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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?

You know what’s awesome?  Writing.

Do you know how long it’s been since I wrote anything besides random emails and interminable school papers?  At least three months.

Do you know how happy writing again makes me?  Extremely.

Granted, I didn’t write much.  But school started again this week, and I decided that, in addition to my piles of school work ( I feel like a fifth year at Hogwarts), I would make time for writing.  And blogging.  No exceptions.  No more procrastinating.  Just me and my characters and heaps of trouble.

And you know what?  Once I made myself start, it felt fantastic!  I’ve missed writing so much.  I can never not write this long again.  It’s unacceptable.

How else am I going to capture the magic around me, if I don’t write?  Besides, I have to keep my characters safe from the zombies.

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

…I obviously haven’t blogged in months. No particular reason except laziness, I guess.  That is going to change.  This week.  No New Year’s Resolutions for me.  Just Things I Intend To Do….

(A Fairy Tale, by Shanna Swendson, NLA Digital LLC)

(A Fairy Tale, by Shanna Swendson, NLA Digital LLC)

Shanna Swendson is the author of the Enchanted Inc. series, a humorous, breezy fantasy series about an unmagical girl who moves to New York City and finds that the city is far weirder when you see things that no one else can see. Her newest novel is A Fairy Tale, the first book in a new series about fairies, New York City, and family.

Sophie Drake is a ballet teacher in a small Louisiana town. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’s safe. A long time ago, Sophie danced with the fairies, learning to dance like the Fae: full of magic and wonder. However, the Fae wanted more than dancing. When they tried to steal her little sister, Emily, Sophie walked away from them and into her safe little small-town world.

Now Emily is missing again, and Sophie knows the Fae are responsible, so she heads to New York City, determined to find Emily and bring her back. But there is more at stake than Sophie realizes. A rebel queen wants to rule all of fairyland, desperate to take over for the missing queen. She wants to unite all of the fairies and conquer the human world. Emily is merely a pawn in her game. But Sophie is having none of it. She‘s going to save her sister, no matter what it takes.

With the help of a wounded cop searching for his own missing person, two eccentric elderly ladies who know more than they should, and the laziest bulldog imaginable, the small-town ballet teacher goes to battle with the Fae. Be warned: these fairies aren’t Tinkerbelle. Winsome and sly, they are cleverer and more powerful than Sophie imagines. Then again, so is she.

Shanna Swendson’s writing style is light-hearted, but fast-paced. Her characters are distinct, and so realistic they seem to step off the page and into reality. Swendson seamlessly blends the magical Fae and their realm with the sometimes-fantastical world of law enforcement, Broadway, and New York City, to create an intriguing world that draws the reader in and doesn’t let go until the last page has been turned.

(Galley courtesy of NLA Digital LLC via NetGalley.)

I may not be participating in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of some of the things I learned over the years I did participate (I feel pretty ancient after that statement).  Sure, it’s a crazy frenzy of pouring thousands of words straight from your heart to the page (or the screen), but that doesn’t mean it’s all impulse.  Here are a few of the things I learned from NaNo.

1)  Have a plan.  This doesn’t mean you have to have a detailed line-per-scene outline complete with character names, descriptions, and complete family history going back ten generations, but it should probably be more than “Write about apples.”  (Why apples?  I don’t know.  That’s what popped into my head.  Thanks, Muse.  Such a smart-Alec.)  My personal favorite is a brief 2-3 sentence synopsis of the major scenes, plus a mention of anything that pertains to that scene that the Muse might give me (Like, “It would be really funny if the story opened with her tripping and almost falling into the casket in the middle of the funeral.  Flashing the audience would be great, too.”  Again, thanks, Muse.  True story.).

2)  Have goals.  Goals are pretty important in writing, I’ve found.  How else are you going to write 50,000 in 30 days if you don’t know that you need to hit 1,667 words per day?  Word count goals no longer work for me (at least not currently).  Now I go with pages.  My goal may be a paltry 2 pages per week right now, but it’s a goal.  (Don’t judge me.  I have a lot going on, and my days only have 24 hours in them.).

3)  Have friends.  By “friends” I mean “fellow writers you can talk to.”  Trust me, non-writers do not get it.  Just because I’m a writer does not make me a poet.  Or a biographer.  (The two most common “You should write–” suggestions I get.  Why would I want to write about your life?  Yes, you’ve done some stupid things, but it’s really better if we don’t publicize them…).  If you hit the wall while writing, writing friends are a helpful support group, always available for hand-holding, pep talks, and/or moving the bottle out of your reach.

So, there you go.  A few helpful tips   Now, back to your keyboards!  Those 1,667 words aren’t going to write themselves (probably).  I’m off to work on my plan (since the Muse hasn’t seen fit to grace me with one for The Fall yet…).

