Wednesday, November 8, 2017

When A Writer Actually Writes

Jill here. I met Keturah Lamb in person at this summer's Realm Makers writing conference in Reno, Nevada. She instantly started telling me how Go Teen Writers helped her on her writing journey. I was fascinated at the idea of a teenager texting a novel into her phone. What a way to Respect Your Dream! I was inspired. And I thought you all might enjoy and relate to her journey. I hope you do. Please welcome Keturah Lamb.

Keturah Lamb is a young woman learning how to both live in and embrace God's reality. Written and verbal words help this process. She likes to call herself a realistic idealist. She has many passions in life, the first being her ideas concerning friendship {love}, the second being laughter {smile}.

She blogs at http://www.keturahskorner.blogspot.comYou can also find her on almost any social media under her name, except on Twitter, where it is Keturah Abigail.

Mary, one of my best friends, first introduced me to the world of blogging through Go Teen Writers. Two things impressed me at first:

1. That maybe my love of writing could become more than a dream and even a worthy pursuit.
2. If I wanted to write the best thing to do was write.

When I was seven I would tell people that my three favorite things were reading, writing, and art.  I'd write short stories and illustrate them with my watercolors to share with all the people I knew. I still have many of these stories.

As I grew older my love for writing never died, but my passion did. Or maybe it was lack of motivation and knowledge? After all, how does one become published? How is writing even a successful or practical choice in life?

But my dream of telling stories to encourage, edify, and entertain the people I love never went away completely.

I've always written for as long as I can remember, but I didn't become serious about my stories until I discovered Go Teen Writers—and I learned a key secret on how to write.

Key secret: actually write.


I had told myself, “I will write my stories once I have a laptop.”

But I realized after finding Go Teen Writers that I would always have an excuse to not write NOW. So I began to write short stories, starting in a notebook, and then thumb typing words into an app on my cell phone.

I learned to text really fast! Probably just as fast as many teens that text friends—just without the acronyms. :D



Here is the story of how I learned to actually write:


Age Sixteen:
·         Had many unfinished short stories and a thirty page novel called Perfect.
·         My friend Mary started a girls' publication. I'd write two page stories or poems for it. Those were so hard to write, two pages feeling like a lot of work.
·         Could not visualize endings.
·         Made excuses to not write.
·         Discovered Go Teen Writers.
·         Learned the key to writing—actually writing. So I wrote.


Age Seventeen:
·         I joined a writing group on Ravelry.com in which we had bi-weekly and monthly challenges. First we set our word counts at 250-1000 words. Then we changed it to be between 1,000 and 10,000. Before this I could never finish a story—endings eluded my mind. And the idea of writing 1,000 words baffled me. After a couple months I was writing several thousand-word stories and thinking of the ending before anything else!
·         I wrote.
·         I didn't touch Perfect much but mostly worked on smaller stories.


Age Eighteen:
·         I moved on from Ravelry, no longer having time to focus on smaller stories, and I entered the Rooglewood contest for a Beauty and The Beast retelling with an 11,000 word story. I didn't win, but I received very helpful and encouraging feedback.
·         I joined my first Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 and asked my friend, Lauren, to join me. During this time I wrote my next longest story—a 30k novella called Silent Thoughts.
·         Lauren and I decided to keep writing daily word counts of at least 200 words.
·         I continued working on Perfect and watched it grow very, very slowly.
·         I started a blog (with only a cell phone) and wrote on it whenever I felt like it. Maybe once a month?


Age Nineteen:
·         I dug through my files of story ideas from when I was younger and rewrote many of them, also creating new stories, some of which are beautiful, some of which were stepping stones toward learning how to write more beautiful stories.
·         I started writing for other blogs, including doing regular fashion posts.
·         I wrote a couple articles for an online local paper.
·         I bought a laptop FINALLY.
·         I typed Perfect out for the first time and started watching it grow.
·         I continued writing short stories.
·         I decided to write with a schedule—every Wednesday I would make a post on my blog.


Age Twenty:
·         Lauren and I completed our first NaNoWriMo. Before this, writing our 200 words a day had seemed a lot. I wrote my first short outline and a whole 50k novel, The Fur Slipper.
·         After writing 1,600 words a day for NaNo, 200 felt little. I began writing an average of 750 words a day.
·         I finished Perfect in March 2017. My first novel was completed!
·         I wrote several short stories, a couple songs, my first play, and did a lot of editing.


