Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What up Wednesday 12 Dec 2015

The Coast!

Here’s another example of why writing is hard: recently I finally got into the groove of writing a story that had a nice voice. That’s kind of hard to keep going once you walk away from the story and come back to it later. When I have thought about how the story is going to go, I end up listing things that happened, rather than letting the character in all her glory, explaining how things happened.

It’s really frustrating.

Again, it’s that thing someone said before about how you make your own work and you’re not that excited about it because you know you can do better. You’ve seen other people hitting the mark that you want to reach, and when you do subpar art, it makes the effort less of an achievement.

Also, I’ve finally accepted that I shouldn’t work on anything that I haven’t spent a long time thinking about. When I have the story in my head, I can sit down when it’s working time, and get into a scene I already know will happen. Not following an outline so much, because those always change as the story goes along, but having seen scenes in my head a bunch of times already. That makes it easier to sit down cold after a few days of letting life get in the way.

So, I have 8 days of work left until my Christmas break. Today’s my last full day off until then. (Not including Sunday.) Then it will be days and days of being festive and enjoying time at home.

I really love being at home, especially when I’m busy most of the time.

And, my foot is driving me crazy. First they told me I had plantar fasciitis, which isn’t surprising since it started when I started working in the library this time last year. I went to the doctor and the physical therapist all for my stupid foot. Also, my lack of Weight Watching has greatly contributed to this foot harassment. That’s another pain in the butt, because I’m trying to walk more, but with a dodgy foot, activity is something I can’t really do without pain. Yesterday, for example, my arch was feeling better, but then the top of my foot started hurting when I put my old shoes on. I have to wear these big, clunky athletic shoes with arch supports, and it’s just annoying.

Anyway, today is a day of rest and writing. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Update for December

I may as well make an update while I have a chance, because I’m not really going to be able to until Christmas time.

I started my IT job last week and it gives me even less time to write or do much work. I have six people in my office, and most of them come in really early, so I don’t really have alone time. I could bring my laptop in and hide in the staff room at lunch, maybe, but I’ll have to gauge how the job will work. No one stays in that office all day – they’re always on call to other libraries.

So my creative time is at an all-time low. I’ll work some today, and try to get back into the feel of the story, but that’s going to be a one shot deal. I recently saw a GIF that read, “All I want for Christmas is time to write,” which about sums it up.

But aside from that, I’ve been reading Elizabeth is Missing, which is something different for me as well. Every morning, I leave early, take my one bag because I have to travel light now – never know what library I’ll end up in – that holds my Kindle. I have an hour commute because I don’t drive at all over there. I just get on with it, in the fine British tradition.

So, no, I didn’t get a complete or even a half manuscript done in November. I can only plod along at my own leisure. I read a quote this week, saying you should write without an audience in mind, like, just write for yourself. I don’t know if that’s entirely possible. Everything I write is a key away from being published online for someone to see. Everything we do, we know we can publish in some form or another, and naturally I think, “People would like this, no, maybe they won’t.”

But no matter, it has to get done one way or the other.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Up Wednesday 11 Nov 2015

upload

For my second instalment of What Up Wednesday, I can offer some information about my current NaNoWriMo project.

I’m always second guessing what project I should be working on. Last week I decided to work on the Wattpad story I started on vacation in September. Of course, the moment that I made the decision to work solely on this story for a whole month, the second guessing came back.

“Why not work on this book? That other book? Why?”

But then it hit me in the most simplest way – it doesn’t matter.

I can work on one thing for a month and ignore the other story ideas I have for a while. There’s always next month and the month after to go back to them. What I didn’t work on last month, or even what I was working on, can wait a month while I do this gut instinct response project.

It doesn’t matter.

So far I have 4383 words of the small 25,000 word goal I set myself for my own personal NaNoWriMo experience. I think putting things in perspective and aiming for smaller goals sort of makes it easier on me. Too often I have the grandiose idea of what the whole series and all the characters will do. Granted, that’s fun in itself, but it means trying to work out too much all at once. This way, I’m taking it in smaller chunks.

It’s been too easy for me to get involved with the routine of work, even though there’s not much going on at the library at all. Without the word count aims, no matter how small for each day, I would only have the day job to place my aspirations in. That’s just not enough.

