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

NaNoWriMo 2018: Victory

NaNo-2018-Winner-Badge

National Novel Writing Month. Another year. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2008, with mixed success, but with consistent enthusiasm. I know you’re expecting a long, exclamation point-ridden post about how amazing it is every year, and how incredible I feel taking part in such a massive creative undertaking, but it’s going to be a little different this time.

I love National Novel Writing Month. I’ve loved all four years I’ve participated as an ML, and the collective effort I’ve been a part of with Inkwell Imaginings and my writing group friends. You are all amazing, and, success/participation or not, I’m so proud of you all for everything you’ve worked on and accomplished in your creative lives! Keeping the socialization aspect of NaNo in the forefront is typically what drives me.

This year was my eleventh year! Eleven! That’s craziness to me. It feels like just last year that Jess and I embarked on NaNo together and took up our ML mantels to rally our central Massachusetts regions to victory. NaNoWriMo is what pulled me out of my badly-written Final Fantasy VIII fan fiction from early high school, and into my badly-written original fiction. It showed me that I was able to imagine more than I ever thought possible. It gave me a reason to exercise my mind and broaden my scope of what I thought belonged on paper. It gave me purpose during the darkening days of New England winter, and the onset of seasonal depression, and warmed me up to something that connected me to other people like me.

NaNoWriMo this year was bitter sweet for me. I’m honestly not even sure why. My second year serving as the Daytona Beach Municipal Liaison brought me to a handful of fantastic people who undertook the challenge, and wound up with more creative content than they started with. I met my 50,000 word goal, and I found a story that has a fair bit of potential. It brought my back my drive and my creativity.

I missed a lot of my old tribe this year, though. Life has put the act of creating on a back burner for so many of us, and it just cements the fact that adulting puts such a demand on time and focus.

So, in the wake of a good NaNo season, I’m going to challenge myself to be more and to do more in my creative life. I’ve purchased two courses on Udemy, hoping to expand my ability to practice, and to add to my accountability. I want to be prolific and work harder and be better. Almost four years after leaving college, I’m gaining my love for creation back, and I need to hang onto that. I need to ride it into the new year and establish new habits now.

Bittersweet, but motivating, I owe NaNoWriMo 2018 the exact thing that brought me to it in the first place: affection for making something new. I’ll be here to push out more and more, and I’ll see National Novel Writing Month in November 2019, ready to lock it down again.

It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take focus and work, but I’m back. I’m not great at it, but, through and through, I am a writer.

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A Writerly Christmas List: 6 Gifts for The Writer in Your Life

The holiday season is upon us, my loves!

It seems that, every year, the ‘gifts for writers’ posts start cropping up, and they’re always pretty awesome. Etsy and various geek-centered shops, like ThinkGeek, tend to put out some creative and fun ways to delight the writers and readers in your life during the holidays and all year round.

I’m not going to be posting links to shops here, but I will share a list of ideas for that special person in your life—especially if that special person is a writer. I encourage you to go to Etsy or Amazon or wherever, just pick your poison, and search one of the ideas below. Add your own flair. =]

1. Notebooks. All notebooks are nice, but there’s something special about receiving a journal that caters to our tastes. You can find them at Michael’s, A.C. Moore, or OfficeMax, among others, and they come in a variety of prints, covers, and designs.

If you really want to get fancy, buy a leather cover that takes sized refills. I have one from Barnes & Noble that takes size 4 refills, which is a pretty standard size. I think Mead makes one for cheap. I got mine for about $20, and I’ve had it for 6 years. Last year, my boyfriend made me a new one out of deer and cow hide when he was trying out leather working. It fits the size 4 refills as well, so I can still make use of the ones I bought and stocked up on!

2. Pens. I have a particular type of pen that I like—the Uni Ball Jetstream in 1.0 blue ink—and I can guarantee the writer in your life probably has one, too. Check out what they write with and see if you can get them a package of them. If they don’t write with a particular variety of pen, then buy them a pen you find neat. Cross, Parker, Pilot, and Shaeffer all have awesome refillable pens, and they tend to put out gift sets around this time of year.

I personally like ballpoints, but I’ve got a neat Cross rollerball with gel ink that writes nicely and fits inside my leather notebook. Ballpoint, rollerball, gel, and fountain pens are available in most of the aforementioned brands, so you’ve got some variety to choose from. Cross and Parker pens start at about $20, but you’ve also got options like Monte Blanc that start at $200. It really depends how extravagant you want to go with your pen gift.

3. White board and dry erase markers. I have a 24” x 36” porcelain white board that I do all of my initial brainstorming on, and I love it. If I could upgrade to a wall-sized white board, I’d probably outline every page of my novels on it. You can get inexpensive 18” x 24” boards for about $17 at Walmart, or you can go to somewhere like OfficeMax and get a massive board for upwards of $70, and every size and price point in between. They are absolutely invaluable to my process, and I know many writers who use them as well.

4. Scrivener or Storyist. If your writer has a love for finding new ways to write, one of these writing tools could prove to be revolutionary for them. It allows you to write your story, organize your notes, compile outlines, all in one easy-to-manipulate file. I love Scrivener. I have no idea what I’d do without it.

Scrivener has a Windows and Mac version, but I believe that Storyist is only compatible with Mac. There are tutorials for both all over the internet. Storyist goes for about $40, Scrivener is also $40, but if you’ve won NaNoWriMo, or can get a code from someone who has (Literature & Latte encourages the codes to be shared, so don’t feel bad about it!), then you can get the license for either program for half price.

5. A writers conference or retreat. These are pricey, and I know it’s hard to plunk down, like, $500-$1000 for a weekend-long event, but, if your writer is getting serious about publishing and networking, conferences are invaluable. They allow your writer to network with publishers, agents, editors, and other, more experienced writers.

They’re not hard to find. Just google “writers conference” and your state or surrounding area. There are sites that compile them by location or genre, and niche sites that host their own.

There you have it! Happy Holidays!
Kit

What are some gifts you’d recommend for the writers in your life? What do you, as a writer, want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule?