Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have an obsession

I don't know if it's just me, but I have an obsession with office supplies.

For a long time, I honestly thought it was just me. As as kid, I used to get really excited about going school shopping. And once I had everything, I would derive sick pleasure out of busting everything out of its packaging and packing it in pencil cases and storing it in my backpack. Then, unsatisfied with just that, I'd have to break out my most exciting pen and the brand new notebook and start making lists or describe what I wanted to happen during that year.

(Off topic sidebar: Once I did write one of those letters where I predicted all sorts of awesome things like "You'll get a boyfriend" and "You'll make tons of friends" and other such things, which all pretty much happened that year. I'd completely forgotten about it until I found the note in my backpack at the end of the year and was so pleasantly surprised! Needless to say I wrote another note the next year, but it didn't work, and I didn't forget about it like the first one. Funny how those things happen, right?)

I am lucky enough to have friends with whom to share my addiction. Friends who walked the aisles of Staples or Office Max and got excited by the little things, like liquid mechanical pencils (not kidding) and then split the purchase so we each have one.

I don't get to go school shopping anymore. But I do have a desk at work that I've begun populating with amazing office supplies. This is what it looks like:
Mmm... pens, highlighters, sharpies, color-coded
paperclips – what else does a girl need?

Yes, that is an entire of jar of M&Ms in the colors of my university. Don't judge me!

So I want to ask, do you feel about office supplies like I do? Is there anything really awesome you can think of that I need to add to my desk? What other guilty pleasures do you guys have? Let me know in the comments!

As always, happy writing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

WIP Wednesday 5 (#writemotivation check-in)

This isn't really my fifth WIP Wednesday post. And, it's not really Wednesday. But, you guys don't really care about the particulars, do you?

Oh you do? Too bad. I can only do so much.

So this week I get to tell you guys how I'm doing on my writing! I am really high and really low. It's going very well and horrible at the same time.

I'm a bag of contradictions today, aren't I?

First the highs

I have written every day since my last post. Every. Single. Day. And I can tell you, that makes me feel great. Awesome, even. I've not let laziness or my weird sleep schedule keep me from it. Every day (well, mostly night) I've sat down and written.

This is HUGE for me, since I haven't been writing at all, let alone sticking to a ridged schedule like writing every day. It makes me feel like I'm on the way to rewriting my habits again (see Monday's post).

Now for the lows

I'm not really doing all that much. I put my goal at 200 words a day, which was a low bar to hit, I know. I did it on purpose because I knew that it was going to be hard for me to get back into a schedule of writing. And I'll admit it, some days, even getting those 200 words was really hard for me mentally.

And while I've written 200 words, sometimes more, every day, that doesn't really equate to a lot of words. So I feel like I haven't gotten much done.

And besides that, I've been running into way too many roadblocks. Times when I'm feeling uninspired or stuck in the scene I'm writing. I've been complaining a lot to my CP, who has graciously not told me how lame I'm being - at least not yet.

And I realized that I'm not going to be anywhere close to what I need to be writing come November, which scares me. NaNoWriMo looms over my head like a big, scary thing.

So what am I going to do about it?

I'm making a new plan. First, I'm going to spend tomorrow (my day off) to sit down and plot out my next few scenes, maybe even my full novel. This should (hopefully) allow me to not hit the wall  of I-have-no-idea-what's-coming-next-despite-the-fact-that-I-know-what-happens-after-that when I'm writing.

Then, starting on Sunday, I'm going to up my daily word goals by 200 words every Sunday. That will allow me to reach 1600 words a day by the time November hits. That should put me in perfect shape for NaNoWriMo.

Lastly, I'm going to spend five minutes a day plotting out and researching for my next novel - the one I'm tackling in November. I'm doing that because I'm terrible at plotting a book ahead of time. And that means that I have SO MUCH WORK to do after I finish a draft. I'm currently on the fourth draft of my WIP. FOURTH!!! That's way too much drafting.


So those are my plans. How are your writing projects going? What goals do you have? Are you doing anything to gear up for NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

Happy writing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Habits

This is the first of four blog posts coming this week to make up for my missing one last week. And darn it, if I didn't blog three times a week like I said I was going to, I will at least have blogged an average of three times a week for the month. And that's just fine with me.

So, I'd like to talk about habits today. Funny little thing, habits. They can be the best thing in the world or your worst enemies.

