Category Archives: Lists

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hi guys! I just joined this group that shares their doubts and fears related to writing. Everybody on the list posts on the first Wednesday of the month talking about their writing progress to support each other. Here’s the list for anyone who wants to know more.

So starting on March 2nd, you can read my posts once a month about writing struggles.

December/January Reflections

So this is combined because obviously I haven’t been blogging for a while. These two months have been about the same anyways, not much to report.

Writing Goals Update

Since the last Reflections post, I have done more writing, but not every day. You know how life is, right? Things get in the way, and once you miss a single day, that becomes a week and then you don’t even realize you had forgotten to write!

I have been keeping better track of my word count on the days I do write, though. I have a calendar and stickers method that I’ve seen other authors use. Basically, 1000 words written means I get to put one sticker on the square for the day. I have many days that are blank, but also many days that have 3 or 4 stickers each :)

Things I Learned

  • I’m mentally stronger than I think I am. If I really put my mind to what I’m writing and place its importance above the other tasks in my day, I can easily write 1500 to 2000 words an hour, following my outline. I just need the discipline to avoid distractions!
  • I need to have a schedule. Working at home is both awesome because you can work any hours that you want, but also evil because you don’t have anyone to keep you accountable for the hours that you work. I’m still deciding on what that schedule needs to be, and it will need to change in a few months because I have a seasonal job that will take more of my time starting in March/April.

Distractions

READING. There are so many good books that I got for Christmas/My Birthday (which is in January) that I’ve been reading instead of doing my own writing! Some days I can’t put a book down and will end up reading it for hours, or even finishing the book in one day. Right now the distracting book is Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld.

What Else Is New In My Life?

The new edition of my first book (now titled A Song of Dreams and Demons) is coming out!!!! My wonderful editor, Jen of LiterallyJen has finished the copyedits and I’m going to have the new version out with a new cover on February 4th, exactly one year after the first edition was published. SO EXCITED :)

November Reflections

So last month was NaNoWriMo! I technically made it by writing at least 50k of words in various projects, and I did actually finish a draft for a new series, but it was only 30k, and the rest of the words were for other stories.

Writing Goals Update

Since this is the first “Reflections” post I’m doing (which I want to do regularly at the end of each month/beginning of the next month) I’ll just put my goals for December here.

Write. Every. Day. This includes outlining and editing days, because I can’t usually write parts of a first draft when I have on other hats, like letting out my inner editor or being non-creative and analytical for publishing.

Also, I need to figure out a consistent schedule for this blog, so you guys know when to expect updates from me on stuff. Since today is a Tuesday, let’s say I will start by posting every Tuesday, only once a week until I get better at this xP

Things I Learned

These past few months have brought a LOT of changes into my life, and not all of them writing-related. Since this is my website, and there are a lot of parts of my life I want to share that are not about writing, you can expect a little of everything when you read my stuff here, from nail polish to drawing to gardening to cooking to daily life in Canada as a stay at home wife!

So on to what I learned in November:

  • The more you write, especially every day, the easier it gets. I’ve heard this before (and it applies to any creative pursuit, not just writing) but I never really learned it until I had been writing a lot each day consistently. It’s true: your inner editor or whatever you want to call your doubts, self criticism and fear, is MUCH less when you are consistent.
  • I am still a child! At my church’s Christmas party last week, there were coloring pages at each table for the kids. Hubby and I sat with my parents & siblings (all of them are teens or barely adults now) so there were no little kids monopolizing the crayons. I totally colored in some candy canes, and my husband did one of Rudolf! Hey no judging – it was relaxing.
  • It can be fun learning to grocery shop/cook with very little money and inexpensive ingredients. We had a very expensive car repair recently, which has made us more broke than we used to be, and I’ve had to get creative with our (almost non-existent) food budget. Really, I’ve learned to appreciate simple, healthy dishes more and I don’t mind it so much any more.

Distractions

  • Gah. YouTube. I’ve been obsessed with listening to covers/mashups of songs by people like Sam Tsui, Boyce Avenue, Kurt Hugo Schneider, while I’m working on non-writing stuff like making book covers or writing this post. The only problem is I like watching the music videos too because they’re so awesome and creative, but then I’m not working if I’m paying attention to the video…

What Else Is New In My Life?

I cut off my hair in October and LOVE it, but it grows so fast that it’s already bugging me and I want it cut again lol. My hair was armpit/boob length for many years but I have had short hair before. Story of my hair’s life is cutting it short (chin length-ish, I’ve never had a pixie) and then being too lazy to keep up with more cuts, so it would grow super long again, and then I’d get sick of it and chop it to my chin again, and repeat, and repeat…but now I know shorter suits me better, both in looks and for my lifestyle for washing/maintenance.

Maybe next month I’ll include a picture or two in these kinds of posts.

How to Transition from Reading (About Writing) to Working

I’m writing this as much for myself as for those of you reading this. I know it isn’t just me who finds it all too easy, when I sit down to write, to do other writing-related things instead. Things like:

  • reading writer’s blogs
  • updating/reading twitter
  • adding pics to my book’s pinterest board
  • doing publishing industry research
  • playing with Photoshop (cover design)
  • reading the newest book on writing craft
  • research for a future book project

And more! Do you ever find yourself on the internet or doing other things when you’re supposed to be writing? Yes, it may be important and educational, but does it contribute to your book’s actual word count? No.