Steve and I have been talking about how day jobs suck the creative opportunities out of it for us. At the end of the day, what do we have to show for what we’ve done, especially if we’re just working on something that someone else has given us as a project to do. We’re a small piece of the puzzle there. At home, with our own work, we can take pride in doing our own book or our own artwork. There’s more self satisfaction and pride in that kind of work.

Anyway, for my book inspiration I’ve been reading The Secrets We Keep and Life and Death. I’ve been using Word, Scrivener, Wattpad, and Evernote to get my word count down. I even added my story to Inkitt for the NaNo contest. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Writing by the seat of my pants

Typewriter Letters

Write. That’s the most important thing, right?

I was watching a documentary on Ian Fleming, and his advice about writing was to just get the story down.

Writing about 2,000 words in three hours every morning, 'Casino Royale' dutifully produced itself. I wrote nothing and made no corrections until the book was finished. If I had looked back at what I had written the day before I might have despaired.
~ Ian Fleming

Now, my biggest hang-ups are indecisiveness. What should I write about? Is what I’m writing the right thing I should be writing at the moment? Is this anything anyone would read? Would I read this? Etc.

So, what I started working on today was what I started working on in Wattpad while I was back home in Florida in September. I’ve always wanted something contemporary and girlie like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, and the beach made a perfect setting.

But I have no plot. I have no outline. Just a basic idea. I’m just going to write stuff and make a huge mess and see where it leaves me. I’m not expecting to get to 50k this month, maybe 25k if I’m lucky. But that’s fine for me at the moment.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great NaNoWriMo. Keep on writing. The finish line will be there, so we have to keep running, walking, and even crawling toward it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What Up Wednesday 28 Oct 2015

More beer

Since Wednesday is my only day off half day, I’ll try to update with a What up Wednesday theme for posts. I’m intentionally not making it What’s up Wednesday because the apostrophe doesn’t translate well when my auto links generate to Twitter.

So, what’s up?

1. I’ve been offered a position on the IT team for the libraries, so sometime after Christmas, I presume, I’ll be moved to a big customer first centre to hang out with the librarians and the techies. I’ll still be an assistant, but I’ll be roaming about, learning and teaching and computing. Yes, I am totally excited.

2. We watched the first episode of Mr. Robot, which was really good much to my surprise.

3. Last movie I watched was Jurassic World – better than I thought it would be as well.

4. We bought our tickets to The Force Awakens. We’ll go on opening night after work. Hooray!

5. I watched the rebroadcast of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch. That was, hands down, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been to a really, big time play before, so after seeing it on a cinema screen, I can only imagine how much more amazing it was live. I really could write a whole review on the thing because it was so well done, but just trust me when I say you have to see it. It was movie quality with awesome sound and set design, and they moved the play along so well it was just … well, see it when it comes out on DVD.

6. I’m still reading Life and Death. I only get to read a bit at a time, and it is interesting, I’m just snatching a few pages here and there during my commute.

7. I hear from my high school/college bestie on FB messenger. That’s always a nice thing.

8. I’ve been invited to a birthday party for one of the girls at work – that’s a nice thing too.

9. I bought Sims 4 finally because it’s only £30 at Game. Not sure if it’ll work on my current PC, but I thought I’d try it now that we’ve updated to Windows 10.

10. I had an incident with the bus Monday morning. Our stop was covered in “there will be bus reroutes” signs, but no info where we can actually get the bus. The neighbour and I have no had to walk all the way down the road to the next stop up. On the bright side, I now have a little chat with my neighbour in the morning.

11. No real writing done. I really need to brainstorm ideas. At least I have the weekend off to start NaNoWriMo properly.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Preparing for NaNoWriMo–Part 2–Time Management

New YA books

This is always a topic of blog conversation around this time of year. I have a similar I mention this at least once a day – having a full time job all but kills the creative process.

It will sit there, waiting to come back to life, but the lack of hours in a day just don’t let us resuscitate it.

Someone once told me that you can have children and a working life if you just lose out on sleep. I’ve often thought about that in regards to keeping a book going, but it’s only going to last a couple days max before you fizzle out.

