Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June means Write More!

Teahouse.

It’s my day off, so I actually have about 15 minutes to write a blog post. Imagine that.

So, JuNoWriMo is in full effect. I’ve been lucky enough to have two of the last three days of the challenge off, so I have some words down. Words that make sense. Words that actually have something to do with the original intent of my book. Yay, me.

I was also finally able to send in some edits and comments to my CP whom I hate leaving on the back burner like I have been lately. As I tell her over and over again; the dang work schedule is getting me down.

So, I have an hour commute each way to work. I spend all day dealing with customers and co-workers. For introverts, this is pretty taxing activity. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. Plus, this weekend, I got sick (again) so I spent Sunday on the couch instead of going out to celebrate Steve’s birthday. Not cool.

Actually, we had a nice time anyway because we went out for tea and saw Mad Max: Fury Road on Saturday. (The movie wasn’t my cup of tea, never mind the pun, but Charlize Theron’s character is awesome.)

Aside from the sickness, I did go back to work yesterday and will have my extra Saturday to work this week as well. Since I’m keeping up with JuNoWriMo with at least 500 words a day, I’ll have to just make time when I get home, and try to stay awake long enough to write something coherent.

I’ve tried writing on the bus. I’ve tried writing at lunch. Nothing works right. I end up feeling like I have to furiously get a word count down, so it’s usually unusable material. (Or, on the bus, I get bumped around so much, I have to retype things on my phone three times.) So, at my desk, at home, door closed, mind serene, is the only way I can get decent work done.

Starbucks, though. I’m good with Starbucks and a laptop.

Also, I have to add this ecard I found, because it’s pretty funny and especially in some instances.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May and the set up for JuNoWriMo

Double rainbow!

Once again, the promise of getting a novel written in one month appears in JuNoWriMo. I have signed up to do this so many times, and something always happens. Granted, I have done better in the summer than in autumn for 30 day writing challenges, so maybe by some stroke of luck, I’ll be able to get something done in June.

At least the JuNoWriMo has lots of pre-writing advice and tips on their blog to get me prepared for the actual writing process.

My main problem now is not the actual writing, it’s the time to do it. I work full time and have a long commute. I’m exhausted when I get home. I’m never alone during the day. Getting writing done is really, really tough.

Granted, we all have goals to be set, or a list in your head like I do (I really should write that list down every day - too much in my brain as is). When I do have some time to sit and write, I feel like I keep rehashing a scene, or adding only a small piece of the big puzzle. A small piece is better than none, and I did get my first sci-fi YA book in a first draft by just hit and miss writing that was fused together during early editing.

Anyway, I’m going to jump in with JuNoWriMo again this year, but I’m going to aim for 15k of the novel to be done by then. When you only have a bit of the story down, and have rewritten that ten times, there’s little hope for ever getting a decent chunk done, let alone the whole novel. What I’ve been wanting to work on for over a year now is a YA urban fantasy – something I’ve not done yet.

Then there’s that Middle Grade book I want to do – three, actually. Plus, I have the rest of my YA sci-fi books to do, there’s plenty of those. And my other New Adult books …

Time. Organization. Concentration. Coffee. That’s what I need to get everything done.

But in the meantime, I hope everyone who feels compelled to work on JuNoWriMo does. It’s helped me before because you have a set goal for each day and a set of deadlines that you can adhere to if that motivates you more. (Deadlines definitely motivate me.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A rainy Tuesday morning

I'll start this post as I'm waiting on the bus. I just spent the bank holiday weekend in the best way possible.
On Saturday, Steve and I went out to breakfast then met up one of his friends for a pre May 4th Star Wars LEGO shopping spree. Then we got my new iPhone 5C to use when I ditch this Windows phone. (It likes turning itself off, resetting the date and time to whatever it feels like, and can't keep saved emails for easy retrieval.) My contract with EE is over at the beginning of May, so I'm ditching their bad signal for 3. (With EE we get repeat texts from one another, or sometimes none at all.)
At Staples we bought a new Acer monitor which we greatly needed. Now I can actually see what's on the screen. I'm excited to try this out on a writing sprint.
I've started a Teaching Student with Special Needs course online to keep up my Florida Certificate. I haven't done proper homework and educational discussion for a while, so it's nice to think in teacher terms again.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting through a first draft

Blue typewriter

Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft…when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years…writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. ~ Joshua Wolf Shenk

I’ve been working on a project that I really like, but can never get past the first section. I have changed the setting a few times, and I try to start again when the scenes all end up being pretty much the same. Basically, I’m stuck in first gear, and I can’t just get through a first draft, then clean up what I want later.

Since I’m usually busy with everything else in life and can no longer pay attention to the important writing stuff (seriously, I never have quality time with my computer anymore) I was glad that a cold snuck up on me and kept me home today. I did two sprints and worked on the outline.

Of course the original idea makes me want to jump in and start writing, but I’ve figured out the hard way that it has to settle. Different elements of the story jumped up in my head when I least expected it, so now I have a better grasp of where I want the plot to go.

Bottom line: don’t waste a bunch of time on the first part of the book. The book will change as you go, at least it does for me. By the time you get to the nitty gritty in the middle, you understand what the story is a bit better. When you’re tired and dragging yourself across the finish line of the first draft, you can go back and write the book how you think it really should go. At least with a first draft, you’ve got material to work with – otherwise, you’re punching in ideas and getting no where. Things are going to change too much in first gear.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Writing in stressful times

St. Thomas

April started off okay. We took a trip to York, and spent a nice day in town when the weather was very un-English like. Then things got a little crazy.

Work has started to get really stressful for me. One Monday morning, when I was motivated to keep working on a current project, I’d had plenty of rest, and was ready to tackle my writing whenever I had a spare minute, my colleague abruptly left.

I have been left to run the library with various cover staff every day after. This has left me with chronic heartburn, something I use to have when I was stressed out in Florida several years back, so I’m not really handling this change very well. In actuality, I’m sick, and I’m not one to say I’m sick unless I really am. I’m taking Nexium again, which I haven’t taken in six years or so, and it’s still not keeping my stomach feeling 100% normal. There’s a whole slew of worry that I have now. I’m unable to relax and wind down, so I become listless and frustrated.

Having my mind and body preoccupied with trying to handle everything has left writing on a complete back burner. However, it really should be my first go-to option for stress relief. Healthline recommends that in times of stress, “Do something that you enjoy, whether it’s playing a musical instrument, making pottery, woodworking, gardening, or another hobby that helps take you away from day-to-day stressors.” Writing certainly falls under that category.

So as part of my goal to curb stress and looking forward to what I want to accomplish this year, I’m making more lists. The list includes the usual such as getting edits done, having Steve make some book covers for me, revamping my author page, and doing some promotional book tours.

Since I get distracted so easily, and it take a while to recuperate when I’ve been social (and even more so when I have to be overly social) I find it extremely difficult to get in a comfortable headspace to write. But, in the midst of the world trying to get you down, keeping the things most important to you in mind. It helps maintain a good perspective of what you really want to do each day when life gets in the way.