Category: Chasing Shadows

How I Did in 2016…and Goals for 2017

happy-2017

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had/is having a good holiday weekend.

This is, of course, the obligatory re-hash of my 2016 goals, as well as a public declaration of my goals for 2017.

In 2016, my goals were:

Writing:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN. Didn’t happen. I started work on it, and realized that I have to re-write the story from scratch (mostly).

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. Done! (More or less.)

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   Nope. I did write some of it, but not much.

4) Start Camelot  Done! (To the tune of 1 chapter, a sort-of prologue, and some brainstorming.

5) Revise Casting Shadows. Didn’t even look at it.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month. Also no, although I did work on the classes some.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. Only up to 314.

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog. Only up to 199.

Reading:

1) Read Gone with the Wind. Done!

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf. Done!

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total). Done!

4) Read one classic per month. Done!

5) Read one book of poetry. Done!

6) Read 2 books per month to review. Done!

7) Read one inspirational book per month. Done!

8) Read 75 books total. Done! Actually, I read 128 books—WAY over my goal—which I’m pretty happy about. You can check out my books on the 2016 Goodreads challenge here.

Goals for 2017

Writing:

1) Finish draft of The Fall.

2)  Finish draft of Camelot.

3)  Finish Witches revision.

4)  Self-pub something or find agent.

5)  Revise Chasing Shadows.

6)  Publish/sub Chasing Shadows.

7) Do/win NaNo (with the Southern Fic story).

Reading

1)  Read one book per month set in a different culture or by an author from a different culture.

2)  Read 100 books.

3)  Read one classic per month.

4) Read one spiritual book per month.

5) Review 5 books per month.

6) Read one book from TBR pile every other month.

7)  Read Battlefield Earth.

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Mid-Year Goal Update

At the beginning of the year, I set quite a few goals for myself (not resolutions). Eight goals in each of three separate categories, one being reading and one being writing. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how I’m doing on those goals, since we’re halfway through the year.

Reading goals:

1) Read GWTW.
2) Read 1 book per month from TBR.
3) Read all books on AWR list.
4) Read one classic per month.
5) Read one book of poetry.
6) Read 2 books per month to review.
7) Read one inspirational book per month.
8) Read 75 books.

I haven’t read any of Gone with the Wind since January, so I better get on that. I have read one book each month from my TBR pile.  I successfully read all of the books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class. I have read a classic per month. I have not read any poetry. (Oops.) I’ve read and reviewed at least two books each month. I’ve read at least one inspirational book each month. And I’ve currently read 69 out of my goal of 75 books.

Writing goals:

Writing goals:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.
2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song.
3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.
4) Start Camelot.
5) Revise Casting Shadows.
6) Finish copyediting classes and start making money at it.
7)  Have 500 followers on this blog.
8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog.

 

I’m still working on the revision of Witches. Siren Song is outlined, but I stopped working on it, and started writing on The Fall again. No progress on Camelot. No progress on Casting Shadows. I’m still working on the copyediting classes. I’m still chipping away at the blog goals.

Verdict:  I’m doing okay on my goals, but I need to get it together and get on all of them!

New Year, this Time with Some Actual Goals

Happy new Year 2016 Images (20)
(I do not own this image.)

Happy New Year!

I used to make very complicated, intricately planned-out lists of resolutions every year. A few years ago, I stopped that, but this year I decided to give it another go. I ended up with three separate lists (Life, Writing, and Reading), each with eight goals.

Here are my Writing goals for the year:

1) Finish Witches HTRYN.

2) Finish 1st draft of Siren Song. 

3) Finish 1st draft of The Fall.   

4) Start Camelot

5) Revise Casting Shadows.

6) Finish copyediting classes and make X dollars at it per month.

7) Have 500 followers on this blog. (I can dream, right?)

8) Have 200 followers on my personal blog (It’s a goal.)

HNY

Here are my Reading goals:

1) Read Gone with the Wind (for at least the 25th time. I normally read it every year, but it’s been a few years.).

2) Read 1 book per month from my TBR shelf.

3) Read all books on the reading list for my American Women Writers class (8 total).

4) Read one classic per month.

5) Read one book of poetry.

6) Read 2 books per month to review.

7) Read one inspirational book per month.

8) Read 75 books total.

Writing Inspiration: What Do You Use?

I’m not an expert or anything–well, I’ve been writing for around 15 years, so a semi-expert?–but I do have a few tips for when you need writing inspiration. Give them a try if you’re stuck, hopefully they’ll work for you.

Music. For me, it requires music without lyrics, so I don’t get distracted (although sometimes Enya works). YouTube is a good place to find new things that fit whatever you’re working on. If you go to the Music page, you can find songs grouped by genres, themes, or or even seasons. This could be really useful if you need a soundtrack to get in the heads of your character. (And I really have to start using music when I write again. Duh…).  Warning:  YouTube is distracting, so you can end up watching tutorials on obscure or impossible subjects if you’re not careful, eating your writing time.

