Battling the Writing Beast & Kickstarter Fanfare

I’ve been a delinquent blogger, vlogger, writer…everything. I know this. Here’s the deal. I go through these periods where all of my best laid plans bottleneck, congeal, and morph into a hideous, screaming hydra. I’m currently chopping at this hydra with a dull machete, trying to nap and be a human being in between swings.

Writing Beast

My problem is that I have more plans than time. As my bestie, Alyssa, puts it, I’m burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.

The bad news is I’m bone-weary and overwhelmed all the time; the good news is that things got done. For instance, illustrator Robert Burrows and I have launched the Kickstarter for the first volume of our graphic novel, Beatrice is Dead!

I’ll just leave the video and Kickstarter link here…you know, in case you want to do something with them.

The video is PG, but please do note that Beatrice is Dead was written for an adult audience.

I should probably put more fanfare behind this, but I’ve decided that this blog is the one place where I don’t have to be a marketer. But I am immensely proud of this graphic novel and I do hope you’ll back us if the story interests you.

Click the header directly below for the Kickstarter page.

Beatrice is Dead, Volume 1: City of Ash Kickstarter

Fanfare Illustration

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Recommended Podcast: George RR Martin on Nerdist

George RR Martin recently took some time out of his Comic Con schedule to talk to the guys at Nerdist (Chris Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira). The interview is interesting not only for the Game of Thrones fan, but for writers in general as Martin talks about his writing habits and the craft. I love it when super-successful writers keep it real in conversation; Martin definitely does.

NERDIST PODCAST: GEORGE RR MARTIN

Writing Infographics: Not Getting Any Writing Done

This has been going around. It’s a pretty appropriate infographic to describe my entire weekend. I feel like I spent a lot of time loving up my laptop with my eyes but making absolutely no progress on anything. Which led to a panicked start to my week.

I made my deadline, but I’m currently at my favorite near-work coffee shop breathing into a paper bag and attempting to cheer myself up with a cappuccino.

Novel Hell

4 Ugly Truths about Writers and Time Management

Making Time for Writing

In Episode 1 of SZWordeatery, I offered a few tips on time management for writers and admitted that I don’t always take my own advice. We’re all human; sometimes we spend two hours we didn’t have on a quest to read everything the internet has to offer on the life of Bill Watterson because some article stirred up our Calvin and Hobbes obsession.

But we also work against our better judgment to get the job done. Let’s admit to some truths about the dirty deeds we do for our all-consuming need to write. These are the accidental/inevitable ink-stains on the tidy, white life-coaching package.

1. We make unhealthy choices.

Hungry-Writer

We discover that a 6 o’clock grande cappuccino can power us through a full evening of writing and keep us from crashing as a result of the three cups we had earlier in the day.

We also find that, with those three cups+cappuccino, we can be productive, functioning members of society on four hours of sleep.

We realize that food isn’t necessary when we’re caught up in a flight of inspiration. Why is it dark outside? Didn’t I just eat breakfast a minute ago?

2. Our brains throw tantrums at the worst times.

Bad-Idea-Good-Idea-Writing

No matter how well we plan out our day, our brain might want reading when we want writing. It may not want to do anything at all.

We can’t force great ideas whenever it’s convenient to us. We can only force bad ideas and hope to find a gem in the trash heap.

Sometimes knowing we have a deadline just around the corner is enough to make our brains go into a vegetative state.

3. Life gets in the way of writing/Writing gets in the way of life.

Life-Conflicts-Writing

After a full work week of sleep deprivation and caffeine overdosing, we crash and burn hard when we finally have a full weekend to focus on getting things done.

Family and friends need us when we need solitude.

Dirty dishes walk out of our sinks to slap us after a week of neglect.

We either don’t make time for exercise and end up looking like we were shot out to space and forgotten there, or we do make time for it but all the while cursing our bodily needs for taking us away from our work.

4. We make painful sacrifices.

Saying-Goodbye

To make more time, we give up other hobbies and dreams we loved almost equally, but not equally enough.

We forget what it means to have a free day to ourselves; we calendar relaxation. Activities we used to do for fun become integrated into our work lives–they become blog topics, articles, and pictorial marketing tools.

Time with friends and family is the hardest sacrifice we make. We lose loved ones.

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It’s funny how once you decide to make the time to write and make it a priority, you forget how to live without that time. No, you don’t just forget–you simply cannot do without. When I decided I would make time for writing, I didn’t realize this activity would effectively eat up my life.

This all might sound daunting to someone still on the fence about putting writing first, but here’s another truth:

I never feel like I’m missing out.

