Stop by and leave me any tips you have for how to focus when family is in town. I can always use some more hold focusing around family.
Sexiness and Family Time
I'm over at Sweet'n'Sexy Divas talking about the difficulties of writing around family, as I tried to do this Thanksgiving, and the few tips I have for balancing these two commitments.
Stop by and leave me any tips you have for how to focus when family is in town. I can always use some more hold focusing around family.
Out in Cyber Land...
While my body is heading out to Florida for a work trip, my author self is going to be at my friend Tina Donahue's blog talking about stories that need to stay on the backburner and simmer for a while. Working For Him was one of these stories, as well as Naughty List. While these stories do take longer to be fully cooked, they can be some of the most fulfilling and exciting stories to write.
I hope you'll stop by and see what I have to say.
December and 2012 Close Out
I’m back at the Evil Day Job again, and that means my December Close Out plan is over. Just like every year I don’t feel like I did nearly enough, this break slipped by even faster than last years. But I did complete the major items on my wish list. I finished the first draft of Dirty Work and revised, and with only a few hours left in the year, I submitted Reunion Makes Three. I’ll keep you in the loop when it gets picked up and when it will be out.
Not a bad amount of work for two weeks, but I always feel like I could do more. I always wish I could write more, faster, better. I don’t know that I’ll ever get over that. If I do it will probably be the end of my writing career :)
When I look back on 2012 I feel the same way. I feel like I could have done more, but I’m proud of what I did do. I had six releases this year, if you count my self-publish work and free read (which followed essentially the same process as any other work I’ve released). And I have two more under contract, Wandering Off the Path which goes on preorder next week (January 7th to be exact), and Jack the Bodice Ripper that should be releasing soon.
Also this year I’ve done a lot to learn about my writing. I took a dip into self-publishing. I attended The Romance Convention and learned a lot about the industry, some great tips on writing and meet some awesome people. I plan to use everything I've gathered from these experiences in the year ahead to improve my writing and be more effective with my time.
Unfortunately I didn’t make my reading goal this year, which makes me a little sad (I hate not meeting any goal, even if it’s one I’ve set myself). But according to my goodreads statistics I did real more pages than I did last year. When I look over some of the books I’ve read this year, it makes sense. I did read a lot more novels than novellas, especially from my fellow Siren sisters. So maybe it all evens out in the end. But with all I had going on this year something had to give, and apparently it was reading.
And not completing Nanowrimo, while understandable, still bothers me a little. Its rare for me not to complete that goal, though I have yet to sell an Nanowrimo work (though Wandering was a Maynowrimo project).
All in All 2012 was a pretty good year for my writing, despite the craziness and distraction of my everyday life, and I think I’m set up for an even better 2013.
Guest Post at Lori King's place
I'm over at Lori King's blog talking about my secrets for writing realistic heroes. Stop by and let me know what you think, and how you think a real man sound.
I love nanowrimo. I’ve participated every year since I learned about it. However I’ve only won twice, the second year I tried, but didn’t succeed. I was in the middle of editing my first release, and taking on a new overwhelming job, and I just couldn’t make it work.
Unfortunately, this year is already shaping up to
be like 2010. My job will be busy, I have my first round of edits do to my
publisher on the 5th (and I’m sure two more round will follow through November) and because of the busy October I had (getting both Birthday List and What Happens in the Booth published) I didn’t even get done most of my errands in October, like I normally do to prepare for nano.
But I can’t not try. Especially now, when I need as many releases out as I can get. So here’s a list of rules I came up with to hopefully set me up in a good place to win nanowrimo this year.
1. What has to be done is completed first. Between edits for my next release, and blogging to promote my current release, there are a lot of things that need to be done. Those have to happen first. Even if I’d rather be writing. I can survive without winning nano, but I don’t want to develop a reputation for not getting blogs in on time or not getting edits to my publishers.
2. Any words are good words. This year I’m not going to focus on getting one work done, but instead I’m focusing on getting any words I can. Unlike earlier nanos, I’m at a different point in my career now, where I’ve proven I can complete a work and getting more works in progress is more important than finishing one.
Works I might be working on this nano include-
· A ménage for the end of the world (already 30,000 plus into)
· Buying the boss - billionaire BDSM Auction story (already 1k into)
· Dirty Work - last in the naughty holiday list series
· Wolf Lake (last year’s nanowrimo novel that still hasn’t been finished)
· And anything else I come up with…
3. There can be no zero word days (a rule I’ve already broken once) even if I’m exhausted and don’t want to lift my fingers I at least have to set some time aside for writing. Even if I only get a hundred words. That’s a hundred words closer to winning.
4. Lunch is for writing. This time of year it gets crazy around work, as we try and close out the financial calendar. Though it shouldn’t be as bad for this year as it was in past years, but it can still be overwhelming. To make sure I still get some writing done, I’ll take my laptop to a quiet place and spend my whole lunch working on my writing (either writing or blogs or edits, whatever needs to be done).
5. On my days off, I’ll commit 8 hours to writing. This year I have four paid vacation days in the month of November. Each of those days I’ll commit 8 hours to writing, just like I did in last years, full time writing vacation.
