Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I am visiting you from my sabbatical (which is going wonderfully, by the way; I've been able to complete a project, and am working towards adding to others, and it's been awesome to have this time). I wanted to share something with you that I've been thinking about for a while, and that is really important to me.
I'll admit it: I have a hard time asking for help. But, I also know that we all need help sometimes. And so I've been hard at work at starting a fund on GoFundMe for electronics for publishing and art.
I have plenty of plans set in place, and things I would like to do in the future to continue to inspire others, and help fellow artists. This campaign was originally for more than just this one thing, but for now I am narrowing my focus. Right now, this is my most pressing need.
I love sharing here on the blog, and writing my stories, and sharing my artwork. I love to help other writers and creatives, and to inspire my readers. Creativity, for me, is what I can give to others, what I want to share and spread to the world.
But I need your help. I can't do everything I hope to do without new materials, and most pressing right now is a new laptop (mine finally croaked at almost 10 years old, and I've been using an old tablet to try and write, edit, and so forth). I am also shooting for a new tablet, one I can use to create digital art, to make sharing with fans easier and quicker.
If you enjoy the posts here, and if you enjoy my books and art, please consider donating to help me get the equipment I need to continue to bring good stories, good inspiration, and smiles to others. And if you can't donate at this time, then please help me to spread the word. It would mean the world!
Here is the link: www.gofundme.com/CreativeImpact
Thank you so much! God bless! See you in May.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Christmas is drawing ever nearer! I hope you're as excited and expectant as I am. I hope your day is one filled with love, appreciation, and good times with family and friends.
Also, a happy early New Year! 2017 is set to bring great things!
I will be taking a leave from my blog (and the internet) starting today...though there's more about that below.
First, though: thank you all again for traveling with me on my journey this year! I hope you are well and are looking forward to the New Year to come. Don't ever doubt that you're wonderful, and that there's something awesome in store for your life. Keep moving forward, and bringing new light to the world!
2017 Writing Goals ~
I've been thinking about my writing goals for 2017 -- I guess I should really say my creative goals.
My goals for 2016 were: to let my creativity lead me; to write some of the "weird" stories I had been planning; to say hello to old stories; to really just enjoy my writing process.
I think I've managed most of those this year, and I'm very proud. I still am learning and changing, but I'm not afraid of writing what needs to be written anymore, and taking my time on works. It's difficult sometimes, with our world that likes to rush, but I'm learning the importance of letting things be, and being with them.
My word for last year (if you're curious about words for the year, click here) was "forward", and that fit 2016 perfectly. I've discovered my word for 2017 is "cheers", and I'm excited to see what that means.
This next year, I really want to focus on giving things my all: writing, drawing, creating of every kind. There are plenty of new things I want to try, and I want to work at being more creative in implementing my ideas. I also want to reach out to my fellow readers and writers more, hopefully with some new ventures that are in store.
Which leads to...
2017 Sabbatical (Until The End Of May)
No, don't worry, I'm not taking a year off!
I like to take the first few months of the year and the summer "off" of the internet and my blog. It helps me to refresh and refocus, but with the work I've been doing and the things I've been noticing, I realize that this time I need more time.
I have a lot of things I am working on and am preparing for next year, and I need time in which to focus on them. I prefer the term "sabbatical" to "holiday", because it has a more spiritual context -- and so does my leave. I'm taking off to focus both on myself and my writing.
What is in store for 2017? I can't say too much yet, but I can say it's exciting. I'm working on some new projects, a work to query, a new avenue for Shadows of Past Pages, artwork, and more. All I can say is that it's worth the wait (promise!).
I will be taking off the blog through May 23rd, when I will be posting a check-in post to say hello and update all of you on how the year is fairing! I also hope to post the 2017 Drawing of the Year then. I'm not sure if I'll be taking the summer off too or not, but I will know by then.
Until May, I wish you all happy days, inspiration, and peace in your travels.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you're all enjoying your Holiday season. I'm excited for Christmas as always, and have been up to my ears in wrapping and gift-giving (not that I would have it any other way).
As the New Year (2017 already?!?) draws closer, I try to reflect, as always, on what made this year special. I am so blessed to have wonderful people in my life to walk with me on my journey, and I thank God for them every day.
