Wednesday, December 24, 2014

End of Year Fear

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! I'm at my in-laws' place again, but thankfully it doesn't feel like I'm dying this time around. I went to the doctor and he pulled out all the stops. I'm on so many allergy medicines that I'm pretty sure I could be a superhero if I wanted. Hopefully you are all enjoying your holidays, too!

So I don't know if this will make any sense at all, or if it's late and Christmas/the end of 2014 has sent me into an existential crisis (probable), but here goes nothing.

A big part of the reason I keep this blog is so that I can have a record of all the crazy stuff that happens during my publishing journey. I could give writing advice, but there are plenty of other people more qualified to do that than me. I could talk about my regular life, but my life involves enough Netflix that you'd get bored pretty quickly. What I love reading about are people who are in similar bookish situations as me, or people who have been there but made it out with a book deal eventually.

So part of me hopes I can look back on this and laugh at how high stress I was. And part of me hopes there's someone else out there feeling the same way right now.

I AM AFRAID AGAIN. Shocking, right?

I sent out my MS to three beta readers, and I've gotten back notes from two. I'm not sure when the third ones are coming in, so I decided to get started on another round of revisions, and if the third beta hasn't been able to get particularly far into the MS, then I can send her the updated draft and hopefully get even better feedback! Wahoo!

But the more I revise this book, the more attached I get to it, and that scares me.

I love these characters, and I love this story. It's personal in a way that I haven't really experienced before, and I see myself in a character I wasn't expecting, which ties me to it further. This story helped to pull me out of a not-so-great time, and I really want it to succeed.

There's advice all over the place to not get too attached to any one story, that the first novel you query is almost never the one that gets you the agent or the book deal. And up until this point, I've done a really great job keeping my expectations low. I've always been okay with the idea that this book might not be marketable enough to be THE BOOK. I had no problem shelving a handful of other projects, knowing that they weren't good enough to query.

I really want this book to be THE BOOK, though. And there's no way to guarantee it will be. But oh man, do I love it, and oh man, do I have some great ideas for if it does get an agent or a book deal.

Anyone else here now? Or been there, done that, got the agent?

Maybe I just need to tell myself that it's okay to really love something I wrote, even though it might not get me an agent right now. Probably I need to stop talking down to myself about what MIGHT happen and just get off my butt and do something. I won't know until I try.

And look at that, my stressing has brought me almost to midnight. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals. Hope your day is merry and bright. :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

So This Happened


I won NaNoWriMo 2014!!!

It took a LOT of work. As I mentioned a few days ago, I was crazy sick all this week. I'm still not sure how much of it was allergies and how much of it was some weird virus or something. There were definitely multiple things going on. But I spent a ton of the car ride home writing, and my husband took care of everything once we got home so that I could keep writing to the finish line.

I verified my novel at 50,136 words and came out of it with a completed first draft. I'm sure there are going to be a ton of things to do when it comes to revisions (both bulking up certain plot lines and getting rid of some scenes that felt super fluffy). I'm hoping to begin revisions in a week, while I'm on a trip to Florida!

Here's a few things I learned this month:

  1. Throw out all of the rules you've set for yourself. When you're writing a first draft, don't worry about all of the rules of fiction and all of the things you think are necessities when you're writing. Breaking rules can sometimes lead to amazing results (and if they don't, then you can fix it in revisions). Think you need to write small amounts at a time? Try an 8k day. Think you HAVE TO HAVE Cheez-Its when you write? Try just water. At the beginning of the month, I thought writing in huge chunks wasn't for me. But I had a great word count day on the 25th, and came out with my highest yet word count in a single day (shown to the right). Also, I wrote 25k in the fourth week alone!
  2. Writing friends are the best. I can't tell you how encouraging all of the people on Twitter were. If I ever needed a pick-me-up, I just had to use the NaNoWriMo hashtag, and people were always there to help. And it felt great when I could give that encouragement to others, too! We were all fighting that battle together, and "win" or not, we all got words down on the page, which is amazing! And when I wanted some more personal help, the WordNerds and my writing group were perfect. We sent so many emails back and forth on that last day, and it's a big part of why I kept pushing through to the end.
  3. I am definitely a writer (and so are you). Sometimes I worry that if writing was my full time job that  I would end up tired of it. I've had a lot of jobs that I thought I would love that ended up not being what I thought they would be, and my biggest fear has been that it would happen to writing, too. But it hasn't, and if you love writing enough to try to tackle a whole novel, it isn't going to happen. This is the fourth manuscript I've ever completed, and if I'm not scared off yet, I don't think it's going to happen. Writing is awesome yay! (Of course, I'm high on the finishing up of another novel. I'm sure at some point I'll feel UGHHH again. But never UGHHH enough to quit. :) )
I'm feeling so pumped! Here's a visual of my last three years:


And I tried combining them so you could see how it looks on top of each other... It's a little hard to see, but still fun! Sea foam green is 2012; blue is 2013, and purple is 2014!


How did you do this NaNoWriMo? Whether or not you "won," I am super excited for you. You got words on the page!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sick the Last Week of NaNo

So 10kTuesday was a huge success, even though I didn't get to 10,000. I got around 8,000 words, my personal best for a single day! It was hard, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was at a part I had been dying to write, so the words just poured out. It involved the violent death of a major character, and the first major hints at the big twist. It was a blast (y'know, as much of a blast as brutally killing a character can be).

It was looking like I was sure to win NaNoWriMo, and then... THANKSGIVING.

I am allergic to cats and wire-haired dogs, and my in-laws have two cats and one wire-haired dog. Normally I take some allergy meds and then I'm okay, but for some reason this time my body just shut down. Asthma attacks nonstop, allergy medicine not working, and the asthma medicine making me feel wretched. Like yeah, it's nice that I can breathe, but does my heart rate really need to be up at 120bpm for the next hour to make up for it?

And then I took DayQuil in a last-ditch attempt to make myself feel better, and it worked a little but it also tasted like satan's piss and I'm just not sure that the pain was worth it.

Ugh.

Needless to say, my word counts haven't been great these last few days, and I've gotten behind in basically everything. I miss my house, where words came out great and I didn't feel like I was dying all the time.

I'm currently at 40,570 words, so I haven't thrown in the towel yet. I'm so close to 50k, and I know that regular me could finish this, easy. But sick, at-my-in-laws'-until-Sunday me? I'm not so sure. My brain is so fuzzy and writing a single sentence is agonizing.

