Wednesday, February 26, 2014

02/26/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! I hope your week is being nice to you all so far. Right now I am working on trucking through it even though I would much rather just do a significant higher amount of sleeping. No particular reason, I just feel a bit lazy. I think having several days off at once that week or so ago really spoiled me.

I have been trying to work on a good topic for today. Right now my focus (and I am fairly convinced focus for the next millennia) will be editing, but I think using that is still a good idea. See with how much time editing takes, going back to the actual writing part of...well writing, can be a little bit of a daunting task. You have been so focused on making sure you are watching for spelling, grammar, and particular wording that you brain is basically a little stuck. So I thought that would be a fun thing to talk about today!

I'm mostly bringing this up because I really do want to work on other things, but I'm not letting myself do it because I need to get 'Rending the Seal' finished and I know if I start work on anything else I will get too distracted. I will live vicariously through all of you! Write for me! Write because I can't right now!

Anyway, so let's say you've been editing for the last several months (but of course it seems like several years) and you sit down to either continue work on or to start a new story. That's great and super awesome. Be prepared for the first thing to happen is that you will sit there and stare at the screen/whatever medium you are writing on for at least two to three minutes with absolutely nothing happening. Part of you is expecting the words to already be there (in the case of a new story) and there is a part of you that will also want to go back from the beginning and read through and correct whatever's already there (in the case you are continuing something else). Now in the case of picking up where you left off, which I have done, there's nothing wrong with going back and reading a bit, especially to get a reminder for what exactly was happening (refreshers are your friend) but you are trying to get back into the actual writing, not editing. If you start editing this you aren't going to be making any progress. Read back a few paragraphs or maybe a chapter and do not touch anything that would be used as an editing tool (unless you really can't help it, like you put a name in there wrong or whatever) I understand it won't be a perfect process, but you need to keep reminding yourself that you are there to write, not fix.

If you are starting from the beginning don't be frustrated by it starting slow. It will happen and the reason why is because you are going to be fixing every little mistake you make. At least the ones you can see, and since you were editing forever, you will be able to see all of them. Well, that's what your mind is going to be telling you. See that's the weird thing about going back to the first draft writing after editing; you are convinced you are seeing mistakes or things that need to be adjusted/corrected everywhere. So what happens is you are going to go back and reread everything you do just to make sure. This makes the writing go very slowly at first until you get into the rhythm you're used to and no longer care. Granted how long it takes to get there is different for everyone, just don't get too frustrated when it happens to you.

Just remember editing will happen again, but that will be after you're done with this new story. For now just be happy that you are working on a new story and enjoy it. Someday I'll get to even join you, maybe...I am convinced I will be editing until I die quite honestly. I have a good thing going where I can work on some kind of writing while other people are reading my work, but right now it's just editing, and after 'Rending the Seal' is done it will be jumping straight into 'Through the Broken Mirror' to edit. I really feel bad about how long it's taken for that prequel to get done and I don't want the gap between those two to be that large. Hopefully it won't be and you'll all get super fun things as soon as possible.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! I hope you are all having a fantastic week. With any luck I will be back on Friday, so let's hope my schedule works out that way. For now I hope you all write out super fun stories because I can't right now!

Monday, February 24, 2014

02/24/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I'm glad you all returned and I hope you had a super fun weekend. Per the usual I am wishing that it was just a little bit longer, but I know there isn't much I can do about that. That doesn't stop me from hoping and dreaming though, right?

Things are going about as well as they can on the editing front. I am still convinced that I'll never be done, which is always exciting, I suppose. It's mostly to the point where the changes would be made based on my opinions without me actually having to go through the whole 250-some pages again, but I know that isn't a technology that exists or a magical power I posses. I just know that I'm getting so close to being done, I'd just like it to actually get there.

I'm fairly certain now that writing a book is 20% writing 60% editing and 20% miscellaneous things like cover design, advertising, planning, outlining, character development, and other such things. Any objections or other ratios let me know, but looking at my last year I'd say that's how it feels. I know that someday I'll be able to get back into the writing portion of things, it just feels like it's a very far away part at this point.

