Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tricks and Treats and Nano!

Hi Everyone, I'm back now.

Thanks for all the well wishes for Grandma, she's still going through the recovery stages after surgery, but she's doing well and finally home! Just in time for Halloween.

I figured that since things are getting back to normal, I better get back on this blogging wagon and get in gear.
Especially seeing as NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Tonight, actually. In about 16 hours and 14 minutes from this very moment. And I'm stoked.

I've been working through my novel outline (the first time I've every planned any book out) and feel really good about this. I'm excited to see what kind of a first draft I'll be able to get together by the end of the month. This is my first year participating and I'm really really hoping I'll be able to do it.  Thanks to a great support network (you guys know who you are) I think I'm all good. Bring on the wordage.

Oh, and it's a good thing it's Halloween, we're going to need some rations to get through November.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!


P.S. If you're in Utah, well, at least in the Salt Lake Valley, and you (or your children) won't be eating ALL the candy that you've collected, dentists across the state are doing buybacks and swaps. Some are doing a 1 pound of candy for a dollar, others are doing 1 pound of candy for a toothbrush and toothpaste set. All the candy they collect is going to be packed and sent to the troops who are currently on active duty in the Middle East and Afghanistan. So spread the Halloween love if you can!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Quick Note

So I haven't posted in a while and I couldn't even find a good Quote of the Week to post for today.

Mostly because, well, I'm not really back yet. At least not back to posting 5 days a week.

We've had a pretty serious situation arise with my grandmother and I've barely been able to have time to keep up with the day job, let alone do much writing, either on the blog or on any ms. When I have been able to catch some time, I've been just trying to stay current by reading other blogs and commenting where I can.

Hope everyone is well and hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Wordless Wednesday

Okay, I'm still in Baltimore for these meetings. And when I get home, I still, you know, have a real job to get caught up on too. Along with real life, and making sure my kidlets didn't forget me while I was gone.

So in an effort to try to maintain my semi-Zen-ness and try not to lose my mind trying to get more done than I possibly can in a day, I'll be a little M-I-A for a few days. Will still try to comment on other blogs where I can / when I get a chance.

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday: Travel

I'm on the road again this week (Baltimore, MD), traveling with work. Work travel is a good thing and a bad thing, I think. Some of my buddies tell me I travel a lot.

Honestly, I don't travel as much as some of the people I work with, but it is enough for my kidlets to notice how often I'm gone. That part makes me sad, but sometimes you have a sacrifice a little for the experiences you gain out of it. Aside from the interesting people I finally get to meet for the day job, people I spend hours / days / weeks working with via phone & email, I've also had the opportunity to go to some really interesting places.

Over the course of the last 10 months I've been everywhere from California to New Jersey, Puerto Rico to Mexico. And from all these places, I've been able to gain some insight into the way things work in the regions, find inspirations in the locales. Everywhere I go I take my camera with me, you just never know when you'll need to snap a picture of something to take home as a reminder of somewhere inspiring.

With that in mind, I've decided that when I get home from this trip, I'm starting a new little snapshot book, of sorts. One that will contain all the random locations that I want to use eventually. A Settings Diary if you will. I'm hoping this will also help me with learning how to outline and finding another way to organize my thoughts.

My experience traveling with the day job has allowed me an opportunity to visit many places I wouldn't otherwise go and find inspirations where I would never have known it was.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WiP Wednesday: That's Gr-r-reat!

So here's the deal: a few weeks back, I got together with a couple other writer buddies and we formed an online crit group. Sweet, right? Yes. It is, actually. My crit buddies ROCK!

Anyway, thanks to the feedback I've received and much ongoing editing in my current wip, I've been able to add more depth and clarity to characters and definition to situations. I'm one of those writers where in my head, I see all this stuff happening, so sometimes I forget to write it down. If someone asks me about what happened in a particular scene, I can give very specific details, but I realized I wasn't including all of this when I needed to.

So while I have felt a bit like I have made no progress writing at all, I've actually written over 4,000 new words! I think that deserves a "GR-R-REAT" and some Frosted Flakes.

I'm still working through more revisions and I'll have the ms out to some betas to take a look at for me later this month, so hopefully that will let me leave it alone for a while.

With that in mind, I'm looking forward to NaNoWriMo and have slowly been trying to find a good strategy to outline the novel I have in my head. I am really trying to take what I learned from Brandon Sanderson a couple weeks ago to heart.

So now that I'm sending that off, I'm going to focus on outlining. I keep bringing this up, but it's because I don't do it! I don't know how! I don't know where to begin!

But I think as much time as I have been taking to think this novel through and consider all my options and try something new is going to be a great opportunity to expand my skills and see what I really can accomplish. Plus, it is doing a pretty good job of keeping me motivated and looking forward to November for reasons other than fabulous turkey dinners.

