Process and Progress

After being a writer and calling myself a writer for several years, I have written quite a lot. Some great things, some terrible things and some things that I am sure I still cringe at to this day. I am mostly referring to my first few years of writing and my fanfiction phase.

My first story (not my first novel) was one I wrote when I was around eight. It was a powerpuff girls fanfiction that had one page chapters and really bad drawings. It was a half assed fairytale with a simple plot and a really really bad dialogue scheme. I am happy to say I have improved immensely since then.

Why am I blogging about my first story and embarrassing myself a little bit? Even though it’s not my favorite by a long shot, that piece taught me a lot about my writing process. I was around eight when I wrote it, on black paper, with gel pens. I had never written any stories before, but my friends, who were almost five years older, had nearly filled their notebooks with their ideas and their words.

And there is the beauty of my first story ever.

The process behind it, the quick choice of writing something I knew, something I cared about, even if it was rudimentary and juvenile. I got an idea in a flash and I wrote it the only way I knew how, with words, and pictures. I wrote it in a way no one else could, in a way no one else could, because those were my words and my choices on that page, as simple as they were.

Since then, my writing has changed, writing more of my own ideas instead of fanfiction, but the process still remains. I still get ideas in a flash, and I still sometimes write simple words and stories, but I can always edit them and change them to be better. I have expanded my horizons and ventured into other things, other writing, other hobbies, and other ideas. I have expanded as a human and a writer.

But that first story, I will never ever touch. I have to have some way to track my progress and my growth as a writer.

Do you remember your first jump into the creative pool?

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The Importance of Goals

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Without something to strive for, to work towards, we are stagnant. No matter what your preferred calling is, whether it be your occupation, your hobby, or maybe even a little of both, goals are necessary.

For several years, I have had goals, both writing goals, and goals in other areas of life. I’ve had both long and short term goals, which in some cases can be interchangable.  Sometimes, short term goals can morph into long term, or vice versa. If a long term goal feels unattainable,  break it into smaller short term goals. For example: If the goal is a burst of confidence by the end of the year it’s not something to start the first day of December. Some goals take time, and that’s not a bad thing.

Sometimes we’re not ready for our goals, we’re scared, or shy, or we don’t have the means to complete them just yet,  or the time and patience. That is perfectly fine, sometimes we have to fail a few times before we succeed. That’s part of learning and the human experience.

If we all succeeded the first time we tried something, we would never learn anything. We would not grow, or advance as a society. Failing is perfectly acceptable, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Of course, we never really want to fail, but sometimes it is inevitable. That’s why I am going to share some of my goals, both that I succeeded and failed in.

Let’s start with 2009. I was in my first year of college, trying to get through Anatomy, Psychology and College algebra. That was the first year I found out about NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org), which takes place in November. You know what else takes place in November? Finals. I had to make a choice between preparing for finals and writing 50,000 words, or fail both. I chose finals, and I succeeded in furthering my progress in my long term goal of nursing. Did that stop me from doing NaNoWriMo the next year?  No way!

In 2010, I got into the CNA program and succeeded.

Then I had to wait three years for my acceptance into the LVN program. Three years is a long time to wait for your goal, and for a while, I lost track of my goals. I like to call those years my “dark ages” and for good reason.

2011- I was dating a guy for most of 2011 (let’s call him Poland). Thing went well for a while, and them my feelings for him died when I met another guy who I deemed more my type (let’s call him Hilter… It’s going to be a complex metaphor). Because of the conflict the rest of my 2011 sucked and I nearly failed classes I needed for nursing school because of it. I was writing a novel at the time and I nearly didn’t finish that either.

2012- Hitler didn’t work out, so I dated Himmler for a month,  and that was like being stuck in a work camp, and after him Goebels, which was one of the worst mistakes of my life. I dropped more classes that I needed (and that counted against me later), I screwed up my sleep schedule, and I nearly jeopardized my chances of getting into the nursing program at all. I was aimless, I had forgotten my long term goals. Even my short term goals and my writing suffered.

And then 2013 came,  I got into the LVN program, and I succeeded. Sure, there were pitfalls In that year too, but there were also triumphs. I made it through all three semesters,  I wrote, I reached some short and some long term goals. I learned about myself and I was able to succeed once I put my mind to it.

2014 was even better. I worked my ass off through the RN year, I met the best man I have ever been with, who I love more than I ever thought imaginable, and I wrote ten (10!) short stories, finished a full length novel and faced my fears and submitted something to a writing contest. I could not have done any of that if I hadn’t struggled through those “dark ages”.

Goals, whether we succeed or fail, teach us something about ourselves and others.

What goals do you have?

Hello World!

Some of the best advice I ever received

Some of the best advice I ever received

My name is Breanna O’Brien, but most people call me Bre.

I have been writing since I can remember. There are a lot of people who have had a hand in my writing and who have made me who I am today, but for now I’ll just tell you about myself. I started considering being a full time writer over a decade ago. I remember the exact moment vividly.

I was sitting in my history class towards the beginning of eighth grade and my history teacher was talking about the formation of the American Colonies and indentured servants. He mentioned something about orphans and children being used as well, and in that moment, the idea for a story just clicked. I wrote that story, in pencil, in a spiral bound notebook, and I am happy to say I finished it, and it sucked. I am bummed to say that pencil and over a decade of wear has not been good for the pages.

Even though that story sucked, for many reasons, it taught me valuable lessons that I still think about today. Since that first story I have finished several more and each time they get better. Will I ever publish that first draft of the story, most likely not. Will I rewrite it someday? Maybe.

Why am I telling you all of this in my first post ever? Because it matters. Sure, it’s embarrassing that I couldn’t decide on a name for the heroine so I just kept changing it, and sure it’s embarrassing that it was this sappy romance even though I had never even been kissed yet, but it was the story that taught me a lot about what to do and more importantly what not to do.

Since then, I have grown a lot in my writing practices and in life experiences in general. I have graduated middle school (thank Goodness!), high school, and college with an AA in nursing. I have loved (perhaps several more times than I should have) and I have lost. Life has taught me a lot about writing. Writing has taught me a lot about life too.Currently I am writing a series, or at least planning it, and writing short stories in between, but I’m hoping to be published soon (after several rounds of editing).

I’ve been writing for years, but I’ve been doing most of it in secret, because I think for a long time I was embarrassed of my words or what I had to say. Recently a lot has changed in a short period of time and as I’ve grown in relation to those changes, so has my confidence.

I’m here now to say “Hello World! I am a writer and I want you to read my words!”

I hope you will read them.

And just for kicks and giggles:

This is the old me, I was around 15 at the time.

This is the old me, pretty awkward and 15

This is the me of today, or pretty close.

This is the me of today.