Sunday, December 4, 2016
Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and I am a little sad to see it go. I love November. I love the guilt-free late nights of writing. I feel less stress about ignoring dirty dishes for that thirty day stretch. And I love the buzz of excited creative energy that tends to accompany NaNoWriMo season on Facebook, Twitter, and of course the NaNo forums.
Crisp fall leaves, brisk air with a hint of fire place soot, seeing your breath for the first time all year, hot cocoa, reading and writing by a crackling fire, and a fresh stack of newly typed and printed pages. Add to all that the beginning of the holiday season, and I am in my very favorite time of the year.
I didn't win NaNo this year, but I did reboot my writing process. I'm back to working on it daily (even if just notes in a notebook), which had slipped off and on this last two years. I been working, but things would arise and I would stop for a month here, a few weeks there. I hate not writing. I never feel satisfied, no matter how clean the house is... I'm always a bit off. But when I'm writing everyday, I feel very content. And I managed to fill some gaps, and rewrite an unsatisfactory beginning this NaNo. That's right, I cheated... I used NaNo to add new material to the book I first drafted in 2013 before life got more hectic. But I'm committed to this book, so until you can find it in your local Barnes & Nobel, it is what I'm working on.
Hope you're all doing well, and Happy Holidays!
Happy writing as well!
Friday, October 18, 2013
I love NaNoWriMo! I'm going to do it!
I may not finish. I may regret it. But the idea of letting this November pass me by without immersing myself in the creative abandon that I enjoy so much just makes me sad... so I'm going for it baby!
I'll edit my work in the mornings and make my night time the play ground for my NaNo-ing.
Hell yes. :D
I love writing. That is all.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
I have always taken a long beat to think before sharing too much personal stuff here, since this is a blog about writing... but you know what? This is a blog about balancing crazy ol' life with trying to launch a writing career while working full time and having a healthy personal life. So... yeah, okay... I can share a bit more... :)
I hope that I don't bore you with this. *wink*
What a whirlwind of a year!
Just a quick recap:
I had surgery with a longer recovery time than I'd hoped for, which really screwed up my running routine more than I could have expected (with an unsavory side effect of a little weight gain).
A family member broke an important bone and needed to move in for a few months.
My company shut it's doors forever forcing me to find, not only a new job, but a new career.
I researched, dotted my i's and crossed my t's and launched my own business. (Which I love!)
I have started a writing group that meets every weekend with a friend and fellow writer from another town.
She cried. I cried. :(
She's fine, and actually has eaten quite well since we got home an hour ago.
And I have one more piece of really exciting news that I cannot yet share... but stay tuned!! :D It's really good.
Life happens. It's crazy, and messy and there is always one more thing. Timing is never perfect. There is always a reason to put aside writing. And that is one way to go... but I feel that no matter how crazy and hectic life gets... as long as I take a tiny bit of time... even if its just a half hour or and hour... I'm making progress.
Just because I haven't met my really tight deadline for publication, doesn't mean I'm not working towards it and making progress.
I will not be too hard on myself anymore. AND I will not give up. I've said it before... I'll say it again... tortoise and the hare baby!
I actually take great joy and comfort in the moments when I am done with my day, or my day has yet to begin, and I can steal a few moments to go into my office and work on re-polishing my WIP.
I do miss blogging, and I hope to be able to return to my weekend posts... I feel like in some ways the dust is starting to settle... but in others... the dust is just beginning to get kicked up. But no matter what happens, I hope to take it all in stride, and be the best version of myself that I can be. (and maybe encourage others in the process.)
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I'm on a time crunch this morning, but I thought that I would start my day by sitting down and typing a quick note here. I have a writing meeting today, and I am in the midst of remodeling my home, so it's rush rush rush... you guys know how it is. :)
I am happy to report huge advances on the home repair project, and sad to report the slight toll that they have taken on my revising project... but there is a light at the end of the tunnel... and I am staying positive.
What is that runners saying? "No matter how slow you run, you're lapping everyone on the couch."
Well, I think that can be applied to getting out your query letters too. ;)
Happy writing, friends.
Friday, August 2, 2013
I hope you've all had a wonderful summer! I can't believe how quickly it seemed to go!
