Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Writing my way through January

Yes, I've been quiet. That's because I've been writing.

After all these years reading paranormal and sci-fi romance, I finally gave in to writing one. What started as my side project in November during NaNoWriMo has continued to grow and flow. Thankfully. I even know how it ends and I'm only two thirds of the way through. Which if you're in the extreme pantser category like I often am, you know how much of a miracle this is.

The Last God has been fun to write, so far. I say that because things have been moving along so well, that I'm just waiting for either my ambition or inspiration to suddenly go dry. But so far, so good.

Once I get a better handle on how to spell my MCs name, I might even share a little about it. Yes, you read that right. I've spelled her name soooo many different ways that's it become rather a game of key mashing the general shape of the thing every time I use it. I had to say it last night at my writer's group meeting when I was passing out the latest excerpt and let me tell you, having to pronounce the name I haven't decided how to spell was pretty much a vocalization of a keymash. It's *mumble* Ja...*mumble* I'm happy to report the first two excerpts have been well received despite the name issue.

Other than happy writing away and gathering a few extra winter pounds, we've been searching for an exchange student for the next school year. As of yesterday, we may have secured one from Denmark. We're quite excited because she has the same interests as my daughter and when you have a nerd artist, that's not such an easy niche to match. Nerd artists tend to be shy and not go out for exchange student programs, not like the sporty kids do anyway. We should know in a week or two if we've made a solid match between our school, her family, and the exchange program.

I have been reading and watching but doing so much of both lately that I haven't been good about keeping track. Oops. I should probably get better about that again. I did manage to read 38 books last year, which, while I'd set out to do the 52 book challenge, is technically a fail, is a lot more books than I made time for the year before. That's a my book. (Ouch, I know.)

Friday, January 6, 2017

One Word Resolutions

In 2012 I happened across the idea of a one word resolution to carry me through the year. It's worked fairly well because, well, its one word and that can be interpreted in so many ways. It's hard to fail. Not that I haven't, but it's harder than saying I'm going to lose weight or work out more or eat better. More of a theme for the year than a specific thing.

So let's see, 2012 was the year of Less. This helped me overcome my habit of over obligation.

Healing from that problem, 2013 was the year of Me. In which I focused a little more on myself instead of doing everything for everyone else.

2014 was the year when I said I would Write. Remember when I said I failed? Ahem, this was that year. Shit happened. Goal denied.

2015 was sort of a do over year. I tried to work toward solving my problem from the year before by choosing Time. Making time to do the thing I wanted to do: write. Because, well hell, no one else tells you to sit down, stop doing all the things, and write. You have to do that yourself.

After all the stress relief and making time, Relax was my word for 2016 and I'm happy to report that went pretty well. I bought myself a comfy chair in which to spend my mornings. I met up with friends for lunch now and then and connected with others, enjoyed local breweries and the winery, took some days off from work beyond weekends (something I rarely do). Lots of deep breaths, a few massages, and lots of dog snuggles.

And this year, yes, six days into it, I finally have made the decision on my one word. Life has been busy, but it's been a good sort of busy. My kids are growing up and don't require every waking hour of my attention. After fourteen years of volunteering, I'm down to one pseudo time sucking school-related obligation. I have my own space for me time. I've decreed mornings before 9am are my time to write, and woe to anyone who disrupts that sacred hour or two.

So this year, my word is Enjoy. I say this surrounded by incense, which I haven't used in a very long time, but love smelling. The candles are lit. My feet are up. There's a furry warm blanket on my lap and a sleeping dog on the floor beside me. I'm gazing at my own books on my desk while working on a new one. I'm thinking fondly of Tuesday nights when one of our favorite breweries has half off flight nights where we go meet our friends for a hour or two each week. My bills are paid. My lazy kid is in college and paying his own way (Yes, I know that doesn't make him sound lazy). My younger one is responsible to a fault, which is a vast relief after all the nagging I had to do with the other one. My husband's band is back out playing so he's got his own creative outlet to fill his time while I write. We spend the last our or two of the day on the couch together with our dogs, watching Netflix.

Right now, life is good. I'm going to enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: It's A New Year

December has been busy - as evidenced by my lack of blog posts. Ooops.  Here we are already,  a new year, another first Wednesday of the month...which means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.

I'd love to say that the next couple months of snow and frigid temperatures means more time inside in my writing chair, but there are chickens to take care of, dogs who want to play, kids to nag, a house to keep clean, and work do to. Nothing really slows down around here. Ever. So I must use the time I have in my chair wisely.

My NaNo fatigue wore off early this year, allowing me to dive back into writing The Last God and spending an afternoon at an author event, plotting out Interface and how to fix two short stories between selling books to Christmas shoppers. It turns out there are benefits to no Wi-Fi and forgetting to bring your phone charger. Yay productivity.

This month's IWSG questions is: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?

It's a toss up between killing all adverbs and start with action!

Yes, adverbs can weaken writing, but there comes a point when you're so intent on eliminating them that you're overthinking every word choice and how to avoid using adverbs and all productivity grinds to a halt, your writing sounds stilted and unnatural and you hate the thing you just created because of all the aggravation it caused in writing it.

Adverbs in moderation, yes. Kill them all, no.

And then there's the start with action! I can't tell you (I won't) how many times I rewrote opening scenes, opening chapters, deleted a chapter, wrote two new chapters... oh the aggravation, just trying to follow this rule. We word people take action as, you know, action! Explosions, car crash, gun shots, fist fight. But no, just start the damned book with something interesting happening. That's what the rule should say. But when we're starting this writing journey and we hear there's rules, we want to be good writers and follow them.

Start where the story gets interesting, not where your MC is on fire.