Age Twenty-one:
·         I finished The Fur Slipper just three months after Perfect—my second novel!
·         I attended my first writer's conference in July 2017.
·         I started my third novel, Let Me Meet Death Dancing. It currently has 30k words. I have done absolutely no plotting, but I see the whole story in my head. (I believe I'm a pantser).
·         I wrote a 25k serial for my blog; many short stories; won my first writing contest (there was a small reward); wrote many more poems, songs, and short stories; and continue to think of new stories.
·         I brainstormed for this year’s NaNoWriMo and am hoping to write five 20k novellas (prequels and sequels to Silent Thoughts). That's going to be about 100k words. I know I will most likely not achieve my crazy goals as I'll be traveling the last half of the month, but that's all right—I'll just write as much as I can!

When I was sixteen my dreams were as scattered and confused as my seven-year-old-self's stories. I wasn't sure what to do with my stories, how to write them, or how to reach readers.

But now? Now I see my dreams becoming real. My stories are now on paper, and I have people that seem to enjoy reading them. My blog is probably one of the things I love the most about my writing journey as it lets me share with so many new friends.

I'm still not sure how I will be published… to be honest I haven't began in earnest to search out editors or agents and submit. But I am writing! I love what I write. And endings are no longer hard to write.

I don't have to have a certain tool to write—besides my fingers and mind. I can use paper, I can text on my phone, or I can type with my laptop. It doesn't matter (of course, I prefer the laptop) as long as words are happening!

I now write thousands of words a day and feel like I'm not killing myself (compared to when it was torture to simply write 100 words a day).

I don't know if it's easy to tell—but I love writing just as much as I did when I was seven. The only difference is now I actually write.

What about you? How you has your writing grown over the years? Or even months?

Do you find that words that once seemed huge and impossible now spill from your fingertips with ease?

What pushed you forward into actually taking that step to write? What do you need to actually write?

16 comments:

  1. It's so amazing looking back and seeing how far you've come! This was a really inspirational post for me since I'm in the same boat for the most part. I'm glad to see I'm not alone!

    Congrats on your new normal in writing! I hope that you continue to find new ways to stretch yourself in the future (without hurting your creativity, of course!).

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    1. I'm so glad it was inspirational for you and you were able to relate 🤗 And thanks! I love to find new challenges. I hope you find what works for you, too, in your writing 😀

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  2. Keturah, I got really excited to see you were doing a guest post here. This is amazing and you've inspired me to write, even when I don't fell motivated. I love your story of how you got to where you are today. Thanks for sharing! <3

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. Hey, Ivie! I admit, I was really excited to write this post ;) Yay for motivation!

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  3. Keturah, this is such a lovely post! I grew teary reading your transformation, and I'm so touched that Go Teen Writers played a role in it. A small role, because you have done all the hard work, my friend!

    And what an amazing reminder that the real power lies in the act of writing itself. Not in knowing everything about writing or having special software, but in doing the thing.

    We are so proud of you, Keturah, and I can't wait to see what the next years have for you!

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    1. Thanks so much Mrs Morrill! You've encouraged me so much 🤗 Thanks for all you do 😀

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  4. Love your journey so much, Keturah. Thanks for sharing it with us! :-)

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  5. Wow! What an inspiring story you posted! The lesson that you said you learned is an important one - you aren't a writer until you write. Thank you so much to share it - it's amazing to see how far you've come since you were younger!

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    1. Thank you! It's rather ironic how it's so simple, yet crucial. Writing is really... just writing ;)

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Keturah! It was lovely having you!

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  7. Keturah, I could not stop smiling as I read this. What an inspiring story of perseverance and respecting your dream. So proud of you! I love the bulleted lists you give of how your writing journey has progressed--I sense this is only the beginning. ;)

    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you, Rachelle 🤗 I too hope this is only the beginning. Bullet point lists are so fun 😁

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  8. The writing group on Ravelry helped me a lot too, and like you, I did end up moving on from it. Now I've got a blog and Kingdom Pen --- we'll see what comes next as far as queries and agents and such.

    I'm curious about Let Me Meet Death Dancing. There doesn't seem to be anything on your blog about it.

    https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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    1. Oh, wow - I wonder if we knew each other on Ravelry? It used to be my "social media". But everyone's user names kinda confused me 🤣 That's awesome our writing had similar jumpstarts ;)

      And that's so neat! Two great friends of mine were/ are involved with Kingdom Pen: Sarah Spradlin and Hope Schmidt.

      The reason you haven't seen that novel mentioned on my blog is because I have a hard time sharing about my novels in their beginning stages as they are all very personal. I've had the idea deep down for years, a story about a girl in a secret relationship with a great guy that doesn't turn out so well. But lack of experience prevented me from writing the story. Then this spring I went through a difficult time as a relationship ended. After a couple months I remembered my story idea of years ago and the whole thing suddenly had depth and meaning and even a title. And an ending. And so I started writing it the end of July. It's been the easiest novel I've ever started to write. In a nutshell it is about relationships, specifically breakups.

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