Lovely Ladies

Hello, my amazing readers. Today, I wanted to simply give mad props to a group of lovely ladies that I’m so fortunate to have in my life. They are the type of friends, while yes all of them virtual friends on social media, they are still always there. I feel blessed to have them in my life. They are the type of friends that build you up.

Even though we are all on the writing path, they don’t rip you apart. Instead, they help me, and I help them. To me that makes them some of the strongest women I know.

I recently have pulled down my first book to start going through to polish it. You have no idea how much you learn in a few years until you read your first novel. Yikes, icky, and a few other choice words pop into my head as I work on my first novel. I’ve felt stuck, uninspired, and have already packed the book away ready to move on.

Problem is I promised a series out of the book, and regardless of how awful (yes, I’m my own worst critic) I think it is the book has gained quite the readership. Who am I to deny my readers the rest of the story? So while I’m awaiting publishing news on another book (seriously, the hardest wait for a writer) I figured I’d give another crack at it.

Why do I mention this? Because I cleaned up the first chapter. One of my lovely friends offered to critique it for me. I sent it off to her, and bam. She not only sends me back a compliment, but she also sends me back a real critique. One where the chapter is dissected into bits, and she has found things I have never realized with the book.

I know I got done saying I knew it was bad, but I never realized some of these little holes. Oh, no worries I’ll plug them, and get them smoothed out. It’s what I do. It helps so much to have someone willing to say hey, got confused here. You contradict yourself here.

I don’t find it discouraging, but rather invigorating. All of my work will pay off in the end, and the book will be so much better for it in the end. I need the critique partners to finish off this endeavor. It goes like this, after you’ve read through the same book so many times you can’t count the only critical thing you can bring to the table is the lighter to set the book on fire.

So, instead of doing that I’ve got lovely friends that are willing to help out when I need it, and I will return the favor always. We have a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours mode of operation going. It isn’t something we’ve ever voiced, it’s just the way we work. All of us genuinely want to see the other succeed.

Now that is friendship. I leave you now my readers as I scurry off to dive into the WIP. I have a renewed sense of confidence, determination, and a long rocky road ahead of me, but we will get there.

Thank you to all my amazing friends, readers, and the Trysters in my life.

L.O.L (Live it – Own it – Love it) I know I’m going to.

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NaNo Sucketh

Hello my brave readers! I had another post written, and scheduled to post today, but I deleted it. It came from a place of anger, and venting. I had placed a positive spin on it, but it still wasn’t the type of post that I wanted to place for today.

That being said you may read the title and wonder what I mean by it. No, I do not mean the annual NaNoWriMo competition sucks. I love NaNoWriMo, and I try to participate every year, even though it is my busiest time of the year. 

I do mean by NaNo sucketh (yes, a completely made up word from some of my frustration) that every time I complete NaNoWriMo I have more of a disaster on my hands than I anticipated at the start of November. NaNo is all about getting that word count down. You aim for a goal every day, and you type until your bones ache. At the end of the month if you hit 50k or higher you’re a winner. You spend December in this euphoric state of being.

January rolls around or later and you pull out this masterpiece that you have written. One peek inside the chapters, and your jaw hits the floor. It’s the worst thing you possibly could imagine. Everything is in a disarray. You’ve just spent thirty days creating the biggest pile of garbage that you have ever laid eyes on. Setting the book on fire, or burying it in the yard seems like a better use of your time than facing this monstrosity that you’ve created. 

Stop. Don’t do that. I can assure you my brave readers, and creative types that is not the way to go. I too am looking at my last year’s NaNo project currently, and I’m in a sad state of affairs with it. 

I’m like a two year old with a tantrum right now. I do not want to have to go through this thing. It would be so much easier to forget I’d ever written it, or better yet bury the zombie book. Still, if I buried my books that better resembled swiss cheese than an actual novel I’d have nothing to show for my hard work. 

But all these ideas that are begging to be written. You might whine. Keep a file on your desktop, write down every idea that comes to you, or even in a notebook. Keep them somewhere safe. Now that, you’ve got that accomplished let me explain the method that I’m trying now.

This is where I’m at now. I can see the mess of my NaNo project (I’m smart enough to admit how bad it is). It needs work, loads of work, but at the same token if I don’t get any writing done in a day I feel like a failure. Yes, editing is part of the process as well, but it can be overwhelming when there is no fresh words to a page.

So, I break up the work. I figure up about how many hours I have to dedicate to my job (or second job for some of you). As I am a stay at home mother of three I have a bit more time than most, but that fluctuates on a day to day basis depending on homework, housecleaning, and the likes. I digress, here is what you can do….remember as I stated previously do not count my advice as the only way things are done, or even the best. It is neither. It is simply what works for me.

Anyway, separate off an hour or two for editing. So, say you can manage four hours of dedicated work to your second job. Take an hour or two from that, and call it your editing time. Meanwhile that still leaves you two to three hours to work on a new project. Set an alarm on your phone, an egg timer something, and keep track of your time.

Use the free time to type out a scene that is running through your head for a book, plot (if you’re the type) on your next book, or generally just get words down on paper. Sprint, if you’re into that type of thing, but when that timer goes off it is time to switch projects. I like to stop a project in the middle of the sentence. My brain uses that half sentence as a trigger so I remember when I was headed, and can continue on easier. I also jot down a few quick notes in italics beneath what I’ve just written so I can review it the next day. Save your project (I would suggest once on your computer and a flash drive). I’ve lost thousands of words to computer crashes. Backups are ESSENTIAL.

Now, close out the program and pull up your editing. Reset your timer, and work diligently on editing. We all have a method to which we work our editing. I like to go through and read the book to be edited front to back first, especially if it’s been a few months since I’ve seen it. That way I get a good feel for the story. I don’t edit while I do this, but merely make some notes in sidelines (if it’s printed) or using the review tool in word. 

After I have the initial reading review finished I will break it down by paragraphs. I get overwhelmed very easily so I’d rather look at the project one paragraph at a time than as a whole. I will mess with the paragraph until it reads smoothly, and then I move onto the next. I work each chapter that way, until I’ve been through the entire book. After all of that work is done I will give it a final read through. This read through I do out loud so I can catch anything that doesn’t sound right, and fix it. Final run through is fixing grammar, and format issues. Once that is complete it’s ready for editors (content, line by line, punctuation and grammar editors are needed) Sometimes you get lucky and find editors that can do at least two of them. After that work on the submission packets, or if you’re like me Indie find beta readers.

Okay, now that I’ve reviewed everything, and this post is extremely long. Let’s get back to the post. Manage your time. If you’re like me, and not getting new words down is frustrating you, but your time is limited to work….remember to separate your time. Spend more time on the project that is at the top of your list, but just because editing is up there to release a new book, doesn’t mean you can’t have another project in a different stage of the writing process. All you have to do is make sure that you are still dedicating time to both. 

So, with all of this being said. I’ve figured up my job time, separated off my edit time, and now it’s on to setting timers and sprinting out some word count. 

Oh, end note before I close out this blog post. Small notebooks and pens that can be transported with you are great ways to keep track of writing ideas while you’re at work or running errands.

Remember LIVE YOUR DREAMS – OWN THE PATH – LOVE THE WORK

Live it – Own it – Love it    L.O.L.

See you next time, valiant creators from around the globe.