Tag Archives: writer

Campfire Stories: Nearing the End

Campfire Stories is going to be published soon! Everything is complete including my new author biography. The group is entering the marketing part of the process.

Of course, I will be announcing all new information on my Facebook Page and Twitter account.

I’m feeling all sorts of emotions: surprised, happy, hopeful, and a little disappointed. First and foremost, I’m happy we were able to put this book together. Previously, I was worried about the project falling apart.  I am also happy about everything I’ve learned and been able to accomplish. This has been a great experience. I hope the marketing end is just as educational and fun. I’ve gotten slightly more familiar with Mailchimp already. I hope there are lots of sales, that people like my work, and I gain readers.

The slight disappointment has nothing to do with the Campfire Stories project. I had wanted Tapestry published by the time Campfire Stories was published. I have fallen short of this goal. However, there is a silver lining.

Campfire Stories has taught me what goes into creating a book from start to finish. It took five people nearly a year. Granted, we were doing other things in our lives, but putting a book together is not as simple or easy in practice as it is in theory. I understand now why I have fallen short of my goals with Tapestry. They were steep goals. I will make better ones going forward.

I want to give a huge thank you to my Campfire Story partners:

Ansley Ashe

Jill Marcotte

Lucy Jayne

Allison Gammons

fdywsfh8n6y-rachel-walkerI published this blog a couple weeks early. It was ready, and I thought it would be a good Valentine’s treat for my readers :).

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!


Superstitious

In my past, I have been slightly superstitious. As time goes by, my superstitious nature tends to increase. I find myself crossing my fingers and knocking on wood during conversations. No jinxes! This superstition seems to be an unexpected consequence to my being poor.

I have been living off of my savings while trying to become a writer, so I have a fixed income so to speak. I don’t mind overall. March and April went well. I had finished April by winning CampNaNo. I wrote my blog happy and victorious with a small thought in my head: oh no, good luck please stay with me! I had ambitious yet reachable goals for May. I was excited and ready.

A couple days after I wrote the blog, I got the estimate to fix my car. It was an astronomical amount for me. What could I do? I paid for it. It wiped out my savings. I was in shock for the first day or two. I was not writing; therefore I fell behind with my goal. Ironic isn’t it? The clock is set. I have to write like my life depends on it because it does, and I stop. After the shock, came sadness.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Several years ago, I was getting in shape. I felt amazing. Then, I got sick. The illness lasted over a month. I lost all of my progress, and no longer felt like working out at that time. Almost two years ago, I finally got a third of the way through a fantasy novel. A grand accomplishment. I could not wait to finish. I was backing up my work monthly at the time. A couple days before my backup, my hard drive crashed. I lost a huge chunk of the fantasy novel as well as all of another personal project. Devastated, I had to go out and buy a new lap top. This depleted the savings quite a bit. I have not opened the fantasy  novel since. Although, I still hope to finish it. Shortly after the hard drive crash, my car battery died. I replaced it, then it died again a few months later. Startling. The company did replace it, but it was not a comforting day. Last year, I had a dentist overcharge me. He also did a filling incorrectly, so I had to have it done again (by someone else).

One step forward, two steps back.  Yes, I have become more superstitious. Always hoping luck will be on my side.

This time is different because my wiggle room is gone. I’m anxious.

I am moving up my editing schedule. I need to publish. I need to sell my book after publishing. If I don’t, well I’d rather not think about that. I want to finish the first draft of my Christmas novel since I’m in the middle of it, but I worry that it will take too much time.

I am writing this blog on May 11, 2016. I have had my setbacks. However, I am proud of my progress overall. I never give up. This time it’s one step forward, half a step back. I want to do this. With all that I am, I want to succeed. I have slowly started to get back into writing this week. I’m several days behind, so I adjusted my goal.

I will keep you updated.

*Knocks on wood.*

wood

Are you superstitious?

Update (June 16th): I met my adjusted goal for May. I hope to do the same in June. I also found this article:

http://writerscircle.com/five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2/?utm_source=twc-twcfan&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_term=20160511&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2&origin=twc_twcfan_social_fb_link_five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2_20160511

 

 

 


My Second CampNaNo Win!

I participated in CampNaNo this past April. CampNaNo is a writing competition of sorts. You write with a virtual cabin full of people cheering you on.  I was able to set my own goal, and I achieved it! This is the second time I have accomplished this. Although last time was heartbreaking as I lost my work. This time I made sure to back up my work daily! CNW_Winner_180

I ended up sticking with my Christmas story, which is about a boy who needs to learn the meaning of Christmas. A mysterious man tells him the tale of Santa Claus, and how he came to be.

Over half the draft is done! It has been strange writing it so far because a huge portion of it is not overly Christmassy with jingle bells and elves. A lot of Nicholas’ life involves not being Santa, and this story dives into that part. However, in a few more sections I will get to the North Pole part. I cannot wait! I want to write about beautiful lights, and hard working elves.

I hope to finish the first draft soon. Then, I’m going to put it aside. It will need a rewrite, and a few edits. It probably won’t be out this year, but my fingers are crossed for 2017!


Picking and Choosing

I thought I would have been done with Tapestry by now. Unfortunately, it needs more editing, so I have put it aside. I did not expect this to feel so sad. I know it’s not gone. It’s just waiting for me to come back to it. However, I really wanted to publish it this spring. I’ve mourned the loss of this particular goal, and now I am working on something new.

