Monday, January 25, 2010



One of the last posts before I went blog-silent was on minimizing my goals due to less free time.  It was about cutting back.  In these times, with this economy, who doesn't know about cutting back?  You cut out splurge items.  You make do with what you have; you make it last longer or you buy a cheap substitute.  You save by eliminating wants and pleasure items.  And you feel the loss.  I felt it when I cut my writing goals, and part of me rebelled at the loss:  I haven't done a thing toward my writing goals that were left. 

You see, that was because I was focusing on the loss, not the gains, I was focusing on something out of my control affecting what I wanted to control.  What I need is a shift in my thinking.  I can't change my situation, but I can change my perspective.  Instead of just cutting down on my dreams, I am going to change them. 

I had wanted to write weekly articles to help my fellow writers and learn a new craft.  After my work situation changed, I decided the amount of articles had to be far fewer.  But with a shift in focus, instead of less, I can do more . . .  of a different kind.  After all, motivational podcasts are helping me get through this high stress period with a smile on my face.  Why not share what I gain from them by writing my own motivations for writers?

I had wanted to fill my Thursdays and Fridays with Test Drives and Book Learning sessions.  Things changed and I decided I couldn't do anything more than dissect a single novel in a six month period.  And what about going through a whole reference book and creating a course of study based off it?  Forget about it.  But with a shift of focus, I can find things to analyze--like the TV show I hate to miss each week.  I can create lessons--based off a single technique a book talks about, a book I am reading snippets from anyway.

I had wanted to finish and submit an entire novel to a literary agency; then I decided I better focus on just completing a draft.  But what if I chose not to write less this year, but focus on writing more.  More of what I want to write, not what I should write.  Forget the trends and market, focus on fiction that satisfies my creative urges while keeping my skills sharp.  The results can still be shared--as free fiction, a traditionally marketable item, or a self-published work.

Basically, instead of focusing on what to cut back, what I have to lose due to circumstances beyond my control, I am focusing on what I can change for the better.  The way I see it, I'm not losing anything--I'm gaining so much more.


Reveille is a wake up call.  It means "to awaken, to wake up", but it ultimately derives from Latin meaning "be awake, keep watch".  Let inspiration awake something inside you, and then be vigilant on what you are doing with your new awareness.  In this case, we are in the month of goal setting for so many writers and so often life interferes with your best laid plans.  What are you doing to keep the heart of your writing goals intact even if life changes?  Need some more advice?  Check out the companion piece to this very article, now posted to my webpage.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Changes, They Are Here

I may be starting small, but I hope I am building up to something big.  I'm starting with Mondays.  Why?  It harkens back to when I was little and a school-mate polled the class for an assignment.  She asked, "What is your favorite day?"  I, and I alone, said Wednesday.  Why?  Because Wednesdays mean the week is half over, and to me, the week started and still starts to this day on Monday.  More so now than ever when I only have one full day off a week.  So to make it through the week, Mondays need to borrow a little something from hump-day Wednesdays or gratitude-inspiring Fridays.  For me, that is motivational pieces.  Starting tomorrow, I will post my own inspirational pieces for writers, trying to turn the dreaded Monday into a motivated one.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Changes, They Are A' Coming

For the next week or two, this blog is undergoing renovation.  I've been stung by the inspiration-bug (again) and I hoping as a result of this downtime this blog and my website will come back stronger than ever.

Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bad News, Good News

The Good News, I definitely have job security for about half the year for sure.  Someone went out on maternity leave about a month or two early, and so I'm going to have to do about 15 hours overtime a week until a temp comes in helps alleviate the situation a little.  Which will get worse before it gets better, since we have to train the temp too.

The Bad News, that means basically my writing and blogging life is going to be cut down to the bare minimum.  I thought about it, and until I get back to my normal schedule of 40 hours a week, this blog will have to be a little more sporadic.  First off, Test Drives are suspended until further notice and in a way, it's a good thing.  I have different ideas for Test Drives, one idea being a way to make it not so time consuming, and so when it comes back, I'm starting fresh.

Second, Monday Link posts may not be every Monday, but I am aiming for at least two Mondays a month.

Wednesdays I planned on posting snippets, progress, or exercises or explorations with my characters and novels.  That will still happen, but instead of every Wednesday, it will likely be a random Wednesday, when the mood hits or I have a really cool snippet to post.

Thursdays will still be my fiction reading and deconstruction schedule, but it will be at much slower pace.

And writing?  Well, I had plans on writing a lot fiction, as you can see from the New Year's post.  Well, now that has changed.  My main goal is to get one novel submitted and some shorter length fiction done.  Articles will be also much more scarce.

But keeping my Thursday and some semblance of my writing goals is needed for my sanity.

Well, that's it so far.  Wish me luck over the next few months, I'll need it.

Book Learning #1: Novel Choice

Yesterday, I posted about my intention to start a fiction reading and learning program for myself.  I said I'd pick a book by today.  So, what is the book I picked?

Well, since I have been into writing vampire fiction of late, why not have vampires for reading as well.  So, the novel up for Book Learning, Session #1, is Quenched by Mary Ann Mitchell.

I have already begun reading.  Where am I currently?  Well, I'm done with chapter two.  I'll post about my opinions thus far on this book on Thursday, Jan 7th.

New Years Goals

This year, I want to get things written.  Towards that end, I joined a Rejection/Acceptance Contest.

My New Year's Goals are thus:

  • Submit one novel to agents.
  • Finish four short stories this year.
  • Post twelve writing articles this year to my website.
  • Read and deconstruct three novels this year--more about that in another post.
  • Complete three Test Drives--see this post.

Let's see how well that works out.

So, what are your writing goals for this year?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Learning

I'm a firm believer in continuing education.  When you can't afford writing workshops or programs, you do it yourself.  Some of the best advice I heard was to read a book and learn how the author made it work.  So, that is exactly what I am going to do.  Not only will it get me reading fiction regularly, but I will be learning at the same time.

My plan is to read the book with minimal stopping for note taking.  Then I go back, chapter by chapter and analyze the book.  Discover how it works.  In doing so, however, my posts will be rather spoiler-heavy, I am afraid.

These posts I plan to keep on Thursdays.  Today or tomorrow, I'll post my book choice and on the 7th, I'll give an update on my progress.  I welcome your responses to the book, as well.

Link-a-Week: Steampunk, Part I

Link-a-Day Mondays have changed.   Now there is a monthly theme.  This month?  Steampunk. What is steampunk? Well Wikipedia classifies it as fiction
"set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date."

Interesting, huh?

Anyway, the first steampunk links this month are are blogs:


Friday, January 1, 2010

Hiatus Continued

Due to some unexpected delays, Chiaroscuro House blog will return on Monday, Jan 4 instead of today. Sorry about that.