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Pictures. Specifically, pictures of beautiful, magical places (if you’re wondering what to write about), or pictures of the place you’re writing about (if you already know). For Chasing Shadows, my story set in New Orleans, I looked at tons of pictures from the city. I also–since I lived nearby at the time–visited the areas I was writing about (Yeah, I know that sounds like a convenient excuse to spend time in the Big Easy. It was. Perhaps that book needs editing…). Pinterest is a good place to find awesome, inspiring pictures. I have several boards for this. Warning:  Pinterest can EAT YOUR LIFE, so you might want to set a timer or something to make sure you escape alive.

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Pay attention. Seriously. If you’re paying attention, you can find inspiration in the tiniest, most random things. My Muse loves to grab meaningless fragments and put them together. I can almost hear an audible click when this happens, and I know there’s a story idea brewing. This happened just a couple of weeks ago, working on my final essay for British Lit. I chose to re-write a scene from Morte Darthur from Guinevere’s POV. Boom! My Muse said “Hey wait, I’ve got an idea!” and suddenly my WIP isn’t quite enough to keep her occupied anymore, because she has a shiny new idea. (That will get written, I promise.) Just pay attention. Inspiration is like lightning. It strikes randomly.

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Any suggestions for getting or staying inspired?  I’d love to hear them!

Vacations are Good for the Soul (and the Muse)

You know how I’ve decided not to worry about writing at all for the next four weeks, until the semester is over, so I don’t risk a brain meltdown? Turns out that taking an “official” break from writing has my Muse playing with story ideas.

Yep. True story.

Apparently, my Muse can’t wait to get back to work on Witches–which I haven’t looked at in years, and Chasing Shadows, which is more recent, but still not something I’ve thought about in like a year. Looks like I’ll be taking those two stories apart and revising them this summer. Plus working through HTTS with The Fall. I’m actually really excited about working on Witches. It was the first thing I started writing. I love the characters to pieces. I love the world. I love the plot. I even have the first draft of the second book written as well. I think the draft of Witches I have is over 300,000 words, though, so clearly there is a lot of work to be done, sigh.

But the Muse is stoked, and already at work in the back of my mind.

I can’t wait for the semester to be over!

Doing Too Much

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been (you know, all three of you that are reading this), I need to make a confession: I tend to over-commit myself. Basically, I need about 5 extra hours in every day to get everything done I need and/or want to do. Here’s a list of things I need to be doing on a weekly basis (some of which I’m failing miserably at):

1) Work (2 15-hour days, 1 13-hour day). On my feet….
2) School: 17 hours this semester (5 class, one lab, WTF was I thinking?)
3) 3 blogs (my writing blog, my personal blog, my environmental blog)
4) Write the first draft of The Fall (My Muse thinks I’ve gone on strike.)
5) Revise the zombie story
6) Revise the werewolf story
7) Write book reviews for Examiner.com (assuming I have actual time to read)
8) Keep up with my writing crit circle (I’m trying.)
9) Church (This has become a necessity in my life. Period.)
10) Keep up with all my home projects (the green-friendly ones that are now my priority)
11) Hang out with family and The Diva (so she doesn’t have a complete breakdown. I love you, sister-wife!).
12) Work out. (Ha. Hahahaha. Yeah. With what free time? I’m pretty sure the 5-7 miles I walk at work 3 times a week count for something.)
13) I’m taking a 6-week Nutrition class on Coursera (halfway through), with a Philosophy class starting in 2 weeks…
14) I’m pretty sure I’m missing something, but I can’t remember what just now…

You’ll notice this list does not include things like, oh, sleep, relax, hang out with friends. All of which are things I do try to do, too. I’ve had some stuff going on with the Sierra Club and Environment Texas. This past weekend, I had a membership class at church. I have another one next weekend.

Watching TV…sigh. It’s a good thing I have a DVR. That’s all I’m saying. Actually, I did watch two shows I had recorded on Sunday, while I was doing other things. A friend of mine called while I was watching. He asked what I was doing. When I said “Watching TV,” there was dead silence on the line for a good ten seconds, then “REALLY?!” Yeah. Before that, it had been…oh, probably a month, since I had my TV on. Money well spent on the cable bill, huh?

In short, I’d show you my daily planner, but I’m too embarrassed. It’s probably confusing to everyone but me. Plus, I’m severely OCD when it comes to my planner and it might be color coded…

So, every day, I feel like this:

"Lalalala...I've got this!"
“Lalalala…I’ve got this!”

But in reality, I look like this:

...or not...
…or not…

I Think My Muse is (Finally) Back from Vacation….

