Leaving 2016.  DON’T look back! 

This year has been pretty incredible. Good and bad. From all the famous deaths to my difficult personal journey this year, I’m looking forward to starting a fresh, new year. I suspect there’s a few people out there that can empathize. 

I believe happiness is your responsibility. I don’t believe in blaming others for what you’ve chosen to do or how you live. That being said, I’ve come to realize that if I want to finish my novel, raise my twins well and excel at my job…it’s all up to me. 

I have the same quantity of time each day as everyone else. Much as I want to say I need more time, time management is the true answer. 

Unfortunately, being diagnosed with bi-polar and panic attacks years ago, hasn’t helped. I’m not on medication or seeing a therapist. Honestly, I think I’ve done a fairly good job managing my emotions on my own. Until tonight. 

Sometimes I get fired up over something minor, that doesn’t even really affect me and I should let it roll off. But suddenly I over analysis, obsess and end up blowing up. To me, this is unacceptable. 

Going back to my original declaration…this is on me. It’s not my husband, my twins or social media that’s to blame for my frustration. It’s all on me. 

So I’ve decided to consider seeking out a therapist. To make sure I’m “normal” or to hear that indeed I’m a little extreme and need some sort of medication to even me out. It’s a tough decision for various reasons:  money, potential side affects, management of time around the appts…fear.

My number one concern about considering therapy and medication again is what it could do to me creatively. Sure, it may help even out my moods, keep me rolling on the positive side of life and best of all, quiet my mind to help me sleep!  But what if I try a med again, and lose my ability to want to create?

My writing suffered in the past when I was on medication. 

So. Do I try to calm my anxiety and even out my moods?  Or do I do everything I can to manipulate those outrageous thoughts into an amazing manuscript to fulfill my number 1 goal (after having the twins of course 😉 ) of publishing a novel?

Decisions, decisions. 

Adulthood is not easy. But one of my two options above should certainly make it better. 

The question is…which one?

Creator of image unknown

2017 Writing Goals

This past year has been one of the worst for sickness, death and sadness.  I think everyone is happy to see 2016 coming to an end.  And praying 2017 is a million times better!

I’d like to write out my 2017 goals for the year now; something I’ve heard many writing Vloggers discuss on their YouTube channels.  I realize that at the beginning of 2016, I said this would be the year I was published.  That simple declaration has held me accountable.  Now I didn’t REACH that goal YET.  But just listing it on my blog had that little nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me this year.  I think that if I write out a list of things I’d like to get done in 2017 with regards to writing, that it may help me STICK to that list.  Even if I don’t reach all my goals, I’d be pretty disappointed in myself come Dec 2017 when I follow up to say…I didn’t reach a single one.  So let’s see what I can accomplish in the upcoming year!

  1. Current manuscript FINALIZED and …either sent to a publisher or self-published.  I have not decided yet how I want to go about doing this.  But the novel I have in my hands right now needs to be finished in one form or fashion in 2017.  This is by far my #1 goal for 2017.
    1. If self-publishing, I’ll need to research CreateSpace far more than I have.
    2. Create a beautiful cover and all that goes with it.
    3. Work on advertising/marketing.
  2. I’d like to post at least 10-20 posts on this blog throughout the year.  I definitely put this on the backburner, which isn’t a bad thing if I’m writing.  But if I want a nice following before the novel is out, I need to actively reach out to all of you fine folks!
  3. Start a Vlog on YouTube….this is up in the air.  I’ve started a channel, but do not have anything posted yet.  I’m going back and forth on this.  We’ll see how I feel next year.
  4. Re-create my author website.  I love playing with my various websites, but I get caught up in it and do not write.  I need to remind myself WRITING and finalizing my novel comes first, THEN I can have fun updating my site so it matches the new novel 🙂  I do, however, already have an active FaceBook page!  Come check it out!

I think this is a good start.  These are simply my WRITING goals, not my life goals.  With the twins starting school this year, writing is probably the only constant in my life right now.

Good luck to all in 2017!!  Let’s reach our goals together!

Life Changes…Life Goes On

Life changes. Life goes on.