We have almost made it through February, which hopefully means that slightly warmer weather is on its way as well as the fun month that is March. Really the only fun part of it is St. Patrick's day, and I don't even drink, but still, it's a fun day. I think there should, in theory, be a craft fair coming up in April though, so I am going to start getting some things together for that. I still have a pile of jewelry left over from the first one, so I am going to focus on getting some ready-made prints done and more pictures for people to purchase while there. If there is one happening...I'll need to check with the appropriate parties involved first. I just realized the time and would like a bit more than a couple weeks to prepare.

We are getting close to 10,000 visits here, and that is a truly confounding number to me. I would like to send a much appreciative thanks to everyone who's stopped by over the years. The support has been fantastic and sometimes it's just what I needed in the morning. I know that it's taken a while to get to this point, but I don't mind being a little slow and steady there, because I know it's just a matter of time before things skyrocket. So thanks again, and I hope to have new stories for you all in the future. For now though have a great start to you week! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

02/19/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope you all had a fun and happy weekend. Mine has now made it so that I have to take a few minutes to figure out what day it is, which is always a fun way to wonder if I'm crazy. Hopefully today will be better though, even if I am tempted just to crawl back into bed and take a nap. There is just so much work to be done I just don't think I have time to do all of it.

With things coming together with 'Rending the Seal' I wanted to talk about something that I have discovered only recently (and by recently I mean experienced within the last 24 hours) and realized it would be a good topic to bring up. I mentioned before about beta-readers and how they have all the best intentions in the world and such, which is all true, so please don't forget that. I also mentioned how your brain will try to trick you into either not completing something or doing something until the end of time just to satisfy the need for a comforting habit. Today I wanted to bring up what happens when those two worlds collide.

Yesterday I finished the first round of edits on 'Daughter of the Shackled King' and also received back one of the copies of 'Rending the Seal' which means that I'll need to switch gears and start some hard work that I don't really enjoy, but needs to be done. Immediately when I opened the file I felt like I had slammed into a brick wall and was compelled to close everything down though. Luckily I didn't, but that may have had something to do with the fact that my lunch hour was over and I needed to run back to my desk. However I hadn't been prepared just how much my brain was going to come to a grinding halt when it saw the file. It was really weird, because I knew there was going to be comments, and I knew there were going to be changes necessary, but because I had was going from the end of one thing to the start of another so quickly, my mind just wasn't going to cope.

I don't know if everyone else goes through this, but I wanted to bring it up because if I experienced it, it can't possibly mean that I'm alone. It was really scary to think that I could be overwhelmed enough to be afraid to work on something. I had known going in that the file wasn't perfect, but instantly I had gone on the defensive just by the first page and I couldn't even look at it. I felt ridiculous, because seriously, I knew logically that it needed the work, and all of those things I had said previously were all true, but for that brief moment I couldn't get a handle on it. It was really weird.

As an author you are doing something really difficult by writing out a full-length or just a short-story, but sometimes letting someone else read your work and do things do it is like letting a stranger drive your car. I think I made that comparison before actually...but it is all true. You are so protective of your work that even if you logically know and understand that it's not perfect, there are errors all over the place, and that things need to be smoothed out before any sort of public looks at it, but that when you get it back it feels like no one understands. In that moment, as an author, it's true, no one does, but you can't let that take over. Yes I am still a little scared to go and look at 'Rending the Seal' but that doesn't mean I'm not going to do it. It needs to be done, good lord it does, and if I don't it will never be finished. It'll be hard, but it's not the end of the world.

I'm not putting this up to discourage anyone from using a beta-reader or any form of copywriting service or however you do your editing. I am trying to give a real example of what happens during that process. beta-readers are wonderful people who offer their time to read your work when it's not polished and give you feedback that is needed. A lot of them do it for free because they like reading, like to help, and are often times good friends and/or family members who want to support you. Their feedback isn't meant to hurt or discourage you as an author (unless it is being needlessly hurtful, then it's time for a sit-down conversation with that person) it's to help you grow as a person and to help mold your talent into something that everyone will love. The most important thing is to not take it out on your reader, if you have a question that's fine, but don't come at them all red-faced and angry. It they put something down it means it needs to at least be considered because if they were confused that means potentially your final readers would be too.

