Week in Review – 2013/07/29 – 2013/08/04

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WRITING:

Taking the weekend off from writing is weird, yet refreshing. I dove in, teeth bared and wrote August 1st and 2nd. So far, this weekend, this post is the only writing I’ve done, strictly speaking. Even when I recharged on previous weekends I continued to write because of the daily WriMo word count goals.

I’m not saying AugNoWriMo demands less commitment. I like the accountability coupled with the flexible writing goals. I’m revved up because I’m much more excited to get back to it tomorrow. Score one for relaxing the brain.

READING:

I received the contest entries I need to read as a judge for the 21st Annual Heart of the West Writers Contest sponsored by the Utah Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It was a  great learning experience and enjoyed when I was a judge for the 2013 The Sandy Writing Contest for the Crest Butte Writers. I believe that order for me to become a better writer, I need to appreciate a story as a reader.

That’s why I’m making a point to continue my reading goals whether it’s through published works of fiction, non-fiction, contest entries, or fellow writers’ WIPs. It’s also a great way to give back to a thriving and supportive community. I’m grateful for the writers and other people in the industry that have helped me in my writing journey. It’s my honor to do the same for other writers out there.

NETWORKING:

Tomorrow and every Monday in August, Candilynn Fite begins hosting duties for #wipmadness on her blog.

That, the #ROW80 check-ins twice a week, along with other writing communities such as Ali Luke’s Writers’ Huddle, and SavvyAuthors, to name a few, I’m happy to stay on course.

My fellow cabinmates from Camp NaNo are continuing our collective spirit of encouragement via Twitter. The writing family continues to grow.

LEARNING:

Just got back tonight and while tomorrow is still a holiday in my neck of the woods, I will get back into writing mode, as promised (to myself, at least). I spent the late afternoon checking out the upcoming workshops at my home away from home on the interwebs, SavvyAuthors.

I need to curb my enthusiasm because there are so many great topics to learn but I need to keep it focused to my current projects. Even if I know there is a super-duper class on a genre outside of what I’m working on or even a later stage in the writing process (such as editing and querying, etc.) I need to save my time and money on the here and now.

Memo to self: use what resources you already have.

Keeping things light for the next thirty-six hours. Aside from my WIP and workshops, I finally have time to take up my guitar lessons.

How’s your August going so far?

August Writing/Reading Goals

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 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here we are in the third quarter of 2013. I can’t believe how fast this year’s flown by, though my carpal tunnel issues and back pain are constant reminders.

WRITING:

1) A couple writing challenges: WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER began on June 21st and runs until September 21st. Updates will be posted in my FRIDAY FORAGE series. AugNoWriMo is alive and kicking. Due to recent plot and game changing events with my WIP, I thought to skip this WriMo but am happy to learn that the flexible word counts are conducive to my new plans. At least I can continue my train of successful WriMos this year. 🙂

I’ll be working on the first 50 pages of my revised, revamped WIP, Aaralyn’s Song. Of course, I’ll keep writing beyond the first 50, but that’s my bare minimum goal for August. Writing 12,500 words is doable given my recent word count figures.

2) Polish & submit two short story pieces by August 31st. They’re complete and have both been workshopped. I’ll do final pass as it’s been awhile since I last read them.

3) Review old contest submissions of novelette and novella lengths. While I’m working on my Fractured Tales Series, I might as well shop these completed manuscripts so I can officially take part in the industry’s infamous Waiting Game. 🙂

READING:

Given my relentless schedule these past couple of months, I’m pleased to say I’ve read thirteen books since June 23rd. Not too shabby. This month, my reading will also include Beta Reading a fellow writer’s MS, critiquing fellow SCBWI member’s WIPs, as well some Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARCs) from NetGalley. I’m pleased to have received an ARC of K.M. Weiland’s forthcoming Structuring Your Novel. Read more about it here. The timing’s perfect to go with my writerly revamp.  

NETWORKING [formerly known as SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING)]:

I love the writing community and it continues to grow. Sometimes, it also feels like a small world because a bunch of us run in the same circles. Either way, I love the support and accountability with people who know exactly what I go through on a daily basis.

For August, the lovely Candilynn Fite will host #wipmadness for us every Monday on her blog. The #ROW80 check-ins will continue each Sunday and Wednesday.

Another bit of fortunate timing came in a new Twitter follower today. I followed back @nownovel which brought me to their site. It’s an online writing hub for fiction manuscripts from conceptualization to drafting. I’m going to give the free version a whirl but from the look of the three paid options, it’s likely I’ll make the eventual upgrade. It’s worth having a lookiloo.

LEARNING (formerly known as OTHERS):

Rather than change it just for yesterday’s post, I think it makes perfect sense to tell it like it is. All the other things I’d be doing aside from the three categories above naturally fall under the LEARNING category.