That’s why the only thing I can figure out is: you have to find the time when it’s good for you. Even if it’s a few moments to get some words down, use them. Bad words are better than no words.

Right now, the only way I can get in any work are my blessed, uncommon days off. I get to the library early, and spend about 20 minutes of quiet time before someone else comes in, and I write. It seems to flow fairly easily too because the morning commute gives me a while to think and to imagine what my characters should be doing.

I’ve tried writing on the bus. It didn’t work out very well. All those bumps, starts and stops left me spending more time retyping typos on my phone.

Since I have a work PC, I have to use a note keeping app. A simple design is all you need for a quick sprint away from home. I’m tempted to try using Write or Die to get some words written in the morning.

Granted, I do write a lot better when it’s me, my computer, my office, and the quiet. I like my home time and I like time to be in the zone. Until then, I have to grab my word count where I can get it.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Prepping for NaNoWriMo–Part 1–Distractions

Sunset on the water

I live in a loud house. Most of us do, I’m sure. When I’m not able to be at home, I’m out in public where it’s loud as well.

That’s why the topic of my first Prepping for NaNoWriMo post is about choosing ways to keep you from being distracted.

I’ve started a Spotify playlist for my current work in progress. As I’m typing this blog post, my husband has a podcast playing, he’s cooking dinner (bless him), the television is on, and the cat’s scratching at the door in attempts to get my attention.

I can only imagine how houses with kids will be on the distraction/noise front.

Anyway, so back to the playlist. I’ve done this before, and it seemed to help me a lot. I choice books that suit the mood of the novel, and books that remind me of the characters. The movie that’s in your head needs a soundtrack, right?

Generally I like a like of silence when I’m trying to write, but the only time that’s possible is if I wrote in the middle of the night. (Pesky day job.) So instead I have to write on the fly, and at home whenever I can. The walls are far from soundproof, and headphones keep me in my own little world when I’m out on my commute, so finding music that puts me in the mind set of the book is really helpful.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Kicking writing butt in October

The stacks - from the Titusville, Florida Library

Well, we’re back from our holiday in Florida. We spent two weeks of soaking up the sun, swimming, going to Hollywood Studios, dressing up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and feasting at EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival.

My favorite part of the trip always is lingering at the pool and playing on the beach. I never was a big beach person until I moved away and realized how much I miss the sunshine.

After our visit with my parents, and the plethora of supplies we can get from Wal-Mart and Target, we pretty much decided that we’ll have to move back to the U.S.A. soon.

HOORAY!

It’s not that I don’t love out little home, and the fact that I’ve been able to get things done over here, writing-wise. I just think we’ll have way more opportunities now than we will here.

But until then, I’m back to working on my stories. Since I’ve been working at the library non-stop (and trust me, I am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow at all) I’ve not had a lot of time to be creative. That is a number one bummer for me, and I’m sure most people can empathize with my plight. So, I’ve spent some of the holiday and most of this weekend getting writing ducks back in a row.

I started working on the stories that I have kept in the back of my head, but haven’t done much with them. I’ve made a handy books page on the author site (which I’m cross-posting to from here) to give me a good boost of motivation.

If you can see it, you can believe it.

Also, I was just looking at my NaNoWriMo account, and it suggested that those with book covers get finished. So, I’ve made myself some covers to guide me.

I’m also going to start updating my stories on Wattpad more. I think that’s going to be a good homework assignment/deadline/goal to reach for, especially if there’s a potential audience out there.

Therefore, I’ve put the first working prologue of Club Paradise on Wattpad.

It’s contemporary, it’s fun, it’s YA, and it’s everything I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. With that in mind, I’ll be sure to keep the story up-to-date, as well as the blog.

There’s nothing like a nice vacation to clear your head and make you more determined than ever to work your butt off!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Blogging has to wait

Tea time.

Just a quick update to mention that I probably won't be able to update any time soon. I'm completely overwhelmed with work and I can only write a little at a time. I am totally stressed and having the worst time trying to time manage everything. I'm overworked and underappreciated, as most people are, so the blog, social media, anything that's secondary has to be put completely on the back burner.

Sad, but that's just how it has to be for a while.

