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:

2015-10-13 11.36.09 2015-10-13 11.36.15 2015-10-13 11.36.23 2015-10-13 11.36.26

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

Share Content:


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): 

Share Content:

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. 
Share Content:

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. 

Share Content:

Finishing Up A Draft: Emotion Central

I was thinking about all the emotions that I experience upon finishing up a draft, and I decided it would be interesting to track the first 10 that float through my brain, honestly and unfiltered, for the purpose of writing “research.”

I started this post ahead of time, and I originally thought that I’d include all the thoughts that went along with each of the feelings. Sometimes though, less is more, and a picture is worth a thousand words. (I dare you to fit more clichés into a sentence!)

Novel finished on: June 17, 2014 
At: 11:02 PM

Emotion 1:  Happiness

Emotion 2: Satisfaction

Emotion 3: Pride
Emotion 4: Glee

Emotion 5: Uber-Glee

Emotion 6: Amusement

Emotion 7: Pleasure

Emotion 8: Determination

Emotion 9:  Creeping fear

Emotion 10:  Niggling self-doubt 

Date/time: 6/18/2014 at 12:06 AM 
(10 recognizable emotions in just over an hour)

And how I feel right now at 12:32 AM
(after squashing back down the doubt and fear)? 

Share Content:

How Not To Write A Cover Letter: And It’s Too Bad…

As I’ve been job hunting, I’ve written and rewritten about thirty professional cover letters, trying to tailor each to the positions to which I’ve applied. Along the way, I’ve remembered why I hate writing cover letters as much as people hate reading them. There’s no real truth in them (despite the true nature of all the included statements), and trying to understand someone from a professional letter is like attempting to learn how warm sand feels between your toes by staring at a picture of it.

The more I job hunt, the more I feel exhausted and drag my feet, because the less I feel like me. I don’t want to be a persona. I don’t want to be perfect on paper. I’m not perfect in real life. I want to be me, and I’m looking for a job that wants me for who I really am, not for how I look on paper.
But I’m not sure that exists.
As an exercise, I decided to write the cover letter I wish that I could write, with one exception. I decided I would not go back afterwards to rewrite any part of it, because then it would be less honest. I typed what felt true in the moment, in an attempt to cleanse my exhaustion, frustration, and boredom with this job hunt, and it was a lot of fun and rather telling.
Sadly, I like this totally ridiculous and completely unprofessional fake cover letter much better than all my other cover letters, despite how awful and wrong it is. I hesitated for several weeks to post this to my blog, because I didn’t want it to have a negative impact on my job hunting process. I’m not exactly sure they could or would find my writing social media, since I keep it separate, but it’s definitely possible. 
In the end, I decided that I’m not giving up my creative writing world for any job, so should a potential employer find me here and not want to hire me because of it, then it’s the wrong job for me anyway.  Perhaps that is foolish, but I’ll risk it on the off chance that a potential employer finds me here and actually accepts and appreciates this creative writing exercise for what it is and/or appreciates me for what I am. 
Let me know what you think about the letter below. Would any of you fake hire me? 😉 

Dear Job #43:
You are seriously understaffed, and I am seriously overqualified. Fortunately, whatever sent the last employee sprinting in the opposite direction screaming and flailing will logistically not get under my skin for at least 2.5 years, which is approximately the length of time it will take for me to get completely settled and become fully bored with the lack of variety and advancement that your position appears to offer (ahem). In that amount of time, I could help turn things around and set new standards, and instead of letting me escape, you could throw new challenges at me that inspire me to stay and grow with your company (imagine that).
But if not, I’m probably out of there.
The way I figure it, those could be the best 2.5 years of your professional life, so do you want to risk throwing them away on the off chance you can find someone else who is completely underqualified and totally undermotivated (Yes, I know those aren’t widely accepted as real words. It’s a mirror effect. Work with me) to do the job that I could rock at?
I would bring my brutally high standards (to which none of your other employees will ever remotely live up to, this I promise you) into your workplace and wield them to your benefit until the day I can afford to stay home and write, which is probably somewhere between the day I get married (pshaw!) and the day I have children (no chance in hell).
… not that I don’t like other people’s children, and I’m sure yours (if they exist) are lovely (or at least you probably think so)! 
Totally kidding! Realistically, I’ll probably like your children better than you, because that’s how I roll.
So what can I do, you ask, besides break all grammatical rules in a way that is both attention grabbing and hopefully effective (at least in fiction writing, if not in cover letters)?
I can banish monsters from my nephew’s closet better than any other family member, and when he suddenly realizes he kind of liked the monsters and misses them, I can make them return with a wink and a snap. 
My dog says I’m the best mom in the world, and I didn’t even bribe him with treats (okay, I did). 
I fall in love with the characters I write in my novels, and I read myself into the most epic stories of all times.
I collect misfits, outcasts, nerds, and so called losers and send them back out into harsh reality clutching stories that might change their lives, or at least change the way they look at the world.  Then I try not to cry when someone who said they hated reading finally finds a book to love.
I work hard, out of a desperate need to be good enough and a strong desire to have a positive impact and leave a lasting mark. I want to make everything I touch a little bit better (okay, a lot). I get bored easily and sit still poorly, but I’m really good with change, variety, challenge, and opportunity. I hate being held back by nonsense when I long to run forward. I’m horrifically impatient, but I mask it so well that my current admin says I’m one of the most patient teachers he knows. As if. *chuckles and shakes head*
When faced with a difficult situation, I overcome. I persevere, but I also know when to walk away, when to say enough is enough, how to say no. 
No, I do not have all the answers, but yes, I will try to find them. 
No, I will not let my job become my life, but yes, I do struggle with workaholic tendencies.  
No, I can’t lift 25 pounds, but yes, I can still be a valuable employee despite that. 
No, I don’t care where I will be in five years, as long as in that exact moment, I can say to myself, “I am here. I am happy here. This is exactly where I want to be today.”
Today I am here, but I long to be there. I am happy and sad. I am loved and hated. I exist and survive and struggle and thrive. I overthink. I will not apologize for that. Ever. That is who I am.
I have all of the dreams and reach for hopes, but truly believing is a struggle for me. It seems my deepest desires are often right outside my grasp. I look in to admire them but am not always sure how to obtain them. I’m quiet in chaos and loud amidst a silence that festers and burns. My skills are many and strange and trivialized when listed down, as if all that I am could be written in this letter.
I am more.
And also less.
But I try.
I need a change, and you do too. No matter who you hire, it will always be a risk. Good or bad, neither of us know, but whatever the case, I promise it will be memorable. I won’t call you, because you don’t really want me to, even though that’s protocol. You really want to just hire that guy that your current employee already recommended. That’s faster, easier, and you know who to blame, if it all falls apart. You’ll probably do that, but it’s too bad. I need this job, and you need a change (whether you think you do or not).
We could be epic together.
I like epic.
Don’t you?
B.A. Wilson
PS: I see the world differently but am fascinated by everyone’s varied perspectives. I can be fun and have a good sense of humor, but I’m also very serious and incredibly honest. I have a cute, stubborn dog I adore, because he has a kinder, more loving and forgiving soul than I do. I will bake you cookies (and accidentally eat a few before I bring them in), because I’m not above food bribery.  You might even be written into my next novel, though it’s hard to say at this point if you would be the protagonist or the antagonist. Only time will tell.

