Life: Full Speed Ahead

>> Thursday, December 3, 2009

I finished my NaNoWriMo novel and won this year for the third time in a row, making my streak 3 for 3. Boy, was it ever tough, though. Despite my best efforts otherwise, Anemone's Song, the novel I finished in October so that I wouldn't have it hanging over my head in November during Nano, haunted me anyway. I kept having the desire to work on that instead of my Nano novel. It drove me crazy.

I suspect that's why writing during Nano this year was so difficult. I hit the third week slump hard this time around. It wasn't pretty, folks. But I forced myself through it out of sheer willpower alone. I think that was a good experience for me. Writers need to write, and not simply when we feel like it. We must write when it is difficult, and when we would really rather do anything else but glue ourselves to the chair and the keyboard.

Now that November is finished, however, I have returned to working on Anemone's Song at last, and I am much happier for it. I have a new temp. job at the moment, which is less than thrilling, but it helps pay the bills. In more exciting news, I began to write a column on Examiner. com, so I am getting more experience under my belt professionally. Writing articles for it has helped me to practice some of the skills that I am reading and learning about in order to possible dip my toes into freelance writing in the future.

My truest love will always be writing novels, though. As poetry is my weakest form of writing, writing stories are my strongest. Nothing makes me feel more alive.

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From Deadlines to Nanowrimo

>> Thursday, October 8, 2009

At 11:07pm on Friday, October 2nd, 2009, I finished my novel, Anemone's Song. I finished two days past my self-imposed deadline, but at least it is complete. What can you do about a child who suddenly gets sick with pink eye and a bad cold, after all? Even after I put her to bed in the evening, there simply wasn't enough time left to write to completion. So, I worked myself half to death, but I did finish it two days later than scheduled. Now it can't hang over my head during NaNoWriMo. I don't need distractions like that.

In terms of NaNoWriMo, I am still contemplating what I shall write. I have some stray ideas, but nothing solid yet. I'd like to write something with Native Americans, maybe a historical fiction of some kind, but I'm still researching and trying to decide what I want to do.

What is everyone else doing for NaNoWriMo? Have you decided yet, or are you like me and still without a clue?

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@$#!$*^! Deadlines

>> Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two days. Several chapters. 5 hours of sleep. Gallons of caffeine!

I will finish, I will!

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When Life Gets Tough...

>> Monday, September 14, 2009

...get to writing! Or keep on writing. Either way, this is what I'm determined to do. I missed my deadline to have the book finished by August, so now my goal is to finish before the end of September. I really don't need this book interfering with my ability to write during Nanowrimo, and I'm certain that it will, if I know that it's sitting nearby, aaaalmost finished, but not quite.

Mostly, the reason I missed my own deadline was due to a lot of craziness and stress in my life. Perhaps it's understandable if one knows my circumstances, but to me it isn't. Instead of writing through the pain and emotions, I stopped writing, which only magnifies everything and makes it worse.

I also haven't heard back about my short story that I submitted, even though it's been over the 6-8 week span the publication estimates for a response. I've determined that if I don't hear from them by the end of this week (week 10), then I will write a prompt letter.

August was my month of bad, horrible luck. Each week got progressively worse than the one before, culminating in finding out that my father has an incurable brain tumor, and leaving me ultimately unemployed again (knowing that it is a temporary position does not help in the slightest when one is laid off). I am hopeful that September will be my month of good luck--or at least be my bend in the road toward one that is.

I'm not yet optimistic about life again, but I'm going to write toward it.

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Fear and (No) Motivation in St. Louis

>> Friday, August 7, 2009

I have not accomplished any writing for at least a week now, possibly somewhat longer. I've lost track, actually. So many things are going wrong for me in my life that I have trouble picking up the pen and putting it to paper. I've finally tracked the phenomenon down to fear, in the last couple of days--fear that I will fail in my writing, too. Fear that my work will get rejected again, as it has countless times before. Fear that I really can't write after all, because I don't have any talent, and that people are only lying to be "nice" when they tell me they like my work.

I guess I figure that since nothing else is going right, why should my writing? I'm thinking in particular of the short story I sent in to a magazine, which I am waiting to hear back about, and also of the novel that I am currently close to finishing.

So how do you get over the fears and start to write again? How do you make yourself pick up that pen? Do you just write through the fear, or do you need to do something, a cleansing ritual or what have you, before you can again? Thoughts and advice, my fellow writers?

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Romance Is In The Air...

