Category Archives: writing

Little Kid me Would be so Jealous Right Now

When I was a kid, I devoured books. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved getting into an author’s head and universe and having an adventure.

I’ve been critiquing a friend’s novel and I think the younger me would have just shit her pants at the privilege. Playing in another author’s world and pointing out flaws or the raddest shit ever and actively helping make a book better? It’s just amazing. I am transported to being a kid and reading Stephen King for the first time. It’s that level of amazement I feel sometimes as I’m critiquing. It’s seeing the world a new way. It’s fun and delightful.

I tend to be a very curious person and ask so many questions. My kid hates it when we’re at the zoo and the keepers are out because I just love to learn so much. “Mom, c’mon!” *hand tug, hand tug* 😀 But being in a dialogue with authors is so much fun. Every question I have, everything that doesn’t make sense, I ask my questions and find out. I like my certainty. And even if something is ambiguous in the story, I’ll ask my little questions and find out.

Anyway. I was making a cup of chai before getting back to my writing session and I realized how rad this all was. I hope your day is just as rad.

On Vulnerability

My friend in my writing group was asking for blog topics the other day and I said, “how about on being brave?”

He wrote a great blog post I totally needed because he’s reading one of my pieces now. (An aside, Bryan Young is crazy talented and you should read his books. Seriously, go do it. Here. Let me help you)

I’m not so sure my main issue is bravery now that I’m thinking about it. I tend to the prickly side. I like to put on my makeup face, wear my armor, and look unapproachable. I skew hedgehog. My spikes? Look how fucking rad they are! But my little pink belly? Fat chance.

It’s vulnerability that scares the bejesus out of me. And that’s the hard part. And it’s been an underlying reason I’ve been hesitant to revise. Because when I revise, I’m one step closer to actually showing people my work. And then they’re one step closer to seeing my novels are poorly executed weird ideas. My jerkbrain tells me this enough already. I don’t need it externally as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this, but it’s good to post:

Friends who love you and tell you how much they love your stuff are important. But so are friends who post 38 comments on your google doc, then message you with, “So, I finished the first chapter. Tell me what you think. Do they help?”

It’s hard and it’s scary, but, it’s a first step. That first step might be a doozy, but I think I survived it.

Truth Bombs

Recently, I told a friend to pull a title from Amazon. I read their book and was a little o_0 over it. The title was pulled and I was both relieved and felt terrible.

My critique partner and I were talking over breakfast the other morning and LuLo came up. It was my first real effort at a novel worth publishing and it did not go through a very stringent vetting process. The ladies in my moms group, who I love and adore, were much too nice about my book and well, it sucked. Like a lot. So, I pulled it. There are so many reasons why it sucked, which I can go into at length, if you’d like, but… Anyway. My critique partner was still much too kind about it and didn’t come out and say it, but I kind of wish she would have.

It’s nice to hear your story is fun. It’s nice to hear it’s well written. But if that’s not true, you are doing the writer a disservice. High five for the cold, hard truth.

The more writing I’m doing, the more work I’m putting into it, the more I want to hear honest critiques. I don’t want to hear it’s good if it’s dog shit. I think I’m coming to a new place in my writing, where I’m feeling brave. Where I can send out queries. Where I can get the feedback I need. I’ve been doing more research on the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think I’m getting better at this and I can judge my own abilities better. Or maybe I’m still as hopelessly hopeless as I was before ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ We report. You decide. heh. or something.

In any case, I feel like I’m taking steps forward. I don’t feel as scared. I’ve written some really terrible stories. And that was that. Nothing bad happened. As far as I know. But, I don’t feel so frightened of sending my books out into the world. I’ve been working through my revision block. And now, this. Things are moving forward and I’m feeling like a new, stronger, braver person.

Writers and Other Solitary Critters

My favorite part of this past NaNoWriMo was the group I fell into. My local region runs an IRC chatroom and we kept showing up into December.

I’ve been home with the Entropy Machine since she was born. I’ve missed having co-workers. I mean, I know I’m doing important work and blah blah blah, but damn, I miss having grownups to talk to. (I could write another article on women’s work here, too. I probably should)

Anyway. We’ve formed a little group, encouraging each other, using a group spreadsheet to track our word counts (compliments of yours truly and my mad spreadsheet skills) and goals for the year.

It’s weird to have a group like this when it comes to writing. I’ve been flying solo for so long with my words that having a group like this is a huge privilege. They’re keeping me on track and one more reminder in the morning to get up. I set the coffee maker to go off at 5 and I know someone else is going to be in our chatroom too. Helps me to stay motivated and the word wars are just great.

That said, it’s hard to find a community of writers. It’s hard to find your place and who you need. I joined the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America and I love them. But, I need to have something a little more. The daily group has been the answer I’ve been looking for.

I wish I had some advice for finding a writing group. I suppose finding groupings of writers and spending time with them is the first step. 😂

That said, what advice do you have to find your tribe?