It goes without saying that I’m a huge supporter of perpetual education and I’m happy to be a SavvyAuthors member. Check out their snazzy new site. These workshops and the bonds I’ve formed with my fellow writers keep me inspired. I’ve also taken workshops through many RWA chapters, and while the genres might not be the same, the fundamentals are universal when crafting good fiction.

Here’s a rundown of what I want to learn and utilize this month (and beyond):

– Dr. John Yeoman’s Writers’ Village

– Ali Luke’s Writers’ Huddle

– Holly Lisle’s many courses, of which I have all but have not gone through yet. *tsk tsk*

– Udemy courses I’ve purchased (some on sale, some free, all pretty nifty)

Those were courses, workshops, and lessons. I’ve also severely neglected the following amazing resources of which I’m a member:

– Children’s Book Insider – The CBI Clubhouse has lessons, vids, and other services all put together in a great community.

– Writer’s Digest VIP Program – This includes great discounts (that I did take advantage of) but also access to WritersMarket.com

– Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – Got an email today. Free webinars and other great critiquing opportunities!

– Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers

– Canadian Authors Association

Again, this list is by no means exhaustive, but it goes to show just how many things we have at our fingertips that may get overlooked in the blur that is life.

These are all writerly, but I must include an oldie that needs to make a comeback, mi amigo Duolingo. Aside from learning a new language, I want to continue something I learned MANY moons ago, how to play the guitar. I’ll start late because my only access to a guitar is on weekends but I’ll be perusing the online course with Jamorama.

I think doing other creative activities will be a nice change of pace, especially if bogged down by all the words. At least this way, I can continue to flex my creative muscles and the inspiration continues.

If you made it all the way down here, congrats! You get a cyber cookie. This might seem like a lot for August. Keep in mind, I wanted to gush here and there about different things I’ve discovered. In the LEARNING category alone, I’ve got enough resources to last a year. I’ll pick and choose accordingly. Rest assured, my top priorities are the Reading and Writing Goals that are still quite reasonable given my previous months. I suppose it’s time I give myself a little leeway, don’t you think?

Here’s to August! May the words flow more than the potential tears from the tasks ahead. 🙂

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/31

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July draws to a close and I. AM. TIRED. We’re past the halfway point of the year. Can you believe it? I’m still climbing a steep hill on my writing journey. Fortunately, the continuous support in the writing community is making it worthwhile

WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Total for July: 90,436 words

Totals for April, June, and July: 254,295 words

These numbers are daunting. I won’t post them again for awhile to give my revised rebooted revision–yep, you read that correctly–a clean slate. All those words still have their purpose and many of them will find their way back into the finished product. I think starting August with a fresh perspective will mean I have less to live up to. No need to pressure myself and take the fun out of the writing process.

I still plan on keeping at least one day a week writing free. The plan is for Sunday to take that coveted spot, but I’m flexible, depending on the chaos that the week’s activities bring.

For August, my writing goals:

1) The first 50 pages of my Triple R WIP Book 1: Aaralyn’s Song. I certain can and will write more, but this is my absolute minimum. I want a solid and shiny start to the series. Plot holes be gone! Tight prose, crunchy conflict, here I come.

2) I have at least two short story submissions due at the end of the month. They’re written. I just need to polish them up real pretty and submit them. Easy peasy.

3) I want to dust off old contest submissions. Novelette and novella length pieces. They got positive feedback so I figure it’s a good idea to shop them around. I know there are submission call outs and my pieces are within the word count range.

Just three goals of many, but three of the most relevant at this time.

READING:

Here’s what I read this week:

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I really liked this book. Authentic voices and a fresh take on young love. I liked the alternating POVs from each of the main characters, though I got muddled a couple of times before realizing that it was strictly alternating back and forth. D’oh. Since no names were addressed right away per chapter, it took me a handful of lines before realizing who the POV character was. Another thing I noticed, and possibly just for the boy’s POV, it was written in first person past tense, but there were some passages that suddenly switched to first person present. Dunno why that was but I got used to it eventually. Overall, it was an enjoyable read and a nice escape from my daily grind (writing or otherwise).

Currently reading:

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Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 10

Non-Fiction: 3

I need to put my other books on hold for the time being because I’ve been fortunate enough to receive Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) from NetGalley and from an author herself. I’ll be reading those first and posting up reviews when the time comes. My original plan for friday posts (Pre-FRIDAY FORAGE) was to have book reviews. I think I might include that in the FORAGE as these reads are great finds, too. 🙂

I have three, at the moment, plus the MS that I’m beta reading. I think that all counts towards my continuous reading challenge.

