A Bad Habit


MissPeregrineCoverIt’s easy to feel like a terrible writer when comparing myself to other, more experienced people.

For instance, I recently finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and made the mistake of pulling up my manuscript for a skim. This is a mistake I need to stop making, and a horrible cycle.

Thing is, I know I’ll never write like them. First of all, my favorite authors are older than me (if not dead.) I’m probably not going to write with the skill of a thirty year old at twenty-one, not unless I develop mad talent.

Not to mention the books I love most are classics. I’m talking Charles Dickens, with the beautiful vocabulary and seamless ability to paint a picture…

Secondly, everyone has a different style. Trying to mimic another style will only sound forced and unnatural, but when that style is so much smoother, it’s hard to remember that.

Struck with insomnia last night, I couldn’t help wondering if it gets easier. Do you accept your own writing when you’re older? Is there a point where you find contentment with your style?

secret_life_of_bees_grandeIf so, I’m not even close. All my rewrites are proof of that. I know I’ve improved–when I’m not comparing myself to Sue Monk Kidd, my writing isn’t that bad (I hope…)

Maybe I should create a policy of not reading other books when I’m writing something .

One thing I do know–even if my works now aren’t absolutely brilliant, they’ll give way to improvement as I grow. That’s why comparing myself to Charles Dickens isn’t going to work; the situations are different.

January is over, and cold weather clearly left me reflective. Now the days have become mysteriously warm; I suppose the frost of winter thawed so I can actually ask these questions.

What do you do when reading a book makes you feel painfully untalented? Does growing older make it easier?

Coffee, Words With Friends, Publishing


I haven’t had a Friday go by so quickly in a long time. I’ve spent it watching Modern Family, playing Words With Friends, and drinking too much coffee. Now I’m going to use this energy to write a blog post and breathe a bit of life into this site.

Yesterday I was productive and successfully made lemon pudding while asking Syd for instructions all the way from China while she worked on my book cover prototype (thisissoexciting.)

A few days before that, I got my copy of Coldplay – Live 2012, but the box is shattered because the sender packaged it inadequately and a huge chunk of it even came off. The discs do work, but honestly, boxes are important too. How hard could it have been to find a little box? *shakes head*

But this week I found a few more beta readers for Dissonance, because the project is back on. I edited so much last year that it left me panicky and scatter-brained, so come December I was near breakdown–not good. Now, after my awesome betas get their last critique to me around Valentine’s Day, I’ll create a new release date based on when I finish that polishing. I suppose that’s why I wasted my Friday watching television and playing Words With Friends. I know things speed up in the next few weeks.

This is exciting. Also, I keep thinking of 6 or 7 letter words I could use. Report. Puerile. Empath. Social. Publish.

Publish.

Publish.

Too bad I usually forget those when I’m actually playing the game.

And I’m sure this winning streak will fade when the effects of the coffee do.

I hope your January was great!

Banana Pudding


I made banana pudding.

Because you can only scroll Pinterest for so long before caving at a yummy idea.

I don’t know if the pudding tasted great, but my second helping seemed tastier than the first. Maybe I was just sick of smelling bananas the first time.

My mom helped. Thanks, Mom! ♥

This is the recipe.

Maybe this year I’ll make more pastries, pick up a different hobby. If I can just find what I’m looking for and be ready to fail (I am a beginner) it can’t be bad, right?

pudding

 

Here is a picture of me with my creation. (I just read Frankenstein so it felt really weird to say that.)

  • Yes, I’m in pajamas. They’re cozy.
  • I’m an insomniac and look like one.
  • But I was so proud!

I hope January has treated you well!

Journaling & Cluttered Minds


1469778_10151987089044939_457483479_n

There are so many books on my shelves, I literally don’t have a spot for another. This is where eBooks become useful. I have a cluttered personality which reflects in most of the things I do.

All my journals really consist of are random snatches of prose and quotes. They’re collections of words I stole from other people, occasionally melting them into my own work.

Will I remember any of these as an older person? Probably not. That’s why I’m writing them down. The words we read help shape us, and my collection of quotes will take me back in a very special way.

Are you a tidy person? Do you keep a journal? If so, what do you find yourself writing most?


“If you take a book with you on a journey, an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it…yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”

— Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Ditching Elegy


10372240_10152710437928558_6930244158796999922_n

My sequel has reached 68k!

Dissonance is a short book; I cut about 12k in last year’s revisions, leaving 60k to proofread. The sequel will probably be 80-90k by the time I finish writing.

I’ve ditched the working title I had for years, Elegy–the plot is evolving like book 1 did last year. Maybe when I’m finished I’ll pick it up again, but the story seems too different!

My inner perfectionist cringes reading this draft; it’s hard to remember no one has seen it but me. I’ve only shared small excerpts with my best friends, no longer than 500 words.

Meanwhile I’ve been doing line edits for Dissonance on actual paper. I tried using an iPad program, but just can’t focus well on a tablet. It’s easier to revise sentences on real paper, writing in the margins.

