I’m Calling You Out!!!

Hello, my amazing readers. Here we are sitting on Oct. 23rd all ready. This month has flown by for me, and considering all I need to get done….well, that isn’t such a good thing.

We are less than 10 days away from one of the biggest writing projects to strike the internet. What is that you say? Why it is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It is where all of us writers, aspiring writers, and those that just want to give it a try spend the entire month of November writing 50 thousand words on a novel. That is 30 days to write the bare bones of your novel arc down.

50,000 words in 30 days, you might say?! That is insane! It really could be, but it is fun, and you will never find a bigger community of authors supporting other authors through the journey.

Now, lets break it down. We are talking about 1,667 words a day to hit that 50,000 by November 30th. Most people can accomplish this in about two hours of work. I realize some type slower, but still….2 hours a day of typing like mad on that novel you’ve had rolling around in your cranium. Seriously, that isn’t much time to sacrifice to accomplish something artistic.

Not to mention it is absolutely free to sign up, so if worst case you don’t make it, you are out NOTHING! You can sign up here at Nanowrimo.org. If you are anything like me, you like to be challenged. That is when your determination and gumption shines through.

After all of this you still are unsure if you should do it? You’re too busy? You have too many commitments? Come on, there will always be a reason to push it off until next year or sometime. Now is the time to join in the fun, the chaos, and the community.

So, all my grand readers. If you are an aspiring writer in any format I’m calling you out. Don’t push this opportunity off until next year. Jump in with both feet, and take the journey with thousands of us. You never know, you could just be sitting at the end of November going ‘Wow, I just wrote my first novel.’ or ‘Wow, I didn’t think I could do it, but I did.’

Time to get back to the NaNoWriMo preparation. And remember –

L.O.L. (Live it – Own it – Love it!) It’s your journey make the most of it.

Knee Deep in First Drafts

Welcome again, my readers. It’s been crazy busy as usual. I attended the Salt Lake City Comic Con on Saturday and had a blast. Next year I’m hoping to have a booth there. It was great to meet local authors, and not local ones alike. I’ve gathered plenty of portals into new worlds to dive into. The Hubby Man also got my son’s book signed by his favorite author, Brandon Mull. 

My amazing Hubby Man also attended and recorded writers panels for me on the two days that I could not attend. They have helped me immensely, and renewed my confidence in my own writing. Plus he bought me an inspirational book to which I’m all ready filling the pages with the secrets of this latest series, and gathering bits for future works as well.

After the much needed mental break I’m back into the working mode. I’ve been plotting, writing, and generally submerging myself into a fantasy world of my own creation. If all goes as planned it’ll be my biggest book yet. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with all of you.

Not to mention that I’ve been writing notes, and tidbits for my next horror novel. It’s always great to gather a plethora of ideas to sort through, and decide your next project at a later date. It gives them time to grow into plot lines, or fully realized characters you can use.

I also have an upcoming anthology piece to get plotted. Plus, and this is a huge plus, I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher on rather my submission has been accepted. That has to be the most nerve wracking part of submitting – the waiting.

Until next time, readers.

L.O.L. (Live it – Own it – Love it)

 

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.

Monday Madness

Good morning, readers! It’s Monday. I hear the grumbles from the crowd all ready at that. 

While the world despises Monday’s I rejoice in them. Or at least I do this Monday. It is the beginning of a brand new week. A brand new chance to spend days chasing those dreams. We can reach for those goals, and dreams easier by putting last week where it belongs. All the rough days, and head scratching as we stare at blank screens, just leave it behind. 

Drink a cup of coffee, listen to upbeat music that puts you in a great mood. Or even listen to inspiring music. 

Once you have that cup down, get a fresh cup. Before you ask, yes, I live off coffee like a diet while I’m writing. Tons of the stuff every day. It might be recommended not to drink it during my diet, but oh well. You cannot take the coffee out of the writer. That is not a good thing. 

Anyway, I digress. 

Put yourself in a positive train of thought. Set up big term goals, or small term goals for the week, and conquer.

Just remember as submission calls pop up, novel ideas dive in, and you want to accomplish it all….

Any word count a day, even a few hundred….it’s progress forward, and to be proud of it. You hear the saying all of the time. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. I think it’s safe to say don’t even compare yourself to the way you wrote one book. Some books just come easier than others. 

So buckle yourself down, put on that writing hat, and bleed into your work in progress. (figuratively, let’s not be disgusting or suicidal. I’ve lost way too many author friends recently).

As for me. It’s a fresh cup of coffee, and into the WIP for me. My main character is preparing to face many trials for the day.

Dream on, and dream big, my friends.

 

Adjusting and Readjusting

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour

How is the writing going you might ask? Well, it isn’t. That is the big and small of it. 

Often times you will read things online that you think will help, or discuss things with friends. They can only give you the methods that work best for them, or what hasn’t. They cannot give you what works best for you.

It’s all a matter of trial and error. Yes, even with writing. What works best for one book you write, may not work best for all books that you write. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting, and readjusting to find that method.

But I can only write at four a.m. with the radio blaring. I have to wear a certain pair of pajamas, or a certain hat. I have to have my writing mug filled with coffee. 

Yes, as writers we are a little on the crazy side. Some of us are superstitious in our own ways. We have routines or methods that we ‘have’ to go through to get those pages out. Or at least, that is what we believe.

Hey, before we go knocking one person’s method over our own, take a step back. They have developed what they believe works for them, and that is okay. Just let them be. It doesn’t hurt you if they write at four a.m., and you’re not their neighbor so the radio isn’t a problem either. 

