Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Month: August 2014

Links: What’s Steampunk, Sleepy Hollow preview, and more

I didn’t get all of my freelance work done before the weekend, so I’m having to work today. It’s mostly my own fault for not managing my time as well as I could have, but then again this was a pretty hectic week that involved more errands and more reasons to leave the house than usual (including a second trip to Bixby to pick up Pete’s meds from the vet because she didn’t have them stocked when we were there on Wednesday. Let me tell you, that is quite a long way to drive for such a simple errand), so I’ll go ahead and cut myself some slack.

The plan is to get this last article written before lunch, then I’ll be free the rest of the weekend. Except I also have a couple of short things I need to write for a Fiverr client by Monday evening. I’m still dithering on whether to buckle down and get those done today so I can take Labor Day off, or just wait and do them Monday so I can enjoy most of my Saturday. Considering that “enjoying” my Saturday involves laundry and vacuuming the house, I’ll probably hold off on the extra work until Monday.

Also on today’s agenda: trimming my unruly hair (still debating whether to give myself straight bangs or keep them longish and side swept, even though I usually regret straight bangs because they never lay down like I want them to, and yet I never seem to learn), fiddling with the outline for the new novel, and pulling my horror short story collection together for beta readers.

And now I’ll leave you with some links that are open in my browser that might be of interest to you:

Why writers need to blog. And a sad puppy.

There’s a reason I’ve always been so inconsistent with keeping up this blog. It’s because taking time to blog here makes me feel guilty. It’s not something I get paid to do, and it’s time I’m not spending working on my fiction. So in the hierarchy of things I spend my writing time/energy on, blogging always comes dead last, after paying work and fiction projects. Of course, once those priorities are out of the way, I often don’t have any time or energy left for writing a blog post (and when I do, my content marketing blog usually wins, since it exists to attract potential paying clients).

But what about building my author platform, building my audience and selling books? This week, Kristen Lamb’s Blog had a great post about the importance of blogging, which makes some excellent points, not the least of which is the importance of a well-kept blog in building your platform and connecting with your readers. She also talks about how blogging consistently helps train you to write through distractions, overcome perfectionism, and meet deadlines.

But the point that convinced me to stop putting my blog last is a truth that I knew already but had forgotten: blogging (at least, for me) serves as a fantastic writing warm-up to loosen the creative gears and get me into the necessary frame of mind. So instead of keeping on doing what I’ve been doing, which is sitting down to work on freelance writing and not allowing myself to blog until it’s done, and then continuing to sit for more than an hour and stare at the screen between checking Facebook while trying to psych myself up to actually write something, I’m going to try to start out my non-fiction writing sessions with a blog post to warm up. At least then I’ll actually be doing something productive with that time.

In other news, we took our Chihuahua, Pete, to the vet this week. He’s had six seizures this month (that we’re aware of), and he was due for blood work to check his thyroid. Because of the seizures, she (the vet) went ahead and did a full panel, and discovered that his liver enzymes are extremely elevated, which she things may be responsible for the seizures. So we’re treating that (poor dog’s taking more pills now than Matt and I combined) and hoping it will put a stop to the seizures, or at least slow them down.

Was he happy about going to the vet? Not at all:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InwtJLAa5gM]

Poor little guy. But at least he hasn’t had any seizures in the last few days.

There’s a reason I don’t vlog or do podcasts.

I know I already mentioned that I’m on Patreon, but here’s a dorky video in which I and my frizzy, way-overdue-for-a-trim hair explain it in person. Dorkily.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfFPkd3aJo0]

Seriously, this took me like 10 takes and this was the best one. I am not made for the front of the camera.

Free at Last!

I have a laptop again! Thanks to my dear friend¬†Erin Palette‘s quick thinking and organization efforts and the generosity of her Facebook network, I am now the proud owner of a 2005 HP tablet/notebook device. Yes, 2005,¬†so it’s not exactly state-of-the-art, but it’s fine for writing, blogging, surfing, and light graphic design work. And it converts into a tablet — I think this was one of Microsoft’s early attempts to beat the iPad — so that’s fun. At any rate, it has liberated me from my husband’s desk and having to wait my turn on the desktop PC, so I am beyond thrilled and grateful.

