Camp Nano Prep and Other Shenanigans

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Like I said in my last post, June has been a hectic month. But I am focusing on July. Things should be a lot more settled by then. The new salon location will be up and running for the 2nd! And, the stress of greyhound adoption has been lifted since we found out we have been approved! We go on Saturday for an orientation and odds are we will be bringing home our new furbaby. (So, be prepared for a big greyhound post and pics of our new four legged kid 😉 )

With July coming means another month of Camp Nano! I have already signed up and am in a cabin one of my friends started. So I am looking forward to doing it again. My plan of action is what I did back in April. I am aiming for 30 hours of varied writing projects such as blogging, outlining a novel that has been peculating for awhile,  reading more writing related articles (maybe start re-reading Stephen King’s On Writing) and I am not sure what else.

Once July hits I will be finished the salon move and we will have our dog. So things *should* be a little less crazy. Work will be steady and we have a greyhound to help train and adjust, but that’s all good stuff. ❤

Are you doing camp Nano? What are your goals?

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Writing: That Impostor Feeling

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You know that voice you hear when you’re writing something and it says things like “Omg this is total crap”, “You really should go back and edit this before you write another word” or “This is worst thing ever written”. 

That voice is the inner critic. The voice that makes you doubt your idea, your story or that last sentence you just wrote.

I learned to tune that asshole out a few years ago. My first time taking part in Nanowrimo, to be honest. There wasn’t any time to listen to him. I couldn’t stop and edit because I had to get to that 50k word goal.

Well, now I have a different voice in my ear when I write. It’s the inner critic’s big brother. The voice that makes me feel like I’m an impostor. A fraud.

This goes beyond the inner critic. This isn’t a matter of writing a horrible paragraph. This is the voice that says “Why do you even write at all? Your stories are garbage and there are soooo many great authors out there. Why are you even trying?”

This asshole is hard to tune out. But I’ll do it.

The last few days I feel like I snuck into the the cool kids house party, but nobody has realized I’m there. I came in the back door, been hanging out by the snack table when I am not hiding in the darker corners of the house.

And it’s only a matter of time before I am caught and thrown out.

Last night I went for coffee with a friend of mine, who is also a writer. She has a number of novels published, short stories published and she is a fantastic story teller. The night before we got together for coffee, I was thinking about how prolific she is and how I wished I could have her talent. While having coffee, she told me she wished she was more prolific. And I had to laugh, and I admitted that the night before I wished she was as prolific as she was. It just goes to show, every writer is hard on themselves, for one reason or another.

When you have these self doubts, ignore them. It’s hard at first, trust me. The easy way would be to quit doing what you love. But then the bastard in your ear wins. And who wants that?

My friend shared this article last night, How to Keep Writing even when you feel like a fraud. I found it really helpful.

So, if you have this impostor feeling, don’t give up. I know I won’t.

 

 

A Letter to My 18 Year Old Self: On Writing

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Dear Kid, (cuz yeah, that’s what you still are)

You’re a daydreamer. And good news: that doesn’t stop. Bonus points: it pays off someday. In the not to distant future, you’re gonna get published for the first time. How great is that?!

But here is the thing…you gotta KEEP writing. Even when it is shit. ESPECIALLY when it is shit.

Don’t throw out any of your work. That’s a pain in the heart you can’t get back. Every bit of writing should be kept. Just in case. If anything, you can see how you’ve grown. Or have a good laugh.

Backup EVERYTHING. Anything you save on a laptop, save in other places. Hell, email it to yourself. Because when the time comes and you don’t do that, you will hate yourself. Trust me.

Write more. Put writing at the top of your priority list. Fill those note books with ideas, dreams, scene and plot ideas. Write more short stories. Start those novels. Finish them. Even if it is just ten or twenty minutes a day, write something down.

Read more. Not just fiction. You got that pretty covered. Read books on writing. Blogs on writing. There is lots of great (and not so great) info out there.

And when you get the chance, go to that writers group. Don’t be nervous. Trust me, it’s one of the best things you will ever do.

And last but not least, don’t beat yourself up. When writing isn’t going well or you feel like your idea is stupid, don’t get frustrated. Just keep going Kid. Books and story telling have been in your heart since day 1.

Love,

Your future self

My Personal Writing Tunes

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Every writer has their own method to their madness. Some write at the crack of dawn, others do their best work at night. Some need coffee to get their writing mojo going, while others don’t. (I’m not a coffee girl but I love a good iced coffee…especially when I am sitting down to write). And other authors need silence while some need music blasted while they work.

My writing playlist changes. It depends on my mood. It also depends on the type of piece I am writing. Angst/pain ridden scenes are usually when I listen to Seether. Fight scenes I usually listen to AC/DC or Metallica. Again, all depends on what I am feeling at the moment.

Here are some of my fave tunes to play while I write.

