Monday, July 2, 2018

Quickfire Camp Tag

Hello Y'all!


July is Camp NaNoWriMo, and I thought I'd bring you a quickfire tag to start off the event. Camp NaNoWriMo (Novel Writing Month) is a virtual writing event that is goal-oriented and happens for the entire month of July. But unlike NaNoWriMo in November that has a structured goal of 50,000 words, the goals you set can be anything from 30 words to 30 chapters.

Here is the link to take you to the Camp NaNo site: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

For this camp-based tag, answer the questions below as fast as possible. (it is a "Quickfire" tag, after all)

Please spread the positivity by tagging 5 other people to do the tag, too.

I'd love to see your videos/blog responses, so tag me or send me a reply, and I will check it out!

Questions:

1) Sun, Moon or Stars?: Are you working on drafting, revisions, or editing? What is your project about? (category/genre/POV)

2) Archery Practice: what is the word count/page count goal you are "aiming" for? (see what I did there? Yeah, I'll just show myself out now. xD)

3) Cabin or Tent?: are you writing alone or with friends? (aka: "cabins" on Camp NaNoWriMo)

4) Around the Campfire: What are your favorite songs to listen to when writing?

5) In the Dining Hall: What are your favorite snacks and drinks to have when writing?

6) Friendship Bracelet: Who else do you tag for this video?


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Trying Out #AuthorTube!

Hello All!

Phew, it's been a while, what can I say? I still want to talk about writing, and I still want to have a creative outlet, so I thought I'd try my hand out in YouTube land! This channel (and subsequently, this blog) will still focus on what I am working on as a writer, but it will also have tidbits of my life as an adjunct instructor as well as someone living with Cerebral Palsy.

What would you like to see?




Friday, July 7, 2017

Where Have I Been? Life Update

Hello All!

Wow, it's been forever and a day, hasn't it? 2017 has been an interesting year, to say the least, and these past few months have been no exception. One of my biggest life goals of the year was to take chances when it comes to my happiness...not settling for mediocrity because it's what I should do or what I am expected to do. I am fortunate that I have a spouse who is the definition of supportive, so when a job in my field popped up in the PNW, I took it. 


And on an adventure I went. No cat. No hubs to depend on. Just me...and teaching anthropology.
Obligatory plane wing picture


I made friends, pushed the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of doing, and I became intimate with the uncomfortable feeling of making mistakes. But, I learned so much about myself and about how much I love seeing people opening their minds to embrace new concepts of culture and the world.

View of the water from the city
And so, my writer-fam...with the seemingly-endless pile of grading threatening to drown me, and the content lectures and assessments I had to complete, words took a backseat to the job. I don't see this as a bad thing, but a new chapter in my life...a chapter I'm still figuring out.

Got to see the cherry blossoms bloom at University of Washington!


And my dreams of becoming a career author? Still intact, by all means. Adjunct teaching is no stable thing, and while I may have a job for a semester or two, it does not guarantee I will always be so lucky. Therefore, writing is something I want to do to bring in income as well as to fulfill the gnawing need for a creative outlet. But for now, life is taking some unexpected turns, and I am all too happy to follow.

And did I mention the coffee? 






My apologies for being a ghost these past months on this blog and on social media, but I'm afraid it will be this way for the foreseeable future. I am still here, however, and I am still a writer, and that's all that matters right now.

Thanks for sticking with me during this time. It means the world to me.


And as always, may your words be great and your pages many.

Monday, February 20, 2017

5+ Tools for Writer Productivity




Hello All!

Phew! It's been forever and a day, but I'm back with a blog post on some of the techy tools I use to improve my productivity when writing. While there is no shortcut to getting your words down for the day, these things help me to stay on track with my writerly life. 


Scrivener

This is a popular app/program that many writers use to brainstorm, draft, and revise their WIPs. With the plethora of tools at your fingertips, it can be a bit daunting to get started, but it was worth it in terms of how I organized my work. I primarily used it for revisions on this first, original project of mine, but any novel afterward will be started/imported into Scrivener.