I also thank Him for my journey, and the twists and turns it takes. If this year has made me think about anything, it's the need to be appreciative of our obstacles, because they only serve to make us stronger.
So...without further ado, I present: 2016 In Review!
This year I completed my first quarter of a century, and I've had many ups and downs, as has my family, but things are looking up and we are finding our way together.
I went back to writing on the computer after at least a year of writing solely by hand. For anyone struggling with writing, I definitely recommend notebooks for at least a little while. It really helped me reconnect with my stories and myself as a scribe.
My style has really changed this year, but I'm learning to embrace the change rather than be wary of it. Change is good, and it leads us to new places! Don't be afraid of your own, personal story!
Also, don't be afraid to speak out, or to try things that might sound crazy. You never know what those wacky ideas will bring you. My favorite innovators were known for trying weird ideas, and I want to be known for that, too.
Follow your heart, wherver it leads!
The first notable thing this year (as far as my writing and publishing life) was the rewriting of my website. I really enjoyed putting together the Story Vault, for readers to see some past ideas.
Back in early 2016 or late 2015, I joined an online writing group, and was able to learn quite a bit about inspiring other writers from the experience. This spawned my blog post "Christians, It's Okay To Write Fantasy", which I'm very proud of, and the message of which is very important to me.
As a side note to the blog post above, I also wrote a post entitled "Diverse Books: Writing About The Different Loves", another thing that is very important to me. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and I was happy to put the spotlight on this other aspect of it that doesn't seem to get enough light.
Next in my year was the posting of a free short story, "The Origin Of Tears", the first of a series of original fairy tales I have been working on. It was fun to write, and is quite special to me. If you haven't read it yet, please enjoy!
Possibly my biggest personal success for this year, in April I finished penning the rewrite of one of my most beloved stories, (now) entitled Shadows of Past Pages.
In a moment of truth, I realized that it was, in fact, the first full-length novel I had written in 3 years, and also the first I had typed in quite some time. I still can't get over how much I love this book...and don't worry, we haven't seen the last of it (for our review, or in real life!).
In May, I released the last book in my first completed series (yay!), entitled Beauty Beheld. This is a series of shorts retelling Beauty and the Beast, and I released the last book on National Teachers Day, in honor of my friend, who works so hard as a teacher to enrich the lives of kids (and who happens to love, love, love fairy tales).
For the summer, I took off the internet, as I typically do. But first I was able to do a writing workshop at Barnes and Noble for their first ever teen bookfest!
That was such a fun and thrilling event, and I met some wonderful budding writers. You never know how your inspiration or support will help someone!
Coming back in August, I wrote a little about working towards your own definition of success, not everyone else's -- and also about not comparing yourself to other (writers) -- two things I struggle with. I think that getting my feelings out has helped me in these areas, and hopefully helped someone else, too.
For those of you who were following (and thank you!), back in September I started posting chapters of Shadows of Past Pages here on my website for readers. I wanted to try something new, maybe a little bit crazy, and see how it worked.
Unfortunately, it didn't work exactly as I wanted, and I decided to go with another idea of mine instead. It's important to be flexible! In late September I wrote about how I wasn't giving up on my story -- and I'm not, as I'll tell you a bit more about next post (sneak peek: it's a secret). This time in my writing life has taught me to seek what I really want, even if it's a little crazy or seems impossible.
I've also learned that dreams change, and so we have to be aware of our own hearts and where we are being lead.
October was an extremely busy month for me, and full of amazing things!
Not only did I finish my first-ever Inktober with the amount of drawings I intended to do (you can see some here), but I also celebrated my 6th publishing anniversary!
Another special thank you to everyone who has supported, and continues to support, me. You're all amazing!
Also in October I released some NaNo Prep posts (with worksheets!), and published the next to last story in the Snowflake Triplet, The Tale of Wind and Winter!
I completed my first NaNoWriMo in several years, and posted a blog post about what I learned in the beginning of December.
Followed by a new Snowflake Triplet coloring page, and a Snowflake Triplet reading guide, the year is all wrapped and pretty like a Christmas present!
Thank you for journeying back through the year with me! It's been a long, learning year and I feel like I've come so far. Thank you all for walking the path with me, and sharing your thoughts! I'm excited for 2017!
