Spilled Ink Is Open!

Remember that surprise I told you all about at the beginning of the month? Well, here it is!

Spilled Ink

Spilled Ink is now open for all of you to enjoy!

Kris and I have been thinking of creating our own writing group with our writing buddies here on WordPress for a while and now it’s a reality.

Spilled Ink is a community to do all sorts of writerly things, such as:

–Swapping manuscripts; giving and getting feedback on your work
–Posting and participating in writing prompts
–Discussions about characters, plot, editing, world-building, etc.
–Promote your blog, website, book, etc.

Kris and I have met a lot of wonderful writers through WordPress, so we decided it would be great for all of us to get to know each other a little better. We can help each other out with our writing in the process.

Spilled Ink is a laid-back community. There are no true deadlines for everyone to meet at the same time. If you need a manuscript to be critiqued, you can post it in the Story Profiles and people will sign up to read it and give you feedback. From there, you can decide how long you would like the turn-around time to be.

It works both ways as well. You can post in the Reader Profiles and people with stories can ask you to read their story.

You may have one person critiquing your story or you might have five or more. It’s up to you and also up to the people willing to take on stories.

Since Kris and I are the admins, we’ll try our best to read and critique as many stories as we can.

Spilled Ink is hosted by Proboards. Kris and I have nearly ten years experience with that forum host (we used to role-play a lot). If you’ve never been on there before, it’s pretty easy to navigate. You’ll get used to it in no time.

Kris and I have a few other ideas for the website as well, but that depends on how many people join and are willing to participate.

So, if you’re reading this then consider yourself invited. If you’re interested (and we really hope you are) you can visit Spilled Ink HERE and register! Don’t worry; it’s free.

We hope to see you all there!

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Slight Hiatus

…But not really.

When I say “hiatus” I don’t mean that I’ll be going away from my blog for a little bit (despite the fact that I already haven’t been on in a little while).  So, sorry for the lack of updates and lack of responses to the comments. Christmas was a busy time and now that it’s all over, I’ve been spending my time playing my new video games (who isn’t?).

Speaking of Christmas, I would love to share with you all how my holiday went and I would love to hear how your holidays went. However, that post is going to be saved for tomorrow… or the next day… or sometime in the near future.

Let me get straight to the point: we all remember that I said I was planning some “changes” to my blog for the new year, yes? Well, one of those changes is to change the blog as a whole.

In 2015 I’m going to work super, extra hard on Detective Florence. I have a schedule for myself through May (pray I stick with it) and it’s all writing, re-writing, and editing Detective Florence. My goal is to start querying the novel by this time next year. Hopefully sooner, but you can’t rush these things.

With that being said, if I’m going to take the next step to become a published author, I want a blog/website that looks more… professional, I guess you could say. Yes, I am finally going to change the URL name and buy the domain name from WordPress.

I think this will be a good step in the right direction for me. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time now and I think it’s finally time for me to take action. After two and a half years, I think Spilled Ink needs a change. I need a change.

I also believe that once this is done, it will be sort of like a reminder to myself. My blog will be telling me, “You’re actually serious about this writing business, so you better not let yourself or your followers down!”

With that being said, I am not going to be randomly disappearing. I will not post once a day every day for two weeks and then disappear for three weeks. We all know that I tend to do that.

I have planned posts; some are written, some are not. However, I will be more active and my blog will be a much better place.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I’m going to be switching my blog over today. That’s December 29, 2014 for those of you in a different time zone or reading this on a different day.

I do not know how long/short this will take. I do not know how easy/hard it will be. Needless to say, my blog is going to be a hot mess for today. Maybe tomorrow, too. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

So, I just wanted this “slight hiatus” to be a bit of a warning… if anyone comes across my blog and it’s all jumbled up and confusing–fear not! Your computer is not broken, I’m just breaking my blog into pieces unsure how to put it back together again.

I’m probably making it sound much worse than it really is…

Anyway, I hope the next time we meet my blog will look fantastic and it’ll be brand new and everyone will love it! Please bare with me while I work on this. Thanks!

Updates

I think it’s about time I’ve gotten myself into a routine, don’t you think? I haven’t been about to blog in a while. I haven’t even had a chance to really write anything in a while. Between school and work, life has been pretty hectic. So here are a few updates about my life. I think if I write them down it’ll help me sort everything out so I can get myself back on track.

