How to Find Time to Read/Write in College || I Graduated?!

Image of books, a graduation cap, and the words "reading in college."I graduated this past August. It occurs to me that in the time I was obtaining my degree, I’ve never written a post related to my college experience. Since this may be my last chance to write a post about it, I’ve decided to share my reflections on finding time to read while obtaining a four-year degree.

Reading with a Related Degree

My first year, when I was perusing a degree related to the social sciences as opposed to one related to reading and writing directly, I found it much easier to find time and energy to read and write.

This can be seen in comparing my 2015 and 2017 Goodreads reading challenge results:

2015 Goodreads reading challenge, in which I read 73 books of my goal of 50.

My 2017 Goodreads reading challenge, in which I read 51 books of my goal of 30.

Not only did I read more in that time period, I also wrote more. Freshmen year was the only time during my college career I managed to  participate in the primary annual NaNoWriMo writing event. While I didn’t win, in a large part because I am an underwriter and the first draft of my middle grade project was less than the 50,000 word target. You can see about when I finished my draft by looking at my progress on this chart:

A 30 day writing progress bar chart. Progress keeps up with the goal until the 16th, with progress coming to a near complete stop on the 23rd.

This is further reflected in the number of posts on this blog:

Shows the total number of blog posts written per year. 11 more posts were written in 2015 than 2017.
Note: 2018 isn’t over yet and some early posts were deleted. 

My progress in these areas after I switched to an English/technical writing major slowed dramatically. This is because I was spending my whole day reading and writing and needed a break afterword. However, unlike the majority of my classmates pursuing the same or similar majors, my interest in reading and writing beyond the classroom did not stop. That’s because I found ways to keep myself reading and writing despite doing it for most of the day already.

Solutions

The ways I found to keep reading and writing while doing so much of it for school involved reading in different ways from how I was reading them for school and finding ways to make time:

  • Reading audiobooks— perhaps the most effective of the solutions. This allowed me to do other things while reading, effectively making time.
  • Setting a specific time— whether this be a specific time every day or even once a week, having a specific time to read and write did much to increase my output.
  • Goal setting— setting a measurable, reasonable goal for finishing writing projects and reading a certain number of books kept me productive. I find it helps to have something to work toward, even if I don’t end up meeting it.
  • Make it social–Finding ways to involve other people in what are otherwise solitary processes is a great way to make the writing less intimidating. This blog is one example of making reading and writing social. Some writing related methods for writing include using tools like MyWriteClub’s word sprints and events like NaNoWriMo.

Bluejay feather quill pen.

Would you like to see more posts about my time in college? How do you balance reading and/or writing with your responsibilities? How have your reading and/or writing habits changed overtime?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and follow me on social media!

Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Goodreads

 

 

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Five years of Blogging || My Blogiversary

Wordpress 5 year aniversery

Earlier this month, I got a notification from WordPress.com saying that it’s been five years since this blog was created. This seemed a little hard to believe. Five years is a long time. Yet, sure enough, my oldest public post was published on July 29, 2013, meaning the blog itself would have been created over a week before.
Thank you to everyone who has helped keep me motivated to blog for so long by following, commenting, or liking my posts!

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If you have a blog, when did you start it? How has it changed over time? If you don’t have a blog, what’s the longest you’ve maintained something you’re proud of (a journal, an organization, a business, etc.)? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments and follow me on social media!

Twitter | Bloglovin’ | Goodreads

My Writing Favorites|| Beautiful People April 2018

My Writing Favorites

Hello everyone, today we are discussing my writing favorites with a writing meme hosted by by Cait @paper fury and Sky @further up and further in in which writers discuss their current writing projects.

I am currently on hiatus and expect to remain on hiatus into the beginning of May for complicated life reasons and the time it takes to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, but I just had to return and participate in the final edition of this meme.

Today’s character based questions will center around Lyle, the protagonist of the project I’m currently revising for Camp NaNoWriMo.

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Favourite genre to write in?

