Writing

It’s That Time Of Year Again!

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-BannerI love Camp NaNoWriMo! Adjustable word count goals, flexible formats, s’mores? What’s not to love? I especially love Camp now that I have a group of writer friends to work with! I’m thinking writerly camp-outs, star-gazing, singing the Camp NaNo theme song around the campfire…

And s’mores. Lots and lots of s’mores. S’mores…

I might have a problem.

Ahem. Anyway, hanging out with this great group has been a blast and it’s really such an encouragement to be surrounded by people that really seem to get me. And, let’s be honest, at this point I need all the encouragement I can get.

Let’s do a writing recap, shall we?

In November, I vowed to finish my “Changing History IV: Search for the Entwives” first draft. If you’ve been playing along at home, you know that (despite reaching 50K words) I did not accomplish that goal. I’m close. But I’m not quite there. And the words I did write… Well, saying that it “needs work” might qualify for Understatement Of The Year. But that’s okay! That’s what revision is for!

Speaking of revision, during January/February (NaNo’s “Now What?” months) I set the goal of finishing the first draft in January and finishing the rewrites of Parts I thru III of Changing History in February. This seemed like a reasonable goal to me. It was not. I did not accomplish either one of these things. Instead, I got stuck. I got so stuck on Part IV that I couldn’t wade my way out to work on the edits for Part I. I got discouraged. Depressed even. I didn’t want to look at the stupid thing, much less write. It was a slog. I actually gave up and did not write a single thing for the first two weeks of March. I was grouchy and guilt-ridden and frustrated. I was beginning to question my sanity. And I started looking forward to April.

This might sound counter-intuitive. Let me explain.

I usually write out a plan in December for the year ahead. Just a bare-bones sort of month-by-month outline of what I would like to accomplish. And for April, I had set a fun goal of rewriting my 2010 NaNo project as a stage play. I was excited about it. I was going to try something new! It was going to be original! I was going to keep the spirit of Script Frenzy alive! Go me!

And then, as is typical when I have a plan that I’m trying to stick to, my muse struck. With a vengeance. Suddenly my brain was all Melomir, all the time. I found a way out of the hole I had dug myself in Part IV. I got two chapters of Part I rewritten in the span of a few days. And all I could think was, “WHERE WERE YOU A MONTH AGO, YOU FLIGHTY LITTLE #@&%$???”

And then she laughed at me. And gave me a plot twist. I hate her.

So as of right now, Script Frenzy is tabled. I’m setting myself the goal of at least finishing my revisions of Parts I thru III for April. I swear, if I can just get through the first fifteen chapters of Part I, the rest will be smooth sailing, but… we’ll see. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue working on Part IV as the spirit moves me. I’m furiously typing my way through the action-packed plot twist the muse threw at me earlier this week, but when that runs out I’m not sure if I’ll still have enough steam to finish. It would be awesome if I could get this done before April, but I’m not holding my breath. Apparently when I plan, everything falls to pieces. My new motto of the year? No Plans, No Problems! I should get that as a banner to hang over my writing space at home… or a throw pillow…

Maybe I’ll just make myself some s’mores.

Blogging

Regarding My Imminent and Glorious Return…

Hey, everyone I’m back!

(…)

What do you mean, I’ve been gone three years? That’s crazy talk! I haven’t…

…um…

…well…

Okay, so maybe it has been three years. But I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth, I can assure you! So much has changed in the past three years, about me, about my work, about how I feel about my work. It would take days, weeks, possibly even months to explain everything and, if I had to guess, you probably don’t want a super-long post rehashing my life. Which is lucky, because it just so happens that I really don’t want to write a super-long post rehashing my life, so it really works out best for everyone if I just start fresh and let you guys know what’s going on RIGHT NOW.

Okay?  Good!

For the past three years, I’ve been spending a lot of time on tumblr (link goes to my blog there). While I mostly spend my time reblogging and commenting on OTHER people’s stuff, I have on occasion posted my own original thoughts and ideas there as well.  So right now I am currently working on bringing my original posts over to this blog and backdating them, so you can read my thoughts in order without having to dig through thousands of posts that are not particularly relevant or necessary (though if you want a laugh, feel free to dig around in there to your heart’s content :P).  I’m also planning a theme change of some kind (I don’t know what I was thinking when I picked out this theme, why didn’t one of you stop me?), and updating the links in my sidebar, as a few of them are terribly out of date, and I have a couple of new platforms where you can find my stuff, so those links need to be added as well.