Why I like it:
  • Many tools for a powerful writing experience
  • The ability to set WC goals in-program
  • The ease to organize the "flow" of your WIP by simply dragging and dropping 
  • The ability to use a split screen to have your writing alongside something else like previous drafts or visual inspiration

Habitica


As many of you may have guessed, I am a big gamer. Habitica combines the joy of gaming with completing tasks and establishing good lifelong routines. I primarily use this app on my phone and use it to track my habits.

Everything from "get up at a decent hour" to "work out 3 times a week" is in this app. What's neat about this is that it treats your daily life like a game. The more good habits and things you check off your dailies, the more your avatar "levels up". 

If you are interested in a more in-depth blog or video on how I specifically set up Habitica, let me know, and I'll get right to work. 


Forest

This phone app does cost money, but I love the effect it has been having on my productivity. The object of the app is to get you to not be distracted by your phone. Set the timer for a certain length of time, and if you succeed in not exiting out of the app, a tree or bush will "grow" in the "forest" of the app. If you do get out of the app before the timer runs out, the productivity tree dies. 

I like to use this app to track how long I've stayed focused on my writing as well as use it in conjunction with Scrivener for writing sprints. You can even join friends who have the app and see their Forests as well. 

Fitbit


While not directly related to the actual act of writing, anything that can help me form a daily routine and stick to it is something I will love. And as a writer, I find myself sitting long spans of time in a sedentary position (which is not beneficial to my health). 

I need to get up and movewhether that is by doing yoga (which I have been loving) or going for walks while playing Pokemon Go, or even a movement-based video game like Just Dance or Wii Fit.

I use my Fitbit to keep track of my sleeping habits, my water and food intake, and my steps/exercise. This, by far, is my weakest area in terms of consistency for me, but I am trying to get a little better at living a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Of course, there are many other watches/apps that does what Fitbit does, but it's the one many people are familiar with.


Google Docs

If Scrivener is out of the question, GDocs is a great way to go. It allows you to organize your writing by using folders to keep everything separated, and you can take your writing anywhere as long as long as you have an Internet connection that will sync anything new into Google Drive. Added to this is the fact that you can work on files offline and then update them later is one reason I use GDocs.

But my main reason for using it is the collaborative tools it comes with. By sharing my chapters/drafts/outlines with Alpha Readers, Beta Readers, and Critique Partners, I am able to see their comments as soon as they are posted as a running document. This saves me so much time and energy in that I don't have to keep track of a ton of e-mails to get things done.


MyWriteClub

If I need a change of pace or it's NaNoWriMo time, I use MyWriteClub.com. It's a free site that does word sprints. You are given a text box on the site, 25 minutes to write as much as you can, and a counter on the side that awards stars at certain word increments. I enjoy the global sprints because it allows you to work alongside others, but you are also given the option to do word sprints on your own.



Honorable Mentions:

Hope you are all doing well, my writer-fam, and as always...may your words be great and your pages many.

PS. If you'd like a video tutorial on anything mentioned here, please let me know!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unpopular Opinion 2: I Don't Write Every Day



Hello Everyone!

Here's the thing: I don't write every day. Plus, I don't think everyone needs to write every day, either.

::gasp::
::shock::
::horror::

Whaaa...? 



Let me explain.

These past weeks, I have been particularly struggling with my WIP. Like most of you, my writerly friends, I have to deal with bouts of self-doubt, questioning my skills and talents, and wondering if I my WIP will ever be published. I thought that, with the plethora of advice online, I'd be able to hone my craft, build my platform, and draft new books every year.

Update: I am slower than molasses, and my craft seems like an agonizing uphill battle some days. 

I can't write every day. It's not that I "wait for inspiration to hit", or that I'm lazy (at least, that's what I keep telling myself). If I work towards a Word Count (WC) goal, mindlessly drumming away on my laptop or word processor, I burn out.