>> Thursday, July 16, 2009

I've started working some more on finishing up Anemone's Song, my novel. I'm probably into the last third of my book, now. I'm hoping to finish it by the end of August, latest, if I can keep the momentum going that I have right now. I've written pages and pages in the last two days. See, I write at work. Whenever our queue is empty, we are allowed to read or write or basically do most anything except use the computer for non-work purposes or play with anything that makes noise, like cell phones. So it's kind of like working two jobs at the same time, some days. I figure I may as well take advantage of this while I have the chance, and I realized that I hadn't been, much. So, I forced myself to start writing at work, and although it was a little difficult to start at first, I managed to muddle my way through a scene that was giving me trouble. Then things started to fall into place, and I'm writing like the blazes now. I just hope I can keep it up.

I discovered today, though, that my ending had changed somewhat. But I really think it's a better ending, overall, and I think I know a way to incorporate at least a bit of the old ending into the new one, so it's almost like having the best of both worlds. And...and I think it may not be a one shot, after all. I mean, it will stand alone, but I think I have an idea for a sequel of sorts. I'll have to develop it
more later to see if it will actually work, though.

I think that the two main love interests in the story are almost my favorite couple, as far as my characters go. Second only to another couple. Maybe even on par with them. And it's not because the couples are similar to each other. Actually, they're very different in a lot of ways. But there's just something about this particular couple. They just have a ton of chemistry, much like another couple of characters I know. *happy sigh*

Well, now that the new ending is finished (I completed it just before posting this), I just need to go back and fill in the pages between part three and the ending.

Life is good.

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Settling In

>> Saturday, July 11, 2009

I found my Writer's Market, as well as a whole host of other writing books and manuals, but I know there are others somewhere that I have yet to unpack. It just doesn't look like enough. I have to have more than that. I'm at least missing a few. I hope I find them soon.

So I am currently trying to sort through and organize all of my books, including my writing books. We bought a new bookshelf at a yard sale for a good price, and now it's just a matter of time and organization to get them all set up the way I want to.

And being that I worked in a bookstore for a little over two years, you can bet I am anal about my books. I organize them into different sections, then alpha by author, then by series order, if say a prequel was published after a series. If not, then I put them in publication order, and...well...it seems like I get more anal every time I organize them. And as such, it takes days.

Which is why it is a once or twice a year project at most.

Are other writers as picky as I am about having books organized? (I still find myself tidying up and re-organizing books into the proper order in bookstores to this day; usually I don't even notice until someone else points it out.) Or is it just because I used to work in a bookstore?

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Pure Masochism

>> Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Submitted my short story about the vampire cows to a magazine called Weird Tales, on Sunday. Unfortunately, they are almost filled up for 2009, so my chances aren't that great. The move to our new place kind of threw everything out of whack for a while, and I didn't get to submit it even close to as soon as I orignally wanted to.

Still working at my temporary job. No idea how much longer they'll need me. Hopefully for a while yet.

I'm going to see if I can find where I put my Writer's Market after I unpacked my writing books, and start compiling a list of other publications to reject my story.

No, I'm not depressed. In a very masochistic way, I find it amusing, even while I'd rather just have someone stomp all over me repeatedly. I need to get all of my rejection letters out and hang them on the wall again, so I can laugh maniacally until someone comes at me with a straight-jacket.

Writing is a love-hate relationship with the voices in your head.

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Ending an Ending?

>> Saturday, May 9, 2009

I've almost finished my newest short story. Or perhaps I have finished it, depending on how you look at it. See, the ending that I intended to write isn't yet written, and the end of the scene I wrote last night would make a great ending, if somewhat more depressing (but powerful). So I have to decide whether to end it there or not. I'm very tempted to, based on my instincts. And yet, I almost hate to leave it ended without some snippet of hope.

But maybe if I end it the way I orignally intended, it wouldn't be half as good, you know?

I have a lot to mull over.

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Not Dead Yet...

>> Friday, May 8, 2009

It's been way too long since I last posted. Do I have an excuse? Eh, not really. I lost my job a few weeks ago, and I just haven't had the heart or the willpower to bother posting on my blog, even though I've been accomplishing a decent amount of writing.

I started a new short story, which I'm almost finished with already. I'd guess that I'm 2/3 of the way through, if not more. And I have some other short story ideas that I've been jotting down for later use. I bought a new short story compendium the other day; it's called Many Bloody Returns, and it features one of my favorite authors, Charlaine Harris, but it also includes Jim Butcher, another author that I've recently started to like a lot, thanks to my husband lending me his Dresden Files books after he finishes them.

