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:

FLIPPED 331920     

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:

THE SPARK 15798364

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.

Week in Review – 2013/07/22 – 2013/07/28

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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 Running Total for July: 73,138 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 236,997 words

My revised outline is much stronger. It’s important not to get too attached to a story idea. There are new twists to twists I’d previously made but I like the new developments. Things are shaping up nicely for my August redraft. No pressure to get all these words and set them aside while I try to get all the best bits and weave them together. Lowballing 12,500 words makes it an attainable goal. I can already see myself doubling that number. Of course, I’ll just keep at it and hope for the best.

I also have my Fast Draft WIP in the works. That’s off to a good start but I’m not quite in the fast lane, just yet. I think I’ll split up the 20 pages into manageable writing chunks throughout the day–if The Keysmashing Tots cooperate. They’re growing up way too fast and are making it trickier to slip away. Their acrobatics and their burgeoning sibling rivalry requires a constant referee/observer. Only the younger one takes naps–short naps– in the afternoon, and they’re sleeping late.

Who needs official writing challenges when these two challenge my writing time every day?! 😉

READING:

Currently reading:

FLIPPED 331920     THE SPARK 15798364

Next up:

WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432 

(Although, I have read a few pages of each to get a taste of what’s to come.)

  

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

I didn’t read as much this week, so I’m still in the middle of my books. I don’t feel bad, however, because my writing’s flourished. Nice trade off.

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

A final July check-in on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness. I wonder who’s hosting for August? I’ve joined up in a handful of communities already that have overlapping check-ins that I have constant accountability for my writing goals. It’s a great motivator. Four Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and four Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

OTHERS:

There is no reason you can’t find time to write. Case in point, the waiting room at a dentist’s office. I used to be able to lug my laptop or iPad around, but my back injury is acting up so I didn’t to take anything heavy on the commute. Enter the trusty notebook and pen. I managed to squeeze over four pages (after I transcribed them) while waiting. It was highly satisfying. When I got home, I tried the same thing and the elder Tot grabbed the pen and now I have some artistic additions to my notes.

So, Keysmashing or Notebook-taking, at least the kiddies are into creativity, as well. It’s good to get them started early. 🙂

The weather makes for lazy days but I’ll sit and sweat more bullets as I continue to write.

#ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In 2013/07/24

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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 Running Total for July: 60,170 words

Totals from April, June, and July: 224,029 words

 

Headway on the outline revision and HOPEFULLY steering this ship in the right direction. Believe it or not, it’s okay to be excited and terrified at the same time. I am and I’m okay with that. 🙂

This next bit goes in my unofficial Edification Category, but it falls under the WRITING umbrella:

1) I’ve taken part in Savvy Authors Summer Hike hosted by the wonderful Cathy Yardley and it’s another great way to have ongoing support and accountability as I achieve my writing goals. Since I surpassed the 50K word count goal awhile ago, I decided to spend the rest of the month revising my outline. It’s going to be like playing Jenga or Tetris with words. [SIDEBAR: I looked up the proper links to associate with the games and found this. Amusing, considering my previous sentence. I had no idea it existed.]

August, rather than WriMo myself into a black hole of Writer’s Burnout, I’ll give myself a little extra time to make sure my outline is solid. It’s something I’ve never quite done in previous WriMos. I shall not pants my plots anymore. Not even Bermuda shorts. I need to be rigid to ensure a smoother writing experience. My goal is to write and polish the first fifty pages of the novel by September 1st. That’s 12,500 and far less pressure on myself than I’ve been dousing since the start of the year.

2) I went back to that scary wildebeast of an assignment. There’s still a ways to go yet but I’m making progress in the outline’s refinement. Progress is always a good thing.

 

There are other activities and challenges that I’ve taken up and I’ll post updates in the next couple of posts. Good things ahead because it’s all things writerly.

 

READING:

Currently reading:

FLIPPED 331920     THE SPARK 15798364

Next up:

WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432 

(Although, I have read a few pages of each to get a taste of what’s to come.)