Hope everyone had a great summer!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The end of July

Nature is beautiful.

I have about five minutes to type until I have to leave for a doctor’s appointment. I have the sneaking suspicion that I have a bone spur in my left foot, so I’m going to have to get that sorted before the usual Florida/Disney holiday in Autumn.

I’m still working at the same branch at the library, and we’ve just been asked to apply for permanent posts within the council for said assistant jobs. I applied for a three month Info Manager (“librarian”) job, but since I’m going to be on holiday, and I wouldn’t be able to go back to my branch for sure, I decided to withdraw my application. My manager said I was mad not to take the opportunity, but I didn’t get the idea that I would be hired for it anyway. Oh well.

Everyone gets changed around frequently, so no one stays at a branch for long, so the possibility of my being moved is there anyway, but if I were to take a 3 month job in a manager role, it’s guaranteed that I won’t be able to go back there.

For writing, I’ve lately figured out that I can get 500 words done in the morning if I go to work early, sit at my desk, and churn something out for fifteen minutes or so. This isn’t ideal when I’m on a role, but it will have to do for now. This is the kind of job when you’re needed constantly, so sitting down to collect your thoughts isn’t really possible.

And here they thought people in libraries just read books all day. I wish!

Steve may be going on to another job nearby soon as well – right now we’re not sure how that will pan out. So, by and large, we’re getting on with it and keeping our heads afloat as usual.

I applied for an IT Manager job, separate from the library before they told me I could be permanent, but I didn’t get it. Not enough experience with the server they were using. Still, that was my first manager interview. Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

An update for July

Prison poetry

It’s been hot lately, aside from the awesome thunderstorms and rain we’ve had a few days here and there. English weather is weird – it will change every five minutes. At least in Florida, it rained for a few minutes, then went back to humidity and heat. Here, it’s cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. You always need an umbrella, and it’s nice to keep a jacket just in case.

We went to York again last month and saw some more sights. Since the weather was better, my photos were better – even the ones of the prison as pictures above. I was also able to call my my parents in Florida with FaceTime and show them York in real time. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I know it’s funny for most people in Europe to not imagine nativity when it comes to public transportation, but just a video call from the train is a revelation to most of us from Florida. We simply just don’t do all that. The Metro is something discussed in French language lessons and the train is a novelty item, as in, “How cute. They’re taking the train to Boston.”

Aside from that, the library has been busy-ish. I’ve had lots of class visits to get a push for Summer Reading Challenge. Having never worked at the library here over the summer, let alone this branch, I have no idea what to expect as far as event numbers. But I’ve made an effort, which is something a lot of people have told me not to bother with.

I plan on writing a whole post about the realities of working in the public libraries, but since it’s my Saturday off and I rarely get these anymore (another topic of mention for said future post) I’m going to enjoy it with Steve.

The weather is lovely and there are groceries to be bought. There’s a park to walk through, and a lunchtime excursion to be had. It is true – you take for granted all the things you miss when you’re not working. Having a day off is one of them. We appreciate these things so much more when we rarely have them.

So without further adieu, I plan on working on my current book project which is slowly but surely taking some form. I’d love to sit in an empty office for a week and just bang out half of this novel, at least, but that’s another thing I miss and took for granted when I had the time to do it.

Having said that, I did get some first drafts done when I was off work, so I can’t be too hard on myself. As always, I’m trying to have everything and it’s really difficult. I’ve at least started reading more, which helps my mental well being. After much book hopping, I finally got back to the Life As We Knew It series, which I adore.

We’ve also started watching True Detective which is as great as they say. I never thought I was big into mysteries and crime drama, but lately I’ve been into this, Sherlock, Elementary, Breaking Bad and Gone Girl, so maybe my tastes are changing.

With that said, I’ll get back to the wonders of the real world and some writing about the fictitious world for good measure.

But before I go, just to mark the occasion. Today has been an extraordinary day because of this right here.:

Go on, shed your tears of joy. I know I did.

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.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Extroverts and writing every day

Good evening, Newcastle.

March has been ticking along nicely, and the idea of Spring turns up here and there. I’ve at least been able to put my snow boots away. (Well, at least moved them from the bottom on the stairs.)