Looking at what I’ve written in the past, I’m going to have to say science fiction. It’s what I write the most even if I write a lot of fantasy too.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

As much as I love fiction, I’d probably have to go with some sort of self-help book because Lyle’s life is messed up. Unfortunately, I don’t read a lot of self-help books. Maybe a guide on how to be human, LOL.

Favourite piece of dialogue you’ve written?

Most of my dialogue doesn’t work out of context . . . I’ve been looking for half an hour and haven’t found anything I’m willing to share, so here is one of my favorite first lines instead:

The only person here tonight who does not want to kill me is my mother.”

What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?

My character is still a teenager . . . sort of, it’s complicated, so he hasn’t grown up yet. I want to leave this open for a potential sequel.

Favourite character name(s)?

I’m actually really bad at naming characters so, um, Lyle. Let’s go with that.

What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

I misread this question as “what makes you feel loved” which made this seem like a very awkward question for this sort of Q and A. . . .

Anyway, this depends on whether the question is referring to before or after the book. I suppose Lyle’s friends make him feel loved?

Favourite character you’ve ever written?

This would probably have to be the protagonist of one of my middle grade projects. She is a fairy princess who wants to be something– anything– other than a fairy princess, and I just had so much fun writing her even though I generally dislike the rebellious princess trope.

If your character were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Well, Lyle actually does “leave town” so to speak early in my draft. He does so at the spur of the moment with very few belongings except for one that helps him speak. Lyle likes being able to speak.

Favourite tropes to write!

In my fantasy, I love writing stories that feature quests with lots of travel . . . maybe a little too much because I don’t travel often. In my sci-fi, I love exploring moral dilemmas that arise from concepts like time travel and other theoretical technology.

Overall, I’m not sure if this is a trope or not, but I love writing from unusual point of views. I mean this less in terms of the character I’ve chosen as my narrator being an odd choice, though there is some of that, and more in terms of the way in which they tell the story being somewhat experimental.

For example, when I wrote from the point of view of a character who could read minds, she would frequently make comments that, from any other character, would resemble what is known as “head-hopping” in which a character knows more than they should about what other characters are thinking.

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

I really want to write something set underwater, but have never gotten around to it. At the moment, it’s next on my “to-write” list.

Favourite relationship between characters you’ve written?

This is a hard one. If this can apply to non-romantic relationships, then the complicated bond between two siblings who are side characters in one of my previous manuscripts I’ve now shelved.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

There are so many “holes,” but I don’t necessarily think it’s my place to “fill” most of them. As to what I think the literary world needs more of in general, but not necessarily that I will write, I think it needs more books set outside of the US and UK, more books featuring friendship and family bonds, and more books featuring characters with various disabilities.

Favourite pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?

I have a tendency to get caught up in searching for these sorts of things for hours and I don’t have time for that right now, so I think I remember Marie Lu had some nice ones?

Favourite time periods & settings to work with?

Well, I love writing about the future an in places that don’t exist. Does that count?

When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

This depends on the book in question, but generally I would like them to come away feeling I’ve made them think about concepts they’ve never considered before. Not even feeling that their thoughts on these concepts have changed, just feeling interested in having a conversation about them.

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What is your favorite time period to write in? Anyone else participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo? Were any of my questions surprising? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

Critiquing My Old Writing || Part 1

CritiquingI’m hesitant to share this now because it’s the first fiction I’ve shared on this blog. I don’t want people thinking I’m still this bad at writing. But, I love reading posts like this, so I’m doing it anyway.

In this post, I’m sharing the first chapter of the first book length thing I ever finished, written when I was 15 years old. Needless to say, please do not believe the quality of the chapter below in any way reflects my writing today.

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Some context

This draft was around 65,000 words. I never titled it, but often referred to it as Martian Murder Mystery. This temporary title is a good description of the plot: a murder mystery set on Mars. Not that this is apparent from this prologue. Oh, and there was also time travel. Lots of time travel.