Anyway, between that compendium, which I'm still reading, and a couple of other short story collections I have, I find that coming up with workable ideas for short stories is getting easier--but not yet what I would call easy, by any means. I've found myself analyzing them as I read, and I think that it helps. It's nice to know that even though I've never met these authors, they're teaching me and helping me with their writing and they don't even know it. I hope that I can do the same for other writers one day.

But first I have to get published.

I'm working on it, believe me. More to come on that at a later date. My daughter is getting restless and wants to eat.

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Happy Easter!

>> Sunday, April 12, 2009

For all of those who celebrate Easter, I hope that today was a very peaceful and joyous occasion for you. For my own family, we had a good Easter, if a rather uneventful one. And yet, that does not bother me too much. My days are so hectic since I started working again that I can use some peaceful, uneventful weekends. There's time enough for the craziness of easter egg hunts and the like next year, when our daughter is old enough for them.

My daughter is one year old now. She had her birthday last weekend, just before Easter. It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by already. She's growing up so fast.

In terms of my writing, I haven't been able to do as much as I'd like since my evenings are so hectic after work, but my daughter is starting to sleep until mornings now, and so I'm able to get a little writing in again on some nights. I'm trying really hard to finish up my novel, Anemone's Song, and I'm looking at markets for my short story about the vampire cows. I'm really hoping to get published this year, whether it's a short story or a novel (looking doubtful on this front, given the current pace of my writing), or poetry. I just hope it's soon.

You see, I have really been wanting to re-dye my hair red. I have this obsession with red hair since I think it's so beautiful, and I used to dye it back in college. Long story short, I went back to brown, my natural color, before I got married, and so I've been a brunette for a couple of years or so now. But I really want to dye my hair red again. Only I decided that I won't allow myself to dye my hair again until I get published.

I'm hoping it will serve as extra motivation to get more writing done and to keep plugging away at trying to get published. I'm just afraid that now that I've promised myself that, I'll never have red hair again...

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To Market, To Market...

>> Monday, March 16, 2009

As I sat down to update this blog and pondered what to write about, my daughter decided that she wanted to climb into my lap and volunteer her services. Being that most people are not fluent in reading baby gibberish, however, the backspace key came quite in handy.

I have been perusing markets to submit my short story to, seeing as it didn't win the contest. I have found some promising leads; one in particular seems like it would be a perfect match. They are not open to new submissions until March 31st, however, so in the meantime, I'm going to go back over my story and see if there's anything I want to change. I felt like I pared my story down so much, cutting out a lot of good description and dialogue, just to meet the word limit for the contest. This particular publication, however, has larger word limits, and so I might add some things back in.

I don't want to add things just for the sake of adding, though. I think I will have to get some outside opinions on this.

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Sour Grapes, Or Honest Assessment?

>> Saturday, March 7, 2009

I started my new job on Monday. The first day was quite rough. Long story...don't ask. But suffice it to say that I felt overwhelmed, and I second-guessed myself about going back to work. Luckily, the week got better, and I am getting the hang of things at the office. My boss told me on Thursday that he was very pleased at how quickly I am learning things. Boy, did I need to hear that! Especially since I felt like I wasn't learning fast enough. I guess it just goes to show that we are our own worst critics sometimes.

The good news is that my writing hasn't fallen completely by the wayside. Despite the dishes, the cooking, and getting the baby fed and put to bed at a decent hour after work, I still manage to do a little writing most nights. Of course, it's usually only a paragraph or a few sentences, but anything helps. It's better than not writing anything at all.

And besides, I've been doing more writing today, now that it's the weekend anyway. Things are looking up for me.

Mostly.

I still have never received any word about my short story that I submitted. So, I went online to the website, and the early results were posted. I did not win either the grand prize or the first place in the category I submitted to. I'm disappointed and frustrated. Especially since I skimmed through the story that won the category I submitted to, and I don't think it is nearly as good as mine. It's certainly not half as creative...and on the risk of sounding snotty, it's well...cliched.

Blah. How do you know when your work is honestly better than someone else's, or when it's just a case of sour grapes?

Well, fine. If they don't want my story, I'll submit it elsewhere. THEIR LOSS!

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They Say No News Is Good News...But Sometimes News Is Just Good News.