If I can make these rules work, I just might be able to win this nano season.
Visit me in Cyber Land...
I'm over at my friend Drea Becraft blog talking about what comes first, the story or the characters, and how each new story has its own needs and wants. I hope you'll stop by and let me know what you think.
Writing on a Theme
I’m crazy busy this week, running around getting ready for the release of Midnight Mirage, which is only three short days away (though the book is already available for preorder). You’ll be seeing a ton of me, not just this week but for several more weeks to come, as I promote Midnight. So I’ll make my stops here a little shorter. So you don’t get to sick of me :P
I wanted to say a few things on theme writing. From the time that I first began reading I always really liked theme writing. Often it’s witty but more than anything it brings me into the story. When the theme is done right it can completely immerse me in a new world and not make me want to never leave.
I’ve been writing based on a theme every since I picked up a pen to some degree or another. Every writer does some. They use words or phrases they’ve already used, to call back previous imagery, or events, though the degree this technique is used varies from writer to writer, and sometimes even book to book.
Now you might be asking, what does writing on a theme mean. Just to clarify I don’t mean writing with a theme, which many authors do very well. But I’m talking about writing on a theme. By that I mean every bit of your writing, the verbs, description and analogies, are all (or at least as many as possible) centered around a particular theme, or multiple themes.
My most obvious theme novel is Naughty List. The theme surrounding Naughty List is obviously Christmas. To complete this theme I describe everything in Christmas terminology. Rarely do I describe anything as white, red, pink or black, they’re snowy, Santa suit, sugar plum or coal. Something doesn’t smell like vanilla, its smells like Christmas cookies. Every description I use circles back to that theme.
The same in true for actions, I use verbs like wrap (as in present), envelope (as in Christmas card), slid (as in Santa down the chimney), decorated (as in tree). I also use this theme to determine the analogies. Such as “Callie’s mouth turned as dry as Grandma’s fruitcakes” or “His balls hung tight and heavy as ceramic tree ornaments.” I even make allusions to theme in some of my descriptions. In Naughty List, I describe a wicked grin curled across Mallory’s face, or Eric’s heart feeling three sizes bigger. These are both inspired by my favorite Christmas movie, “How the Grinch stole Christmas.”
Not only do I enjoy writing on a theme, because it’s something I like to read and it gives me a little bit of a challenge (and we know I’m always up for a challenge). It also encourages me to think outside of the box, to think through each word I pick to search for a better one to go along with the theme. And it really helps me prevent any description repetition.
Most romance authors (and a lot of the others, even if they don’t say so) admit there are certain analogies and descriptions that they duplicate, specifically in those scenes. Sex scenes. There’s only so many ways you can describe someone’s nipples or cock. By writing on a theme I explore different analogies that might not come to mind normally.
Take three different descriptions of nipples I’ve written. In Naughty List, with the Christmas theme, I described Callie’s nipples as gumdrops. In Wandering off the Path, with its forest theme, I described Abigail’s nipples as knots (I was thinking knots in a tree, but for the story knots in a rope work too). In Midnight Mirage, I describe Mallory’s nipples as grapes (my thinking, being grapes make champagne, a common New Year’s party ingredient). As you can see from these examples, each description echoes back to theme, is different and brings to mind what it’s describing.
This is the way I write. And I enjoy doing. Whenever I get the right description, or find a word that perfectly meets my theme while describing what is going on in my scene perfectly, I get a little rush, a drop of excitement. It’s the type of wordsmithing that I’ve loved since I first started to reading, and I love to bring into my own writing.
So tell me what you think? Do you like theme writing? Do you not notice it? Is it too distracting? If you have any questions, let'em rip. I'd be happy to answer them.
Good Morning Sunshine
All of my life I’ve been a night owl. Even as a little kid I remember wanting to stay up late and read past bedtime, so I’d try and read by the crack of light that came in under my bedroom door. I don’t recommend this. It’s probably the reason my eye sight is so bad (I’m almost legally blind without my glasses). It only got worse in college. I started a never ending cycle of staying up late and taking naps (it’s the college way after all). I even took jobs that wouldn’t require me to get up early, like waitressing. Even now I’m writing this entry way past when most people have gone to sleep.
Other authors, especially those with kids, wake up early to write. I can imagine with a bustling family full of kids, dogs, cats, husbands and other pets, this strategy might work. But as I said before, being a night owl, to me it sounded like torture.
Get up before the suns up. Get up before I have to. No way.
But for the last few months the words haven’t being flowing as easily as they used to. This is due to a couple of reason. One is the amount of time I spend prewriting, plotting to make sure I hit all the right notes, character charts to make sure my characters are complex and three dimensional. This prewriting not only takes more of my time and energy, but also bleeds off some of early enthusiasm (but does seem to be making the revision and middle drafting stages easier, so there definitely is an upside). But another part is due to the new job that I took in October, which is more intensive, demanding, frustrating and exhausting (more money too, hence why I took it :D). I get home exhausted already, and after taking care of my furry babies, my own dinner and anything else that needs to be done, I just don’t have a lot of energy.
