Don’t Like NaNoWriMo? Try LaNoRevMo!

November 6, 2018

Last year around this time, I posted about how I don’t understand NaNoWriMo or why anyone would put themselves through such a masochistic exercise. And while I still feel this way, I’ve decided to use the writing buzz in the online air to my advantage.

As you know, the writer in me has been in hiding, and it’s been difficult to coax her out. But lately, I’ve been feeling inspired, namely because of everyone talking about writing, and word counts, and outlining, and coffee shop sitting, etc. So, I made up my own little exercise for this month.

Presenting: LaNoRevMo

which obviously stands for Lauren’s November Revision Month.

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While everyone else is writing, I’ll be deleting, rearranging, and condensing. I’m giving my novel an overhaul, in a last ditch effort to make it into something worthy of an agent’s eyes. I’ve already started this process, and I’ve made some headway. Continue reading

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Writing Wednesday: Let the Revisions Begin!

Hello! Happy Halloween!

Related imageI’m at the library! Woo! I had to get out of my house. I tend to be more productive here, so here I am! I finished listening to my novel yesterday. Maybe the day before, I’m not sure exactly. As I was listening, I wrote down things that needed to be changed: some major, some only taking a second or two. Needless to say, I did the easy stuff yesterday. I saved the major undertakings for today.

I’m talking changing where the novel actually starts, for one thing. I’m not looking forward to this at all. But I know it’s for the best and that’s honestly what keeps me going. Knowing all of the changing I’m going to make will help the overall story and help its chances of being a thing outside of my computer screen.

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Writing Wednesday: Yes, I Cut the Words!

It’s Writing Wednesday! On Thursday! It happens.

I was going to skip this week, but I wanted to share the amount of butt that was kicked by me. Worst. sentence. ever.

 

So here’s the deal. I’ve been on a quest to submit my short story to an online publication willing to accept something not only hella long, but also with a portion previously published. I’ve managed to find three. Yay! (Well…two were “yes” and one was more of a case-by-case basis kind of thing.)

About twenty days ago, I got the go-ahead from two of the three. (One of them said yes about a month ago.) So what have I been doing? I didn’t start the epic trim until about three days ago. And before that, I spent many hours trying to wake up my writer brain. First, I had to find it, then basically beat it into submission. I watched too many YouTube videos to count from different AuthorTube people I like. I needed inspiration. But the good news is, I’ve managed to cut a grand total of…2,101 words! That is major for me. My story is now sitting at 9k, which is still pretty long for a short story, and it may pretty much send me directly to the slush puppy pile. But that’s ok! I still consider this a victory. A) I actually did what I set out to do! and B) Cutting words is so hard for me! I hate it. I thought there was no way.

So, despite what happens with my story, I look at this as good practice for when I tackle my novel revision. That’s my next project. Oy vey.

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Side note: did you know you have to have a cover letter with a short story submission? Yeah, you probably did. I did not. So there was another hour of my life trying to figure out how to write one.

For most people, sharing how you cut 2k words is far from blog-worthy. For me, this represents the first step of my return to the writing world!

The real return this time. Not like last month. False start–something like that. I mean it this time. I’m ready! Finally.

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Also, sticking with what I said last week, I’m still going to avoid goals and stick with wishes. There are things I hope to accomplish. Hope to. We’ll see what the next few months bring.


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing!

 

Writing Wishes, Not Writing Goals

Hello, writers! A writing post? But it’s not Wednesday. Yes, I’m aware. I’m late, as usual.

I’m back with another unpopular opinion that I’m currently embracing. Much like the “don’t write when you don’t want to” mentality, this topic might be seen as horribly unproductive advice. But hear me out.

As the title suggests, I’ve decided to have writing wishes this month. No goals for me. Nope. Maybe it’s self preservation. I’m not sure.

