Why Every Writer Needs A Writers Group


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?



Nanowrimo Wrap Up


Hello fellow writers and wrimos!

I had good intentions-as usual- to write a post before Nanowrimo started, and to update during the month.

However, life was a little hectic in October. Mr. C was prepping to go away for work, so we were spending time together, mentally prepping and doing laundry…so much laundry. (We had no clue what he should pack or how much for his six month stint away).

After he left, I jumped right into Nanowrimo mode and was writing and focusing on it as much as I could.

I was a Nano Rebel this year. I decided to write short stories instead of a novel. I haven’t decided yet if that was a good idea or bad, haha.

I failed to hit 50k. However, instead of hating myself for “failing”, I am looking at the positives.

I wrote more in November then I would have if it wasn’t for Nanowrimo. I also have three…maybe four…short stories in progress. One is mostly done. (Although I realized the other day I need to change a lot at the beginning but it is for the best).

I attempted Nano and in my own way, I won. If you didn’t get to 50k, don’t beat yourself up about it. You didn’t fail. You started something, and now have something to work with in the coming months.

It also helped me get back to my writer brain. I have ideas for other stories, plus I want to get back to unfinished works and edit first drafts. I have also been reading articles and tips to write better fiction.

I lost my writing mojo for awhile. I think I might have found it again.

How did you do in November? Did you crack that magic number or fall short of your goal?

Making A Plan And Making Writing A Priority


It is really easy to put things off. I am the Queen of Procrastination. It isn’t that I don’t want to do certain things, but the phrases “I am going to start this soon” or “I will get on that tomorrow”, become easier to say. And tomorrow turns into the next day and so on.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about my writing. I am kicking myself for wasted days and being lazy. I’m not as prolific as I used to be. I’m not happy with that, so it is time for a REAL change.

I’m not the type of person to write every day. Some writers are. Even during NaNoWriMo there are days I don’t write. Either because life is simply too hectic that day, or I need to give my brain a little bit of recharge time. (Although I only do that if I am at least a day or two ahead of schedule.)

While I am not a person to write every day, all week, all year, I know I can write some of the week. So I am making myself a schedule of sorts.

I am vowing to write four days a week. If more, bonus! But unless life takes some major curve ball, I know I can write (or edit) even a page or two that much during the week. I have no real excuse right now not to do that.

I have last year’s Nano to work on, plus a new project I have been dying to get at. So I have a great starting point for my work.

Instead of just thinking about writing, I need to get off my ass and start DOING.

Have you made any new changes or goals for your writing? If so, what have you decided to do?


NaNoWriMo: 2 weeks to go!


Two weeks from today the madness of Nanowrimo begins!! WOOT!!! I’m pretty excited for the most part and I’m slightly nervous. Week two of Nano tends to be the worse for me. It sets the tone for the “Am I going to crash and burn?” question. But I am pretty pumped about my novel idea, so I think know this will be a WINNER year for me. Got to think positive, right?!

Right now Mr.C is away for a few weeks for work. So I have the next two weeks to finish planning and prepping for Nano in peace. He’s pretty awesome when it comes to supporting my writing. When I say I’m hiding in my office to write, he gives me the time and space and doesn’t bother me. And he also gives me a kick in the ass when I need it. I usually hear “Did you write today?” Me:”umm…no…” Mr.C: “Don’t you think you should get on that?”

I have been spending some time over on the Nanowrimo website, posting threads in the forums and adopting secrets and the like. If you are one of the people who have put up with my questions on there, I thank you. I think there are two key groups of people who help you survive NaNo. A supportive family and fellow writers to hash crap out with.

Aside from novel prepping, I plan to indulge in some movies while he’s away. This week is all about Charlie Hunnam. I loved him since I was seventeen. (I really need to buy the box set of ‘Undeclared’.) I’m thinking ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘Dead Fall’, and ‘Frankie go Boom’ will be invading my DVD player this week. I figure some eye candy and entertainment will be needed between all the story planning 😉

 What are you doing these last two weeks before the month of insanity begins?

What NaNoWriMo Has Taught Me


October isn’t going exactly as planned, but I must say I can’t complain about how it is going. Tomorrow the newest season of “The Walking Dead” begins. Like many TWD fans, I have been counting down since last season 😉 Who else is ready to see how the hell Rick and the gang are going to get out of their current situation?

Another countdown I have on the go is NaNoWriMo, which starts in just 21 days! Today might be a beautiful and sunny day, but I will be spending a few hours of it (I hope) planning my novel and getting myself geared up for the month of insanity.