If I cross this finish line, it will be crawling on my hands and knees, gasping for breath. But it will be glorious, nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaNoWriMo Week 3 (late) Wrap-Up

NaNo week three was pretty much the epitome of the second-week slump for me, I think in part because my word count was where my week two word count was supposed to be. I always struggle with the early middle (or the beginning of act two, if you look at books in a three-act structure) because it's basically prepping for the prepping for the final countdown. There are important things to be learned and action that happens, but it's not nearly so exciting as the action that happens in the second half of act two, where the main character is actually putting those newly learned things into perspective.

Does that make any sense? It's possible it doesn't because I HAD A 5K MONDAY and words feel like jello between my ears right now.

So for week three I didn't really get more behind... But I definitely didn't get more caught up, either. I'm currently at a little over 30,000 words (for exact numbers, check out my awesome gadget thingy in the sidebar). It feels so good to have crossed 30k. Like, 25k is exciting because it's the halfway point, but at 30k it really feels like the worst is over. The end is near (literally, since I'm pretty sure this book is going to finish up on the short side). Also, I've already kicked 2013 NaNo Meghan's butt! So there's that. Here's a visual representation of me kicking last year me's butt at word counts:



Here's three things I learned about my writing this week:

  1. My night writing is not nearly so productive as my just-rolled-out-of-bed writing. And interestingly enough, it's not as high quality either.
  2. Writing sprints are the best things ever created. I think the WordNerds will agree with me on this one. We started our own writing sprint hashtag (#WNSprint), and ran sprints all day on Tuesday. It was a huge success! It really got me (and my other writing buddies) out of our ruts. It was so successful that we are doing another day of sprints Tuesday (/today? man I need sleep) and Friday. So take a break from prepping Thanksgiving festivities (Tuesday) or lounging around wondering why you ate so many leftovers (Friday), and get some good words in! 
  3. My writing is weird. Every time I start to think I've found a pattern that works, my brain shuts down and decides it wants to do something different. This week my brain has loved writing huge word counts in one sitting, in spite of what I said week one about how my brain just doesn't work that way. The only thing that has remained a constant success is the whole "keeping my screen blacked out while I write" thing. I'm still loving not getting distracted by that word count bar. It feels great to be writing until I've come to a natural stopping point, rather than writing until I've hit 1,000 words so that I can check Facebook.
Goal time. And I know this is crazy, but... I used today as a warm up. I'm hoping to achieve a 10K Tuesday. That way, I'll be just about caught up, and I won't go to my in-laws' house super behind--because nobody likes a daughter-in-law who is all crotchety and refuses to step away from the laptop.

This will be me Tuesday (today). Will it be you, too? Let me know! We can commiserate!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dealing with Jealousy

The tale is always the same.

I log on to my Tumblr, ready for some prime procrastination. I see a few things that make me laugh, maybe one or two things that are funny enough to reblog. Then, inevitably, I stumble upon a picture that's something like this:

OMG just love all my fans so glad I got to have such a great signing/tour/release party! Can't believe all of my books sold out! Did I mention that this is the first manuscript I ever wrote and also did I mention that I'm a few years YOUNGER than Meghan Jashinsky???

Okay, so maybe it isn't worded exactly like that. But that's what I see sometimes. And it's hard to look at pictures like that and not feel really discouraged and--to be honest--pretty jealous. I want that so badly, and I'm just not there yet. I've written a couple of manuscripts that were really, colossally bad. There are things I can maybe salvage from them for another story at another time, when I'm skilled enough to tell those stories effectively.  But man, do I want to be practiced enough to write them all well now.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. So here's three things I do when I start feeling this jealousy:
  1. Recognize that part of why I'm not there yet is on me. No I am not there yet, and yes I so badly want to be there. But the fact is, I haven't written fast enough or revised my existing manuscripts enough that they are ready to be queried. I can struggle with a different kind of jealousy when I've begun querying and there are actually things going on that are beyond my control.
  2. Tell myself that their success doesn't mean I won't be successful. Because it doesn't. One author doing well doesn't mean that no other author can do well that year. Actually, one author writing a book that kids absolutely love probably increases literacy, thereby upping the chances of my future book being read.
  3. Get off the effing internet. Because those books aren't going to write themselves. It's really easy to be jealous of those authors who's backstories I know very little about, when I haven't done the work they already did to get there. But I can do it (and so can you)!
One day this will be me (and you):


You just gotta belieeeeeeeve! (And then work your butt off.)


Friday, November 14, 2014

NaNo Week Two Wrap-Up

I have a visual representation of how this week went. I came off the high of week one, doing all kinds of awesome things, and then...


Week one went really well. And then I made the mistake of taking a day off from writing my NaNo book, and instead focused on stockpiling a few blog posts and gearing up for querying. I've done five drafts of my query letter, and it's STILL. NOT. OVER.

But the point is, I took a day off from it and have had a crazy hard time getting back into the groove. It's not that I dislike the story (because I really, really love this one). But what I'm writing feels forced, and I can't tell if I feel that way because I had such high hopes for the story, or if something is genuinely wrong that I need to fix. It's possible that only revisions will be able to give me the answer...

Meaning I have to finish it.

Sigh. I'm a little over 14,000 words, which means the best way for me to catch up would be to do some sprints (the bane of my existence). But I don't know! I'm feeling pretty good today. I woke up earlier than usual, and even though I'm super behind on the word count, it still feels like I'm pretty far into the story. I don't foresee the first draft of this one being much longer than 50,000 words (all my drafts tend to run on the shorter side, but this one seems shorter than even those), so there's that.

I haven't lost hope yet! I mean, as strange as it sounds, I'm only like 9,000 words behind. And that really isn't that much. Nothing I can't handle. ;)

And even though it's embarrassing to be far behind, here's my chart:



Also congrats to Erica, who crossed the 50,000 word mark this morning!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Rec: 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher *Spoiler-Free*

I read this book a long time ago, and I still think about it. I've postponed publishing this blog post for a long time because it's something that is close to me, so personal that it's difficult to talk about on such a public place. But guys, this book is important.

It's got some pretty polarized reviews on Goodreads, but I am a firm believer that everyone should read it, and not for the reasons you might immediately think of.

A lot of people think that this is a book about Hannah, the girl who kills herself and leaves behind a tape with 13 of her reasons for doing so. But to me, this book isn't about her at all. I don't relate to her. She makes poor decisions. I got frustrated with her. I felt disgusted, and upset, and confused, and so so sad, and--like many other reviewers pointed out--I felt like she didn't give us a good enough excuse to kill herself.