What new things are you considering trying to keep yourself going? How's it going?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Greatness: NaNoWriMo

This week's quote is one of my favorites. The reason? Well, other than the fact that it is pure genius and goes to show how wicked awesome Mark Twain was, it's just sound advice.

Surround yourself with great people and they will bring out the greatness in you. I've been really lucky to meet some great, supportive writer friends, both online and in person. They've been there to root for me, console me, offer encouragement and above all, remind me that I have greatness in me.

With this in mind, I've finally made a huge commitment, thanks to some encouragement from a few great people. It's a huge commitment to me, anyway. I have signed up for Nanowrimo this year.

For anyone who isn't familiar with this, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between 12:01 AM November 1 through Midnight November 30. That's roughly 1,667 words a day.

With the emphasis of this little game being purely on quantity, I'm hoping this will help me try a couple new writing techniques out. So the greatness we're looking for here? Some great numbers. It's all about the word count.

Here's my tentative game plan. Tell me what you think, 'kay? I'm all up for any suggestions to help me spit this novel out!

#1) Stop Pre-editing: Make myself lots of little notes about how it doesn't matter if my characters sound dopey right now or if I have them saving the world before the aliens who are supposed to destroy it arrive. (P.S. there are no aliens in my nanowrimo novel). Remind self of the following--Write, write, write through Thanksgiving. Rewriting will be its own Christmas gift. Hahaha!

#2) Outlining/Plotting: This is way harder for me than the pre-editing thing. I've never truly outlined before. I'm just a pantser when it comes to getting everything on paper. I'm trying to decide what might work better for me, the actual outlines or doing little plot cards. The principle is the same for me either way. Totally need help here from any outlining/plotting believers. Because, uh, November's just around the corner and I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN!! So we'll have to see where this one goes.

Okay, kids, help me out if you can!

And if you're playing Nanowrimo this year, buddy me! My ID on Nanowrimo is windyaphayrath. (You know, because I'm totally creative like that!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Keep away from people who would belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
--Mark Twain

Friday, October 2, 2009


As of 9:51 P.M. Thursday night I didn't have a blog post. I had no idea what to write about. I know I could've just skipped , but something in me wouldn't let me slack off. Not sure what it was, probably the "don't let her sleep-EVER" monster, but that is another post entirely.

So now that I've rambled my way into your Friday, let me just say TGIF! Holy cow, this felt like one of the longest weeks ever!

Okay, so this whole week I've been running with my driving / car / road construction theme. And today is no different. As I sit here and write this post I wonder about all the routes writers have taken to get to the beautiful land of the published. Did they just hop in the story car, pull out onto the road and drive on their merry way? You know, one of those boring trips where it's two points, straight line, yada, yada.

My road is not straight. Or flat. It's uphill, both ways, in the snow. . . oops, I am digressing again. In thinking about how long it has taken me to get to where I am today, I know I've hit a few detours along the way. I mean, I took a nearly 10-year break from writing! And detours aren't necessarily a bad thing. I think about all the other "stuff" I've accomplished in my life and, you know, I'm happy with it.

Writing is something I'm very passionate about. It's my vehicle to destress and leave behind a bad day, or the craziness of chasing after a preschooler and toddler. As much as I think about and worry over the process of getting published, I've decided that in the grand scheme of things, it's just another detour along my road of self-construction.

Way easier said than done.

So lay it on me, how do you feel about the road to publishing? How have you handled the stress of queries, waiting and (if you're one of the luckies!) THE CALL?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Under Construction

Firstly, HAPPY OCTOBER!! It was freezing outside this morning, which means winter's coming! I'm excited because now I won't look like such a weirdo wearing turtleneck sweaters to work. I swear they keep the office at a nice toasty 50 degrees F year round. People look at you funny when you wear a turtleneck in July around here. Anyway, I digress (yes, already).

So in Utah, we have 2 seasons—Winter and Construction. So honestly, when the road isn't covered in snow, it looks sort of like this:

So I trudged through traffic and construction cones to attend a writers' conference last week. And when I got to the conference, one of our keynote speakers (Brandon Sanderson) said something that was so obvious, I didn’t even think about it. He said something along the lines of "try something new."

Well, as soon as I heard that, I thought to myself this is something new for me. A year ago, I probably wouldn't have known anything about the writers' conference, much less make the effort to register, try to coordinate with the only other person I knew who would be there (though we ended up running into each other by chance), and drive nearly an hour to get there.

Without even planning on it, I realized I’ve been trying a lot of new things recently, so as I work through my wips, I discovered, I am also a wip—a writer, still under construction.

Here are a few of my “new” things. I joined with a couple other fantabulous writers to form an online crit group. I’ve stepped up and forced myself “out there” to meet more people, both online and in-person, to expand my network. I’m trying to branch out in my writing techniques—a pantser trying to outline (if you have any tips, PLEASE let me know!). And I’ve been working on being more Zen about the whole querying process.

What sort of “new” things are you trying out? Are they working? Any tips to share?