Do you have advice on surviving first drafts? This is the first time I beat 40k in years for a new novel, and it’s tempting to edit from the beginning!

Hope you’re having luck with your New Year’s Resolutions!

Thoughts on 2014


sparkling-sparkler

My New Year’s Resolutions are rarely carried out.

I wanted to put the book out in December and almost reached the mark. But even though I couldn’t publish on my 12/13/14 deadline, I made incredible progress editing. So my new goal is to publish on 2015. Perhaps without a strict date it’ll be less of a resolution, so I can’t ignore it.

Having spent all year editing Dissonance, I resumed work on the sequel. Typical of me, this is the third version. In July my Elegy manuscript made it to 60k. I’m not sure why I let it go, but no matter–the plot is better now. I have to remind myself that first drafts don’t need to be coherent. They just need to exist so you can edit!

As for reading, I’m torn about the Goodreads challenge. During much of 2014 I read a lot of words, later realizing I did not actually read them…breezing through a book does no story justice. From now on my goal for the Goodreads challenge is to know more stories, not to increase a number.

Closely related to these goals–I want to stop overthinking! Careful attention is useful when writing a book; in real life, it’s a curse. I’ll probably debate the pros and cons of this post before I publish it, looking critically at every word. That’s a habit I need to kick if I want to make progress.

My goals for 2015:

  • Publish the book!
  • Blog regularly, reply to comments, and make blogging friends.
  • Stop reading three books at a time. Each one should have its turn.
  • Read books in Spanish.
  • Write more snail mail.
  • Let go of unpleasant memories. This is a time to start over without letting things haunt.
  • Appreciate the moment, even if nothing is going on.
  • Drink more tea.

Happy New Year! What are some of your goals?

Blogger Recognition Award


This is another one of the blog awards I was nominated for a couple of weeks back. I saved it for later when I got Blogger’s Block! Thanks to Adriana, Heather and Alexa!

Awards-Image

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and link to their page.

Give a brief story about how you started blogging and share some tips.

Nominate 15 other bloggers

Notify your nominees.

Brief stories are not my thing.

Brief stories are not my thing.

Brief stories are not my thing, but here goes. I started blogging…well, I can’t remember why. It was the closest I’d get to a real website at 13, I suppose, and looked really fun. I don’t think my blogs had any purpose for several years, not to mention I couldn’t stick to one URL.

I kept switching from Blogger to WordPress, confusing people. I even settled in LiveJournal for about a year, but looking back, I’m not sure what I liked about that platform. I was on a site called HomeschoolBlogger for a year, too, and met lots of friends on there. Finally I came back to WordPress and stayed.

Now I blog to look back on my words in a few years. I blog to say I wrote something, and I blog to give my writing platform a boost. It’s amazing that we can get messages out immediately, like a review or epiphany. I’m not sure why I started blogging, but I’m glad I did.

As for blogging tips, here’s one I ought to have followed all those years ago–try to keep one domain name. That way you’ll get more traffic over time. You might not see it at first, but it makes all the difference. I get an okay amount of pageviews most days without trying. Often I wonder how many more I’d get if I were using the blog I started with.

Also, always get around to answering comments. I know I’m usually late, but even if the guest never sees my reply, I’ll know I took the time to answer.

Finally, I learned to appreciate effective WordPress designs. They are kind of boring if you look at them from a cosmetic viewpoint, but many people read on tablets, making most sidebars irrelevant. Your main concern should be content and SEO. That doesn’t mean you should keep the theme bland, but there are benefits to everything. (Though I am still waiting for WordPress to create The Theme for me.)

I nominate everyone for this award, because I like hearing advice! Let me know if you do it!

Prose of the River-Dead


On November I filled a notebook with random prose. Something blossomed into a spin-off from my poem, The River-Dead. Maybe I’ll add to it later, but I thought I’d share. :-)


This current is strong:
‘Tis the vast River-Dead.
Here, young lives have been claimed
And the water has bled.

-

“Just take a step in,”
The boatkeeper once said.
“It’s a marvelous ride,
And your maiden’s ahead!”
Read More…

I stood near the fabled river-dead, folklore whispering in the back of my mind, stories of young men they claimed died in search of true love.

river-scenic-spotThere was a log cabin not far off; an old man stood chopping lumber in his yard. Maybe he knew stories my father never told. Maybe he could tell me one thing to make this feel like more than a body of water. I knew the stories, but did not believe; heard of the magic but did not see.

“Sir?” I called.

Lost in his task, he did not hear.

I took step forward and asked again, “Sir?”

He did not stir, mumbling words I could hardly make out. One thing I did hear—“Claimed by the river…gone…”

“Please, sir.” I raised my voice. “I’m a journalist, and maybe you can answer some questions …”

The man stiffened. “All your answers are over there,” he croaked, nodding to his right. “Drowned, they were. Dead in the river.”

to be continued