The most embarrassing part is that the draft below is the revised edition. Back then, I though the only editing writers needed to do was fix all their grammatical errors.

I do have some plans to reuse my favorite aspects of this novel in future drafts (e.g. the plot and some world building elements), but have abandoned the idea of publication for this specific project, which is why I’ve posted this prologue.

The Prologue to My First Novel Length Draft Ever

Before this prologue there is a horrible poem. This poem is excluded for the purposes of this post.

Prologue: First Contact

Mars was once a rocky planet, devoid of all life. Before that changed 75 seventy-five years ago, no one on Earth would have thought anyone would ever call it home. When I came upon the planet for the first time, I’d expected a relaxing vacation away from the pressures of life on Earth. What I got instead was something I’d never expected, something that would change my life. It all started one Martian summer day as I was giving a speech.

Ugh, why is this started with summary? Start in scene! There is no need to explain what could be explained through action, especially not at the beginning of the story when I am trying to give readers a reason to continue.

Also, dependent clauses need a comma after them if they come at the beginning of a sentence. 

Despite all of my previous speeches, the sheer number of which would have left the average person in the state of shock, this was the first I’d seen of a stage. Also a first, were the unnerving stares of the live audience. All these factors made the words of my speech more difficult, as though the very air was poisoned. However, the most unnerving thing of all was not any of these facts, but instead the expressions of the audience. Before now, I’d always wondered what viewers thought of my speeches, I’d even seen the stats, but nothing could compare to this. Never before could I so clearly see the boredom, accusations, and jealousy portrayed in the faces of many in my audience. I swallowed hard, but made sure that my disposition continued to appear confident and energetic. Showing any sign of nervousness or hesitation to an audience is to tell them that you’re not worth listening to. Despite all these things, I started this speech as I had many others.:

This paragraph is way too long, especially when surrounded by other paragraphs that are also way too long. Paragraph length should vary.

Another low-level concern is that there is way too much abstract language over language that engages the senses. I should, for example, show how Chess is making herself appear confident and energetic instead of saying she appears that way. The audience, too, should be described.

That’s another thing, Chess, our narrator, probably should have had her name stated by now with a description of herself.

“I was only five the day the world moved backwards. I may have been young, but I can still recall the way everything, every broadcast, and every person seemed to freeze a moment. The invention of the first practical method of time travel should have been a joyous occasion, or so one might think. Instead, the possible implications seemed to suddenly dawn on people. If someone commits a crime, why not go back and prevent that person from existing all together? If someone is about to be murdered, injured, or raped, why not go back in time and prevent it from occurring? Why not even go back and prevent some of the bloodiest wars in history?

So much info-dumping and way too many rhetorical questions. The speech should also be interrupted by action.

“Before the year was out, we had a war on our hands. On one side, we had everyone who believed time should be unaltered and on the other, was everyone who believed that, no matter what the cost to ourselves, we should do whatever we can to assist our ancestors and make time as perfect as possible. The two groups were called the preservationists and the perfectionists. As time machines grew more and more readily available to members of both parties, it became all too apparent that battle tactics needed to be completely revised.

The audience would likely already know most of this, so there would be no reason for Chess to say most of it in her speech. They would also mostly be asleep by now. 

“The inclusion of time travel opened the door to a literal whole other dimension of warfare. No longer could wars be won by fighting in simple battles. The members of each side would continually go back and warn their former selves and both sides would be locked in an endless stalemate. Like a song playing on an endless loop that none of them even realized was repeating. As a result, no one can say exactly how long this war (known today as the 4-D War) actually lasted, but everyone can agree on the event that ended it.

*face palms* so much info-dumping. Even my head is spinning with all this information. I could also probably even make all this info-dumping much easier to understand if I were to just rewrite it at my current skill level.

