Wednesday, December 06, 2017

IWSG--2017 Rewind

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is "A database resource site and support group for writers and authors. Featuring weekly guests and tips, a monthly blogfest gathering, a Facebook group, a book club, and thousands of links – all to benefit writers!" Learn more about them on the website and Facebook Page.

This month's blogfest is co-hosted by Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner. Here's our question for this month: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

This is a tough one to answer, at least for me. While I did meet my publishing goals for this year, both of the novels I started in 2017 are a long way from finished. Trying to find more writing time would have helped, but I'm not sure if that would be enough to get me past my current blocks on those projects. I need to focus more during my writing sessions and start with a sense of where the scene will go so I don't waste time.

On the marketing end, I probably should have sent out more frequent newsletters to my subscribers, though I don't want to send out so many I become annoying. I had planned to make some graphics with quotes from my books, but I haven't had much time for that either, even on Marketing Monday evenings. (Honestly, it can be difficult enough just keeping my subscriber list current.) I would also like to find other marketing techniques to try. At least this year-in-review gives me a chance to consider my goals for 2018.

How do you feel about your writing for this year? Will you be setting new goals for next year? Feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Juggling Characters from Different Series

Although I've finished the Season Avatars series, the characters still call to me with other stories. I've planned for this with a spin-off series that I would start in 2019 or so, after I have a chance to outline the overall arc for the series and individual books in the series. Then I saw submission guidelines for a themed anthology that fits with some elements from the Season Avatars series, and the next thing I know, I'm working on a short story. Even if the story isn't chosen for the anthology, it'll help me establish characters and situations for the spin-off Selathen Avatars series, and I can also self-publish it. However, even though the story seems to be coming together relatively easily, it's taking writing time away from my current novel, Dryads to Discover. I would also like to return to "The Unnumbered World," a short story set in the Catalyst Chronicles universe and featuring Julia Kee as the protagonist. Finally, there's a fourth project, a middle-grade novel called Welcome to Costume City, that I started earlier this year and abandoned partway through the project.

While in one sense juggling these four projects may seem like a matter of setting priorities and time  management, there's also the added factor of what appeals to me. I find (not surprisingly) that it's easier to write characters I'm already familiar with than to develop new ones. However, if I always push new characters aside to spend time with my favorites, they'll never get developed. It seems like my best options are either to work on two projects at once (which is probably better in terms of keeping both stories fresh in my brain) or else speed up my projects so I can get through them faster. I imagine juggling stories and characters only gets harder as you write more stories. Hopefully at some point I'll have enough free time to write them all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Remembering the Funny Side of George Harrison

To remember George Harrison on the anniversary of his death, I thought it would be good to celebrate his humorous side. Here he is on Saturday Night Live. The show had promised $3000 to the Beatles if they reunited on the show. George showed up hoping to collect the entire reward:

George also supported Monty Python and appeared on Eric Idle's TV show, though he didn't exactly cooperate when they wanted him to sing instead of pretend to be a pirate:

Even his music videos exhibited his sly sense of humor and a willingness to poke fun at himself and his problems:

That's why, in my heart, George and the rest of the Beatles will be forever Fab:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Writing Over the Holidays

Although I had a five-day weekend (my son had no school on Wednesday, so I took the day off too), I got very little writing done. I spent a lot of time cooking, baking, washing dishes after cooking and baking, cleaning, and decorating the house ready for Christmas. Oh, and I visited Christkindlmart and participated in two parades. Thanks to fellow Midwest Garrison members Kim McCaffrey and Ted Ruler for the photos below.

 (I'm the Jawa in the front row, next to the female Tusken.)

My normal weekday schedule is to write on my lunch hour at work and before bedtime. When I'm home, I generally don't get that lunch hour. Sometimes I'm able to take some time in the afternoons to write, but it depends on how many household chores I need to catch up on or if we're doing something else.

With the holidays, there are extra demands on people's time to shop, wrap presents, decorate, bake, and/or attend social events. How can a writer protect her writing time during this season? I struggle with this myself. Here are a few ways to make holiday prep a little easier:

1. Start early with gift shopping.
2. Order presents online.
3. Delegate some of these activities to someone else.
4. Scale back to the most meaningful activities.
5. If you still have vacation time at work, take it.

What else would you add to this list? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Science of the Week, 11/24/17

One of my musical traditions is to play Steely Dan's "Black Friday" on, well, Black Friday. Here it is for your enjoyment too:

Here are some of the most interesting science news articles I read this week:

Brain training game first to successfully reduce risk of dementia

Tooth cavities may be fought "naturally" with Galla chinesis

Study: non-fearful social withdrawal linked positively to creativity

I didn't pick a lot this week, but it is a holiday weekend. Have a good one, everyone!

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