2013 – The Year of my Me Time

I’m a writer. We all know that. I’ve been writing and blogging since 2008. A few years ago I came across Kait Nolan’sRound of Words in 80 Days and discovered a vast network of fellow writers who are darned adept at cheering each other on while we all try to meet our writing goals.

Well in 2013, even though I managed to write and publish two books that brought my YA Contemporary series, Wings from Ashes to its conclusion, I slacked off.

That’s right.

I don’t honestly think that I hit an actual road block or a writers’ block, it was more like a sudden need for down time.

For the past three years, I was writing every night, almost nonstop. Either I was blogging or working on that next book.

Looking back at this past year, after publishing Along Came Neil, I lost the need to write with fervor. I no longer feel as though I need to hurry and get it done. It will get done when it is ready. Who knows, maybe my word count will be longer on this work than the past works.

Is this a sign of maturing as a writer?

I thought that the #wip I was working on for my Na No Wri Mo was going right into that slush pile of unfinished works. It didn’t after all. Instead, I have slowed my writing pace down to a hundred words or two here and there. Add a sentence there, maybe change a paragraph there.

The story is not growing at the pace I was writing at in the past. But it is growing.

I have almost hit the half-way point. Then today I thought about some additional plot points and how to work them into the story line to make it more appealing.

This new, careful way of writing brings me hope for the future of the remaining works in my slush pile. Maybe they can be saved after all. I have two other stories that remain half written and may have to be tackled next. I hate leaving anything unfinished.

Besides writing this year will continue with my Me Time. This is the time I will set aside to do other things I like doing, as in my crocheting, computer gaming, quilting, reading, and gardening.

In 2014, I will follow each completed project, whether it is a written project or a crafting project of some kind with a follow up photo to share with all of you, even if it is a book I just finished reading.

This is the sweater I made for my grandbaby two years ago. My daughter is keeping it even though she has outgrown the sweater. She says it is now an heirloom.

Sweet!

I made Jas a new sweater for Christmas this year. I will post the picture of it as soon as I get one of her wearing it, in a couple of days.

Next up is an afghan that my son has already laid claim to. I never expected that. When I’m done with that, I may need to make a quilt. I haven’t quilted since writing and publishing Friends of Choice. It is long overdue.

It feels right to find my Me Time again.

Do you set time aside for your Me Time?

What do you do with your Me Time?

Stop by and Share – I’d love to hear about your other projects.

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Over the NaNo and on with the #ROW80 Update

Thanksgiving is over, and the turkey is dwindling, NaNoWri Mo is over.

Were you successful with the NaNo Challenge?

I wasn’t. I never expected to finish on time anyways. But I was fine with that.

After writing almost 15k words on The Dubious Heir I must say I kind of like how it is shaping out.

NaNo said I averaged about 400 words a day. I can live with that kind of average. It is a doable average. At that rate, I should be done with the first draft by the end of February. This story marks once again, uncharted waters. This is a story where the censoring filters are to be shut off. An Adults only story that I am writing for sheer fun.

I like trying new things. You never know what you might learn from just trying. Maybe a new concept, new idea, a different form of voice.

Writers are always evolving. Each new story can take them into another direction.

So, it’s been awhile since I last did ROW80 check-in. I can report a total of 400 words written for today. Most of my Christmas shopping is done – does that count? Oh right, writing, not wrapping and shopping. It is just one more distraction out of the way.

New goal, for the week. 400 words a day. If I try writing 400 words a day for a week, who knows maybe I will get back into the daily writing habit I had over a year ago. I just need to stay away from World of Warcraft if I want to succeed.

How about you? Did you finish your NaNo?

How about your Holiday Shopping?

There were some pretty decent deals over the past week.

I wonder what kind of deals they will have for Cyber Monday?

Sunday Scoopful and #ROW80

Can you believe it is already the third Sunday of the Month? Where did the days go? Next week is Thanksgiving.

Being the third weekend of the month means that yesterday was the third Saturday of the month, and it was the day my other writing group meets. The Monadnock Writers’ Group meets every third Saturday of the month from September to June at the Peterborough, New Hampshire town Library, downstairs. For all but two months, we are entertained by a speaker, a guest who shares tidbits about what it means to be a writer. We have had screenplay writers, poets, artists, photographers, and others who have something to share with the art form of writing.