“It was 199 years ago on this day when that war ended all because one man, my father Robert Tempest, proposed a compromise. This compromise became known as the Retribution Act. It stated that true time travel, which was never properly reproduced after the Zephan Aaron disaster in any case, was outlawed entirely, and the more practical, less dangerous form of time travel known as dream travel would only be used in murder cases to force the person who committed the murder in the first place to experience exactly what their victim had experienced. People who die while dream traveling never come back…” I trailed off as I noticed something, or rather, someone behind the curtain of the stage move. I tried to pass this off as dramatic effect about my previous comment to allow the full meaning to sink in. What I’d seen had been a girl about my age, maybe a little older (or way younger depending on prospective) she had been wearing a “retribution is a crime in and of itself” t-shirt. I hated protesters, but wasn’t about to let them ruin my speech.  Something had felt off about this protester though, as though I knew her from someplace, but at the same time I was entirely positive that I had never seen her face before in my life.

Okay, here is the first interesting thing that happens in this chapter. Chess should have noticed this person sooner and had her unease intermingle with all the info-dumping.

Chess should also be sharing many more of her thoughts on the matter and how she is remaining calm in front of her audience despite this protester’s sudden appearance. That would have made it all much more interesting.

There should have been a new paragraph after the end of the speech.

Also, Martians from the distant future wear t-shirts? Who knew.

“On a happier note, many people often ask me how it is possible for me to be so young, not even sixteen and yet have been seven 199 years ago. The answer, I’m afraid, is not nearly as creative as some of the rumors I’ve heard drifting around. As is understandable, not everyone was happy with my father’s compromise, and so, small rebellions continued. It is not that difficult for someone to make the mental leap and come to realize that my father was at the top of the rebel’s hit lists, meaning that the rest of his family was not all that far behind. In an effort to protect me, I was cryogenically frozen and, as a result, became the first person to awaken from a long term cryogenic sleep lasting longer than twenty years. ”

All this information and Chess’s name hasn’t even been mentioned once?!

Besides, it was not by my choice, I wanted to add, but I didn’t because I knew the comment would be everywhere, and therefore was not worth the potential trouble it would cause: even if it was the truth.

Chess’s emotions should be portrayed in a less telly way.

“This in no way violates the laws of Retribution which only mention time travel, not cryogenics.” I wanted to wrap my speech up quickly now to figure out what the deal was with that protester, but now, as I glance at the area where she had been only seconds before, she is already gone.

Chess really should have been a lot more concerned about this protester.

“I must say that Mars is the perfect change in scenery I needed in order to celebrate this historic event in a whole new way. Even here on this planet, it is important to remember that history still links our two worlds. This is my first experience of interplanetary travel, and I must say that the trip is completely worth it. Thank you all for your time everyone! Wishing you all a happy Retribution Treaty Remembrance Day this is Aubriana Tempest.” After my speech had ended I looked around for someone who had seen the strange protester girl, but no one had noticed her: no one except me.

The most cliche end to a speech ever. There was no need for the entire speech to appear here. I could have included only the lines that were important.

I should mention that Chess is the nickname the main character goes by throughout most of the novel. Aubriana is her legal name. This in and of itself is rather gag worthy.

The last line in this paragraph is probably the most exciting thing that happens so far: that no one notices the protester and the protester doesn’t directly disrupt the speech.

Overall Thoughts

  • Most of the speech should be cut with only relevant lines shared with the reader. Those lines absolutely necessary to understanding events should be shared, the rest should be excluded.
  • Chess needs to interact with more of the characters, even if those characters don’t have speaking roles. She’s in an auditorium full of people. There should be plenty of characters around for her to interact with.
  • Chess needs to be more concerned about this protester and do more to prevent the protester from ruining her speech.
  • I need to do more to show readers why they should care about Chess. I suspect the scene starts a little too late. More about Chess can be established if I show who she speaks to before her important speech and her reaction to the need for the speech to be given.
  • Paragraphs need to be shorter and more varied. This is in part due to ungrammatical lack of spacing after quotation marks.
  • There needs to be more description using language that evokes the senses.
  • There is no reason for this to be a prologue. There is no time jump and Chess narrates the whole novel. This should be chapter one.

