January Love Letter

Yes, I know it’s February. That just means this post is extremely late.

I found this idea through Topaz‘s blog and she found it on Allison‘s blog. Allison created a hashtag for 2015 called #YearOfHappy. If you click on the link everything is explained, but I’ll explain anyway. Basically every month you do a different activity or work on some sort of project. The point of it is to get a little more out of life, to have fun, and be happy in 2015.

I thought it was a cool idea, so I decided to join in on the fun and give it a go. January’s prompt is to write a love letter to yourself. Of course by the time I found this January was almost over and I already had the rest of January’s posts planned and written.

It’s a little late, but I guess that’s better than never.

Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.
Printed and going in my journal for safe keeping.

Hi Rachel!

So far so good, right? You’re doing pretty well with what life is throwing you at the moment even if it’s not throwing anything at you.

Last December you mentioned that 2015 was going to be your year when it came to writing. You’re going to get something published (or ready for publication) by the end of the year whether it’s a novel or a short story in a magazine or a quick poem in a contest. You want to have Detective Florence completed by the end of the year. We can do it!

If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how quickly things change. Change hits you when you’re mid-blink and before you know it, you’re dazed and confused and have no idea what just happened.

I know you don’t like change, but it’s inevitable and not all changes are bad. A lot of changes will happen in 2015 (some you know of right now and some only future you knows). Some will be good, some will be bad. You’ll get through them just like you always do.

–Your best friend is going to have her baby any day now. You’re going to be an aunt. While this is a good change, things will be different. There will be no more staying out late at night with her, I’m sure you’ll be texting less throughout the day, and when you do hang out together the baby will always be there. You love babies, but there will be much less time to hang out just the two of you. But that’s okay; you’ll still be friends and you’ll be there for both her and her baby.

–You’re almost done with school. You have about three more months and then you’ll have your bachelor’s degree! I know you wanted to continue with your Master’s, but it’ll be nice to finally be done. 90% of your paychecks will not go to school; you’ll be able to save. Maybe even splurge on yourself once in a while.

–Work is difficult, but it’s worth it. Your co-workers are fabulous and the children are great–even if they sap all your strength. Some do that more than others–you know which kid(s) I’m talking about!

–Your writing is coming along. Detective Florence is on its way, you’ve found some contests and magazines to submit to in the near future, you’ve discovered something a little about yourself through your Creative Writing Nonfiction class, and you found a local writing workshop where you’ll meet new people in the same boat as you and you’ll learn lots of fun, new stuff. I’m sure that will help your publishing goals for this year.

See? This year is going to be just fine! Work hard, but indulge yourself once in a while. Go out more with friends/co-workers. Reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while.

You’ll make it, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

Love,

Me

I just wrote that letter right now and I have to admit it took me a while. Plus, I didn’t think it was going to be that long. Apparently I have a lot say.

Anyway, don’t forget to check out Topaz‘s and Allison‘s blogs. Even though we’re already about two months into the year, feel free to join #YearOfHappy. Even if you don’t share it with anyone, it’s fun to do it with yourself.

For December, we’re supposed to look back at this letter and reflect on the year. I wonder where I’ll be a year from now?

New Idea

By the title of this post alone you’re probably groaning saying, “she changed her mind again…?” Yes, I did change my mind again!

Kris and I were discussing writing last night as she filled up a notebook and I… haven’t written anything in a while. So, we were discussing the upcoming NaNo session, writing in general, publishing, etc. This is what I explained to Kris:

I decided to write a novel that was a brand new idea about two college students and writing. I’ve realized whenever I get stuck on my writing I end up writing about writing. Yet if it beats the writer’s block, then why not? The thing is, I’m not really all that into the idea anymore. I still like the idea and will keep it in mind in case I ever want to try it again.

However, I had to read the first half of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien for school this week. I read it in two days and now I’m back on a fantasy high. So I thought of writing Saving Time. There are two things wrong with that. One, it’s the kind of story that needs to be outlined. I have many ideas for it and there are a lot of characters and places in the story. It’s not something I can free write or else editing will be a pain and I’ll most likely lose the main idea. Two, I started it in a notebook and I would like to finish it in my notebook. If for whatever reason I can’t get to a computer, I can still work on a novel. I know some people hand write for NaNo and I love that; kudos to all of you, but I don’t have the time to hand write 50,000 words and then type those 50,000 words to validate it. I might as well sit at my computer and bang out 100,000 words if I can. So, Saving Time is out.

The first draft of my story chapter is due next week for my Fiction class. I’m going to submit the first chapter of Detective Florence. Of course, we all know I decided to take a break from that series and now that I have to focus on the one chapter I’m beginning to realize that I miss writing that series. I still have the third novel to write, but like Saving Time, it needs to be outlined. If I don’t outline it, I’ll be stuck and the series will lose its main idea. So that’s out.

You guys are probably thinking that I’m coming up with too many excuses, but trust me; I’m not good at pantsing. I free write every once in a while, but I need that outline for the most part; especially since I recently discovered a great way to outline that works for me.

So, what am I going to write? Kris and I were discussing my Short Story Sunday and then…

Eureka

I realized what I should write for NaNo. I should write short stories. That way I can write about anything I want, any genre I want. Plus, I think the variety of stories will help me get over my writer’s block. I haven’t been able to write in so long that it’s gotten to the point that my brain isn’t used to it anymore and I’m indecisive about it all.

Plus, it will certainly be interesting to see how well I do within a certain amount of pages/words. We all know I tend to babble on, so if an idea sparks it just might end up turning into a novella… but I think it would be cool to have a collection of short stories at the end of the month. It’s something different. It’ll be a nice change of pace for myself.

I’m excited about it whereas I wasn’t too thrilled with my old idea. So I think I have a better chance at winning now that my enthusiasm has come back.

NaNo Blurb

NaNo Sponsor

Thanks to Blurb, NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty and producer Grant Faulker had a live webinar last night. They touched upon what NaNoWriMo is, tips to complete the event, tips to write in general, and about their own personal writing habits and ideas.

It was free and only an hour long. Since it was live, there were people typing away on the chat box and Chris and Grant took questions from that and answered them.

I have to admit, I ended up paying more attention to the chat box than I did to the speakers. Some of the people who attended were interesting. Plus, there was over 1,600 people so the chat box was updating constantly. It was pretty distracting.

Yet, Chris and Grant had some interesting tales to tell and tips to share. For those of you who missed it, feel free to watch a recording here. For those of you who love to write and especially to the ones who participate in NaNo, I would watch it.

Blurb is also a sponsor of NaNo this year. Upon hitting the 50,000 word mark, Blurb will give you a code to have your novel in a softcover trade format book. So it’s like getting a copy of your published novel, except it’s not actually published. I think they’ll give you an ebook copy as well, which you can sell. You’ll have to look at it for yourselves.

There are ten days left until NaNo begins. Are you ready?

I’m not.

David Congalton

Everyone remember me discussing the movie Authors Anonymous? Well, welcome to day three of discussing it… even though I technically just mentioned it in yesterday’s post.

Anyway… after posting the first time about my watching the movie, I got a pretty big surprise in my e-mail the following morning. David Congalton had somehow come across my blog. David is the screenwriter to the movie Authors Anonymous. Pretty cool, huh?

If you read my post, you would know that I didn’t “love” the movie and didn’t exactly “rave” about it. So, when I realized who he was I felt a bit anxiety coming on. I felt guilty for not loving the movie and… well, what are the odds of the screenwriter coming across my blog? Then I said to myself, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What I like, others dislike and what I dislike, others like.” So, the movie wasn’t my cup of tea. You win some, you lose some.

Despite all that, David is really nice and I’m flattered he read my blog let alone taking the time to write to me. He sent me a link to read the actual script for the movie, which is pretty cool.

I’ve always thought about writing scripts. I used to when Script Frenzy (a sister site of NaNoWriMo, for those of you who do not know) was around, but when it got shut down I started focusing more on my novels. I had two scripts completed, but lost both of them when my flash drive died almost two years ago. The ideas are still in my head and I plan on writing them again eventually. They just might be in novel format instead of script. Either way, if I ever do get back into script writing, I have a real life example of how to format it and what it’s supposed to look like.