But that's the point, isn't it?

We are supposed to relate to Clay, and to the other people receiving those tapes. The ones who don't understand everything. Clay understood more than most people, but even he was frustrated. To an outsider, no excuse seems like a good enough reason for suicide. It doesn't matter if she was bullied more, neglected more, had fewer friends--it still wouldn't be good enough to us.

That's what it feels like in real life, too. It's what it felt like when someone close to me committed suicide.

And all those people in the book should have noticed something was wrong, but they didn't. And the people I've known who have killed themselves had plenty of warning signs, too. But no one noticed them. Or if they did, no one said anything.

This book isn't about Hannah. It's about Clay, and me, and you, and all of the other secondary characters in that book. We are the ones who can notice things. We can look closer; we can be kinder; and most of all, when we are worried about someone, we can ask them about it outright. Because suicide is important. This story conveys that, and is another step toward opening the dialogue about it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

NaNo Week 1 Wrap-Up

At the end of today, week one of NaNoWriMo will be officially over! Crazy! Only three more weeks of this to go (plus two days)... So I thought I'd do a little week one wrap-up, and talk about the things that surprised me the most, and why I think those things are (or are not) working. This week there were two big things that took me by surprise:

1. My Character's Voice- I just came off of writing/revising a different fantasy novel, and it had a very choppy, dark voice. Maybe because of this, I expected Devya's voice to also be very edgy and dark (think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart). But I tried so hard to make it work, and it just didn't feel right. In then end, Devya's voice came to me as something much lighter, and a little funny, to be honest. I'm not sure if I like it yet, but I'm going with it, and it's coming shockingly easily. Hopefully whenever I read through it for revisions it will feel like a good decision and not something that I have to completely rewrite.

2. My Word Count Success- This year I've been much more consistent with my word count than I was during my first two NaNos. Please see this visual aid... (You should be able to zoom in even more if you click on it, too!)

Both years before this one, I've missed a day or two in just the first week, and I've had to have pretty big jumps later to make up for lost time. This week so far, there's only been one day that I didn't meet the goal, and I still wrote a decent amount on that day. Here's a few things I've done differently this year (and maybe these simple changes could work for you, too?).
  • Not writing is not an option. Self control is so so important when it comes to writing a lot very quickly, and it sucks because self control isn't something you can just research and suddenly be good at. There will be times when you have to say, No, I will not watch a fourth episode of Gilmore Girls. I will get my butt out of bed, put on my professional pants, and write. But I've been trying harder than ever to make this a thing, because I want to treat writing like a job and not a hobby. And so far it's been working! Even on the one day that I didn't meet the goal, I wrote something, so the next day it was easy to get back into the world and make up for lost time.
  • I don't look at my word count while writing. Normally I pull up my little word counter in Scrivener (pictured above) so that I can watch as the number goes up, and feel a surge of pride at my productivity. This time around, I've taken to completely blacking out everything that isn't my writing (in Scrivener, when you go into full screen mode, you have the option to make your background more or less translucent, as pictured below). So far, it has made it easier to keep my focus on the world that my words are creating, rather than the awesome little chart my high word count will create.
  • I don't do more than my brain can handle. There are many people out there who can hard core sprint, regardless of how motivated they are feeling (ex: Booktuber Kat O'Keefe does a 10k Tuesday the last Tuesday of November). Under normal circumstances I am not one of those people. If I'm close to something I'm SUPER excited for, I can have around a 6k day. Maybe. During my first two years of NaNo, I tried to push myself to have huge word count days (like my awesome NaNo buddies) right off the bat, and it just left me feeling discouraged when I didn't hit it, and so frustrated with the book that I didn't want to look at it for a couple of days at least. This year, I'm cool to just hit the goal. And if I feel like going beyond the requirement, I do, but I don't feel obligated to. And it is AWESOME. I am cruising through, and this has made getting through the less-exciting scenes so much easier.
I'm interested to see if I keep these things up, or if I have to adjust as the month goes on. But so far I'm feeling good! How has your first week of NaNoWriMo gone?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo Day 1 (+GIVEAWAY WINNER!)


NaNoWriMo is upon us! I had high hopes for today... Planned on writing all the words (y'know, 50,000 today seemed pretty reasonable), and planned on still getting proper nourishment and maybe seeing my husband once or twice.

Of course, it didn't go quite like that. I've been sick all week and FINALLY thought it was over yesterday, but woke up with the worst sore throat of my life this morning. And then my husband was finishing up his applications for PhD programs, so I had to help him proof all of that. And then (of course) something went terribly wrong there. And the whole time, I still wasn't quite sure what my killer opening line was going to be...

Needless to say, 9pm rolled around and I was feeling pretty disheartened. Because obviously if you botch the first day of NaNo, your whole experience is screwed, right?

But then I watched this commencement speech, given by Neil Gaiman. And OH MAN was I on fire after that! I think this man could read a grocery list and it would move me to tears. You should definitely check it out if you are in need of some inspiration!



I managed to get a little over 2,000 words, and am feeling PUMPED for tomorrow! What about you? (Also, be my NaNo buddy! I add everyone back!)

And FINALLY, thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway! I loved reading about all of your villains! The winner is... *drumroll*
.
.
.
Jehoia Cato!

Congrats! I'll be emailing you to let you know as well, so be on the lookout for that!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Meet My Villain Blog Hop! (+ GIVEAWAY!)

I'm taking part in the Meet My Villain blog hop! Put together by the lovely Erin Latimer and Kyra Nelson (two members of my amazing writing group!), this is a great way to get psyched for Halloween and--let's be honest--who doesn't love a good villain?

I've been pretty sick of the project I'm revising (will revisions never end???), so I figured I'd do the villain of my forthcoming NaNo novel. It's great, because I've been doing character studies all day, so this is just another way to get to know my villain! To hear more methods for preparing for NaNoWriMo, be sure to tune in on Sunday with the WordNerds, where we'll be chatting it up preparedness-style.

1) What is the name of your villain?
Riddhi Mallick

2) What motivates him/her?
Riddhi is so complex, and that's one of the reasons I was so drawn to her (she was the first character who came to me really clearly, with obvious motivations). Her major motivation is love for her daughter, but it gets so twisted that you have to wonder is it all love for her daughter? Or is there a part of her that really does love killing?

3) What is the villain’s relationship with the main character?
She's Devya's mother!