This weekend we were visited by Judson D. Hale, Sr., The current editor-in-chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Yankee magazine and is Chairman of the Board at Yankee Publishing. He shared tidbits of what an editor faces when it comes to submissions. He gave many example of queries he has received over the years and why he told the person no and why he said yes to a story. He said it was all in the blurb or tag line of the story on whether or not he found the story to his appeal. If the story line sounded boring he would say no, and if they gave him a blurb with juice to it, he would say yes. It wasn’t the subject matter that made the difference it was all in the way it was presented.

Judson had some genuinely excellent points, and he shared his witty humor with us along with some of his favorite quotes.

So who is doing NaNo-ing?

*raises hand…

ROW80 Check In:

I’m still NaNo-ing. Yep, that’s right. I haven’t given up hope just yet, even if I missed writing a few days this week.

Remember, my best is writing a first draft in 90 days. So, if I can beat that best, then I win my own personal goal, even if I don’t finish the work in progress in due time to make the NaNo goal.

Today I am happy to report my 5k for today. I might finish the first draft by the end of January.

I did have to go and revamp my plot outline before I could go any further. It is so helpful to have that plot point by plot point all figured out. The characters may not always behave the way you might want them too, but if the goal is there already for them to get to the rest of the character building falls into place.

It does not matter if your character is not as strong as you wanted them to be. They can still be kick ass and sweet and simple too. The most crucial thing is to make your characters likeable. Then you can pick the characters off one at a time if they don’t want to behave.

I must say, I can’t kill off characters as easily as Suzanne Collins did in Hunger Games. As I read her book I was miffed at how easily she was able to kill them, one after the other. In the end, I found myself saying – out loud – huh? Now why did she kill him off, I kind of liked him? He must have been a terribly crummy boy for her to do that to him.

Now I am learning the art of killing off characters (lol). At the 20% point of the work in progress, I have successfully managed to kill off one character. I wonder how many more characters that I can kill off by the end of the story.

Happy NaNo-ing and may your WIP treat you well for your next ROW80 check in.

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Monadnock Writers’ Group Meeting Minute and #ROW80 Check-in

It is the third Saturday of the month and time once again to let you all know how my monthly Monadnock Writers’ Group happened to be. Our speaker for today was Hilary Weisman Graham. I met her a few months ago when she spoke at our NHRWA meeting in Bow, NH. That time she had told us all about the marketing things one should not do. This time she spoke about her other form of writing that she feels she loves even more than writing fiction. She is a screenwriter at heart.

Hilary wrote a YA Contemporary a year ago called Reunited. I still have yet to read it. Winter is coming. There should be plenty of time to read then.

Her explanation of what she had to go through to pitch a screenplay for TV Shows, explained how difficult that kind of writing tends to be. It is a never ending battle to come up with the right story line, the right characters, and what they are looking for in a screenplay during that actual moment. Many screenplays are tossed in the file after file to become lost in time.

She was asked about the difference between managers and agents. Hilary said that the managers are more personal, and she can cry on her manager’s shoulder about things easier than crying on an agents shoulder. The relationship tends to be closer.

All in all, I found her screenplay presentation much more enjoyable and funny. Thanks Hilary. Hope to see you again soon and good luck on your screenplays.

Other News:

Along Came Neil is up on Smashwords – finally.

I don’t believe I will bother taking part ever again in the Kindle Select program, especially now that Smashwords has come out with the prerelease feature. I really do like Smashwords so much more than any other venue. The meat grinder was my nemesis in the past, but I do believe I may have conquered that. Now I just need to wait for them to approve the file for their catalogue. In the meantime I have a little treat for my readers. I have a coupon code to share with all of you and if you want you are free to share this code with your friends and your friends’ friends, and their connections too. So please pass it around. I am hoping to get some ratings and reviews if possible in exchange for this code.

For your Free eBook in your choice of format. Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: MH37M – Not Case Sensitive
Expires: November 19, 2013 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/368935

ROW80 Check-In:

I missed my check in for Wednesday. So much for my goal of not missing a post, but I won’t give up on that goal just yet. I plan on trying again and again until I finally meet that goal without having to force myself to make the posts.

What I do have to report: I started working on the next Orgarlan Book. The first 1k words are done. I will give it a shot again tomorrow and see what kind of word count I can get before noon time. I know that 3k would be too much to ask for, but then again, that can be about the same length of a chapter, so one never knows.

How’s your writing going this week? I would love to hear from you. Do you attend writing groups? Who have your speakers been?

