Friday, October 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!!!

I have a lot on my plate... and I'm in edits on my WIP.... but you know what?

 Screw it!

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

What a crazy year...

Ahhh.... another inadvertent absence in my blogging.  I'm terribly sorry to just bail like that!  Life has really been... um... interesting.  (In a scary and awesome way.)

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.

My 12 year old puppy, Abby, had an impromptu paw problem and needed taken to the vet for a semi-traumatic procedure and cauterization.

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.

My point? 

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

Busy busy busy...

It seems that summers are the hardest times to blog.  At least for me.  And this summer proves no different.

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

Casey: 1 / Self-Doubt: 0

Hey guys!  I'm so happy to be back! 

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 took a few months off blogging, as well as a semi-break from social media for personal/professional reasons, but also I was nervous about the WIP I was in the middle of drafting. 

 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

Taking a few weeks off...

I have had a few things going on lately, and have come to realize that I may have a few too many things on my plate... so I'm trimming back temporarily.

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! ;) 

Happy Writing!

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:

  1. Change your perspective.
  2. Try new things.
  3. Be optimistic.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Do more than you have to.
  6. Reflect, but do no dwell.
  7. Do it with a smile.
  8. Tiredness doesn’t excuse rudeness (or laziness).
  9. 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.

What happened?

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 was over at Writing Excuses today, and landed on the topic of Originality. *click here to listen to that podcast via*

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: )

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Infinite Do-Over…


I’m a writing slob, who found herself over-correcting into a control freak.

:D *ta-da!*

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

Smashbooking / Junk Journaling for Inspiration!


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:  *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…

newspaper journal… 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.*

I also like some of the ideas for how to attach notes and scraps in creative ways to your journal.

paperclip attachment

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


Happy Writing!!!

Late night self observation…

I’m sitting here, in my office.  It’s almost one o’clock in the morning here.  I’m a bit tired, but for some reason I find myself unable to settle down. 

I’m thinking about books I’ve read, or want to read.  Books I’ve written, or want to write.  I’m thinking about how hard it can be to find the time to do all the things I want to do. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy all of these things… and you know what?  I think I enjoy them that much more because of how hard it can be. 

I enjoy the challenge.

I like finding time to work my writing in.  I like that it doesn’t come easily.  I never really realized it before… at least not consciously.  Is that weird?

I guess I feel like I accomplished something when I had to fight to make it work.  Hmmm.  *sometimes I wonder about me*

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Back on track!

After being down with the flu *again!* for most of last week, I am happy to say that I am finally back on track! 

WooHoo! :D

So, my apologies for this nearly non-existent blog post... but I'm determined not to fall behind again so soon after catching up!

I have a lot of edits ahead of me... and a really...REALLY busy week looming.  But I leave you all with a song from my WIP playlist... its catchy.

Happy Writing!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Anti-Muse...

There is a point in every WIP, when the author sits down and looks at what they have written, and they think: I am a terrible writer. 

Take heart, dear friends.  The odds are, that you are not a terrible writer.  In fact, you are quite probably a great writer.  That voice is a trickster. 

The Anti-Muse. 

A nefarious little creature that resides in fear and self-doubt.

The only known way to rid yourself of the grasp of this dark and vile thing, is to persevere.  Push though the nagging sing song mockery of that little voice, and finish that WIP with determined gusto.  I promise, if you do, the Anti-Muse will surely starve. 

Hang tough, friends!

Happy and persistent writing!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In the thick of writing...

Another busy week has come and gone... how fast the time goes when we have high hopes for our goals! 

This Sunday finds me hunkered in my office, heater cranked to 75 degrees *my feet are cold*, my story binder and laptop close at hand.  Empty Diet Coke cans litter my desk and office trash can.  Crumpled scraps of paper here and there with snippets of dialogue and character notes. 

Classic rock plays softly on my mp3 player, old songs like Back in Black and Hot Blooded, peppered with newer selections such as Muse...

A wood wick candle burning on my end table.  Ebony Glow...smells like a wood burning fire place... a nice accompaniment to my flame heater.

I am still behind.   But I am still writing.  And I am still loving it.

See you next week...

Happy Writing.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Still typing away...

This week has been spotted with obstacles. 

