Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cute boot, huh?

Something tells me I'm going to wish I had a pair of them by tomorrow. Yes, the weathermen are calling for the biggest winter storm of the season. My Uggs just might not do the trick this time around. Today... ice and fog. Tomorrow... up to 12 inches of snow. Wednesday... -12 degrees. Will this winter ever end? Of course it will, but in the mean time, I plan on doing what any self-respecting aspiring author would do. I'll be curled up on the couch next to the fire with my WiP. Anyone care to join me?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ooops!

Wearing two different shoes is not a mistake I've ever made, but I've made plenty of others. Especially in my writing. I read a published book recently that had a glaring mistake. Now, don't get me wrong... it was a fabulous book and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone, but at the risk of sounding critical, I'm not going to mention the title. In fact, my intentions are not to criticize at all. The opposite is true. I sympathize with the author because I see how easily this can happen. The mistake I'm talking about is a repeated line. I probably wouldn't have noticed the line if it had not brilliantly conveyed the emotion of the character in a unique way. It was such a fantastic line that it stood out to me, and when it was repeated later in the book, I remembered it right away. I have a theory on why this mistake went unnoticed by the author, the agent, and the editor. I've actually made the same mistake. During revisions, I move things around a lot. Many times, I've come across a line that I decide is needed elsewhere or would be more effective in a different spot. I move it, but... I forget to delete it from the original place. When I read through my manuscript over and over again, it doesn't stand out as a repeat because I've read my chapters so many times that every line sounds like a repeat. When an author turns in revised material to the publisher, she, her agent, and her editor have read the manuscript so many times that they all fail to catch the repeat. See how easily it can happen? I guess what I'm trying to say is that none of us can be too careful. Even if you've had several crit partners read your manuscript, it wouldn't be a bad idea to let a fresh eye read for you after you've made your final round of revisions. They just might catch something glaring before you submit to an agent. The same could be said for an author whose book is scheduled for an upcoming release. A fresh eye before approving the final copy might not be a bad idea. Noticed any glaring mistakes in your manuscript lately? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time... There's Never Enough of It!

Or is there? It's something I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks. My son came home from school one day and informed me that he had to write down what his mom and dad do. You know what he wrote down about me? That I write books (which is true) and play solitaire (also true, but this can't be what he notices about me, right?). Anyway, it forced me to take a good long look at how much time I do spend playing solitaire. And, I've come to a painful conclusion: I have a problem. Does anyone know of a solitaire support group I could join? Okay, in all honesty, it's not just an addiction. It's a procrastination tool. I find myself minimizing my manuscript and playing solitaire on the computer when I get stuck. This would be fine if it spurred some kind of creative streak, but it rarely does that. I have a feeling I'd get more writing done if I removed solitaire from my computer. Not happening, though. Instead, I'm just going to limit my solitaire playing time to after I've completed a daily word count. What about you? Do you have any crazy procrastination activities? How do you keep them in check? On another note, my blog break paid off for someone again. Many of you commented on my last post that Katie Ganshert had good news to share. I'd seen Katie's face in the comments of other bloggers, but I didn't know her. So, of course I had to go check it out. She recently sold her first book and another one to boot. Now, technically, I can't take credit for her good fortune because I didn't really know Katie, but I think it still counts toward my blog break = good news streak, don't you? Besides, I remedied the "not knowing her" part and started following her. If you haven't already, you should go by and congratulate her.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I've Got Nothing ...

My shoe box is completely empty. Go figure. I take a long break from blogging, and the day I come back, I don't have anything to talk about. I could tell you about the leak in my ceiling or the awful haircut I got while I was on break. Or, I could talk about how my kids haven't been in school for a full week since November. But, that would just be me complaining. Instead, I'm going to rely on you guys to tell me some good news. So, please share what's been going on with you. I'd love to hear.

Friday, January 14, 2011

If I Kick Out The Inner Editor...

Will she come back when I need her? Well, I think that's a chance I'm going to have to take if I ever want to finish my current WIP. I've been talking about my goals for 2011 this week. I haven't by any means listed all of my goals, only the ones I feel are most important. I was having a hard time choosing which goal to talk about today and then it hit me. One of my goals would be a step in completing a couple of others thus killing three birds with one stone. So, my third goal this year is to turn off my inner editor. I've been in revision/editing mode for so long that I'm struggling to just write. I analyze every paragraph, every sentence, every word. I'm getting nowhere with this approach. I've been doing the same when I read. I find myself ripping apart novels instead of savoring them. It's sucked the joy out of reading for me. This year (at least in the beginning), I will kick the inner editor out of my head. I will invite her back as soon as I finish a first draft and hope she forgives me for being so rude. Now, I know I've only been back blogging for a couple of weeks, but I'm going to take next week off. My mom will be in town and if I try to blog, it will be unorganized and probably a bunch of pointless posts. That would go against my second goal for 2011, wouldn't it? Besides, half of you are begging me to take a break in hopes of good news anyway! Have a great week, and I'll see you on the 24th.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hanging Up My Shoes Paid Off Again!