4) What is one thing your villain is afraid of? What is their weakness?
Riddhi is terrified of her daughter becoming what everyone else is afraid of (a murderer). Because of this, she herself has become exactly what the people fear.

5) What is their greatest strength?
She's pretty much fearless, family weaknesses aside. She's able to do whatever she thinks is necessary to keep her loved ones safe.

6) Does your villain have any romantic entanglements?
Riddhi is happily married, which makes you wonder... Does her husband know that he's married to a serial killer?

7) List one random fact about your villain.
I heard about the world's most prolific female serial killer, Elizabeth Báthory, on Twitter I think (?). I was instantly fascinated by her, and read all that I could about her. She seemed like the perfect villain for a world that I had already been thinking up. When I tried to think of what would motivate a person to commit the kinds of atrocities that Báthory committed, the idea for Riddhi took shape quicker than I could write down all of my ideas!

8) Tag, you're it!
If you're reading this, then you are tagged! Link to your villain post in the comments, and I'll get a list going below this for everyone who wants to read more but doesn't want to surf the comments. I also want to especially call out any of the WordNerds who have active blogs and haven't participated yet! :)

9) THE GIVEAWAY
The Darkling is another one of those deliciously fascinating villains that we all love to hate... So I'm giving away a SIGNED paperback copy of SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo! Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! (US/Canada only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And don't forget to check out Kyra's and Erin's posts to see what they're giving away!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IT IS HERE


Fall is just the best. It always gets my creative juices flowing! All the spooky things happen in the fall, and all the spooky things are what I love to write about. :)

I'm plotting my NaNo novel now (eep!) and am so, so excited to start writing it! I need to get to know my MC a little more to really be ready, so a November start date should be perfect. But here's a sneak peek at what it's about: A fantasy world where reincarnation exists, and a protagonist who has been sentenced to death for murder in every one of her last 650 lives.

Again, EEP! I am so excited to write this one! Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Favorite Things

Okay, so recently I started watching The Mindy Project (OMG guys). It is awesome. So awesome that I could probably fill up a bunch of posts about it and you would get so bored and unsubscribe from my blog and leave me weird hate tweets or something. But there is one thing that makes me so happy and excited and a little giddy (which is a seriously strong reaction to something so minor but it's 2:30am and I just don't care, okay?).

But really. At the end when it flashes the little Kaling International logo, I just get so excited. How perfect is it? I feel like I'm looking at my life. Then that voice says, "Go to bed," and the lights go out and I just... Ahhh. So perfect. So me. I can't count the times my husband has rolled over at some ungodly hour and groaned, "What are you doing?" while squinting into my harsh reading light.

And I'm like, "I just have 200 pages left in this book. Duh."

But I don't turn out the light because I'm a rebel like that. Book lovers ftw.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What I'm Listening To

aka MUSIC MONDAY. If I was a more consistent blogger, this would totally be a thing. Maybe I'll whip it out every once in a while.

I am so so close to being finished with all of my revisions! I know, I know... It's a bit later than I'd hoped, but it feels really great to be typing in the changes! It goes way faster than actually coming up with them, haha.

There's one playlist that I've pretty much been listening to on repeat this whole time, and I thought I'd share it! It's got a little bit of vocal music, some instrumental, but all of it makes me think of specific parts of my novel, be it Gravity (the song that actually inspired the friendship between my MC and her guard) or El Dorado (relationship between the MC and the love interest... Can't you just imagine them having it out on the deck of a ship to this? AHH) or Kiss With a Fist (my MC's ideology initially). The list goes on, but I won't overdo it.

Maybe this music will give you a burst of inspiration, too?


PS: I love Angel with a Shotgun, because it totally reminds me of my MC's sister as she evolves throughout the story. But ALSO it reminds me so much of Erica Crouch's IGNITE, a book that is literally about battling angels (plus swoonworthy romance!). Have you read it yet? What are you waiting for?!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Oh Hey, New Blog

It happened again!

I made another blog design. The orange was really intense, and I wanted to go with something a little more chill and classic. I'm really excited with how it came out! And tonight, I'm finally going in and inputting the stuff that belongs in all of those pretty tabs. So take a look around! It feels all new. :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Deadlines and Such


I'm pretty sure this image is the story of my life. I'm a great goal setter, and since I am unpublished and schedule my own work hours, my deadlines feel a lot like goals. It's the following through with those goals that is difficult... Good goals need to:

  • Be Defined: saying you want to be healthier is good, but it's a little difficult to measure. Saying you want to lose 10 pounds, or eat all 5 servings of fruits and veggies, is better. There is a point when you can look at it and say, "I DID THAT."
  • Have a Deadline: Otherwise you'll have no reason to work on your goal. Using the above examples, you could say you want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year, or eat all 5 servings of fruits/veggies every day for three months.
  • Earn Something: Having the above two are the most important. But I also function really well with incentives (as do most people). So say I wanted to eat all of my fruits/veggies every day for three months. I'd need to choose a reward equivalent to how difficult this goal is. So realistically, I would want to get Cold Stone ice cream (because CAKE BATTER WITH REESE'S CUPS MMMMM).
Goals are awesome. And fun. But lately, as I've been adjusting to my new schedule, I've been kind of sucking it up. Looks like I need to readjust those incentives.

I did pretty well for Ready Set Write, but I fell a little short and didn't quite finish my revisions. However, I've been cruising along still and am close (and have a query letter that I'm really, really excited about!), and am excited to get some feedback from beta readers!

How is your goal setting going?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RSW Week 7, Camp NaNo Week 3, and Goals


So how is everyone else's writing going?

(That's my way of trying to distract you from how mine is going.)

The first two weeks went so well, but now that it's actually time for me to sit down and write in the changes I outlined earlier, I just can't. Or won't. Probably the latter, but the block in my brain feels reals enough for me to say that I can't.

I've watched so many episodes of Friends. And I'm almost finished with a completely new design for the blog that I like a lot better. But I'm not reading any books, because that would remind me of the writing I'm supposed to be doing. Oh, hey, look at all of the things they added to Netflix this week!

Plus I got a new computer and it's so prettyyyyy and once I get that last thing (or two or three) installed, I can sit down and really get to work.

Do you believe me yet?

I'm not buying it either, but it's gone on for long enough that I worry I might have to re-evaluate my goals, which sucks worse than most things. What I really need is some great motivation. Luckily, fellow WordNerd Erica had an amazing motivation video for today:




Friday, July 18, 2014

Stress and Amazing Opportunities

I have another cool announcement... I got an internship. At The Bent Agency, which is just, you know, ONE OF MY FAVORITE AGENCIES.