Once all of that is accomplished… who knows! I have a couple of ideas that I’d like to blog about (which is why I’m bothering to resurrect this thing in the first place), but as usual, my blogging will most likely be sporadic, though hopefully not “three-years-between-posts” sporadic. I’m hoping to eventually start blogging on a regular basis, but I’m not yet quite sure how that’s going to work. I have a lot of writing things going on right now, but I do want this to become a regular part of my writing life. I have things to say, I swear!

So, anyway, I just thought I would make everyone aware of what’s going on and get myself pumped up for whatever’s next on my writing journey!  I would also like to give a shout out to my friend, Peggy, who’s own blogging journey is what has inspired me to dust off the old blogging skills and give this thing another shot.  Check out her blog, writergirl007.com.  I’ll also add her to my sidebar under Blogs I Love.

Toodles!

Blogging, Writing

Internet as Motivational Tool?

          For the past two months, I have been experiencing financial difficulties.  Therefore, I was not able to pay my cable/internet/too-many-bills-to-mention.  As a result of this, the company that provides my cable, internet and home phone was forced to disconnect me until I could pay.  Now you would think that such a lack of distraction would produce a flurry of writing activity, creating masterpieces of the written word, the likes of which have never been seen before.

            But no, instead, dear friends, I descended into a creative funk.  Though my writings lay within my fully functioning hard drive, the lack of network connectivity seemed to turn my computer into no more than an empty shell, devoid of life and purpose.  And so I ignored the offending piece of machinery as one would ignore an antique clock that never chimes, but you can’t make yourself throw out because your Great-Aunt Doris, twice removed on your mother’s side, gave you that clock and besides it still keeps good time and you swear that one of these days you’ll get if fixed and hang it in the hallway.  But then it passes from your mind into oblivion until the next time you open the coat closet, or venture into the attic or the basement and you think, “I really should do something with that clock.”

            But I digress.  The point is my computer sat collecting dust while I sat in the living room watching “Gone with the Wind” and feeling sorry for myself.  But the moment my bill was paid and my internet was back on, I went to work on my fictional endeavors with a fervor I hadn’t previously thought I possessed.  What in the world made me think I had to have the internet to be productive?  None of the projects I have been working on in the last week or so have required the use of the internet.  I could easily have accomplished everything I’ve done so far in the time that my internet was MIA.  No research was required to continue my works-in-progress.  And even if there had been, I’m perfectly capable of writing without research and simply rewriting when the research can be accomplished.  It’s something I’ve done many times in the past.

            I don’t know if the answer to that question will ever be found, but I’m more than willing to hear opinions and theories on the subject.  One possible explanation I’ve come up with is that I was simply due a creative down-swing and it just happened to coincide with my lack of internet service.  But that seems a bit too convenient.  Is it possible that I’m simply addicted to the Web?  I’d like to think that wasn’t the case.  I don’t think I spend much time surfing the digital waves, but many of my projects are bound for a home on the super-information highway, particularly my FanFiction and my YouTube fan videos.

            Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.  I would love to hear your theories on this strange phenomenon.  🙂 Until next time, may your days be filled with unending, interconnected bliss.

Blogging, Uncategorized, Writing

Please Forgive the Unexpected Interruption

Well, as you can clearly see, I have not written an entry in quite some time.  There are several excuses I have for this:

#1.  My internet was turned off and was just recently restored to me.

#2.  I finally got a new job.

#3.  I went to visit my parents for a week.

#4.  If none of the above are sufficient to explain away my absence, then the only other excuse I have is to please see my previous entry entitled “The Fine Art of Procrastination”.

Wonderful!  Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to tell you that I’m working on a new novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), though I don’t think I will make my 50,000 words like I’m supposed to (see above reasons #2-4).  I’m really excited about the concept though.  It’s the first novel idea I’ve developed in probably a year or so and I already have the end planned. 

It’s a fantasy novel, set in a desert (but not SciFi like “Dune”).  Basically, a young mage wants to use magic to turn this desert into farmland.  The magic is too strong for him and if he goes through with it, it will destroy the world, but of course his pride convinces him that he can do it.  So his brother, the leader of the Royal Guard, has to go into the desert and retrieve the ashes of the Phoenix to bind his brother’s magic so he can’t perform the spell.  The guard almost dies and is rescued by a Desert Elf who helps him on his quest, but she has a very powerful secret that I shall not reveal here.  The story is full of all kinds of cool magical desert creatures that I’ve thought up, plus, there’s a dragon.  I mean, really, could it be any better?

Anyway, I’m gonna need a lot of luck if I’m going to finish this thing by the end of November.  So far I only have 5,000 words.  I just don’t think I’m gonna be able to pull it off, but I’ll try to do as much as I can.  I’m just proud of myself for actually trying to take this thing on.  I meant to do it last year, but I got so distracted that I didn’t even start.  So actually, this is improvement.  Anyway, wish me luck!  I will write again and let everyone know how I’m doing.