Then you die.

Sounds like a whirlwind of scenes, essentially ending with a final chapter and the story of your life is over. Good, bad and indifferent.

Some scenes in my life thrill me, push me further and help me to thrive. Other scenes play out like a movie in my head that I can’t stop or even slow down. Every scene dims and eventually fades into the past.

As a writer, it excites me when I experience things in my life that parallel my stories. Because that’s all life really is, a screenplay of each individual experience. Different scenes, reactions, consequences…no one lives the same life. Every twist and turn in your plot, places you on an alternative path in your life and yet, in the end, we all greet death.

I suppose I’m not entirely sure where this post is going today. Just started typing. Perhaps it’s because my day to day life is a roller coaster of emotions and surrealism these days. One year ago, I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be here right now. Hell, 1 month ago, I didn’t see my life changing so much.

Busier than ever, more choices and decisions to be made and not entirely sure what direction I want to go with any of it. The one thing I do know, is writing still makes me happy.

I suspect it’s partially because I enjoy the activity, but the other part of it is escaping from my sudden bizarre life, to a truly fantasized one. To retreat into my own mind and block out the many distractions that seem to be flying at me with lightning speed. Only to swathe my fragile, near shattered psyche in a shroud of a world I can nurture, build and make my own private heaven.

Nothing can hurt me there, unless I wish it. Nothing can be “forever gone” there, unless I destroy it. My personal universe – I can control.

Until the end. Until death takes me.

Oh well, I guess there’s always the potential for a sequel. After all 50 Shades and Twilight did it.

Drinking, Editing and…More Drinking

I was pretty pleased with myself at the beginning of this year, having finished my 1st draft of my 2nd manuscript.  Not sure if it was a mistake or not, but took a month away to start a 3rd novel before going back to edit.  Now I’m in the process of editing and so far, I think I’m doing pretty well – “editing the unmerciful suck out“…which is a FANTASTIC blog post by Chuck Wendig.  If you have a  minute, it’s worth it to check his blog out:  Terrible Minds.  I receive his posts to my email and I have to say, he’s probably one of the most hilarious, RIGHT about pretty much everything, writer.  No doubt, if you’re a writer…you’ll learn from him.

Anyway, I’ve edited about halfway through and I think it’s going well.  I had asked readers earlier this year how they edit, if they had any “sure fire” ways to get through it without wanting a drink….or twelve.  Everyone had some fantastic ideas.  I ended up doing what I did with my first one.  Pulling the first draft up onto one half of my screen and a blank page onto the other half.  Then going about rewriting the entire thing, using the first draft as the bones.  I’ve cut A LOT, but somehow have also added over 2,500 words.  Which works well, since I was 8,000 words shy of my original goal.

It’s coming along though and I’m happy about it.  Too bad life gets in the way sometimes, or I’d have it into it’s third polish.  I didn’t have the brainpower today to sit down when my kids took a nap and edit though.  So here I am…

What I have enjoyed about editing is realizing just how much deeper I can go.  The plot is already there, the characters are “real people” now…so I sort of get to indulge a little more in aspects of the story I was lazy on the first go around.  I may wish to murder all the characters by the time I’m done, and burn down the town…but I’m learning a lot and it’s exciting to see the developments.

Just for the fun of it, I entered the 1st draft into a contest with the Yellow Rose RWA Chapter:  2014 Winter Rose Contest for Unpublished Authors

Mainly because I thought any feedback from the judges would be a phenomenal boost while I edited my 2nd draft.  I really wanted the critiques…as harsh and unforgiving as possible.  I knew it would give me some ideas on where I was lacking in my writing.  I don’t have many “friends/readers” that I can go to and trust to give me sound advice.  Only a small handful – but I LOVE THEM all the same!  I just figured it would be really great to have professionals give their opinion.

In a particularly low state of mind one day, I opened my email to find I’d won 2nd place in Contemporary Series!!!  Wow.  Just….wow.  I’ve never opened up enough to show my writing to many people I didn’t know or fully trust.  So…to have these judges tell me my 1st draft was good enough for 2nd place?

