Writing for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte

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Well, NaNaWriMo is coming up, and this will be my first year participating. I have myself a new laptop, a new goal, and my daughter in preschool since my ‘writing time’ project did not work the way I had hoped—couldn’t you have guessed? It’s been 3 long weeks since I was able to update.

The great NaNoWriMo begins in just two weeks! Am I ready for it? Absolutely not. Am I excited? Hell yeah! November is bringing a truck load of excitement. The deadline for my WIP is November 1st. Then I will be attending my first ever Writer’s Conference here in Okinawa that first weekend. It is hosted by and I can’t wait to attend. Then I will be beginning my next WIP in the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. Oh, and my birthday falling on Thanksgiving this year.

I am halfway through revision of my YA manuscript, and wondering if it is ever going to feel done? Each time I read through it, I find a place to slash and a place to build—which means another pass through the revision stage to make sure it is all cohesive. Is it wrong to be tired of reading your own work? I’m itching to get to the next phase of their lives in the following manuscript. Perhaps that is my sign? Either way, my deadline is October 31st for both the WIP and my query. Many pots of coffee and not so much sleep is in my near future. Or perhaps a batch of Pumpkin Spiced Latte discovered during our latest typhoon.

Now that I am drooling for a pumpkin spiced latte…Perhaps I will be keeping the reward part of my writing training. One latte after every 2,000 words? I better get writing, but before I go I want to know: What do you, or would you, reward yourself with?

Get Inspired!
Libby

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Writing is Like Potty Training

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With every new goal come new challenges. Mine? To put aside time to write. I obviously have failed in the past week and a half two weeks since I did not update on Sunday as I intended. Keeping up with my writing goals is like potty training a toddler—I should know since I’ve been working on potty training with Sister Bear now for a few weeks. It has monopolized my time, causing me great grief when I have ignored it or have gotten distracted—much like my writing.

Don’t get me wrong. Sister Bear is doing much better—she is almost completely potty trained (cheers from anyone who has experienced this milestone) except for when I sit to write. That is when there is suddenly the biggest puddle of pee I’ve ever seen and little footprints of pee tracked throughout my house. Every twenty minutes I call “Do you have to potty?” and she runs and goes. When my call just doesn’t cut it, we have the almighty potty alarm—when I can’t get her to listen, I whip out the timer. It’s the magical device for getting her to do the thing.

Then one afternoon when the potty alarm dings and she begs me to show her the potty on my phone, it clicks—that’s what I need, a writing alarm. Although I have neglected my writing/editing duties this week, I will now be applying the Potty training method to my writing.

Here is my strategy: You have to be diligent and continually reminding yourself to set the time aside and plugging away, even if you don’t really want to. Since I can’t take a huge chunk of time, I’ll take what I can get: 20 minutes.

Every hour or so the alarm will go off, and a picture of books will pop up. We will get excited (since that seems to be the fun part) and run Sister Bear, Baby Bear, and myself to the office and sit down to write. I will set the timer for 20 minutes (I don’t think she can sit much longer than that) and if we write enough in 20 minutes we get candy! That is my favorite part. I get 20 minutes to do whatever I can, and then I can reward myself! Plus, it’s pretty fun to see Sister Bear sitting at her tiny desk trying to write like mommy.

I will let you know how this experiment goes. I am so close to being able to work on my query with my revised novel, and my deadline for both being done is November 1st. On November 2nd and 3rd there is a writer’s conference here in Okinawa I will be attending, and I really do want to have my best work ready. Who knows, maybe writing training will be the next big thing.

I’m off to get some writing done, since Baby Bear is up late tonight. Until next week, my friends.

Be Inspired.
Libby

Re-entering the Cyber Writing World

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I must be honest. This is my third attempt at blogging. My first I was completely unprepared for the commitment it involved. My second was welcomingly disrupted by the arrival of my daughter and delayed by the arrival of my son. I had no idea where to restart this adventure, so I will begin with a few exciting moments of the past few years. My awesome daughter, we will call her Cailin Sister Bear, arrived in July of 2011 and as excited as a new mommy could be, balancing my writing and motherhood was not my specialty. I pulled all nighters with her nursing and sleeping across my lap determined to finish my first novel—and I did! It wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined. I thought big shouts, jumping up and down, popping a bottle of wine open—but it was more of a relief that I could sleep again.

As Cailin Sister Bear became more independent, I gained confidence in my juggling skills. Soon I was working on my first query letter, and I swear that it took longer to write than my actual manuscript. Once I was convinced it was prefect I took the plunge and started submitting! What a rush it was to open my inbox and see replies! I tried not to be too disappointed that they were rejections. It is my first novel, and it was enough to get a reply and another letter to add to the ever growing pile of “one day you’ll kick yourself”. But my excitement soon waned and the reality that my novel most likely was not the perfection I once thought hit hard. When I finally pulled my darling out, it was in need of some work, and recent national incidents had me looking at the YA novel with a more careful eye.

I was geared up to start giving it another rewrite when my husband received orders to Okinawa, Japan (we are a USMC family). I was also expecting baby number 2 and realized that I would have have to break the news to my Muse—I needed a few more months off. I watched with a heavy heart as they packed up my house, my writing materials, and sent them across the world. We arrived here in Okinawa just five short months ago, with my son, we shall call him Mac Baby Bear, arriving in June 2013. So it is now—September 2013 and I am ready to tackle my writing journey once again.

The biggest struggle re-entering the writing world, was finding the support and fellowship I craved. When one wasn’t available I dabbled with the idea of starting my own, only to have The Okinawa Writer’s Association begin mere hours before I establishing mine. I teamed up with screenwriter, Z, to bring life into The Okinawa Writer’s Association—you can follow our blog here: http://okinawawriters.wordpress.com/. Without this wonderful group of writers, I’m not sure how long I would have left my swivel chair vacant.

There is one writing prompt from our group discussions which sparked my Muse into high gear (and subsequently the start of this blog): Pick your favorite book and summarize it in 140 characters or less. There are two reasons I loved this prompt, one because I have been absent from Twitter for way too long, and two because another writer summarized my favorite book, well series, in a completely different way than I did. My answer—in case you were curious: Orphan grows up without love, but manages to love without regret or filter and because of this he saves the world from unthinkable evil.- Harry Potter.

I applied this same prompt to my manuscript: where do I want it to go, and how many ways might my readers pull out their own summaries.  With this in mind I am working on condensing my manuscript summary into that 140 character limit, and then rewriting it multiple times imagining how my readers might do the same. (This exercise has also kicked my butt into retuning to my loved but neglected Twitter account.)

I am leaving you with this challenge then: Leave a comment summarizing your favorite book/series in 140 characters or less. Then, if you are a writer, in your own personal journal do the same for your manuscript, but also write it from three different reader’s perspective. Maybe it will help you streamline any difficulties you may be having, or give you a new perspective as it did for me.

Until next week, my friends.

Be Inspired!

Libby