First, the treadmill was non-operational for two days, and needed serviced. *that made me surprisingly tense* 

Then, I had a sleepless night, resulting in two days of zombie-like functionality *I'm kinda thinking this is the treadmill's fault, too*.  (plus, a co-worker brought cup cakes that day! yummo.)

And finally, I had a change in my regular work partner... that always takes me a while to switch gears. *people are so different, yo*

But there were good obstacles, too... like *ahem* Valentine's Day. ;)

I am not complaining, understand.  I am simply acknowledging that I have let this week set me back in my writing.  It's easy to do, and once you start, it is a slippery slope.  So, today, once the baking and cleaning is done, I am locking myself in my office.  The good news, is that through all the different distractions this week, my story has been yammering on to me... that elusive character has found her nagging voice, and we have come to an understanding... I have dreamt  of new scenes, and my subconscious has been working overtime in my absence... I have high hopes for tonight and all day tomorrow. :)

How are you guys doing in all of your goals?

(P.S.  Happy Writing, Friends!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

That Elusive Character…



We’ve all had one.   That character who’s voice you just can’t find.

Well… I’ve met mine.

I knew I needed this character.  She has been in the story since the original idea, but I just couldn't SEE her.  Couldn't HEAR her. 

She was eluding me… her creator… and I thought: how fitting.  You see, she is a deceptive character by nature.  She lies and manipulates everyone in her life… why should I be any different.

I have written her into several key scenes of my WIP, but she is still a blur.  Does this ever happen to you?

Writing stories is like an infinite puzzle, or Rubik’s Cube, to be solved.  Ever a challenge.  I love it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Don’t forget… writing is fun!


With all this talk of schedules, goals, and outlines… it is easy to forget that writing should be fun.  Why would you do it, if you didn’t love it, right?  Another lesson that I’ve learned, is don’t get so bogged down in deadlines and plans, that you forget to enjoy the journey that your story is taking you on. 

Writing is fun!

Getting lost in the story and characters in your world is a gift.  Sometimes when we worry too much about hitting word count, we are missing the bigger picture, and short changing our project.

I was down for the count a couple of days this week with the flu, and I gave myself permission to call in sick on these days.  No word count worries.  Yeah. I was that sick.

Well, a funny thing happened.

I didn’t worry about my word count.  I just wrote for fun.  I could have watched T.V. or read, but even sick, I chose my story.  It was actually my first choice.  I just ‘played’ with it.  It was quite fun. :)

I don’t know for sure, but I think I may have surpassed my word count goals even with out trying! (I stubbornly refused to look, because I’d called in sick. LOL)

Goals are so important!  But so is enjoying the process. 

Ah, balance… you are so tricky to master. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Recovering Writing Slob: Habit Five… Overload.

Okay, so continuing on with last weeks post: I'm listing off the things that I have learned about myself in the last year of writing/editing. Mainly the things that I do in first draft, that make things difficult in the editing phase. (I’m pretty much in the ‘trial & error’ phase of this little self-improvement project, so I will be posting changes and tweaks to these as I figure out what does and doesn’t work for me.)

My goal with this Writing Slob series, is to draft more efficiently, making edits less painful. My over all goal is to make all parts of the writing process as enjoyable as the shiny new idea phase! *how friggin awesome would that be?!*  I’m strengthening my writing and editing muscles here. 

I’ll start were I left off last week:

  I already covered the Writing Schedule, and Writing Log, and admitted to procrastination with the Progress Bar… but I only covered the Personal Writing Journal I started, briefly in the comments.  I had just added it that day, in fact.  I was sitting in my office, toiling away for hours, at a very low productivity rate.  I knew something was bothering me, nagging at the edges of my subconscious… but I could not figure out what-  now, up until this year, I have avoided journals and logs and all that blah-blah stuff as time wasters. I mean, we’re here to write, so just write already!  But sometimes, when you sit at your computer, or notebook, and just can’t concentrate… it is sooo much faster to take five minutes and work through the actual problem, then it is to try and force yourself to do work when your mind is someplace else.  It’s not a journal I keep every day.  Most days I just dive in.. but if there is something holding me back… I have found recently, that it is often helpful to just type what ever is in my head… get it out, work through it… clear the canvas… and get back to work!

writing log file scrivener clc

So, that said, I have a little folder at the top of my Scrivener file for my WIP that contains all of these little productivity tools… takes only once to set up, and then they help you stay on point… easy-peasy. ;)


Now, on to the next bad habit: Overload. 

