Major Life Changes

I made a big decision at the beginning of December. Well technically, I made the decision before December, but it came to fruition at the beginning of December. Something I don’t think I really saw coming until I made it.

 

In November, before a trip back home to see my parents for Thanksgiving, I decided to give notice at my day job. With no set plans for what would happen after my last day. There were a lot of reasons for my decision, and really none of those reasons were because I was unhappy with my day job. They were great employers, and I left with a ton of friends that I still keep in touch with.

 

I made this decision because I had a sudden realization that there were things I needed in life that I wasn’t getting at that location. Once I get those things settled, and once I go through these changes, maybe I’ll go back (I left on good terms with the idea that it would be an option in the future — but probably in a different role that more fits my career goals) or maybe I won’t.

 

My primary goal in this has been to be happy. I had been stressed with life and the fact that I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing much in regards to my dreams. So I wanted to focus. And I made a tough decision that has, so far, helped me start down a path that can help me realize those dreams.

 

My goals with this short hiatus from work:

  1. One of the biggest goals is going after my dreams. If this blog’s topic isn’t a key indicator of one of those dreams, then I’ll come and say it: I want to spend A LOT more time writing.

    Within that: I have about 12 more chapters to re-write and edit for Time Healer, I’m slowly making my way through those. Once that is done I’ll probably set it aside until after PPWC 2018. Then I’ll do a read through and send off to critique partners. While that’s on the back burner, then I’ll be working on my next project that I’m gonna lovingly nickname Sierra right now. I’ll have a new blog post on that soonish.

    Also, I hope to a blog more, but we’ll see how things go.

  2. Spending time with my family, specifically my daughter. Since she was born, I’ve worked full time other than the period of time I stayed home on maternity leave. I wanted to get more time with her, really build up that bond that my heart has been missing. And it definitely has worked. Though, she is still in school/daycare some of the time, mostly because I want her to have the socialization with children her own age and learn, we still get a lot of time together. We have weekends together, plus an extra day or two here or there. I am less stressed, so when I do grab her for school it isn’t decompressing time once we get home but rather time spent her (and my husband).

    Family is important, and I don’t want to keep it on the back burner any longer.

  3. School — I’m going back to school at a local community college. Although I already have my AA from years and years ago, I am going to get an AAS in Journalism and Contemporary Media while also taking some of the creative writing classes the school offers so that I might be able to go off to another 4-year college and get my degree in creative writing. This is a newer goal, not really something I looked at doing when I made the decision to leave my day job.
  4. A part-time job — going to find something to make the cash I need to pay for myself being unemployed, but I’m going to make sure its something I can be happy with. And something that I can still make sure I can spend time with my daughter, work on my writing, and go to school.

 

And now a little over a month later, I am happy.

 

Have you gone through any significant life changes? Have you ever made the decision to focus on your dreams?

 

Until next time lovelies.

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NaNoWrimo 2017

Hello, all of my lovelies!

 

I just thought I’d go over how NaNo went for me this year. I “won” by hitting the 50K mark, but I didn’t really end up doing what I had planned to do. Originally I had planned to divide my time between editing Time Healer and writing a new project “Sierra”. Instead, my time had been completely devoted to Time Healer. It had needed a significant overhaul after I started sitting down to write it.

 

Though there were a lot of words that were recycled in the rewriting, it ended up being almost a brand new story, which means every word that I counted were brand new. Which means I changed 50K+ words in this story. It was much needed (and I am still trying to figure out how to do the ending to fit this new story) and I hope this makes it a better story.

 

Anyways, here is the week by week break down of November’s word counts:

  • Week 1 (November 1-4): 6,825
    The first week was short, but I managed to stay mostly track. The normal goal with a 1,667 per day goal would have had me at 6,668. I was a little under 200 words over that this week.
  • Week 2 (November 5-11): 12,489
    This was the first full week of NaNo. With the normal goal for NaNo I needed to hit 11,669. I meet that with a little under 1,000 extra words. I was very happy to have continued the upward momentum. 
  • Week 3 (November 12-18): 11,496
    This was a harder week consistency wise. Again I needed to hit 11,669 to meet the normal goal for the week. I was a little under that, life kind of got in the way that week. I was very glad for the padding from the previous weeks.
  • Week 4 (November 19-25): 13,986
    My vacation for Thanksgiving started this week. Despite that, I rocked out this week. The day that I was traveling this week I pushed to get my words in before we got on an evening flight. Even with the different things happening that week, I still tried to get my words in. Some days I was under but other I exceeded to stay on track.
  • Week 5 (November 26-30): 7,656
    The last week of NaNo was, again, a shorter week. The goal based on NaNo itself meant I should have hit 10,002 this week. I was under that but the previous week helped. 

