Where did they all go?

I’ve been doing a lot of online research lately, not only for the Urban Fantasy book I’m writing under Anne, but also on website design, blogging, author business planning, creating editorial calendars for blogs and book publishing, and various genre rules that I shouldn’t break but probably will out of ignorance to the rules.

But all that isn’t the point of this post. Nope, the point is that I want to know where they all disappeared to and why?

Who you ask? The authors, silly.

One day they’re there going strong, the next day they’re gone. Vanished. No website. No books. Nothing more than a memory and a few small ghostly footprints left behind by their passing. Like the fading gravestones in a cemetery. Slowly, ever so slowly worn down by time and elements, fading away. Only in fast forward.

Damn that morbid.

Of course, this strange phenomenon made me think of the writers I met when I finally joined the online world back in 2008. Do you know what I found?

Maybe a handful of those I knew are still writing and publishing. Everyone else has disappeared, or stopped writing from what I can tell. Their website sit neglected, pathetically crying for attention. Even those that seemed to be making descent money from their book sells are  gone.

I know last year was hard on all writers, but it still makes me sad to think of all the writers gone, all the good books I will never get to read because life happened or they gave up.

But it also made me realize something about myself. No matter hom much I might want to give up some days, no matter how little I’m making, I’m not smart enough to my sinking abandon ship. I’m determined to stay and apparently drown, because to be frank my ship has sunk and is sitting at the bottom of the ocean waiting to be salvaged.

But that doesn’t matter anymore, because of something else I realized this week. No matter how little I’m making writing. No matter how much I may bitch and moan to my writer friend until I’m pretty sure she is now avoiding me like a plague carrier. No matter how little time I have in the day, my butt will always find it’s way back into the chair and my fingers to the keyboard of a computer. Hell, give me a pen and paper and I’ll write you a story longhand. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Which reminds me I should probably get that notebook out of my work pants and type up the notes in there just in case. I’d hate to relive the washing machine debacle of 1996. That perfect idea for a story would have made me famous if my mom hadn’t washed it. JK, I doubt it was that good, but my 16 year old heart was sure it was the greatest idea of all time.

Anyhoo, the point I’m trying to make is that I’d rather be writing then almost anything else, and the one other thing I would rather do… Well, I’m not got to mention it here. Now I’m really curious to know what you guys would think my favorite activity would be? I’m also scared to ask. I’m not going to ask.

Instead I’m going to embrace my writing as a hobby and let the business aspect  take a flying leap. 😀

Listening to my Inner Writer

You would think after twenty years of writing, I would learn this simple lesson: Listen to your Intuition, your inner writer knows what it is doing. But apparently I haven’t, or maybe I should say, that it is harder than I thought to listen to the whispering voice that is telling me that I have to do something differently with the story.

the_warlords_daughter_1_webShortly after finishing The Warlord’s Daughter in January, that small niggling that something was off in the story intensified. As I worked through the scenes of The Scout’s Captive, that feeling grew stronger. By the first week of February, the niggling that something was off had become a shout to “Stop!”

Unlike last time, where that inner voice was telling me that there was something wrong with plot of the story, this time it was making a suggestion that I completely ignored. Why? Because I’m frugal with money and I didn’t want to waste paper or ink printing off everything.

So I had this burning desire to write the next part of the story and every time I sat down to do it I totally froze up. My inner writer was refuses to let me go any farther until I paid attention to it. Which is why I took the time to print out all the books, spent the last five days not writing so I could reassess the elements and structure of my stories, and making any structural changes. I got the idea for this from Twin Creatives.

I might have lost a few days of adding new words to the books by debating the merit of every scene I’d written or that I planned to write in all five books, but in the end it was worth the time I took away from writing.

the_scouts_captive_2_webThe story structure really needed to be assessed because there were more than a few scenes that needed to be moved, added, deleted or merged. There was an entire section of scenes in books four and five that needed to be moved, merged, and deleted that made me glad that I hadn’t started writing them.