I've been officially on for almost two weeks, and I am loving it so so much. I'm learning a ton, and it's giving me a peek into what it's like being an agent (something I've wanted to learn more about), and is the perfect first step toward actually doing cool, agent-y things in the still-kind-of-distant future. I'm SO SO excited and thrilled that I have this opportunity.

But like any new job, I want to do great. I want to impress everyone and do ALL THE THINGS, and because of that, it's adding a little stress.

I'm in a writing group, so I'm used to critiquing people's work. But on the agent's intern side of things, it's a little different. I don't know these authors, and it's hard not to relate to them since I'm also a writer who will be querying in the next few months (!!!) and just wants an agent to like me enough to offer representation. And what if I give my feedback and it's not what the agent was thinking and she hates my ideas and I never have a future in agenting because I have poor taste in books which actually means I'm not qualified to write books either and I'm going to end up living in a refrigerator box and feeding my dog food scraps stolen from a grocery store dumpster?


I know I'm just giving my input alongside a few other interns, but it's still a weird feeling. But the more manuscripts I look at, and the more queries I read, the more I love it and the more I hope I'm doing well at it. And most of all, I am just so, so happy that this is happening. After almost a full year of craziness, it's nice to have things working out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When Revisions Get Experimental


So today my revisions looked a little something like this. I decided to try something new, to see if it would help me notice problems with plot and character arcs. I took different colored yarn, and had each color represent a different plot line. In this picture, pink was the immediate antagonist, light purple was the overarching antagonist, and dark purple was the romantic subplot. I was hoping that being able to see these plots (plus a few more) intertwine and see where there were gaping holes, would help me get down to those revisions. And did it?

Well yes. And, no.

Yarn is pretty difficult to work with. It got tangled more times than I'm willing to admit, and the worst feeling ever was looking down the line of index cards and seeing that I missed one that needed to be included (and that happened probably four or five times).

But something else cool did happen. I noticed a huge gap in my main villain's arc, and figured out a way to fix it while untangling the yarn. I realized I hadn't budgeted enough actual romance for my subplot to be romantic, and I figured out some perfect, tension-filled scenes while readjusting the yarn line.

So actually seeing it was nice, and helped a little bit. But I think the best part was thinking about my story in a  different way. Working through knots gave me tons of time to think, and something about seeing all of those lines threading through my scenes really made my creative juices flow.

How do you look at your stories in new, exciting ways?

Monday, July 7, 2014

RSW Check-In + CAMP NANOWRIMO

Okay, I confess, I skipped a week.
But I have a great excuse.
JKJK. No such thing as a great excuse to not write. 

But I did take an entire week off from my novel before diving into revisions. If you remember, the goal is to have my first round of revisions finished by August 2nd, and so far I'm feeling pretty good! I just need to keep kicking it into gear. My in-laws were in town last week, so it was difficult to keep everything balanced (work + writing + applying for an intense internship + fun in-laws = a sleep deprived Meghan).

 
Revision Wall of Glory!
 My favorite part of the last two weeks has been  watching my revisions wall take shape. Right now  it looks like the image to the left, but it should be  evolving just a little bit more as I work through  the next couple of days. I'm at the hard part--  making sure all of the character/plot/relationship  arcs all  make sense in the context of the scenes I  want to add/remove.

I also love this wall because it's got a copy of the map that I made (which I'll probably be doing a YouTube tutorial on in the next few weeks), and a letter from my fictional dream fan (to give me something awesome to look to, and to help me see the big picture for how I want my novel to feel).

But how can you say no to that face?
It's also Camp NaNoWriMo time, and I'm in a cabin with a bunch of WordNerds, which is SO fun. Doing writing sprints and chatting with them gives me so much drive to keep working, even when I'd rather do critically important things like take a nap or play with the dog.

This month is giving me all kinds of awesome ideas for this coming November!

Hope everyone else's writing goals are being met! What are you working on?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Goal Achieved!

     

I DID IT.

I finished the first draft of my work in progress, Patchwork. And by my goal time, too! The last few months I've set word count goals, and failed miserably at meeting them. So this feels SO GOOD. And naturally-- as any hopefully-someday-successful-author does-- the husband and I got Taco Bell to celebrate. What a great day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RSW Week 1

So if I haven't gone to sleep yet, then it's still Tuesday, right? Then I'm only one day late, yeah? Either way, even late this is helping me with my writing accountability. So here's how the last week went:

  1. The beginning of the week was... rough. I didn't get much writing done, and spent most of the week working. But the second half of the week, I've done a little better with words (and a little not-so-great with work hours). Overall, if I keep hitting 2,000+ words like I've done the last few days, I'll be able to hit my goals for this week.
  2. My goals: FINISH Patchwork (my WiP) by any time on Saturday. AHHHH. I am so so close, you guys. And I got to go to the Fierce Reads tour stop in San Diego tonight, so my writing motivation is higher than ever. I want this bad, and I think I'm going to achieve this goal.
  3. My favorite line from this week: "Something as inconsequential as an ocean won't stop me now."
  4. My biggest challenge this week was balancing work hours and writing hours. It tended to be either one or the other... Hopefully I'll get better at that this week.
  5. Something I love about my WiP: MY MAIN CHARACTER. She starts out as such a butt. Like, seriously. She's stubborn and such a pain and thinks she rules the world, and now that I'm at the end, it is so fun to write the girl who is still a lot of those things, but has learned how to balance those qualities with strong ones. She's got some big, nasty decisions coming, and I think she's ready for them.
How did you do last week? Did you meet your writing goals?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ready. Set. WRITE!

So I'm giving something a try for the first time this year, and I am pretty stoked. Here's the description of it from the website:

Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at in our writing—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.

Hopefully this will be just the kick I need to finish up that pesky WiP that I am SO CLOSE to having finished! I'm 15 scenes away from having a complete draft that I am really proud of... Fifteen crazy, thrilling scenes.

Technically RSW be doing check-ins on Mondays, so I am two days behind on this one-- but that's okay, because this week is just goal setting! I have a handful of goals for my summer:
  1. Finish draft one of Patchwork by June 21st.
  2. Finish first round of revisions for Patchwork by August 2nd.
  3. Send Patchwork to CPs and betas and revise accordingly (less of a set date for this one, since I'm a little at their mercy at that point... And I think RSW's definition of summer is over, too).
*wipes sweat from brow*
This is going to be a busy summer, to say the least. But I have written so much and am still so in love with this story, so that's a good sign, right? I'm not being overly optimistic, right?

