Tuesday 21 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 7 .... Kind of

RIP Phyllis Diller. 
No one rocked the rainbow feather dress better!
[Photo by Allan warren]
I bet you thought I forgot all about this little habit-building journey I was on, didn't you?  Well, I didn't -- I just ended up taking a little break.

My day-job sent me across the country last week, and even though I had all good intentions to write while I was away, the job kept me going from early morning until late at night.  I did manage to haul my butt off to a Denny's at 5:30am the first day I was there and wrote for 45 minutes (yay!) ... but after that I tanked.  No writing at all!  And taking the red-eye back home didn't help me over the weekend.

But I'm back to it ... and this morning I got up early to write.  Got derailed by laundry and then drove to the day-job telling myself I would make sure I wrote before I started the day-job.

And I did!  I worked on my query letter for forty-five minutes today (much, much harder than it looks when you read other people's letters, isn't it??).

So writing successful at least for today.  Now off to Day 8 ....

Friday 10 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 6

Schmidt and CeCe from New Girl
celebrating my successful week!
Woohoo!! I hit 965 words in the last session.  I'm very, very happy with that and I got through the hard part - the kiss!  Now I just need to tie this scene up, clean up the rough edges, and send it onto my crit partners.  Yay!!

My new habit is designed for weekdays only.  I alwasys feel a lot of pressure to write every day, but I also know I need some breaks, so I've decided to give myself weekends off.  And since I was pretty good at writing this week - not great, but good - I'm going to count this week as a success!!

Thanks for all the 'pump-me-up' messages.  Looking forward to enjoying my wine tonight!  See you Monday!

Thursday 9 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 5

The classic 'kiss with a leg lift' ... I give them a 15.8 for
[Photo by Ohcaroliiina]
I wrote last night!   432 words.  Not the 750 I wanted, but I'm happy with 432.   I'm working on a scene where my characters kiss, and admittedly I'm lousy at these scenes.  They aren't my strong suit and I find them excruciating to write.  Thinking about them in my head?  All good.  But writing them down is painful.

One of my critique partners, Anne MacFarlane, is really, really good at love scenes.  They look effortless when she does them, but when I write them I seem to focus too much on the mechanical parts and it feels so clunky.  I *should* practice them on a regular basis and then they probably wouldn't feel so foreign to me, but I think I'll tackle that once I've got this habit down.

Have also been thinking about the time of day I'm writing.  Building a habit is about making it so routine that you don't even think about it anymore.  I'm moving my writing times around a lot, so I think I need to find a time where it's consistent.  Might move it to the morning next week to test it out.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 4

My well-flossed teeth. 
Okay, Day 4 did not go very well.

I didn't write.  Anything.   I had to stay late at work for meetings (didn't get home until 10:00pm) and then I was too zonked too write.  Admittedly, I watched TV instead of getting home and going right up to my office, but this habit-building stuff isn't going to be easy, right?

Normally, if I miss a goal I pile all the work up onto the next day and then feel so overwhelmed by it I find excuses not to do it.  But I'm not going to do that to myself.

If I miss a day of writing, I miss it.  I don't need to make it up the next day, I just need to make sure the next day I sit my butt in the chair and write. 

It's like flossing my teeth.  I have a good habit in place where I floss my teeth every weekday while I'm brushing in the morning.  Sometimes I'm rushed and I skip the flossing, but I don't floss my teeth twice the next day to make up for it.   And I have a great set of teeth (mostly thanks to my orthodontist - 4 years of braces - that's a lot of braces!).  I must be doing some things right!

So tonight, back to it!!

Tuesday 7 August 2012

6 Things You Can Do to Help Support Authors

How do you stand out among this crowd??
[Photo by Raysonho@Open Grid Scheduler]
I love my writing friends and want to support them, but I'll be honest, I haven't always known the best way to help them out when they've released their babies into the world ...

Author  Shawna Romkey posted the following blog post about a month ago and it sums up all the things you can do to support your fave authors.  Hope you find it as useful as I did!!  (As a side note, Kobo is the name of an e-reader we use in Canada ... so it might be a new word for you) :)

Do you have an author you love, like, are a fan of or just want to plain old support? These are the six things you can do to help them out.

1. Like their book. Find their book on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads and “like” it. The more “likes” a book has, the more “like”ly it is to sell. If no one has liked it, a potential buyer may not want to try it.

2. Tag the book. On Amazon.com you have the ability to add “tags” to the book. If you scroll down past the reviews, you’ll find “tags.” What tags do is show keywords that the book is about, so someone looking for a book on dogs might type in the word “dogs.” If your friend has written a book on dogs, add the keyword “dogs” to their tags. That makes their book more likely to come up in a search of that word. If your friend has written a romance, add the tag “romance.” If it is about “vampires” you can add that, as well as whatever else comes to mind: “horror,” “paranormal,” “gothic” etc… Add the author’s name. Add any other titles the author has written. Add whatever you can think that’s relevant. The more tags, the more searchable the book will be.