Work:
While it’s nice that I’m just a teacher’s aide, it still saps up a lot of time and energy. I only have to be at work when the kids are there (which means I only work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon). I don’t have to do any prepping outside of work and I’m not obligated to go to any staff meetings (I still go, but it’s nice to have the choice). Once 2:30 hits, I’m done. But… I’m in the second lowest class. My kids are still learning how to talk (yes, they’re three- and four-years-old). It takes up a lot of energy and by the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to do homework, I just want to watch mindless TV or sleep.

School:
I think I could discuss this forever. I think the topic of my school should be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you the boring details. I’m taking five online classes all of which give me a lot of homework. Well… it’s actually not bad and the assignments are “easy”, but a good amount of the them are very time consuming. I have to sit down and split my assignments into five days so I can finish my homework by Friday (even though they’re all due Sunday) so I can have the weekend to myself and also not feel like the homework is never-ending. My psych class virtually gives me no work, which is kind of nice. My Authors class (Tolkien and Rowling) gives me a ton. Most of it is reading, but if you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings, you know how heavy that book is. Add Harry Potter and other online reading to that plus written assignments and you’ve got a pretty good idea of all the work I have to do for that class. My Place class is a normal amount of work, but I have no motivation to do it. My Spanish class is a decent amount of work. However it’s an accelerated class. So that ends the beginning of November instead of the middle of December like my other classes. This week is Week Five out of 14 and I was bummed. Then I realized for Spanish, I’m already halfway done because that class is only ten weeks long. So school should calm down in a little bit at least. I got a new professor for my Fiction class because my other professor had surgery. The professor is the guy who I had last semester for my Creative Writing class. He’s great, so I’m happy with the change. My homework level might dwindle down with him being in charge, which is a plus.

Sunday School:
Sunday school started up again with me as the director of the program and also one of the teachers. We’ve had two classes so far and I still need to write my lesson plans. So, that’s how that’s going. I’ve been more focused on my homework, so I haven’t really had time to work on Sunday school, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Babysitting:
I’m babysitting twice a week immediately after work. Two hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Thursday. Thursday I’m basically in the car the entire time, so that’s wonderful. I try to bring some homework with me to do while the kids do their own homework, but I don’t really get that much done. Then I go home around dinner time and crash.

Blogging:
I’ve started putting together a schedule for myself to make sure I keep up with this blog. I was doing pretty well until school and work started… I have a few ideas and changes for Spilled Ink, but that won’t be coming until 2015. Until then, here’s to trying to post a few times a week!

Writing:
Remember I had that schedule for myself? It was for editing Detective Florence, the first novel and the second one? Then outline the third one and write that for November’s NaNoWriMo? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten very far with that at all due to homework. I tried waking up early to write/edit for an hour each day, but I became too exhausted to keep that up. So I need to figure something else out. I’ve slowly been trying to figure out a schedule for myself, so there will be more on that later. (In other words… stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.)

So there you have it. This has been my life lately and I didn’t even include the fact that my house looks like it exploded because we’re painting four rooms and also the last minute things I have to do for my sister’s wedding, which is about three weeks away. Fun stuff going on over here! So, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a new routine for myself; especially since October is creeping fast and I need to figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. This will be interesting.

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. 😉

Looking For Cabin Mates!

Camp

As we all know Camp NaNoWriMo starts up again for the July 2014 session in less than a month! However, it’s back with a little twist.

There is a cabin feature on Camp NaNo where participants can gather, chat, and encourage each other with their writing. All in all it’s just a great way to make new friends.

Well, they’ve now added private cabins. Instead of suggesting someone to be in your cabin and then maybe getting in the same one, you can start a private cabin and invite specific people to join. If they accept the invitation then they’re automatically in the same cabin as you. The best part is that you don’t need to wait for the NaNo people to assign the cabins. The private ones begin as soon as you have someone in a cabin with you.

I wanted to see how this worked, so I decided to create one. It’s looking pretty sad at the moment because it’s just me, Fiery_Sapphire, and Kris, Winged_Spirit.

So I am sending out a message to all my NaNo/WordPress friends…if you are participating in Camp next month and would like the have the pleasure of having Kris and me as cabin mates, then please let me know. Give me your user-name and I will send you a cabin invitation through Camp NaNo.

We need more friends. 🙂

Two Year Anniversary

Two Year Anniversary

I got a notification from WordPress this morning… Apparently my blog is two-years-old today. How weird is that?

I have a tendency to never to finish what I start; which is just one reason as to why I get super excited to finish a novel–now, if only I could just completely finish them by editing them. 😉

I’m pretty sure I explained this when my blog turned one last year, but I originally started this blog on BlogSpot. The traffic was slow and it was a bit harder to manage. It was still easy, but it wasn’t as laid out as WordPress is. Kris was the one who told me to switch to WordPress. So I did and I am so glad I did.