Either way, I'm hoping having dates and weekly check-ins will help keep me on track and keep that enthusiasm high as the summer starts. And y'all should participate too! Head on over to the website I linked above, and collect one of their AMAZING buttons, and let me know how it's going for you! I'll be doing the weekly check-ins on Mondays, where participants will be discussing these five topics: 
  1. How I did on last week’s goals
  2. My goal(s) for this week
  3. A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
  4. The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)
  5. Something I love about my WiP

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

That One Time I GOT A JOB.

Well, it finally happened. And I've been nervous to do a post on it, because I don't want to jinx it. But I had my first day yesterday, and I'm on the payroll, so I'm pretty sure it is official... I HAVE A JOB. And it happened when I was least prepared for it.

I also found fellow
WordNerd Emma!
I was on vacation in Utah, visiting my Alma Mater and seeing a former roommate get married (because it wouldn't be Utah without a wedding!) and visiting all of the amazing friends we left behind when we moved to California. While I was at the wedding reception, I was talking with the leader of the church congregation that I attended for most of my college years, telling him about how difficult it has been coming to CA and not being able to find a job and basically feeling a little bum-like (even though it's been great for my writing). He then told me that he knew a guy who did some things I might be interested in, and could call and see if he was looking to hire anyone, and would I be interested in that?

So I looked up and pretended to be thinking about it, trying to appear like I was keeping my cool when really I just wanted to scream YES immediately. "Yeah, that would be great if you could look into that," I said. Because I'm cool. I'm cool. I'm not going to ASFDKHSDGIU over a job that's not already offered to me, because I've seen how that goes in the long run. (HINT: It sucks.)

But the next day, I was on the phone with the creator of the group. That day, he offered me the job. And guys, it is perfect for me. It's basically a dream job.

I'm going to be working with Kids Learning Video, a successful YouTube channel that creates educational videos for kids around 2-8 years old. I'll be doing video editing primarily, but I'll also be helping a little in coming up with new ideas, and I'll be doing the translation and audio work for their new series of French videos.

AHHHHHHHH.

I am in love. And I don't even know what else I can say about it, except that this was so worth the wait.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On Writing With Depression


Some days I feel a little like I'm the person in this image. I've been struggling with depression ever since I moved to California, to a place in which I literally knew nobody, with a major that had little chance of getting me a job (and it didn't), and a husband who is awesome and somehow manages to excel at everything he does.

For some writers, writing pushes them through dark moments in depression, but for me, that isn't the case. I might not write a single word for weeks when things are particularly bad. I will open up Scrivener countless times, but end up rolling over and hating myself for not being productive. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if writing is something I even like. Because obviously, if you don't like something when you're depressed, then you must not truly love it. It's the oh-so-logical conclusion.

I'm at a point right now where I can see light. Maybe only half the days are hard. On those good days, I write. I think it's some of the best stuff I've ever written, and I think it will continue to improve, even if I don't write on the bad days.

If you've got a loved one struggling with depression and you just don't understand it, then I highly recommend this BuzzFeed article that uses comics to accurately depict depression. It's a fun way of showing part of a very real struggle.

And if you're a writer struggling with finding your writing niche while depressed, here's some amazing posts on writing with depression: 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creating

THIS. This is so accurate and well said. I just wanted to share. :)



Monday, April 21, 2014

A Note About Facebook

Two posts in one day! Whaaat? There's a good reason, I promise.

So a lot of you have noticed some changes being made to Facebook pages, making it so that groups are not able to broadcast all at once to those who "like" their page. As a result, a lot of authors have been restructuring their pages: some are just posting more, some are leaving Facebook altogether, and some are making it so that you can just add them on their personal pages. It's great that people are adapting! And I get that I'm not super famous or anything, and I definitely don't have my own author page, but I still felt like I needed to say this because I've been hearing from some of you on Facebook lately.

My Facebook page is for personal use. I have it set to be as private as possible, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't still find it through some of my other IRL author friends. So if you are one of those people who saw me and thought, "Hey! I follow her on WattPad," or, "I love the WordNerds!" and added or messaged me, that is totally fine. I get that internet will be internet, but please don't take it personally if I don't respond. I like to keep my author life and my personal life separate, and that is why you won't be hearing back from me on Facebook.

I do, however, have a Twitter account and a Tumblr that you are welcome to follow/chat with me on (links to them are in the right sidebar). I try to be on top of those social media platforms so that I can communicate with you as much as possible about books and writing! I really do love talking to you, but Facebook is for my family and close friends.

Hopefully that didn't get too serious... I love you guys! You are the BEST.

I Wanna Be Like You-u-u (Published Authors)


So it's been awhile since I've updated, and it's been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least.  I did a video for the WordNerds awhile back about my writing process and a little bit about how I decided to structure it, so definitely check that out below:



And since then things have been going decently. I've kept to my writing schedule for the most part, save for the last week or so. Getting sick and having a job interview have slowed things down a bit, and my Camp NaNoWriMo word count is definitely suffering as a result. But today I was able to get in a solid 3300 words, so that's good right?

I've mostly been thinking about writing as a career lately (not surprising, right?). Guys, writing is HARD. Like, really hard. Especially with things like Twitter and Facebook and YouTube. It's a miracle, being able to communicate with so many amazing people all at once, but it's also easy to put all of this pressure on yourself.

"Oh look, so-and-so had her first book signing!"
"Get this, so-and-so got an agent!"
"This person finished revisions and doesn't feel like crap about the final result!"*

I'd love to know how y'all manage pressure you put on yourselves, because I feel like sometimes I handle it well, and other times I just want to eat a lot of candy.  So much candy. I know I chose a really difficult road in deciding to go the traditional publishing route (is there really any easy route in publishing a book? The answer is, unequivocally, NO), and I get that things won't always go according to my plans.  But MAN. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward to the time when I'm finally posting about getting an agent, or selling a book, or holding my first copy of a book I wrote.

I know that day will come. And I hope you know it will come for you too, if you want it badly enough.

I guess until then I'll have to settle for watching other authors announce their good news. Seeing the complete joy on other people's faces when they realize their years of  work has paid off makes me want to be there so bad. In a good, want to get my butt in that chair and type until my wrists hurt kind of way. Here's a few of my favorites:

Sarah J. Maas
Susan Dennard
Lindsay Cummings

Have you seen any awesome bookish success posts/vlogs lately? And how do you manage the pressure that comes from being surrounded by so much awesome news?

