Update on my procrastination skills, and other events of note

alarm-clock-590383_1280Yeah, so, procrastination.

About that.

It’s still a thing that I do. (For evidence, note that here it is something like 3 weeks after saying I’d post an update in a week. Ha!)

HOWEVER, that is not to say there has been no movement on that front.

I did do a little bit o’ plotting. Not much. Not enough. But some.

Blog Hopperpetualbloghop

Also, I wrote a flash story – one that I really like! I’m participating in the Story Time Blog Hop again this month. It’s a quarterly thing, and being October, all the stories will probably be leaning toward ghost stories, Halloween, paranormal… typical haunted fare.

But these are my friends, so don’t expect ordinary. Never expect ordinary. 😉

Expect to see that story as well as links to the others on October 26 at 6PM. (We are a global group, so we try to make things drop right at Midnight UTC. I’m in the -6 timezone, so I post 6 hours early.)

Advent CalendarKat's Advent Calendar

I’m also planning to participate in my friend Cat’s Advent Calendar again this year. I’ve done this a couple of times in the past, and it has always been a lot of fun.

As soon as I have sign-up info for that, I’ll post it here. To get the stories, you’ll need to join a mailing list… but it’s a list ONLY for the Advent Calendar and Cat never spams.

For that collection of stories, the theme this year is Winter (but not necessarily Christmas). As usual, most of the authors participating will likely have some kind of bonus in the form of an additional story, a traditional recipe, a fun desktop background… something unique. You won’t want to miss out!

NaNoWriMonanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participant-200

Between the Blog Hop and the Advent Calendar, is the annual event known as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.  For those who haven’t heard of it, writers (anyone, really) are invited to try to write 50,000 words in November. That works out to an average of 1667 words every day.

50,000 might be a short novel, but by most classifications, it’s a novel. A whole novel (or maybe a good start on one) in 30 days is a pretty significant challenge. With my afore mentioned habit of procrastination, I have never managed to hit that 50,000-word goal. But I’m giving it a shot again this year. (My username there is pearannoyed, so if you’re participating too, feel free to connect!)

The story I’m planning is actually an extension of what I wrote for the Blog Hop. So if you drop back by on the 27th and read that story, you might have motivation to cheer me on for NaNo. Maybe. If you like it.

 

That is, I think, all I have on the table at the moment. If anything else comes up, I’ll let you know.

Procrastination

Hi. My name’s Liz and I’m a procrastaholic. appointment-15979_1920

I start out with really good intentions to sit down and write, or plan, or edit. I have the tools I’ll need at the ready. I have a gigantic cuppa coffee to keep me fueled up.

But then I lose focus.

Usually it starts pretty innocently. I don’t quite know where to start, so I’m looking for inspiration. Or I feel stuck on a particular project and I’m trying to decide what to do about it.

So I sit there. Thinking. Processing. And I’m inside my head, knowing I really should be doing something rather than just mulling it over.

And that makes me feel guilty. So to block out the guilt I try to think of something to do. Then I’ll make the mistake of opening my email. Or Facebook. I’ll go to check something out on the internet.

Once that happens, it’s all over. Ten minutes of email turns into, “how the heck did it get to be 4:00 in the afternoon?” And as much as I hate to admit it, there are other things I have to do besides staring at my computer. There’s housework and a husband and dinner to be cooked and eaten. There are the other commitments I have that I can’t simply blow off for more screen time. There are books to be read. There’s a dog to be walked.

Far too often I find that the time I have available for writing simply slips away from me, like mist across the water.

But I have a plan. That plan is to learn how to plan.

No kidding.

I’ve always been more of a pantser. That’s a writer who writes by the seat of her pants, for the uninitiated. One who sits down and just writes without necessarily having a concrete idea of where a story might be going ahead of time.

Pantsing feels more creative than plotting. Plotting feels too structured, too organized. Plotting will suck the life out of my writing. Pantsing seems so much more free.

Now is when you might ask, And how’s that working out for you?

Clearly, it ain’t. It’s fantastic for developing my procrastination skills, and terrible for getting any actual words on the page.

So this coming week my goal is to create a plot outline for at least one of the stories that have been percolating in my brain or languishing on my computer. The good news? I have plenty to choose from!

I’ll probably start with something relatively short, but not too short. One of my short story or novella ideas should work. I’ll create a basic structure for it, fill in a few details, and know what story I want to tell.

pen-994464_1920And from that, hopefully, I’ll be able to sit down with my coffee and my blank page and fill up the one while I empty the other.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

My Next Venture

I’ve been processing this for about a week now, and I think I’ve decided what my next project needs to be. Partly it’s because I want to challenge myself a bit more. Partly it’s because I’ve been listening to the advice I’ve given others.

old-books-436498_1280I’ve now done 3 very short publications. The two collections, and one stand-alone story. But I am itching to work on something bigger. So bigger it shall be!

I’m not going to spill the beans quite yet on what that bigger project will be – not my story plan anyway. But I’m planning on writing at least a novella-length story. Me and my Muse are pretty excited about it. 😀

I may also try to get another flash fiction collection pulled together at the same time, but the big story will take precedence.

Stay tuned for future details!

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Final wrap-up and the Future

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A to Z Wrapup

The bookWhew!

That was a busy month.

I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over.

