Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January updates on the resolutions and writing

January has been a flurry of activity toward my one word goal for the year: Speak. First up, a fun interview at The Contents Page where I discuss noisy chickens, my writing process, and Sahmara.

With book 4 of The Narvan wrapped up and in incubation, I'm preparing (by which I mean procrastinating until the last minute) to dive into a rewrite of Not Another Bards Tale this February. I've joined a 30,000 words in 30 days writing challenge. You might be saying, "but wait, February isn't the month for that, being only 28 days and all." True enough, but what's another 100 words a day? Stay tuned for updates on the 30in30 challenge.

My 2018 author event calendar is filling and plans are fleshing out for the two events I'm organizing this summer.
March 10 - Herrick Library MiFi Writers - Holland, MI
May 4-6 - Penguicon - Detroit, MI
June 9 - Fandom Fest - Benton Harbor, MI
July 6&7 - Michigan Authors at the Lakeshore - Muskegon, MI - Tentative
July 15 - Detroit BookFest - Tentative
August 4 - Michigan Authors at the Lakeshore - Holland, MI
September 9 - Kerrytown Bookfest - Tentative

After a meeting with the publisher of A Broken Race, I'm regaining the rights to that book and will be publishing a second edition with additional content in the coming months. The Narvan contract is still up in the air as of this moment as they are restructuring/refocusing and have offered options. Updates to follow.

That meeting also spawned the idea to gather all my previously published short stories into an anthology. The print rights on all of those have returned to me so now its just a matter of sitting down and making that happen...in my free time.

How are you doing with your resolutions?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Best Writing Advice Of 2017

As I creep into the new year, I'm still working on a project from the old one. I'd hoped to have it finished, but the story isn't quite done with me yet and I'm pondering where to end it. I think I got that figured out yesterday, but I'm guessing it will be at least another 10K to 15K before I get there.

What I wanted to talk about here though, is a little line of advice I read last year that helped me get to this productive point where I've cranked out 95K in just over two months. I'm sorry that I don't remember where I came across it so I can't credit it properly, but it comes down to this:

Touch your writing every day.

You don't have time for a two hour writing session every single day?  Take a few minutes to touch your project. Read the last paragraph, write a couple sentences, read over the last scene, write a paragraph, sit with your words and consider what you'll write next.

The problem many of us have is we get a new sparkly idea. We binge-write until the sparkle is gone. Then the real work of maintaining plot, pace, and character sink in. After that, writing a chore, it's work, the words might not come as easily. We have to stop and think more, plan ahead, consider, contemplate. All of that takes time. Time were we may not be actively pouring out words, where we feel like we're not accomplishing much of anything and maybe we're wasting our time. Time most of us don't have much of to begin with.

When the urge isn't there or other obligations swallowed your usual writing session, make yourself sit down and touch your words.

Make small steps until the story starts to flow, ideas start to click and the plot and ending reveal themselves. Percolate. Stay familiar with your story.

Don't give in to the urge to set aside your writing for a day. That day turns into two, and three, and a week, and on and on.

Having practiced this for a couple months now, I'm having a much better time making the writing happen. I used to mostly write in the morning and call it good. Now I've added touching my words at lunch and sometimes after work or dinner. Writing once and touching here and there, it's made my time in front of the keyboard much more productive. I hope it will help you too.

What's the best writing advice you came across last year?    

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: January and 2018 Goals

 It's a new year, and it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! 

This month's question is: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

My publishing schedule has been rather up in the air all last year and I don't foresee this year being much different as a good deal of it depends on my publisher. There have been editors coming and going, restructuring, a new backend interface, a move, and  other delays for various reasons. Ah, the joys of working with a small press. If I had to sum up last year in one word, I'd go with frustrated.

As to writing related things under my control, I do have a schedule. I write every morning Monday - Friday and quite often on the weekends too. I try to touch my WIP at lunch and again after work. My goal is 1000 words a day. Coming out of NaNo, where I managed roughly 2K a day for the month, half of that feels quite doable. December saw goals met and we're onward into January. How that will play out once I get this current rough draft completed, time will tell. 

February is slated to be a 30 in 30 month (or 30K in 28 days in this case... or 28 in 28, but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.). I hope to be working on rewriting Not Another Bard's Tale, a silly fantasy story. The problem is I went all experimental with it originally, and while it's a fun character piece, there's no cohesiveness. It needs a much stronger plot to pull it together.

At some point, likely the point with the worst timing, I'll be getting edits back on the first book of The Narvan. 

I'd like to get NABT and at least book one of The Narvan out into the big world in 2018.

As to other goals, that brings me to my One Word for the new year.

Speak. Mostly speaking up when I've had enough. I started in on this already at the end of November, by asking for help for next year, outsourcing, delegating. I'm also hoping to organize an author event in my town with my local writing group, and perhaps assist with another nearby. In May, I'm going to Penguicon and sitting in on some writing panels. On a smaller scale, I'd like to get back into my weekly blogging schedule. 

Past One Words have been:

2012 was the year of Less. This helped me overcome my habit of over obligation.

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. 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.

2016 was the year of Relax.  That went pretty well and started my morning routine of time in my comfy chair.

I tried to Enjoy 2017. I'd give it a solid meh. I made an effort, but life, work, and finances often got in the way.

What's your one word for 2018?