This is my seventh year participating in the writing challenge. My first year, was insane. I wrote 25k words in just a few days. I was full of excitement, energy, and really pushed myself. The rest of the month slowed down but I got my 50k, and I got to write ‘The End’. My brain felt pretty empty by the time December 1st rolled around, and I spent the following year replenishing my words. In the years that have followed, I ‘won’ several times and failed several times. But the way I look at it, at least I tried and getting 25k written is better then a big fat zero.

My plan for this year is to write about 10k the first weekend. I like to get a bit of a cushion underneath me. That way if there is a day where I am sick or life really gets in my way, I won’t panic about not making my word count. The first year I failed was because I got very behind, couldn’t catch up, and got frustrated. And having a plan in advance should help me stay on top of things. (Year three I learned I am NOT a ‘pantser’-someone who writes by the seat of their pants; having little idea of what they are going to write.) But on the other hand, I’m not a 100% planner. If I do that I find I grow bored and won’t want to write my story. One of the joys of NaNo, is that it has taught me a lot about writing over the years.

Here’s a few things I have learned  in the last few years. Maybe something here will help you too.

1- Index Cards. These beauties is what always help me get to my goal. I will be opening a crisp new pack today. I use these for outlining my novel. I take a card, and write a few words about the opening scene. Then I take another card, and write an event. After writing five to ten, I lay them out, and see what order I want them in.  I start filling  in the gaps, adding new scenes, events, and characters. When I finish, I stack them and keep them together with a large paper clip. I will look them over during the next few weeks, adding cards or even removing them. I don’t outline the entire novel, but the basic outline and important things I want to remember. It helps for when you get stuck and to help keep you on track.

2-Have a bible. No, I’m not talking about the religious type. I mean a notebook you can keep on you at all times. In it, have character sketches, story notes, and anything else important you your story. If you happen to be out and have an idea, scribble it in for later. If you are at home (or where ever you happen to be writing your novel), having it at hand helps when you forget the smaller details, like what kind of car your hero drives or what color eyes your heroine has. In my book I have character notes and sketches, pictures (of what they look like, important things in their life), and since several of them are vampires, I have vampire lore and mythology that I have created for my world.

3-Shutting up that inner critic. For years every time I wrote something, getting to the finish line was long and tedious work. I was constantly stopping and editing what I had written. My inner critic loved to tell me just how shitty my stories and ideas were, and I listened to him a bit too much during the first draft. Nano taught me how to turn that part off. In order to get to the 50,000 word mark, you (well, at least I don’t) have time to stop and nit pick with the story. The idea of this is to finish a first draft, and to show you that it doesn’t have to take ten years to write a novel. Now when I am writing something, for Nano or otherwise, I don’t have that pesty bastard ruining my momentum. There will be many writers next month thinking “This is total shit but keep going!”

4-Laying out the ground rules to family. I have already told my fiance that I am not to be disturbed unless it is an absolute emergency. Well, when I’m in my office that is. And my friends already know that come November, I am essentially M.I.A. I’ll be devoting my free time to writing. Because of this, when ever I have to do edits on a story that is getting published, writing for the fun of it, etc…I get left alone. They know and respect how much it means to me and that sometimes I just need to get shit done. Of coarse, there will be some people in your life that won’t understand, but luckily for me everyone in my life is used to me saying “Sorry, I can’t go out. I’m writing.”

5-BACK UP YOUR WORK. This is the most important thing I can think of, and I like reminding writers (both the newbies and veterans) because it is something that people tend to forget.  I know a few people who learned the hard way how important it is to back up their novel. I save mine onto two memory sticks. Everyone has their own methods, but for the love of all that is holy, save that sucker in at least one other location aside from your desktop.

Every writer is different, and these things are what works for me. What do you do in prep for Nano? What are the things you have learned from doing it?

My Author Interview With TPP!


As I mentioned in a previous post, my next short story will be published this December in the ‘Flashpoint’ anthology.

Many non-writers think that once a story is written, the job of the writer is finished. At least, this is what I find out from the people I talk to. But that isn’t true. Our job continues. We spread the word as much as we can when a book is coming out, and do what is asked by our publishers. Sometimes we are asked to do a reading, we attend book launches, we are interviewed, etc… I was interviewed via email early this week in conjunction with Third Person Press’s Indigogo campaign. And it looks like mine is the first up on the news blog! 🙂

So, if you want to get to know a bit more about me and my writing, I thought I would share the link here. Oh, and if you are wondering who I am standing next to in the photo I submitted, that happens to be Ajay Fry from InnerSpace, who I met a couple weeks ago at Fan Expo. I thought it was the perfect pic to submit for this 😉