Sometimes, inspiration is easy to find.  It falls out of the sky like a bolt of lightning.

(I do not own this picture.  Image by Bo Insogna.)

(I do not own this picture. Image by Bo Insogna.)

Other times, it is much more elusive, like chasing a will-o-‘the-wisp

(I do not own this picture.  Photo by Buie.)

(I do not own this picture. Photo by Buie.)

I’ve found inspiration both ways.  (Or, really, it has found me.)  Usually, though, it’s a bit more…mundane.  A random thought, picture, name, or word will settle in my brain and I’ll hear an almost-audible click, and I know the Muse has snatched up whatever tiny piece just arrived and ran off into the darkness with it, giggling.  (My Muse is a bit terrifying at times.)  That little bit will be fitted together with other random bits to form a somewhat-complete idea.  When the Muse is finished with an idea, she’ll give it to me.  Or I’ll have to pry it from her greedy little fingers.  One of the two.

But reading inspires me.  Fiction.  Creative non-fiction.  Classics.  Blog posts.

That being said, here are a few interesting, inspiring links I’ve come across lately:

Letting go vs holding on, by Cristian Mihai.

A year-old post on Writing Inspiration, by Rucy Ban.

Another post on Writing Inspiration, on H. Squires Novels.

Writing Inspiration, on the ramblings of a literature nerd  (Isn’t that the greatest name?  Fellow literature nerds unite!)

On Writing, on Hello Alle.

Go.  Be inspired.  Write.

It’s November.  Not a news flash, I know.  But if you’re a writer, you might know this month better as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo.  If you don’t know, NaNo is all about writing a complete, 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

The first novel I ever completed was my first year doing NaNo.  I’ll never forget the rush, the thrill of knowing I was writing alongside thousands of other writers all over the world.  That alone was inspiration enough, but if my motivation ever flagged or I had questions, the forums were a fantastic place to go find it again or find answers.  I didn’t finish that novel in November, but I finished it just a few weeks later.  Since then, I’ve honestly forgotten how many times I’ve done–and “won”–NaNo, but I think it’s at least four (For the record, at least twice I wrote 100,000 words during NaNo.  Yes, I’m a masochist.  And clearly insane.  I have papers.)  I was even wearing my NaNo shirt when I met Laurell K. Hamilton, and she asked me about it because she’d never heard of it.

I haven’t done NaNo for the last…um, four years, I think.  Because of school mainly.  I can only juggle so much, and what amounts to two full-time jobs keeps me pretty busy.  I haven’t even found time to write a single page in weeks, much less around 1,700 words a day.  (There isn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake for all that.)  But in early October, when I remembered it was almost time for NaNo, I was tempted.  Oh, so very tempted.  Fortunately, common sense prevailed.  I have a little.  And, in the face of working 3 11-16-hour days a week, plus 2 8-or-so-hour days doing homework, and crazy busy weekends filled with half-marathon training…Yeah, common sense sucks, but it was right.

But I’d like to wish everyone doing NaNo lots of luck (and caffeine).  If you are so fortunate, I’d really like to hear about how well it’s going.

Populatti, by Jackie Bardenwerper

 

Jackie Bardenwerper is a self-published author of young adult fiction. Her first novel, On the Line, is an honorable mention recipient in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. Her second novel is Populatti, and deals with issues faced by young adults every day, including social media struggles and bullying.

At sixteen, Livi Stanley thinks she has it all: a new life free from the traumas of her middle-school-year awkwardness and unpopularity, great grades, good friends, and membership in Populatti, an exclusive website that allows her access to the hottest social scene around. Which includes Brandon Dash, baseball star and Livi’s long-time crush. But along with all the benefits, membership in Populatti has a catch: the other members can vote you out at any time.

When the online rumors start, growing uglier by the second, Livi’s place as a popster is threatened. Her friends don’t really seem to care, so Livi will have to look for help in places she never imagined. With her insider view of the reality behind Populatti, Livi has some questions: Why is everyone voting against her? Are these people really her friends at all? And does she even want to stay in Populatti, no matter what the votes decide?

Populatti is a book dealing with real issues faced by young adults today, in a world colored by the distorted lens of social media. The characters are well-imaged people, not cardboard cutouts, and the trials that Livi goes through are realistic—if also slightly horrific. This fast-paced novel captures the nuances of the high school social scene, and one girl’s realization that there is more to life than popularity and social media.

(Galley provide by JKS Communications)

Populatti Blog Tour

Community

Holly Lisle is looking for readers and writers to build a community that fosters the growth of new writers.  The readers will have the opportunity to help writers they support to grow and learn, the writers will gain support and assistance where they need it.  Holly does wonderful things for other writers, and this is a fantastic new idea of hers that is still in beta development.  If you’re interested, check it out here.

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