I e-mailed him back and from there he sent me another reply explaining his inspiration for the movie and the characters as well as some background about the movie and how it came to be. He also sent me a link to an interview he had about the movie which gives a little more insight as well as the hardships of writing and creating a movie. The article was published in the magazine Psychology Today. I encourage you all to read it whether you write scripts, write novels, or are just reading this blog because you might be lost (if that’s the case, thanks for reading this much!).

Apparently the Authors Anonymous idea formed in David’s mind eight years ago originally calling itself Scribble. Even though David is discussing his script, the same rules go for novel writing. Except… we’re not dealing with directors and actors, but close enough.

My point is David spent eight years on this idea and didn’t give up. I have been writing for 11 years now with five unpublished manuscripts… some aren’t even edited yet, I’m ashamed to admit. I think it’s about time I get moving and start seriously thinking about publishing.

I’ve sent a few things to agents and publishers and even submitted to magazines and such, but no dice. I know nothing is going to happen over night, but I tend to take extremely long breaks in between sending stuff out. It’s hard between working full time and school full time among other life happenings, but it’s just something I have to do. I want this as a career, which means I have to actually work for it… just like the characters in the movie. Who knew a movie I wasn’t totally into would end up being so inspirational?

Thanks, David!

Tipping Over

Balance

Life is hard. Can I just throw that out there? Of course, no one told me life was going to be easy and I never expected it to be… I mean, why would I?

It’s not that life in general is hard, it’s all the little bits and pieces that go with it. You just need to work your way through each one, but the trick is that you need to deal with it all at the same time. I can’t say, “I’ll go to work this week and then stay home and write the following week. After that I think I’ll go on vacation!” Sadly, life does not work like that.

So how does life work? I certainly don’t know and I’m pretty sure no one else really understands it, either. What I do know is that I need to have some sort of balance between everything that goes on in my life. That’s one piece of the puzzle solved, but how do I find that balance and implement it? Let me know when you figure it out because every time I find my balance–even if it’s just for a short while–life throws another lemon at me giving me a black eye.

For the past few days I’ve been writing “to do” lists for myself. So far it’s been working, but probably only for a little while. I’ve done this before and soon enough I get out of the routine whether I get sick, something unexpected happens, or I just get lazy.

We all know Kris and I have conversations about life and the future every so often, but with both of us getting older those conversations have been happening more frequently. We’re in no rush to leave our parents, but we want to move out for the experience. We don’t have the money to do it. Plus, I’m still in school so I have a lot less money than my sister does.

I’m going to be 21 in about a month. My friend who is three months younger than me got married and moved across the country. My other friend who is a year older than me (and also the sister of the other one) is pregnant. I feel as though I’m “behind schedule” even though I’m really not. I should be focusing on work and school and that’s what I prefer to work towards. Yet, it’s hard to work towards something when everything else is about money.

I want to be a writer and I’ve written many things, yet none of them pay as they’ve never been published. This is okay, but I’m wondering about when September hits. I will be taking five courses, one is accelerated (which will be kind of nice in a way because then the last month of the semester I’ll only have to worry about four courses), but one of the courses is going to make it feel as though I’m taking seven courses–not five. This course, by the way, is Selected Authors: Tolkien & Rowling; the class I’m super excited for. I don’t think I’m going to be so excited for the homework, though. Not to mention homework from four other classes, one being accelerated.

should also be working full-time. I say “should” because I don’t know if I officially have the job, yet. If not, I’ll still be a substitute which won’t be so bad with all the school work. Money-wise, it won’t be so good, but I have to take what I can get.

Then there’s babysitting on the side and…oh, yeah writing.

Camp NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close and I am at 41k words or something around there. I’m also done and I will win. I was actually hoping to be done by today, but I started reading Harry Potter to get a head start on my class in the Fall and I got so into the series that I’ve just been reading nearly non-stop.

(To throw a lame excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging a lot is because of Harry Potter, trying to win Camp NaNo, and also homework…but the school semester ends tomorrow, yay!)

So with that in mind I have about six days left. I plan on going overboard (but let’s get real–I probably won’t) and come August I hope to edit the first book (I’m writing the sequel now). I edited the first draft in June, but obviously still needs a bit of work.

Good luck in the last few days of Camp, people! I can’t believe the end is near…but at the same time, I feel as though the month of July dragged on. Maybe that’s just me. 😉