Writing Progress Wednesdays

Struggling and World Building

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Lately, I think we’ve all been struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and the constant drive to keep our heads above water. So, this week’s #WritingProgressWednesday is focusing on bringing myself back together.

My husband is still working at Target during this whole disaster. I’ve been lucky enough to have him home for the last week on what would have been our anniversary vacation, but it’s not quite the same. He goes back to work on Saturday. We’ve made him masks to wear, just in case. He deals with a lot of people every day.

I spent the better part of March panicking over COVID-19, but I’m not there anymore. I’m sad. Tired. Unable to process the numbers. Florida is a growing train wreck, and I’m never quite sure what’s going to burst into flames next. Every press release is worst than the last.

Needless to say, depression has pulled me away from the writing that I’ve been desperately trying to get back to. It’s always a struggle–the depression and anxiety–trying to balance when I feel best and where my focus can be applied, if I have any focus to give at all. The virus has amplified these issues, but it’s not like they weren’t already there.

So, I’ve got over 200 pages of ms to edit and restructure. I have the same six chapters left to finish the primary story line in the first draft of PSCW. I’m pulling information I wrote on the fly and creating a world building bible for that world–though it really does need a lot of fleshing out. I’m missing so much, it’s a little intimidating.

For now, with the world building and the work I have ahead of me with PSCW and Fae’s Light, I have plenty to work through. I just need to find the drive to push through my issues to get to the end of it.

How are you all handling isolation or continuing to work? Stay safe. ❤

Writing Progress Wednesdays

Shooting for a New Day Job & Friday

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Writing took a bit of a back seat this last week, unfortunately. I’ve had a handful of doctor’s appointments to deal with some issues that have built up over the last year. It’s been hell on my anxiety, but I feel like, from a health standpoint, I’m pushing in the right direction.

On top of the doctor’s appointments, I’ve gone through two job interviews for a pet store, with a third this afternoon. It’s been a very busy, but fairly positive week, as long as I’m looking past the anxiety hellpit that follows me around from time to time.

FAE’S LIGHT chapter one is undergoing a quick edit and reworking, and will be up on Friday. Pretty short post today. Stay tuned for Fiction Friday. ❤

writing, Writing Progress Wednesdays

Six Chapters Left!

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I’m adding a weekly element to the blog! Writing Progress Wednesday! I probably don’t make enough progress, but I’m hoping this bumps me into moving a little more quickly on certain projects.

In any case, I’m happy to announce that Pirate Selkie Civil War (which still has no actual title, and whose working title isn’t really even accurate anymore) has only six chapters left in draft one! It’s a big deal, since I’ve struggled with my fiction for several years now. PSCW was a project I took on as something fun and unusual to alleviate the creative block I’d hit with Amity Dawn, and it turned into something much bigger.

Amity Dawn is still sitting on my hard drive, collecting dust and being a mess, but I’ll get back to it one day. I guess I just lost my handle on it, and I needed to set it aside. Hopefully, some distance brings a little clarity.

But, right now! Pirates and selkies and faeries are making a full scale mess in another world, and I need to handle that.

So, I’ve got a sailor and her crew trying to fight a bastard king, who is burning through the country trying to find the key to the Fae realm. The Fae aren’t going to take that lying down, and I’ve got six chapters to resolve it with. Then, it’s onto hole-fixing.

Aside from PSCW, I’ve got some drabble bits going, but nothing concrete. Just trying to keep it fun for the time being!

What are you working on?

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Hey, everyone!

I spent NaNoWriMo trying to write a story that was entirely within my comfort zone, and I wasn’t feeling it. It felt boring and trite, and I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that I wasn’t challenging myself. I wasn’t even feeling my own voice coming through the writing.

I didn’t care about it.

My characters were lifeless. My setting was undeveloped. My conflict was muddled and unclear. But it was fantasy. It was the first genre I had ever loved writing; the first feeling that I actually loved a craft as more than just a hobby. Fantasy was once what defined my writing.

This last novel wasn’t something I felt in my soul anymore, and it broke my heart. Today, I want you do what I didn’t have the foresight to do!

I want you to step out of your comfort zone!

Write Outside of Your Genre

It doesn’t have to be something long. It doesn’t even have to be something you plan to publish or submit. All you need to do is pick a genre you’ve never written before, and give yourself room to breathe.

