FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/10/25

5 ITEMS ON MY BUCKET LIST

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( via sacchinpink )

One of the original purposes of this blog was for me to share my writing goals. Well, nostalgia’s hit me in a big way these past few weeks and I took a step back to think about those really big goals in life I want to accomplish. My bucket list is quite extensive, but here are five very important goals that stand out the most.

1) Have a happy and healthy family. I can hear the ticking of the ole’ biological clock. I still find it hard to grasp that my contemporaries, some whom I thought would never domesticate themselves, are heads of big families now. It really puts a timestamp on things when even the Sisterhood’s friends (and they’re twelve years my junior) are mothers and fathers. I love children, always had an affinity for them. Despite all my hopes and dreams, I believe that having children would be an immense accomplishment.

2) Share my stories with the world. I was chuffed when my short humor pieces were published earlier this year on the interwebs. Still counts and I’m running with it. 🙂 Be it flash fiction, novellas, books, or movies, I’ve got so many stories I want to tell. Since life itself is a WIP, I’m hoping this one comes to fruition.

3) Learn as many languages as possible and travel the world. I’m currently working on this one, as well. Having lived on three continents, I’ve always loved to travel. The Sisterhood has the travel bug, as well. We’re doing a smash up job so far in our travels, but wouldn’t it be amazing to be free to travel everywhere and be one with the people?

4) Oscar. Once upon a time, I held one in my hands. This is a big goal, but if we don’t dream big, aren’t we just limiting ourselves and stifling our creativity? Oh, I’ll also be content with an Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Pulitzer… I’m not picky.

5) Learn more about from whence we came. As with everything here, nostalgia comes into play. I’ve always wanted to learn more about my family’s history. When I hear the colorful past of some of my ancestors, it just makes me want to dig further into the past. That, and watching Who Do You Think You Are? and before that Canada’s Ancestors in the Attic, genealogy is definitely on my list.

=8=

What do you have on your bucket list? What are the things you really want to accomplish in this life?

FRIDAY FORAGE – 2013/08/30

The Dawn of the -BER Months

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As August draws to a close, we step into the last quarter of 2013. Let’s think about that for a sec. While I marvelled at how some stores were stocking Halloween candy yesterday, my sister told me that Costco had Christmas decorations already on sale. Where has the time gone?

I played catch up this week on all things writerly. I have the rest of the month–less than 36 hours–to map out my September goals which include the official launch of my FRIDAY FORAGE series. I think I’ll call it the FF Five and have links for five creative items, blogs, articles, or websites. I don’t want to limit myself to writing finds. I’ve discovered how beneficial non-writing experiences has had on my writing life. Anything I find that inspires me I’ll share in hopes that it will inspire you, as well. Haven’t decided yet if I want to have themes. We’ll see how it goes.

Now that eight months have blurred by, how have you gotten on with your goals? I’ve reached goals, made new ones, had setbacks, defied odds, cried, wrote, panicked, laughed, and kept chugging along.

I’d like to stick to my goals–more on that in Sunday’s post–but I don’t want to completely shut out new ideas. And boy, they just keep coming. As the seasons change–the last couple of days felt quite Autumnal–I’ve found that my writing process changes, too.

Once upon a time, I used to interpret that change as indifference or impatience, resulting in shelved manuscripts. My writing experience this year, through this blog and networking with others in the writing community, has taught me to breathe through my writing. I let things develop organically now. When I put a WIP aside, it doesn’t mean I’ve given up. Often times, I’m more energized and excited to return to a project once I’ve had time away from it. Much like reconnecting with an old friend.

I’ve made several new friends this year. The characters and worlds I’ve created are dear to me. While I’ve accomplished many goals I set for myself in 2013, many others morphed into new goals or had to be reassessed. I don’t consider these changes as limitations, but rather an acceptance of what needs to be done at a certain point in time. In an ideal world, I’d just write all day without another thought, but as we all know, life gets in the way. I’m learning to balance things out more in order to appreciate my efforts in all areas of my life, writing or otherwise.

I’m tired, exhilarated, scared, excited, and optimistic of what’s been done and what’s to come. I hope that I continue to be inspired in the days ahead.

Adiós, August. September, I’m coming for ya.

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.

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:

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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.