Last week I was fairly busy at the library. There’s still lots to do, but I’m confident that something good will come of our efforts to revamp the place. It’s definitely along the lines of the job I wanted to have when I first started my MLS degree.

Now that I’m working, we’ve been doing some travelling. We went to Edinburgh at the beginning of the month, and next we’ll want to visit York. Steve has been to Europe before, so he wants us to go on some city breaks this year as well.

But the writing, oh the writing. It’s not been happening. The full-time work plus commute is just exhausting, so if I don’t write over lunch or before work, I’ll never get anything done. The problem is, without the consistent writing day after day, it’s hard to get back into the swing of the plot. As is, I can only type down a scene or two without really getting anywhere. On my days off, I can organize and plot things, but getting both the outline and the content to happily coincide is another issue.

Aside from the writing, I need to spend my free time at home with Steve. I feel so relaxed just watching Fail Army on Youtube, or Downton Abbey when I’m by myself. I’ll be super glad for the Easter holidays to turn up so I can have a few days to reboot my goals and feel more like myself again.

When I’m not writing every day, even a little, I do feel like the day’s been wasted.

So am I a “real” writer anymore? I don’t know. I don’t have time to really care. I know that I want to write and I do it when I can. When I’m not writing, I think about writing. I miss it, and when I get back to it, I don’t know where to begin again.

It’s tough work, especially for people who tend to be extroverted. I am an extremely chatty person, but it drains me to be on duty all day. Without the days off and quiet time without a need to leave the house, it’s ten times harder to settle my brain down to work in the middle of the daily routine. All the other important things just distract me way too easily.

Plus, all these books I wanted to get put online and get covers sorted for – that’s been on the back burner for ages. No idea when I’ll ever be able to get any of that done either.

Unfortunately or not, it reminds me of this Anne Rice quote I saw the other day:

I've often said there are no rules for writers. Let me share the WORST AND MOST HARMFUL ADVICE I was ever given by others. 1) Write what you know. 2)You'll have to polish every sentence you write three or four times. 3)Genius is one tenth talent and nine tenths hard work and 4) You're not a real writer if you don't write every day. --- ALL OF THAT WAS HARMFUL TO ME. ALL OF IT. IT HURT AND IT SET ME BACK. ----- So I say again, there are no rules. It's amazing how willing people are to tell you that you aren't a real writer unless you conform to their clich├ęs and their rules. My advice? Reject rules and critics out of hand. Define yourself. Do it your way. Make yourself the writer of your dreams. Protect your voice, your vision, your characters, your story, your imagination, your dreams.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

White Rabbits! It’s March!

IMG_3496

It’s not quite with it in terms of Spring weather, but we’re getting there. I’ve been missing my blog, and my writing, and my reading, and everything that keeps my head sane. The cold reminds me that we really haven’t gotten too far from Christmas, but March – March sounds so promising!

I’ve moved libraries as of February. Me and another MLS grad are trying to turn around a little branch in a middle class neighbourhood. There’s chipped paint, and a bit of an unkempt feel about the place, but it’s not bad by any means. I’m really happy to be there, honestly, because it’s my branch for now and having new events and new book displays pleases me to no end.

But I’m busy, as I always say. I have to get up at 6AM, get on the bus at 7 with Steve, then by 8 I’m on the Metro through the city. I’m lucky to have lunch to myself, so I can at least get something down on paper, or read a few pages of a book. I even thought about documenting my library experience, but I only get a few lines at a time before I have to put the diary away and tend to something else.

Sunday though, Sunday is for resting. So here I am, writing in my blog, deciding which book project I want to work on today. I’ve had some good premises for book ideas lately, but stopping and starting doesn’t make for a very satisfying experience. But I keep on keeping on, as we all do.

Hope everything has a good work up to Spring.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Being a writing librarian

Library garden in a bit of snow.

I’ve been working at my new library job for three months now and in February I am supposed to be transferred to a new, smaller and quieter library. My hope is that in this new place I’ll have a more relaxing lunch break where I can jot down something each day in order to keep up a new novella idea I had.

Being a natural procrastinator, it is really hard for me to get back into writing when I’m busy all week, riding the bus to and from work, and being on duty as the customer service representative of books that I’m supposed to be every day. But, as I’ve said, this new library may be quieter and less of a worry to scramble around and end up completely exhausted by the time I get home.

Librarians do not sit and read books all day. We don’t even stock shelves all day. Of course, in our district, librarians are locked away alone in some office somewhere away from the public. What I do is customer service – we deal with the management of the library. Helping customers with books, CV writing, emails, photocopying, room bookings, reading to kids, making sure kids don’t pull plugs out of the back of computers, the list goes on and on. It’s not a stressful job (teaching high school was the most stressful job I’ve ever had so anything not stressful to me means something that doesn’t make you physically ill every day) but it is demanding so you have to have lots of sleep and with-it-ness to make it through each day.

So trying to wind down for the hour I have at lunch it’s tough. Plus, I don’t have that whole hour alone because other people come in and out of the staff room. But I started writing a messy manuscript in a notebook that I keep in my book bag for the 10-15 minutes that I have to just sit and get some words down. I’ve started something contemporary because trying to deal with sci-fi or a thriller seems a bit too detailed for a willy-nilly word sprint in the afternoon.

A lot of people have given me great ideas on how they make time for writing, but with anything in life, I have to figure out what’s going to work best for me. I stopped worrying about a word count because it was starting to feel like it did with jogging – all I could do was stare at the numbers and pray that the countdown didn’t take too long. Number and me just don’t work well together.

January has been a crazy month, so he’s hoping that the rest of the year gives me more time to write.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What happens before breakfast?

Breakfast toastie at Costa. #mymorninghasbroken

I’ve heard it said many times that our best time to write is when we’re sleepy. Some writers feel better getting to work before dawn, and some write better late at night. When you’re working full time, what works best for keeping your writing goals in check?

I don’t have any word count goals right now because I’ve slacked so much on the actual butt-in-chair aspect. When I have time, I sit at the computer and churn out some outlines of book ideas that have come to me. I explore details of each to see what would fit or work better for each story. Of course, it won’t be until I get the writing underway that I’ll know what will actually work.

I have such a hard time getting my head out of the real world and into my own, that when I’m running around, I can’t focus on getting words down. I don’t know what could change that problem other than trying different things until I find something that works.

So, what do you do to keep your writing afloat? Do you work late at night, early morning, during lunch? Here are some ideas of what worked for other writers:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Writing and publishing goals for the New Year

Happy New Year from across the pond! #2015

Now that I’ve been working in libraries for a few months, I’ve come to a strange conclusion about books – there are a lot of them, but only some really popular ones.

In our library, the authors who move the quickest are Stephen King, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Martina Cole, Marian Keyes, and Richard Patterson. Aside from King, I’ve not read any of these authors, just because they aren’t really my taste in books. With the kids, they still check out Jacqueline Wilson as well as the Tom Gates or Wimpy Kid books. That’s about it. Everything else is hit or miss, and their popularity seems to go as quickly as it came.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good books. I’m just now reading Gone Girl, but we have copies sitting on the shelf – the peek of “gotta have this” has passed.

So what does this mean for authors? We all want to be loved and adored by readers, of course, but the lasting power, the importance of one book – is it really something we should be striving for?

I’ve decided that, no, that’s not how I should be looking at my books. I like to get the stories in my head out and into words. I like the idea of sharing my stories with others and readers like my stories. And I don’t want to waste my time not doing something I enjoy.

This is why I’ve pretty much hooked into the self-publishing for this year. My YA sci-fi got some great feedback from potential editors, so I’m pleased with that, but it just means I want to keep working on them, edit and publish them myself.

My NA Thriller that’s the Shakespeare retelling wasn’t a hit with anyone I queried. But I like it and I told it the way I saw it in my head for years. I can self-publish that as well and move along without getting upset or have hurt feelings that my story wasn’t what someone else was looking for.

I’ve also found great solace in not fighting the publisher race as well. I’m fine with Wattpad and Smashwords. I’m fine with just doing what I want to do and getting on with it. It’s not to say that I won’t query editors later on, but for now I’m fine with being on the solo mission.

I hope everyone has been having a great New Year. Keep writing and keep on keeping yourself happy in your work!