My experience might not be everyone's but I wanted to bring it up here. As I said nothing will stop me from working on my stories, it just freaked me out a little when it felt like I hit that wall. If you know what this is like, or want to let others know your experiences and that it's ok, feel free to post below. The point of this blog is to help people as much as possible.

For now, I'll be off so please enjoy the rest of your week! We'll see what Friday has in store for all of us. There is a potluck that day and I haven't 100% decided what I'm going to be bringing, so what I decide will determine how much time I have in the morning. I hope you all have fun no matter what though!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

02/12/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! I hope the week is being nice to you all so far. I am trying so hard to make it through, but it is so hard knowing that I have a relatively (well hopefully, we'll see how today goes) easy rest of the week. I have tomorrow and Friday off, work Saturday, then have Sunday and Monday off. I know I need to work, but my brain is already in time-off mode, which is not really that great. It doesn't help that the cat really has the right idea when I get up and he gets all curled up and comfortable in the blankets, purrs really loud and looks at me like I'm some kind of crazy person for getting up. I know kitty, I know, don't rub it in you jerk!

So you're all here for a reason though, so rather than listen to me lament about the fact I have to do what everyone else does, let's do that instead. As things get closer to a point where I have to start making a choice about what to work on, my brain has started being kind of a jerk to me, so I wanted to take a step back and talk about that a bit. I know I've brought similar up before, but it really is important enough to bring up again, at least I think so. The brain is a wonderful piece of machinery, but it also ends up playing tricks on us, and we end up digging ourselves into holes that we can't necessarily get out of if we don't recognize what's happening.

To give an example the problem I'm having right now, and I understand that this might not seem like a big deal when put into a text format, but this is why the brain is a jerk, is this: I have about eight to ten pages left in 'Daughter of the Shackled King' at the editing stage its in now, which is super cool because I love making progress in that story. The thing is that I know I need to get to work on 'Through the Broken Mirror' because it needs to actually be published first, so I know I need to get that story to some place I feel comfortable showing people. That isn't the problem as much as currently people have 'Rending the Seal' and my brain is/has almost convinced me that they don't want to read something else by me so soon, so there isn't a point in working on either story in such earnest. Not to mention asking my normal alpha-reader to look at 'Daughter of the Shackled King' wouldn't make much sense because it really isn't their genre and most of what I'll get back from them is a request to put in explained that my actual audience won't need. This is the problem I'm having, and while logically I know that is likely not a real problem, my brain has decided to make this a major issue.

The reason for this is something that I've brought up previously; your brain loves habits, and when things are getting close to finishing that means that the habits are going to be disappearing, likely to be replaced by new ones. The problem is that forming new habits is actually kind of hard. In general it takes about 30 - 40 days for a task to become habitual, and once that happens your brain becomes comfortable and happy with the routine. The problem is that when you know that the habit you've made is going to be ending soon, your brain starts panicking, mostly because it doesn't want the habit to change. This is all an attempt to get you to slow down to make it last longer, or stop entirely so that you'll have to pick it up later. Again, your brain is a jerk and you can't let this get in the way of progress.

When it comes to having choices you brain also panics because somewhere you want to be able to do everything at once. As awesome as that would be though, we don't have computers in our brains (yet) so a decision must be made. Now you can go with the option that is the most fun for you, or you can go with the logical one. Hopefully they are the same thing, because that would be awesome. Also, maybe there's a chance that you can do both, obviously not at the same time, but maybe one thing will only take a couple weeks and the other you can start up right away afterward. You can do some rough time gauging, and I do understand wanting to actually complete one project because moving onto another. It makes sense and it drives me nuts to leave something unfinished just sitting there, but sometimes that is what needs to happen. As much as I want to get 'Daughter of the Shackled King' done, I know that I need to start editing 'Through the Broken Mirror' and it's not that I like the story any less, it's just that I know that one story is actually closer to the finished mark than the other.