Habits

That old chestnut that habits take 21 days to form? I think I believe it. I started getting up early again on the 28th of November and I have been up by 5:30 every day since then. I’ve been getting in my 2k words before 8 most days.

On top of this, I’ve also been cutting carbs, doing the 4-Hour-Body thing sort of kind of. I’m still eating some candy and flan and stuff, but I’m making better choices left and right.

My favorite new thing I’ve started doing is ten squats every time I refill my drink. I’ll schedule a half pot of decaf every night and drink that while I’m writing (with pastured half-and-half and Vietnamese cinnamon if you’re curious).

It seems to be working. My metrics for body composition (how close my ribs feel to the surface and having to tie my sweatpants to keep them up) are rocking. I can’t weigh myself and have it mean anything because by the time I get around to weighing myself, I am a half pot of coffee into the day and I’ve been drinking ice water. So ÂŻ\_(ツ)_/ÂŻ I can’t really go on anything but these very relative measurements.

IMG_3516It’s working and I’m feeling pretty rad about it. I have a goal of six books released next year. This getting the writing done first thing in the morning is opening up the rest of the day for revision. And I’m loving it. Well, as much as I can love revision.

But it’s happening and I’m sending out each chapter as it’s completed to my friend to read. Which is also helpful because you don’t want to wait too long between each installment. And even if I don’t really feel like it, I’ll still do it because she’s doing me a solid by reading. And I’m (hopefully) doing her a solid by supplying her with free romance novels. XD

NaNoWriMo Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I won the 50k part on the 14th. I won the 100k hopefully later today. I’m 1,913 words out from hitting it. Should be easy… supposing I figure out what project I want to work on next.

I finished My Pet Void. I’m sure I’ll realize all kinds of things need to be added in revision, but now? Now I’m all Aaack! I’m short for hitting 100k.

I have a few projects I still need to finish up. And I have so much revision work that it’s not even funny. But the strangest thing of all, there’s nothing really in the hopper for potential stories. Nothing there crying out to be written, nothing that just needs to come out.

Which was part of the hardest part of this 100k challenge. I have not been so kind to myself. I’ve gotten a little fluffy, more than I can attribute to thanksgiving and all that. I haven’t been walking my dogs nearly enough, the Entropy Machine has been watching so much television. Enough that I have opinions about Blue’s Clues and that Joe is creepier than Steve and that Steve would make the most annoying husband ever. “Hun, you see my keys?” “On the counter by the door.” “On the freeway to Lahore?” *looks genuinely confused*

Anyway. But, oddly enough, My Pet Void was a little heavier than I originally intended and I have not been so good about practicing self-care. So, now that I’m almost done with the month and this project, I’ve been getting up early again and I’ve been going back to my slow carb thing. This is my second morning up early and I’m a little tired, but I’m feeling okay. Maybe procrastinating a little at getting working at 100k, but I’ve been neglecting this too.

On the upside, the app Sleep Cycle is pretty rad. And it wakes you up when you’re the most awake, so it makes it too hard to fall back asleep in the middle of a snooze cycle. That and Forest have helped me stay on the straight and narrow when it comes to my phone in bed.

But, I’m done rambling. It’s time to get on with the day and on with my 100k. I’m looking forward to being finished. I can’t even tell you how fried I am. But it was an excellent test/stretch my capabilities adventure. This NaNo has been great for networking and meeting some new writer friends. Hard not to feel a little isolated when you’re living in your head so much. Anyway. Back to 100k.

It’s Almost Go Time!!

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us. There’s still almost half a month, but at the rate time has been cruising by, it will be November tomorrow.

Here is my project. I actually have an outline for it. Well, sort of. I took a workshop from Suzanne Johnson (and I have to say it was so incredible. If I run across more workshops from her, I will definitely post about them because I learned so freaky-deaky much) on plotting. I have been filling in my outline in Scrivener and it’s more of an outline than I have ever done in my whole life. I’ve always been a fan of winging things (if you couldn’t tell, heh) and going on adventures and making discoveries. It’s the same way for writing. I was such a terrible student!

Anyway. I’m trying to finish one manuscript and I’m trying to finish my outline and I’m trying to work through revision after revision for the stack of manuscripts in my hard drive. I like having this kind of work to do. I like having something else to think about while I do my housework. I like autumn and being cozy with a laptop and some whisky and an open field for my brain to romp and play in.

But I’m over my jet lag… mostly. I know what day it is and I’ve stopped waking up feeling like I’m still on an airplane with weird movement artifacts. I’m not quite over the conference, that many people and the go go go and my terrible eating and not being quite hydrated and blah blah blah. My manicure was shredded in a fit of jet lag exhaustion and I’m in jeans, a tank top and a western wear shirt (have I mentioned my deep and abiding love of Wrangler shirts? Oh god how I love them despite my very urban upbringing and distinct lack of interaction with animals and pick up trucks and country music).

But the whisper of “write. hey. go write something” has started again and I wouldn’t be able to stop listening if I tried. Here we are. It’s going to be a fun couple of months 🙂 Now if the whisper of, “hey. go publish something” would just start, I’d be all set.