You can outline it! I’m not a pantser by any stretch of the imagination, and, if you aren’t either, I encourage you to outline to your heart’s content! This isn’t an exercise in off-the-cuff writing, so don’t panic.

Once you decide on the genre you want to test out, find your conflict. Or, if you start with characters, discover who they are and what drives them. However you begin, get yourself started! Don’t be afraid, because this is just an exercise. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even like the process in this new genre!

When I need a refresh period in another genre, I generally choose characters I’m already familiar with. I’ve written romance and feel-good material for my Amity Dawn characters. I jumped into mystery (poorly; I did not enjoy it) with characters from Glass Dragons.

Every new genre brings its own experience, and you can learn from all of them.

Write Something Controversial

Do you have something to say about a current event? DAPL? The election? Ghirardelli vs Lindt?

Fear can often drive us to keep our mouths shut on things we’re afraid will attract conflict. The internet is the perfect place to get chewed up and spit out for having an opinion, but I encourage you to hold your ground! Nothing was ever accomplished by keeping silent.

Once you have your story/blog post/what-have-you written, share it. Share it! Seriously. It can be so empowering to make yourself heard. It gives you a voice and it lets others know that it’s okay to stand with you or against you! It’s okay to feel something!

Overcoming your fear of having a voice by expressing yourself can lead to all sorts of unlocked inspiration. The fear of writing what you mean and writing what you feel is pushed aside, and you can experience a new confidence in your subject matter. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated.

Invite Someone to Read Your Work

It’s scary to open yourself up to criticism, but, remember, criticism teaches us how to improve. We can’t grow if we stay in our own little bubble. Reading, writing, and experiencing new things are all amazing ways to grow as a writer, but it’s allowing others to tell us what’s missing that gives us perspective on our own work.

Allow a beta reader into your Writer Bubble. Let them read your work, praise what’s good, and question what needs attention. We can only see so far into our work. We know what we meant to say in that line that’s awkwardly worded. It doesn’t read awkwardly to us!

Did you use too many commas in that sentence? Did your protagonist just do something totally uncharacteristic? It won’t make us cringe if we read it with writer-eyes. A beta can catch that for you.

It doesn’t mean your novel isn’t your masterpiece. It just means every masterpiece goes through a draft period; a period where it needs tweaking and molding until it resembles the vision in your head. The value of a second set of eyes can be absolutely priceless.

Be Authentically You

I’m not saying you need to incite dissension in your readers. If you’re a professional and quiet person, there’s nothing wrong with keeping things light and encouraging! If you’re a little more abrasive, that’s okay, too. I have a tendency to be that way. I have strong opinions and I like to voice them—not for the sake of argument, but to connect to other people who might feel alone in their views.

Regardless of who you are, what you believe or do for a living, where you find your peace, always be authentically you.

Battle on!
Kit

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Goals! A New Year Approaches

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This is not a New Years resolutions post. I don’t generally do the resolutions thing, but I think it’s important to have goals all year round. I’ve been fiddling with blog post prompts lately, and one of the prompts that crops up the most often is a “goals” post. All in all, the post is meant to outline your goals and any steps you’ve put into place to complete them.

I feel like you all know me well enough to know that I’m an organizational nightmare. My goal-setting skills are trash.

I do have goals, though!

Naturally, I want to publish my sci fi work. I’m getting there. School and work in the last few years have kept my creativity and writing time to a minimum, but I’m slowly breaking away from that. My degree program will resume next summer and I’m currently freelancing exclusively! More time!

I don’t want to focus on that, though.

My ultimate goal is to open a writing retreat for writers of all skill levels, and make available a set of writing workshops that will help attendees develop the skills they need to make their writing what they want it to be! Ideally, this will be a fantastic source of networking and support for budding and experienced writers—something that I experienced during my formative years as a writer. We’re always growing, and I want to build a place to reflect and encourage that.

A fellow writer, Brooke D. Wheeler, and I have this super-plan to buy a barn in the middle of nowhere and make it our art-life. We’ll write and craft and live happily. It’ll be remarkable.

From a business perspective, though, I’d love to put together a bed-and-breakfast-style retreat for writers—artists, too, if they’d like! I don’t have steps in place to bring this into reality at the moment, but, when Jared and I settle down in a place that we intend to be a bit more permanent, I’ll be getting to work on that business plan. Should be about a year from now, if everything goes according to plan.