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The problem with goals is that they come with overwhelming feelings of failure when you don’t meet them. You start the month with these grandiose ideas of all the writing you’re going to do, knocking out the revisions you’ve been putting off, diving back into the Twitterness of it all. But the first week goes by. Then the second. And when you hit day 15 or thereabouts, you think, well, I can’t start now. I’ll try again next month. You failed. (This may have something to do with the lack of a panic monster in this situation. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here –>Procrastination Explained. But not (perfectly) solved.)

But imagine if you had made wishes instead. If you fail to make a wish come true, well, that’s to be expected, right? It’s not a failure at all, and you can approach the next month without feeling like you’re an unsuccessful, lazy wannabe. And just think. If you do happen to finish a writing wish, then you, my friend, are doing amazingly well this month. Wishes rarely come true, after all.

Not sure if I’ve lost you yet. It all makes sense to me.  Continue reading

Writing is Hard: A Random Writing Rant for Your Writing Wednesday

 

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Writing. Is. Hard. I don’t mean the actual writing. That’s hard too. But I mean everything that goes along with it.

There are two kinds of writers–and plenty of sub groups and variations, but we’ll stick with two. 1) The good ones. The ones who write lots of stuff. Whether successfully or unsuccessfully, they’re writing. All the time. Daily? Perhaps. They have a portfolio full of stories, poems, novels, scripts, all of the above. I don’t know. Some finished, some not. 2) The ones who were great that one time. These are the people who write very little, but what they write becomes super famous and sends them on this incredible journey–but without the talking animals.

And then there’s me. The ones who write one thing, obsess over it for a decade, and fail to move past it.

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Let me explain. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have written one novel. One. I started it in 2007…08? Crap. A long time ago. I don’t have drawers full of other stories. Partial stories. I don’t even have a second idea for a novel, let alone something worth reading. I just don’t know ifI could write another novel. So instead, I obsess over what I do have. Granted, I haven’t looked at my novel in months. Many months. I need to query. But I’m starting to think I’m running out of agents. Can you run out of agents? Can enough time pass when it’s acceptable to re-query agents in the hope they have forgotten you? My goal was is to see what shape this novel is in, now that some time has passed, and attempt to make it so amazing, people will lose their freaking minds when they read it. Dream big.

So there’s that.

Plus. I have one short story to my name. One. (I have this other thing…but it’s depressing and so NOT ME, and I would not feel comfortable sending it anywhere. At least, not with my name on it.) So I’ve spent the better part of not one but two afternoons scouring the net for a place to submit this story.

Yes, my story was recently published. ( Available here. :D) However, I would be forever living in the clouds if I could get the entire story published somewhere. Ideally get paid for it. Ideally something in print. But I’ve come to find that’s hard to come by. I’ll take what I can get. I have two roadblocks here. 1–the word count is hella long. Though I am considering a sizable trim. Lord help me. 2–no one wants published work.

But I decided to just go for it and email several places to ask if they would consider a story that has an excerpt published. I’m pretty sure published is published whether it be a sentence or 500 pages, but it can’t hurt to check, right? In fact, a few months ago, I emailed three magazines, and one of them said to send it in. Even though their guidelines specifically say “no published work.” So there. I had to try. Next week, I’ll let you know how I faired.

ETA: One said no.

Not to mention there’s this whole other part of the equation. Actually being accepted. But one thing at a time.

Why not write something else? I’ve come to realize something. Similar to having one novel and one short story, I have one voice. I know what you’re thinking. Everyone does. But no. Although one narrator is a 26-year-old woman and the other is a 12-year-old-boy, they have the same voice. A sarcastic one. A bit of a naive one.

Pretty much my voice.

So if I were to write something else–anything else–that person would have the same voice.

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You know what I just remembered? Of course you don’t. I’ll tell you. I, in fact, did start writing another “thing” a few years back. And if there were ever a sarcastic character, it’d be Susan. See what I mean? It’s just hard not to write me. Or some version of me.