*But SERIOUSLY guys. This one deserves a post all to itself.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Thank You and an Update

Hey everyone!

I was so overwhelmed by the amazing response I got to my last blog post. I seriously got ten times more views than I normally get, from all over the place. And that is so exciting! So thank you. Thanks for sharing the things that are important to you, and for telling me about the struggles you've been going through, and thank you for your encouragement. It has made my week. It feels like the bad things that happened were a month ago rather than just a few days, and I think it is 100% because of the amazing people in my life.

And the writing's not so bad either. ;)

I did my first full-time day on Wednesday, and absolutely loved it. I got up early, wrote all day (with a few short breaks, of course!), and by five I still felt so energized. I revised almost 40 pages worth of my current work in progress, which is more than I've revised in the last two months combined. And afterward, I felt happy. Like, really happy. I even made my husband a nutritious dinner (whaaaat?).

Day two was just as good.

I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase, and there will be days when it's harder to get up in the morning, but for right now I can't imagine things being any better. I love writing. I hope that that in the relatively near future (for those of you who don't know, everything in the traditional publishing world moves SUPER slow), I will  be able to make money doing this.

So far the hardest part is getting to bed early enough to get eight hours of sleep. I have a lot of problems with unrest at night, but I'm working on it.

I'll keep you posted as time goes on. :) Next post, I'll give you a look at my schedule, and the behavioral theory blog series that helped me structure it effectively!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions, and I feel like writing about it is the only way that it's going to feel even remotely better, so here goes...

I had my first job interview in six months, last week. It wasn't for a particularly big or glamorous job, but I was still pretty excited. I spent the whole day before practicing how I would answer every possible question, and it paid off. The interview went well. I came out pumping my fists because I knew, just knew that they had to call me back for a second interview. And they did.

I want to take a detour here, and talk about a particular part of my application. It's pretty standard for applications to ask about your availability, so I put mine: I will work any hours, any day, except for Sunday. Then, when they asked me about my availability in the first interview, I was honest again. As part of my religion, I don't work on Sunday. It's a day I choose to worship. I am religious. It was never something I wanted to hide.

So I was so excited when I went in for that second interview, with the manager this time. It went just as well as the first one. She had my resume, my references, and all of the notes from my prior interview. And she said that she had to do a background check and call some of my references, but that she wanted to hire me as long as I passed those. After six months of unemployment, I was finally going to have a job.

I celebrated. My husband celebrated. Obviously.

But then yesterday morning, I awoke to a phone call from said manager, saying that my application says I'm not available Sundays, and am I sure? Because Sunday is their second busiest day, and not working on Sunday would be a deal breaker...

I wanted to be sassy. Point out that it wasn't a deal breaker when they called me in for the first interview, nor the second. Point out that I could work all day on their first busiest day.

I know working on Sunday isn't a big deal to a lot of people, and it's fine if other people choose to work then. But I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't. So I told her that no, I wouldn't be able to, and she  pointed out that there are plenty of other people willing to go to church and then come to work at another time of day.

 Gee, thanks. But the answer was still no.

So that's the story of how I got an awesome job working with books, and then I didn't.

I don't really know what is going to happen from here, and to be honest, I spent most of yesterday springing back and forth between moping and manically cleaning the apartment. But after a lot of talking with my husband, we did decide one thing.

Sitting at home and applying to so many jobs each week hasn't been great for my mental health. At all. So I'm taking a break from it. I've joked before about how I'm a full-time writer because I don't have any other day job. But yesterday while I was laying in bed contemplating making an entire bowl of brownie batter just so I could eat it like soup, my husband asked, "Why don't you become a real, full-time writer?" And he meant it. And I didn't know what to say, because I want that more than anything but I'm so scared and I'm not good enough and what about the money and there's no guarantee anyone will ever want to buy my work and and and--

I'm lucky to have a guy who supports my dreams, who has so much faith in my abilities. He is always there to help me combat those negative voices in my head that sound like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and tell me I should just give up or worse, that maybe I already have. I'm lucky to have great friends like the WordNerds and all of the people who comment on my WattPad story and family and friends who let me be a nerd and taught me everything I know about living a life worth writing. They help me remember that those voices are wrong.

And that's why I'm going to do it. Writing will now not only be my passion, but it will be my full-time job, and I will be a very part-time job-seeker.

It's really terrifying. And sometimes it feels like I'm giving up, which is a really crappy feeling to have about yourself. And I don't know what's going to happen, and it gives me a decent amount of anxiety to know that my work won't bring in any money for awhile. But I'm hopeful.

I hope this is for the best. I hope that this helps my mental health. I hope it helps my relationships and gives me back the confidence that I used to have so much more of. And there's a small part of me-- the vindictive part that I'm not necessarily proud of-- that hopes that the people running that store know that they treated me wrong, and that they have lost a lifelong customer because of the way they treated me when I was a potential employee. It was their right to choose not to hire me because I won't work Sundays, but it is my right to be treated fairly, to not be told that I had a job when I didn't.

I hope someone understands just how crushing it is to feel like this, because it's always nice to have a friend say that they get it. I hope I hope I hope.

I don't know how many of you are the praying kind of people. But if you are, I could use as many prayers as you can spare. And no matter who you are, I would love to hear about your own stories of hope. Because I get it. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fancy Book Goal

Recently I've been thinking a lot about reading, and the state of my "Read" list on Goodreads. I love all of the books I've been reading recently-- in fact, I can't think of a single book I've read this year that disappointed me. However, I have been reading a LOT of young adult.

Don't get me wrong, young adult literature is amazing, and is easily my favorite type of book to read. It has everything-- all the emotions and adventures and wondrous self discoveries that teenagers really do experience as they grow up. As an adult who finds more and more often that I don't know that much about myself, it is awesome to read about other people who don't know who they are. But recently, I have been wanting to branch out a little more.

It started with reading just barely out of my normal genres. I read These Broken Stars and my first leap into Sci-Fi. I read Mortality by Kellie Sheridan and Ignite by Erica Crouch in part because they are my friends, but also because I had never read a self-published book before. I read Looking for Alaska by John Green, even though six months ago I would have passed it by without a second glance. But now I want to branch out even further.

That's why I have set a little reading goal. I have chosen 10 books, found from various different recommendations from my favorite authors, professors, and even high school teachers. These books are not standard commercial literature that I normally read (but I just want to say it again because I can't say it enough: COMMERCIAL FICTION IS BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND RELEVANT), and tend to be a bit more literary (with a lot of them being classics). I'm going to read one a month, and I'll let you know how it's going!

