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. ❤

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. ❤

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?

Write With Me! A Journey. A Challenge.

Hey, Ink Foxes!

As you might have seen, I’m working on my NaNoWriMo 2018 novel, and trying to bring this mess into a workable state. It’s been a haphazard thing since November, with bits and pieces of the world, magic, and characterization being cobbled together here and there. The holidays in retail always bring me down, but I’m back, and I’m ready.

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PIRATE SELKIE CIVIL WAR (or THE WORST WORKING TITLE IN THE HISTORY OF WORKING TITLES) is a labor of love. It’s magic and pirates and supernatural beings, all crammed into a Scotland-like fantasy land, and I can’t get enough.

That said, I’m imposing a deadline on myself. My goal is to have every single piece of this beauty finished and polished by January 7, 2020. My 35th birthday present to myself will be my query letter.

No good challenge can be completed alone! (Well, I suppose it can, but where’s the fun in that?) The challenge itself is sort of in its infancy. We can establish weekly check-ins and chats. Whatever helps to get through the slog of work that comes with writing a book! (I only say “slog” because I’ve, once again, picked a project that puts me completely out of my depth! Woo!)

We’ve got ten months, so, if you’re interested, pop on over to Inkwell Imaginings  and comment on the post. If you’re not on Facebook, comment and we’ll work on getting you folded into the community somehow. ❤

I’m excited, guys! I’m headed to work on my magic system.

Happy creating!

Kit

NaNoWriMo 2018: Victory

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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.

Business Cards: Your Tool for Networking

As a writer, editor, encourager-of-artists, and blogger, I’ve got a lot going on. Writing, editing, and creating educational content for budding writers are my primary sources of income, and, as such, require a certain level of professionalism and marketing.

I hate marketing. I’m not good at it and I don’t have the attention span to keep tabs on what works and what doesn’t. Do not follow my example, if you can help it. I really am my own worst enemy when it comes to this sort of thing, so I’m going to give you some pointers on one of the most basic, and most useful, tools for marketing your business as a writer.

The Business Card

It sounds simple, and maybe even unimportant, but having something physical to put into the hands of an interested party is critical. Many people take information in the best when they have something to touch. A business card allows you to lay all of your information out in one place. Everything that’s relevant to your business as a writer can be slapped right on the front.

There are plenty of people that think a business card is a waste of time and money, but, let me tell you, I’ve gotten few bookings and sales off of the occasional business card, and that’s worth it to me. A 90,000 word editing gig more than pays for that box of cards.

What Do I Need it For?

1. Networking. Finding writers to mentor you in your genre, gathering others to do a book tour, a blog hop, or a joint giveaway will be much easier if you have a business card to exchange. Odds are, the other writers you meet will have cards to give you, so let yourself stand out!

2. Drumming up business. This isn’t always super effective, but it’s one more way to pull in sales or bookings. Tables at conventions, book fairs, and signings are never complete without a business card. (Another way to do this is to create bookmarks, but they get a bit pricey. A great investment, though, when you’re ready!)

What to Include

1. Your name. Use whatever name you’re doing business under. If you don’t typically go by your full name, if you’ve published or done business under a pen name or online handle, your best bet is to feature that. You can include your full name in one of two ways:

  • Use your nom de plume as your header name and your full name as a smaller, italicized title beneath
  • Use your full name, if you plan to do business under it in the future, and include your nom de plume as your smaller, italicized title underneath that.

2. Email address. Some people are squicky about phone conversations, especially when making contact with someone for the first time. Email is a great way to allow those people to contact you with a little less stress. Make sure you create an email specifically for doing business. I recommend using Outlook, as I’ve been told having the Windows email looks a bit more professional. I, personally, have an Outlook and a Gmail account for business, but I use the latter much more frequently. I made it before I realized and I don’t want to change it.

3. Phone number. This is optional. If you don’t have a dedicated business line, or if you don’t want to change your personal voicemail greeting to include your business information, just stick to the email. Also, if you offer your personal phone number and you don’t like taking calls from unidentified numbers (I don’t), then listing the phone number will just be frustrating to potential clients. You have to answer your phone for it to be a useful tool. Don’t list it if you aren’t prepared for that.

4a. Website. If you don’t have one, get one. I use WordPress, since my primary content is made up of blog posts. If you don’t blog, consider a static page to display your published material, progress on your current projects, and regular announcements. Wix and Weebly are popular, free options.

4b. Newsletter. My blog keeps everyone current on my nonsense. I can create and toss up a post on a whim, and the people subscribed to the blog will get an email. Newsletters, in my opinion, are generally overkill for a blog. If you have a static website, however, a newsletter is an amazing way to do a round up of your week or your month and keep all of your fans and followers current on your progress!

MailChimp offers a free newsletter service for up to 2,000 subscribers. It’s a great place to start!

5. Social media names and logos. Make them small. The Facebook “F” is pretty iconic. No one will miss it. Same for the Twitter bird. Try to keep all of your social media names consistent so that people only have to remember one name to hunt you down. Homogenize your brand!

6. Your logo or photo. Have something on your card that identifies you! It doesn’t necessarily have to have your photo on it, or a custom logo, but maybe create it to match the theme of your website. My cards are the same as my WordPress header, but don’t actually have anything else defining on them. I may add a photo or the portrait I commissioned in the next run. =]

Where Do I Get Them?

Good question!

I created mine in Adobe InDesign and printed and cut them at OfficeMax. It’s not cost-effective and the quality is not awesome. Their paper is thinner than most business cards, and they’re done on a standard, business-grade laser printer. I worked there at the time, so I got a good deal, that’s all.

Vistaprint has great options, and you can still create your card yourself, and upload a PNG or JPG into their creator. I advise saving it as a PNG at a high resolution so you’ll get the best possible quality. If your cards are full bleed, make sure to include a little extra space around the card so you don’t wind up with weird white edges.

InkGarden.com is even better than Vistaprint, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for coupons. Their prices can be a little high. I adored my last batch of cards from them, and I’d recommend them to anyone.

If you have a conference or writers retreat coming up in the next week or so, you can still go to OfficeMax or Office Depot (they’re the same company and both suck equally, so don’t worry about which. Neither is better than the other) and get the minimum 50 cards printed. It runs about $17, unless you snag a coupon. At least that way you’ll have something. Definitely don’t go to something like a conference or retreat without cards! This is how we network, even if it isn’t specifically drumming up business!

How Do I Make My Card Stand Out?

Another great question.

I’ve gotten cards with Hershey’s chocolates taped to them. I love me some chocolate. It made an impression.

Use your cover art! You paid a lot for it if you self-published, and your publisher paid a lot for it if you’re traditionally published. Use that investment to market for you!

Include your author bio on the back. Who are you? What do you write? What titles have you published? Give the recipient a reason to follow up with your website or social media.

Get your cards, writers, and battle on!
Kit

What have you used on your cards that was most effective? What have you used that you’ve found has been extraneous?