>> Friday, February 27, 2009

Good news! I have a job! I went in for an interview this morning, and I got hired for the position! I'm excited and nervous. I just hope I can meet my boss's expectations. We're starting things from the ground up in some ways, as he is taking over the company since the original owner is retiring. I will be doing office work at an insurance company here in town, and among other things, I will be creating a manual for other people to reference later, on the procedures and systems for everything. Since I know nothing about insurance and I've never put anything like that together before, this is intimidating in some aspects, but he obviously looked past that to my willingess to learn and my ability to learn quickly. And you never know what you can do if you try, do you?

I'm feeling upbeat tonight, though tired. It was a good day. I even did a little writing. Not a whole lot, but a little.

Even a little writing looks like a victory from where I stand today.

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Just Call Me Grumpy.

>> Tuesday, February 24, 2009

1418 words in the past couple of days. Not bad. I just hope I can keep it up. In the meantime, I'm trying to get a job. There is a position I particularly want that I have applied to recently, but I am trying not to get too attached to it in case I don't get it. And, considering the current state of the economy and the fact that a lot of people are out of work, there's a good chance that I won't.

Man, am I pessimistic today, or what?

There's just a lot of things going wrong lately, I guess. I need something to go right. Maybe the weather is part of it, too. There's nothing like cold weather to make you feel like saying, "Bah humbug!" to everything.

Well, I'm going to try to apply to more jobs and do some more writing, if my daughter permits me to. She's gotten a real attitude lately, heaven help us, when things don't go her way. Plus, she's become real clingy. I can't wait for this stage to end.

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The Closer It Gets...

>> Monday, February 23, 2009

...the more nervous I become.

That's right. I still haven't heard about the short story I submitted to that contest back in November (actually, the end of October, because I wanted it out of the way before NaNoWriMo). I have until March 16th, however...I'm supposed to hear about it by then. I check the mail anxiously every now and then, and I have my husband on alert for anything from them, but nothing so far. And honestly, sometimes it's so far from my mind that I forget for a while.

They say no news is good news, but it will really stink if I wait all this time just to get a rejection. Oh well. There's nothing tangible I can do about it, right, so I'm better off turning my attention to other things.

I finally got out of my writing stasis the other night. I hadn't written much in a week or so because I was a bit stuck on the specifics of a detail in the story, but it wasn't a detail I could really skip over and figure out later. Finally, my husband helped spark an idea, and I wrote a few pages last night. I was having such a good night writing after that, I didn't want to stop. But, I finally did, and I think I left off at a good spot. Hopefully it will be very easy to pick up from that and resume my writing.

I could use a little cheer in my life, something to go well. Had a job interview the other week, thought it went well, and didn't get it. There's just a lot going wrong lately; I need something to change for the better. Like a job or a published story. *sigh*

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The Writing Continues...

>> Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I have decided that I'm shooting for a goal of 100,000 words for my book. That may not be enough, and I might go over it, but it's easier to keep track of your progress with a firm goal in mind. The good news is that I'm at 71,000 and some words now.

The bad news is that I haven't been able to write much the last few days because there's so much going on. I have a job interview on Thursday to prepare for, and my sister just had an emergency c-section. Her twins, my nieces, are on life support, and have a 60% chance to live, each. They think the infection that caused my sister's 103-something fever may have infected the placenta, so they sent it to a lab. If it was in the placenta, that means the babies probably have the illness...which is very bad.

I really, really hope my sister doesn't lose either of her babies. She's been trying so much for so long to have more children, and this was a dream come true for her. Besides, we just lost our mother recently. I don't want her to lose her babies, too.

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If Only All Days Could Be Like This One!

>> Friday, January 30, 2009

1467 words today. I love days like this, when the writing goes really well. It makes you feel productive, like you have really accomplished something. It more than makes up for the days where you have to struggle so much just to write a single sentence. If only all days could be so easy.

My story is coming along well. I'm beginning to really like how my characters are starting to interact with one another. I just hope I can finish writing this book soon, so that I can start to edit it and try for publication before the year is out.

Well, one thing at a time, right?

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On a Good Writing Streak

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009

928 words today, 516 words before that, and 1000 words before that.

I may not be entirely consistent with sitting down to write every single day, but when I do write, lately, I have been rather productive. Of course, the nagging crew that I signed up for at the NaNoPubYe forums helps. The more people and places I have to be accountable to, the better. I get more work done that way.

So I am happy.

Mostly...