Needless to say, I framed the certificate and look at it frequently.  *wink*.  Sure, it may not be published works or the Olympics of contests…but it was huge for me.  And I was right, the feedback ….wow.  I can’t really say more than that.  I so appreciate every judge and all that took their time with it.  It makes SUCH a huge difference to people like me that are maybe not as confident as others.  It helps me give that devil on my shoulder the finger whenever he tries to whisper how bad my writing is!

That’s all I need.  So.  Putting the drink down….and going back to edit the suck out!

2014 Winter Rose Contest

2014 Winter Rose Contest

December is…?

Well, we’re done with November AKA NaNoWriMo Month, or rather it was over two weeks ago and I’m now just realizing that I haven’t written since the end of it.  Has anyone else done this?

I never expect to actually finish a draft in November, but this year, I made some smaller goals throughout the month and tried to stick with it.  I ended up over 30,000 words so far.  If you’d been keeping up with my continued word count on past blog posts, that’s over 12,000 words that I added.  Sure, it’s not 60,000.  But it’s over half of my end goal, so I’m pretty happy with myself.

However, two weeks into December and I haven’t added onto my novel.  😦

I guess it could be expected that I might get a little “burnt out” writing if I really powered through November.  Although, the momentum should keep me going further.  But really, I didn’t write a little every day.  I actually took two days during the week of Thanksgiving and wrote over 3,000+ words just in those two days.  THAT may have burned me out.  LOL

Hopefully, the acknowledgement and writing this post will keep me thinking about it.

Oh well.  Write on, fellow writers!!

New Novel Word Count:  30,000 +

Life Gets in the Way

I absolutely love writing.  I love the act of it, the character banter in my mind constantly and the finished words I can enjoy reading back.  But boy, does life tend to get in the way.  And it’s not even that I’m so horribly busy I can’t write, it’s that I don’t make my writing a priority very often.

I like to *tell* myself it’s because I have so many things to do.  Working, taking care of my beautiful twins…working some more.  But the real answer is that I *let* my writing fall to the side.  Actually, I tend to go through stages.  A big boost of “writing energy” goes through me at random times during the month and I wonder how I ever lived without writing 1000 words a day.  Then it tapers off and I realize I haven’t written in weeks.

Sometimes, I sit down to write and my brain is racing around so quickly, I can’t focus on anything long enough to get it down on paper.  Well, coherently anyway.  A therapist has suggested ADD – but my explanation wanders a little more down the “Caffeine” route.  More precisely, too much of it.

So how does this help me finish a novel?  No clue.

Patience, I guess.  Maybe understanding…of myself, so that I don’t beat myself into a bloody heap trying to *force* that story out of my head.  Taking it one day at a time helps, but I have to make sure the frustration doesn’t overtake me.

It’s NaNo month, too.  I signed up the night of the 1st.  I was able to write a few 1,000 words in a few days, but it’s not really the type of accountability I seem to need.  I’ve also tried having someone else HOLD me accountable, but I think being creative…the whole concept of being creative, is letting it happen.  Not forcing it, not doing it for anyone else.  So I’ve come to realize, I need to hold myself accountable, IF I enjoy it and it’s something I want to do.  I have to just make myself find the time and just do it.  (Thank you Nike).

It bothers me that I can sit here and write a blog post, and not channel that energy into writing.  But again, I don’t believe it’s a cop-0ut – it’s writing.  It may not be moving my manuscript further along, but at least it gets me thinking.  🙂

New Novel Word Count: 16,244

Writer’s Block

I’ve been writing for years and heard everything from, it doesn’t really exist to a million and one ways to work through Writer’s Block.  After extensive “research” of my own and trying to get a manuscript written, I realize that it’s a partially accurate description of the wall that you can hit during your writing.  I don’t believe it’s “complete” blockage.  Since recently, I’ve started blogging and writing other bits and pieces of scenes, it seems that if I hit a “wall” or suddenly feel a block in what I’m doing – I have the option to move away from the writing I’m working on and focus my creative energy in another outlet.

