Confessions of a Book Blogger: Why I haven't finished a single book yet this year.

bloggraphicOk… this blog was originally intended to be a book blog- a place where I could review and talk about books.

As of late, my intentions for this blog has taken a bit of a turn, a veer in a related (but different) direction.

In fact it’s the end of January and I have yet to finish reading one single book this year. At first I was kind of ashamed. I am a lover of books and reading, but my focus has been elsewhere. It’s been on the book I’m writing.

I’ve tried to read a couple of books lately. And they were both very good.

But they still sit on my night stand with a book mark in the middle, abandoned. They stare at me every morning when I flip on the light and say “Oh me! Pick me!” before I roll over to go to sleep every night. I feel guilty that I haven’t finished them.

Reading slump??? I don’t think I would call it that.

For me it’s more like a change of focus. I’m having a hard time focusing on the book I’m reading for any length of time before I start daydreaming about my own novel. Sometimes a break from my own writing and the world I’ve created is a needed and welcome thing. Other times it’s difficult.

While I will still be reading books, I may only post one or two reviews a month (more if I read something that I really enjoy), until I need a break from writing.

Have any of you felt like this before?

Do you think I should change the name and such for this blog to reflect that it is more about writing now?

My writing process- Brainstorming

Lately I’ve had writing on the brain. So much so that I’ve yet to finish reading a book so far this year.

*hangs head in shame*

Anyway, since I’ve been writing so much, I’ve been thinking a lot about my process in an attempt to make it more efficient and less stressful for me.

And I thought I would talk with all of you, to see what works for you. Maybe I could take bits and pieces of your ideas and create something that helps me focus more. For most people, their writing process begins with brainstorming. I’m no exception to that rule. So let’s start there.

my writing process- brainstorming

http://www.carolinemadethis.com/2014/07/30/lets-start-at-the-very-beginning/

http://www.carolinemadethis.com/2014/07/30/lets-start-at-the-very-beginning/

For me, brainstorming is a very general process.

I usually something in mind that I want to build a story around. It starts general, and moves towards something more specific until I have a setting, character, genre, etc., that I want to build a novel or story around. Even then, the specifics don’t often come to me until later.

Mind mapping is often what helps me go from general to specific details.

Starting with an idea or two, I branch out and find/create more specific details about the idea and try to discover connections between them. What fits together? What would help create a world? What character traits can I use? Sometimes more than one mind-map is useful as things get more specific and break down into smaller parts.

Listing is usually the other way I go about brainstorming.

Similar to mind mapping, this generally consists of me writing down things. It’s not unusual for those things to make absolutely no sense at all whatsoever. Even to me. This method is often how I come up with ideas for blog posts as well as story ideas. It allows me to go through and find ideas that I can combine, or further develop.

Some people do all of this on the computer, but I find that for me hand-writing everything is the best way to organize my thoughts. There is something about scrawling ideas on paper that really helps me to focus, or find ideas buried in my mind.

 

Check out the post I wrote for NaNoWriMo on Brainstorming.

 

What is your brainstorming process like?

Do you have an ongoing (and constantly growing) list of ideas? Do you come up with ideas one-by-one (that’s usually how it works for me)?

How do you keep everything organized?

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday

whatimreadingandwritingwednesday

Hello there. What’s up everyone? How goes it?

It’s time for What I’m Reading & Writing Wednesday! Let’s see how much I’m slacking this week (yikes).

What I’m Reading…

Half-BadNothing really. I still haven’t finished Half Bad even though I have read a couple more chapters. It’s a good book, I’m just being a slacker. Most of my focus has been on my writing. If I want to reach my goal of reading 50 books this year I have to get on that— and soon.

What I’m Writing…

I am about half-way through writing Chapter 20 of The Girl and the Glass Coffin. I hope to finish that one this week and move onto Chapter 21. We’re getting to the really exciting part of my novel, which i am really excited to revise and write. It shall be good times.

I haven’t been too great about writing for one hour each day like I wrote about last week, but I am writing something each day (even if it is for only 20 minutes to a half an hour). My computer at home is our of commission, so I have to borrow Matt’s if I want to get anything done. Most of my work is hand-written nowadays and then hurriedly typed up at work when I have a moment.

What I’m Up To…

Roller derby is kicking my ass. Hard. But it’s so much fun and the group of girls I am training with are really nice. It’s wonderful to have met new people and made new friends, especially because I am usually more of an introvert.

I’m also crocheting a lot again to make money to pay for my derby gear. Fun times.

What are you reading and/or writing this week?

Also, what are some topics that you would like to see me blog about, either reading or writing related? I need inspiration!

I hope that you have a happy week of reading!

 

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday!

whatimreadingandwritingwednesdayHello friends, it’s time to recap what I am reading and writing this week! What I’m Reading and Writing Wednesday is my spin on Miz B’s WWW Wednesday.

I’m not going to lie to you. I have sucked at reading this year. At least I’m almost done with My True Love Gave to me. I only have one more story left, Laini Taylor’s The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer. I am the most excited for this one. I adore Laini Taylor’s writing.

What I am reading now…

Half-BadHalf Bad by Sally Green. I picked this up yesterday while I was waiting for practice, so I am only a couple of chapters in, but it is really interesting so far. The writing style takes some getting used to. I’m not used to reading in 2nd person, but I’m liking it.

What I Will Read Next…

Not sure yet. I always plan to read something in particular and it never happens that way.

What I’m Writing…

Chapter 19 of The Girl in the Glass Coffin!!! This will be a completely new chapter, so I’m taking my time and trying to make it as good as I can before sending it to my Critique Partners.

What I’m Up To…

I joined roller derby yesterday. No lie! Yesterday was our first practice and I am feeling it today but I’m still very excited for the next practice on Friday!!!

