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Good morning. I’m just working through Holly Lisle’s How to Motivate Yourself workshop a bit this morning. She always has such interesting videos, like the one I just watched about communication between the right and left brains (and what happens when that connection is severed). I think my right brain influences me a lot. That would be my instinctive reactions, my desires, my hunches. My more introspective side, if you will.

Two people I’m close to are strongly left-brained, though. One of them…I don’t think his right brain gets much say in his life at all. The other, well, I think her right brain holds some sway. It’s interesting, actually, considering the differences. It’s like having two different people in your head.

I’ve always said I had two personalities.

Now I’m off to ponder my results from this morning’s exercises. And see if I can strengthen that connection between my brains.

You know what I haven’t been doing lately?  Writing. Or anything writing-related. I’d like to be able to blame it on school stuff, but that would (mostly) be a lie, soooo…..Yeah. No writing here. Instead, for the past three days, I’ve been wincing in pain every time I move. Did you know that hiking 9 miles makes you pretty darn sore?  Take my word for it:  it does. That excursion was part of my training for the Rim to Rim Grand Canyon hike planned for the end of May. I realize there is no way to actually train for scaling one of the greatest natural wonders of our country, but I have to at least put in some effort. Because I don’t want to fall off a cliff (and I’m scared of heights). And I don’t want to be so sore afterwards I’m unable to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

However, I need to treat my writing like my training:  Just. Do. It. Will it suck sometimes?  Probably. Will it be painful? At times. Is it worth it?  Definitely. Putting in the time now will make me feel so much better later.  And that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Writing isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it’s sweat and tears and agony (I’ve killed off characters, thank you. I’m not GRRM, but still.). But if I put in the time now, training, making it a habit, in the end, it will come much more easily, and there will be less suffering (like the guilt resulting from putting it off).

Okay, so there’s not a looming threat of falling off a cliff to keep me motivated, but a future full of not writing and being miserable as a result is pretty darn inspirational.

I just found myself writing a discussion board post for one of my classes about my experience in writing. How do you encapsulate 10+ years of experiences into 200-300 words?  Badly and inadequately, probably.

I’ve been writing for over 10 years. Some days, it feels like I’m getting nowhere. Some days, when I can’t find the time or the energy to write, I am getting nowhere. But when I think of how far I’ve come, of how much I’ve learned and improved over that time, I realize that I am actually making progress. No, I’m not published (yet), but I’m improving and growing as a writer, and that’s really something.

When I started, I seriously thought I’d never have another story idea in my life. Now, with 10-12 complete (first draft) manuscripts, and at least that many more story ideas, this thought makes me laugh. Of course I’ll have more story ideas! My technique has improved by leaps and bounds (Thank you, fellow Silver Griffins!). I no longer write fiction with the equivalent of a kindergartener’s ability. I can recognize other writers’  tricks of the trade. My voice is developed, and I know where my strengths are. But I have a lot left to learn.

I’m not perfect, but I’m better. And I will continue to improve.

So, yeah, I’ve pretty much dropped off the radar for the past few months (Off the radar, off the planet, either way…). I’ve been busy, yes. School and work can be pretty overwhelming, definitely, but my disappearance has just as much, if not more, to do with laziness. I just haven’t felt like doing a lot of things. I want to fix that, though.  Get my sh*t together. Get back in the saddle. You know, the usual pronouncements.

This week has been spring break for me, so I’ve tried to rest a lot. With my new set of classes gearing up to start on Monday, I’ll be super busy again, but I’m not afraid to tackle a towering to-do list (Ha! I do tend to over-commit, true.). I laugh in the face of busyness! I may end up curled in a ball, whimpering, but I do have a plan. Eight more weeks of classes, then no school until mid-August. And there are so many writing projects I want to tackle this year! (Drafting, revising, polishing, all are on this list.)

I can get this accomplished. I have priorities.

Work. School. Training for my Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike in May. Holly Lisle’s motivation class (SO needed.). Re-taking How to Think Sideways with this year’s only class. Blogging. Oh, yes, and sleep. I can juggle all of that, right? Right?!

Bon Appetèmpt, by Amelia Morris (Image by Grand Central Publishing).

Bon Appetèmpt, by Amelia Morris (Image by Grand Central Publishing).

Amelia Morris is an award-winning writer, a food blogger, and a cook who knows that those pictures in cookbooks aren’t really accurate of most people’s results. Her first novel, Bon Appetèmpt, is her coming-of-age tale that explores growing up, living creatively, and finding herself.

Growing up in a small town isn’t easy. Especially when both of your parents are doctors, you have an older brother who excels at wrestling, and you don’t have an athletic bone in your body. It’s even harder when you’re five years old and your father has a child with his mistress, causing your parents to divorce and everything in your world to turn inside out.

Despite having two sets of parents and two different families, Amelia had a hard time fitting in. When she decided she wanted to be a writer, she didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. Add in a husband who also wanted to create things, a cross-country move to L.A., and more bills than money, and Amelia’s struggle to find herself turned into an epic battle. Through it all, she turned to her love of good food—and the realities of creating it—to show that those dazzling pictures in cookbooks are truly larger—and more photogenic—than real life. But it’s the small, messy moments that make life worth living.

Bon Appètempt is not a typical cookbook. Sure, there are recipes of delicious food. But there are also the behind-the-scenes messes, mistakes, and mishaps that fill everyday life. Ms. Morris explores the good, the bad, and the ugly in her memoir of her challenging childhood and her growing into the creative life she always dreamed about.

(Galley provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley).

 

Heartsick, by Caitlin Sinead (Image courtesy of Carina Press)

Heartsick, by Caitlin Sinead (Image courtesy of Carina Press)

Caitlin Sinead is a new adult author. Her debut book, Heartsick, is available now. In it, she combines romance, mystery, and thrills to keep her readers on the edge of their seats. Her next book, Red Blooded, will be available this summer.

Quinn is a senior at Poe University. She wants to enjoy her senior year: hang out with her best friend, party a little bit, flirt with the hot genius she knows, and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation. Normal senior-year stuff. She isn’t expecting to meet Luke, a handsome local guy, at her favorite bar. She also isn’t expecting people’s eyes to start turning purple.

But after a party, that is exactly what happens, one by one. And no one seems to know what’s causing it. As it sweeps through the town, theories pop up, turning the townspeople against the college students in a series of frightening clashes, until no one is safe.

Quinn is determined to find out what’s going on, but soon she becomes the target of the student religious group and their escalating attacks. She doesn’t like getting involved, but Luke’s support is the only thing that gets her through, and she turns to him, despite the secrets in his past and his dying sister—the reason he moved back to town. Soon he’s the only one she can trust. Luke and Quinn must figure out what’s going on—and who’s causing it—before the entire town goes up in flames, taking them with it.

Heartsick is an intriguing story, set in a small college town full of quirky characters. It starts off a bit slow, but soon starts zipping along, full of gripping scenes, unanswered questions, and a few scary moments. The good and bad sides of human nature are on display, and Ms. Sinead digs into these moments, showing why some people do the things they do, both good and bad.

(Galley provided by Carina Press via NetGalley.)

Kissing Frogs, by Alisha Sevigny (Swoon Romance).

Kissing Frogs, by Alisha Sevigny (Swoon Romance).

Kissing Frogs is Alisha Sevigny’s first young adult novel. Ms Sevigny’s website says “A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a trip to Panama Alisha fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog.” The result of that trip is her first novel.

Jessica Stone is popular: she has lots of friends, a hot boyfriend, and plans to hit the beach for Spring Break. But Jessica wasn’t always a cool kid. She used to be a really smart, goody-two-shoes type of kid. None of her new friends know about her past, and Jessica intends to keep it that way.

But Jessica’s Spring Break plans come to a screeching halt when she finds out she’s failing Biology. Her only chance to pass: a trip to Panama with the Conservation Club to save the Golden Frog. Like that’s not bad enough, one of her partners on the trip is Travis Henley, who knew her back in her nerdy days.

Except Travis has changed. Oh, he’s still the annoying prankster Jessica remembers, but he has depth. And Jessica finds herself wondering if she still has depth, or if her obsession with popularity has changed her beyond recognition. Soon Jessica finds herself on the adventure of her life as the group fights to save the Golden Frog before it’s lost forever.

I haven’t done any writing for the last couple of weeks, and yesterday I realized why:  I’m not happy with my setting/society in The Fall.  It’s a dystopian zombie story (although the zombies are more of a side note than anything), and my society seemed too bland and smooth. It’s been bothering me for a while–I have a few handwritten notes about it–but I read a couple of books last week that sort of solidified my feelings about it, so now I have a better grip on what needs to be changed before I get any further in. The setting is very important for this story, and the society is part of that, so I think that’s why I’ve been having problems writing lately:  The Muse wasn’t feeling it.

However, the Muse is quite happy with the stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the setting I’ve been getting down today, so I’m going to continue on with that.

Anyone have suggestions for naming a walled-city after the world ends?

So, my writing has been slipping, as usual.  But I think I figured out why:  writing is a me thing. It’s something I do just for me.  That means that I feel like other things are more important than writing, because those other things have value to other people.  Make sense?  Example:  school is important to me, but other people also see it as important, therefore it takes precedence over writing, even when I’m caught up on school stuff and have the time to write. Obviously, I need to train my brain to view writing as a primary concern.

I didn’t come to this realization on my own.  I am taking Holly Lisle’s How to Motivate Yourself class, and this is the point of lesson one.  I’ve read through this lesson twice, and it’s just now starting to sink in.

So what am I going to do about this mindset of mine?  Change it.  The first way I’m going to do that is by putting writing first, literally. Instead of doing my homework first on my days off, I’m going to get in my page goals.  First part of the day = writing , writing = most important thing.

I’m not sleeping much, so I have plenty of time to put this plan into action.  And I’m going to continue to work through this class, too, and see what else I can overcome.

Write on.

So, last week had its ups and downs.  Up:  Hit my (small) page goals and my blogging goals on Tuesday and Thursday.  Down:  A computer update resulted in me being unable to get online on my desktop computer on the weekend.  (And since using my laptop bugs me when it comes to most things, I didn’t get online.  The horror.)  Happily, through sheer luck, I have managed to get the issue fixed and am now happily using my desktop.  (Yay!)

This week is looking to be emotionally challenging, so we’ll see how it goes.  I haven’t finished my school stuff yet, so my page goals haven’t happened yet today.

So here are some writerly pins I found (and appreciated) on Pinterest:

(Ah, yes.  If only it were that easy...)

(Ah, yes. If only it were that easy…)

(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)

(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)

(Yes.  This.)

(Yes. This.)

 

(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)

(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)

(True.)

(True.)

Any writing words of wisdom and/or inspiration today?

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