While I am not quite where I hoped to be at this point in the summer (seems like I never estimate enough time for my projects), I am done with the draft, and working with some friends on getting the manuscript in good order.
|I've officially moved from the desk, to the comfy chair and ottoman. :)|
I tend to get lost once the story gets to a certain point. I think most of that problem was in my head. You know?
Almost as though I was afraid to have too many things going on for fear of jinxing the book. So, I hunkered down and powered through as best I could with everything going on. In the midst of that, I realized that I have let myself become moderately superstitious about my writing... and this I need to work on. I've never been one of those people (at least not consciously), but I think it was my fear overstepping.
But, while my inner self-doubt and fear may have pressed me a little more than I would like to admit, I didn't give up. Honestly, I felt so sick of this story and its challenges at times, but at other times it really surprised me and helped me through some of the changes that are going on in my professional life. These characters really have come to mean a lot to me. (Even the antagonists... hell, some days especially the antagonists!)
Over the last month, I have shared my WIP (for the first time during this project) with my husband, my sister, and a friend. I have swallowed some ego (honestly, it hurts to see your baby criticized no matter how constructively, at first... am I right?), and been psyched to see how it has made the book better! It has a ways to go... really... but I am so grateful for the continued (and awesome) feedback from these brilliant people. :)
Currently, I'm meeting a fellow writer, and friend, once a week to go over sections of the book, and I'm working on polishing it into a tight/smooth read. This is the part of my writing skill-set that I need to strengthen the most. I look forward to improving in this area. :)
So... that's pretty much what I've been up to. How about you guys? Have you kicked any self-doubt-butt lately?
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I have my WIP to polish, and a Query letter to perfect and send out (July is my goal, here), and personal things that need a little extra attention.
Shouldn't be more than a few weeks... hope to have good news when I return! ;)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Last week, I talked about Originality… but the more that I thought about it, the more I realized what I was actually worried about wasn’t a matter of originality, it was a matter of perspective.
When I was going through college, I started keeping this little notebook. I would write thing in it to keep me from getting too overwhelmed by the culture shock of a homeschooled girl from rural Ohio being out in a crowded and busy world. By the time I was in EMT school (3yrs later), I had a pretty good sized list. As I was thinking about last weeks post, I realized that the ‘list’ easily converted to writing life as well.
I won’t bore you with every item on the list, but here are a few:
- Change your perspective.
- Try new things.
- Be optimistic.
- Do more than you have to.
- Reflect, but do no dwell.
- Do it with a smile.
- Tiredness doesn’t excuse rudeness (or laziness).
- Don’t make others pay for your bad day (not even characters).
While there are several things on this list, I think they are really all just different ways to remind myself that when things stop working, or seem difficult, really all you need to do is take a step back and look at it from a whole new angle.
What is there that you didn’t see before? There is always some small piece of the puzzle you(either willfully, or inadvertently) don’t see.
This is helpful with many things, but this last week, I applied this list to my concerns that my story may not be original enough… there is no shocking thing that I came up with to offer the fictional world. I didn’t re-invent the wheel.
I sat back and looked at my story, and instead of only picking out the one or two things that reminded me of other stories that I have read over the years, I looked at the big picture. I looked at my side plots. I looked at my ending. I looked at my hooks. And I felt better.
While we’re talking about it, consider this: While the story is initially what grabs you when you chose what book to read, isn’t it the characters that keep you invested? Why?
That is too complex for a simple answer from me, so I’ll answer this way:
Say an EMT goes on a squad call. The call comes in: MVA with fatalities. Happens. EMT gets there, no survivors. SO and coroner clears the scene, so the EMTs start to load the DOA, (typically into a body bag directly onto a backboard. Easier to carry a broken body). This is routine.
The EMT looks over, while fastening the cot straps, and sees a copy of Bag of Bones by Stephen King, laying on floor of the passenger side. Blood sprayed across the mangled cover. The same book the EMT was reading just before the call came in. They stare at it for longer than they mean to. Swallowing became a little more difficult. They start to notice other things then. The dog toy in the road that fell out of the back seat during extrication. The ripped baby blanket with all the shards of broken glass on it.
The perspective changed.
That body ceased to be the job, and became a person.
If you can find a way to do that in your story… make your reader shift from reading about a character/story to reading about a person… the problem of originality ceases to be a problem.
What do you think?