So, I haven’t done any writing to speak of in…oh…a year and a half. I know, right? The horror! Seriously, I’m not sure how I’ve managed to stay sane without it. (Okay. Sanity is relative. And people who know me would say I’m sort of dangling off that cliff anyway…). Ahem. Anyway. I’ve been taking classes for basically the last two years, but I’m taking this summer off, and writing is definitely on the agenda. Two separate novels, in fact. And I’m planning on revising another one (FINALLY). Also, my crit group is–hopefully–going to be active again after over two years of not-much-of-anything-going-on, so I’m hoping to put the faerie story (Chasing Shadows) through it as well.

I didn’t get to do NaNo last year, since I had too much else going on, so I’m going to give Camp NaNoWriMo a try in June. I’m sure if I can write 100k in November–twice–I can write at least 50k in June. Just to get back in the swing of things.

Hello, Muse. So good to see you again!

Progress…

So, instead of taking my day off to do…nothing, I actually accomplished some things. I’ve been stalling/procrastinating on working on my revision of the faerie story for months now, but I actually finished up one of the HTRYN lessons today and read the next one. Yay!

I also started outlining the new DOTD story. Okay, so by “started outlining” I mean “did a phase outline for the first scene.” But still, it’s progress, and I’m happy. It feels good to make progress. Now I’m off to outline the next five phases and get some much-needed sleep before work tomorrow.

Goals. And Strippers. And Maybe Some Writing Stuff…

You know what I’ve discovered after taking off months from working on anything related to writing? Getting back into the swing of things is hard. I mean really, really hard. I started working on revisions to the faerie story today. Wow. It’s like I forgot what the story was about. I’m using Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel, and this lesson involves the Monastery. If you’re familiar with the technique, can you imagine how difficult it was to keep track of everything when I haven’t really thought about this story in months? Yeah. I’m sure I missed some things. And if you’re not familiar, well, it’s an excellent technique (as is the class as a whole), and definitely worth the effort.

Also, I’ve been doing a bit of research for the new story, the DOTD (Day of the Dead) story. Very little, to be completely honest, but I’m hoping (No. I’m PLANNING.) on getting the last of my background details (of which there aren’t going to be too many) solidified today, and hopefully start outlining this weekend. Of course, it’s research, so I’m easily distracted by all the pretty, shiny lights (What? The Mayans practiced bloodletting as a form of worship? And made bread offerings of a specific number of grains? Hmmm…..), but I think I have some of the pertinent details I intend to use (where “use” means “twist to my own nefarious purposes”) nailed down. So, yay, I’ll finally be writing again!

In other news, I’m working on my 101 goals for the year. Maybe I should post them here and keep them updated? Yes? No? You don’t really give a crap? Well…goal #21 is: Start going out more. I’m working on that. Yes. As a matter of fact, last week, I went out so much I was exhausted at the end of it and practically comatose. First, I went out for dinner and drinks with a friend who was in from the Big Easy (had a great time, and I really miss hanging out with my friend…). The next night, I went out with a couple of the girls from work, and one of their sisters. Who is a stripper. Excuse me, an exotic dancer. (No, I did not put “start hanging out with colorful people” on my list. I already know plenty of those. I didn’t think it was necessary to state it explicitly.) On a slightly unrelated note, while we were out running around, I discovered I have the same taste in shoes as she does. (No, I don’t want to know what that says about me, thankyouverymuch. The shoes were cute. That’s all that matters. Pfft.). After that little adventure, the next night I hung out with an old friend ‘til 2 a.m. and then collapsed from exhaustion. This week…well, the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie comes out, so I’m definitely gonna see that. As for the rest of the weekend, well, I’m going to try to knock out at least two of my goals (#14 and #26)….

Where’d the Week Go?

Seriously. How is already Saturday night? The week’s over, and I’m not really sure what I accomplished this week. Let’s see…I remember doing homework. More homework. And yes, MORE homework. That’s an awful lot of school work, especially since I can’t remember what else I did this week. *thinking….thinking*….Hmm. I wrote two book reviews for Examiner.com. Read a few books (the first four books in Michelle Sagara’s Chronicles of Elantra series. Really enjoying them.) Ah….what else? I can’t think of anything else. That’s just…ridiculous. Oh! I did get some writing done. Yes. About 3500 words this week. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s steady writing every day, and that’s my main goal.

My Muse is working on a new story idea. I can feel it! I should probably be writing some of the details she throws at me down. Things are coming together. I have a vague idea of a character, well, two, and the main conflict, so that’s cool. The setting is coming together, too, and it should be something radically different than I’ve ever written before. I’m actually starting to get really excited about the idea, but I’m trying not to rush my Muse. Bad idea, that.

No revisions done this week. Which gives me…two days to finish Lesson 4 of HTRYN. Guess I need to get on that, huh? Okay. I’m off to do more homework. Two exams next week, and some essay questions that are waiting for my attention (Not the kind of writing I enjoy. At all.) And I’ll have another book review up tomorrow.