Archive for Discussion
Welcome back to Writing Wednesday! Every other Wednesday I’m checking in on progress with my manuscript, and setting new goals for the weeks ahead.
Last Writing Wednesday, I set some fairly ambitious goals for myself. They may not have looked like much, but for me they were a challenge. Here’s how I did, and why I have a lot of work to do:
Process goal: Word searches, journaling, or listening to music – 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week
How I did: I didn’t track this quite as well as I should have, but I do think I managed to get in some word searches and music time at least 3 days each week. Honestly, this is the category I struggle with the most, because I do a lot of process-seeming things (like phone games) that allow me to turn my brain off, but I never know if they should count.
Process time is supposed to get the brain flowing through an activity that frees up some creativity, if I understand it correctly. Personally, I do some of my best thinking through working with my hands, which is why historically I’ve tried to do coloring or things like that as process time. But I needed something more readily available, and I recently subscribed to a word search magazine, so I figured I’d give that a shot. I love drawing the lines and hunting for words – it’s soothing.
So does that make it process time or self-care? I need to go back and re-read Around the Writer’s Block.
Self-care goal: Exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week
How I did: Okay, time to pick a new self-care activity! I had the best of intentions, but it just didn’t happen. And now that I’m working on a massive tattoo on my left thigh, the next month is going to involve more healing than working out, so next time I need something else. EPIC FAIL.
Product Time goal: Writing or researching, 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Target tasks
Belle Epoque research Update names
- Get to end of Act I
How I did: I did fairly well, though not as much as I’d hoped last week. The first week I managed 3 days, and last week I did more thinking than dedicated writing. Which is fine, and I should probably give myself credit for that, so I’ll say one day. My critique group is back in full swing now, and I’m up for discussion this weekend, so I’m keeping my goal the same so I can continue making forward progress.
For my target tasks, I had to update my MS a bit with new character names. I finally decided to move my book out of Chicago, where I had originally set it, and into Paris during the Belle Epoque era. I just wasn’t excited about Chicago, and it never felt right. Paris is my favorite city in the world and having a setting I love will be much more fun to write.
That meant I had to update some names. Minor characters all got new French first names, but I’m sticking with my main characters’ names for now. I’ve grown so attached to them, and since they are classic I hope they will work. If anything, I’ll just give them an interesting backstory to explain it.
Goals for the next two weeks:
- Word searches, journaling, or listening to music
- 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- 20 minutes in bed before lights-out, every night
- Shake my thang at Smart Bar one night this week
- Writing or researching
- 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Target tasks
- Outline updated plot/beat sheet
- Write 2 new scenes, minimum
- Organize pages to send for critique
For any of my fellow writers out there, feel free to join me! Post your own goals below or on your blog, and check back in two weeks. I hope to cultivate this as a place of support and encouragement no matter what kind of writing you’re doing. Good luck!
I’ve been away from blogging for a little while, and at least partially because of my constant struggle to write what I deem to be adequate reviews. Does this sound familiar? You finish a book, and sit down to write a review, but you can’t think of anything to say. Maybe you beat your head against the wall, maybe you flip through the book again to see if anything comes to you, or maybe you just give up and don’t write anything.
Here’s my process:
- Finish book, swim around in all the feels. Isn’t this glorious? Let’s just stay here forever, you and I, my little booky-wook.
- Jump on Goodreads, give it a snap judgment star rating. You’re welcome, book.
- Wait two weeks, so that you read at least a few more books that will muddle your memory of the book you need to review. Book cries a little.
- Get calendar reminder email that you need to post your review. Experience a bolt of fear normally reserved for seeing a spider in your bed. Book feels the residual shock and flips you the middle finger.
- Fire up the computer, crack knuckles, and enter all the book info. You’re on a roll! This is going to be a piece of cake! Book says it’s sorry and gives you a hug.
- Stare blankly at the screen, wondering where to start. The cursor blinks incessantly, and book just stares at you.
- Type a couple of lame sentences summarizing the plot. Hooray! We’re getting somewhere!
- Decide you hate those sentences, since the plot is summarized already in the synopsis. Delete them and stare some more.
- Re-write the summary sentences, since people probably won’t read the synopsis anyway, or they already know what the book is about, in which case why would either of those groups of people want to read a review anyway? This is stupid. I hate you, book. Book sticks its tongue out at you.
- Think of the three nitpicky things you briefly thought of while reading the book and write those down, stringing it together with awkward transitions (making heavy use of headers), and getting frustrated with your stiff phrasing. Why can’t you loosen up already? It’s probably book’s fault. You give book the evil eye, and book collapses in a puddle of shame tears.
And who wants that? Nobody, that’s who. Especially poor, sad book.
Of course if there was an easy answer for how to write reviews easily, there’d probably be an app for that. (And if I’m mistaken, and there is already an app for that, please point me to it immediately.) I realize that I have personal faults that directly contribute to some of the above teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing, like waiting too long before actually writing the review, and not taking notes. But I have a hard time taking notes while reading, and sometimes I like to let a book breathe after finishing, so I don’t jump to too many conclusions right away.
So what’s a girl to do?
Seriously. I’m asking.
Are notes and speedy reviews the only answers? What do you do when you struggle to write a review?
It’s the last day of 2013, and I have never been more ready for a new year. 2013 had a lot of ups and downs for me, in so many ways. I am so happy to be perched on the edge of a new beginning.
Ruby over at Ruby’s Reads wrote a post yesterday about her long hiatus from blogging, and it really hit home for me. Life got hectic, I lost interest in a lot of things (including blogging), and when the time between posts kept stretching and stretching, I started to think maybe it was time to let it go.
Last year I started to feel the weight of keeping up with post after post after post, and this year, it was the tech side that got to me. I moved to a new hosting service, and it created a lot of weird characters through almost all of my blog entries. I couldn’t find a solution, and it quickly brought down the high I’d had from moving my entire site over to Bluehost all by myself. My fist pump of victory turned into a sad half-hearted junior high slow dance.
I am determined to move on, however. I’m fixing the problem as I go back to old entries, but I’m not going out of my way to search through hundreds of old posts just to delete out some oddities. It’s almost 2014! Time for a clean slate!
So where have I been? Goodreads, mostly. I’ve become crazy active on that site – joining groups and actively participating in them, doing buddy reads, and entering challenges and competitions that have pushed me to read more than any other year. In fact, I’m trying to wrap this up so I can go back to reading and hopefully knock a few more books off my list.
In 2014, I’ve decided to track all of my book challenges on Goodreads. I set up my own page (group, really) there to keep my lists organized, and I’ve found it much easier to check off my lists there instead of on the blog. I may do a post in the future on the different groups I’ve joined, but in the meantime, if you’re curious, here’s a list of where I’m a member. The Goodreads crowd is a lot of fun, and they are so creative with ways to keep reading fun.
Tomorrow I’ll have a post up summarizing my challenges in 2013, and I’ve updated my widgets and challenge page on the blog. Here’s hoping I can squeeze another one or two in before midnight!
Happy New Year to you all!