Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Habits and procrastination

Uhg. I have something to admit to you all. I didn't blog yesterday. There is a reason why.

What other tips and tricks do you guys have for creating good habits? Let me know!

Friday, January 27, 2012

On the up and up

Things in my life seem to be getting a little better.

First of all, check out the sexy new blog design! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and I'm hoping that will help with my failing ability to blog regularly.

Second, things in my life are coming back to order. I've started making lists every day of things to get done, and I'm actually working on them. I'm eating better again, getting chores finished and feeling good.

The only thing I haven't gotten back into is writing. But I'm still working on it. Because I want to get back into a routine where I'm moving forward on my work every day. It's a process, but it's what I'm compelled to do.

So tell me, what are you guys working on? What goals are you working towards? How do you work towards making those goals?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Give up. . . fail. . .

Happy Wednesday.

So, I've been failing. Like, hardcore failing here.

Remember a couple weeks ago when I was like, I have goals for January and I'm going to blog three times a week and I'm going to write a whole bunch and I'm participating in this thing with other writers (#writemotivation) and I'm so awesome?

Well, yeah, that totally failed.

But here's the reason it failed. I figured the easiest thing on this list (besides blogging three times a week, because, let's face it, I really suck at that no matter how good and pure my intentions. Go visit Sarah at Squidink if you want consistency) was to finish my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel which I haven't even got a working title for so I'm calling it The Contemporary Novel.

So here's the thing about TCN. I was really excited about the story when I started. I was excited about the plot and my character had voice and I hadn't written a contemporary novel in years (when I sucked more than I do now) and I could make references to things from this time (Dr. Pepper! Cheerios! Scrubs!)

But then everything went downhill. All the parts I was really excited to write weren't exciting when I got there. I was annoyed at my character who reacted much differently than I had wanted her to. It wasn't as much fun as it was at the start.

So, here I am, still writing the climax of the story, wanting to be doing anything else but writing it. That's sad, right? How can I hate this as much as I do?

I've never personally run into this problem with my writing before. I've been frustrated and known what I was writing ins't good, but this is new for me. My complete and utter hatred of everything that it is and the loathing of finishing it.

So I'm reaching out to you people. Has this ever happened to you? What do you do when it does? Do you know that it may be time to quit, or do you suffer through it and finish your work? I'm really curious to see what advice all you people have.

So, help?

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Goals

Happy Monday.

Man. Does it seem weird that it's 2012 already? It seems weird to me. Very weird. But, that means it's a new year and a chance for new things.

I have several goals for myself this year.

First, starting off with K.T. Hanna's #writemotivation campaign, several writers have made for January that we are all keeping each other motivated to make.

My goals for the month are:

  1. Finish my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel (I'm currently just past the climax).
  2. Finish the first three chapters of THE STAR RUBY.
  3. Blog three times a week for the month.
  4. Create one video. 
Doesn't sound too hard, until you think that it's already the 9th, and I just started on the first one last night. Oh well! I can do it. I think. Maybe. Well, we'll see.

For the year, my main goal is to finish my book. That's right. I want it done. Revised. To the point where I'm working on my query letter and beginning the query process. That's where I want to be by next January.

Along the way I may set other goals for myself, maybe on a monthly basis like #writemotivation.

So, tell me! Do you think this is an achievable goal? Do you guys have any goals this year, personal- writing- or reading-wise? I would love to hear about them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 5 books of 2011

Happy Friday, everyone! :D

So, I am pleased to announce that I completed my goal for the Goodreads 2011 challenge! I originally started the year with a goal of 30 books, which I bumped up to 50 when the first few months of the year went so well. Then, in the later months, I floundered a bit. I scaled back, but It's still more than the original goal, so I think that's okay.

So, for some fun, I though I'd list for you guys my Top 5 books of 2011. The best of the best. The cream of the crop. The. . . well, you guys get the idea.

DAUGHT OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor – You know how there's a book that you didn't really know anything about going in and then it all of a sudden blew your mind? Yeah, that was this book. My friend and CP Sarah (Squidink) read it in a day and swore up and down that I needed to read it. I dropped everything and did. And I was not disappointed.

This book is about Angels and Demons, but before you write it off as just another angel book, this one is so different that I almost don't want to call it an angel book, but that's what fist most closely. Laini Taylor not only created a world outside genres, but her writing is so good it's almost painful. It totally deserves the top spot.

SHIPBREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi – This truly deserves the Prinz Award in my mind. Dark and gritty, SHIPBREAKER is about two kids from very different worlds: One who is forced to break down huge oil ships in terrible conditions and who will probably die young in poverty and one who grew up rich but is being chased by those who would use her as political leverage.

It's a story about friendship and hope. It's about trust beyond its limits. And, it's about luck. A lot of luck, actually. The writing and world building in SHIPBREAKER are to die for. It's a great read.

GRACELING by Kristen Cashore – You know that book that isn't in the main stream but every time you hear about it, it's always good things? That's this book. It's one that doesn't get a lot of hype outside of the YA community, nor does everyone like fantasy as this book is. This book was recommended to me because, at the time, I was working on my own fantasy novel and needed some inspiration.

It was so good it nearly made me cry. It's the kind of book that you'll be reading, thinking it's similar to other books you've read, until you forget to bring it when you leave for out of town. And then you go crazy wanting to know what happened. Yeah, that's this book.

THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell – From the moment that I picked this book up, it grabbed me and didn't let go. An unusual genre in YA, THE VESPERTINE is a historical fiction. Set in old-time Boston, this book had everything I wanted in a historical fiction and none of the things that make me put them aside.

But Saundra is more clever than just that. Not only are there fancy dresses and parties and (gasp) boys who get paid to make up an even amount of people at dinner, there is also a hint of fantasy, a whiff of intrigue, and a bit of mystery. Oh, and to top it off, Nate is a completely swoon-worthy character. I loved him since the first scandalous moment. And to find out what that may be, you'll have to find out by reading. Oh, and also - it inspired fanart.

INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Hannah Moskowitz – This was a book that surprised me when I picked it up. Of course it sounded like a good book, but I seriously underestimated the power this book would have on me. Once I got into it, I couldn't stop myself from reading. I found myself thinking about it at work and staying up until three in the morning to finish it.

Among the credits to Ms. Moskowitz are brilliant and poetic prose, the fantastic idea of telling a story only during summers at one beach house, making characters painfully relatable, and some plot twists that I'm sure you won't see coming. This book made my heart ache – in beauty and sadness.

So that's my list! What do you guys think? Have you read any of these, and, if so, what did you think? Did you guys set and meet your own reading goals? Also, tell me what the best books you read in 2011 were.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Giveaway winners, Dear Future Me

Wow. You guys really like books, don't you?

I had an amazing response to this giveaway - 158 people for a total of 510 entries - so you guys are all book nerds. And I love you all for it.

So, to get to the point now, I'm sure you want to know who won, right? Of course you do.

So, congratulations to Mimz, who won the $15 book, and Juana Esparza who won the $10 book!

I have emailed both, and they will have 48 hours to respond before I choose a new winner. Thanks everyone for playing, and I really hope you stick around. I think this is a pretty nice blog, and I want to get to know all you folks out there.

So, for those who are interested: I participated in this interesting thing online called "Dear Future Me." Way back in July I was quitting my job with no plans for the future. All I knew was that I was very unhappy with my life and I needed a change. I had no clue what I was going to do. So, I wrote myself this email, and Future Me held it and sent it to me on the first of the year.

This is what I wrote:

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 5 months and 24 days ago, on July 07, 2011. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org

Dear FutureMe,

Right now it is July 7. You are one day away from your last day at the Enterprise. You are going home to Billings where you will be living with your parents.

Yeah, you're scared. You have no idea where you're going to be, if any of those publishing jobs will ever work out, if you'll be living with your parents for a while or only a few weeks. It's a scary road. You like things to be planned out, and this is one big question mark.

Can I just say, I'm proud of you. You may remember writing this and giggling a little at how weird it is to be so scared and yet saying this, but it's true. It took a lot of guts to just give up this job, and it took even more to stick with that decision. I'm hoping you do.

I hope things went well. I don't know where you ended up. Did you get a publishing job? Did you move in with Crystal? Did you go to Korea? I don't know that yet. Even if you're still at home, waiting for another shot at something great, that's fine. You have to let yourself screw up sometimes, girl. You don't ever let yourself fail. Give yourself permission. If you succeeded, I'm not surprised. You can land on your feet. You go girl.

So there. A letter to remind you that life is scary, but you can choose so many different things.

Happy new year, 24-year-old me.

How fun is that? Would any of you consider writing a letter to your future selves? I say go for it!