

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  13. Wow, congrats on that article coming out! THAT IS AMAZING. Like you, I write much better at night. For me though I actually have no idea why; I’m definitely a night owl so I think that’s why. And I write so often at night now that it’s hard-wired into my brain as a habit, you know? Also, that epic fantasy retelling sounds very intriguing. I hope you get around to working on it soon! 🙂

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  14. I love seeing inside the thoughts of a budding author, you can almost see the creative cogs turning around. Wow! Congratulations on having your upcoming article published, you’ve got one foot in the door already. Keep plugging away, as you said, you get better and better with practice. No doubt it won’t be long before you’re on all our bookshelves. Thanks for sharing Ana ❤

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  15. Your answer for number four is one of my struggles, too. Getting ideas from mind to paper is a hard river for me to cross, but I’m getting there.

    It’s really impressive that you liked to write nonfiction as a little kid. I always hated writing anything other than stories (it still isn’t my favorite thing). Congrats on getting one of your articles published!! 😀

    YES to the peppermint hot chocolate. I like to eat peppermint patties while I’m writing to. Because chocolate stimulates the brain and I’m sure peppermint is good for something too. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

    Love your blog!

    ~Emily

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    1. Isn’t so difficult? I guess it’s basically the whole point of writing, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

      I loved writing stories, too and I still do! Thanks!

      Peppermint patties are really good, too! Chocolate stimulates the brain? Oh, cool. All the reason for me to eat more chocolate.

      Thanks.

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  16. The Hawaiian Mother Goose thing threw me off, and I had to go look up what it was. It sounds hilarious and amazing. 😄 OMG CONGRATS ON YOUR ARTICLE!!! 😀 That’s so awesome! I’m always intrigued when I meet (well, “meet” on the internet) someone who enjoys writing nonfiction, since that’s not really in my wheelhouse. And WOW! A computer engineer! Why do I feel like you’re a whole lot smarter than me? Answer: probably because you are. 😄 hahaha I loved reading this post! Oh and btw, thanks for stopping by Secret Scribblings. X)

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  17. Ok Ana, you’ve officially made me hungry with mentions of Peppermint Hot Chocolate. Noooo what am I going to do now? I’ll just have to have my Toffee Mint tea instead, I guess that’s nearly as good. I loved hearing about your writing adventures, I’m so proud of you guys knowing that you want to be a budding writer when you are young. It definitely makes sense that you’ll want to pursue your craft! I look forward to hearing about them on your blog ❤

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  18. Haha, I love how you wrote articles when you were little! At that age, I was writing stories about Hermie and Shellie the hermit crabs (creative names, right?). Oh and that’s sooo cool you’re getting published in a magazine! Congrats!
    My ultimate writing goal is to get a contract to write one of my series I’m planning…and for lots of peeps to read it. And like it. So pretty much, every author’s dream.

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  19. I think your answer to #4 captures an essential part of writing. We have so many ideas in our heads, and writing is when we try to put them on paper. I don’t know that it’s possible to write them down perfectly. That’s why we keep writing, so that we can write more accurately to the idea, more honestly, so that we can improve. And by then we’re hooked. 🙂

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    1. I don’t think it’s possible to completely match the vision in our head either, but just as you said, the more we write, the more accurate our writing becomes and the better we can communicate with our writing. It definitely is an essential part of writing, and one that can’t be forgotten.

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  20. Congratulations on your work being chosen for the magazine! Do you prefer to write stories, articles or poems? (Or, do you prefer to write fiction or non-fiction?)

    “My biggest struggle as a writer is trying to write a story so that it matches what I have in my head. My writing is never as beautiful as it is in my head, but the more I write, the better I get.” =D those words made me very, very happy. I couldn’t have put it better.

    Endings that are happy with a “twinge of sadness” are some of my favourites. I find them really touching. =( I think it’s really great that you let people read your work. Even if I could find someone who cared to read my work, I dunno if I would let them. It would feel like an exercise in trust – letting someone hold my baby. This was so interesting to read! I found you from the link-up (which I’m sure I’ll do soon.) Good luck with your writing.

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    1. Thank you! I really like writing articles and stories equally likely. Poems are nice, too, but I’m not very good at them just yet.

      Isn’t that so true? It is so difficult to communicate what we are trying to say, but the more we write the better we get at doing so.

      They are my favorite, too. Now if only I can write those endings so the sad parts are less dramatic and cheesy. Showing your writing to someone is definitely an exercise in trust, so I choose carefully when I ask someone to read my work. I can’t wait to see your post, and good luck with your writing as well!

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  21. Congratulations on being published soon! That’s so exciting! 😀 And congrats about the speedy draft. I’m noticing it does get easier as I grow in my writing. Happy writing and may the muse be ever in your favor!

    Stori Tori’s Blog

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  22. Oh my gosh.I would rather die than let anyone see my first draft 😄 (On second thoughts, maybe not)

    I definitely agree with you about the writing turning out not quite as you had imagined it in your head. A lot of times I mean a character to be something COMPLETELY different, but it turns out to be something even more awesome. Or horrible sometimes, too. It’s a part of writing 😉

    My favourite writing snack would be coffee or death-by chocolate cake dumped with cream. Lol. Both get me uber-hyper 😄

    Lovely post!

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    1. Hehe, I would be mortified for an eternity if someone else saw any of my first drafts of anything. They are always complete train wrecks.

      My writing never goes as planned, and like you said, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes things turn out so much better than I imagined, and other times, it just makes the story worse.

      I’ve never actually tried coffee, but it might be useful for late night writing.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. OMG I LOVE THIS. I remember making my parents read “Goodnight, Moon” to me a million times when I was a little kid. It was the cutest book ever.

    I would also rather die a thousand deaths than let someone read a first draft of mine. Just..no. *shudders* Anyways, excellent post!

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  24. I loved reading your answers! 🙂

    That is so interesting how you used to write articles! (And still do. ;)) Congrats on the magazine article–that must feel awesome!! 😀

    Peppermint and chocolate are both the BEST things EVER!! So together… yes. 😀

    Yay (mostly) happy endings! And epic fantasy is awesome! Best of luck on finishing your current work and getting to that! 😀 (I too have a story that has attacked me and won’t leave but I HAVE to finish some things first! o.o)

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