January Wrap Up

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I started the year with a number of goals, wondering how far I would make it. i wondered how many of my goals I would keep working with. Today is the last day of the month and I am really happy with how things are going!

Writing: I was late in the game with this one but this past weekend I sat down and wrote 1100 words on my newest short story. This is for an anthology my writers group is putting together. i am really happy with how it is going, and I’m having fun with it.

Blogging: My goal was to write at least one new post a week, if not two. I am happy that I have been able to manage this so far. Thanks to my followers for sticking with me, and a big hello to those who found me this month! 🙂

Positivity challenge:  A big thing for me this year is to think better, and remind myself daily of something good. I have a journal and I write at least one good thing about my day or how I am feeling. I have kept up with it. My journal is on my coffee table and every evening after supper I sit and jot in a note.

The Book Pile: Again, I was late in the game with this one BUT the other night I sat down with Sherry D. Ramsey’s Dark Beneath The Moon. It is a sequel to her One’s Aspect to the Sun. It’s a sci-fi novel that features Luta Paixon, captain of the Tane Ikai, a woman in her 80’s but looks like she is in her 30’s. There is always one thing or another keeping her and her crew busy, both on and off the ship. I will be doing a review once I finish the book.

So, I am pretty happy with how the month is going. On a bonus note: another month under the belt until my husband comes home from working away. We have more then half of the time under us now, thank goodness.

How are your goals/resolutions going so far?

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Why Every Writer Needs A Writers Group

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No matter if it is an online group or an in-person meeting, being in a writers group can help you out a lot. Joining my group was one of the best things I have ever done. I joined The Story Forge about fifteen years ago.

My group is laid back. We get that life happens and you can’t make it to every meeting or that you can’t get so many chapters written. There are also groups out there with more structure.

A Mixed Bag.  Our group has everyone from those who write for fun and for themselves, as well as published authors who are busy in the writing community. (Writers in schools programs, signings, readings etc…) We bounce around ideas and talk about various topics. We all also have different genres that interest us, from poetry to sci-fi and mainstream. Everyone has something to offer.

Support and Encouragement. I have left more than one meeting feeling inspired and ready to concur my current writing project. And on days I have felt like I want to give up, my friends help me realize that I am being crazy. If one of us is in the middle of something big or crazy, like NaNoWrimo, we encourage each other to keep going. Not every one in our daily life understands what a writer is feeling, but your writing friends always do and are there to back you up or give you a kick in the pants if needed.

You Learn A lot. My writing and editing skills have improved immensely since I started going to The Story Forge.  I also feel more confident when I critique someones work. While I am far from perfect, I enjoy helping others and feel I can help.

Brainstorming. Stuck with a plot? Need advice on a topic? Or maybe you are unsure if killing a character will help or hinder your story? Ask your writing buddies. They will give you feedback that you can mull over and help you figure out where to go next. Sometimes more brains are better than one.

Feedback. Finished a piece and need a second pair of eyes? Odds are someone will offer to read your work for you. The great thing about this is that they may see something you missed. When you read your own work umpteen times, you are going to miss the little things, or a problem you didn’t realized you had.

A Night Out. Writers tend to be solitary. Not always, but I am one of them. When I am not at work or out with friends, my favorite night in is curled up with hubby watching tv or with a book. It’s good to get out and talk with people who share your interests.

 

Where to find a group: Check your local library and ask a librarian. That’s how I learned about The Story Forge. You can also find them online like on Facebook. I belong to online groups as well, but meeting up in person gets you out of the house for an evening out, and you can make real life friends you can meet up with in between times. One of my friends is coming over tomorrow, for a coffee and a mini writing session. When all else fails, start your own! Put up a flyer at a local library or start your own online group.

How I have changed and benefited since joining my group: I have been published four times. (Soon to be a fifth…our group is putting an anthology together and the money made will go to our local library.) I have learned a lot about writing and improved so much. I have made some great friends; one of which was my matron of honor. I have become more confident and learned how to turn my inner critic off.

That’s just my take on it. I love my group so much and think every writer can benefit from having one.

Do you belong to a group? What is your favorite thing about it?

 

Plan of Attack: The Ever Growing ‘To Read’ Pile

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One of my new years goals was to read more. So far I am failing in that department, but mostly due to several migraines. I wouldn’t wish those on my worst enemy.

Anyway, as I grabbed something from my little office the other day, I started browsing my bookshelf. Those books won’t get read if they stay in there!

So I looked through them and picked out about fifteen books I have been anxious to get at. Then I cleared off my coffee table and laid them out.

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A variety of books to devour.

My plan is this: I can read only books on this table. One a book is read, it goes back on my shelf. I can’t add to the table until these books are all read.

I have a variety of books on here. The Walking Dead compendium is what Mr. C gave me at Christmas. The Nora Roberts on the top right is one my mom suggested to me. I have local authors, such as Sherry D. Ramsey and Hugh Macdonald’s ‘Trapper Boy’.

A lot of these books I wanted to read ages ago. I am finally going to get on it and catch up on my reading. Because the best place to go is in the pages of a good book.

