Goodies Galore

It’s that time of the year again … HALLOWEEN!


How did your night go? Did you dress up or go out and celebrate?

I dressed up as Emma Swan: The Dark One. I love it. It was a great reason to break out my dark blue, sparkling lipstick. I was excited and ready to hand out some candy. BUT no trick or treaters came this year! More candy for me :P

As a writer, the end of Halloween also marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo. I could write about my NaNo prep, but I didn’t do any. As usual, I am a quasi-rebel. I have the start of the story, but nothing else. I hope I’m ready to win, but I don’t want to talk about that. I will probably write a post about how it went, but right now I want to focus on the important stuff: CANDY.

In preparation for tonight (Halloween/NaNo), I have thought a lot about candy. I have tons of Halloween candy, which I will enjoy with my one of favorite characters, Jack Skellington. Milk Duds, Kit Kats, and Yorks here I come! I might add some chips to the mix too. I have tea and donuts, a writer’s best friend, to keep me going through day 1. I also have left over tacos ingredients for lunch. If I get reach my own personal goal, I am going to go up a notch and have gourmet chocolate as a special treat. I might try firecracker chocolate or rocky road.

It’s nice to have a special treat as a reward for good work. Although, it does not have to be candy. I have my eye on an incredible journal. What do you use to reward yourself? Or do you use something else for motivation?

Until next time,


And the Writing Begins!

I have finally put aside Tapestry (my short story anthology) for the time being. The editing was tough, and there is still more to do, but I am happy with my progress. Now I am moving on to another story, and I am super excited to get back to writing! No more reading the same paragraph 8 times. :D

I will be working on the first draft of a Christmas story I started three to four years ago. I have read what I wrote so far, jotted down a few descriptions, and am now embarking on the writing journey. It’s a dark tale involving a little boy, Santa Claus, and magic spells. I hope I can finish before November, but I won’t put too much pressure on myself. I am enjoying my life and work more by thinking positively while trying not to stress over the small stuff.

Speaking of which, it’s fall! The joy! The weather is cooler. I can go for walks, or snuggle in bed. Visions of pumpkin treats waver before me. Stews and dumplings will be made. What a wonderful time of the year!

What have you been working on? Do you have any fall traditions?

Hope all is going well for you,


The Editing Adventure

I apologize for not posting last month. I have gotten carried away in my editing and with other work goals.

JuNoWriMo was fun. I got a good portion of the editing done, and loved being a word sprint host. There were also a few life changes during June. It was hard at the time, but it all worked out for the best. I’m doing wonderfully now.

I’ve learned a lot about myself as an editor too. Sometimes I edit scene by scene. Other times I need to take notes. And I figured out what I needed time-wise. I have been working on Tapestry for awhile now, but it still isn’t ready for publication. Time is a writer’s best friend. Taking time away from a piece of work can lead to clarity when editing. I thought I could write, do first revisions, then put it aside. As it turns out, this is too ambitious. It’s hard to seriously edit anything that has JUST been written. I can fix grammar and tighten it slightly, but the magical editing muse won’t make her appearance for weeks. Time and distance is essential.

I have also learned to accept that my writing won’t be a glamorous, masterpiece during the first draft stage. Logically I have known this from day one. Many writers preach this. Yet, it’s still hard to accept. It has nothing to do with arrogance so much as self-doubt. Some first drafts are okay. Other first drafts are horrendous! It’s embarrassing. My inner critic whispers crazy things to me. It says my readers will stealthily find this copy of my work, read it, and decide I’m not good enough. I readily admit this is silly. Editing is what makes a piece shine; it’s where it becomes great. Still, it’s tough to look at bad writing and not cringe.

Anyway, my newfound acceptance has brightened my mood, and I am excited to tell you that I’m almost done with this round of editing! Woo hoo!

Hope you’ve been well!


How It Goes

It’s less than one week before June, and there’s so much to do! I am behind on my editing, but I am determined to finish it. I can’t wait to have the anthology ready for publication. Plus, June is the start of JuNoWriMo. It’s my first year participating and I’m excited. I am going to be one of the sprint leaders and a featured author on their website! I’ll be sprinting during the afternoons on Mondays and Wednesdays. During the month of June I want to finish editing, and write a huge chunk of another novel!