It took me nearly a year to realize that this was the case. All of 2016, the year I thought I'd get so much done, had me going through bursts of daily writing as many words as I could only to fizzle and not write anything of substance for months at a time. Sure, I was editing and revising, but it became more of a chore I dreaded than a job I wanted to pursue as a career. And forget about drafting anything new...the guilt I felt (and still sometimes feel) of not completing a project perfectly had my words stifled before they ever had a chance to make it onto a page.

At first, I thought I was just a super weird person. All of the blog posts and videos I had come across suggested listening to music for a few minutes or spending time in nature to have the creative juices roaring back. (And indeed, these self-care tips are important). But after all these things, the words still would not come. Surely, I must be self-caring wrong, no?

Then I reflected on some things:

1) I need to stop comparing myself to other writers and their journeys. 

AND

2) Everyone doesn't do the same job in the same way as everyone else in any other workplace environment. I need to allow myself time to find my own schedule that works for me. 

BUT

3) I also need to finish a project so that I can publish it as my ultimate first step in being a career author. I can't wade in the shallow end of the career pool because I am afraid of swimming. I have to get myself out of the mindset of, "Oh well ::shrugs::...I can't really fail if I never really tried."


And unlike Han, I can't just "whatever" things, save the day, get stuff done, and look cool while doing it. 

So, my goal became this: if I can't write every day (at least not yet), what sort of routine do I need to develop so that I don't burn out and avoid writing altogether?

Right now, it's to write during the working week, and take weekends off. I don't worry about WC, but I do try to write down a goal for the day that needs to be completed. I know I need routine and structure, and structuring my writing days as anyone else would a working day, seems to be paying off. Thank you, Twitter writing-fam, for helping me with this. Y'all rock.

If my daily goals are not directly related to my long-term goal of publishing this WIP, I am trying to re-evaluate them. And doing this — not writing every day has helped me to recharge and focus on other parts of my life that I can improve (what can I say...must be the INFJ in me).

In any case, I am still very, very much in the learning phase of all of this, but suffice it to say:

If you are like me and get burned out by things in the world only to be burned out by writing, then perhaps it's time to re-think about all the writing "advice" that doesn't serve you or help you to grow.

If you find that the outside world, interactions, and all the messy emotions that stem from it, are wearing you down, writing every day may wear you down even more. You may still think of your stories as problems that are in need of solutions in terms of plot, character development, story arcs etc. Facing the world's problems every day only to sit down and deal with more problems may be why you (and myself included) are prone to running out of creative juices. 

Of course, this advice, like all advice isn't for everyone. If writing a certain WC per day keeps you productive, then do it. Whatever positive thing you can do to keep your writing dreams alive is something I'm all for. 


What does your writing routine look like? Answer below or find me on Twitter. 

May your words be great and your pages many!





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Goals



Hiya, everyone! How's your 2017 so far? I've been trying to keep on trudging along with my goals for the year, but I tend to teeter out on them by the end of February. This year, I would like to share some of my goals with you to hold myself accountable.


Reading 


I want to read like a writer as well as for the pure enjoyment of it. I want to turn off my critical lens and read outside my genre to expand my knowledge on craft. 

I started doing this at the end of 2016, and I hope to continue doing this in 2017.

Goal: 20 books 

Edit/Query 

I have been poking at this MS since after NaNo 2015, and I think it's time I complete something I've started. I can't write and edit and beta my own work, so 2017 is all about understanding the fact that I can not do it all.

Goal: Finish revisions on last third of novel (Q1); send MS to editor/revise some more (Q1/Q2); Send 100 queries (Q3/Q4)


Tackling Perfectionism/Self-Care

I've written both on the push and pull of perfectionism as well as things that creatives can do for self-care. But it's one thing to know something in theory, and a completely other matter to implement the theory in one's life.

2017 will be all about understanding my limitations as a writer as well as trying to steer away from aiming for perfection at the expense of a finished product (in my case, a novel).

I can never take the next step forward if I am afraid to let others see my work.

Goal: Send off MS knowing it is not 100% perfect, but it is the best I can do at this time.