And now I can get back to work on the whole author-publisher endeavor. Which I have already done by adding to the short story I’d begun before my old laptop’s screen burned out. And I also redid my Patreon page, where you can read said short story, which is a mash-up of a local ghost story and a terrifying dream I had a few months ago.

I’ve also been working on the outline and story world for the novel I talked about in my last post. I’ll start drafting it once this story is done — although I would like to write one more short piece for the collection I’m planning to publish around Halloween, so we’ll see how that goes. At any rate, pretty much everything I write from now on I plan to post as I go on my Patreon feed, and you can read it all for a measly $2 monthly pledge. Plus you’ll get other stuff too. Because I appreciate your willingness to toss a couple of bucks my way to help me do what I do, and I promise to make it worth your while.

In other news, Matt just had a birthday on Saturday. We spent it with my mom and her sister, who took us to a burger joint my mom used to frequent back in the 1950s. That was the best burger and onion rings and chocolate malt I’ve had in a very long time. Actually, it was the only burger and rings I’ve had in quite a while, and probably the first malt I’d had in about two decades. But it was delicious. At any rate, it was a lovely day.

In Which I Begin Anew (and Begin a New Novel)

Well, my fiction writing and publishing career has pretty much come to a screeching halt with the demise of my laptop. There is a ray of hope in that someone on Facebook is supposed to be sending me an old laptop they had lying around not getting any use, but it’s looking more and more like it might have gotten lost or stolen in transit, so that ray is growing dimmer with each passing day that the mail lady doesn’t drop off a package at our door.

I suppose if we’re not going to be able to get a replacement soon, then at some point I’m going to have to install Scrivener on my husband’s desktop PC, which will require some major hard-drive cleanup beforehand, and find a way to salvage my writing files from my laptop. Fortunately, I’d gotten into the habit of backing stuff up to Dropbox, so most of my WIPs are already there.

Meanwhile, since all of my current WIPs are in dead laptop limbo (and let’s be honest — they were all already stuck in writer’s block limbo before this happened), I went ahead and started a new novel, which I intend to write longhand, at least for the first draft. I haven’t actually started drafting it yet — I’m still in the plotting and world-building stage. I don’t want to say too much about it until I’ve made significant progress on it, but right now it’s shiny and new and I’m excited to write it.

Really, I’m excited to be writing fiction again at all. I’d been pushing too hard to write as much freelance content as fast as I could, and that was sucking my energy well completely dry, leaving me exhausted and with nothing left to give my fiction. It really felt like the part of my brain that’s wired to make stuff up and tell stories just up and died.

But I’ve backed the freelancing off to a more reasonable pace and started making more time to rest and recharge. This past weekend was the first one in at least two months that I was able to take the entire weekend off from writing and give my brain (and my tortured wrists) a real break. That seems to have been all it took to revive my brain’s story center.

Ironically, I guess it’s losing my laptop that I really have to thank for this. I can only get on my husband’s PC for four or five hours a day, which is making me have to focus on getting my paid work done in less time, and leaving me more time to do the stuff that matters to me on a personal level, including writing fiction. I guess before I’d boot up my laptop after breakfast and then spend all day long making myself busy with a lot of things that didn’t really matter. So in a way, the death of my laptop has been kind of freeing.

Of course, at first I wanted to cry because I thought no laptop meant I couldn’t work on fiction at all, but then I remembered, duh, I have pens and paper and those things still work. And of course it would be super awesome if I had some fancy moleskine notebooks and a fancy pen and a cozy writing nook or a magical gazebo at the bottom of a fairy woodland like SOME authors have. But all I have is a cheap spiral and a dollar store pen and my pick of the living room sofa or the dining table. But that’ll do.

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