Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Procrastinator’s New Year’s Resolution

The Procrastinator’s New Year’s Resolution

Okay, I suck at New Year’s Resolutions.  I can’t really think of one thing I’ve accomplished based on some yearly promise.  Of course, I know why this is… I’m a procrastinator and I give myself a whole year to get my resolution done.  Yeah.  Not a good idea.  Things change – work gets crazier, kids’ needs fluctuate unpredictably, priorities shift.  It’s easy to dismiss an unspecific goal, with a good enough reason, over the course of 365 days!

“Unspecific goal,” about that:  Taking one of the things I’ve learned in my many years in Weight Watchers, goals are important, but staying motivated is even more so.  As a writer, it’s kind of funny to spend so much time with my characters goals, motivation, and conflicts, but not enough on my own.  However, I’ll save that tangent for another day.

Goals are important, but if it’s something like “I want to save $20,000 this year,” without following it up with a plan, nothing will magically make it happen.  Instead, motivation dwindles and it seems impossible.

I know all this, but still get myself caught up in the same cycle, and it’s becomes a “maybe next year.”  This year, there are so many things I want to accomplish, and right now I am extremely motivated, so I am striking while the iron is hot!

A recent conversation with a friend brought up the merits of planning days in advance – like a calendar at work, but making sure to allot time for all your goals.  Example: Write from 8:00-9:00 – or even just 15 minutes, as long as time is devoted to the goals each day.  So I am going to give it a try – after all winging it hasn’t helped.

I’ve also realized I have too many things vying for my time and it can be overwhelming.  Passing thoughts, like; clean out nightstand, look up romance beat sheets, pick up highlighters.  In order to keep track of all these tasks coming to mind randomly throughout the day, I’ve dedicated a small notepad to keep track of them and clear up some mental space.  We’ll see how it goes!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Panster to Plotter

I never considered myself much of a plotter.  The word "outline" brought up visions of high school English and Roman Numerals, and those memories were enough to send me running in the opposite direction.  I proclaimed myself a panster and reveled in the freedom of flee flowing words... that went nowhere.

I have finally admitted, my pansting is the reason I have way too many half finished stories begging for attention.  The reason I spend hours writing, yet take years to produce a single work.  Well, that, and my full time job, raising two kids, etc.  Come to realize, it's exactly because I have limited time pansting isn't working.

Since I tend to look at things academically, I started to research plots and plotting and found as many different methods as there are genres of literature.  Everyone has an approach and it has lead me to believe it's highly individual and one shouldn't rely simply upon adapting a single method.

For me, I had started doing what made sense to me... Once I had an idea, I wrote what I imagined to be the back blurb of my story.  Then started expanding and expanding upon this, filling in details with each expansion, until I had my characters fleshed out a bit and part of the plot.  Still there was something holding it back from being truly useful.

Then I came upon the Snowflake Method and a light bulb went off.  It has the basis of what I had done on my own, but it's a far more orgaized method focused on character and plot in a useful format.  It also goes beyond the free flow of ideas and takes it a step further into plotting scenes.  I'm not going to go through all the details (I don't think that's legal!), but if you're interested, I suggest you check it out here.

Anyway, the point is, if you're a panster struggling with direction in your story, struggling because your conflict isn't strong enough, I'd suggest you try fleshing out your story in a manner comfortable to you.  Find what works and finish that book. 😘

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back to Basics

Every year I vow to keep this blog up to date... sorry about that. Everyone says a writer needs to blog. Well, thankfully, it's not an absolute requirement. Otherwise, I'd be in serious trouble!

So what am I up to - Parenting, writing, day job. Basically the usual. What I haven't been doing, and I know this is going to shock many of you, is reading! 

I've been so busy with the day to day stuff, and devoting any surplus time to writing (or, sadly, procrastinating), that I've neglected my impressive TBR pile. It kind of sneaked up on me - after all it hadn't been a conscious choice to not read, it just happened. As with anything I've forgotten, slipped or skimped on, eventually something started to feel off. This may sound unusually dramatic coming from me, but everything seemed dull. Going through the same motions everyday, my energy toward writing dragged... something was missing. Then I glanced at my bag of books, from the last writers' conference I attended, and realized it was reading. I hadn't been fueling my passion, or taken enough down time in the evenings. 

Immediately, I reached into the bag, and pulled out Tessa Dare's, Do You Want to Start a Scandal. I devoured it, I loved it, I laughed, I rooted for the couple, I recommended it to a friend. All those simple things that make reading a pleasure, and what a difference it made! I'm here after all. :) 

When giving advice to newbie writers, most authors often include reading extensively, I cannot agree more. 

What about you? Have you ever found you haven't been reading and missed it?