Share Content:

Where Writing Begins And Why It Ends

Nephews are the bomb! Check out what my sister sent. I told her he might turn out just like me, and I think she almost died of a heart attack: 

“I drew some cars. Ian said they needed to be race cars. He drew some fire coming out of their tail pipes to speed them up. Suddenly, one car caught fire. The other car turned into a fire truck and an elephant showed up to help put out the fire. A helicopter is also on the way now. Didn’t see that coming!”

This is where writing begins, which leaves me wondering
about the twenty-seven year gap that grew between my initial desire to write and tell stories and the time at which I let myself write. Yes, I said let myself write, because I wanted to write a novel for many, many years before I actually sat down and typed my first words. There were so many things that held me back, and I wish I could rewind now and start sooner. I can only imagine what I would have learned, in the last ten years alone, that would have helped me be a much stronger writer today. 

The most peculiar part is that my delay was largely self-inflicted. I’ve floated through degrees and career paths. Every single step of the way, I always asked myself: What’s next? What do you really want to do with your life? Every single time, I answered, “I want to write.” Then I quickly shoved that idea down as being ridiculous and irrational, and I dug around for something that might work out as second best. Yet, no matter how many times I squashed that relentless urge, it always spoke first. It filtered through my mind at every turning point, and I would toy with the idea for only a brief moment before shrugging it off as unreasonable. 

I told only a few family members and friends that one day I wanted to write a novel, just to see how they would react, and gasp! They all said, “Do it!” Then I promptly ignored them, because clearly they were also being ridiculous. I couldn’t figure out why nobody would be reasonable or rational. Nobody would shoot down my dream. Nobody would push me to do something “normal.” Nobody laughed. Nobody acted like I was a fool. Nobody said anything snarky, and they didn’t need to. I did all those things myself. 
I’ve always loved that quote, but I never took the time to stop and think who was doing the hating. I always assumed it would be someone outside of myself, which is how I became my own worst enemy. It’s how filling journals with writing and poetry in college turned into having an enormous crate full of empty journals as I entered adulthood. 

This would be a much better blog post if I could point the finger at my schools, which never taught or encouraged creative writing. It would be better if I pointed it at my friends and family who laughed at me or mocked my deepest, darkest desires about writing, and it would be best of all if I could cite an instance where someone brutally and horrifically criticized my writing and stunted my confidence in my abilities to grow as a writer. 

None of that happened. Okay, that’s a lie. Some of those things happened, but they didn’t stop me. It was always less about the outside influences and more about the inside influences for me. The real reason writing stopped, was because I stopped it. I couldn’t believe in myself or the power and joy behind doing something I truly loved, even if I might never be great at it. As a musician, I understood the logic behind practice makes better, but I didn’t realize writers had to practice too. I thought maybe they had some kind of internal magic that I didn’t possess. I thought I needed to stop dreaming, when really, I only needed to start writing. 

It took a very long time to jump my own hurdle, but now, I’ll never turn back. I’m moving forward, and I’m going to write, even if it’s just for me. I’m going to write my daydreams. I’m going to write what inspires me. I’m going to write what crushes me and rips my heart to bloody, tattered shreds. I’m going to write stuff I hate. I’m going to write stuff you hate, and you know what? My writing isn’t going to hurt anyone, but me not writing? That does hurt someone. It hurts me, because I refuse to hate myself for what I am or to love myself for what I am not. 
Share Content: