23 December 2011

Can't talk...writing.

I haven't been posting as often as I'd like, but I have good reasons. They are:

Bean likes fruit snacks


Not even one, and already a couch potato....


My goofballs!

And, really, what could be better?

That said, I am writing. Quite a lot, actually. And after Christmas, I'll have updates on the coffee house book. Enjoy your holidays, and may you be surrounded by friends and family.

15 December 2011

My Reading Challenge for 2012

Reading is important.

As a writer, I turn to other authors for inspiration and advice. Reading about the worlds others have created leads to me creating my own fictional worlds. Seeing how an author handles a certain type of relationship or villain or format can help me tackle it in my own writing. I have found that the more I read, the more motivated I am to write. And as an added benefit, reading is fun. It's nice to be able to escape from my own world for a little while and occupy someone else's.

Unfortunately, though, I haven't been reading nearly as much as I'd like to. I could give the standard excuses--kids, work, life--but it doesn't change the fact that I just haven't made time to sit down and read. So my goal for 2012 is to get back to reading for pleasure. And the way for me to do that is to take a challenge laid down by Book Chick City:

That's right: 100 or more books in 12 months. It equates to almost nine books each month. It's a lot, but I think I can do it. And even if I don't, I'll have read a lot more than I did this year, and that's what I want.

Here are the challenge details laid out in the sign-up post of Book Chick City's blog:

  • The timeline is from January 1, 2012 until December 31, 2012.
  • The challenge is to read 100 or more books in any genre during the timeline.
  • Books don't need to be selected ahead of time. If they are, you can change your list as you go. Your list can also overlap with other challenges you may be doing.
  • You can join in anytime. All the books you read in 2012 count toward the challenge, even if you didn't start it in January.
  • Audiobooks and non-fiction don't count toward the challenge.
  • To officially join the challenge, go here and add your blog. (Link directly to the challenge post, not a link to your blog's main page.) If you don't have a blog, there's a form you can fill out to join instead.
I already have an idea of some of the books I'm going to read for the challenge, and I hope I'll discover some new and exciting authors along the way. If you're interested in joining in, check out Book Chick City's post on the challenge (linked above). There's still plenty of time to decide if you want to do it or not!

Happy reading!

13 December 2011

How to prepare to write a series

The coffee house book is not part of a series. It's the first book in a collection of stories, but each book can be read and appreciated independently.

I am, however, also working on a different story line that will be a series. (I know, I know. I promise I'm not brainstorming this other story to avoid the coffee house book.) So I'm preparing to write this series in a similar way to preparing for the coffee house book collection.

The first steps for the series is an outline. I have an overreaching story line in mind, which I'll be breaking into smaller outlines for the individual books. I know some of you start foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of outlines, but in order to maintain continuity, I have to be able to look through notes and make sure I'm in line with where I need to be.

Once I have the outlines, I'll write the character biographies, and then I'll be ready to start writing. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

For me, the key is making sure I'm consistent throughout the series. I have to make sure that, as I write the individual stories, I keep the overall series story line in mind. For that purpose, I'll be using story cards. I'll write the major series plot points on index cards and stick them on a board in order. Then I'll take the plot points and separate them for the individual books. I'll then use the sets of story cards to develop the individual outlines for the books.

I'm looking forward to working on the series. Of course, the coffee house book has priority, but when I'm ready to start working on the series, I'll have my plan.

Have you ever written a series? If so, how did you prepare for it?

05 December 2011

Wrapping up the office for 2011

Photo source:
nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If there's anything I love it's paperwork. (end sarcasm)

Unfortunately, paperwork is necessary even in a paperless office. Of course, by paperwork, I mean all those little administrative things that need to be done like invoicing and updating records and organizing (digital) files. And the next few weeks I'll have to spend some extra time going through all that paperwork-y stuff. It's getting to the end of the year, and I have to close out the office for 2011 and get it ready for 2012. There's not too much more I have to do, but since I'm spreading it out to give myself time to, yanno, do freelance writing, it will take the next few weeks to get done.

This year, I'm also taking the time to write a business plan for 2012. In the past I only had small business plans (more like a list of goals) because while I was technically a full time writer, I was only spending about half my work day doing freelance work. The rest of my time was divided between mommyhood and fiction. This year, though, I hope to grow my freelance career, and the best way to make sure I do that the right way is to have a specific, written business plan that I can turn to as the year goes.

Even if you're not incorporated or doing freelance writing once in a while for extra cash, a business plan is a good idea. It will help keep you accountable to yourself and give you a direction for your career. Having a business plan will help remind me that what I do is, in fact, business, and will help keep me on track for my earning goals throughout the year so I can make sure my son has all the "fruit snackehs" he can eat.

Do you have a business plan? Why or why not? How did you develop it?

02 December 2011

NaNoWriMo: the aftermath

Well, the whirlwind that was November is over. The deadline has come and gone, and you've had a day to lay comatose with ice on your wrists. You've managed to crawl out of bed long enough to check your blogs, so I have a very important question for you: how did it go?

Here's the thing about NaNoWriMo. It gives you a goal and a deadline. But the only reason it does that is to get you at your desk and writing. The month is not about the magic number, it's about the writing. It's about proving to yourself and your characters and your family that you can make time to tell stories. And you showed that.

The most important thing is that you wrote. Whether you ended with 50,000+ words or 25,000 words or even 2,000 words, you ended the month with more words than you started with. As long as you wrote something, you won!

You may want to keep working on your NaNo novel, or you may not. If you do, take some time to let it sit first. Give yourself some time to recover from the craziness of the month. And, when you're ready, get the manuscript out again, read through it, and start tweaking.

If it stays in a folder on your computer forever, that's fine, too. Sometimes a NaNo novel is just something you wrote one month. (You can always use it for parts!) It still showed you that you can do it.

Just because it's December doesn't mean you have to stop writing. Keep the motivation and excitement from NaNo through the rest of the year. Use it to fuel other projects, edit your WIP, start something new.

Just keep writing.

And congratulations on all you accomplished in November!