FIX FIVE: Slow down. (a.k.a. ‘Why all this pressure, Casey?’)

I have a tendency to set myself up to fail.  I will give myself these huge goals, all excited and amped up to get to work, then if I have one bad day… or just a really busy day… I get too far behind to catch up, leaving me feeling like a slacker. Then I try to play catch up, which for some reason always backfires… usually in writing quality, but sometimes in other areas of my life. And when I do get to writing from this pov, I’m writing from a negative place… all stressy and pissy. Anyway, long story short, I have found that I need to slow things down.  Like a marathon runner… you have to pace yourself, or you’ll burn out before the finish line.

There are two ways that I have slowed down. 

The first, goes back to when I make up that handy schedule.  I look at my other schedules first.  My husband and I keep a family calendar.  It lists his activities and work plans in one color, and my activities and work plans in another color.  This is the Master Calendar that I look at before I schedule my writing time.   In the past, I would just schedule my writing time based off of my days off or time I could squeeze here or there at work.  But more often than not… I would completely blow off my writing on the days that hubby was off work.  I would rather see him. (no offense to my characters…but hey… he’s cuter. ;)  Also, I know that some of my day-job work days are busier than others… they can’t all be expected to allow the same amount of writing time (I mean, it is a full time job, and sometimes, a rather stressful one).  Ignoring these factors, always led to that negative catch up I was telling you about… never failed.

So, when I’m making up that writing schedule, I am looking at both our schedules and planning my writing time in a way that I still get to play hooky with my fella when we have days off… and I can breath a little at my day-job, while still keeping a daily writing schedule.  It was as simple as giving up TV here and there, and not expecting 5k-10k everyday… rather be happy with the usual 1k or 2k, now and then. Just because I’m not at work, or actually busy, doesn’t mean I have to pound out a novel a day. *who am I, James Patterson? Why the rush?*

I save my 5k- and 10k days for those days when I’m wide open… special days where I can order a pizza, brew some coffee, and hole up in my office. They are treats, and not work, this way. Just because I can write 10k in a day, doesn’t mean I should try to do it every day. (That said, I admire the hell out of people who can.)

The second way I slowed down is, I recognized the difference between writing actual scenes, and writing notes, or plotting,(credit to 2k->10k, yet again).  I can easily write out plot, character, or setting notes at a rate of 3-5k per day… this is no problem.  BUT- when I am sitting down to write actual scenes and chapters… I’m a lot slower. (getting faster with The Writing Metric used in “2k –> 10k", but still… I’m slower in draft than in notes.)  So, when I make my schedule… I keep in mind, am I world building? or am I drafting?  It matters to me. 

I posted my writing schedule last week, well here is how it has actually worked out so far:

jan writing schedule clip 2 clc

I did make a few changes… but mostly, I recognized the difference between nailing down the story I was going for, and actually writing the manuscript. (while I have several key scenes written, the word count for these days is not as important as the type of work I was doing.) Hopefully, this solid groundwork for my story will make the actual drafting a bit smoother, and the editing of this WIP won’t need to be the total overhaul that my last WIP needed! *time will tell*

At the pace I’m going, and with the changes I’ve made, my goal for the finished first draft of this WIP is March 8, 2013.  That is 16 days of prep, and 39 days of drafting. (at the end of which, the color coded draft, should make first pass edits less intimidating.) Wish me luck!

Writing is hard.  Balancing all the things we want to do in a day is hard.  But in the end, so worth it. 

Happy writing, friends!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Name is Casey, and I’m a Writing Slob…


It is finally time to start that new book.

I’m both excited, and nervous.

In my past WIP’s, I have plowed through the draft as fast as I could, with little planning save a day or so in advance per scene, and a vague Idea about where I was going.  I may know what I want my ending to achieve.  In my last WIP, I did have my ending early, and it made the book go faster.  But in most of my early WIP’s I never made it out of the editing phase. The story crumbled.