Other than that— work, my crochet mood blanket, and trying to keep up with housework.

 

What are you reading and/or writing this week?

Top 10 2014 Releases I Didn't Get to Read

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme brought to us by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is Top Ten 2014 releases that I meant to read, but didn’t get to. I read quite a bit in 2014, but with awesome books constantly being published, me wanting to catch up with other books, and being exposed to so many other releases via my blog I didn’t read many 2014 releases. Here are some that I need to (and want to read this year).

10. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landlinegrey-1-e1381519474537-300x441I love Rowell’s books, and I really want to read this one this year. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it.

9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

17378508This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014, and I still haven’t read it. Luckily, the colder months of the year are perfect for catching up.

8. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

51X-zyaZMRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I love retellings! So when I saw that there was a retelling of the Wizard of Oz, I knew I had to read it… except I haven’t yet.

7. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

3123874This seems like a great, intriguing read. I love a good mystery, and haven’t read one in a while.

6. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

20613470This whole series was on my TBR in 2014. Never happened.

5. Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke

17788889I love Kelsey Macke’s Youtube Channel and hearing about her process of writing and publishing this novel. It will be one that I pick up in 2015.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

cityofheavenlyfiresI’ve read the whole Mortal Instruments series so far, just waiting to get my hands on this one to complete it.

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

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Twins, their closeness, and their ability to communicate with one another has always fascinated me.

2. Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

14061957I still haven’t read Siege and Storm, but I want to re-read the first book and marathon the whole trilogy.

1. Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

BLOOD_OF_O_final_cvrThis was my most anticipated book of 2014… and I still haven’t read it. I own it and still haven’t read it. *hangs head in shame*

 

Basically, I have to stop slacking off. I have a lot of reading and catching up to do in 2015.

Monday Musings- Creating a Writing Routine

One thing that NaNoWriMo really helps me with is creating a daily writing routine. As a writer, I understand the importance of writing something every single day (or at least working on my WIP in some way).

tumblr_m8vonhz5Ql1rn95k2o1_500But how do you continue a writing routine after the schedule and pressure of NaNoWriMo is over?

This is just one of the things I’ve struggled with since coming back from the holiday crazy time where I think I wrote/revised one chapter in my novel.

I didn’t focus on my writing for one whole month. That routine that I developed in October and November went ka-put. Now that I am working on TGGC again, I need a new writing routine. Otherwise I will never get anything done.

It takes about 30 days to make something a habit. My goal is to write or work on my novel for at least one hour a day for the next 30 days.

How am I going to do this?

1. Use a calendar

  • Mark days where I work for 1 hour
  • Mark when I work for more than 1 hour
  • Set weekly writing goals for myself.
    • Word Counts
    • Chapters revised or written (usually I shoot for 2).

2. Set aside separate time for blogging and a separate spot in my notebook/document on my computer

  • Blogging is very important to me, but it can distract me from other things that need to be done.

3. Reward myself for a job well done

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  • For example- Did I go 1 whole week achieving my goal of 1 hour per day?
    • Did I hit my word count or chapter goal?
  • I will let myself go on an extra long walk or something that will help to replenish my energy and creativity.

4. Make my document full screen

  • So I can;’t see when an email pops up or someone Facebook messages me. Biggest distractions ever.

5. Put my phone in the other room

  • If someone needs to get ahold of me, they can wait an hour.

 

What is your writing routine? What do you do to eliminate distractions? Let’s chat!!!

How Amanda Got Her Groove Back

Secondary Title: Why am I living where the air hurts my face?

http://depressedalien.com/143

http://depressedalien.com/143

No really, that is what I am asking myself right now. It’s been a very cold and snowy week here in Oswego, New York. Temperatures are pretty far below zero with the wind chill and everyone just wants to stay indoors.

What are some perfect things to do when the weather is crappy like this???

Write, write, write, read, drink hot cocoa. Hide under the blankets. Try to blog (and mostly fail).

Yup, sounds very much like me.

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about my writer’s block. To me it felt more like a creative block altogether (I didn’t want to crochet, read, or do anything that I consider to be a creative outlet). After writing a completely new and different novel for NaNoWriMo 2014, I was having difficulty getting back into the swing of revisions and felt pretty crappy about that.

I was honestly thinking about giving up on The Girl in the Glass Coffin altogether.

Even though I’d spent over a year working on it. Even though it’s something that I really wanted to finish, to try to get published. My critique partner, Megan was encouraging me to get new material to her, but I was still in the steampunk world of Lucinda Compton.

Thankfully, Diana contacted me when she did and offered to be a second CP for me, and after tweaking my first couple of chapters and sending them to her, I got my groove back.

Sometimes all it takes is getting a fresh perspective on your own book. I’ve read each and every chapter of each draft of TGGC at least a hundred times. I’ve poured over them, crossing things out (sentences, paragraphs, sometimes even whole pages) and re-writing and revising. My eyes and brain were tired. I didn’t see where the issues or snags in my story were.

After NaNoWriMo, I went back to Chapter 1 and read through all of draft 3 all over again (more than once) and I just wasn’t feeling it. I had new chapters to write to fill in the gaps of where my last draft left off and wasn’t getting inspired to continue.

But the help and encouragement that Megan and Diana have given me inspired me to keep going. I’ve written two entirely new chapters since, and Diana is almost completely caught up with the chapters that I’ve already revised.

Having someone to help keep your accountable for your writing makes all the difference.

It also doesn’t hurt when you have a break from your own writing to read theirs and help them.

Trading chapters with these two lovely ladies has pushed me out of my slump and gotten me writing again. Yay! Thanks guys. You rock!

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