Your brain will also come in and play around here and make you crippled by choice. You will sit there and wonder what you should do next until things just sit there and gather dust (pixels if they are files in a computer, maybe?) because somewhere your brain wants you to do everything and not just settle on one thing. This is the 'if I can't have it, no one can' logic that sometimes your brain will employ, again because it's a jerk. This is when being a writer means sitting down and making a tough decision. Sure I want to work on flash fiction or make up things all the time, but I know that I need to get this done because if I don't, with the way my wrists are, I risk not being able to finish everything before things get too bad. You just need to convince yourself that just because you're taking a break from one piece of work now, doesn't mean you'll never work on it again. It might just be a few weeks or a month or so. Maybe look at a calendar when you do it, whatever helps convince yourself that things will be alright.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope you have a great rest of your week and also the start of next week. I am going to try really hard to push through today so I can get to tomorrow even though my imagination is still asleep in bed. If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, or concerns feel free to contact me and I will respond as soon as I'm able. For now though, have a good day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

02/10/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Well hello everyone and welcome back! I hope this weekend was nicer to you than it was to me! As you may have guessed it has been ridiculously cold up here the last week or so, and this Saturday it decided to finally let the snow happen. While it did make seeing Frozen super appropriate it was by no means a fun-times winter wonderland that it looked like when I looked out the window.

Not a whole lot got done over the weekend, since yet another sprained ankle (took a fall after the movie because gravity wishes for me to be on the ground) made doing anything uncomfortable while I tried to figure out how to keep it elevated, and yet still covered without pulling it or putting too much pressure on it. During the week I did make some good progress though, and I am getting kind of excited to be able to see 'Daughter of the Shackled King' being so far along.

Saturday did not go as planned at all, since I ended up being stuck in the snow at a friend's place. Luckily I wasn't alone, but that wasn't enough to stop the stress from being just awful. We did play an entire game of Cards Against Humanity where we learn who is likely going to hell between the lot of us. I was really thankful that the roads were good enough in the morning though and as soon as I got home I hugged the cat, gave him food and took a nap. I really don't like sleeping away from home, always has bothered me.

This week will hopefully be able to make up for it. While I do work on Saturday, I have worked out my schedule so that I only work Monday - Wednesday, then I have both Thursday and Friday off. I want to give a word in advance that there won't be a post on Friday, but that is because it is Valentine's day and I am going to be spending that day relaxing and such. The following Monday is also President's Day, so I will be sleeping in, so there won't be a post that day either. Just wanted to give the heads up.

Anyway, thanks for everyone for stopping by today. I hope you are all keeping warm and having lots of fun. If there is a question or a topic you'd like for me to cover on Wednesday, just let me know that I will do what I can do get that done. Have a great start to your week!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

02/05/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope you are able to keep warm today. I am doing my best, but I am 100% convinced I will never be warm again. According to what I've seen, with the wind being what it is, it feels like it's about 10 degrees Fahrenheit out there...or will...or something. Either way, it's terrible and I don't like it. That is just way too cold and I need it to be warmer. If you're in my area of the world and will be heading out to the ridiculous celebration downtown, please bundle up because you are going to need it. Also, please hope and wish for me because I will be working while there is a mass exodus from my work of people heading out to join you. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what to talk about today, and while my main focus has been on staying warm and harassing the cat, I have managed to cobble something together. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I'm going to do once I am actually done with my work. I know that taking a super long break is going to be in there somewhere, but other than that, I mean there has to be something else to do, right? I mean, how do you come up right more ideas after a series like that?

I look to authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King for references like this. I use them as references/jokes a lot, and while there may be some debate about whether or not they are good/the best/terrible authors no one can deny that they don't know what they're doing. Sure they do things a bit differently. J.K. Rowling wrote her license to print money that was the Harry Potter series and then started working on stand-alone projects, which did apparently have some bumps along the way, but she did end up getting them done. (I do have my own opinions about how her last stand-alone book that came out showed just how many problems there are with the industry, but that is for another time.) With Mr. King you have him basically telling the industry that he can do whatever he wants and it's going to work. His actual series is the Gunslinger books, and while he basically writes them whenever he feels like adding to the series (to the well-tested patience of his fan-base) he does pretty much nothing else but stand-alone books and/or short story collections. These two have done so well for themselves that if I could sit down and ask them questions until they politely asked me to leave I would.