Enough rambling for one post. I’ll leave you with this. I have a super awesome day calendar that you may or may not have seen in one of my popular posts: Motivational Word Wall, Anyone? I’m not one for signs/things-happen-for-a-reason, but having this quote pop up yesterday was not lost on me.

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If you’re still reading, know this. I’ve always seen this writing life as having peaks and valleys. Right now, I’m in a valley. But considering just last week, I was at a hella high peak, I have hope I won’t be in this valley too long.


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing!

Bringing My Inner Writer Back to Life

Yes, I’ve talked about this before. Many times. But guess what? She’s still dead, so here we go.

Back in April, my Writer Self and I parted ways. It was amicable. But now that we’ve had some time apart, I think it’s time we get back together. She doesn’t know this yet.

Listen. We used to be a pretty good team. We wrote an entire novel together! It was beautiful! And honestly, I miss that creative drive that used to keep me occupied for hours on end.

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It’s simple. I was feeling stuck. I wasn’t writing anything new. No ideas. I was stuck with my novel. I felt like I was running out of agents to query. I was questioning whether my story was any good. It’s only natural to doubt your story’s awesomeness–and your own awesomeness–when you are unsuccessfully querying agent after agent. So I stopped querying.

And I put that entire writing part of my being to the side. I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped writing blog posts about writing. I took a hiatus from my online writing group at Scribophile. Aside from my kitty litter duties, I don’t spend much time in the room I designated for writing. And I feel as if I’m no better or worse off than I was. What exactly did taking a break accomplish? I don’t feel rejuvenated. I don’t have a handful of new story ideas to crank out. I just have me. Just the same.

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When July came, I had an opportunity to send in a story for consideration in an anthology, a story that I have loved and that I’m pretty proud to put my name on. And by some miracle I haven’t wrapped my brain around, my story was accepted. I’m in an anthology.

If somewhere were looking for a reason to start writing again, getting published would certainly help. I believe it has done the trick. Sort of a delayed reaction, but I’ll take it.

I’ve decided–as I’m typing the words, actually–when September arrives, I’m getting back to it. I’m going to tweet for the hashtag games, assuming they still exist. I’m going to like and retweet. I miss that! I’m going to write more Writing Wednesday posts. About what? Uh, I’ll figure it out. I’m going back to Scribophile and reunite with some pretty awesome gals.

Will I write something new? I can’t say. That seems unrealistic to me. At this point anyway.

But here’s the biggie. I hesitate to type this because then I’ll be held accountable…by the 1-2 people who may read this post.

I’m going back to my novel, read it for the 187th time, and edit the entire thing. Maybe the 98th revision is the best. Time does wonders for edits. Perhaps I’ll be able to address some things I didn’t want to see before.

Then, I’m going to query. Maybe by the time I finish the latest edit, there will be some new agents looking for manuscripts. 🙂

I just can’t let it go.

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To anyone out there who may be reading this, if you still believe in whatever it is that you’ve created, don’t let it go. How would your characters feel if you decided to kill all of them off? That may not be the most sane way to approach this. Point is, if it means anything to you, keep at it. Patience. Lots of patience.

If you’re in a similar situation and you came here for some writing advice, I suggest making some goals. Weekly. Don’t think, “I have to edit x number of pages.” Give yourself a reasonable chunk daily/weekly. Heck, monthly. Go crazy. But set some goals and stick to them. Write them down. Tell other people. This isn’t a new strategy by any means, but I think it could be pretty effective in your writing life. Good luck.

Until next time.

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Time for a shameless self-promotion! If I don’t, no one else will. 🙂

Maryland’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology is officially out in the world! And although it still seems unreal, my name is listed in the table of contents. My story is in there, people! Page 54! (Well, part of it. They had an insanely small word count. And I babble like I’ve got all day.)

So if you’re looking for a great gift idea, look no further! Birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby showers! Donate one to your local library. Add one to your own collection. This is why I could never be a salesman.

