Low Tides

I have some announcements to make.

First Breathless Press is closing shop. This is not the way I wished to promote any of my writing, but if you wanted to grab my story or any others please purchase them now. The site and venues should be closed to the BP titles by May 1st 2015.

My story is in Secret Identities Anthology.

bpclosing

In this ever changing business there are plenty of stories of authors feeling short changed by a publisher. I have absolutely no such feelings towards BP and the staff. Justyn has gone out of his way for me during this very difficult time. I thank him and all the staff at Breathless Press for their outstanding pleasant attitudes and professionalism.

The next announcement is that we are not able to keep the Princess. I mentioned that most do not discuss adoptions because anything can happen. She’s with us until Summer. Understandably, I’m quite tied up until then.

I am bouncing ideas around for what to do with the little story I had with BP. However, I doubt I’ll be able to implement anything for around 7 weeks.

 

Week End Coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d come in dragging my stuff with me. Dark circles and bags under my eyes would confirm that I haven’t gotten enough sleep this week. It’s been a week of no readily available answers to some of my issues.

The princess is going through a rough time when she is realizing dad doesn’t want her around, but she desperately wants to change that and make him have a family. It is bringing us full tilt tantrums and rejection. Nothing much has helped and I’m finally at wit’s end with the situation. A few days ago she turned a corner and is for the moment, okay with living here. I have no idea if this new mind set will hold.

Sage advice: If you want to be writing and a writer do not adopt…anything. Not even a kitten.

To be perfectly honest, I was counting down the days until summer. I won’t have to drop her off at school, get less than 6 hours of sleep, and then pick her up again. I can even let her spend time with my parents and give myself a break. Maybe, finally, get my head clear for some writing. Grandparents aren’t especially keen on having her which is a shame. She is a great kid, very smart, fairly polite but there is nothing to do at the parent’s place for a modern kid. They feed her sugar like most grandparents and don’t enforce a bed time. I’m not sure what they expect with their hands off parenting. When children are at their place, it’s raise yourself. There is a long story behind that and I don’t care to share it. Moving on…

Eight more weeks of school. I need more coffee.

The kitten is well a kitten. I hate to admit it, but he isn’t the most intelligent cat I’ve seen either.

Now, I did get some killer pictures of her that I can’t wait to share. Should be middle of next month when they come in and I’m sure I’ll post them. We had a good week. We got her pictures done, had an outing for frozen yogurt, came home and we cooked together for several hours. In any event, I really need to get some form of solution to this for my writing. I’m a habit and routine person. She completely demolishes that and adds a bit of stress, combine that with less sleep than I need and I’m a mess. I’ll be brainstorming and counting days until summer.

Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson

Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson

I’d move on after that vent and desperate plea for answers on to business. I’ve completed another book cover and sent it off. Unlike writing, I don’t need a lot of mental capacity to do graphics. They have become a nice outlet for me. I’ll be wrapping up the next cover for Robertson soon. I have some minor alterations and it should be ready for approval. Have you seen the last cover I did for him? I really like it.

I’m rather excited about next Tuesday. I am off to a café to write and then later meet up with a friend. I want to get in at least two good jogs and perhaps start hiking again. I’m in the middle of knitting a stash busting blanket for my man. I’ve made some good progress on that at least as it too requires zero mental capacity.

I go back for coffee round number three. I’ll need it for work later tonight. Keep the coffee coming. Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly meme from Parttime Monster

Writing Blocks and a Book Review

Overcoming the Writer’s Block

Tackling the obstacles we put in front of ourselves and self-sabotage is not usually a single faceted issue. I can typically place my slow downs and slumps into three categories. Something is wrong with my story, something is wrong with my writing process, or something is out of balance with me. Currently, mine is a combination of all three with a heavy lean to my own personal balance.

There are several cheap books on how to increase your writing and make it a daily habit. I’ve read a bunch of them. My own personal favorite methods are to use the pomodoro (google it), track everything (I love data), keep a journal (more non-metric data), and a method of accountability.

wbfI am actually finishing a book that I would highly recommend, Write Better, Faster by Monica Leonelle. Over all the other books on optimizing words per hour as well as your entire writing process, this is my current favorite. She hints at her own ways of optimizing her life for writing and non-writing tasks in her journal which she included. Her tactics are sustainable over a long span of time while those complete your novel in X amount of time, typically are not. They integrate in with her lifestyle and use her strengths. Her mindset is similar to mine, so her methods clicked with me.

Even if you will never track a single bit of your writing data, I’d still recommend her book above all the others. She has some good ideas and other tactics a writer can use. It is the most complete, well rounded, and detailed book on the subject that includes examples. She is very transparent and holds nothing back.

I’m almost finished with her book (for a second time) and I have a few questions about her process. She makes herself very available through various social media, so maybe over time I’ll bug her about things. She mentions using dictation software and I am fairly sure her book was written this way. So, either she speaks very succinctly or she edits fairly well. Now, for the grammar police out there, I did notice a few places where I’m guessing the dictation software misunderstood her and the proofing didn’t catch the out of place words. That isn’t a deal breaker for me concerning books. I can take the word “to”, instead of “the” on occasion. That is about as much of a con I can find right now with her book.

I think some readers may skim over the journal section, but I read every word. It was such a huge relief having written proof of someone who struggles in similar ways as I do. Plus, I get to see her process of making business decisions almost as they happen. I got to see her whole process unfold entry by entry. There’s good info in there.

I am sure I’ll go back to it over time. Furthermore, I am eagerly waiting for her other writing craft books. That is about the highest praise I can give an author or book in general along with I’d verbally recommend this to friends and I’m re-reading it with a prediction that I’ll do so again in the future.

So, if you are a writer looking to optimize your writing overall, I’d say grab it. A very small investment with significant payoff, at least for me.

I’m going to be using some of her tactics to help balance my life and optimize my writing. I’ll be posting journals on google plus and perhaps Facebook.

An example of my experience: My typical word count hovers around 800-1k per hour, and that is when I have an outline. That is my break neck writing speed at my best. I know, I’ve tracked it.

About three days using some new methods in her book have me currently at 2089 new words, in about 72 minutes of writing, averaging 1780 words per hour. I didn’t even apply everything she mentions that she does, nor did I set any goals other than to write.

So, my hope is you too can increase your word counts while still producing the same quality of writing.

Again, I’ll be posting updates on Facebook or Google Plus, so you can see how this is working for me.

Obstacles – Writing Process Part 4

The Nothing

First, I do not give credit to or believe in “writer’s block.” There is no such thing, but we have to call the conditions of sabotaging ourselves something I suppose. I don’t care for the term myself because it deflects responsibility to this mysterious entity. There isn’t a monster hiding behind our typewriters, just like there isn’t an angelic muse hovering over our shoulders.

We come up with the ideas. We execute them. We stall ourselves. We have our very own Goal, Motivation, and Conflict just like our characters.

External Conflicts

I can’t tell myself that I don’t have time to write. Anyone can make time to write every day even if it is for a few moments stolen here and there through the day. So, chunk that one down the garbage disposal. Short of hardware issues and a massive shortage of pen and paper, there are no real external excuses that are valid.

There are times when we let life get to us. I’m going through bits of this myself at the moment which is one reason why I am writing this post. From my own personal experience, I’d guess that external situations such as stress with family or a job, impact us on the internal level. While external issues can’t be discounted, we internalize them. We react. The way we deal with those external factors is what matters.

 

Internal Conflicts

I can’t dissect what is impacting you, but I can say that if you know yourself you can diagnose your underlying issue. Personally, I am an introvert. I need a good amount of alone time to recharge and when I get stressed I withdraw. Normally, I do well with deadlines, obligations, and goals. Add in some stress factors to my happy life and I shut down. I go to the other extreme of slacking in an attempt to get my alone time back.

Since I know this about myself and have witnessed it unfolding before my eyes, I can work in ways to adapt.

My house is always occupied lately. That tends to happen with a 9 year old, two cats, and a forever fiancé living under the same roof. So, I plan on redefining alone time by relocating myself outside the home. A change of scenery. This can cure a lot of different issues.

I’m reinforcing my motivation by posting my goals in our hallways. My greatest supporter happens to be my forever fiancé, so sharing the goals with him will help. It happens that to coordinate all of our lives is requiring a combined schedule that I post every week. I have a monthly schedule right alongside of the weekly one and my deadlines are on it. As I mark off the days, my deadline looms on the horizon. I am very conscious of it.

I remind myself of what makes writing enjoyable for me. I make my environment as pleasant as I possibly can. I reward myself with down time when I meet my goals. I love the show Vikings, so I don’t allow myself to watch it until I have my word counts or time done. When that series is over, I’ll have to substitute it with something else.

I’m bugging the hell out of my writing friends. Telling them of my situation and about the current projects. These people helped me through writing and getting published, so if needed they’ll drag me through this one way or another. A good support system is irreplaceable for me.

There are all kinds of ways to tweak your life and your response to get things going again.

Internal Conflicts for us though, in my opinion, are all rooted in fear. Fear of something. Self-doubt, fear of the hard work it takes to bring a story to completion, fear of the commitment, fear of failing, or whatever.

Find out what you put in your own path to finishing your story and kill it. Brutally with no apologies.

Next post on this series will be all the different ways you can kill your conflicts.

Check out Story Medic’s posts on similar topics as we discuss our completely different writing processes. Plus, he’s given his site an overhaul. It looks great!

Writing Process 1: Braining Storming

Writing Process 2: A Dedicated Space

Writing Process 3: Outlinging