I’m nervous because there’s so much to get done this summer. Editing takes longer than writing for me. I go over the scenes multiple times, ponder how to make it perfect, add copious words, and I take some out. Sometimes it feels never-ending. The novel I am writing over the summer has already been started. I need to reread what’s there. Try to find where my mind was when I was writing it, and go back to that mental place.

I hope to squeeze a novella in too, but it’s not looking good. We’ll see and I’ll keep you updated. I hope I can do it because I love the concept. It’s a dark fairy tale with a sexy Prince Charming. I don’t want to let him go!

And I am officially a Goodreads Author! It took a few more steps than I had anticipated, but it was intuitive enough. I created my page and added my flash fiction story, Flowers, under my name :D! I can’t explain how exciting it is to feel like a real author with all the author accoutrements. Here’s the link:

Spring Cleaning: An End and a New Beginning

My write chain is officially over. I wrote for 534 days before breaking the chain. I didn’t choose this specific day; although, I knew it had to end soon as I stated in my last post. I spent day 535 cleaning. I was exhausted, and there was a lot more cleaning to be done over the week. I opened up my work in progress, and thought about writing. I was tired and not in the mood. I love my work and thought it needed more attention and energy from me. I didn’t want to write my 80 words for the day; I wanted to be able to choose a time where I could dive in and write as much as it needed. I thought about writing in my journal, but I had written an entry the previous day. I didn’t feel like it needed an additional one. So, I let it go.

While I knew it was coming, it still felt like a big decision.

However, I spent an entire week cleaning! My living space hasn’t looked this good in awhile, and I have no regrets. This is a new beginning: A cleaner, more organized, living space. And a new writing pattern. I also got an AC unit for my window, so I won’t melt this summer. I could not be happier with this week’s accomplishments.

While I was cleaning all day long, I had no time to think of writing. Now that I have given myself a couple days off, I notice it. Midnight approaches and it occurs to me I don’t have to write. The time I write no longer matters (I used to wait until the next day, midnight, if I already had words for the current day).

That being said, I only took one day off (no cleaning and no writing). For the last two days I have written at least a hundred words. I am excited for this new period in my life and feel it will be beneficial in new and amazing ways.

The Breakup: Write Chain

**(I realize I just published a post about my write chain. That post was written five months ago, and I put it up to keep you guys informed so you know what I’m referencing in this post. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago).

I made a decision to give up my write chain. I have been going for 500 days. The original plan was to give up on day 500 and take the day off, but it has been a long day. There was an ice storm which took out the power lines leaving me with no electricity. Instead of having a fun celebratory day 500 and washing laundry, I did almost nothing.

I spent 2 hours grocery shopping. Thankfully my house is cold enough where I think my groceries will be fine. It’s the logic I’m using. Initially the power was supposed to be back by the time I was finished. It hasn’t come back. It’s been 25 hours and it is expected to be at least 13 more.

Other than that, I have been staring at my ceiling. I haven’t been able to sleep. I’m tired. Luckily, I finally found a gas station with power and an available outlet. So I find myself writing. Day 501.

I am bored out of my mind. The 21st century doesn’t have much without power. Writing on paper isn’t the same for me especially since my stories, notes, and whatnot are on my computer. Cleaning is hard when leaving the haven of covers results in freezing. Plus, cleaning is beyond boring without any kind of background noise.

Anyway, I decided on a new plan. I am going to keep writing because I have to get my stories finished. However, whatever day I skip is whatever day I skip. It’s time to stop writing every day.

I realized this when I took a small break for myself after the craziness of the last year and ended up still writing 80 words every day. It wasn’t much, but I still noticed it. I want a real break. I also want to see the effects of forging the chain … how much better are my writing habits?

Plus, I am very goal oriented. I am more concerned with getting the 80 words in anything (like a journal or different piece or brainstorming session) than finishing my current project. I want to change the goal to: finish the project any way. Even if that means writing 2000 one day and nothing the next. I want to mix up methods, and see what the results are.

This isn’t to say that I have not appreciated my write chain. I have. It has pushed me when I needed it. It helped me create the best journal I have ever had. My journal is amazing and I hope to keep up with it. I also want to keep up with my random thoughts, brainstorming, and blogs. It’s been a great journey, but it’s time for a different one.

If you want to know more about my write chain below is another blog I wrote about it.

