On NaNoWriMo and Getting My Butt into Gear

Nov 01

Hoooo boy. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written here. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been too busy writing UNDERGROUND, but I think we all know that isn’t true. No, completing book 2 has admittedly not been a huge priority over the past few months, as I’ve taken on a new (day)job that takes up pretty much all my time, as well as a multitude of other excuses that I’m sure you just aren’t interested in. Just, you know, try not to be too mad, kay?

But the wonderful Jenna from Jenna Does Books reminded me through a post on Facebook that tomorrow marks the start of NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — and so I figure it would be only appropriate for me to get my butt into gear and freaking finish UNDERGROUND. The NaNoWriMo challenge is to write 50,000 words in one month, and since I’ve already got more than a decent headstart on book 2 (it’s not like I haven’t been writing at ALL, just not, um, a lot), I think that as long as I’m dedicated to setting time aside for writing, I should be able to knock this out.

As long as I keep myself on track, that is. Which I absolutely plan to. I think this may just be that extra motivating factor to help get me back on track — since, admittedly, I do work better with deadlines. Even when they’re self-imposed! And since my editor is a magic worker and I’m pretty much the most impatient person ever, the post-production stuff shouldn’t take too, too long. (Which, of course, harkens back to all the wonderful reasons that self-publishing actually rocks.)

So, all this to say that yes, I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in my writing, but that’s all about to change. BRING IT, November! I’m coming for you.

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On motivation (or a lack thereof)

Apr 08

I won’t lie to you guys. Book 2 progress is going slower–much slower–than I had hoped it would. This is mostly my fault for having what I’m sure are unrealistic expectations of how quickly the writing process would go (having romanticized how “quickly” it went the first time around). But also I’m just really struggling with finding the motivation to sit down and write. This is me, every time I think I should go write:

I’m caught in this space where I KNOW I should be writing, but then I get stressed out because I’m NOT writing, which doesn’t exactly motivate me to write more.

I know, I’m a headcase.

But I also know that what I have written already feels pretty solid, and that whenever my motivation does finally come back to me (or when I finally strongarm it back into my life, haha) my hope is that the words will flow fairly easily. I keep trying to remind myself that writing Terra was pretty much exactly like this. A lot of nothing for a few months, and then BAM! Motivation and inspiration up the wazoo, and a first draft completed in 8 weeks.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep searching for that catalyst to help inspire me forward in my writing. I can think of two particular things that will be key here:

1. I need to STOP STALKING MY REVIEWS ONLINE.

I need to quit. Like, cold turkey. It’s bad, guys, really bad. Reading reviews of my own book seriously do nothing but hinder my productivity–even if it’s a good review. You read a good review, and suddenly you’re all like, “Wow, I’m an amazing writer. I don’t need to actually sit down and make myself write, it’ll just happen because I’m so amazing I must have magical writing powers that will take care of everything!” And if it’s a bad review… well, I hardly think I need to give an example of the thoughts that occur after reading through one (or some) of those.

2. I need to read some bad books.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the big things that pushed me into overdrive when writing Terra was actually reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I know, I’m still kind of ashamed. But! Reading such terribly written prose really gave me the nudge needed to put a book that is at least SLIGHTLY better written out in the world. So maybe I just need to surf Amazon for some truly heinous books, instead of reading all the excellent novels I have been (many of which are by my self-publishing cohorts!). Any recommendations?

I’m almost afraid to say this, but I’m not sure how realistic my (admittedly ambitious to begin with) publishing Summer 2013 release date for Underground is at this point. We’ll just have to see, as I’ve found things can progress very quickly and without warning, but I just want to throw that out there. Thanks for (hopefully) sticking around for the sequel anyway! I can promise that whenever it does come out, you’re in for quite a ride. 🙂

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On making traction with book 2

Feb 27

So.

Book two.

The sequel.

Underground.

Well, the good news is that I’ve been writing. Or, at the very least, I’ve been trying to write, very hard. And I’ve got some good stuff going. It’s just that it isn’t all coming as easily or as quickly as I kind of thought it might. In the first few weeks post-release of Terra, I was SO PSYCHED about getting started on Underground. I flushed out my main plot points and character additions right away, and was all set to get down to business and crank the story out. See, I was just so eager to get the next part of the story out to you all! So eager, in fact, that it didn’t hit me until I actually sat down with a blank Scrivener window open in front of me that I have no idea how to start a sequel.

I know that I’ve probably got rose-colored glasses on when I think about how it was to write Terra, but it just seemed so EASY to do in comparison with this one. I feel like there’s so much more to consider, more to worry about, more to really THINK THROUGH with book 2. Because not only do I have to continue on with the loose threads left hanging from book 1, but I have to think them ALL the way through with how I want them to tie up in book 3. It’s just kind of a different beast than creating a world and story and characters all from scratch.

I kind of equate to how it feels when my house gets really, really messy. Sometimes, it gets so messy that I think, “It would be so much easier if I could just move all my crap into a brand new house, and set up shop all over again.” As if it would somehow be less work to start over from the very beginning, instead of cleaning up the messes that I’ve already made. When, in reality, it’s the same amount of work–or, actually, probably more–but it’s just different. And because it’s a completely different task than the one I have in front of me, somehow my brain translates that into being easier.

Okay, so it’s not a perfect metaphor. But basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m still learning a lot about how this book-writing thing goes. And I understand why some authors choose to only write stand-alone books. Because thinking things in a serial way can be really challenging. It’s super rewarding, because it means the story gets to continue and I get to keep living with these heroic, passionate, fiery, snarky, getting-more-and-more-kickass-by-the-day characters. But challenging.

I was in a bit of a writing funk for the past couple of weeks that I’ve only just started to crawl back out of. My mind being split between continue to market and promote Terra, while simultaneously wanting to have the words for Underground magically fly out of my fingertips at the drop of the hat, not to mention that little ol’ dayjob I’m still plugging away at… it’s a lot of mental juggling. But I’m VERY happy to say that I’m finally back in a good place with my writing, with scenes starting to pop into my mind and characters developing in a not-annoying way (for a little while there, Terra was getting so angsty she was starting to border on Order of the Phoenix-Harry Potter and that was NOT a good thing).

Despite the fact that things are progressing more slowly than I originally would have liked, I think I’m still well on track for getting Underground out sometime this summer! Another plus for self-publishing, right? Slightly less torturous wait times between books (I’m looking at you, Divergent #3!). So here’s to many more inspired nights of writing (my brain is still a dbag who only seems to let me write between the hours of 10 PM and 3 AM), more intrigue, more world-building, more revelations, and more Terra!

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