Try, Try Again?

April 16th, 2014
I read one of my favorite poems, e. e. cummings' "i carry your heart", during the ceremony

I read one of my favorite poems, e. e. cummings’ “i carry your heart”, during the ceremony

So, 3,000 words in one weekend is not that ambitious for me when I am at home, adhering to my usual routine.

Turns out, it was impossible to get even a word out during my blitzed trip to Philadelphia. I had the time, including twelve hours of plane flights and one late morning. But I couldn’t commit. On the plane, I fretted, like I usually do during long flights. I gave up and watched several movies (including “Her” which I really enjoyed, mostly because the dialogue was excellent). At the bed and breakfast estate, I snuggled into the oversized quilt, opened up my laptop, and could not find my character’s voice. I roughed out some details for the next scene, but I did not actually move the prose forward.

This is quite like my experience with past trips. I had the intention to write, but could not convert it to action. Luckily, I get to try all over again in a week when I head to D.C. for another wedding. I have some ideas on how to improve the outcome. First, I will not think of the long flights as time to write. I am already stressed enough about being on the plane; adding more pressure will likely lead to failure (especially given that I have not written anything worth keeping on an airplane in years – so why keep trying?). Second, I will actually block out times that – barring anything extraordinary – I will have time to write.

Last, I will not set a word count goal. At home, I need a word count goal to keep my progress steady. Having a time goal means my word count per day plummets. However, I find it significantly less stressful to have a time goal. Thus, while traveling I will spend an hour or two or three with my laptop and just see where that time takes me. Even if my daily word count average suffers, any amount of words would be more  than I achieved in Philly.

Here’s to another fun wedding and (hopefully) more writing success in D.C.!

Travel and Writing

April 3rd, 2014

Despite my best attempts to cling to my little doggies, I travel. A lot. For weddings, for workshops, for conventions, to see family. This weekend my husband and I are blitzing a trip to see our friends get married outside of Philly. The flight out will be the sixth flight I’ve taken in 2014.

This is decidedly not Philadelphia. Le sigh.

This is decidedly not Philadelphia. Le sigh.

I don’t often write while I’m away from home. When I’m officially on vacation, that’s fine. We all need a break. But when I’m attending weddings or conventions, I always bring my laptop along with the intention to write. I’ve assumed that just having access to a computer will encourage me to set fingers to keyboard. Turns out, that never happens.

So for this trip I’m trying something new. I have a word count goal of 3,000 words, which is well below my usual goals for three days of writing. Got to start small, right? And I am very eager to finish this draft of Iron.

What about you? How do you motivate yourself to do work while traveling?

Reboot!

March 31st, 2014

I think a two year break from blogging was just what I needed.

I’ll admit that I find the idea of writing blog posts to be intimidating.

But I’m ready to try again. To have a place to share my writing accomplishments and struggles.

I’m starting on a high note. I just completed a 30 day challenge, and wrote over 30,000 words. This takes me to the tail end of my current WIP novel, IRON. I tend to pick one word names for working projects, lest I get too attached to a real title. I’m motivated to finish the first draft of this YA scifi story, so I can move onto the next shiny project. Isn’t that always the way of it?

I’m also inching closer to con season. I absolutely cannot wait to see my writer tribe again, starting with the Nebulas in May. If you’re going to be in San Jose for the awards and want to meet up, please let me know!

Itinerant Vagrant Writer’s Workshop – Dallas

March 20th, 2012

Oh where even to start… this last weekend I spent time just outside of Dallas with kindred souls. We critiqued, broke plots, ate, drank and giggled our way through. Yes, it was exhausting, and yes, Dallas’ weather is the stuff of nightmares.

But I came out the other side so pleased!

The ten other writers obliged me in a plot break for my new novel, which actually evolved into more of a world building session. That was fine by me. I purposefully did not submit questions ahead of time so that the discussion could be more organic. I talked to my father about the suggestions, and he also provided some great insights.

All in all I’m stoked to get back to work on this sucker!

And as grateful as I am for the feedback, there was much more to love about the workshop: old friends and new friends, affirmation that this is a profession worth pursuing, and lastly – whiskey followed by pickle juice will made me cringe.