My Write Chain Challenge

Almost a year and a half ago, I joined a writing challenge, which involved writing every, single day. Each day was a new link. If I skipped a day, I’d have to start over. I can’t believe I have written every day for so long. There have been challenges and comforting moments.

When I first started the challenge, I was writing something near and dear to my heart, and I was determined to write it because I had put if off for too long. This kept me going for over two months. I accomplished much of what I wanted to write, and the story began to fade. I was going to edit it; and added editing to my Write Chain Challenge daily goal, so I would either write or edit each day. This idea quickly evaporated. The story was a mess; editing was harder than I thought. I gave up because it became clear my goals for the story still needed to be worked on further. That story was not ready to be finished.

This is when I hit my first bump with the challenge. I did not have a new replacement story, nor did I have a particular goal. However, by this time, I had too many links to give up on writing daily. Therefore, I started a journal. It’s nothing I can publish, but it kept me writing. This went on for several months, and I learned a couple of things from it.

I ended up thinking of a flash fiction story due to a journal entry, and I improved my writing. I used more adjectives and details. I could write the entry similar to a story if I wanted. It wasn’t like this every day, but when it started popping up in my writing, I was pleased. This was also a writing accomplishment I had not previously achieved.

Throughout my life, I have bought journals and have been given them as gifts. I love them. They’re colorful and meaningful. Some of them come with lockets in different shapes and sizes with cool keys attached, others look like they could travel through time and belong to anyone. Every time I got a new one, I was excited. For one whole week, I would write my daily thoughts and desires. Then, poof! The magic was gone, and the lovely journal would be put aside. Now, I have more consistent entries spanning a year! Another side benefit is that a journal entry can be about ANYTHING: feelings, story ideas, daily activities, frustrations, observations, quirks, etc. Later, when writing fiction, this information can be useful for character building as well.

My journal has made my write chain links strong and consistent. Of course, when the time was right, I put aside my journal and returned to fiction. From time to time, I still write an entry to keep it going, though because it is definitely worth it.

There have been hard times along the way. Days when it was extremely tempting to give up, and stop writing daily. I have used a couple motivational ideas to keep my going. Starting out, I knew I had a commitment problem, so I picked the perfect number of words. Sixty wasn’t enough because it was too easy to accomplish without much effort. Surprisingly, eighty was my perfect number. Some days I would get to 77, and sigh. Three more words were needed. I forced myself to continue, and ended up with close to a 100 or more. I make sure to finish my sentences when writing instead of writing the exact number of words needed and stopping mid-sentence. It’s a great trick for adding more words to the daily word count.

My word count goal was also useful for hard times and challenges. I have had quite a few of these. When my computer crashed, I had to get creative with how I wrote my words until I could get a new computer. I used paper notebooks, and on an especially creative day, I used a cell phone app. I would not write a novel this way, but it was perfect for temporary use. On exhausting, difficult, sad, or celebratory days, I could always spare five minutes. Whether it’s a family member in the hospital or Christmas, I could still manage my word count goal.

On days when the motivation was not there, I had to remind myself I only had to invest 5 to 10 minutes. I would push myself to do it, feel accomplished, and yet not annoyed or exhausted since the obligation was more than reasonable. This kept my write chain going because I knew if I quit, I would quit for awhile. Which brings to me to a powerful motivation to write: I wanted to keep the chain going.

Once I had some links behind me, I did not want to have to give up and start over from the beginning. The thought of starting over was daunting. All my previous links would vanish. All those days, gone! 

As this over-analytical thinking takes longer than writing my 80 words, I stick with the writing. On my worst days, I start down this path, sigh, figure it’s not worth all the hassle of giving up, and continue to write. It has gotten to the point where my brain is learning to head straight towards the thought “Just write” with shorter and shorter trips down the Give Up Highway since it’s already been there and already knows all the pros and cons.

It’s important to remember your daily goal is your minimum goal. The sky is the limit when it comes to the maximum to write daily. In less than a year, I have written over 115,000 words! I find that number extremely inspiring! Sometimes, it’s a matter of just getting started.

Lastly, I want to address the inspiration muse. Artists everywhere talk about the muse. She’s a fleeting beauty. Getting inspired can be as easy as a random thought, the latest popular incident or controversy, listening to a great song, watching a fascinating movie, reading a touching book, or finding fun pictures and quotes. All of these things can be found anywhere on the internet: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix, Amazon, images found on search engines etc. If the internet isn’t available or isn’t particularly inspiring that day, there are museums, libraries, parks, and personal life events. The latter doesn’t have to be big either; a small life event can lead to interesting story seeds.

