Outlining For NaNoWriMo

The outlining bug has bitten me, and I’m trying to get settled for NaNoWriMo.  In the past, the method to my madness often included putting up post-it notes all over my walls and pantsing between them. I decided to take a more thought-out approach this year. I outlined the first 13 chapters last week. Then I promptly had second thoughts,  so I set those aside and started all over again last night. I figure once I do that about 4 more times, I’ll be par for the course.

Anyway, I haven’t had much time to update the blog, but here are some pics from my character development pages. There’s still work to be done here, but I am making headway. Some of these characters have already changed some or might not appear in the story much (or at all) anymore, but they’re still part of the world, regardless:

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2015-10-21 18.51.03  2015-10-21 18.50.50

2015-10-13 11.37.14 2015-10-13 11.37.22 Continue reading Outlining For NaNoWriMo

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Because my inner-multitasker couldn’t be satisfied with doing only #NaNoWriMo and #WIPmo this November, I also joined a book club team trilogy challenge that requires me to read FOUR (not 1 or 2 or even 3 but 4) trilogies to help my team win. 
Here is what I’m currently leaning towards reading, as each team member must read something different from the others. I actually have read Legend, The Maze Runner, and Birthmarked before, when those novels were first published, I just never went back to finish the series. Now, I need to reread, as it has been too many years, and my memory is sketchy. 
The six on the bottom are my back-up, sudden change of heart options, which basically means I just want to read all of those too, if only I had time to read 10 trilogies this fall.  
Also, in light of how many series books I still need to read, I have decided my 2015 goal will be series related. I haven’t settled on an exact goal yet, but I did start making a list of what all I still need or want to read. It’s already endless, and it is nowhere near complete. Epic. Sigh. 
Take a look at the list below, and let me know which of these I shouldn’t miss out on in 2015, or if there is something missing from my list that should be consider (sticking to mostly YA, maybe some NA): 

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Flounder: A Writing Crisis (Not A Fish)

My inner-writer has been floundering for the past three weeks while I struggle as an individual. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with a flat-bodied fish, and it’s starting to become a bit of an issue:  


: to move in an awkward way with a lot of difficulty and effort
: to be unsure about what to do or say
: to have a lot of problems and difficulties
*(Definition courtesy of http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounder?show=0&t=1409933890)

I know that the way to get back on track with my writing again is simply to write, but I am not seeing that knowledge through to a point of usefulness. It’s about the same as when I know a giant bowl of ice cream won’t help me fit in my favorite jeans, but I eat it anyway. The problem with situations like these is that they seem to be equal parts comfort and self-harm.

Right now, I am floundering with life, so in order to manage that better, I have given myself a bit of space in my writing world. In return I feel both relieved that I am not pushing myself too hard in the writing arena, while I sort out my personal life

. . . and I feel equally frustrated that I’m not writing and am “falling behind” at something that feels so much more important to me than all those other life dilemmas. 

You would think that if I were going to blog about this, I’d have some answers or wise words of wisdom for you, right about now, but I don’t. I guess that’s not my style. Instead. I want to say that I believe everyone flounders sometimes, so if you’ve been there or are there now, you aren’t alone. 
And here is what is helping me: 
Spending More Time On Social Media 
Yes, you heard me right. Social media is not only a “time suck”. It also helps me when I flounder as a writer (and a person). Here’s why: 
  1. I built an entire world online that revolves around writing on social media. 
  2. It reminds me of who I am now and who I want to be. 
  3. It reminds me of what I’m working for and towards. 
  4. It gives me a break from the pressure of actually writing novels, but I’m still writing, thinking, interacting, creating a platform. 
  5. I’m still growing something that is important to my writing world, even if it’s not specifically a novel. 
  6. It’s fun, relaxing, and low-pressure, which reduces my overall stress. 
  7. When everyone else is talking about writing, publishing, and reading, it makes me want to be in on it. 
  8. It helps support the important and wonderful people in my writing world. 
  9. I have tons of great friends who provide support to me online by: 
    1. Encouraging
    2. Comforting
    3. Supporting
    4. Motivating 
    5. Lecturing
    6. Nagging
    7. Threatening
    8. YELLING
    9. and Rewarding me.

There are times at which I desperately need all of those things. Sometimes I don’t even know I need them until I get them. So in conclusion, while I don’t recommend that you flounder, I imagine you will at some point, be it in writing, life, your career, a relationship, etc. When that time comes, it’s important to remember to brush yourself off, get back up, and keep moving forward.

However, when you’re lying on the ground struggling, don’t be afraid to look for additional support from your social media. Maybe it looks and feels like you’re wasting time, but sometimes, when the whole world is rushing around you, I think it’s okay to take a small step back and catch your breath. If you forget to step forward again, I guarantee you those social media friends will be there to notice and give you a kick in the pants at the appropriate time. 
It’s definitely time, folks. 
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5 Thoughts That Cripple A Writer

5 Thoughts That Cripple A Writer: So Stop Thinking Them!

(Then teach me how to do the same.)