(I usually use a different picture for this, but since it's like -10 degrees here, I needed a reminder that summer's coming!) And you all thought I was kidding about my blog breaks being good luck... Seriously, on my last break, yet another blog friend signed with an agent. Go by and congratulate T. Anne. Her story is inspiration to us all. Some of you may not know what I'm talking about, so here's the short version: I tend to take frequent breaks from blogging, which I call hanging up my shoes. Recently I noticed a very exciting trend. Every time I take a break, one of my blog friends gets good news on their road to publication. I guess it was T. Anne's turn this time around. Good for her! She worked hard for it. Anyway, I decided, in order to ensure a year full of agent signings and book buyings, I should make one of my goals be to take even more frequent blog breaks. No, I'm kidding. Actually, one of my goals for 2011 is to keep up with my blog a little better. I don't mean in the sense of posting more often or visiting more blogs, but I mean on an organizational level. When I first started blogging, I was much more organized about it. That's what I'm shooting for this year. In other words, I'm going for quality, not quantity. So, don't worry, I'll still be taking lots and lots of breaks, but when I do blog, I will be more organized about it. So, do you have any blogging goals for 2011?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't Lean Too Far To One Side

Or you might tumble and fall. Last week, I reviewed my goals for 2010 and the progress I made toward those goals. This week, I want to (for my own sake, so please bear with me) outline what I'd like to accomplish in 2011. On Friday, I talked about balancing my professional life with my personal life and how it was a work in progress. It goes without saying that this will be an ongoing focus during 2011. As I mentioned Friday, it's not my other commitments that are suffering. It's my writing. In an attempt to balance last year, I actually ended up leaning too far to one side. This year, I want to steady myself and put my writing back up in the running for top priority. (It can't and won't ever beat out my family, but it can take more of a center-stage role.) So, there you have it... my first goal for 2011 is to put more emphasis on my writing without sacrificing my other commitments. I think I can do it. No, I know I can do it! Who's with me? Are you ready to let your writing take on a more important role in your life?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Balancing It All

I've spent this past week discussing the goals I set for my writing in 2010. The first goal was to complete the rewrites on an older project. The second was to move on to a new project. The third was to try outlining for a change. And fourth was to expand on social networking. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I managed to obtain certain degrees of success with each of these goals so I am pleased with my efforts. Now, my final goal for 2010 was to find a way to balance writing and blogging with family responsibilities. According to my family, this was a success. According to my writing and blogging, this was a failure. In 2010, I definitely put my family first (which a person should). In fact, I think I used them as a procrastination tool (don't tell them that). But, even though we put our families first, as writers, we need to carve out some time every day to spend on the craft. This is the only way we will improve. So, I'm going to call this goal a work in progress. I'm still trying to figure it all out. What about you? How do you manage your blogging/writing time vs. family/work/other obligation time?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Social Networking

This week, I'm reviewing some of the goals I set for my writing in 2010. I've already discussed finishing up a project, starting a new project, and trying to outline. Today, I want to talk about my 4th goal, which was to expand on social networking. I started blogging in May of 2009 without a clue as to what I was doing. Over the next few months, I started to get the hang of it and realized what a wonderful resource it is. Through blogging, I've learned a lot about writing and the ins and outs of the publishing business. More importantly, though, I've developed some strong connections with other writers. I've watched other aspiring authors climb the publishing mountain to success. I've cried with some over their setbacks and celebrated with others when they've signed agents or sold their first novels. Best of all, I met my crit partners here. All that being said, I decided that I wanted to get even more out of social networking by expanding my use of it. I did, in fact, join Twitter and Facebook, and I kept up with my blog. One thing I realized, though, was that social networking has its place, and writing should always come first. This realization took a whole lot of pressure off me. I don't feel guilty anymore if I can't blog. I don't feel guilty if I don't tweet one day or update my status on Facebook. So, despite the fact that I take frequent breaks and haven't kept up with social networking as much as I intended, I'm calling my efforts toward this goal a success. I'm doing what I can, when I can, without sacrificing my writing. To me, that definitely spells success. How much time do you spend social networking and which site is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Footprints Lead the Way

This week, I'm discussing the outcome of the goals I set for my writing for 2010. The first was to finish the rewrites of an old project. Success! The second was to dive into a new project. Sort of success... And the third was to outline said new project instead of writing by the seat of my pants. I wanted footprints to follow. On every other project, I winged it, and the amount of revision and rewriting has been overwhelming. Well, I'll call this a success. I did attempt to outline my current project. It's a very sketchy outline, but still an outline. I have narrowed down the major plot points and the character goals, motivation, and conflict, but everything in between is still up in the air. I decided I'm not much of an outliner. When I tried to plot chapter by chapter, I lost enthusiasm for the project and I felt lost rather than guided. There's nothing wrong with being a pantser, and there's nothing wrong with being a plotter. Is there anything wrong with being an in-betweener? I guess I'll find out in the coming months as I proceed with this project in that fashion. What about you? Do you plot, or do you wing it? Or are you an in-betweener like me?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Diving In

I'm spending this week discussing my success and failures regarding the goals I set for 2010. As I mentioned yesterday, the first goal I set was to finish the rewrites on my then WIP. My 2nd goal was to dive into a new project. I had two or three projects on the back burner and couldn't decide which one to proceed with. I'd be working on one, and another one would take over my brain. I kept going back and forth, never getting anywhere with any of them. I wanted to select one, once and for all, and dive into it without looking back. Well, I did dive into another project, but it wasn't any of the three I was working on at the time. It's a brand new one. The problem is that I only had about a month to work on it before the holiday season hit. Now, I'm feeling a little disconnected from it and wonder if I truly dove in or just dipped my toes in the water. I'm going to call the attempt at this goal both a success and a failure. Did I really immerse myself in a new project? No. Did I move on, though, and continue to write something? Yes. What about you? Have you ever had a difficult time really moving on from an old project and diving into a new one?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Recap

Wow! I can't believe another year has come and gone. At this time last year, I set some goals for my writing career, so I thought I'd explore the success and failure of these over the next week. (And, I apologize for the lack of shoe picture today. If all goes well, there will be one tomorrow.) My first goal was to complete the rewrites on the manuscript I was working on at the time. It took the better part of the year, but I did in fact accomplish that. I have no complaints. I learned a great deal in the process and became a better writer because of it. What about you? Did any of your 2010 goals take longer to accomplish than you thought they would? And, anyone have any good news to share? Please do tell! Oh, and Happy New Year!