I have moved away from the angst and emotion of Tapestry, and onto romance. It’s a big change, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve twisted a couple of tropes, and it seems like it’s going to be a fun adventure. This time, I am doing things differently.

I am going to release parts of the story separately, so people can get a feeling for my main character. I hope this builds my audience. I have planned the plot accordingly. This means I will be editing smaller chunks at a time, which will probably work well for me. Additionally, I have done character profiles this time around!

This also means I am putting aside my Christmas story for the time being. I say this as snow falls outside my window. I wish I could have finished it, but I don’t think it would have been done on time for next Christmas. I am trying to focus on a project I can get done this year without lowering my standards for my stories.

Under the sadness, I am happy. I do love my new characters. It sucks when I have to choose between my stories, but it’s part of the job.

I will be submitting a short story for a writing contest this month too! It’s my first time writing Science Fiction. I enjoy trying new genres. I am in the final draft of the story. I can’t wait to submit. That’s everything on the writing front.

How has your new year been going?

I am thinking of writing a couple of posts on my new year resolutions. I am still trying!

-Kalen


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!


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.

 


Guest Post

Almost a year ago, I joined a writing challenge, which involved writing every, single day. Each day was a new link; if I skipped day, I’d have to start over. It’s called The Write Chain Challenge.

A couple of months ago, I was asked to do a blog post about it. I accepted, and wrote my first guest post. I was happy to be asked, and excited about writing it. Being a part of the writing community is a lot of fun, and I feel like more of an “official writer” when opportunities like this arise.

It launched last week. It’s about how to stay motivated while writing every day. It includes what keeps me inspired, and how I made writing a habit. I will expand on some of the points listed in a later blog on my site. Until then, here is the original post.

Hope you enjoy it!


Word Sprint Challenge

It’s almost half way through August, and I am not loving my progress as of right now. I want to write more, but it’s hard to get motivated enough to write thousands of words a day. I have ideas; I am working on one novel and a couple of shorter works. However, I have doubts which cause procrastination. The daunting nature of my task does not help. As I said before, I like breaking my goals into smaller bits. If I just look at the whole mountain of work I need to do, I get discouraged.

Plus, I love studying art by reading and watching, and find it more soothing than writing at the moment because the pressure is on someone else. Not to mention, the unbelievable joy of consuming wonderful works of art. With all the stress, it’s easy to want to be soothed, entertained and amazed by someone else’s work. It’s a great bonus and privilege that I get to learn from it too. I’ve learned where to improve my book, and am studying dialogue.

Time to put my knowledge to good use, and overcome any obstacles. I am determined to meet my goals.

word sprint challenge

I thought about what I could do to push myself into increasing my word counts, and landed on word sprints! I have a tendency to randomly sprint, but I have decided to commit to regular sprints for at least the next month. Starting tomorrow, August 12, I will be sprinting for two hours for at least 5 days a week. I am going to start by sprinting from 8-10 PM EST. I plan on keeping this time slot for awhile, but any change will be updated on this blog and announced to my followers via my social networks. Everyone is welcome to join me. If you’re not at the writing stage, you can edit during the sprint as well. I will be using the hashtag #writingbash for my sprints.

I found out when I host a sprint I can’t very well not show up, or there won’t be a sprint! I take my responsibilities seriously, and sprinting is a way for me to hold myself accountable. I can’t wait to see what this new adventure brings, and to report my progress.

Happy writing!

 


CampNaNoWriMo: July Edition

The emails have stopped; the camps are closing. CampNaNoWriMo is over. For those of you who don’t know, CampNaNoWriMo is a writing competition. Anyone who reaches the goal number of words wins. I’ve been participating in various CampNaNoWriMo events for the last few years; however, this was the best NaNo experience I’ve had.

First, I love the freedom of CampNaNoWriMo versus NaNoWriMo. I picked my own word count, and I got to have a cabin with various participants. This year was also different because users were able to choose what cabin to join. On a whim, I decided to join a cabin created by a fellow Twitter user. It was a wonderful decision.

This was the first time I got really involved with other NaNo members. The first two weeks of July were hectic, so I was too busy to drop in often. However, when I did, there were 77 new messages! I had never seen so many messages before; in previous cabins, there were only 5 or so. I got more involved during the second portion of the month and it was a blast! We had sprints, short conversations, and our word counts grew. I also was introduced to Google Hangouts.

Now I have all new friends, and thousands of more words. I feel another step deeper into the writing community. It’s a good feeling.

And this is the first year that I won! Woo! *Happy dance.* It feels good, and a wrote almost twice as much as I did in April (the last CampNaNo event).

2014-Winner-Vertical-Banner

I have a choice of prizes. I’m not sure if I will use any. I downloaded two trial programs, but I haven’t been using them. It’s hard when I’m in the middle of writing something. Hopefully, I can explore them more in the coming days. Learning new programs isn’t always the most fun for me. It figures that Facebook apps force me into learning their ways, yet actual software comes with long, boring tutorials over a fun, quick start guide. Still, it’s amazing how many partners NaNo has, and it’s cool to be able to pick a prize.

Inspired by this experience I created a Facebook group for writers with word count or editing goals. It’s a place to share and chat. I enjoy the other groups I’m a part of, but they tend to be dormant or have thousands of members. I thought this would be fun, and more close knit like camp. Feel free to join.

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/708743069161265/