Completion


All in all, I want 2017 to be the year I complete the projects I've started. I tend to be afraid of success and failure in equal measure, and this has inhibited me from making substantial progress with my goals. 

2017 is the year I am unafraid of failure.
2017 is the year I am unafraid of success.
2017 is the year I complete my projects.
2017 is the year of self-kindness.

What are some of your goals for 2017?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Reflections



Wow, 2017 is already...can you believe it? I wanted to take this time to review my 2016 in terms of writing and writerly-related things. What have I accomplished last year?

Writer's Workshop

At the beginning of this year, I went to my first ever Writer's Workshop. The entire day was spent in the company of other writers, and I did my best to come out of my introvert shell to interact with strangers. I was so surprised by how friendly and enthusiastic everyone was to be there, and we learned things about the writing industry, marketing, and different paths to publications. 

This workshop ultimately sparked my drive to pursue writing as a career, and to take it seriously as I would any other job. No time to wait for inspiration...I had a book to write!

Twitter Events


This was also something new I've done this year. On the plus side, I am slowly but surely allowing others to read my work (which, up until last year, I never really showed anyone my work). I would pitch Twitter-sized bits in the hopes of an editor or agent expressing interest in helping me with my MS. And with Pitch Wars and other events of a similar nature, I hoped to find a mentor of sorts to help me to see the problems I could not see since I am too close to my own writing.

The feedback I've gained was invaluable, and the community shared in most of these events was nothing short of awesome. Other writers like myself, could all converge on social media for the sake of one goal, and I thought that was a pretty cool thing. I improved my query and synopsis, and I learned tons about craft and commonplace problems through participating in these events. I also learned that my MS was nowhere near query-ready, and that editing was much more than fixing things on the line level.

If you're interested in participating in these things, do your research to make sure it is a right fit for you. Twitter events are not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay.

And while this is not the only path to publication, it can open doors to you from what I've seen of success stories, if you do decide to give it a go. I've gained some confidence in seeing others enjoying my work/ideas, and that's invaluable to someone like me who struggles with self-doubt and confidence.

Reading Craft and Genre

At the beginning of 2016, I knew writing was hard. But by the end of 2016, I had a whole new understanding for how difficult genre writing was as opposed to academic writing. 

NaNoWriMo 2015 taught me I can write 50,000 words in a month. 2016 provided me with adequate growing pains in terms of my own shortcomings and lack of knowledge in publishing an original work. When I got that splash of icy water as a wake-up call, I knew I had more to learn about the craft of writing genre books. 

I purchased books on craft, read other author's blogs, watched YouTube videos, and listened to what the writer and book communities talked about on social media. I've become an eternal student of writing craft.

Part of learning to be a better writer came from re-learning how to read like a writer for me. 2016 was the first year in a long time where I've actually read for leisure, and it has enriched my writing so much. I not only read to enjoy, but I use the skills I've learned in university to look at works critically, analyze sentences that work and don't work, and evaluate genre books much like I would an academic paper. 

Learning the balance of reading for pleasure and reading to absorb craft likes/dislikes etc. is an ongoing thing that will certainly carry over to 2017. 

Maintaining a Blog

I have come to love my little corner of the internet, and I am over the moon to see people reading and enjoying what I put out there. With 2017 here, I hope to grow this blog even more, connect with other writers even more, and truly find my voice in the sea of so many other awesome people.

Finishing A First Draft of Original Work

I've learned so much from finishing a first draft of original work. I've nailed down some sort of revision process (which has since been updated), found out the easiest way for me to draft distraction-free, and took a step back to reevaluate my strengths and weakness as a writer. All of these things are wonderfully vital to learn when making the transition from writer to published author, but I am still having growing pains in terms of setting a daily schedule for myself.

And that's what 2017 will all be about: finishing what I've started...no matter what the outcome may be. I need to take my writing and push it out there in the hopes that someone out there will say, "Yes, this is exactly what I've been looking for!"

What writerly things have you learned in 2016? Find me on Twitter, and sign up for updates --->