  

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

 

Not freaking out that I haven’t finished a book yet this week. I have my own to work on. I’ll be a Beta Reader for fellow writers’ manuscripts and I think that’s an interesting endeavor. I’ve done it in the past and it helped me appreciate the skills I’ve learned and honed, as well as appreciating a story as a reader. I say this counts as as part of my reading challenge. I’ll be pulling double duty because there will be edits and critiques involved. Reminds me of a teacher who asked me if I wanted to be an editor. I certainly wouldn’t mind. These tasks, reading and editing, they’re just a couple of ways for me to improve my own writing.

 

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

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness continue every Monday In July. I’m a newbie compared to how long my fellow WIPsters have been at the grind. This week we celebrate book deals, query submissions, and just getting the words on the page. We should all be proud of our efforts. Three Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and four Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

I’ve been on the lookout for insightful articles and websites for my FRIDAY FORAGE series. I’m not sure if I’ll post them during my summer writing challenge but it couldn’t hurt. The interwebs are a cornucopia of knowledge. I’m enjoying the scavenger hunt, so far.

 

OTHERS:

Duolingo is something I’m going to take a peek at on the weekends.

Speaking of… staycations. Weekend getaways either geographically or just in your own backyard. I highly recommend them. Get this, after the zany non-stop action with The Keysmashing Tots, you’ll never guess… I. Had. Fun.

Unbelievable, I know. But fun was to be had, rest was taken, my eyes, my back, my carpal issues. Come Monday (technically. Sunday night when I got back to the tykes), I had renewed energy and out of the gate, the words flowed with more ease than in the last fortnight. As part of my writing goals for the summer, I decided that, come August, I’ll take the weekends off, or at the very least, keep Saturdays as a catch-up buffer day, but Sunday is a writing-free day.

Did I mention how highly I recommend this?

 

How’s your July 24th?

Week in Review – 2013/07/15 – 2013/07/21

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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 Running Total for July (as of yesterday):  52,984 words

Totals from April, June, and July (as of yesterday): 216,843 words

I aim to tackle that writing assignment again in the workshop that helped me see the error of my ways. I also have more specific goals to outline as it pertains to another writing group’s summer session. When those are up and running, I’ll post them here.

At the very least, my goals for two out of three writing challenges have already been met as I’ve exceeded the 50K word count I set for myself this month. I’m going to spend the rest of the month restructuring my plot outline to make sure that the scenes I wrote fit organically and that my character and overall story GMC is ironed out. Next month, I’ll work on my revised plan. More preparation, less stress, I think that’s a better combination for what my schedule is looking to be for the next few months.

READING:

Here’s what I read this week:

22232     lovestargirl

Currently reading and on deck:

FLIPPED 331920     WIRED FOR STORY 13126099     THE SUPERNATURALIST 45432     THE SPARK 15798364

Total books read since June 23rd:

Fiction: 9

Non-Fiction: 3

The numbers aren’t bad considering I’m unofficially taking part in the 30 Books in 90 DaysSo far, I’m ahead of schedule in that regard. The good thing, too, is that all the reading has helped with my plotting issues in my current WIP. The reading continues.

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

Check-ins on Angelina C. Hansen’s blog for #wipmadness continue every Monday In July. Three Sunday #ROW80 check-ins and three Mid-Week Check-Ins, so far.

My FRIDAY FORAGE was–to me, at least–shining, shimmering, and splendid. The week began on a low point and ended much better for me. With everything happening with my writing and home life, it’s good to remind myself that it’s okay for goals to change, to make certain adjustments here and there as life throws those ever-loving curveballs at us. The end goal remains the same, it’s just the method of getting there that changes.

OTHERS:

Duolingo is going to have to wait awhile longer while I fix my WIP glitches.

On the upside, this weekend involved a cleansing staycation at a hotel and I was treated to a much needed massage. It’s nice to have getaways with the Mothership and Sisterhood. Two days now without diapers and the children’s voices and scampering about were of those I didn’t know. It’s like I’m in a different country but the brain is recharging and the excitement to write is returning. Tomorrow–or rather, tonight–is already the start to another intense week, but I think I’m better prepared for it this time.

Tonight, the weekend ends with the Sisterhood and I taking part in a feast of fowl, a banquet of birds. Seriously. According to the blurb from the restaurant, we’ll be dining on 8 birds served 13 different ways.

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Is the eighth bird chicken? They didn’t even show the eighth bird, why?! Please be chicken. Egads. I think the only chicken at this dining experience will be me. Here’s to new experiences, right?