In all seriousness, if you’d like to purchase one of these books, that would be so very appreciated and humbling. Then let me know, so I can send you a thank you card. No joke.

Click here:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


Thanks for spending some time here. Happy writing, all!

I Have Writing News!

I’m humbled yet proud. Excited yet scared. Chatty yet speechless. This is big. Yes, the biggest of all writing news ever shared on this blog.

An excerpt of my YA short story is going to be published in an anthology called Maryland’s Emerging Writers.

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As you may or may not know, I’ve been querying my novel for a minute or two, so this came as an unbelievably gratifying, validating surprise to me. I submitted on a whim, and now my words will be on paper. It’s…well, it is amazing.

I wanted to share this with you, because, obviously, it’s good news on the (ever-so-quiet) writing front, but it’s also a reminder to take a shot. You never know. 🙂 Put yourself out there, submit your work, and you may be writing a blog post like this one.

If you’d like to purchase this book (or you just want more info–I get it), click the link below. The official release date is August 21st, but you can pre-order it right this second, if that’s how you roll.

Maryland’s Emerging Writers (new link below)


*UPDATE 8/21/18: Here is the updated link, now that the book has been released:

Maryland's Emerging Writers: An Anthology


I hope you enjoy my story, “Not Quite a Dunbar Man.” If I manage to find it a home in its entirety, you’ll be the first to know. Thanks to Z Publishing for reaching out to me, accepting my story, and not changing it! Thanks to everyone on Scribophile who critiqued the story or stopped by just for a read. A special thanks to the Pipsters for all the writing support and venting. You ladies rock! I also need to thank the fictional-but-oh-so-real Tim Riggins, who subconsciously inspired my MC’s big brother.

And thank you for reading my blog, following my journey, and patting my proverbial back. You’re awesome.

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Now I’m heading to Twitter to spread the news…


Thanks for spending some time here. If you found this blog because you are also published in the Maryland anthology–or any of the other states–please say hi! And congrats on your new pub credit.

Writing Wednesday: How to Rekindle the Flame

I want you to know up front that I don’t know the answer. So don’t start reading this with the expectation that all will be revealed by the end. Not happening. Anyway.

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Here’s the deal. I’ve taken a little break from writing. Well…more like a hiatus. I severed all ties. Why? A few reasons. Namely, I had other things going on, like new jobs. I don’t know how I was able to work full time and do anything else. Wow. Point is, I pretty much quit.

And it’s strange because writing used to be this thing that I had to do, you know? I used to write for hours. I’m talking about those intense writing sessions where you’d only move to pee. You didn’t eat. You didn’t sleep. Come to think of it, writing is extremely hazardous to your health. It’s a wonder I’m not dead. But I digress.

Maybe I just don’t have many ideas. Maybe that’s why I spent so long on the same story…because I didn’t have anything else to say.

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A Writing Update on Writing Wednesday

Just wanted to check in on the writing front. Where all is quiet. #literarypun #suchadork

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The last query I sent was March 20th.

The last rejection was March 30th.

The last writing other than a blog post? Um…last year? Yeah, I think.


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Writing Exercise – Character Playlist #1: Tyler

If you missed my suggestion about creating playlists, start here: “What’s on Your Characters’ iPod?” A Writing Exercise. I’ll just wait for you…

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s continue.

So, I’ve chosen Tyler to start with, because he’s definitely the easiest. Two words: Bob Dylan. And some Pink Floyd too, but Bob Dylan.

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I wanted to also expand my explanation for the reason behind this exercise. Not only does creating a playlist help to round out your character, but it also serves as inspiration for writing any scene that character is in. Listening to what your character would be listening to is highly recommended either before or during your writing time. Or both! Since I have a hard time writing with music on (other than instrumentals), I would actually mostly listen after, in the editing process. While I would read the scenes back, I’d have whatever music on, and it just helps to get in the right space. I don’t know how else to explain it, but you should definitely give it a try.

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