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2013 In Review: Writing

Last year I resolved to finish a first draft of any of my novels. I even went as far to say that if I didn’t finish one, I’d throw in the towel.

 

It was a foolish resolution.

 

Not necessarily because it’s unachievable, because it could be, but to just give up writing altogether over not finishing a first draft in a year was just stupid of me to say. Writing will always be a part of me, no matter how long it takes me to produce a final product. And I shouldn’t put such ridiculous limitations on myself so that I feel like a failure when I don’t meet them.

 

I refuse to feel like a failure.

 

So, what did I achieve in 2013 writing wise, if I didn’t complete a first draft? Lots, actually.

 

First, I wrote two short stories this year, just like the year before. And I sort of like this “habit” of writing two a year. It’s a good way to remind myself that I can in fact close a story and in less words than feels necessary for a novel. If by some chance you missed those short stories this year, you can find them below.

 

In Pursuit of Jenna Mae 

 

The Christmas Ban 

 

Also, that last short story became a sequel to a short story I’d written back in 2010 and I’ve already got a third and final installment to this Christmas collection planned for next year. I might even try to publish them all together for real. I really might.

 

Overall, I wrote 51,798 words this year. That’s more than the last two years combined. This might not seem all that impressive to all those writers who can churn out 90K manuscripts a year, but it’s big for me, that I wrote so much more than I have in the past two years combined. That’s quality progress.

 

Also, about those 51,798 words, with the exception of the short stories, almost all of those words were for Dreamsters, which I had started in the beginning 2012 and sat aside for the rest of the year. This is the first year I’ve successfully overcome my seasonal writer status and worked every month of the year on the same project. I miss my other stories, I do, but Dreamsters will be the first one I actually finish. Now that I know I can stay focused on the same story, regardless of the weather, I refuse to stop working on this one until it’s finished now.

 

I owe a lot of my accomplishments to a writing group I’m a part of on Facebook – Grapemo – hosted by author Jeannine Garsee. Not only are the weekly check-in’s about our writing progress a motivator, but the Teaser Tuesday and Thursday Specials have really opened me up and encouraged me as a writer. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded folks.

 

I also gave Victoria Schwab’s star technique a shot towards the end of the year (and not just for writing) and found that seeing my daily success on a calendar really helped keep me focused. I plan to practice this again in 2014 for sure.

 

So my goals for 2014… well, I just hope to keep writing. I’d love to kick out another two short stories and I do have two ideas brewing, but I won’t punish myself if they don’t happen. That takes all the fun out of writing. And ideally it would be nice to finish Dreamsters in 2014 because technically I’ve already written more than half the book, but again I won’t punish myself if this doesn’t happen either.

 

I will write in 2014, that is all I’ll hope for. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll report an even more successful year to you next January.

 

 

February: In Review

February has been interesting as far as life achievements go. Well, maybe interesting is the wrong word to describe it. It was a sort of lopsided month, but for once this also doesn’t disappoint me all that much.

Reading:

Unfortunately I only read one & half books this month. I wrapped up Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it finally and while I think it was very informative, it wasn’t as useful to me as I’d hoped it’d be. I use different editing software so basically everything I read on that was useless to me and while I have equipment, I don’t have nearly as much as I’d need to completely recreate the book’s shots. Still, I think it will come in handy later down the road, the further into this photography thing I get. I also read Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine. You can click that title to see my review.

Writing:

I can hardly contain my excitement where writing is concerned these days.

First, I posted a short story for Valentine’s Day. If you missed it, click HERE to read In Pursuit of Jenna Mae.

Second, you may remember me saying I’d be participating in GRAPEMO this month and that my goal was to add 5K to Dreamsters. Well, not only did I meet that goal, I tripled it. It has been too long since I’ve had such a successful writing month and I can’t really even explain how excited it makes me that Dreamsters has grown from this baby of a project to a meaty 19K thing now.

As part of GRAPEMO, we were allowed to post teasers every Tuesday and Thursday. I didn’t participate in every opportunity, but I did post three snippets. You can check them out by clicking the following links: SNIPPET #1, SNIPPET #2, and SNIPPET #3. (Look for my LJ name and the title Dreamsters on the page and I’d suggest reading them in order.)