This is only a small percentage of what is wrong with this chapter, but there isn’t enough room in this post for me to cover everything.

Bluejay Feather

Anyone want to see chapter one or for me to critique another of my old works? Anyone else have some embarrassing old writing shoved in a drawer somewhere? Do you agree with my critique of this chapter?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

November and December Wrap-Up || So Many Great Reads

Monthly Wrap-up

November and December proved themselves productive reading months, but not so much in terms of writing months.

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Reading

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The Lies of Locke Lamora

Short Synopsis

A theif named Locke tries to get out of the dangerous web in which one of the city’s other influential thieves has him ensnared.

Thoughts

I heard such great things about this book. I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it even more had my version of the audio book not had a tendency to cut off before the end of chapters.

That said, my willingness to put up with the audio book’s quality speaks magnitudes for the book itself.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time #2)

Short Synopsis

Thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time series.

Thoughts

I enjoyed it but, again, not enough to motivate me to finish the books in the middle of the series that I skipped.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Invictus

Short Synopsis

A group of teenagers travel through time and steal historical artifacts.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this one. See my full review for my thoughts.

Rating

4 blue jays

29385546

Warcross

Short Synopsis

A teenage girl goes from almost homeless to completing in her timeline’s most competitive video game tournament.

Thoughts

I loved that this novel was set primarily in Japan, as there aren’t a lot of YA novels set there. The video game setting was fun, but the characters didn’t stand out in my mind as much as I would like.

Rating

4 blue jays

33652251

The Empress (The Diabolic #2)

Short Synopsis

Sequel to The Diabolic, which followed Nemesis, a girl bred for the sole purpose of being an assassin.

Thoughts

My feelings for this book were conflicting and not helped by the fact that some of the elements that set Warcross apart from some of the other YA novels I’ve read were also present in this book.

However, I ultimately gave the book a high rating for reasons discussed in my spoiler review.

If you’re new to the series, please see my The Diabolic review.

4 blue jays

34002132

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Short Synopsis

Third book in an epic fantasy series.

Thoughts

A worthy sequel to Words of Radiance. (Which is saying something considering that the prequel is basically my favorite novel of all time.)

Its plot is less cohesive than its predecessor, but  there is still much exploration of the word of Roshar, the Knights Radiant, and Stormlight.

There will likely be a full review to come. In the mean time, those new to the series may enjoy my review of The Way of Kings. 

Rating

five blue jays

 

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The Hate U Give

Short Synopsis

Starr is the only one who knows the truth of her best friend’s death. A truth with the potential to tear her community apart.

Thoughts

It’s no secret that I don’t read a lot of contemporary books, but I make an effort to read some from time to time because there are some great ones out there.

This is one of those.

I was hesitant at first because I worried that, like a lot of books that deal with political topics, this book would be preachy. This fear proved unfounded.

The characters are well developed and the author’s world-building, and yes, I am referring to setting the scene in a contemporary novel as world-building, of Starr’s city and the division within it was fantastic. In addition, the book’s subject matter is incredibly timely.

One of the best debut novels I’ve read, and a great way to start discussions about a difficult topic.

Rating

five blue jays

25985241

Before The Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)

Short Synopsis

Third book in The Diviners series, which follows a group of young people with supernatural abilities.

Thoughts

Wow, this escalated quickly, but not quickly enough in some ways.

I went into this believing it was the final book in the series and not a book still in the middle of the series. This, at first, left me confused by the lack of resolution.

Rating

4 blue jays

Aether of Night by Brandon Sanderson

Thoughts

Not including a synopsis because I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to discuss the contents, but this proved one of the best unpublished manuscripts I’ve read, if not the best unpublished manuscript I’ve read.

I had some issues with it that made me see why it wasn’t published, but it was still good.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, And The Deep Origins of Consciousness

Short Synopsis

An exploration of octopus’s intelligence.