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Missed Meeting – ROW80 Check in

Normally I would begin this post with my monthly post about my RWA meeting. Not this month. I spent the whole day in bed yesterday and sadly missed my meeting. The bug that has been going around at work got me, and it got me good. I had a nonstop cough and total blahs.

After filling up with cold medicine all day yesterday, today I feel much better, even though today my back and chest hurts from all that coughing it is an improvement. It looks like I will not have any problem making it to work tomorrow. So here’s to the day job winning out this week.

Not so fast.

Since I felt better today, I tackled my plot outline for the next Orgarlan Book. It still does not have a name. I may wait until it is half way written before I commit to its name. At least the ground work has been done. Even the log line is done.

Check it out: A magic book and a magic claw can be damaging to the world by whom wields these powers. Who has the ability to take them away?

Next up is to sit down and start writing…

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Falling Plot and finding Plans for NaNo – ROW80 Check – In

It is fall – no doubt about that. Here I am, on a Wednesday with my Round of Words Check – In. Sadly I do not have anything to report except for my up and coming NHRWA meeting that is coming up this Saturday in Bow, NH. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

My lack of writing does not have anything to do with writers block. I’m sure it has a lot to do with shifting gears by going from Teen Contemporary to Fantasy. The switching from one set of characters back to the other set does slow the muse down. I guess that is why some writers recommend staying with only one genre. Other writers recommend not writing series or trilogies.

I can’t help it. My stories come in spurts. It is just the way I write and the stories come about.

But today on our Facebook group for ROW80 one of our comrades posted a link to a post for NaNo Planning 2013. I checked it out. I must say I will need to use this when I begin work on my next story. It just might be the plan I need to get my butt in gear and get the story written.

Just think – NaNo is right around the corner. I’ve been using this challenge for the past three years to get my stories into motion.

Hm… Maybe that is what my muse is waiting for.

But I do remember one of my goals for this round is Deliberate Writing. So I had better go and get to work by planning and plotting.

I hope your writing week is going strong.

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Deliberate Persistence – My ROW80 Goals

I am entering my third year of Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge. It is hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for this long, when it seems as though I started keeping a blog only yesterday. This challenge has helped me write Witch Book, Road Salt, and Along Came Neil. That is a total of three novels.

Kait announced that this round we should use Deliberate Writing as our topic of discussion. That is such a terrific idea.

I’m an indie author. The writing life for an indie author is not easy, nor is all the hard work that goes into being this type of writer. Someday, I am sure it will all pay off.

How does deliberate writing fit into the indie world?

It is the biggest part of an Indies world. We have to write with Deliberate Persistence or we will never get anywhere with all the self-promoting and self-publishing we need to do.

Deliberate Persistence is the power of inertia that keeps the stories coming. If we didn’t practice deliberate writing, many of us would have given up long ago. We just can’t give up.

It is practice, practice, practice… That is how our stories come about.

This past year has brought me a lot of growth with my joining RWA – Romance Writers of America. I took part in month after month of online workshops given by several of the Chapters of RWA. One in particular was YARWA – Young Adults Romance Writers of America. I think I got a lot out of them too. It sure made the steep cost of their membership well worth paying.

This year I will be focusing on writing fantasy and honing those skills.

Over the past year, I gave a lot of thought to when I was young I used to play a game of make believe with a good friend. We used to say to each other before we came up with our daily skit – let’s make believe that this happened, or that happened, and we are so and so. I remember those days well. It was when I was five and six years old. I don’t know if she remembers them at all. I apply what I learned from playing these games to my writing. Now instead of having the make believe being about me, it is about my characters. So I came to know, after all those years gone by, I had been practicing fiction long before I knew what I was doing. It was just some childish game. The game became a writing tool in the end.

Enough of my ongoing Deliberate practice…

I am to state what my Deliberate practice will be for this round.

  1. Orgarlan Saga needs a new plot outline for the next book in the series. I’m subconsciously cooking it at this time. I did finish up the time line for the first two books. Now I just need to decide who wants what and why, then the plot will come together like a puzzle.
  2. Blog more deliberately. I have been lax in this area in the past. I must make every check-in, even if I have nothing new to report.
  3. Maybe take a look at one of my slush pile unfinished works to see if anything can be done to resurrect the story line.
  4. Continue to take part in more of the online workshops offered by the RWA Chapters.
  5. Learn to put together a Self-Publishing workshop to be given locally in my area. ß—– Just thinking about this gives me the jitters. A good friend of mine keeps telling me I need to do this.

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