The Draws of the Writer’s Retreat

Since 2010, I’ve made it my passion and my mission to help other writers with their creative goals. The rewards of seeing someone’s name in print when you were able to be there for them during the dark times of that work is so rewarding. It’s knowing that you could help in someone else’s happiness and success.

Art is hard. It doesn’t matter what type of art it is. Writing, drawing, composing—they all come with unique challenges, and sometimes it’s near impossible to overcome them alone. The art may be solitary, but the act of developing your art doesn’t have to be. Now and then, a little social nudge of love and encouragement can make all the difference.

It’s sitting in a room with a few other people also struggling with their passion, and knowing that you’re not alone. It’s knowing that the person next to you, who you respect or whose art you admire, also has moments when they hate their work. It’s knowing it happens to all of us. It’s easier to love the work and push through the negative feelings when you have a support system.

The Business of a Writer’s Retreat

This is probably where I’m going to get hung up.

I need to buckle down on the technical and business-centered aspects of the writer’s retreat, and I’m not sure how. For this reason, it’s probably good that Jared isn’t looking for us to settle into a new place until next August. I need time to research, plan, and put together a concrete set of ideas, funding, and location possibilities. It will probably wind up being somewhere around New Smyrna Beach area. It’s nice and we’ll be close by!
At least for starters. ❤

Oh, guys, just talking about it is exciting me! Maybe I’ll get going on that business plan sooner than I expected!

Battle on!
Kit

What are your goals as a writer or artist? How do you view the business aspects of who you are?

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How Do You Show Yourself Love?

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Being a creative person can be hard. You look at the world, and you see trends you’ve seen in fiction—that downward spiral before everything falls to hell. You look at your life and it doesn’t look like it does in your head, or like it should look on the page.

You’re not alone.

Studies have shown that creative people are very prone to depression and mood swings, leaving us susceptible to the terrible proclivity for self-neglect. It’s not that we want to be depressed, and we certainly don’t want to push our friends away, but sometimes we just need to recharge our batteries. This tends to be ten times worse if you’re in a creative rut, doesn’t it? Our inner Eeyore pops out with a compelling, “What’s the point?”

The point is: It will pass.

I’m not trying to diminish your feelings of inadequacy or loneliness or failure. We all have those feelings, especially when it looks like things are going down the toilet faster than we can swim. I just want you to know that it doesn’t last forever.

One day, you’ll emerge from the funk and get back to work, because your art is what you were born to do.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: We all feel like frauds sometimes. We all feel like failures sometimes. It does not make us less than we are, and we are awesome.

So, let me pose my question to you: How do you show yourself love?

I know it can be a nightmare just getting out of bed in the morning, but you still deserve love and you need it most from yourself.

Let me give you some pointers from when I have my bad days, or even days that I just work a little too hard and it doesn’t feel like enough.

1. Tell yourself it’s okay. You’ll get on it when you’re ready. Progress is important, and, unless you have a deadline that you really can’t miss, giving yourself some breathing room is the best possible way to love yourself. You can’t be expected to drive your brain into the ground! If you need to take a day off, take a day off. You don’t need to justify it to anyone.

2. Write through the block. Sometimes, taking a day off makes me feel worse than if I could just write something. So, write something! Don’t pick up your favorite work in progress, though. You may not be able to write to your satisfaction today, and that could make you feel a whole lot worse than you already do.

Try something different. Write a character letter or journal entry and get into your favorite protagonist’s head! Write a letter to yourself. Rant about something! Make list of all the things you love about writing or your current work in progress. Hell, make a list of the reasons you like the spot on the back of your cat’s left ear. It doesn’t matter, just write something. You’d be amazed at how easily it can get the ball rolling.

3. Take a bath or a walk. Go to a part of your city or town you’ve never been to before and explore a bit. (I mean, don’t trespass or anything. Be careful and respectful.) Just settle in and listen to music awhile. Recharge and clear your mind, however you like to do that. Yoga With Adriene is one of my favorites. Regardless of what you choose to do with this ‘down time,’ make sure you take care of yourself doing it.

4. Make a list of all the reasons you became a writer or artist in the first place. It might help rekindle that passion. Remember, though, this is for fun and to show yourself love, so keep the reasons positive!

If you chose to write because you had something bad happen to you that you need to get out, don’t let that dominate your reason. Your reason may be better viewed as using writing to heal or help others. Getting that negativity out can still be positive.