Two years is a long time and I’m still active on this blog. Of course, I have my moments when you don’t hear from me for a while, but now that I’ve added the Short Story Sunday you guys at least hear from me once a week. Unless I forget to post…which has happened two or three times.

I’ve made a lot of new friends over the past two years and I’ve learned a lot, too; most of all about writing. I’ve gained over 1,000 followers, which is a huge achievement on its own.

So, if I was able to drink I’d say we should raise our champagne glasses and toast to another great year for Spilled Ink. But since we can’t do that, I’ll just give you guys a virtual high-five instead.

Happy Birthday, Spilled Ink!

Stepping It Up

Writing

Hey everyone!

It’s another one of those posts again…yes, we’re going to discuss “the future” today. Aren’t we excited?

My sister Lisa has a friend who is currently saving up money with her sister to move out of the house. Since she, Kris, and I are all planning Lisa’s bridal shower together and such we’ve had a lot of time to hang out more than usual which is nice. She was telling Kris and I her plans and it got Kris and I thinking…again.

We both love to write. And we do write. But we don’t “write.” I realize I’m not making any sense, but it’s Camp NaNoWriMo right now, people. I was doing so well and then I just stopped. Why? I don’t know…bridal shower and bachelorette planning, homework, work, babysitting, preparing my bedroom to be painted, etc. There is so much to do and not enough time. And unfortunately, with my bills from the upcoming wedding and I’m going to Disney again in August in addition to school bills and such, I need to save every scrap of money I can get. Hence why I’ve been working and babysitting so much.

Writing doesn’t fit in right now. It’s not a priority because it doesn’t pay the bills. It makes me angry because I love to write and want to do it all the time for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to become a full-time writer just so I can go to Disney…I want it as a career because I know I will be happy doing that for the rest of my life.

Thus, Kris and I are bummed; especially Kris because she basically works about nine hours a day in which case your entire day is gone by that point. But by coincidence, the Easter Bunny got Kris a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine and gave her an issue to get her started.

This issue had a list of 101 best websites for writers. We’re talking about websites to get the creative juices flowing, writing advice, agents and publishing, general resources, jobs, online writing communities, genre-specified sites, and writing sites that are just fun. It’s the best thing we’ve ever come across. Kris and I were discussing freelance writing on the side until we were able to publish something and this list of website gives us links to find writing jobs.

Neither one of us have looked at all the websites thoroughly, so we haven’t decided which are too fantastic to not join and such. Plus, there’s a lot to choose from and honestly a bit overwhelming because you just don’t know where to start.

As I go through these websites, I will be sharing my favorites on here for all of you writerly people to enjoy.

Since Kris and I have been behind on NaNo and decided to finally step it up into our writing careers, we’re skipping church tomorrow to go to Barnes & Noble and write all day long. So I’m hoping to write at least 10k tomorrow.

I decided to write all day today as well since I was home and wrote 10,369 words. I have to say that I feel so good right now after doing that. My NaNo count is up to 30,721 now. Still behind, but hopefully if I get a good chunk done tomorrow I will be able to hit 50k by the end of the month.

Before I go, I have to shamelessly advertise: Kris started a new blog. She’s still maintaining her Sugar Wolf blog about writing, but she created a new blog called Wagging Tales. She works with dogs so this blog is dedicated to stories and her experiences with the furry, loveable creatures. So feel free to go check it out!

I hope everyone is having good luck with their writing  and NaNo (if you’re participating). Talk to you soon! 🙂

1,000 Followers — Thank You

Thank You

Spilled Ink hit a milestone the other day! After blogging for almost two years, Spilled Ink is up to 1,000 followers. Thank you everyone who have made this possible! I’ll keep this short and sweet, so…

Through the years I have been nominated for many awards, have been re-blogged, and have made many WordPress friends. It’s so much fun sharing my adventures in writing and life with all of you and I’m glad 1,000 of you have enjoyed reading about my adventures and deemed my blog good enough to come back for more.

Adding a “thank you” picture to this post is the least I could do for all the feedback, advice, and friendship I have received from all of you.

I hope everyone is doing well with their writing, their blogs, and life in general. Thanks again! 🙂

Starbucks!

Coffee

 

 

So Kris and I decided that we were going to go to Barnes and Noble today and write. Yes, we have our office now at home, but we haven’t been to Barnes and Noble in a while. We thought we would go, say hi to the workers behind the Starbucks counter there, but…she ended up getting called into work. So we didn’t go.