Thoughts

I’ve long been fascinated by octopuses, and this was an interesting exploration of their thought process.

Rating

4 blue jays

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The Soul of an Octopus

Short Synopsis

Yet another exploration into octopus intelligence.

Thoughts

No, I did not suddenly develop a desire to listen to a string of nonfiction books about octopuses.

This one was turned on in audio book form while I was traveling because one of my traveling companions mistakenly believed it to be the book I’d been reading.

We listened to it anyway.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

28815

Influence

Short Synopsis

Details the ways people exploit psychology to convince people to do what they don’t want to and ways to circumvent falling for their ploys.

Thoughts

Read this one in audio book form on the same trip where I read Soul of an Octopus. My traveling companion was a huge nonfiction fan.

In some ways, this book changed the way I thought of the actions of those around me. I noticed some of the practices detailed in the book being used by people even before I finished reading it.

Rating

4.5 blue jays

29430620

Children of Eden

Short Synopsis

Rowan is a second child born in a city where the law that each couple may have only one child is harshly enforced.

Thoughts

This may well be the most unpopular opinion I have ever posted, but I have to be honest.

I read this book because it was one of the only ones downloaded on my Kindle during a time when I had no access to WiFi or cell service.

Someone else downloaded this book while they were borrowing my device. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it to begin with.

Reading it with no prior knowledge of the reviews or publisher of this book, I honestly thought that this had been self-published and would have a low average rating. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this was not at all the case.

The most positive thing I can say about the book is that it is captivating. I was able to read it in a crowded place. Beyond that, the plot felt derivative of other YA dystopian novels I have read, and I didn’t care much for the characters.

The reason I felt the book might be self-published is because of all the melodrama, (Though, to be clear, I have read many great self-published books with little melodrama.) The book reads like a debut.

I can, however, see many people who are new to the dystopian genre enjoying this book because of its captivating nature and bisexual love triangle that I hear some readers searching out from time to time.

Rating

2.5 blue jays

24795966

Steering the Craft

Short Synopsis

A non-fiction writing craft book by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Thoughts

Okay, so I didn’t read this book during November or December, but I did read sections of it throughout 2017. I never reported the book in my wrap-ups, so I’m mentioning it now instead.

A good, brief book on writing craft.

Rating

4 blue jays

Writing

Writing wise, the only thing I accomplished was writing and revising a short story. If my attempts at publication prove fruitless I may post it to the blog because I was rather satisfied with how it turned out.

Bluejay Feather

Hope you all had a happy New Year!

Anyone read any of these books? What did you think? What did you read at the end of this year? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Writer’s Tag || Why I write, The Best Writing Time, and 2018 Resolutions

The Writer's Tag

I wasn’t officially tagged for this, but I did tell Marie @drizzle and hurricane books I might do this, so let’s just pretend. Shall we?

Bluejay Feather

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

I tend to write science fiction and fantasy in almost all sub-genres, leaning a little more towards science fiction.

How long have you been writing?

This depends on how you define “writing.” If we’re referring to writing in my free time as opposed to for other obligations, then around 5 years, possibly a little longer.

Why do you write?

Because I love it.

When is the best time to write?

When I have no other obligations. Just kidding . . . kind of. The only time I tend to have available to write is right before I go to bed after everything else I need to do for the day is finished, but, to be honest with myself, I’m a morning person.

What parts of writing do you love and hate?

I love it when the words flow and everything I’ve researched and outlined clicks together into a coherent whole.

I hate getting started on a day when I’m mentally exhausted and the early stages of the editing process when I’m overwhelmed by all a pieces flaws and can’t see any way to fix them.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

In several ways. It depends on what I think is causing the writer’s block.

My most common solution is to take a break from writing to brainstorm a chapter-by-chapter outline of the next few chapters that need writing.

Are you working on something at the moment?

Sort of. I’m beginning to edit the novel length piece I wrote last summer, but it’s slow going.