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING ;) (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Thanks to Angelina C. Hansen for allowing us to check in on her blog for #wipmadnessIn August, we’re lucky to have Candilynn Fite host for us every Monday. Four Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and five Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

As mentioned above, FRIDAY FORAGE will soon include book reviews. I will still post updates for my summer writing challenge. I’ve been gathering some interesting sites and articles for upcoming posts, as well.

OTHERS:

Today’s OTHERS section is devoted to EDIFICATION. Have you ever registered for a course or workshop, perhaps purchased downloadable lessons, and so forth, all in the name of honing your writing skills? How often have you let a couple or maybe a few of them slip through the cracks? I’m at fault on this one, primarily because I enrol in more classes than I have physical ability to stay on top of aside from my daily obligations. Other times, because some of them are self-guided, it’s so easy to put them off and before you know it a year’s gone by. True story.

I need to reevaluate all the resources I already have at my fingertips and make use of them before I start enrolling myself in any more classes or buy anymore downloadables. I kick myself for discovering that I have similar products and the money could have gone towards something else. This is a lengthy process, but it’s necessary, especially since it was an investment made in the first place. I want to make sure it’s money well spent, not carelessly forgotten. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize the value of what you have even if it’s right under your nose, or in my case, on my laptop computer.

To that end, I will go back and truly appreciate the following (These will also be mentioned in upcoming FRIDAY FORAGE posts):

– Dr. John Yeoman’s Writers’ Village

– Ali Luke’s Writers’ Huddle

– Holly Lisle’s many courses, of which I have all but have not gone through yet. *tsk tsk*

Udemy courses I’ve purchased (some on sale, some free, all pretty nifty)

Those were courses, workshops, and lessons. I’ve also severely neglected the following amazing resources of which I’m a member:

Children’s Book Insider – The CBI Clubhouse has lessons, vids, and other services all put together in a great community.

Writer’s Digest VIP Program – This includes great discounts (that I did take advantage of) but also access to WritersMarket.com

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – Got an email today. Free webinars and other great critiquing opportunities!

Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers

Canadian Authors Association

There are more. Like I said, it’s a long process to sift through all that I have. Hello, Self. It’s me talking. You aren’t paying annual dues for nothing, ya know!!!

More on this tomorrow in my goal post–ha! See what I did there? I’ll devote the first of the month, as usual, to all that I’d like to see happen and want to focus on during the month itself.

Happy Hump Day, everyone.

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/10

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WRITING:

Camp NaNoWriMo and JulNoWriMoTweeting updates with @JulNoWriMo and #CampNaNoWriMo. Every Friday until September 21st, I’ll be writing update blog posts for WRITE YOUR NOVEL THIS SUMMER.

Fractured Tales Series Word Running Total for July: 28,329 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 192,148 words

Tried different POVs this past week. Might continue this way because the story is too grand to have my protagonist in every scene. Also, I’m sure I’m not the only writer who’s had a ‘middle of the night’ epiphany linking events from Book 1 to events in Book 3 (which is but a twinkle in my eye, at the moment… twinkle and brief outlines).

READING:

Loving my reading revival. Here’s what I read this week:

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Currently reading:

20120201-book-beauty-sleep     76171     22232

I just realized how disparate these titles are. LOL

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 7

Non-Fiction: 3

SOCIAL MEDIA-ING 😉 (formerly known as BLOGGING):

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness are every Monday In July. One Sunday #ROW80 check-in and two Mid-Week Check-Ins.

Friday, I’ll continue my new column FRIDAY FORAGE and will go through my third week of summer writing updates.

After attending an Author Chat at Savvy Authors, I learned many new things that will go towards mending my love-hate relationship with Facebook and how to best forge a relationship with readers out there. Author C.J. Ellisson was faboo–people still say that right?–and is hosting Reader Clubs. I joined her event for July and it’s coming up on July 24, 2013. I suppose I should have mentioned this in the Reading section above but it’s social media related as I’m linking to the impending awesomeness over at Facebook.

These are writing related but also part of my edification as a writer. Aside from my continuous workshops–super helpful when I get the chance to work on assignments–I also joined Ali Luke’s Writers’ Huddle and am cozying up in Holly Lisle’s Forums for that added oomph, support, and accountability. They join Joe Bunting’s Story Cartel Course and Dr. John Yeoman’s Writers’ Village. I’m in good company.

OTHERS:

In the words of Grantaire, “I am agog. I am aghast.” Okay, so here’s the deal, Duolingo. I’m not mad at you. I’m not ignoring you. Promise. When my brain’s more sorted with my Fractured Tales Series and all the words of other fine authors that I’ve been absorbing, you and I will have words. And hopefully in Spanish.

Week two of July is almost up and I’m getting into the summer writing groove. Whatever ailed the household is almost gone. In fact, I’m more than ready to kick it to the curb already. Press on, I must.

And how are you today?