We all have the same goals in mind. Write that book. Finish that book. Bleed for that book. And we all want to see our books succeed. 

So, next time you get stuck either in the plotting stages, or in the writing stages try something different. If you normally write at a desk, move to the couch. If you normally use a computer, try free handing it on paper. If you normally drink coffee, try tea.

Are any of those methods a sure fire way to release the creative demons? Not at all. It isn’t a matter of following some routine or getting buck wild by being a coffee rebel. 

It’s a matter of altering your sensory input. We get so wrapped up in getting the words down, that we will lock ourselves away for long periods of time, and then complain when we get stuck.  If you experience the same thing day in and day out – smell the same things – do the exact same things, there is no new sensory input to assist in your creative development. 

Anything you hear, or see consistently is processed by your brain without your acknowledgement. Think of it this way. If you consistently read, and reread a line of a book, magazine, or whatever eventually you have no conscious thought of what the words are or their meaning. Sure, you’re still reading them, but it’s being processed in a part of the brain where things just become automatic.

Does that mean I’m the all knowing God of writing? No, it is merely a suggestion to try. Break routine, do something different, absorb new sensory inputs. You never know. It might just work to break that lock. And remember, all of these are NOT the right way, they are different ways.

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Dream on, and dream big

Getting Back on That Horse.

I took a few days off from blogging. Not due to anything serious. In fact quite the opposite is true. Sunday I spent most of the morning on a shopping trip with a good friend. As we are thousands of miles apart, we made the most of it and went online shopping. It was a lot of fun. Yesterday, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around a blog post. I tried to think up something to talk to all of you readers about, but nothing came to mind.

Today, it’s a different story. As for writers or any creative type we are faced with some pretty nasty things, rather it is reviews of our work or rejections of our babies. You will have to grow a thick skin if you hope to survive in the world. Criticism is quick to be flung in all directions, and sometimes you find yourself the target of such.

Still, it is the rejections that I wish to talk about today. I, just like any other author that has tried for submission calls, or sent their work into publishers have faced rejection. It is a hard pill to swallow when that message comes back. The words small slaps in the face as you read, and maybe even reread them. 

I kept my first rejection letter. Yeah, sounds crazy, right? I kept it because it meant something to me. Not that I was a world class crappy author, but that I was starting to pave my path as an author. We’re all going to get them, not even famous authors today avoided the dreaded rejection letter. 

The thing is, and it’s one of the most important things. You have to keep trying. Do not let that letter destroy your dream. You keep putting your work out there. Have critique partners, beta readers, or even an editor go over your work if the rejection letter actually contains critiques within it, though don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t. Most rejection letters now come in the form of a pre-written document where they just slap your name on it. 

Once it’s cleaned up, put it back out in the world. Submit to other publishers, don’t give up. You never know, your story could be just what one publisher is looking for. Always, ALWAYS make sure your work is edited. I know you think you can edit your own work, and save you some money, but trust me from experience. You cannot. It is one of the singly best investments you can do for your ‘precious baby’ once it’s written, and revised.

Now, with all of that being said, the reason I chose the subject of rejection. Last year I’d submitted to a horror anthology. I was rejected. Me? I felt defeated, and I let that stew in my brain. I was already feeling pretty awful about my writing, but that blow about had me packing my bags.

I’d started to give up on my writing. I figured nothing was selling, I couldn’t even make it in my own genre so why bother. I was going to give up the dream.

DO NOT DO THAT! If you need to give yourself a few days to brood, but only a few days. Pick yourself up off that floor, and try again. That is the most important aspect. Keep trying, don’t ever stop. Get back on that horse, and try again.

Don’t allow excuses, rejections, and criticism to take seed in your brain. It will destroy you, and spin you into a world of negative thought. 

Time for me to get to work on a few different genre submissions that have come into my life yesterday. Keep reaching for the stars.

Dream on, and Dream big.

 

 

Plot Line, Series Line, and Mass Chaos

I’m running behind today, as I decided to sleep in. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get up as early to get started with my work, but alas it couldn’t be helped. My body must have needed it.

Yesterday, I found that I didn’t have as much visible work to accomplish as I wanted. Partly, due to the fact the newness of the programs is starting to wear off. It has now become a job once again, but that is okay. Writing should always be considered a job when it is what you want to do with your life. I know for a fact that some days it will be easier to sit down to the computer, and type. While other days it will be a struggle just to hit my marks.

I’ve accepted this, and while I didn’t get much visible work out, I did get work. I now have the plot line for the book down to map out on Aeon as well as Scrivener, along with a more solid series line. 

Already this morning I’ve dug into the work of mapping out characters. It will allow me to progress the story line in the hopes of pulling the reader more into the world. I’ve got an amazing book cover ready to go for it. 

If you’re looking for super affordable book covers, while still ensuring top quality I would suggest Double J Book Graphics. Not only are the covers amazing, and affordable, but she will work with you to ensure that you are satisfied with the cover.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting the product to place inside of the cover. That will come in time, but first I must put forth the work to ensure that the setup is ready to go. It’ll all be worth it in the end.

As much as I loved the ability to just dive into a story as a pantser. I found that I wrote myself into corners or grew bored with a story in the middle. Plotting has been a gift. Yes, it takes more time to get to actually writing the story, but I won’t be writing myself into corners. 

I find it best for me personally to have a strategy. I’ll take the hard work, and dedication to get to the point of writing. In the end it will show how much work I’ve put into it. 

Time to get back to work for me.

Dream on, and Dream big, my friends.