Blogging, Writing

Results of My Full-Time Writing Venture

Well, if anyone follows me on Twitter, you will recall that I was not very enthusiastic about the outcome of my full-time writer experiment.  I’ll get right down to it.  I calculated it up and on average I only worked on my writing projects 3.3 hours per day.  That is a far cry from the eight hour a day goal I had set for myself.  But after taking a couple of weeks to reflect on it and allow the sinking disappointment and inevitable self-loathing to dissipate, I have decided that it is just the beginning.  If I give up now, how will I ever improve?  And so starting next week, I will begin fresh and I will set a goal of beating my time from the last week.  I think it’s definitely achievable considering I didn’t work at all on that Friday because I was packing for vacation.  I’m still hopelessly optimistic about the entire situation.  If I can improve even a little bit, it would be a huge step for me.  So I’m looking forward to continuing my experiment and keeping all of you updated on my progress in the coming weeks!  I wish everyone out there a successful week, whatever your goals are.  And if anyone has any suggestions that might improve my performance, feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to hear from you!

Blogging, Writing

Full-Time Writer (Trial Period)

So, I have recently stumbled upon the opportunity to discover what it might be like if I could make enough money doing what I love.  In other words, I lost my job.  I have decided that I will take one week and act just as if writing were my full-time occupation.  I will work an eight hour day, Monday through Friday, and I will concentrate on the various projects that have recently been shoved to the side because of my stress over my job. 

I feel good about this little venture.  I know that it won’t be permanent (unfortunately, my husband and I do not make enough money for me to sit at home all day), but it will give me a taste of what life might be like for me one day.  It’s an exciting prospect.

I’m also a little uneasy.  After all, I know how I operate.  I start something wonderful and at first I am completely gung ho about it.  I throw myself into what ever project I’ve decided to do and I just go to town.  Then, when that “new project” smell has faded away after a few days, I generally tend to, well, forget about it.  I don’t really give up, per say (such a nasty phrase, “give up”).  It’s as if the wonderful idea that I had just a few short days ago is just gradually shoved down the totem pole by the next brilliant idea and the next and the next, until it’s so far down that I forget I ever had the idea in the first place.  Trust me, many the diet and fitness routine has gone that route and it is not a pretty picture when I realize what I’ve done.  The self-loathing knows no bounds.

However, I believe that this might be just a tad different.  First of all, I have a set amount of time committed to the project.  I will commence this little experiment on Monday, September the 14th and end it promptly on Friday, September the 18th.  The timeline itself is a bonus because I have something concrete to work towards instead of the goal of “forever and ever”.  And the relatively short length of time means that the “new project” smell will not have completely faded away before it is time to end the venture (hopefully, fingers crossed).  Also, I have absolutely nothing better to do for that week.  As I said, I have no job, and I can’t start looking for one until after Sept. 27th (I’m going to Las Vegas with my husband.  Yay!).  So actually this project will keep me from losing my mind to boredom.  That is incentive in and of itself.  And lastly, this isn’t something that I  HAVE to do or I’ll hate myself for all time.  There are a lot of writers who write and have jobs.  I might be one of those writers and I might not.  I’ll never know until I try it both ways.  And I much rather try it for a week and discover that I love it, than decide to do it forever and discover that I hate it.

So wish me luck everyone!  I’ll be sure to let you know if  it all goes well (or not).  We’ll see!

Blogging, Writing

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Rejection?

I live in the world of horror known as “the unpublished author”.  Last month, I sent out two stories for contests, stories which I consider to be the best I’ve written.  I’ve polished and shined, cut and added, thrown out and started over on these two until they could not be made any better.  I’ve received favorable feedback from my husband, my mom, my writing instructor, my friends online, even people I work with at the bank.  There is nothing else that I know to do except send them out into the world and let them be judged by those that take it upon themselves to paste together the gloriously glossy pages that we call “literary magazines”.

I waited on pins and needles, constantly checking my email for any kind of a response to my brave act, dreaming of the day that the email would come that would read something like this:

Dear Mrs. Johnson,

We are pleased to inform you that your story has been selected as the winner of (insert contest here) and we would be happy to publish it in our esteemed pages.  Congratulations, you have toiled through the muck and mire, ridden the roller coaster of anticipation and defeat, and come out the other side victorious.  You, madam, may now call yourself a Published Author.  Where may we send your check?

And the emails did come.  But they did not read exactly how I imagined they would.  They were more along the lines of “Sorry, this game piece is not a winner.  Please play again soon!”

