Second Thoughts on the New Year

Since my last post, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

I think I was a bit negative about the whole thing. I suppose at the end of the New Year, it’s easier to get distracted by all you haven’t done and not all that you have done.

I did have some pretty awesome moments in 2014.

I had a short story published (with other stories by fellow and former students from my grad school) by the Peace Corp in Ethiopia. Schools all over the country will now have the books with our stories, my story, in them to help the students learn to read English.

I got promoted at work and now have a Big Girl Job.

Husband and I have never been stronger and never been better.

And plenty of other small victories.

I don’t need to focus on that fact that I didn’t write as much as I wanted, or that I didn’t submit to as many agents as I should have, or that I didn’t read as many books as I had wanted to.

Goals are important. I can’t believe that I forgot that lesson from one of my classes at school. We made a goal board that was a visual representation of our goals for the year. Then, I posted a list of all my goals all over my house in places that I would see every day. And, it seemed without even trying, I completed most of those goals.

So this year I vow to…

  • Write more
  • Read more
  • Loose some weight (yep… I’m at that lovely stage of life now. I even joined WeightWatcher this weekend. Exercise just wasn’t doing enough)
  • Be better about staying on top of the laundry
  • Submit to at least TWO agents (Setting the bar kinda low, but with the rate I’ve been going it’s better than two in a year and a half)
  • Submit at least one story to a contest

Right. I think that’s a good start. This blog post is probably the one that best reflects the “life and times of a former English grad student trying to make her way in the world.”

Well, the holidays are over and “real life” starts back bright and early in the morning. Here’s to making these resolutions stick.

That Time of the Year

Well, it’s that time of the year again.

The time where work is slow and I have a chance to catch up on reading and writing.

The time where I (and millions of other people) make promises to themselves that they probably won’t keep.

The time for New Year’s Resolutions.

I do/say this every year. I’m going to write more. I’m going to submit to agents this year. I’m going to read 50 books…well, maybe more like 25 (which I never even get close to) this year. This year I’m going to be better.

And, like most people, I am. For a little while. But not long enough. Not long enough to be really productive anyway.

*sigh*

So, what am I going to do differently this year? What revelation have I had that’s prompted me to write this post?

…. The answers are 1) I don’t know and 2) nothing.

In a lot of ways, I think my thesis burnt me out way more than I realized. For over a year the thought of writing something new,o f opening up a blank word document and just letting the words flow, was just exhausting. It took me about 5 years to write my thesis from scratch and work through countless drafts and revisions. 5 YEARS! I know that writing the second book will be different than the first, but its hard to get excited when I know how much “suffering” there is ahead of me.

Maybe you’re thinking at this point, “Why are you even worried about writing a second book when the first one isn’t even published?”

Because the story isn’t over. It’s not all about publishing and agents and that nonsense. Writing for me has always been a passion. A discovery of people and places and things. I had to learn a lot about fencing my thesis. And fairy tales and folklore. I also learned a lot about myself.

I will write the second book because it deserves to be written, even if I’m the only one who ever reads it.

While writing this post, I found a quote from Neil Gaiman that I think encompasses my goals for this year:

gaiman

So – here’s to surprising myself next year, and I hope the same to you.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

Drumroll please!

Here we have it! Another Top Ten Tuesday!

This one was a bit easier for me to come up with. Why was trying to think of 10 books I wanted to read next year was slightly more difficult than I thought – I have no idea.

But here! This one, Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013. I don’t just love bookish things. I live for them.

So here we go!

1) Finish my Thesis: Yes. This is totally a bookish goal. My thesis is a YA (or “New Adult” – I’ll post on this later) novel. So finishing this up will be awesome.

2) Submit my finished novel to literary agents (or editors that I’ve made connections with). This one, pretty straight forward…

3) Actually finishing my goodreads 2013 goal of reading 35 books by the end of the year. Last year, I wanted to read 50. I barely made half of that. This year, I’m setting my goal to be about ten over what I actually did in 2012. Baby steps here people. Baby steps.

4) Revise that long Harry Potter paper I wrote last year and finally submit it to various journals to get it published. Personally, I think that this might be a super far-fetched goal. Well, the getting it published bit is a bit far fetched… However, my advisor for the paper (who has been the editor of several collections of critical essays) kept suggesting it to me this past summer – so I’m thinking there’s a slim hope…

5) Read things that our outside of my preferred genre. So – really, getting out of the urban fantasy genre and trying contemporary fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, biography, etc…

6) Write some short stories. I haven’t really worked on anything apart from my thesis in…hell, I don’t know how long. So yes.

7) Use the library more often. I don’t need to buy all the books I want to read. I can just wait for them to come into the library. Also, my library (and probably yours) lets you check out eBooks… so seize that book.

8) Devote more time in my day to reading and writing than watching T.V. – again, that’s pretty straightforward.

9) Try writing some in some different genres. Break out of that YA fantasy genre (again) – try picture book or contemporary fiction.

10) Read all those books that I’ve bought but never gotten to…

And boom! There we go. Top Ten Bookish Goals – or I suppose my Top Ten New Years Resolutions. Whatever you want to call it.

So, what about you? What bookish goals do you have for the next year? Let me know!

Inspirational Images

Here are some fun images that, will hopefully, inspire you to keep at it. I know whenever I hit a wall, I make one of these the background on my computer and bust on through… 


Sometimes I kinda wish I could have a video clip of Christian Bale in all his Batman glory saying this to me in his Batman voice. I think that could scare some creativity into me.