What are your writing goals this year?

As the year ends in a few days, this will refer to my writing resolutions for 2018.

  • To receive at least three rejections for something writing related.
  • To finally get to a point where I have edited a novel length draft enough that I feel it is ready for beta readers.

I’m expecting a lot of writing non-related things to happen in 2018, so I’m not setting many goals.

Bluejay Feather

If you write, what are your answers to some of these questions? If not, what surprised you? What are some of your 2018 resolutions, especially book related ones? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and Merry Christmas if you celebrate, hope you had a nice day if you don’t!

Beautiful Books November 2017 || Starting Strong, Names That Aren’t Names, and Advice

Beautiful Books

Beautiful books is a meme hosted by Cait @paper fury and Sky @further up and further in in which writers discuss their current writing projects.

This month I’m discussing my science fiction project tentatively titled Pigs Play Pork.

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Disclaimer: Everything mentioned here is subject to change.

Bluejay Feather

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

My mental state is all right. My novel on the other hand. . . Well, it’s not much more edited than it was at the beginning of the month, but at least I’m forming a revision plan.

This is honestly not too surprising. I opted to focus on getting back into blogging over revisions this month. Hoping to not have to choose between the two next month when I should have more free time.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Okay, this line is even more subject to change than the rest of this, but as of right now it is:

“You play the pork,” Suzie says.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I never have gotten around to naming most of my characters, so that means I need to stick with the rather limited pool of characters that actually have names. Therefore, my choice is my main character, Lyle.

What do you love about your novel so far?

I love that I get to write from the perspective of someone who’s experience is radically different from my own and imagine what life would be like from this perspective.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Most certainly, but it would take me forever to find something specific, so I’ll be general here. I use placeholder words for the characters I haven’t named yet. Sometimes I forget to put square brackets around these words and they can end up looking like they’re part of a sentence.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

The beginning, without a doubt. When I sit down to write a novel length work, the idea I’ve picked is that one I’ve had for ages and can’t stop thinking about. The ability to start writing about what I’ve been thinking about for ages is wonderful.

That said, when it comes to writing shorter works, starting is the hardest part. Once I’ve started, the words flow easier.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

When I have time, I tend to write in the hour before I go to sleep. That is because in a typical day, that is my only free time, and it only happens around three to four days a week.

That said, I will sometimes squeeze in five minutes of writing time here or there, but this is harder when editing because I need to be more focused to make sure I’m making my WIP better and not worse.

I also write a lot throughout the day on things not related to my WIP, so I suppose you could say I spend about equal time in a day writing and not writing.

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I tend to be very private during most stages. When I’m starting my revisions on my second draft I’ll show some people the first chapter or two to make sure my feelings about what I need to change are accurate.

That’s about it until I get to a point when I’m satisfied with my work. Which has not happened with anything longer than 6,000 words or so, but it will someday. I’m sure of it.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

My seeming inability to give up on things once I’ve started. Seriously, I don’t know when to quit.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  1. Use a schedule. You don’t need to write everyday, but writing tends to work best if you take time out of your schedule and make it a routine whether that be once a day, twice a week, or a few times a month.
  2. Set reasonable goals. Emphasis on reasonable here. Set goals that you have full control over, are plausible, and measurable. Instead of, for example, making it your goal to get an agent this year, consider making it your goal to get a certain number of rejections or just to send out a certain number of queries if that sounds too bleak. (I’m a personal fan of the rejection based goal. It makes every rejection something to celebrate.)
  3. Keep trying. Sometimes the unexpected happens and that reasonable goal you set becomes achievable. That’s okay. It happens to everyone.
    Sometimes someone close to you sees success and you don’t. This is okay too. It doesn’t make you any worse off. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible writer. Their success has no reflection on you at all, no matter how difficult this can be to remember.

 

Bluejay Feather

Do you write, if so how would you answer these questions? If not, do you have any advice for accomplishing major goals? What reading habits do you have? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!