Sunday, July 2, 2023

Writing on the Surface Go 3

Please note that this post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commissions from sales made through these links.

Remember that travel computer I bought a while back?  I was going on a trip with my dad and rather than taking my full laptop through the airport, I decided to buy a Surface Go 3 as a dedicated travel laptop and backup machine.

It's proven to be pretty useful, and I've been taking it on day trips and when I go to coffee shops and restaurants to write.

Today I'm actually writing this from Denver's Fan Expo, basically our Comic Con, where we have a community table for NaNoWriMo.  It seems appropriate to be writing while sitting at a community table for a writing organization.

Yesterday we also had a panel, Introduction to NaNoWriMo.  Most years that seems to be the panel that the con powers-that-be select from the options my co-ML submits, which I guess makes sense since not everyone knows what NaNoWriMo is.  It's a fun panel to do though!  We usually start with an overview of NaNoWriMo and then let people ask questions.

Yesterday we got the usual mix of questions about NaNoWriMo, but we also got more questions about writing.  Here are a few of the more memorable questions we were asked, and how we answered.

How do you maintain the habit of writing every day?

Amusingly, this questions was asked with the addendum, "as professionals."  One of my co-MLs and I immediately turned to one another and both said, "We're professionals now?!" and then laughed and high-fived as we both had the same immediate response.

More seriously, though, I think writing every day is something all writers struggle with.  I frequently use NaNoWriMo to create that habit of writing every day, with the goal of not burning myself out by pushing myself too hard during the month.  NaNoWriMo helps because of all the writing events you can go to to maintain the habit.  My co-ML also touched upon the idea of scheduling writing into every day, which works for some people but not always for me (which is why I'm hoping July Camp helps get me going again).

How do you make your writing *not trash*?

The explanation for this question was that she had been working on a novel, and had revised it a couple of times, and said it was still trash.

I am well familiar with this feeling of revising and revising and still not feeling like it's right. That's how I felt with the first version of Ruby.  I had to set it aside for a little while and realize that it was the issues with the plot and the character motivation that had me unhappy with the story.  Once I realized that and started rewriting the whole thing with the issues fixed, I've been pretty happy with it.

Of course my co-ML pointed out something really important, which is that imposter syndrome is a real thing.  Even she, who has published books, feels it.  So just because you feel like it's trash, doesn't mean it is.

My co-ML also talked about the value of a good critique group.  I have had a couple of failed efforts to join critique groups, but she has found a good one that has been extremely helpful for her.  I made sure to note that a good critique group won't just criticize, it'll also tell you what you're doing right.  There are too many misguided, novice critique groups who think that criticizing someone else's writing makes theirs better.

Happy Camp NaNoWriMo!

I wrote everything above at the con, but was forced to put my computer away before I was able to publish the post.  Now I'm home, and completely exhausted from the weekend!  Tomorrow I plan to get back to work on my novel and start logging words for Camp.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Denver NaNos at Fan Expo!

My last post was all about my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts SATURDAY.  In addition, all weekend the Denver region of NaNoWriMo has a community table at Fan Expo, and on Saturday, we'll be doing an Introduction to NaNoWriMo panel!

Most years we have a community table at Denver's Fan Expo (previously Denver Pop Culture Con, and before that, Denver Comic Con), and we usually try to do a panel as well.  This is your chance to meet your Denver Municipal Liaisons (basically, Denver region coordinators) in person, find out a little more about National Novel Writing Month, find out if you're interested in participating, and (hopefully) get excited to start your project for July's session of Camp.

Our panel is called Introduction to NaNoWriMo, and is currently scheduled for 4:30pm on Saturday, July 1st.  It'll be a 45-minute overview and Q&A about NaNoWriMo and Camp.  Knowing cons the way I do, though, I recommend double checking the schedule that morning in case of any last-minute changes.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Camp NaNoWriMo Plans

The July session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts Saturday and I am not ready!

Originally my plan was to get to work on my novel near the beginning of June, so that I could get some more done and be back in the habit of writing by July.  June has been one big thing after another, however, so up until this week, I hadn't had a chance to refamiliarize myself with where I'm at in the novel and start working on it again.

I've had a hard time setting aside some time to get back to work on the novel.  Right now I need to focus on getting caught up so I know where I'm at and don't introduce any new continuity errors.  I want this draft to be as clean as possible when I'm done with it.  I may have some extra stuff to cut when I'm done, but I'd rather write too much than not enough (which was the problem the first time around, besides the plot issues).