(Yes. Really.)

(And afterwards, write a more inspiring blog post than this.)

  1. I probably have blinders on, and my writing actually sucks. This one is simple. It’s the, “maybe I stink but can’t smell myself” issue. The solution is to get readers and feedback, yet that’s harder said than done, and I’m not always sure I believe my readers, especially those who are also friends. I have not done a great job of selecting beta readers or CPs in the past, which really concerns and further deters me when it comes to trying to find new ones. 
  2. It doesn’t matter if anyone else reads my work. I could just write for myself. Right? Definitely! Only not, because everyone needs feedback if they want to improve (and I do). Also, deep down inside, I don’t want to only write for myself. I mean, I can and will do that, especially if there’s no other option, but that’s really only what I say to myself to justify a failure to put myself out there. 
  3. I made all these awesome writing friends, and now I’m too afraid to ask for help. Because I’m afraid they’ll hate my writing and they’ll never want to read for me again, which burns a bridge (potentially forever). PLUS: I read all their awesome work and admire them so much that I feel I don’t compare. Then I worry they’ll find out I don’t belong in their cool kid’s club, so even though I have a pool of helpful people at my fingertips, I share nothing with them. Ever. 
  4. What if it’s never good enough? There’s definite merit in the idea of never giving up, working towards your goals and dreams, and improving your craft. I think everyone can improve and grow as a writer. I’ve seen myself do just that all year long. However, while I think everyone can and should reach for dreams, I don’t believe everyone has what it takes to make it to the top. Call me a realist. Call me cynical. I’m not saying I’m giving up or that I don’t believe in my ability to get there one day. I do worry that I could chase the dream forever and never arrive. The part I haven’t reconciled is whether or not that is okay with me. Right now it is, but time changes things. 
  5. There are so many other writers out there today. How can I possibly compete? Realistically, I don’t even want to compete. I want them to do their thing, and I’ll do mine. However, the truth of the matter is that people can only read so many novels. There’s already thousands (maybe millions?) of novels available in any given category or genre. What makes me think I have something to say that’s so different from what the people who came before me said? OR (even worse) maybe I do have something different to say, but nobody else really wants to hear it. If I try harder to bring out what’s different about me as a writer or thinker, does that only make it seem like I’m trying too hard? 
Here’s the part of the blog post where a writer should bring everything back around to a main point, tie up loose ends, and wrap their blog post up with some enlightening, inspiring advice that convinces people to prevail over these five crippling thoughts.

 Currently, I’m not prevailing over these five crippling thoughts.

 In fact, I believe they become worse with every novel I write, despite the fact that I feel my writing improves with each novel (please start again at #1), which means it would be hypocritical of me to try to tell the rest of you what to do to fight down these difficult thoughts. 

Instead, I’ll say that if you’ve ever felt these things, then you’re not alone. Many people will give you unwanted advice for how to handle these thoughts (just get over it, be brave, put yourself out there, cliché after cliché after cliché, etc.), but that’s not my goal today. I believe what you do with these thoughts and how you wield them to either your benefit or detriment is entirely up to you. As with everything in writing (and humanity), there is no one way to reach an end goal.

8 Defensive Poses For Wielding A Sword

Some of you might shrug them off. Others will beat them down. There are those who will drown inside them, and there are others who will use those seemingly “negative” thoughts to force themselves to rise up and be stronger. Whatever way you go, I hope that in the end you do it your way and are happy with your choices and outcomes. 

I may be currently crippled by doubts and fears, but I have to remind myself that I also wrote the better part of 5 novels in only a year. In the thirty-two years prior, I didn’t believe I could write a novel, despite my constant desire to do just that. So you can say I’m not positive enough, that I’m being way too hard on myself, and that I’m crippling myself with doubt. Perhaps those are all true. However, I did face down the monster of self-doubt to write my first novel in this past year, and then I had the determination and courage to follow it up with four more. 

Novel five might be sitting there, unread by all, but who’s to say that’s a permanent state of affairs? Maybe all I need is a chance to breathe and work through the angst, because I’ve found that powering forward despite the fears and doubts does nothing to actually help or ease those fears and doubts. Overpowering them does not resolve anything, and each time they come back stronger. 

This time, I’m trying a new approach. Instead of fighting them, I’m going to attempt to learn to deal with them. Right here. Right now. Because I’m not going to quit writing. This approach definitely goes against my rush forward nature, but I feel I need to manage the thoughts, before they start to manage me. Permanently. And while I sincerely appreciate the encouragement of the writing world around me, a bunch of clichés and idioms simply aren’t my cup of tea. I’m partial to English Breakfast. 
For those of you who prefer encouraging insights and advice, I don’t want you to leave completely empty handed after visiting my blog, so here’s a semi-inspirational quote that I can stomach on your behalf. Mostly due to Yoda. Perhaps if we put all those immediate reaction statements that people say carelessly (and repeatedly) on Yoda, I’d swallow them all better. Or maybe not, but at least they’d be cute. 

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