Don’t get me wrong – there are times to do those things listed above, especially at the beginning (research) and end (publishing stuff) of writing a book. But during the hours that you should be safeguarding for creating that next scene, you should focus on the writing.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Nix all distractions. This means different things for different people. If you need silence to write, then music or background noise counts as a distraction. If you like writing on paper, then grab a notebook and get away from all devices that use the internet.
  2. Allow yourself some time for those other writing-related things. If you like to write in the morning then use your afternoons for the other stuff. Or pick one day a week devoted to the business side of being a writer.
  3. Know yourself – if you work better with a set schedule (writing every day from 7-8pm) or with flexibility (writing one hour a day at any time of day) then do that.

Let me know in the comments how you move from learning to creating, and how you focus on your writing.

Writing Processes

A writing process is kind of like pregnancy, each person’s experience is different, and even with the same woman, each pregnancy (or book) takes different techniques, coping methods and ways of working.

Now, I’ve never been pregnant, but I have written several books.

Whether you’re writing your first book or your tenth, you’re still figuring out a process. You never have to *stop* trying new writing things or settle on one process for the rest of your career. The beauty of writing is that it is different for different people, situations and books. Your needs will change, and your process can change to reflect that.

Here’s a bit about my basic process:

  1. I like to spend a few weeks brainstorming, gathering a playlist, writing snippets of scene ideas or character bios, and just playing with the story
  2. I write a few sentences of summary for major scenes and then a brief outline or list of ideas for in-between scenes
  3. Depending on my schedule, I like to leave that outline/brainstorming document for a while and work on something else
  4. For the first draft, I write almost every day, with word count goals and a self imposed deadline (that I don’t usually make, to be honest)
  5. Then I like to leave the book for at least a month while I either outline or edit another project
  6. One round of editing myself
  7. I send the book to my beta readers while going back to another project (usually the same one as in step 5)
  8. I make the changes from beta readers and do other edits if I’ve found more places in my novel that need the help
  9. After that, my novel goes to a professional editor for a line edit
  10. I make her suggested changes
  11. Then my editor and I proofread it together, and viola! Finished book.

I’ll put more detail about each step if a future post if you guys want to know more. I highly suggest checking out this book. It really helped me with my first novel, and while I don’t need to be as immaculate with my outlining anymore, I still reference it from time to time.

I’d love to hear about your writing processes in the comments!

Why I Love Writing

This past week I got very stuck on a WIP I thought I loved, titled Ghost Hours. I really didn’t want to write it and found any excuse not to work on it. Even though the characters intrigued me and I had it all outlined and ready to write, it was hard to do. Partly this is because after writing three chapters I realized the story better fit first person present tense, so I slowly went back and changed everything. That really made me doubly not want to write any more chapters. I’m sad that I’m so stuck and I have no desire to continue this story, because I think it’s awesome and needs to be told.

Here’s what I did. I pulled Clockwork Angel off my shelf (my #1 favorite series by any author EVER) and flipped through it, wondering what made me love it so much. It, and all my other favorite books, inspired me to write a list about why I love writing. What is it that makes me fall in love with characters and want to tell their stories? After writing this list, I realized there were a lot of things Ghost Hours didn’t have enough of and that’s why I was having such a hard time with it. I wasn’t writing the kind of book that I’d want to read! DUH.

I encourage all of you to write your own list and whenever you have a new WIP, run it through the list. Make sure this is a book you’d die to get your hands on if you hadn’t wrote it yourself, and then you’ll never lose your passion for writing it. This is everything I look for in a good book to read, so I want to write with it in mind from now on. Here’s my list:

  1. Very strong emotions – sad and happy
  2. Swoon-worthy romance, kisses
  3. Magic, fantasy and otherworldly elements
  4. The moments that make life worth living
  5. Redemption, forgiveness, faith, trust
  6. Real characters that make my heart ACHE
  7. Killer romantic tension
  8. Making hard choices

Post your lists in the comments, I’d love to see them!

Top 10 Sites for Writers

Let me start by saying that I have waaaaay more than 10 favorite sites about writing. These are not necessarily my best or favorite ones, but the ones I’ve learned the most from in the last few weeks.

  1. http://susandennard.com/links/for-writers/ Sooz, as she likes to be called, has so many good posts on her site that talk about outlining, drafting, research, and publishing. She even has a forum where you can ask her a question – she recently answered one of mine that helped me get un-stuck on a WIP!
  2. http://blog.janicehardy.com/ This site has a lot of detailed posts about specific things, such as the first 250 words of your book, what to do about lack of conflict, and even self publishing.
  3. http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca/ For anyone interested in self publishing and/or the industry in general, this guy tells it like it is.
  4. http://catherineryanhoward.com/ Known as Catherine, Caffeinated. This is a great blog that explores what it’s really like to be a writer in daily life, and adventures in self printing.
  5. http://thisblogisaploy.blogspot.ca/ My favorite post of author Rachel Aaron’s is about raising your daily word count. She went from 2k to 10k a day!
  6. http://avajae.blogspot.ca/ This site is one of my alltime favorite references – she has it all! You’ve probably seen me tweeting about her posts recently.
  7. http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/ All around awesomeness = K M Weiland’s site. She’s very good at explaining the finer points of writing.
  8. http://www.leighannkopans.blogspot.ca/ An author with an agent whose book wouldn’t sell went indie and she’s owning it!
  9. http://www.publishingcrawl.com/ From a variety of talented published authors, this site gives insight into the publishing industry and challenges you to do your best.
  10. http://www.susankayequinn.com/p/for-writers.html Everything you need to know about marketing. Not just for indie authors!

What other sites do you guys turn to when you need some inspiration? Tell me in the comments!