We did end up going to Starbucks, though. Since she was closing, we thought we would get coffee and write in our office at home. She continued to edit her novel while I continued to write Inspiration Station.

The more I write that novel the more I realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. When I wrote Detective Florence, I outlined the first part of the novel and continued to outline as I wrote the rest in an attempt to making editing easier for me. I am not outlining Inspiration Station and I never planned on it because this was something I began to write when I had a slight writer’s block. I didn’t expect it to turn into an actual novel. I was still able to write 5,096 words for it, though.

I also changed my schedule, you can see it on the To Do List. Even though I have a lot of free time without work and school, writing 5,000 words a day and editing takes a lot out of someone. So I decided that I’m going to write 5,000 words a day Monday-Thursday and edit Friday-Saturday and relax on Sunday. I can write/edit if I feel like it, but I’m not obligated to do anything. This will be helpful for when school does start back up again (in about a week and a half) and I can do the bulk of my homework on Sunday. Not ideal, but whatever.

So, since tomorrow is Friday that means I’m going to edit. I’m hoping to edit a lot as I would love to self-publish this novella by the end of 2014…wish me luck!

Inspiration Station

“You may not want to be a writer and that’s fine. But by the end of this class, you are going to know exactly what a writer does and all the blood, sweat, and tears that get mixed in with the ink.” –Athena Beech

 

Today was a rough day. Kris was home all day because she’s doing the over-night at her work tonight. I also had to go to work because the other teacher and I have been stripping the classrooms. We finished today, thank God. I can’t stand seeing the classrooms so bare. Anyway, because of those two factors I was not able to start writing early in the morning like I have been and with Kris there all I want to do is play video games with her. She got Sonic: Lost World for the Wii U for Christmas and we just started playing it the other day. It’s a great game and I bother her to play it at any moment I get.

So, I came home from work and said, “Wanna play Sonic?!” Kris said something to me that I regret mentioning to her…you see, the other day I wanted to do absolutely nothing. I had a cup of coffee in hand and all I wanted to do was put my feet up and watch Psych. I have been watching that a lot lately, I don’t know why. But season eight starts tomorrow night!

Even though I wanted to do everything humanly possible that did not involve me writing my 5,000 word count, I repeated to myself: Work first, play later. I told Kris this. So, what do you think she said when I asked her to play Sonic? Yes, “Work first, play later.” Thus, we wrote.

Kris wrote a little and then decided to edit her novel (yay!) while I continued to write in order to hit my 5,000 daily word goal. Since I finished Detective Florence I had to write something else. I looked at my To Do List and looked at all the novels from there. I couldn’t choose which one to write, so Kris put them in a randomizer thing on the internet and it told me to write Hunter & Comet.

Well, I wrote an even 2,000 words for that. However, I wasn’t in the mood to write it so I decided to stop because it was turning out kind of crappy…even for the first draft.

I decided to write Inspiration Station instead. This was a story idea I came up with on a whim one night (pretty recently) when I wasn’t sure what to write. At the time I still wasn’t in the mood to finish Detective Florence, I had no idea what to write so I decided to write about writing. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained this novel before, but I’m going to explain it again…

Inspiration Station is about a writer, Athena Beech, who is not yet published because she’s stuck on her writing. As her day job she starts her first semester teaching a creative writing course at a local community college. She has a class full of interesting students. Some are taking the class because they want to write for a living and others are taking it because they believe it to be an “easy A.” Athena takes this as a challenge and comes up with the “Inspiration Station” which is basically a bunch of writing prompts. She hopes to give inspiration to all her students as well as herself.

So, as you probably figured out, the quote up top is from the main character, the teacher, in the story. She said to her class right as they were being dismissed because most of them aren’t too into the class at the moment.

I’m having fun with it. As a teacher, I think it’s fun to write lesson plans and since I’m not a teacher anymore I don’t write lesson plans anymore. So, yes, I am writing actual lesson plans for Athena’s classes. They’re not fully thought-out, mostly just an outline to help me plan the novel, but it’s a lot of fun. I think some of that stuff would be cool to do in a real classroom.

I wrote 3,358 words for the story. Adding that to the 2,000 I wrote for Hunter & Comet, I have 5,358 for today. This also leaves me at 6,500-something total for Inspiration Station so far. I already had about 3,300-something words already written for the story.

I think Inspiration Station is going to be the next novel I complete. I think it’s going to be a good one. I have high hopes for it, anyway.