I'm starting with Blood of the Lamb by Peter De Vries, and am currently loving it. Here's the rest of the books, if you're interested!
  1. (Blood of the Lamb by Peter De Vries)
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  4. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
  5. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  7. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  8. Brave New World by Alduous Huxley
  9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  10. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Blog Design

Guys, I am so excited about this new blog layout, and for a very good reason...

It's because I designed it!

I used an a bunch of awesome resources and figured out what HTML I needed to know to design the template, found the stock photo for the header and then edited it myself, and learned exactly what CSS is and how to use it to my advantage.

Okay, done bragging.

But seriously, I am so excited to reveal this one. It was a lot of fun, so let me know if you want help designing one for yourself! Right now I only know Blogger, but I'm hoping to expand my knowledge as time goes on.

But yeah. Now I'm really done showing off, because I'm blushing in front of my computer screen. Thank goodness y'all can't see me.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On Writing Things That Matter

It's hard as a writer, being surrounded by so many awesome, poignant books that look at all aspects of human life and frailty and virtues, all of the philosophical things that matter. Sometimes it feels like I'll never write something that beautiful, or that important.

But then I have to remind myself, that no matter what I write, it is important.

And if I go into a project intending to write about the self actualization that comes from belonging to someone  (or someones) or something, or about the inevitability of death or about the nature of poverty in all of its forms, I will fail. All I can do is start with characters, and then let those characters tell me a story.

And more often than not, if I let the characters lead my story, those themes will work their way in, and they won't be forced. And even if my stories don't come out as deep and poetic as I might hope for them to be, if I can touch just one person then I've done what I set out to do. Just like characters give me a story worth telling, readers give stories meaning worth interpreting.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Life As I Know It

Life finally seems to be settling into a rhythm for me, even though I still don't have a job. I'm really embracing the whole "full time writer" life now. It's like one day I realized that I probably won't be unemployed forever, and that the day will come that I'll have to drag myself out of bed every day and go to a paying job that doesn't leave much time for creativity. How much does that suck? A lot. It sucks a lot.

But it is not this day.

If you're my kind of person, you read that in Aragorn's voice. Anyway, so I've decided to really take Susan Dennard's blog series on increasing your writing productivity to heart, and the results so far have been AMAZING. I have written more in the last week than I have written the rest of the year! Here's what my day looks like so far:

  • Wake up (Pretty indiscriminate time... After getting 8 hours of sleep, no matter what time I went to bed.)
  • Basic morning stuff.
  • Eat a bowl of cheesy grits (Southern girl FTW)
  • Read 10 pages from my Edgar Allen Poe anthology (this is my trigger activity, the thing that tells my brain "it's time to create")
  • Write for 1-2 hours
  • Eat lunch
  • Answer emails, do WordNerds stuff.
  • Apply to jobs for 2 hours (sigh)
  • Read a blog post on the craft of writing.
  • Write for another hour.

And then I take the night for myself! When I first read about Susan's all-day writing routine, I thought that there was no way I could do that. And how could I be a real, serious writer if I couldn't sit down and focus on writer-ly things all day?

Now, I don't think you have to have that kind of time to be a serious writer (I know tons of writers who don't), but this last week has been so so great, and I dread the day when I won't be able to write like this anymore! Now, more than ever, I am convinced that writing is the career path for me. If you want to write more effectively, and get into that creative mood quicker, I HIGHLY recommend Susan's current blog series. It looks at the behavioral science behind making habits, and it really works. I love writing!

How do you structure your writing time?

Monday, February 17, 2014

THESE BROKEN STARS: My Reading Journey in GIFs

So this week I read These Broken Stars by Amie Kauffman and Meagan Spooner. It was an amazing read, that had my emotions all over the place! Here's the description of the book, as found on Goodreads:
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?...
I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone looking for a great romance that takes place in a rich sci-fi world! So, here's my (spoiler free!) reading experience:

1. Pretty excited. Heard good things about this book. In need of a great romance novel.
2. Pretty dresses? I'm sold.


3. OH GOSH NO. HEAD FOR THE ESCAPE PODS. Why isn't anyone listening to me? How can they ignore their imminent death? DIDN'T THEY READ THE BOOK BLURB???
(Pardon his language...)

4. Long trek... But you know they secretly love each other from the start. OBVIOUSLY.

5. Am I really getting this creeped out by (what I was expecting to be) just a romance novel? 

6. Then there's all that walking, and things are happening, and tension is building, and sexiness, and...


7. And then there's that house that they have to break into and that thing happens, and I was simultaneously like:
and  and 

8. Then I started to feel a little foolish for getting so worked up...

9. But then THAT ENDING.

Convinced yet? Seriously, go buy a copy! It is so worth the read.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

WordNerds 300 Subscriber Giveaway!

The WordNerds are having a giveaway! Definitely check it out and enter, because these prizes are AMAZEBALLS. (Sorry I just said amazeballs... Also sorry I'm not sorry.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 16, 2014

One of THOSE Weeks (Or: Sometimes We All Need a Little Tom Hiddleston)

I spent a few days trying to think of something clever that would make this super relevant... But came up short. And then I decided to just own the fact that sometimes, you just need a Hiddleston gif to make life feel all better. So here it is, brightening my week-- and hopefully now brightening your Thursday as well:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Obligatory New Year's Blog Post

Guys. It is 2014.

Where did 2013 go???

I graduated last year.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to write something worth publishing.

This year, I will begin the querying process.

Even though this year started off with a fizzle-- my laptop crashed, permanently taking with it the 30,000 word WiP I thought I had backed up but actually hadn't-- I can't wait to see what amazing things are in store. Things can only go up, right? I can't help but feel like this is God's way of telling me, "This time you are going to revise now, instead of pushing through that 15,000 word rough patch that you were just going to rewrite anyway." Maybe this means good things for that work in progress.

Hopefully I will get an agent this year, but even if I don't I am so thrilled to be where I am right now. I have made some amazing friends through the Word Nerds vlog, the kind of writing friends I always felt jealous of other people for having. Three years ago, I was bouncing from major-to-major, liking a lot of things but never loving anything, never realizing that what I loved was right in front of me the whole time. Writing makes me excited every day.

Even though the New Year is a time for looking forward, I can't help but look back at all the wonderful things that have come from the last few years.

Here's to a 2014 full of excitement (and no computer crashes!) for all of you! :)