The unexpected changes that I made helped tighten and improve the story plot of each book, and reading through a hard copy of the stories also helped me understand the main plot of each book better. However, the changes to The Warlord’s Daughter shortened the books significantly, but I prefer a shorter story that moves the story along then a longer one brimming with filler scenes that don’t progress the plot. The Scout’s Captive, The Rebel Queen, and The Empty Throne gained quite a few scenes that enhance the plots of each story instead of taking away from them.

One change that I really didn’t expect was that I realization that the order of The Rebel Queen and The Empty Throne may have to be switched, but I’m going to wait until I’m a little further along before making that determination. I believe the only book that didn’t change much was The Lost Heir.

The small drawback won’t affect my goal to finish writing all five books in The Queen’s Rebellion Series this year. If anything it will help me finish them before their deadlines and get them ready to be published next year.

Wishing you all the best this February,

Inside the Writer’s Mind

I may look like I’m doing absolute nothing, but there is a myriad of shit happening in my head. I’m observing and cataloging anything that catches my attention. I’m creating worlds and destroying them. I’m giving birth to new characters and killing them. I’m watching the maelstrom of ideas swirling around inside my brain, plucking out the ideas that will work for my current project and tossing in the ideas for future stories. I’m trying to catch the gentle whispers of the muse telling me to take this twist or that turn in the story. I’m trying to ignore the niggling voice of that critic  who told me that I’m doing it wrong, that I’m not good enough, or that no one will like what I’m creating. I’m holding tightly to the joys and excitement of telling the story while trying to ignore the doubts and fears. I’m celebrating the moment that everything clicks into place and I know where the characters are taking me.

And that is just the writing related stuff in my head. Once you add the ranch, the girls, hubby, extended family, friends, and any other personal stuff, it’s a little crowded in there. 😀

mygirls

I’m working hard not to let the every distraction, big and small, derail me from the story I was born to tell. Reading, TV, hubby, and the girls are my top four distractions. But how can you say no to that? LOL

It’s hardly surprising, with all that happening inside my brain at any given time, that it sometimes takes me a bit to realize what my writer’s intuition is telling me. It usually comes down to that burning desire to write the next part of the story and totally freezing up when I sit down to it. As if my writer’s intuition refuses to let me go any farther until I pay attention to it.

January 2017 in Review

Welcome to my first “In Review” Post! Personally, this is something that I usually do at the end of each week so I can stay on track with the goals I made, but I thought a weekly post about what was working, what wasn’t, and how I could improve on a goal would be too much. Instead I’m going to do a monthly “In Review” posts, unless that gets too annoying and I decided to post this every 3 or 6 months.

Now, not all the goals I made this year were writing related but the ones I posted here in December were. My hope was that by publishing them and making monthly assessments on how I’m doing with them, I will rock these goals!

We’re about a month into 2017 and this is how I’m doing so far:


My Writing

Writing at least 300,000 new words this year (doesn’t include words written for blog posts or website unless it was something creative): I am using a Excel program from Svenja Gosen to track my word count goal this year. I’ve used this spreadsheet on and off every year since 2014.

Total Word Count for January: 34,633
Total Word Count for 2017:
34,633

Finish writing 5 books this year (this doesn’t include editing or publishing them. That will come after I finish writing the entire series):

the_warlords_daughter_1_web the_scouts_captive_2_web the_lost_heir_3_web the_empty_throne_4_web the_rebel_queen_5_web

As of January 16, 2017 the first draft of The Warlord’s Daughter (due February 1st) is done. It came in at 97,149 words. 

I started The Scout’s Captive (due April 1st) January 16, 2017. I have 51,102 words written so far.

The other books will be: The Lost Heir by June 1st (about 58,000 words written); The Empty Throne by September 1st (about 10,000 words written); The Rebel Queen by December 31st (about 10,000 words written).


Books I Read This Month

One of my goals is to read at least 50 fiction books & 5 non-fiction books. So far this year I’ve read 5 fiction books and 1 non-fiction book. The last one was a short story that caught my eye.

    

  

Happy Reading y’all!


