Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sorry this post is a little late- but Happy Stuff-Your-Face-With-Tons-Of-Carbs Day! Also known as Thanksgiving. While most of us aren't pilgrims and indians sharing the crops and meat, we are still crazy relatives and friends fighting over that oh-so-succulent piece of turkey thigh. Or tofurkey depending on your taste.

When you all come out of your food induced coma or manic level of sleep deprivation in the name of Black Friday shopping keep an eye out on my blog here for a new post tomorrow! I promise it'll digest better than Gram-Gram's homemade mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Every now and then there's one dark day that pops up on your calendar. You know which one I'm talking about. The one where your inner critic jumps out from a corner and drags you into the dirt, the day where nothing you write sounds right, and all your fears and worries and insecurities come out to play.

We have a name for these dark days. Writer's Block.

But sometimes it isn't really writer's block. Some days it's just really really truly intense procrastination. I'm not too proud to say this, but I admit that I may be one of the hardest procrastinators you'll ever come to know. If I don't want to do something even just a little bit, pshaw, forget it. Not happening. Just ask my Mom: I've stalled off doing the dishes in the sink for almost three days before, and that was with the nagging and threatening to disable the internet!

They say if you break down the blocks in your way that you'll overcome your stalling or block. Like talking something out to find the truth in the words. I don't know, I'm not too good with the inner-mind thing, heck I barely understand those fortune cookie riddles. But thankfully I stand a better chance at figuring out my own head, which is how I came up with my levels of procrastination.

Level One:  Guilt
Most aren't guilty over their stalling right out of the gate, and that's usually because they're focusing on other things to occupy themselves. But I always feel guilty the instant I stall so much that I frequently cave and try to make up for even the smallest of seconds spent shuffling my feet. But every now and then I slip by and fall into level two...

Level Two: Bitter Resentment & Avoidance
All aboard the pity train on level two, all aboard! Once I filter past the guilt I jump right into self-hate mode. This is also the moment where all those super morbidly depressing text messages go out to all of my friends. By this point most of them give me a thirty minute grace period to calm down, or wait until I guzzle some sugar and balance out. However, sugar doesn't cure the fact that at this point I'm avoiding everything to do with my work. The mere mention of writing is frowned upon. And it only get worse.

Level Three: Different Distractions
Most of us are distracted at the first step, by accident or on purpose. This always comes later for me and it takes place in so many forms I still don't know how to pinpoint it yet. Sometimes it's three hours of Twitter trolling, others it's Facebook news feed refreshing. Really bad days it's seven straight hours of Sims 3 shenanigans where my poor little pixels are forced to have a dozen babies. Either way, my distractions at this point are purely intentional. I'm ashamed I got distracted to begin with, therefore I only make it worse? I know, backwards, but it isn't over yet.

Level Four: Bargaining
"I promise if I can just write a little bit more I'll remember to feed the cat/dog/fish next time!"
Yeah, little too late for that, me thinks.

Bargaining is one of the oldest tricks in the book. We tell ourselves that if we just finish one more thing in our day that we'll get the awesome reward like ten extra minutes under the hot water in the shower, or a doughnut, or in my case, more Sims 3 shenanigans. Sadly I can never come up with something really worth bargaining for except treadmill time. Which I never get to since by time I'm done with all of these levels I'm too tired to step on it.

Level Five: Admittance, Acceptance & Drive
The last step. After countless hours of catching up on chores I didn't need to catch up on, TV shows that had to be watched, random snacks that most definitely didn't have to be made (or eaten in mass quantities) I finally give in and admit that I've goofed and done wrong. Spilled the milk, so to speak. It's usually after this moment (and a good emotional outburst or two at some inanimate object) that all returns to normal and the writing resumes.

And when all else fails, I watch tons of Harry Potter fan videos, like this one, which is AMAZING and I'm IN LOVE with.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Inspiration, we find it everywhere these days! The back of a pick-up truck, vacation, poems, other stories, maybe even in the sour milk hiding in the back of your fridge (you might want to throw that out, by the way) inspiration hides in every nook and cranny of our lives, right down to the metaphorical fabric of life that holds everything in place.

I had one of these moments today. Go figure that it's a Friday so I'm working, but instead of working my typical day at the sports store and not-so-secretly staring at Chase Utley on the wall, I'm working a craft show for my Mom at a local menonite home. It's the one craft show I always volunteer to do for her just because I have so much fun (and because all the locals seem to remember and not hate my face, a huge bonus.)

I had intended to get through the day mostly selling the jewelry my Mom crafted and sneak in a bit of writing here and there when I had the chance. Until I saw the picture on the stand across from me. There, across the way, sat the most beautiful picture of a wintry road like the ones I was writing about in Illumine. Natalie Searl and her wicked winter photo just sort of, how do I put it, made my inside go all squiggly-wiggly. And just like that, words formed inside my head to the picture I impulsively bought with good reason, Essallie's voice leaping all around in my skull.

Where have you found inspiration? Was it in a place you least expected it?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We're only in the second day of NaNoWriMo and already that word count should be as close to 3,334 as possible! And to think, it all starts with that first line...

Speaking of first lines. You know, the one that's supposed to automatically grab the reader. Make them say, "That's weird/cool/sweet/different! Let's read more." I'm sure you've all got at least that first line down in your documents or notepads, the beginning of something fresh and beautiful. Well here's your chance to make something of it! WriMos FTW is having a contest to submit your first line of your NaNo novel to be entered to win a prize! Here's the details:

Name: most gripping first sentence
1. Start Nov. 2 at 3:30 pm (EST)
2. Enter your sentence before Nov 5, 3:30 pm (EST)
3. Judges picks top 10 entries until Nov. 9, 3:30 pm (EST)
4. Poll goes up Nov. 9 and closes on Nov. 11 (EST)
5. Announcing winners: Nov. 12, 3:30 pm (EST)

The 3 Prizes are as follows:

1. Rochelle Melander (@WriteNowCoach) is giving the first place winner a print copy of her book Write-A-Thon, which is a great tool for jump-starting your writing career and writing your book for less than 30 days. I'd say it's a perfect fit for NaNo!
2. Roxanne Piskel (@roxisbrilliant) will give a complete critique of the second place winner's NaNo manuscript. In addition Roxanne is giving 20% discount to all entrants. 
3. Alivia Anders (@AliviaAnders) will make a pretty book cover for the third place winner. Woohoo!

Want in on the competition? Head on over to WriMos FTW and enter that first line!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

EDIT: The final cover of Illumine is posted right here!

Sorry to interrupt our first days of insanity-promoted-by-NaNoWriMo, but I think for the most part you'll all forgive me when you see this.

I'm really, really, REALLY pleased to show you what could very well be THE book cover for Illumine! It isn't official by any means, I have to double check a few things and I may want to play with the cover a little bit more, but it feels so right to me to see this that I think this will be the one.

Tell me- what do you think of the cover?