 

My NaNo total: 52,452

 

I wish some of those words could have been devoted to a new project, but there is plenty of time for that later.

 

Did you guys meet your NaNo goals?

It’s Okay To Be A Kid Sometimes

So, I don’t really have a writing type post to post today but I wanted to share something that I had fun with.

 

Legos are awesome. I haven’t put together a kit in years but I forgot how fun it can be and how satisfying it can be when you have all the bazillion pieces in place. After shopping for the baby for her birthday, I realized that they have so many new sets. Some fun sets.

 

And I went to the Lego store to see what awesomeness there was there. And I got a set:

 

I was instantly addicted. I went back to the store the next day and got a couple more so I could build a little town on the top of my bookcase.

 

First we have the Goblin Village:

 

Then we had the Goblin King’s Fortress:

 

These have been a fun adventure and has actually made me thinkl about the TH world that I have. Maybe it is the dragons, but it is fun to imagine them in this little world. I do have one more kit coming and it is definitely going to be an interesting adventure at over 1,000 pieces:

Ragana's Castle

 

So what kind of non-writing activities get those creative juices flowing?

Writing Plans

Good morning my lovelies!

 

Now that the updates on the CO Gold conferences are completed, I wanted to go over some of the plans I have going forward for my writing and everything I’ve got going on.

 

  • Time Healer: So, I finished this the beginning of the year and it’s been kind of sitting around since then. Between life and everything else going on, I hadn’t seriously picked it back up to look over. After CO Gold it sparked some great new ideas for the story that mean we’re going to jump into a major revamping. I am going to use November to really focus on getting those edits done.
  • One of the things that I looked into doing when at the conferences this year was the fact that I am going to start doing my writing in sprints. Since I get limited time to write and everything, I’ve started setting up my writing goals to be more achievable in short sprints when I get the time.
  • NaNoWriMo is starting, well, in two days. 50K words in 30 days. I am not going to focus on hitting the writing goal using just the “single idea” plan. I am going to divide and conquer three things:
    • Maintain my blog with at least one entry per week. Get some plans and topics written so I can maintain that pace. If I can keep this up for November and December, then I may bump this up to at least two entries per week.
    • Finish changes in Time Healer — there is going to be a lot of taking away words, adding words, and completely changing the arc of this story.
    • Working on Sierra — a new project all together. I’ll have a post on more information later but just picture Percy Jackson for adults.
  • As NaNo starts, the time to enter the Zebulon ends. Lucky me, I already posted my entry. This year, I entered Time Healer. I worked earlier this month on editing chapters one and two to fit the new plans of the story, wrote a synopsis, and wrote a query. I want to see how this idea and this story plays out.
  • With the combination of sprints and November plans, I am going to work out a writing schedule. One that is reasonable with all the hats I have to juggle between life, work, and writing.

 

So those are my current plans. You working on any changes for rest of the year?

CO Gold 2017 Sunday Sessions

Sunday September 10th was a half day of sessions to wrap up my final conference of the year.

 

I went to three sessions that day:

  • Lunch Break Literati with the amazing Susan Mitchell. This session was about finding the time to write whenever you can. Whether it is during a ten minute break at work or a long lunch. Spending some of that time working on your writing and you can get some decent sprints in and get the words built up.
  • Katie Day brought fun in a 2-part sword fighting session called Way of the Sword. Not only did she teach us the history of sword play but she also taught us how to make sword fights realistic in your manuscripts. After the quick history lesson she actually jumped in and taught us some of the major stances, attacks, and guards. It was super fun to practice fighting. I have some light sword fighting in Time Healer and it definitely got me thinking.
  • My final session of conference was Covenant of the Arc by Pamela Nowak. This session talked about the partnership and promises between writer and reader. We talked about common character and story arcs and what readers expect. Then we also talked about what happens if you change-up those promises on your readers.

 

After those amazing sessions my mind was definitely filled to the brim with ideas and plans. Conference was wrapped up with lunch. There were speeches and awards and all sorts of things happening. Then we had our final keynote address by Lori Rader Day. She told us our story and it definitely spoke to me. It was real. There was humor and there was inspiration. I love the story about how she became a writer and the journey she took to get where she is now.

 

As that day came to a close, I realized that this conference was just as amazing as all of my other conference experiences. I hope to be able to go to both conferences again in 2018, fingers crossed.

