Weekend Writing Schedule

Oh the days when it was just me and the cat. I wish I’d had the motivation then to make my author career a thing. I could have accomplished so much more.

Writing time is at a premium when you have a family. Kids have this annoying way of being able to stay up until 1am and still waking up like everything is normal at 7am. It seriously cuts into my alone time.

And even though they would easily spend a full day playing video games and watching tv if we let them, especially now that it’s summer, round about noon my conscience starts to get to me that I’m letting their brains rot for my own purposes and we have to get outside.

To top it off, my oldest can read now, so writing sexy vampire smut scenes now has to happen in secret, like I’m at my day job and the boss keeps coming up to peek over my shoulder. Have a new tab open, my friends. Get ready to toggle quickly.

Even though I long for the freedom to spend a whole bloody Saturday challenging myself to write 10K or some other delightful goal, the fact that I can’t is actually probably a good thing. It means I’m motivated to steal every minute that I can — furiously scribbling on a legal pad during my lunch break at work, breaking out my laptop during the short and glorious minutes that the children are entertaining themselves without yet having resorted to violence, getting up out of bed for half an hour before the rest of the house on the weekends, even though sleep is lovely, to at least try to get a few sentences on the page.

Is it slow going? Yes. But every time I make the choice to spend time with my novel, to devote time to pursuing this goal, I gain momentum, I remind myself that this is a thing that’s important to me and worthy of my time. And even one new sentence is one I didn’t have before.

So even though I can watch authors on Authortube and start to feel the teensiest bit jealous of those who seem to have all the free time I want, I also know that jealousy is nonsense and we’re all just working with what we’ve got. It might take me a little longer to get my books written, but they’ll get there.

One freakin’ word after the other.

 

A note on mental health

As writers, we are good at creating stories. Our brains tend to do it automatically. It’s what makes us good at what we do.

But it’s not very helpful when it comes to stressful situations in real life.

So remember — you’re a writer. You make up stories.

Not everything you think is true.

Just because your brain comes up with it doesn’t make it the truth.

Sometimes it’s just a story.

Otherwise there would be a much bigger problem with vampires around here.

May Reading Plan

We’re already a few days into the month, but here is what I’m planning on reading this month. I don’t usually strictly plan out my reading — I usually let the book choose me. I’m a mood reader.

However, in an effort to bump up my overall reading, I thought I’d try out a rough reading plan for the month, to keep me on track.

May Reading Plan

May Reading Plan

  1. King’s Dragon, by Kate Elliott; paperback. I’m almost done with this one, I have less than 100 pages left, so this should be a easy one.
  2. Be Your Own #goals, by Kristen Martin; ebook. I’m about a quarter of the way into this one already.
  3. The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen; paperback. My book club is discussing this one. It’s not a novel I would normally have picked up but that’s why I like being in a book club!
  4. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin; paperback. I keep starting the first 3 pages of this and putting it down for another time, but I think I’m ready to dive in. I keep hearing so many amazing things.
  5. Bad With Money: The Imperfect Act of Getting Your Financial Sh*t Together, by Gaby Dunn; Audio. Starting to give myself a financial education, one book at a time.

Whare are you reading this month? Do you choose your reads, or let the books choose you?

Happy reading!

Your story has already been written

The other day my dad said something that really got me thinking. It was something like, “pretty much every vampire story has already been done, you’re going to have to be really creative if you want to write vampire books.”

Which is true. Every story has already been written.

But, not by me.

There are no original plots. EVERYTHING has been done.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still write mine.

It’s advice I think most of us have probably heard at some point, but it bears repeating:

Write your story anyway. There are hundreds of other vampire stories, or faery stories, or werewolves, or romances, or epic fantasy quest novels. But none of those is your story, written in your voice, with your unique perspective and values.

Write your story.

Always just write your story.

Don’t let all the great stories that are already out there scare you away — let them inspire you! Look at how much great stuff people are making! I’m going to go make great stuff too!

So let my unexpected truth bomb be your truth bomb, too. Go forth and make things!

**thanks, Dad!

 

 

Start small

Instead of getting overwhelmed by the bigness of the thing you want to do, just take the next small step.

Creative folk, those of us with big dreams and big plans for ourselves, its easy to get so excited by your idea that you want to rush out and change the whole world right now. And then instantly get discouraged and overwhelmed by how big that is, how far it is from where you currently are, that your momentum flags and dies. At least, if you’re me that’s what happens.

So instead of thinking about “I want to run my own creative business,” think about sending one email or crafting one blog post or art piece. Instead of thinking, “I want to be a self-published author,” think, “I’m going to write the next 500 words of this novel.”

Start small. One little thing after another little thing. Until one day you’re where you dreamed of being and you don’t even remember getting there.

A day of plodding along

I’m having a day. Not a bad day, but a day at loose ends, and day in which I feel all over the place. Unhappy in what I’m doing but not sure what I should be doing. I want to do something different now; I want to pour it all into my writing; I want to do something different for work while I build this writing career that feels like a dream.

It’s hard to know what’s best — the smart thing or the fuck it who cares it’s what I want to do no matter what thing.

It’s days like this when my belief that the universe has my back, and that the reality that I dream of already exists, feels foggier. It’s hard not to get discouraged on days like this. To just feel overwhelmed, not know where to start, and despair of ever getting anywhere from not starting anything.

But then I think of what I might have done if I’d just plodded along doing something every day for the last ten years up to now, and it makes me feel better about just plodding along now, doing what I know feels right, every day, even if it feels like nothing.