Sunday, April 28, 2013
I have been editing and rewriting my WIP, and have had that fear (that writers are prone to) that my story may not be original enough. I mean, I think my story is unique in it's own way... but really... everything has been done. Are my characters individuals? Does my storyline have enough to offer the fictional community?
Where do you draw the line between Influenced by, and Derived from? Is one adapted voice, while the other is fanfic?
It is a very uncomfortable and tricky subject, as they say in the above podcast. I don't want to be one of those people that 'tries too hard', nor do I want to follow the market. I just want to write stories.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
(If the above link doesn't work: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/07/02/writing-excuses-7-27-the-problem-of-originality/ )
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I’m a writing slob, who found herself over-correcting into a control freak.
But seriously… It’s a thing. I had a loose, and moderately sloppy manuscript to start with. So I went looking for ways to hone my craft, and while I am convinced that most of the changes that I had made to my writing schedule were very helpful to my process, I inadvertently fell into that sand trap that is … *drum-roll* … the over plotted story.
Don’t panic! It’s okay… I mean, I did have a pretty crappy couple of weeks where I didn’t understand what was happening. Something was broken with my story (or me! At times I thought that I have even forgotten how to write), but I couldn’t tell exactly what.
Soooo… at first, I just floundered about… giving myself permission to write/edit badly… no pressure. After all, I can always revert back to the original drafts, right? (Grr, I hate feeling like I’m wasting time… so this is hard for me to relax and let go… but necessary!)
Interestingly enough, I started writing scenes that didn’t fit with my current story, but a much much earlier version of the book… like from months ago! And it was better!
So, while I do feel that a lot/most of my new writing/ scheduling habits have been very helpful in my productivity and organization… I have to be very careful here, not to over plot my stories into rigid, emotionally stunted works.
That’s writing, isn’t it? Just when you think that you have it down, it chuckles at you and reminds you who’s boss. ;)
My goals for this (and last) week was to polish/edit the first 60pages of my manuscript. I spent the first three days feeling like I was stuck on one side of a thick glass wall, while my story, and characters were on the other side, just out of reach. Thankfully that feeling has passed, and as I sit here today, I’m not at that goal, but happier with my story.
I ultimately lost nearly 40 pages of manuscript. I’m going to go a little slow on the repairs/re-writes. Partly because my basement flooded with all the rain, and I’m going to be shampooing carpet until it smells fresh again *lol*, and partly because, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
So, my new goal is to have the manuscript changes made, and the revised draft done by June 1. If I get done early, yay! If not, I can enjoy the process at a nice pace.
Tortoise and the hare, baby. ;)
By the way, did you guys happen to notice the sweet playlist over there? *courtesy of Spotify… I just learned how. :) --->
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Okay, so last night, while I was unable to sleep… I was perusing Pinterest for some creative charcoal sketches… I love charcoal… and I stumbled across a journaling technique called “Smashbook”. (It’s like scrapbooking and journaling collided at a high speed with an open bottle of glue.) Some people call it “Art Journaling” but I think that is a bit more advanced.
I then remembered something that I had read on The Paperback Writer’s blog… and here is that link: http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2013/03/writer-junk-journal.html *she is always doing crafty and awesome things… I marvel at her time management skills!*
I fell in love with the idea! I basically have been doing it for years on my corkboards… but there always comes a point when the board needs cleared… so now I will just throw all my writing art and what-not's into a smashbook journal for that WIP.
super fun as far as procrastination goes, yeah?!
Here is a link to my Pinterest collection of Smashbook-ey things… http://pinterest.com/caseylynnclark/sketching-drawing-journaling/
… and while it’s neat that they make special books to do this with… I am all about the homemade ones… some are made from old newspapers! I love that! I have so many art and crafty things here that I will be making my from recyclables … adds characters. ;)
(I would credit this pic, but the link was dead. sorry to whoever took it!)
Here is a cute blog about her journaling: *she calls hers a “junk journal”… I love that.* http://www.johwey.com/2010/04/21/junk-journal-1/
I also like some of the ideas for how to attach notes and scraps in creative ways to your journal.
This girl just manipulated a paperclip to attach a card… rubber bands work… some people just sewed the cloth or pages directly to the book with a neat zig-zaggy stich! I love it.
I think I shall take this day, blare a little music, and work on some crazy journaling. :D