In addition to working on Dreamsters, I started a short story for St. Patrick’s day that I’m not really sure I’ll finish in time now, but we’ll see. :)

Total February Word Count: 15,842

Photography:

I didn’t get to use my camera nearly as much as I’d hoped to this month, but the pictures I did capture were adorable. At the start of the month my sister made Gideon this awesome Sock Monkey hat (I swear she’s a crocheting genius, she doesn’t even use patterns, just wings it when she gets an idea). Anyway, about this time last year, we had done a photo shoot of Gideon with his Sock Monkey doll (Click HERE to refresh your memory) so it seemed fitting to do something similar with this hat a year later. I swear my nephew is going to be such a little heartbreaker. Here’s the BEST OF:

IMG_0404 [50%]_edit [50%] IMG_0635 [50%]_edit [50%] Gideon/Sock Monkey 2013

So that was my month. For as fast as it moved, it wasn’t all that bad. How about your February?

P.S. Reminder: If you are looking for February music, click HERE!

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Slow Going

I am moving at a snail's pace for GRAPEMO this year, but it's not for the lack of effort.

I've kept my document open everyday, all day this week, but somehow I'm only managing somewhere between 140-200 words a day. I will not reach my 5K goal at this pace. I don't exactly know what to do about it though. It's not like I don't know my story; I know everything there is to know about it. So why the heck is it so hard getting it onto paper right now? I feel like my characters are purposely cock-blocking me from my goals. As if this is amusing to them, watching me bang my head against a desk in frustration.  

It's also not helping that a St. Patrick's day short story has been dancing around all shiny and pretty, tempting me to work on it even though all it came with were two little girls, a title, and a general idea. What good does that do me? If you don't have an entire plot, short story, leave me alone already

I really want to read a book this weekend, especially since I didn't get a chance to last weekend, but I'm already feeling guilty about using my free time to read instead of write. I suspect that any accomplishments I do have this month will be heavily lopsided. 

I know GRAPEMO's not a race, but I feel like I've already ran out of time to achieve what I've set out to do. I have to keep reminding myself that it's only the 7th, I've got plenty of time. 

I swear, I'm my own worst enemy sometimes. 

Writer friends, how's GRAPEMO going for you one week in?

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January: In Review

This month has managed to feel both long and short at the same time, which really shouldn't be possible. For the most part I've started off my 2013 resolutions pretty well, with the exception of weight loss – that's at a standstill at the moment, but I've tackled some other things worth being proud of like….

Writing

I had started a short story two years ago for Valentine's Day, but for one reason or another abandoned it a few hundred words into it (this happens a lot unfortunately). I suddenly got the urge to work on it again at the start of the month and finally finished it! I'm excited to share it once Valentine's Day is here. Keep an eye out for it! 😀

In addition to writing a short story, I've been plotting for Dreamsters. I'm not sure if it will be the book I aim to actually complete this year, but it's the one demanding the most attention at the moment (which I guess makes sense since I started it around this time last year). In February, I plan to participate in author Jeannine Garsee's GRAPEMO (which is like NanoWrimo, but cooler). My personal goal is to add 5K to Dreamsters. Even though I can change that goal as the month progresses, I really hope they remain chatty enough to actually complete or surpass 5K in February. I came somewhat close this month, so I really hope I've set a reasonable goal. Wish me luck! 

January Word Count: 4,201

Reading

Somehow I ended up reading a heck of a lot more this month than I set out to, but I'm not complaining. Getting a good jump start on my TBR pile for the year is A-OKAY with me. Most of the titles below the picture are links to the reviews I wrote for them on GoodReads. 

Books Read in January

Touched by Cyn Balog
Red Run: A Short Story by Kami Garcia (not pictured, e-book)
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, Book 1) by Gena Showalter
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Jinx by J. Torres
Easy by Tammara Webber
The Archived (The Archived, Book 1) by Victoria Schwab

Photography

I did my first little mini shoot with myself to test out my new lights finally. You can read about that HERE. Outside of that, I only photographed Gideon once this month, but boy did it yield some cute pictures. So cute that Sock Dreams posted this photo on their social networking sites because he's wearing their socks! 

Gideon - Sock Dreams

On this day, probably the biggest highlight of my month occurred. Gideon's been addicted to phones for as long as he could get his grubby hands on them. He has several of his own "play" phones, but still fights to play with real ones. While shooting him in the socks, he started playing with the house phone – making it ring, playing the saved messages, etc… when suddenly he said, "HELLO!" It sounded a little more like "herro" but it was obvious what he was trying to say. It's the first full word I've heard him say and it totally made my day. I'm not sure if this link will work, but we got him to say it a few more times and recorded him. Click HERE if you want to hear it. 

Usually this would be the point where I'd review my favorite music of the month, but to not make this post as terribly long as it's been in the past, I've decided to make the music part of my monthly review it's own thing on the last Friday of the month called, "Music Friday" which is sort of a 'Best Of' of the weekly Music Friday posts I make on tumblr and FB all month. If you were reading this for the music and missed last Friday's post click HERE

Overall, January was pretty decent for me. How about you? 

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