When I finally received confirmation that my two darling pieces of fiction had been unceremoniously dumped, I took a moment to reflect on it.  Where had I gone wrong?  Did I need to rewrite yet again?  Were they too short?  Too long?  Too skinny?  Too fat?  Should I just dump them in the little icon called “Recycle Bin” and forget they ever existed?  Would I be eighty and still not be published?  These thoughts and many like them flitted through my mind as I stared at my inbox, my fleeting hopes of success thoroughly dashed.  I stared for a good five seconds.

And then I picked myself up, dusted off my jeans and got right back in line for the next roller coaster ride.  Because there’s really nothing else I can do.  Someday, I’ll write the perfect story, match it with the right editor, send it at just the right moment and maybe, just maybe, get that dream letter in my mailbox.  Until then, I’ll just keep plugging along.  Because I’m not afraid of the big, bad Rejection.  After all, Stephen King got rejected.  So, in a way, if I get rejected too, that means I’m just like Stephen King!  Right?

Blogging

The Fine Art of Procrastination

I have recently come to the conclusion that procrastination is not a nasty habit, but rather an art form carefully developed and cultivated over time.  Although some people are born with a natural affinity for putting things off, it takes real time and dedication to shape yourself into a full-blown procrastinator.  And truly, it takes a lot of creative energy to convince yourself that you’re being productive while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing of consequence.

Just a few examples of the excuses I myself have come up with to fool my brain (and my conscious) into believing I’m doing something useful:

1.) Sitting on the couch, watching mindless television with my husband = “quality time together”

2.) Rearranging the widgets on my iGoogle page = “organizing so I can find the things I need faster and save time”

3.) Mindlessly flipping back and forth between Myspace and Facebook, waiting for someone to show up and do something = “spending quality time with friends and family”

4.) Watching hours of the Food Network = “enhancing my culinary skills so that ‘someday’ I can host a grand dinner party and wow my friends”

5.) Blogging = “Networking”

You see?  If you have a lot of things to do, lack the inclination to actually do them, and harbor just a hint of imagination, you too can become a master in the art of procrastination.  Enjoy!

Blogging

And So It Begins… (again…)

And so begins my journey into the intimidating world of blogging… yet again… I have attempted to start blogs on many sites, for many different reasons.  To make friends, to talk about my life, to talk about other people’s lives, because I read somewhere that blogging will promote my writing.  But I have so much to do and so little time to do it in.  Blogging is almost the last thing on my list. 

I have social websites, a mail-in writing class, a novel in desperate need of revision and at least three more in the works, not to mention my myriad of short stories and my devoted fans on Fanfiction.net (see link to your right) who are clamoring for me to update my “Lord of the Rings” alternate reality story as soon as humanly possible.  Not only that, but my creative juices have also overflowed into another medium, YouTube (channel coming soon in Links) where I delve into shaping videos inspired by some of my favorite songs and movies.

Oh, and I have a life outside of the internet.  Let’s not forget my husband, my full-time job, the few friends I’ve made that aren’t just virtual handles on a screen, my mother, my brother (an excited college student going into his second year), and the few little T.V. shows I keep up with, like “Heroes” and “House, M.D.” and let’s not forget my newest addition, SciFi’s “Warehouse 13”.  Not to mention, I’m overweight and really should start a workout routine before I drop dead of a heart attack at the age of thirty.

 Between all of this and my few other hobbies I’ve developed, like my musical endeavors (mostly singing, clarinet, piano and a violin that I have picked up like twice), cooking, and my desire to learn Spanish and French (at least!), it’s no wonder that blogging falls by the wayside.  I have what I believe to be an interesting take on the world, I don’t lose the blogging bug for lack of an opinion, I assure you.  I consistently see the glass as half-full of sunshine and rainbows, and the other half is plagued by idiots.  But with everything else going on in my life, how am I supposed to add a blog to the goulash? 

In every writing magazine I read they sing the praises of promoting your work and your life through blogging.  You should really make this a priority, they say.  Really?  Maybe I’m the only writer with an already overflowing life who’s just trying to find time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  Perhaps I’m an anomaly in a strange and wonderful writing world where everyone has plenty of time to do whatever they want and still pen that bestseller and blog to everyone in the world about how grand the life of a writer is.  Maybe I’m the only one with other interests.  Or a job.  Or a family.  Or friends even.

I’m not saying that blogging isn’t helpful.  It probably is.  I wouldn’t be doing it right now if I didn’t believe there wasn’t some merit to the thing.  I’m just trying to give you an idea of the kind of blogger I am, the erratic kind.  I will blog when I feel like it.  It may not always be about my writing, it may not always be about my life, it may not always be this long, but I’m willing to give this blogging thing another try.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey.  Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get something done while I’m at it ;-).