Developing a fresh story on a daily basis was harder than I expected. But I’ll also admit, it was also easier than I thought it would be in some ways.

Hard because, as I mentioned last week, it takes a lot of mental/creative energy to write a complete story, even one that is very short.

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uovEasy, though, because I made the commitment to just do it. I didn’t expect perfection. I didn’t really even expect to like every story. My commitment to myself was just to get it done. So even when I didn’t feel like I had a “good enough” idea, I would just write. I got it done.

And with the exception of my U-is-for-Undecided story (I admit it… that was a bunt…), every story I posted holds the potential to be polished, expanded, fixed, and repurposed.

None of it was complete crap, even though I gave myself permission for it to be crap. That’s kind of a big deal.

So here I am, after a sometimes exhausting month. And instead of burnt out and tired, I feel completely energized.

I’m ready to take on the world… or at least my next writing project.

Look out, world. Here I come.

Looking Ahead

pen-622037_1280Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this month as much as I have.

Maybe you’re wondering what will come next.

Here’s my reality – as much as I’d love to keep up the story-a-day format, it flat-out ain’t gonna happen. I have other work I also need to be doing, and I can’t keep up the pace indefinitely.

However, I do still intend to be posting on this blog regularly. Here’s my current plan, subject to tweaking as I work out any potential kinks.

  • Monday – Personal updates/what I’m doing kind of stuff. Hopefully you’ll get to know me a little better—my other hobbies and interests, my family, my work process.
  • Wednesday – Words! I’m thinking maybe a weekly post about words themselves. Either the definition and etymology of a specific word I’ve come across in my reading, or maybe something about using words, inventing words, how words change over time. Whatever. I admit to being a little bit of a word nerd (not nearly as bad as some I know) and this would just be fun for me.
  • Friday – Flash Fiction! I don’t want to give up posting stories on my site altogether. I figure one new story a week might keep natives from getting restless. If I’m working on a longer story or a novel, you might get a scene or snippet from that instead. But maybe not – keeping up the short-short writing is just good practice.
  • Occasionally – Book reviews! I want to get back in the habit of keeping a personal commentary on books I enjoy or find useful. This will usually take the form of recommendations, but I might also weigh in on books that aren’t worth the trouble.
  • Other stuff – I will post other things on my site as they come up. Special offers or bonuses. Publication information when I have new things coming out. Eloquent narratives about the amazing pizza I ate last week… who knows what might come up if the fancy strikes me.

I don’t know exactly what this looks like yet. I guess I’ll figure it out as we go along.

Questions

  • Did you you have a favorite story from my challenge? Something you’d like to see expanded into something bigger? Or even just a type of story that you would want to see more of?
  • Suggestions? Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you want to see on this blog? Is there particular information that you want me to share? I really want to know what you want!

Answer either or both of these questions by leaving a comment or shooting me a message on my contact form!
I hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

Story planning

In January I got my flash fiction collection out, and I was happy.

In February I re-published my short story, making it a free-range offering for the first time.

Now it’s been several weeks and I need to get myself on track for my March Publication. I really want to keep up with the goal I set for myself of getting something published every single month this year. It simply would not do to drop the ball only 3 months in.

So I’m at a crossroads of deciding what I should write. I won’t necessarily limit myself to working on only one of these projects, but I will have to have one be my primary focus or I won’t get anything finished. Here’s what I’ve got brewing…

picture by  jesuscm - flickr, cc-attribution

picture by jesuscm – flickr, cc-attribution

  • I’m working on another collection of flash fiction, which may or may not have a theme tying them together
  • I have some ideas for a couple of connected short stories in a sci-fi world. One of those (possibly two if I write fast) could hit the pages this month.
  • I’ve been outlining a story that is loosely based on traditional European fairy stories, though I would hesitate to call it an actual Fairy Tale retelling. It’s not so much a respinning of one tale as it is a new story in keeping with some of the thematic elements normally found in fairy tales.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have time to finish the Fairy Tale, which I think will end up being more novella length than short story. So it will either be flash fiction or sci-fi shorts.

Any votes? My Muse would be happy with any of it. I just need to choose quickly. 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2014

watchnight-600x800Well, I haven’t made as much progress on my WatchNight related stories as I’d hoped. Since the story was originally conceived as just a stand-alone I hadn’t really thought about the world at large or what might happen next. It was just a story. Sheesh! (If you don’t have it already, you can get the original story FREE by signing up for my mailing list!)

So, while I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do next in that world, I was planning to get the creative juices flowing by writing short stories for NaNoWriMo. I thought short stories would be great because there’s not much planning involved, not many details to track, and if I like what I come up with there’s the possibility of a quick turn-around time to publish.

My muse, however, seems to have other plans. Almost entirely out of the blue, she offered me the following story sentence:

A third son defies tradition to search for his missing sister, but if he doesn’t find her before Moondown, they may both be trapped in the dark forever.

Photo credit:  Carl Milner via Flickr CCattribution

Photo credit: Carl Milner
via Flickr CCattribution

How could I help but be intrigued? So now my plans for NaNoWriMo include a sci-fi space fantasy type story that I don’t know much about. I’ve already had to do some minor research on astronomy. I’ve worked out a few scene cards with more to come. This is going to be harder and more involved than unplanned short stories would be. But I’m hoping it’s going to be a lot of fun! (My user name is Pearannoyed if you want to track my progress.)

I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going to happen. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