My last WIP made it farther than any of my others… and let me tell you… it got bloody.  I was in over my head with my own careless bad habits. 

I may be a tidy person at home… but as a writer, I have learned that I am a slob on the page.  So I made a list of the things I do in draft, that piss me off in edit.

Fingers crossed this helps, I am going grey here!

I would also like to note that, while most of these ideas pertain to issues I struggle with, several of the ideas here are discussed/adapted from Rachel Aaron’s 2k->10k that I mentioned in an earlier post. (to read that post, click here.) That book came to me in a time when I was disgusted with my writing habits, as my days were spent cleaning up my lazy writing. So, you can tell, I’m a fan-girl.

I’m not going to talk about ALL of my bad writing habits in this one post, it would make you cringe… but here are a few changes I have already made:


I am my own boss.  I am my own employee.  To that end, I make my own schedule.  (I file this above my manuscript in the Scrivener file.)

It is a lot easier to hold yourself to a schedule if you actually make it. I’ve done it both ways, and trust me…HUGE difference!

(below is an example of my writing schedule)

jan writing schedule clip clc

SECOND: The writing log

this is straight out of 2k10k… but dude… I love looking at the numbers climb… this is feeding off of that NaNoWriMo energy of momentum.  You see your most productive times of day and places and can modify your schedule accordingly, or just see how far you’ve come. (I file this below the schedule in the Scrivener file.)

This weeks progress 1_14_13 clc

THREE: WIP progress meter

Okay, I was just procrastinating here.

wip progress meter 1_16_13 clc

FOUR: Editing Legend.

Totally customizable legend that I place in the “project notes” section on my Scrivener file.  (this is one of mine. and my personal favorite.)

In the WIP I just edited, I would constantly jump into a sort of ‘note to self’ narration mode that left HUGE chunks of text unusable in manuscript, and need total rewrites, not to save time, but because it was a bad habit I picked up from NaNo-ing… just hit that word count… go,go,go… well… no. I always forgot about it, and had to re-read my manuscript over and over to find them all.

This helps me see how much I’m setting up for edit, and helps keep me honest… no needless laziness… no hours of hunting for these passages.

Edit highlights during roughdraft

If I’m brainstorming fast in first draft, and on a roll with a plot or character point, I don’t take the time to write the detailed descriptions or dialogue that I want in the end, and I HATE re reading the entire piece just to find one little thing… (I value efficiency. I know, I say that a lot, but it is so true.) So I just look at my legend and highlight the entire section the appropriate color for the edit it will need. Scrivener has pretty much an infinite number of colors you can use, but I kept it simple.


It is not editing as you go, but it is a major tool when editing time comes to help blow that first pass edit right out of the way.  Cuts down on some of the manuscript scouring.

Plus it only takes two seconds.  Faster than even a note. :)

This is just a few of the things I’m doing to help boost my productivity this year.

As far as learning from my mistakes… I’m probably always going to struggle with the editing process, but I hope that I can get out in front of it with a little more preparation.  In the past I’ve never fully outlined my books, but after going through editing hell in this last year (and being thoroughly disgusted with my writing habits on the page), I’m willing to concede that to change the outcome, you must change the approach.

What are some of your bad writing habits?  How have you been working to improve them?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Shiny New Year!

Happy New Year (a little late) Friends!!!

I had a rocky start, but now things seem to be smoothing themselves out. *thank goodness!*

My goals for this year:

  1. Write everyday.
  3. Find an Agent.

  4. Sell finished book.

  5. Finish sequel.   *4 and 5 may be out of order...not sure*

  6. Start that other book I've been dying to write. :D

  7. Do all of the above list items while maintaining a clean house, a healthy workout schedule, and  a full time job.

Big goals, but I am going to work hard everyday to make them come to pass.  I am learning that if I give up 90% of my television time... the days seem longer. ;)

(I had a cute picture of my dog on top of a huge hill smiling down on all he'd climbed... but alas... google wouldn't let me load it.)

What are some of your goals for 2013?

Grounding the reader using "The Pyramid of Abstraction"

In my geekery on writing education, I have stumbled upon a concept introduced in both of these sources by Brandon Sanderson (whom I have ...