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In Loving Memory

>> Sunday, January 25, 2009

I have only written 1000 words or so in the last few days. Unfortunately, it's all the product of one lucky day when my daughter was cooperating to sleep long enough for that to happen. *sigh* But, it's something. Much better than the nothing I've been producing for a while. But that's not entirely because of laziness or my daughter. My mom passed away recently. I got a phone call one night that my mom didn't have more than a week, if that, left to live, so I flew down, and I got a few days to spend with her before she passed away. She had been battling breast cancer for three and half years.

I just returned recently, and I'm trying to get back into writing while also battling a nasty, lingering infection. Writing is very healing for me, so I think if I concentrate on my writing a little bit each day, it will help. It'll give me something else to focus on and think about until it isn't all so fresh for me.

I also want to write so I can finish Anemone's Song and get it published for my mom. It's to my everlasting regret that she never got to read anything of mine before she died. My own fault. Always too insecure and shy to share it with her. Don't make the same mistake I did, people. You don't always have the time you think you will to share things with people, even your writing.

Rest in peace, mommy. I love you. And I will finish my book and get it published. For you.

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Okay, I Admit, I've Been Lazy...

>> Thursday, January 8, 2009

Last night I wrote for the first time since I made my writing resolutions. I've been putting off writing. And it isn't that I don't want to write. I DO want to write. But I want to work on a project other than the one I'm determined to finish and try to get published this year. *sigh* Darn characters. Why do you have to get all active now? Grr! Oh well. I suppose they've really been very good for quite some time. I haven't had migraines from Val in forever...

...Great. Now I'm getting a lecture. Whatever. I'll see if I can find some time for you to give me a migraine this weekend, maybe.

Anyhow. I wrote about 500 words last night on Anemone's Song. I say "about," because I really didn't get a chance to finish checking the word count before my daughter woke up and demanded food. So it's just a guesstimate. But, it's something.

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2009 Resolutions...Writerly and Otherwise

>> Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seeing that I began this blog last January, in 2008, with a post about my writing resolutions and some general life resolutions, I find it fitting to continue on in that tradition. As such, I will begin an outline of some of the goals that I've been mulling over for the past few days, in the hopes that I can attain some of the ones that I failed to last year, as well as some of the new ones I'm adding.

First, let's begin with the writing goals (since this is a writing blog):

2009 Writing Resolutions

Small Goals:

-Writing at least 500 words a day, whether it's on one project or many. I may not have managed to do it every day this past year, what with having a baby and all that, but this goal did help me to accomplish more writing than I would have without it. So, I'm putting it down again.
-Write more short stories, so I can improve my ability to write something more compact than a novel length project. I've done it once, now let's see if lightning can strike twice...or several times, rather.
-Explore some new genres or areas of writing that I've never tried before, like Horror or Mystery. Barring my month long foray into science fiction for Nanowrimo 2008, I didn't do much with this goal last year, and I'd like to write more in different genres this year, just for a change of pace. So, up it goes again.
-Write more poetry. It's my weakest area of writing, hands down. Hopefully I can write more of it this year than I did last year. Maybe in improving my poetry, I can improve my writing overall.

Large goals:
-To finish the book I began for NaNoWriMo. Still haven't finished it, although I did add 10,000 or so more words to it during NaNoFiMo 2008, which I failed.
-To get a book published. See the above book. *sigh* To that end, I have joined NaNoPubYe and convinced some of my writerly friends to join me in that venture. Support is always a plus when you're trying to get published. Trust me, I know, seeing as how I've attempted in the past, before I had to take a hiatus from it because of my college work load.
-Keep up with this blog! Well, I was on and off again with it in 2008, but at least I was able to come back now and again to update. Life happens, especially with a baby to chase after. So while my updates won't be very regular sometimes, I'm confident that I will be able to continue posting every so often.


Non-Writing Goals:
-To get a regular job again! This has to be the number one thing on my list, other than maybe getting a book published. Of course, it PROBABLY should be number one, even over that, but, well...I'm a writer, and I'm biased, thank you very much! So of course I'd rather have a book published, but...well...the family needs to eat, too. *sigh*
-To help my daughter to sleep better again. Ever since she cut her first teeth, her sleeping's been a little screwed up, and she no longer sleeps a few hours at a time, like she used to. So, instead of her sleeping for only an hour or two before she wakes, I'm hoping to retrain her into sleeping for longer periods in her crib.
-To lose about 30 lbs (but I'll settle for 20). Still haven't lost the pregnancy weight. It's hard to find time to exercise on a regular basis, with a baby. And even if I have the time, I'm usually tired. But I will try to exercise for 10 minutes every day this year.

So, let's see how the year shapes up, shall we? Let's hope it brings success for all of us writers out there!

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