 

universe

Setting small goals

I really wanted to participate in CampNaNoWriMo this April. Mostly on principle, since the last few rounds of NaNos I have whiffed it, and I miss the camaraderie and spirit of it, and the writing habit. Above all, I’ve been missing the writing habit.

I didn’t have a project yet, really, although over the first couple of months of 2019 I’ve been working on an outline for my vampire novel. An outline I was really liking, too. I felt like I was finally solving some plot points that had always bothered me, figuring out some character motivations. And even though, three days before Camp NaNo started, I decided to scrap most of that outline and start the novel in a completely different way that had come to me in a sudden flash of inspiration, the point is that I started, and I was excited about it.

writing person

But I decided right from the get go, as I was filling out my Camp profile and project, that I was going to use the flexibility of the Camp NaNo session to set a goal that was ridiculously small. One that didn’t’ even feel worth it, it was so small.

My goal for April Camp NaNo 2019 is 500 words per day. Or, 15,000 words in total. 

That feels so small, dude.

As someone who is a perpetual A-student and teacher’s pet, it goes against my nature to not set a goal at “perfection”. NaNo is technically 50,000 words, therefore even though it’s Camp and you can set whatever goal you want I should be aiming for 50K because that’s the “right” way to do it.

Nevermind the fact that I have a full and busy life and writing 1,667 words per day is fucking hard around everything else that wants a piece of my time. I’m the perfect student and I’ll just have to find a way to hit the perfect goal. I’m sure I can get up two hours early every day without fail to accomplish ALL THE THINGS.

Dude. When will I learn that life doesn’t work that way?

Well, I’m trying to learn it now. Because I’m trying a new tactic — setting a goal that feels stupidly small, one that feels ridiculously easy to accomplish, too easy, pointless. So that when my life happens and my energy flags and chores crop up uninvited, I have the space to still hit that ridiculously small goal and get that hit of pride that hey, I did the thing I said I would do. I’m annoyed and stressed out over other annoying bullshit in my life today, but hey, I hit my writing goal. GO ME!

roasting mallows

My favorite part of camp, obvs.

And that little hit of confidence will keep me going day after day. And it’s that consistency that will make things happen, not dreaming of big giant goals that you can’t hit and that drag you down with discouragement and depression.

Currently Reading: King’s Dragon by Kate Elliott; The Upside of Your Darkside by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener

Currently Watching: Season 7 of Star Trek Voyager; Forensic Files; The Gil Mayo Mysteries

Currently Writing: unnamed vampire novel, first draft

The reason I didn’t like my main character

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with my WIP since the beginning was not liking my Female Main Character (FMC) very much.

female character

I LOVE my Male Main Character (MMC), he’s a deviant and a sarcastic ass and I love him. I love my FMC in theory, but as soon as I start to set her down on the page, the story I’ve set for her turns her into a sort of weak-willed, stereotypical two-dimensional female character who has things happen to her and around her and is the plot point for the hero’s character arc, and I hate that. But, I do still want the story to revolve around her time as a captive of the main baddie, so, how to make this work?

I think it was while I was driving yesterday that it came to me — what would make her more interesting?

Funny how massive lightning strikes of like, basic common sense, come to us out of nowhere and seem so deep and profound. 😉

What I crave in my female characters, what I love about the ones I love, is their strength and their agency over their own stories regardless of whether they’re queens or slaves. And what I hated in my FMC was that she didn’t have any. She was sassy and snarky to match my MMC, but she had no agency. She was making no decisions about her own story. She was being told what to do and having the story happen around her and not because of her.

The flash of inspiration in the car showed me how to fix that. Up to now, she has been the human consort of our MMC vampire. She’s a hedonistic party girl, just like him, and she also functions as the lure for the humans the vampire feeds on every night. She does this willingly. But at the end of the day she’s also just a kept pet, a mistress in a gilded cage who in many ways lives at his mercy. And I wanted her to have more strength.

How to make her more interesting? What if, instead of just being a party girl who gets other women to party with her, she was overtly a madame. A freelance sexual coordinator. It would be quite a change from what she had been, but also totally in line with her character all along. It gives her agency over what she’s doing and more power to make choices over her own story.

In theory I liked the idea of her living as his kept mistress but in practice I realized it was making her a weak character, at least under my pen, and I think exploring this new idea will help me flesh her out into the character I want and need her to be.

questions

What are your favorite things about female characters in stories you’ve read? What are things that you hate? Does your character have any of the traits you can’t stand? If so, how can you shake things up?

I’m a writer.

Books are probably my favorite things ever.

My name is Kate, Katie to my friends, and I’m a writer. I write fantasy, made-up history, and smut, for the most part. I’m a glutton for the BBC and desserts and prone to spontaneous fits of geekery.

This is where I talk about my writing life; my own personal adventure, my epic quest to make a magically successful career out of the words I write and the stories that live in my head.

I’ve committed myself to myself, finally. Ever since I was a little girl, writing stories was all I really wanted to do. But, as happens, I let fears dressed as “being realistic” stop me from pursuing this dream for far too long. So here I am, telling that little girl that the dream IS worthy of pursuit, and that there is magic at her fingertips if she would only close her eyes and breathe.

archway

If you’re a writer too, welcome. If you’re a reader, an adventure lover, a seeker of truth and beauty, come and raise a cup. I don’t have all the answers, I’m an apprentice here just beginning my journey to the top of the mountain. But we can learn together, laugh over mistakes (hopefully), and embrace the process.

The writing life is more like an epic quest than any other profession I can think of and I’m ready to dive in, my bag of needments in hand.

To all of you along your own adventures, happy writing!