5. Spend time with friends or family. Jared is the one person I know I can rely on to pick me up when I need it. He’s funny, even if he doesn’t have any idea what to say when I’m sad. He knows what I like and what I need—even if it’s Star Trek: Voyager and a cup of coffee.

I know this is a hard one for some of you. I spent several years in Florida, away from the people I love and with no friends in the vicinity. It was hard for me, and I can’t express what it felt like to have no access to my Tribe. If you feel this way, it may not be much, but you can contact me. I’ll be your Tribe. ❤

6. Know that you are enough. That’s it. That’s the bottom line and the pinnacle of self-love. You are enough, and it can be hard to remember that, but it’s ALWAYS true. Always.
You are enough, and the world needs your art.

Battle on,
Kit

What do you do to show yourself love?

Have you ever felt like you had no love for yourself to offer? (<—Then reread number 6, okay?)

A-to-ZChallenge

J is for Jared #AtoZChallenge

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I know what you’re thinking. “She could have picked a more writerly-centered topic for J—like anything writing-related.” You’re both right and wrong.

This post is about the people who love us, encourage us, and hold us accountable.

I love Jared more than anything. We’ve been together just over a year, and he’s been an absolute freight train of encouragement for me. When we first started dating, he stalked every possible corner and crevice of social media for what I might be like as a person, and discovered my (then intermittent) writing on Goggles & Lace.

Being creative is cool, but, let’s face it, some of us are a little less than motivated when we’re feeling inadequate. If you’re like me, the more you have to do, the less likely you are to do it, and you just sort of pill-bug into blanket burrito and binge watch something you have tepid feelings about on Netflix for 77 hours. It’s not pretty, but that’s real life. I’m all about the bloggers and creatives that are all “PRODUCTIVITY AND CONQUEST!” Hell yes. I totally agree! Productivity and conquest… hypothetically. I want to be productive, and that’s a fact. I want to be able to power through novel after novel and edit a thousand things before lunch, but you know what? Depression and inadequacy are intensely real feelings, and sometimes it’s just hard to push past them.

In my last post, I talked about investing time and love into the things and people that mean the most to you. That’s still true. I mean that with every fiber of myself. Make those people feel loved and valued, especially if they reciprocate. It’s easy to drain yourself on people who don’t give a flying monkey fart whether you fail or succeed. Hell, I even have a few friends who are like, “Oh, damn. That’s too bad,” but are definitely feeling a little victorious over my failures. Whatever. You can’t make those people your priority.

Jared came to me at a time in my life when I was considering giving up. I tried to restart Goggles & Lace and move my career forward, but I didn’t have the emotional capacity to invest that love in my work.

And you know what?

Sometimes I’m just lazy.

There. I said it. I’m sometimes just like, “I want to eat mac & cheese straight out of the pot while not wearing any pants and watch Young Justice for the fortieth time.” (Also, when I say “sometimes,” I really mean “usually.”)

We all need someone to help us combat that feeling. There are great benefits to having that one person look at your writing and call you out on things! Seriously, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of things that your person is great about when it comes to your creative ventures. Then I encourage you to give them that list in some form or other. Here’s mine, for example:

  • Jared calls me out on my bullshizzle science. Science and math are his things, so when I’m writing science fiction and something doesn’t mesh, I definitely hear about it. I can ask things like “I need a sustainable off-the-grid energy source” and he can list me options and tell me how they work. I love it. It gives me jumping off points for further research.
  • He says things like, “So, how’s Amity Dawn coming?” because he knows when I’m not writing and it shames me into getting my butt into gear.
  • Jared is a reader, not a writer, so if I ask advice, I won’t get it the way he would write it. He tells me what he’d like strictly as a reader. I love it.
  • When I get into a really great writing groove, when I’m done, he wants to hear about it. He treats me like my writing matters, and you have no idea how much that helps. Even if he’s never read it.
  • “I need a bigger space for planning,” led to him securing me a 24×36 inch whiteboard for our wall.
  • He’s BUILDING ME A COMPUTER so I can do creative things, work, and… you know… also play games. The laptop is great, but it’s not a practical work space for me anymore, and he recognized that. He’s a godsend.

The bottom line is, it’s important to have someone who understands your needs, period. As a writer or artist, those needs are just a bit more niche than they might be if you were doing something else. Praise the people who care enough about you to treat you like your work matters.

Battle on. ❤