Here’s a little cowboy hat action, although I have to say I saw very few of these! Guess I’ll just have to go back to Texas sometime…

I miss everyone already, and I haven’t laughed so hard in months! Definitely cannot wait for the next workshop/convention/writerly outing.

Willow Glen 5k!

February 22nd, 2012

Last night I officially registered for the Willow Glen 5k! This is a very concrete end date for my fitness aspirations. Well, the end of a beginning I suppose; I hope to run more and longer races later this year.

If only I could come up with something so concrete for writing…

R. A. Salvatore

February 9th, 2012

If you can throw a lightning bolt, do you need a pistol? If you can teleport, are you going to build an auto factory? [...] We want logic to be a part it, even with magic. [...] If you live in a world, where someone suddenly came  up with something to give you immortality, how would you feel? What would be the reactions in that world?

Now the first thought everyone would say to that is: everyone would be ecstatic! We’re going to be immortal! But what about the mother and father of the last person who died, before the Well of Souls [immortality] was available? What about the mother who lost all her children, and her husband, and is very old and frail and broken down, and looking forward to an after life that she devoutly believes in? Where she can see her husband and children again?

Snippet from an interview with R. A. Salvatore about world building / game lore design. Absolutely fascinating.

Early 2012 Challenges

February 2nd, 2012

I promise I’ll get back to blogging about writing next week! But one last exercise post for now. I’ve found that the time I spend working out directly relates to how focused I am throughout the day. One day after a brutal run I got through more of my to-dos than I had in the last several combined. Woohoo!

I’ve also been working hard on identifying new challenges for myself, both writing and exercise related. Anne, my trainer and dear friend, has been encouraging me to try swinging with kettlebells. And by encouraging, I mean telling me how many reps I will complete with the 18 lb. bell.

It’s just so innocent looking here… but after swinging it 500+ times in 45 minutes, I was wiped. But it was also exhilarating to have my heart rate up so fast so consistently. And I felt like a real gym rat after she taped me up!

New challenges at the gym help me to think outside the box – and indeed I think I have fixed some major flaws with my new YA novel. I’m not quite ready to go back to writing in it yet, but I am so much closer.

Writing and Running

January 23rd, 2012

So back when I was talking about my goals for 2012, it became pretty clear that my life revolves around a few key things, which is good. I like simplicity. While I do intend to talk about my travel adventures, and any developments with my family, for the beginning part of this year I’ve set benchmarks for myself for both writing and fitness.

These may seem like two unrelated categories but more and more I find them intertwined. It’s more than just plotting my novel while I’m busting out miles on the tread mill. It’s a mentality that I’ve picked up from fitness which has made me a better, and more consistent, writer.

Running, especially, has moved me away from, “Can I do this? I don’t want to do it. I’m not sure I can,” to “I absolutely can do this, even if my body or my brain doesn’t want to right now, I am capable.”

This is a huge shift – a confidence in myself I’ve never had. So while writing a new novel and running a 5k before June may not seem like they’re related, to me they are both equally important goals that depend on one another. So how’s my progress? As of today, here is where I stand:

  • Running 1.5 miles consistently at race pace. Goal is get 1-2 minutes faster, and add a bit of distance each week.
  • Plotted the new novel and have written 5,000 words of (hopefully) the first chapter.

I’m pretty happy with my starting points for both. Oh, and here is a photo of me on the treadmill, getting ready for my run!

Do you have any unrelated goals? How are they connected?

Review of UnCONventional

January 20th, 2012

I’m just squeeing over the fact that my work can now be read, discussed, and reviewed. It’s a whole new thing for me.

Creative Reads dives into some of the stories, including my own. You can check it out here.

Blackout 1/18

January 16th, 2012

I don’t normally update on Wednesdays (okay, let’s be honest, I don’t update with any regularity anyhow…), but on 1/18 you won’t see me online during the day. Why?

Because I will be participating in the internet-wide blackout, in solidarity against SOPA and PIPA.

It’s a small thing to do, to give up the internet for twelve hours, but I hope it sends a message to Congress. These bills do more harm than good, and I for one like the internet the way it is.