My original timeline for finishing and publishing the novel is shot at this point, of course.  Right now I'm planning on a release in the fall, which I suspect won't be as good for sales as a spring/early summer release, but that's okay.  I'm hoping to finish the draft by the end of August, then do revisions and cover and formatting and hopefully release the book in late fall or by Christmas.  After that I have a few short stories that I can release through the winter and early spring while I work on the next novel.

This is all getting a bit ahead of myself, though.  First things first: I need to get this draft finished, hopefully in the next 1-2 months!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Book Review: We Were Liars

I don't normally do this, but this book is worth recommending.  Not only did it keep me up late reading last night (a fairly common occurrence for me when I'm engrossed in a good book), but it also had me starting the book completely over the instant I finished it.

I am not usually a re-reader, so this is a big deal.  I have too many books I want to read, so rereading is usually saved for a few select favorites.

In this case, the book is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  It's a fairly short, quick read, too, so it's not a big deal to reread it.  And the plot twist is so compelling, so huge, that I wanted to know what clues I'd missed in the first reading.

The story is about a teenage girl who spends every summer on her wealthy grandfather's island, hanging out with her cousins that are the same age as her.  They're close and enough trouble when they're together that the family has nicknamed them the Liars.  The summer she was 15, however, something traumatic happened, and she has no memories of what.  All she knows is that she's absolutely destroyed by whatever it was, so when she has the opportunity to go back to the island the summer she's 17, she goes to try to figure it out.

There's only so much I can say without giving it away, but there's a plot twist that erupts like a bomb and completely changes everything.

I'm about 17% through my re-read, and I have already noticed a few things I didn't pick up on the first time.  I expect it'll be just as wild a ride the second time through!

Monday, June 26, 2023

Advertising Update

I decided to try Amazon's affiliate program again, partly because I found out I did get one sale last time I tried it.  I have a plan this time to hopefully make more sales, so we'll see how that goes.  But just so my readers know, this blog is now running Amazon affiliate links as well as Google AdSense ads.

What it boils down to is that since I'm not freelancing anymore, I need some more income streams.  I'd like to be able to write more and focus on that, but I need ways to make money with it.  While ultimately my goal is to make money by selling books, monetizing my blogs a little better now sounds like a good idea.

I'll have much more to blog about soon, since I'm picking Ruby back up this week and into July, which is Camp NaNoWriMo (more on that later).  But I hope to also drop some recommendations and links of interest into my blog posts.  I promise my recommendations will always be genuine!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

New Writing Goals

I blogged a while back about how I'd lost the habit of writing daily, and created a new goal for spring.  I didn't actually get any writing done during that time frame though (I'd set the end of writing for May 31st).

Now, with Camp NaNoWriMo's July session coming up, and with a new weekly push on my regular habit to track my progress on various projects each week, I decided I need to get a move on.  I have a marker in my calendar to start working on Ruby daily again next week, and I set up a new writing goal on the NaNoWriMo website ending June 30th.  I'm planning on working on Ruby during July too, and hope to finish the draft by the end of Camp, so that means I have just shy of two months to get through the rest of the novel.

Hopefully I can get a few things done this week to free up some time to write, next week and moving forward!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Refocusing My Writing Life

I mentioned in my last post that I'm not freelancing right now.

Essentially, last year I lost a couple of clients, not through any fault of my own but due to business changes, until I was down to just one writing platform.  At the time I didn't have the time to look for other clients to replace the lost ones, due to my horse being sick.

Well, said writing platform and I parted ways about a month ago, after we disagreed over payment terms.  There's another platform I used to write for on occasion, but for various reasons I've elected not to write for them anymore either, due to payment not being guaranteed.

What it boils down to is that it's difficult making sure you get paid enough as a freelancer, and while it's important not to be a pushover, sometimes standing up for yourself makes you unpopular.  But hey, I'm unpopular but also paid in full, which is what counts.

I'm not terribly concerned about the break in income right now, as I do have some other ventures that will bring in some income, such as focusing on my doll repair and sales business, Against Doll Odds.  I also have a nonfiction ebook in the works that should bring in some income over time, and hopefully my fiction eventually will, too.

Interestingly, one side effect of not freelancing right now is that I'm itching to write more often than I normally would be.  When I was freelancing I had less urge to work on my own writing projects, but right now I find myself frequently wanting to write something, anything.

Hopefully this just means I'll be able to get more done!


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