  1. The Devil and The Huntsman by Sam Lee and  Daniel Pemberton. (This is from the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword soundtrack. I love the entire thing, but this song especially. Great for when I am working on one of my fantasy stories.)
  2. July Talk- Push + Pull. I have recently discovered this song thanks to my hubby. Most of the time I write to fast songs, and this is at the top of my playlist when I sit down these days.
  3. Love me like you do  by Ellie Goulding. I love her voice and this song is usually playing when I am writing some sort of romance.
  4. Star ships by Nicki Minaj. Again, fast songs are big on my playlist.
  5. Thunderstruck  by AC/DC. Another fast song and one that’s perfect for action scenes.
  6. Turbo Lover by Judas Priest.
  7. Drown  by Theory of a Deadman. These guys are one of my fave bands, and I got to see them in concert two years ago. I always have a few of their songs playing when I write. Drown  is one of my all time fave songs by them.
  8. Anything by Rhianna. I am not listing her songs simply because most of them are on my playlist. I tried to pick a fave for this list but that’s like asking me to pick my favorite book in the world.
  9. For Whom The Bell Tolls by Metallica.
  10. Crazy Bitch by Buck Cherry.

So, what’s on the top of your writing playlist? I would love to hear them in the comments! Maybe I will find some new faves to add to mine! 🙂

Hello April! Let’s Go to Camp Nano!

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I’m feeling pretty good today. In just over a week Mr. C will be home after working away for almost six months. Also, March left like a lamb and I am excited about this months writing goals!

Last week I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo. It’s like national novel writing month, only a bit different.

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Just a cute image I found for camp.

Camp Nano takes places twice a year. Instead of writing fifty thousand words in a month, you can tweak your goals. You can write a new piece, edit an old one, etc… You can also pick your goal of what you put in. Word count, lines, hours, etc… are some of what you can pick from. For more about camp, read about it here.

My goal for the month is to put 35 hours into my writing. A reasonable goal I think. Also, I signed up that I would be editing. But I will be doing a number of writing projects, including writing/planning blog posts, final edits on my latest work in progress, writing a new piece and writing notes on new and old projects.

I’m pretty excited about it and I feel really good about this month. Last year was my first year taking part in Camp Nanowrimo, and I failed my goal. However, I was in a very different mind set last year so I know this year will be different.

Are you taking part in Camp Nano? What are your writing goals for the month? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

How to Critique a Story When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

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It isn’t always easy to give feedback when an author, friend or otherwise, asks you to be be a beta reader. At least, it isn’t always easy for me.

I’m not used to critiquing. In the beginning, I was crap, no doubt about it. But over the years I have slowly gotten better at it. Between people reading for me and being a beta for others, I have grown better at giving helpful feedback.

Tip 1) It isn’t easy if you feel like you are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Just approach it with tact and know that the author needs your help. Writers can’t approve and grow if everyone keeps telling them “oh I loved your story” with no other input.

Tip 2) Read the story first as a reader. Don’t worry about picking out issues unless something catches your eye. Then read the story again, slower this time, and keeping an eye out for issues with characters, plot and even grammar. Not every beta reader will find every problem. Just do what you can.

Tip 3) Don’t focus on the negative. I try to point out one positive thing for every few points of constructive criticism. Writers need to know what they are doing right, along with the hiccups of their story.

Tip 4) Take notes. As you are reading, jot down what you like, the plot issues, etc…Then later on use these notes to organize your thoughts when giving feedback.

Tip 5) Make sure to let the author know if this is a genre you typically read or not. I know when someone is reading one of my vampire stories, if the supernatural isn’t their thing, then my sights are set low for how much they enjoy it. And that is totally ok. I am looking for issues with pacing, if I have a cardboard character, etc…

I hope this helps. I still don’t feel totally comfortable giving someone feedback, but I do my best. And after all, practice makes perfect. 😉

 

February Wrap Up

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Check it out, two months into the year and I am actually keeping up with my goals. Woot woot! 😉 Today is also my momma’s birthday. She is an amazing woman and I love her to bits.

This month was good in a lot of ways. Winter hasn’t been nearly as harsh as usual, thinking more positive is making a big difference in me, and I am checking off goals and adding new ones.

Writing: I finished a short story which is now in the hands of my first round of beta readers. I am getting great feedback. The biggest thing for me is that my editing skills have improved a lot. Aside from some line edits, I don’t need to make any major changes. Now I am figuring out what to work on next: a fantasy novel I started a few years back, or finish a story I started last NaNoWriMo.

Blogging:  I have been keeping up with this little corner of my world. I love popping in here. It helps to organize my thoughts, and I love chatting to those who comment. 🙂

Positive vibes: This month has had some bumps. For instance, I have hit that wall where I just want my husband to be home. It isn’t easy that he has to work away. BUT, the way I view things now has most certainly gotten me through things. I still write at least one good thing a day in a journal, and when I feel my thoughts going down a bad path, I stop myself and can usually get myself back on track. I feel really frickin’ good, peeps! 😀

The Book Pile: I am now on book four of the year! My goal is to read fifteen, which is very attainable. If and when I go beyond that, bonus! Although I did break my reading rule. Instead of reading books only out on my table, I have been switching things up. But hey, i am in the reading groove again, that’s all that matters.

Other projects: I have been doing pretty good with keeping up on my pen pal letters. I have a couple to write, but they are newer. It feels good being more regular in my snail mail. I am hoping to make my own envelopes soon, or at least creating some mail art.

I hope you have had a great month. How are your goals coming along?