The trick is in the timing. Inspiration lasts for less than 5 seconds. Once it is felt, it must be acted upon immediately. Any hesitation and it floats away. On great days, it comes back. On less wonderful days, she can be gone for good. Even if it is at an inopportune time, like in the middle of an epic scene of a show I’m currently watching, I have learned it is best to take a few minutes and write. It’s a record of the inspirational idea, and words to add to the story.

Happy Writing!

My Goals and Resolutions: 2014 to 2015

Gone as quickly as it came, 2014 is over. I gave myself until the stroke of midnight to get all that I wanted done. While I didn’t reach all of my goals, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished.

Sadly, I lost some work this year. However, I have been writing and moving forward. I looked at some of my word counts and I’m shocked by how much I wrote. I am thrilled. I also published a story in December! Work-wise 2014 was the step forward I wanted.

For 2015 I hope to push myself further. I have big publishing plans starting with a short story collection being released in the winter. I am finally doing it!

My exercise and diet goals fell by the wayside. Oops! In 2015 I hope to correct this or at least do better.

52 books in 52 weeks ended up being cut short. I was well on my way to exceeding this goal when I met with challenges in my life. Reading ended up last on the list of things to do. That being said, I read 43 books in 52 weeks, and that’s pretty great. While I may slack off here and there, I do read! I am not going to do this again for 2015. I love reading and will continue to do so, but it’s a fun hobby for me. Reading does improve writing, but I don’t want to make it into a job.

And that’s all folks!

Happy New Year!

NaNoWriMo: The Most Awkward Time of the Year

I have spent a few years trying to get into NaNoWriMo. Theoretically, it sounds like tons of fun, and thinking of it in October is amusing. The dream of 50,000 words a month is alluring. It’s a wonderful and somewhat realistic dream. Then, November comes and the story changes completely.

It’s great having buddies … until they skyrocket to 50,000 within the first week. I am happy for my friends, but I feel like the slow one in the class.

Miss a few days and that easy 1667 multiples quickly into an impossibly high number.

Being a rebel sucks. I try to aim lower to motivate myself, but it’s against the rules. It adds a layer of “whatever” to the mix.

Once behind, all the emails are irrelevant. It’s hard to have second week blues when your word count shows your still in week one.

Not to mention, it’s during the time of the year when I would rather stay inside instead of meeting up for write-ins. I had nothing to do for seven long, hot, awful, tedious months. Now it’s the holiday season, my room temperature is comfortable, and I want to curl up and watch TV. (I do love parties, though).

I’m not sure if I am going to try next year. If I do, I will probably refrain from the frills in order to stay motivated.

Oddly, I write much more outside of this month. As a writer, the hardest month for me is NaNoWriMo.

All that being said, the prizes are pretty great, and it is fun to talk to people. CONGRATULATIONS to those who won NaNo. And even if you didn’t win, it’s still great if you enjoy it.


The Word Muse

I have had a hard time thinking of what to write lately. I try to avoid writer’s block and write even when I don’t know where I am going with it, but for a few weeks I wasn’t able to. My journal entries became tedious, ideas weren’t coming to me. I let it be. Kept up the journal anyway, and waited for the muse to return.

I have had a few more life problems/events to deal with, so that might have been a factor.

I wanted to finish the novel I was working on before the computer crash. However, I was too upset. I write spontaneously and was not able to recall all that I lost. Thousands of words turned into hundreds that didn’t compare.

I watched tons of movies, pondered, worked on feeling better (I needed to heal for a couple of weeks during this time), talked to friends when I could, and there was a county fair.

I waited and waited, and you know what? I think the muse is coming back to me. The journal entries are more interesting. That was the first clue. I don’t have my next story fully formed, but I think it’ll come to me. For NaNoWriMo I am writing whatever comes to mind. I hope it turns into a story. I am happy ideas are coming back to me.

Being a writer is about sitting down and writing the words. Most days that’s all I need. However, the inspirational word muse is needed for new stories and moments of brilliance, and she shouldn’t be underestimated. That being said, don’t be afraid to pursue her diligently until she comes back.


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