Now I know you're also about to say that both of the authors mentioned said they had finished their series and then went back on their word and have both announced new books for their series coming out at some point in the not-too-distant future. Very good, and that's perfectly fine too. I am actually super interested in the new stuff for the Harry Potter world, but that's because from what I've heard it's going to be about filling out some of the lore and stuff on the monsters and that's pretty awesome. With the Gunslinger...I could say I was surprised, but I wasn't. The thing is that there is never anything wrong with deciding there is more that needs to be told about your world. The point I'm trying to make is that you can write a series, do some other side projects, then come back and do something else that maybe taking time away from the world inspired you to do. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Maybe you wanted to go into the bloodline of one particular character, go and do that it might be super fun!

I haven't really decided what I'm going to do once my actual series is done. I am tempted to play around with some sci-fi stuff, but I am also looking at doing stuff set during a specific event mentioned in later books. I suppose we'll have to wait and see, at the very least I'll need something to do during NaNoWriMo, right? Maybe you don't want to do anything once your masterwork is done. That's completely understandable too, and you shouldn't feel obligated to do so. If you're tired or there is something that is stopping you from doing anything else, then don't worry about it. Do what's best for you and what will end up making you happy.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'll hopefully be back on Friday! We have the launch party for the new Magic set so I am super excited for that. The pre-release was lots of fun last Saturday too! Try to stay warm, that is also the most important, so grab a blanket or three, some sweaters, and a cat or five (your neighbor won't miss theirs right?) and do whatever you need to do! Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 3, 2014

02/03/2014 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! Even if you are not a sport person, you likely heard about the outcome of that thing that happened yesterday. People around here are still recovering as I'm assuming the partied until some crazy hour of the morning. There were people setting off fireworks and I could hear cheering for blocks. It was probably one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. We had the windows closed and I was watching stuff on Hulu and I could still hear people, they were so incredibly happy and it made me happy for them.

The writing progress continues and I am almost done with the first stage of 'Daughter of the Shackled King's editing. My hope is to get it at least over 100,000 words by the time I get to the end. I don't know how many pages that will make it, but the word count will make me at least feel like it isn't a short story. It's almost there and I'm sure I'll make it, but all it's really doing is telling me just how short 'Feathers of the Dead' actually is. So that will be an experience once that all starts. I'm trying to decide if I want to keep working on its editing or if I want to move onto 'Through the Broken Mirror' and get that process started once I'm at the end though. I can see benefits to both, which is what's making it a difficult decision. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

I am looking forward to next week though. Not because I work on the 15th, which is super not fun, but because I will have a a couple days off during the week. I made the executive decision to take Valentine's Day off, which I was surprised I got it, so have Thursday and Friday to relax will be nice after having things to do for two Saturdays in a row and it not feeling like I actually have a full weekend because of it. I don't know what this week has in store for me, there is talk that our reviews will be done, which I am anxious about, mostly because I haven't had a full-year review done before. I'm sure it'll be fine, but that doesn't mean I'm not nervous. It will likely also involve listening to calls and I hate that so much.

For now I will focus on what I can control; my work and my writing. I am still really excited to be making the progress that I am. I know that I will end up hitting a bit of a slowdown when I start having to transcribe 'Feathers of the Dead' but my hope is that since I've already done it once, it won't be as slow of a process this time around. Once 'Rending the Seal' is ready for the public to see, I'll make a big announcement, so I hope everyone's excited for it!

Right now I hope you all have a great start to your week. If you live up in the Washington State area, I know you're having a good day so far. Everyone else I hope you are too. I'll be back on Wednesday so if you have any topics you'd like me to look into, please let me know. See you then!