I will do a review on them as I go as well.

What is on the top of your to read pile?

What to Do When You Have Too Many Story Ideas

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This is a fantastic article!!
Like many writers, I have shiny, brand new ideas pop up at the worst time. Like when I am at my 25k goal during Nanowrimo. My brain wants to keep going but my heart says “No! Let’s write THIS! THIS is better. THIS is exciting!”
These are some great ideas I will put into effect to help me navigate my ever growing list of ideas. I need to dig out my index cards for a plot bunny nursery. 😉
Do you get overwhelmed with too many new ideas at once?

The Sprint Shack

How can you cope with idea overwhelm? Through using these four fun and creative methods. | www.sprintshack.wordpress.comYou’re a writer so your head is probably brimming with ideas (most of the time, anyway). And that’s a good thing. We’re a creative lot, with story ideas sneaking up on us at the most random and often inconvenient of times—like in the middle of our current works-in-progress.

But what if you have too many ideas? So many you just can’t decide which to write next. So many you keep hopping from project to project because you just have to write those shiny new ideas now.

Okay. Deep breath. Here are four methods that could be just the ticket to saving you when you have too many story ideas swirling around your noggin.

1. Summarise your idea so that it fits on an index card and put that card safely away in an “idea box”.

When inspiration first blossoms, it can be tempting to dive straight in with writing that…

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A Gift For One of The Writers in My Life

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Last Christmas I was trying to get creative with my gift giving as well as shopping local as much as possible.

I am lucky to have other writers in my life, and two of them are my closest friends. When trying to come up with gift ideas for them, I decided to do something “writerly” for them. Now, I won’t share my original idea as I might do that for Christmas 2018 for both of them. 😉 But I would like to share a part of  what I made for one of them.

My friend Jo-ann from Inspiration Pie and I had been out for coffee one afternoon, and she was talking about feeling stuck, being in a rut and whatnot. Later that day I was in my office looking through craft supplies when an idea struck!

I found a mini Smashbook I had bought ages ago. I was saving it for the perfect project. And I found it! I am a sucker for a homemade gift.

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With the help of stickers, washi tape, printouts I had and *Pinterest, I made her a mini survival kit. 🙂

I tried to include as much as I could. One important thing was inspirational quotes, to help keep her motivated on a bad day. 🙂

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Another important thing I wanted to include was some writing prompts. Some I made up, while others I found online. I did several pages with prompts.

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Of coarse, I also included various writing tips for getting unstuck.

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I searched old hand outs from writers group and online for other tips for world building, characters, etc…

 

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I had a lot of fun making this for her, and she was genuinely thrilled when I gave it to her. I used to make handmade gifts a lot, but got out of the habit. I think I will get back into that old habit, at least a little bit.

What writer themed gifts have you given/gotten?

*Pinterest is my Google. I give full credit to those whose posts I printed.

Book Shelfie

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One of my goals for January was to finally organize and clean out my office/library. It was used as storage for junk and whatnot for the last number of months. I missed my hideout so I made it my top goal for January. And I finished it today! 🙂 While it’s not perfect, it is so much better. I can actually see the floor now. 😉 And my desk is cleaned off. Sweet!

My most favorite part of my office (aka the bear cave) is my bookshelf. A built in case that my hubby’s late uncle had put in. My shelf is home to my many books as well as some of my favorite nerdy collectibles.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Munsters collectibles. 

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was reorganize my bookshelf on a Saturday. Who am I kidding, it still is. 😉

 

I have one section on here for novels by authors I know and other local authors. Plus, the four anthologies I have stories in. 🙂

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Undercurrents, Airborne, Unearthed and Flashpoint have four stories from my Lily and Quinn series. These are published by Third Person Press.

This shelf is my favorite part of my home, if I am honest. I plan to get a beanbag chair or another comfy chair and create a little reading area for myself in my office.

What does your shelf look like? Do you have a reading area?

Flash Fiction, anyone?

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When I was younger, I was a fan of reading flash fiction. (Although at the time I didn’t know what it was called). I tried giving it a go, but since I have the gift of gab, even when I write, I could never master writing a very short fiction piece.

There is a talent needed, I think, to write an excellent piece of flash fiction. You have to tell a story, without leaving the reader wanting more, in a short space. You still have to have some plot and make the reader feel something towards what is happening and/or the character.

One of the many things I love about my writers group is that most of us write different genres, and we all have something to bring to the table. I love learning about what my writing friends are working on, and reading their works when they are comfortable to share.

One of my writing buddies, Devin Meaney, asked me to read a couple of his horror flash fiction pieces. And I absolutely loved his work! They were pretty much polished and I was very impressed. He has an excellent ability with weaving words into intriguing stories, and I suggested at some point he put an anthology of his work together. I think it would be a fantastic read.

His stories are on another blog, and if you would like to read them, you can check out A Light in Death as well as my personal fave, The Demon of Cortez. 

I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

So, fellow writers, who else writes flash fiction? Care to share?