When I write, I’m complete and so satisfied with what I’m doing that I don’t feel too bad about declining that invitation to go somewhere fun on a whim.  I may grumble about deadlines, but I actually get a thrill from the challenge. Losing people is hard, but giving up or compromising your dreams for someone else is soul-deadening.

It’s not for everyone. You have to love it in order to endure. Listen to Dr. Kelso; remember that nothing in this world worth having comes easy.

Writing Superpowers

Writing-Super-Powers_Title

Superpowers. We have them (well…we have the imagination to pretend we do).

Power Nap Maneuver

Writing-Super-Powers_Power-NapYou thought it necessary to stay up until 2 a.m. for the seventh night in a row because you have all of those blog entries to write in addition to manuscript revisions and if you don’t tweet right now–#writing–you will never sell a book for as long as you live. But your brain seems to be on strike… Now why would that be? This is a job for the Power Nap Maneuver! The Maneuver includes the ability to sleep through a mid-day session of the fiercest 20-kid game of hide-and-seek-while-violently-and-blindly-throwing-a-ball-around. You may startle awake when projectiles smash into your gated door or threaten to cave in your roof, but you’ll be back in Mr. Darcy’s arms a second later like nothing happened.

Caffeine Super-Charge
Writing-Super-Powers_Caffeine

Related to the Power Nap Maneuver, the Caffeine Super-Charge allows you to pay no heed to the normal hours/quantities of coffee beverage intake to which one is supposed to ascribe. There’s writing to be done! Have a grande cappuccino at 6 p.m. and pop a pod into the Keurig three hours later. It ain’t no thang.

Freudian Mindmeld
Writing Super Powers_Mindmeld

While your friends think they’re having a casual chat with you, you’re actually stealing into their brains to psychoanalyze their every word. The Freudian Mindmeld is enhanced by the ability to store this information for years and unconsciously incorporate it into stories written down the line. This ability does not always come with the common sense to artfully mask stories based on real events and people so that they can’t be traced back to a source.

Bubble of Solitude
Writing-Super-Powers_Bubble-of-Solitude

It may not be a fortress, but it gets the job done and it’s transportable. How do you like them apples, Kal-El? The Bubble of Solitude can be cast anywhere at any time. At a party when you’re randomly and suddenly struck by a solution to that sticky plot problem you’ve been struggling with? Break out your journal and cast the Bubble of Solitude. You won’t even notice that one guy with the electrical tape pasties doing a strip tease for his best guy friend.

Reading Deathray
Writing-Super-Powers_Reading

I’m sorry, LeVar Burton; reading isn’t a leisurely romp through flower fields on butterfly wings. Books must be dissected and consumed, one after another. With the Reading Deathray, you are able to destroy sentences and paragraphs while analyzing word usage, symbolism, and form and structure at alarming speeds. Stand back, citizens! You don’t want to witness this chilling inkbath.

Writing
Writing-Super-Powers_Writing

Seriously.

Clarion West Write-a-thon

Clarion West is hosting their tenth annual Write-a-thon to run from June 23 to August 2. The write-a-thon provides an opportunity for writers, readers, and their family/friends to support this non-profit which provides education to writers of speculative fiction at the start of their careers.

Stay accountable to your writing goals while supporting the writing community!

Write-a-thon details and further information on Clarion West.

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From the Wordless Depths

From the Wordless Depths

I’ve been absent awhile. I’m going through some personal stuff. Let’s just call it a breakup and a move. Because that’s what it is.

I am not the writer who does well under the press of strife and struggle and especially when I feel unanchored. That island sanctuary—that bubble where calm, comfort and energy meet to create the perfect writing environment—is elusive when one’s favorite writing HQ (home) is in limbo. I’ve tried to dock in coffee shops, but it doesn’t feel the same when my writing desk is orphaned elsewhere.

The good news is that I’ve found a new place to call home and everything will be at rights again momentarily. I will overindulge in my workaholism to make up for this blasted month. It’s astounding how much gets done in thirty days, and, alternately, how much can go to seed.

So here are some of my goals for May:

Enter the Paper Darts 800-word writing contest. Details here: Paper Darts Short Fiction Award.

Enter the Shock Totem writing contest. Details here: Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest.

Finish the first draft of my first-in-a-long-time short story.

Finish revising my YA Fantasy novel and send it off for review. I really need to get this thing out of my hands.

Wait impatiently for a response from a publisher to whom Robert and I submitted Beatrice is Dead.

Maybe I’m kidding myself with this list but it’ll at least force me back into a necessary frame of mind.

May nothing sever a writer from her pen…