 

Alright my lovelies, I hope you have a spectacular day and you enjoyed my recap.

CO Gold 2017 Saturday Sessions

And we’re back!

 

Saturday September 9th was another super busy day in the land of Conferences.

 

The first session of the day for me (which took up the full morning) was special session. It was held by the Nelson Literary Agency and was an intimate group of twelve writers and four members of their agency. We had previously submitted our synopses about a month before conferences. Everyone read through everyone’s synopsis and brought notes to discuss the story. I got a lot of good feedback from everyone in the room which got me thinking on where I need to take Time Healer.

 

After that we had an amazing lunch with the Writers of the Year and got to hear some inspirational stories from them.

 

After lunch I jumped right into some regular length sessions as well:

  • I went to an IPAL First Sale Panel which was very interesting. I learned some interesting facts from these independently published authors. They gave some great tips for if I decide to pursue self-publishing.
  • After that was a session on Magic-Wand Words by Janet Lane in which we talked about strong word choice and phrasing. That it is good to have 2-3 powerful statements in a manuscript, something that will stick with you and with your readers.
  • To wrap up the day on sessions I went to a 2-part session with Diana Gabaldon on White Space. This was super interesting. She spoke about how white space can be important in a story and help to speed up the pacing of a story and leave different impacts that heavier prose. She read several scenes from her books and talked about how her different writing styles in different scenes help to set tone, pace, emotion, characterization, etc. throughout the story. It was great to both hear her read as well as understand her thought process behind some of these scenes. The second part was kind of a Q & A session about her writing process. I found out that she doesn’t tend to plot in very much detail, and she also doesn’t write in drafts. She works scene by scene and focuses on ones that call to her first. She then turns and works it until it is perfect. When she has them perfect they all tie together and she has to do very little tieing in for the scenes. It was very interesting.

 

After that session it was time to have an amazing dinner. Dinner was again spent with friends and new acquaintances. It was super fun to see all the people having a great time. This was also their awards banquet for their contest winners. After winners were announced we heard a hilarious and inspiration speech by keynote Sherry Thomas.

 

That wrapped up the night and I headed home.

 

Next week we’ll talk about the final day of conference.

CO Gold 2017 Friday Sessions

Hi everybody!

 

Friday September 8th was the first day of Conference for CO Gold. I got to the hotel a little early, since it was a new venue for me, and checked out where everything was. It was nice to see all the new faces coming in and sitting and talking with a couple of people that had the badges on for the conference.

 

The first session of that day was a longer one (basically the whole morning) and it was on editing. Deep Revision with Heather Webb was an amazing session. Not only did she talk about how she personally edits but she talked about it in the sense of writing. She writes in drafts and with each draft she focuses on a certain aspect of the writing. Starting with the broad topics and slowly narrowing down to the mechanics and fine tuning. I think I am going to try out this process with the editing I’m about to dive into with Time Healer.

 

After a nice, relaxing lunch were some regular length sessions that were very informative:

  • 8 Weeks To A Complete Novel with Becky Clark — I always like to see the writing processes of different writers. Especially since I’ve really been trying to find out what works for me. There were a lot of takeaways for me from this one. It showed a great way of spending basically two months to go from research, writing, and finishing up with editing. Definitely going to go through my notes on that one in the coming weeks as I try to find a good process for myself.
  • James Hunter had a session called The Villain’s Story which talked about how to make your antagonists real in your story. Your villain should play off your protagonist and not just be “crazy” or “evil” with no reasoning behind it. I know I need to work on the villains in my stories. I always have a hard time finding their motivation.
  • How To Write Breathtaking Action Scenes by Bonnie Ramthun was great. I’ve always loved the workshops she does. She combines information with fun and makes them super interactive. It was nice to go through and pick out different aspects of famous action scenes and find the things that make them so impactful.
  • Keynote speaker Lori Rader Day had a session to wrap up the day called Liars and Thieves. It was a fun session to watch and it was a great way to go through what makes those unlikeable characters so real and likeable in ways.

 

After the sessions for that day we had an amazing dinner. I sat with friends that I knew from previous years at PPWC and I met some new ones at the table as well. It was great food and the keynote speech was done by Diana Gabaldon. I loved hearing her story (parts of which I’d known because I was a fan) and seeing how she ticked as a writer. It was amazing hearing her story.

 

After dinner was their amazing book signing event and I spent a few minutes going around before heading home for the day. I will say that the first day of conference was super successful. It had my head buzzing with plans that I’m still trying to sort out.

 

Next week we’ll talk about day 2 of the conference. See you there lovelies!