Throughout my writing experiences over the years, I’d say that I’ve grown a lot and I tend to get further into each new novel when I’m really passionate about the characters.  For example, in my new novel, the hero and heroine are spunky and completely opposite goals for their lives.  But it’s easy to see, at heart, they are a lot more alike then they realize.  Because I enjoy their story, I’ve written nearly 14,000 before hitting the infamous block.

So I decided to try and figure out exactly what the problem was, perhaps this could help me work through my mental barricade and move forward.  I’m into chapter 4 and the first thing I notice is that my “rough outline” I had chicken scratched on a piece of paper – well, the story had deviated slightly from my notes.  I think my first mistake was trying to force my characters back to the original idea.  Any writer knows, this is not really the best way to write.  What I *should* have done, was let them digress, follow an unbeaten path and see what they wanted.  If I’ve created them to be true dimensional characters, they probably know better than I do how they’d respond to obstacles I throw in front of them!  I’m not stupid enough to assume they’d tell the story correctly.  Ha!  My hero would have total control of everything in his life – boring.  My heroine would live out a peaceful, uneventful story on her own personal lake – horribly boring.  I might throw up thinking how dry the story would be if I let them have full reign.

However, letting them test the limits of my storyline instead of forcing them back between the lines, has slowed the creative process.

The next thing I realized is that I have written a LOT of dialogue between the two, nearly the entire chapter.  While dialogue isn’t the worst thing (if written properly), the category romance I’m attempting to make this novel, needs much more internal dialogue.  This is an area I tend to struggle sometimes.  I’m not sure if it’s because the “Show, Don’t Tell” has been pounded into my head over the years, so I put way too much into outer referencing instead of inner thoughts.  Or perhaps I’m keeping too tightly in my “God” narrative and not enough getting to know these characters that I so adamantly say I’ve developed.

Either way, those are two vital mistakes I know I’ve made and has led me to this “block”.

So.  The next question is what do I do about it?  If you couldn’t tell, my first thought, write a blog post about it.  🙂  But as long as other outlets don’t stand as a crutch, I think this actually could be helpful.  Get something “on paper”.  Anything to get the wheels to turn, my brain to wake up and think about what I’m typing.  Whether it’s a blog post, notes, updating the now out-of-date outline, work on an entirely different story or scene…any of these options, will at least get me writing.  I have to go back and reiterate though, I need to make SURE it isn’t a cop-out.  Staying focused will help me persevere to the next level of my writing.

While I sit here, staring out my window at the morning sunlight brightening my front yard, I think of another thing that’s blocking me.  I feel…disconnected with my story right now.  It’s that time when I’m trying to stay true to each character, not “change” them too quickly.  And by change, I don’t mean change them to something they’re not.  I mean change, as in, see what they want, what they truly want and adjust their thinking to get it.  This is the muddy, grey area of the story where they need to stand strong and not see eye to eye.  An area that I always muck up too easily because I just want to throw the two of them together and move onto the sex 😉  Okay, not exactly, but I like the falling in love part.

It’s one of my biggest problems.  The anticipation and build up is the ultimate best part of a relationship, because we all know that once you cross that line, it’s ….satisfying… but you’ll never have that build up feeling again.

Big problem for me.

In reality, my “happily ever after” would be renewing that anticipation every day.  Sometimes I think maybe the “perfect” relationship for me would be a two story “house” that’s quite simply a full home/apt on both levels.  You and your significant other could have separate living quarters, enjoy space and let that slight bit of time being apart, help you reconnect.  Each day you spend together, would be a ‘starting over’ day.

I digress…and could ramble for hours about a fantasy life.

The point is, I always hit this wall when my characters hurdle into emotions I *know* they can’t be feeling yet.  I need to back up, edit if necessary, and remind myself of the people they are without each other.  Only then, can they move forward, stronger and more diligent about reaching their original goals.  It should take another chapter at least before they start to feel that pull, that unexplained need to spend more time together.

Well, I think I’ve put enough time into something other than fixing my story!  Thanks for letting my mind wander for a bit!

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New Novel Word Count: 13,887