My Other 2017 Goals

Nurturing my creativity by spending more time doing fun things with my family because downtime is therapeutic for the creative brain: I’m doing better at enforcing Family Time during the evenings and on weekends. I decided that I can always write after everyone heads to bed or get up earlier in the morning. 

Unplugging from the electronics on the weekends: I’ve been inspired to write on the weekends for a few hours in the morning or at night. They are usually blog posts as they are the easiest to return too when I’m interrupted.

Be a better writer and develop my writing craft by taking at least 1 writing craft related ecourse or workshop before the end of the year: I haven’t even started this one because I’m afraid of a repeat of the last two seminars I attended online (going somewhere isn’t an option I’m even considering) because:

  1. When I spend money for the event like I did for the first one, I expect to gain some benefit from it and get what was promised me. Even though this seminar was aimed at helping writers promote and market their books, There were only 2 speakers in the whole lineup that had any advice for fiction writers and another 3 had advice that could be modified for fiction writers, but most of the speakers focused on marketing and promoting books for self-help writers who wanted speaking gigs. 
  2. If I sign up for it, I need to know that I can be there for the lectures. The second seminar that I signed up for started on a Thursday and went until Saturday. I had nothing going on that week and planned to watch them, either live or as a replay. It ended up being a busy weekend and I missed most of the seminar. I found out later that the link for the replays only lasted 24 hours so I didn’t get to see most of them. The only plus side for that seminar was that it was free and research for a series I plan to write in the future.

I really want to take a few classes that I’ve had my eye on for a few years now, but I’m afraid to do it because my schedule can go from empty to chaotic in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to start a class and then not have the time to work on the assignments or attend the lectures. If I’m going to take a class then I want benefit fully from it.

Writing and maintaining a work journal each writing day: I started this in December last year after I started to read Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I combined this with how I was using my new planners and tried to keep it going through January but by week two of the new year I knew I needed to do something different. I’d start to write an entry, get distracted or interrupted, and never returned to the journal. So most my entries looked like this: Worked on fixing scene between… (can’t begin to tell you who) or I need to remember to… (not sure what, I can’t remember).  I tweaked this goal a bit and tried it again. It’s working much better now but I’m not quite happy with it.

Be more disciplined in my writing by writing something (story, blog post, letter) every weekday but not feeling too upset if I don’t write something one day because sometimes daydreaming is working too: I have 27 days where I wrote and 4 days where I wrote nothing. Most days I wrote something in my current story.

Create an inspiring work space by keeping my office area/desk de-cluttered for better working and creating a desktop slideshow of inspiring quotes and pictures for my computer: I figure this will be an on-going goal. Right now my desk/office area is mostly clean, except for the pile on the left side of my desk. I’m still looking for pictures or quotes that inspire me to add to my desktop slideshow. 

Work on my time management by using the planners I created and bought, setting writing goals at the beginning of every month and reviewing them daily to see where I can make improvements, and sticking with the daily work routine that I created to mesh with my family’s schedules (to be tweaked as needed).: My plan for the planners failed two weeks into using them. They weren’t helping me manage my time, they were a time suck that took away from writing time. I downsized to one planner and decided that I would switch off to see what one I liked better. I started by taking all the goals I set for myself and breaking them down to actionable steps to make it easier to incorporate into my life. 

Be a healthy writer by keeping the daily exercise routine I started, making healthier meal choices, and drink more water.: I could do better with this one. I substituted the time it takes to feed the cows and load the hay truck with my normal exercise. It’s the water situation that I need pay more attention to, which reminds me that I need a drink of water.

Okay, I’m back.

Maintaining my meditation and affirmation practice I started in 2016.: I found that I love meditation and it was something that went really well with walking during the summer months. Now that it’s winter, I’m having trouble sitting still and my meditation practice fell by the way side. I tried a 30 Day Affirmation Challenge in January but I really hated the affirmations they choose. I want to create my own affirmations for February. 


So there you have it! All my 2017 writing related goals. 😀

I would love to hear about your goals for the new year if you’d like to share?