3. Review the book. Reviews sell books, plain and simple. Give the book a read, go to the big 4 sites I mentioned above (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads) and review it or rate it. The review doesn’t have to be perfect. You aren’t writing it for your high school English teacher. It can just be a few lines about why you liked it. Try to avoid giving spoilers in a review.

4. Share the book on Facebook. Share your review after you’ve written it. I know on Amazon that option pops up for you to post your review on FB. If you can, Share it. If your author friend posts it on FB, share it to your list.

5. Tweet it. Just like sharing above, except for Twitter. You are given the option to tweet your review after you do so. Do it. Tweet it. Retweet your friend’s posting of it.

6. Pin it. The new social media giant on the block is Pinterest. It’s number three, right behind Facebook and Twitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet and are bored and have nothing to do, take a look. If you are a busy person, don’t because you’ll become addicted and never get anything done. Go to one of the big sites mentioned above and Pin your friend’s book. Their book will end up in the massive Pinterest feed for hundreds of thousands of people to see, and those people will be able to Re-pin it.

Those are the 6 things you can do to help out your author friends. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Goodreads are the big 4 sites you can go to for their books and to post ratings and reviews. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are the big 3 social media outlets out there to help spread the word.

Building a New Habit: Day 3

Inspiration for my "Kennedy's" inspired story. 
Now I just need to write it ...
[Photo by gdcgraphics] 
I'm a day behind on my Day 3 entry.  I did end up writing yesterday (went to a write-in with my pal Tory Leblanc), but it was slow going.

I didn't have a computer so had to write long-hand, and I'm not very good with that.  My brain is trying to write much faster than my hand wants to move, so I  find it's a tedious way for me to write.  I need a computer otherwise it seems like a waste of time to me.

I've also decided that just writing isn't going to be enough here -- I need to have a clear goal in mind for each session, so I'm aiming for 750 words each time.    I'll try to get one of those word count links on the side so I can keep track of how I'm doing ... but for now I'll probably just include it in my blog post.

And because this post was fairly boring today I'm uploading a photo of Aaron Eckhart.  For no other reason than I think he's hot ...

Friday 3 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 2

My writing partner.  She doesn't contribute many good ideas but she
does like to take breaks to look up old boyfriends on Facebook.
(Photo by Davide Restivo)
Okay, Day 1 was HARD!  As soon as I wrote my blog post I pretty much convinced myself that I'd done enough work for one day and then shut down my Microsoft Word and started to check out movie trailers on IMDB (thank God Joseph Gordon-Levitt makes so many movies - my perfect Beta dream man ...).

It took a lot of "inner goddess" to convince me to actually write (sorry, couldn't help the 50 Shades reference since everyone seems to hate E.L. James, while I think "good for her ... she's writing what she likes and she's selling!").  And I DID write.  At first I just skimmed over the last 5 pages I wrote a few weeks ago, mumbled the words "wow, that sucks!" out loud, and then reminded myself that everyone thinks their writing sucks and convinced myself to keep my committment.

And I'm glad I did - I walked away feeling great that I tackled some pages, edited some old ones and even did scene caps for tonight ... which I'm about to use in a few short minutes.

So Day 1 was successful and with a glass of wine in my hand I have no doubt that Day 2 will be as well.

Habit officially begun!!!

Thursday 2 August 2012

Building a New Habit: Day 1

I remember the days when blogging used to be used as an online journal.   I haven't used it as a journal in a long time - now I just use it to write fun posts like what movie I want to see (I don't know why, but Total Recall is grabbing me), or what guy I think is hot (um, okay, Colin Farrell).

My shiny kitchen sink.
I haven't used it as an online journal in a very long time.

But I have to make some changes since I haven't been writing a lot these days.  And true confession:  I've never successfully made writing a habit that sticks.  Regularly.  I know I shouldn't say this out loud - I mean an agent or editor might read this and pass me over, right?  But I have got to find a way to make writing a regular habit - where I write consistently day after day after day.  And maybe even, gasp! - look forward to it!

I recently read Sink Reflections, which is also a habit changing book - albeit about housework.  I have a fairly clean house, but I've never been great at keeping it that way day-to-day.  I'm usually a 'clean it all up on the weekend, and watch it get messy through the week' kind of girl.

The first thing the author of Sink Reflections tells you to do is clean your sink.  Nothing else, just the sink.  She swears it works! So, I spent about an hour cleaning it up, and you know what?  It's actually made a difference.   I stick to her "clutter hotspots" rule, where every night I clean up the places that attract clutter.  It only takes about 10 minutes a night, and my house has been clean consistently for about a month.

If I can change my housework patterns, I'm sure I can change my writing patterns.   Which is what I'm trying to do today.

For the next 2 weeks I'm going to blog every day, at approximately the same time, and then I'm going to go write.  Worst case, it doesn't work ... but I'm going to try to be optimistic.

Fingers crossed!