So after a particularly exhausting night, I decided to go to bed very early. The next morning I woke up way before my alarm. So I thought I’d try and get some writing done, since I’m currently trying to work towards an anthology call with a hard deadline. I was amazed, the writing flowed, I was able to get down more words before my day even started then I’d managed for the last several days combined. I also wrote more words throughout the day, during my lunch break, when I got home, etc...
There seems to be a few reason this works. I write more during that short hour or two early because I have a specific amount of time. Not only am I refreshed with no other issues plaguing my mind, but I can’t procrastinate as I do sometimes, because I have a specific time. There’s no negotiating. I have to do it now or not at all. It’s enough time that I feel like I can accomplish something, but not enough to dilly dally. But I also write more words throughout the day, because the story, characters, words, are on my mind from the very start of the day.
So, never one to ignore a path to success, I’m going to be giving myself a bedtime and getting up early everyday to write. That’s right world, me, professed Night Owl, will be getting up at the same time as the sun from now on. But it will all be worth it when I have a few more works completed, and several more contracts inked.
Wish me luck. The morning will be here all too soon.
Fitting In Writing Around Life
Through my determination to meet my goals I’ve learned a few tricks for working writing into as many spare moments of life as I can. Here’s a few of the tips I’ve developed for fitting more writing into my day to day life.
*Lunch breaks: When I first started this goal I thought I would be able to get back some time for writing during my lunch break by sitting at my computer and working through that hour rather than socializing in the cafeteria. It’s a nice theory, but the reality isn’t real accurate. Not only do you have the distractions of the internet I have at home, but also of people coming up and talking to me thinking I’m working instead of on lunch.
*Solution: Get up from the desk. I get the most done if I get up from my seat and move. Unless I’m doing some promotion (which time needs to be set aside to do), I have found I need to get up from my desk to get any work done. If I’m in the second stage of revising (which is the round where I print out my work and correct it on paper, an essential step to rid my work of most of those pesky typos). Otherwise I’ll take a pad and pen and scribble some. It’s a longer way of doing things, instead of typing directly into the computer, but it’s faster overall, since it does actually get some words down, instead of the zero I’d get down if I stayed at my desk distracted.
*The drive home: I’ve always used the drive home for prewriting. I get some really great ideas on the drive home. Many around my writing, but others around work, my family, my home, my fur babies. Whatever’s on my mind. I’m almost always going a mile a minute and the car is a great time for my mind to just wonder and play as it can’t when I’m more focused at work and home.
*Improvement: I’ve found that if I take a few minutes to think about my writing, to actually say the current wrinkle I’m facing out loud before I leave the parking garage, I can focus my musing for the drive on my writing instead of whatever mishap occurred at work or the housework I have to do when I get home. Which means more solutions and less hold ups when I actually sit down at the computer. The same can be true of the shower, or doing housework like laundry, dishes, etc…
*Ereader: My Ereader is a big distraction. Especially when there’s a book on it I really want to read (like I felt with Qwillia Rain’s Rite of First Claim this last week). I can easily spend all night reading, even forget about eating dinner, until I finally pull away to find out its 3:30am (it makes me real pleasant the next day at work :D)
*Solution: I have begun leaving my ereader in my purse upstairs once I get home. If I have to walk up the stairs to get it, or dig the files out of my hard drive to read the book I want, the added work is enough to deter me. This way I can read before I go to bed as is my habit, but it’s not always there to tempt me until I pick it up and finish that book.
These are the tricks I found to limit distraction. As I find out more tips I’ll share them with you all. For now these are helping me to improve productivity. Does anyone else have any tips for gaining a little more time?
Learning from Rejection
This week I received a rejection. And I’m not going to say it was fun. Rejection never is. But whenever I receive a rejection I always try and remind myself that publishers don’t like to reject writers any more than we like to receive them.
Being the rejecter doesn’t feel any better than being rejected. I’m sure you’ve been there. You’re on a date and the guy’s totally into you, but you’re just not feeling it. Rejecting him isn’t fun.
Being rejected is part of the publishing game. I always want to say it doesn’t affect me, but it does. Every author puts their heart and soul into their writing. No one ever likes to hear anything negative about something so dear.
But there are some positives to being rejected. It allows you to grow and improve. It can send you into a direction you never saw before, or at least tell you something isn’t right.
Since my entire career has been in the epublishing world I’ve been fortunate to receive very few form rejections. Almost every rejection I’ve received has given me some idea of why my work was being returned to me, given me a direction of what needs to be improved for the next time I submit. I’ve even been thankful enough to receive a few rejections that gave very detailed critiques and encouragement to resubmit.
Learning to take the positives from a rejection and growing from it is one of the things that makes a good writer into a great writer. It’s easy to sit on high and think you’re work is the great, but to take the time to really listen to what others are telling you and to use that advice to improve takes time, dedication and honest introspection.
And that’s exactly what I plan to do with this most recent rejection. I plan to take their advice and improve for the next submission. They’ve given me some ideas on how to improve my work no matter what house it falls under, and sometimes just having a direction to move forward in feels like a prize in its self.
Spicy Erotic Romance Author and Life-Long Book Lover
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2011 Reading Challenge
Willa has read 44 books toward her goal of 51 books.