I found this (I forget where… I’m pretty sure from Chuck Wendig‘s blog) and I just love it. Granted I am the Queen of my story… Not king…

Love this image? Why not copy my html code and have it as a badge on your blog/ webpage?
I think you should 🙂

I want this on a print, framed, and hanging above my desk…

Yeah, I want this on a print as well for above my desk….

However, my Husband and parents may tell you otherwise. Books are my crack.

I Think I Can! I Think I Can!

Well, I’m getting ready to head off to my MFA program for the last time. I have super mixed feelings about it. On the one hand…

  1. I am beyond excited to get up to school and spend time with my Nerd Herd (I don’t think they know I refer to them as that, but they probably will now. And I think they’ll like it.)
  2. I love the classes and can’t wait to be in a physical classroom again learning.
  3. I love the location of my program and just feel so at home there. I mean, where I live now it awesome, but there is soooo much more up there. 
  4. And I’m really excited to be nearing the end of my degree and all that means.

But on the other hand…

  1. I’m going to be done with my degree before I know it. No more fun classes. No more going to Nerd Camp.
  2. I have to leave my new husband for 6 weeks.
  3. I will miss my husband’s birthday… 
  4. Did I mention that I’ll miss my husband?
  5. I won’t have any income for 6 weeks.

So there’s a lot swirling around in my mind. The lists above only scratch the surface. But don’t take away the wrong idea. I’m not unhappy, just conflicted. 


But my ramblings are not the full focus of this post. This post is about writing, believe it or not. And my own writing to boot. 


I’ll go more into this in a future post, but I’ve been tracking my word count, day by day, for almost a month now. I have been forcing myself to sit down at the computer and just write damn it. Some days I’ll only get a few hundred words. Other days, I’ll get a couple thousand down on the page. Are they all the final words? Hell no! They are my road map. I know that there are blanks that I need to go and fill in, but that’s for another draft. 


This draft will be my first, complete draft of my novel. I have been working on it for around five years now. Why has it taken me that long to write one full draft? 


Here’s why:

  • I didn’t force myself to write as much as I have in the last few weeks
  • I’ve been working on this for several different workshop style classes and in those classes people want to read your stuff, critique it, and then see the changes. I’ll tell you I’ve had countless drafts of Chapter One, but only one draft of chapters 10, 11, and 12. 
  • I’m lazy
  • I’m not pushing myself to be a writer. <—— THIS IS BAD

So, the whole point of this is to pass along some more advice to you. Don’t be like me. Or, well, the old me. Don’t over edit a few chapter while never writing any of the others. Be like the new me. Write as often as you can and take notes on what you know you need to add in later. 


However, this way might not work for everyone. What’s your writing style?

I Feel Like a Zombie…

So I think I know what a zombie feels like. Apart from the wanting to eat human brains and what not… But yeah, the half-awake half-asleep thing.

I’ve been spending most of my waking hours working, doing house work, or studying. Yes, school is back in session people and I’m doing an independent study. My goal is to write a 15 (conference length) – 22 (article length) paper this semester focusing on a Jungian archetype in the Harry Potter series. Sounds like fun right? I mean I love the Harry Potter books. I was part of that generation that grew up with Harry. When he was 12 I was 12… with each new book we became adults together. So, one would think it would be awesome to spend an entire semester focusing on something I love.

And to a degree it is.

But I have to read a book a week. For me, that would normally be easy. But not when I’ve been working closer to full time these last two weeks. It’s been hard.

I think I finally understand this song by Sister Hazel (my sometimes favorite band) the hook (or part of the refrain or whatever) in the song is “life got in the way.” I come home from work (tired but not exhausted) and see all the things that need to be done at home. I mean, it’s not fair to ask Husband to do all the chores, not when he’s in school too. And by the time I feel like I’ve done my share (or part of it) I’m too tired to read essays on Harry Potter or even the books themselves.

BUT! I will say this. My New Year’s resolution was to be better to myself by writing more and cooking more. While I haven’t written a word in my novel, I have been cooking. The other night I made my own ranch dressing and some challah bread…all from scratch. Boo-freakin’-ya. That my friends is the bright side to my little freakout/ tirade.

A Post for the New Year

Well, here we go. January. It’s the time of year where people make resolutions to better themselves during the upcoming year. January is usually the month where people tend to stick to them. And then they stop. Maybe not everyone, but me for sure. I don’t even remember last year’s new years resolution. Possibly to workout more and tone up what God gave me. Did I do it? Probably for all of last January.

As a writer I made the resolution to finish at least two drafts of my WIP by 2013. Will I do it? I hope I do. My WIP is my thesis and I need to have at least one draft done by this summer when classes start back up again. I should be like my buddy over at Hughes Reviews and make a bigger effort to write everyday (and then I read her most recent post and felt a bit better about myself). Writing everyday is hard. That’s what makes being a writer work and not just a hobby.

So anyway, here’s a link to a webpage that I think I should print and hang up on the fridge: 25 Things Writer’s Should Stop Doing. Yes, there is some profanity so that’s my warning. But look past that and hear the good advice the blogger gives.

I think another thing (and she touches on this) is that I need to stop reading finished novels, like Maureen Johnsons’ The Name of the Star and Libba Bray’s Going Bovine and think that that’s just the way it came out of their fingers and onto the page: all publishing ready. NO! They had to work hard on it. THey had it write many drafts and be told that the voice of the narrator wasn’t okay here and that readers got bored there.

Okay. Now, this year will be a different year. I’ve resolved to be better to myself. To cook more (because I like doing that. It bring me enjoyment) and to write more (because it’s what I love). This year I will keep up with my resolution.