For instance, it's generally habit to brush your teeth and comb your hair in the morning. Awesome habit so that you don't look and smell like a hobo. That's a good thing. But when you're trying to break a bad habit like biting your fingernails or picking your nose, oh lord can they suck!

This means for me, a person with an addictive personality, I'm constantly picking up bad habits. They're easy to form. Instant gratification always outweighs the long-term happiness of something.

For instance, I haven't been writing for months. Lots of months. Probably not really hard since last year's NaNoWriMo. And that's a sad thing to admit, but true. So after months of not sitting down and grappling with my writing, it's my habit to just ignore it.

But I'm trying to change that. This month, as I've told you, I've pledged to write every day. And so far I have. Some days it's really hard. Some days I'm tired and I want to go to bed, but I've been doing it anyway. Getting my words in whether or not I feel like writing.

Research says it takes 66 days to make something a habit to a point where it's just automatic for you to do whatever it is you're trying to do. Cool huh? The payoff of forcing yourself through all this pain is it becomes easier! Hurray!

The downside of this is, just like you can break bad habits, you can break good ones too.

For almost an entire year, all I did was work and write. When I was done with work, I'd go write for three or four hours. On the weekends, I'd spend both days at my favorite coffee shops, writing. Hours upon hours of writing. It was so easy.

But I (obviously) broke that habit. And other good habits can also be broken the same way bad habits can be broken (but with surprisingly less work).

So, whatever it is you have in your hearts to do, do it. Do it every day. Don't make excuses. Just do it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

WIP ... Wednesday?

I realize this isn't Wednesday. I overslept yesterday and I had cooking to do before I went to work and I know these are lame excuses and I'm sorry, okay?

Besides, this is the first time in MONTHS I've had anything to report on my project. That HAS to count for something, right? (Please?)

Anyway, I know I haven't been writing. Sometimes, you just have to live. Don't get me wrong – I thought about writing. Literally every day (and yes, I mean the actual definition of literal there). Just because I wasn't writing didn't mean I wasn't thinking about writing. Of course it would have been better to have been thinking about where my story should be going, but that's beside the point. I was thinking about writing, darn it, and that's a good thing.

So, for the past several days, I have actually been writing. The first two days were not that great. In fact, they were terrible and near tear-filled. But I muscled through, and I actually had a pleasant time writing last night before I went to bed. It was so nice and refreshing to be enjoying myself again.

Also on the radar: I think I've come up with the very shaky start of a story idea for NaNoWriMo this year. Yeah, I'm already thinking about that. Which is a good thing, because if it was suddenly halfway through October I think I'd have to have a panic attack. I work best on NaNo when I can let a story idea marinate. I don't necessarily plot or do anything of that sort. But just having it on the back burner somehow makes it so much nicer for me come November.

Anyway, that's all I have to talk about today. I'll be back tomorrow when I get back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Happy writing, folks!

(Also, how are your WIPs going this "Wednesday"? Are you doing NaNo this year? Do you have a story idea? Let me know in the comments!)

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's worth it


I read several blogs last week that focused on writing a sequel under contract. About how hard it is to be writing under expectations. People have believed in your first book enough to publish it, others have read it, and both want more out of you. People have expectations that it be good.

Enter PRESSURE.

Here are my thoughts on the issue, as posted on The Intern's blog:


I'm an unpublished author and have thought of these things. I've been told before about deadlines, about the need to get things done on a strict time schedule. I have read countless blogs and tweets from other writers doing the same things. 

And yet, I don't think it's a pressure that one can truly understand until one is in those shoes, staring down the deadline. I used to be a reporter for a newspaper, so I know all about deadlines. Maybe better than novelists. I have had an hour to get something done that needs to be coherent, intriguing, grammatically correct, factual and have no inconsistencies - all knowing that people will be READING it in just a few hours. So I know about deadlines. 

However, being under contract to write something that people enjoy, that they will hopefully fall in love with. Something that will take a lot of time and effort. That is something of which I still don't know the full extent.

But as an unpublished writer, I would say just about anything is worth getting published - getting that first offer of someone wanting to print your book. It's the goal of every unpublished offer. And yes, there will be consequences after that. Things like deadlines and working under contract and have immensely more pressure than before. But I think writers need to remember they were once unpublished, as I am. That they once would have given an arm and a leg (Well, maybe just a leg? Arms are useful for writing.) to get published. Remember that it's totally worth it. 


So, I'm curious: What do you guys think about the pressures of writing under a deadline and a contract? Is this something you've considered before? Have you experienced something like this? Leave a comment with your thoughts.