2014 Goals: June Status Report

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Summer break brings loads of time for my muse and I to simply indulge in creativity. I’m enjoying the freedom, but I’ve also put the extra time to good use!

1) Pitch The Muse.

Big news on The Muse front. After a little soul-searching, I decided to hire an editor to comb through my manuscript, (See That Moment When You Realize You Need An Editor). I’m super excited to get a new perspective on a project I’ve been working on for so long. This is an exciting leg of the journey and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and fix what needs to be fixed.

While waiting for my manuscript to come back, I started working on a complete rewrite of my query letter. I ended up letting my main character write it through her perspective (minus first person) as if she were writing her story in a journal or telling a friend. So far, I like the changes, but more work needs to be done.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

I took over 10 pages of notes for Lineage. Everything from plot line ideas to mythology research and possible “re-imaginings” fill line after line in my novel notebook. The main story is clear, but I’m still trying to piece together the small pieces that bring everything together. The process is slow, but the haze is definitely starting to lift.

3) Submit writing.

I didn’t submit anything.  However, I did send my novel to an editor. Does that count? 😉

4) Continue to build author platform.

This month I made a conscious effort to have some fun and Facebook and it has definitely paid off. I’ve started posting and sharing images of quotes that are both inspiring and funny. My followers seem to dig the change as traffic is way up. I’m loving all the interaction!

Facebook likes grew from 366 to 371

Twitter followers grew from 553 to 560

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

A simple act of fate pushed me to find an editor and I’m so happy I took the hint and acted.

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Vacation Time!

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Tomorrow I’ll be trading dry heat for super humid heat as I head to the Midwest for a little vacation. My annual trek to Indiana has become a tradition and I’m excited to spend some time in a place where everything moves a little bit slower.

At the top of my list is spending some time with family, but I’m also looking forward to visiting one of my favorite local coffee shops, The Beehive, (see FTF: The Beehive). Last year, I tested out my usual Cafe Mocha, but this year I am anxious to try the local specialty, a Nutella Latte. My coffee taste buds are already drooling. 

Even though I’m the only knitter in the bunch, I’m hoping to persuade my family to spare a little time for a trip to Nomad Yarns in Plainfield, IN. I went there last year and scored some absolutely beautiful sock yarn. Not only does this place carry a great selection of unique yarn, but it has the warmth of a locally owned small business. I can’t wait to see what ends up in my shopping bag this time around.

However, what I’m looking forward to the most is a little quiet time. My family lives in a small town surrounded by woods and cornfields. I’m looking forward to time on the porch swing and walks through the woods. I’m taking my camera and I can’t wait to see what I find through the lens. With all the craziness that is coming when work starts up again in the fall, this quiet pocket of relaxation is just what I need.

With that in my mind, I’m making a conscious effort to simply relax and enjoy my surroundings. For the first time in years, I’ll be leaving my laptop at home. My muse is freaking out a little bit as she is a bit attached to my writing machine, but I’ve assured her that I will pack a journal and a nice set of pens. (She’s also been assured that my husband will carefully guard the laptop and keep it safe.)

Because of my self-imposed computer break, I’ll be a little quieter in the blogosphere, but not totally gone. My Kindle Fire is coming along to make sure I don’t fall too far behind (and so I can watch movies when I can’t sleep at night!). Next week, I won’t be posting as much or maybe not at all, but I will be here in spirit! Just know, I’ll be collecting all sorts of inspiration for future posts.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

A Quiet Place

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In the shade of nature’s nook,

peace of mind is closer than you think

Meditation sings with trickles of wind chimes ,

or the creak of an old wicker bench

There’s always a space for those willing to sit,

but not for those who choose to walk by

Buddha is listening with his eyes closed,

wisdom is felt and seldom seen

Whether or not you believe,

take his advice and just simply be

 

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c.b.w. 2014

 

That Moment You Realize You Need An Editor

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Not long ago, I wrote about how I took a little break from the grind of novel writing, (see The Not-So-Dry Spell). It’s funny how talking about a break instantly leads to a strong desire to jump right back into to fray. All it takes is one person to come around and ask, “What ever happened to you novel?”

Hmmm. That’s a good question. Part of my little break was rooted in needing to clear my head, but there was also an element of the “now what” syndrome. I’d sent out a round of query packages and got responses from all of them. Sure, they were all rejections, but as most writers know a response of any kind is a victory.

I was proud of my tiny accomplishment, but I also realized I had an issue that wasn’t easily solved. The fact that I got responses from agents told me I had a good concept for my novel, but the rejection element told me I had more work to do. The problem was I had gone as far I could on my own. I was too close to the work and I couldn’t see past what was going on inside my head. It’s in that moment that a writer has a major epiphany:

I need an editor.

After doing a little research online, I gathered a nice collection on editors who offered various services including proofreading and developmental edits. There are a lot of great editors out there, but it’s almost impossible to figure out who would be the right person for the job. Trying to find a YA fantasy editor is a little bit like trying to find one particular grain of salt in a salt mine.

Then, there’s the issue of price. Editors are not cheap and I totally understand why. Combing through a writer’s passion project is no easy task! Given my limited means, I couldn’t afford most of services I needed, so I decided to try something else.

If you follow my Facebook Author Page, you might have noticed a post where I made my plea:

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 5.14.45 PM To my great surprise someone answered me! What’s more, I knew her! And she loves YA Fantasy! It turns out one of my first blog followers does editing on the side. I was familiar with her work as one of her jobs was sitting on my bookshelf. She had done some editing work for another blogging friend and novelist, Bonnie J. James, so I knew I could trust her. Plus, I’ve had a number of interactions with her over the last few years, all of which have been incredibly positive and friendly.

Within a day I had an editor at a very reasonable price. Who knew it could be that easy? Of course, the hard part is on the horizon. Ever since I sent off the manuscript, my emotions have been all over the place. I go into fits of excitement, fear, terror, doubt, and then excitement all over again.

Even after four drafts, the journey continues. A fresh pair of eyes will hopefully help usher The Muse to next level. I’m anticipating a “bleeding” manuscript, but I have plenty of enthusiasm to stitch it back together.

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p.s. Kristen, I hope it isn’t a horrific task to dig through my manuscript! Can’t wait to see your insights.

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c.b.w. 2014