Category Archives: Personal

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.


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.


  • 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.

NaNo WriMo Update

I know it’s been a while since I posted on here, but that’s going to change. I’m planning on doing a post twice a week (maybe Tuesdays and Saturdays or something) starting today.

As far as my NaNo-ing is going, I’m a bit behind, as you can see on my profile. But I’m not giving up!! I still plan to hit 50,000 before the end of the month, and I have 12 days left to do it. All of you who are taking on this challenge, whether you’re ahead, behind, or already passed 50,000 words, GO YOU!!! It’s awesome even if it just encourages you to write 100 words a day – you’re writing and that’s the entire point.

Last Day Before NaNo WriMo!

Are you prepared?

I’m sure not!

But that’s okay. Tonight, at midnight, I’ll probably be asleep. I fully expect most of you to be staying up and waiting until 12:01 AM to start writing.

I am armed with a solid outline and the benefit of knowing my characters from a previous novel (I’m writing book 2).

Tell me about your NaNo projects in the comments!

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!

Maybe You Shouldn’t Be a Freelance Writer

Let me tell you a story.

I started freelance writing (meaning copywriting, press release writing, article and web page writing) to make extra money in 2011. Back then I only did a job now and then, because I halfway through college (Multimedia/Web Design) and living with my parents, so I didn’t really need the money, but it was fun. I slowly built a portfolio. I thought, what if I can make a living writing (even if it isn’t the novel writing that’s my real passion) and not have a real “job” after school?

It worked for a while. In 2012 I graduated, got married and lived out of my parent’s house for the first time. In the fall I worked at a local Subway until medical issues forced me to quit. I continued freelance writing all throughout 2013 and it really helped that both my husband and I were working.

Aug 2013 was the month I picked up the 3rd novel I’d written in high school (the 1st good one) and started to edit. After not doing any creative writing during college, I was so happy to come back to what I loved. I had been so busy in school I hadn’t really realized what I’d given up.

Now in 2014 I was really starting to feel the effects of my choices. Falling in love with my characters again made me realize I couldn’t do both types of writing. More and more I found myself burned out from the freelance writing and dreading my own creative time. Even if I had time leftover after my job (which wasn’t often) I couldn’t even force myself to do what I’d willingly spent 3+ hours doing after high school everyday. I still loved novel writing; the problem was my eyes were opened to how ill suited I was to being a freelance writer.

PLEASE do not try this. If your love is creative writing, whether that’s short stories, novels, poetry, etc. don’t torture yourself by trying to do other writing. Not all writing is the same! Non-writers don’t understand this at all, but even some writers (like me in past years) don’t understand it either. That doesn’t make it any less true. Unless your passion is honestly helping companies with their advertisement writing or blogging for someone else or writing copy, then don’t do it!

Long story short, although this post is already getting a bit long, I’ve been unhappy with this job for several years. I’m not out yet; currently I’m trying to transition to some kind of day job not involved with writing at all, so that I can write my novels after work and not hate it.

I borrowed the title of this post from here:

GO READ IT. Right now. I’ll wait.

Done? Now read all the comments. This is a quote from one of the comments on that page:

“Well, it did keep roof over our heads for a few years, at the cost of extreme stress, some damage to my love of writing (and my own projects), and my general sanity.”

That completely describes my last 3 years to a T.

Seriously, honestly, evaluate yourself, your goals and your personality before trying to be a kind of writer that you’re just not. I wish I had.

Free Writing

We’re all busy. That’s just how life works, right? Would you like to even get a few hundred more words written per day? It would add up to a chapter in a week or so, and a book in a few months. Without changing much of your schedule, you could have another (or your first) first draft finished!

I got this idea of “freewriting” from Susan Kaye Quinn and her amazing book, Indie Author’s Survival Guide. If you haven’t read it, get off my blog right now and go buy it! Seriously. Check out my goodreads review of it.

In her book, Susan talks about setting a timer for just 15 minutes first thing in the morning and writing about anything. Freewrite for those 15 minutes about whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t have to be related to any current WIPs and it doesn’t even have to be fiction. Just write.

The past few days I’ve tried this, it has done wonders. I love being in the moment of writing, of experiencing new things with my characters, and I’ve missed that. It really improves my day if I get to be creative (even just for 15 minutes) before I have to go to work or deal with life stuff.

Try it and tell me in the comments how it works for you!


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!

July Camp NaNoWriMo

Are any of you guys participating in Camp NaNo this summer? I didn’t get to do it in April, but I’m all set for writing the second draft of Ghost Hours next month. If any of you want to add me to your cabin or message me, here’s my username: phantasmagoricviolet

I don’t think the rewrite will be complete in July because it’ll be more than 50,000 words. I have my outline and research done, so I just need to start fleshing out the scenes and getting to work.

What do you think about writing a novel this way? Does the pressure or self-competitiveness urge you to write more or collapse your process? I love a challenge, so it’s very beneficial to me to have daily goals and trying to beat my own records. Just watch out about comparing yourself to other writers. No matter how fast or slow you write, you aren’t necessarily better or worse than anyone else. Feel proud of the amount that you can write right now and own that.

How to Write Fantasy Books

I started this blog 4 years ago:

This was back when I had just finished the first draft of my third novel (now Rynlee’s Song, it was called Flutesong back then) and I knew a lot about writing but didn’t have any books out, obviously. Now that I’m very close to publication, I’m realizing how busy the life of an indie author is, on top of my day job.

I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with 2 blogs, and it makes more sense to have the blog here on my author website. So, for the foreseeable future I’ll just be blogging here and I’ll still leave up the old site for anyone who wants to peruse my older posts. I just won’t be doing any updates on that one (let’s get real, I haven’t been updating it much this entire year anyway!)

Stay tuned here for writing advice, updates about my books, possibly some book reviews, news in indie publishing, and more.