Coming Thursday: Writing Goals For 2017, Merry
What has your year been like? What major changes have you made, and obstacles have you overcome? What excites you most about 2017?
So, recently I had a reader ask me which order the Snowflake Triplet books flow in. And while I've done my best to post the order on my affiliate sites, and here on my website, I thought it would be fun to go a little deeper into why the order is, well, the order.
Please enjoy the post, and don't forget to download your FREE copy of Clara Claus and The Christmas Wish! Happy Christmas!
Read #1: Clara Claus
Clara Claus is where the story really starts, and where you will be introduced into my world of Winter and Immortals.
Published originally in 2010 (paperback exclusive, at the time), Clara Claus was my first released book, and continues to be both a fan favorite, and an author favorite.
The cover was redesigned come 2012 (if I remember correctly), adding the hints of red and green.
Read #0.5 / #2: The Christmas Wish
A while back, I had a reader suggest the best way to begin the series is to read the first half of The Christmas Wish before Clara Claus, then the second half of TCW after.
While my favorite is reading CC first, I think this is also a good way to read the series, as the first half of TCW takes place before Clara Claus.
TCW was spawned from a mistake of mine: I forgot to tell Jack when Clara's birthday is! I knew I had to write about that.
Read #3: North of Perfect
North of Perfect is one of my favorite bits of the series, and it introduces the character Holly, who makes her first (official) appearance in The Tale of Wind and Winter.
This short was originally a paperback exclusive, contained in Clara Claus, but when I realized that Holly would become a big part of the last book in the series, Clara Frost, I knew I had to release it as an ebook, too, for my ebook-favoring readers to enjoy.
Read #4: Sugar Plum Dreams
Sugar Plum Dreams is a novella that tells the backstory of the Sugar Plum Fairy (and some other characters besides...like the "original" Jack Frost).
It also marks the first appearance of the series' villain, Eclipse.
SPD is an odd book, and not exactly what I was expecting to write, but I'm really happy to have penned it, especially since it introduced me to Eclipse. It mostly ties into the upcoming last book.
Read #5: Christmas In July
Christmas In July takes place before Clara Snow, and also includes Eclipse. It's a fun, sweet story, mostly centered on Jack and Clara.
This short was born from a happy accident. A friend of mine made a clay figurine of Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, and accidentally baked it too long...giving Jack a tan.
I thought it was awesome, and wanted to write a story where my Jack unwilling got a tan, too.
Read #6: Clara Snow
The second (technical) book in the series, Clara Snow is one of the major turning points in the series.
This book was so much fun to write. Not only was I able to introduce new characters -- like South and Gertrude -- but I was able to focus some on my villain, Eclipse, and give Clara the chance to discover who she really is.
Clara Snow is possibly the absolute fan-favorite so far.
Read #7: North of Trial
The second of the North-centered shorts, North of Trial takes place directly after Clara Snow.
Holly returns! (I absolutely love Holly.)
This short was fun to write as a continuation, and to see more of how North reacts to the events in Clara Snow. Plus, it was nice to write about Holly again, and have her...well, you'll see when you read.
Let's just say she's spunky, and I like it.
Read #8: The Christmas Compass
The Christmas Compass is another novella in the series, and the (technical) third book. Taking place after Clara Snow, this story is an interesting one.
I wanted to tell a different story here, and delve into the "what could have been" by flipping the story. My original inspiration was another short I had intended to write for the series, detailing some of Jack's past.
This is also the story where we, the audience, discover Eclipse's endgame and what he's wanted all along...or do we?
Read #9: North of Dreams
The third and final North short, I think this one may be my favorite.
What can I say? It's simply a fun short. Holly appears again, and makes a mess as usual.
It's a nice, fun, light short before the events that are to come, and it has a romantic ring to it.
In short (haha): I really love this one.
Read #10: The Tale of Wind and Winter
This year's release, The Tale of Wind and Winter takes place after North of Dreams, and prior to Clara Frost.
This short was actually completely rewritten, and is very different from its first draft. It includes some elements, but originally it was just a short about how Holly meets South.
Now it's a story about family, and I'm very proud of it. It also includes some important (and fun) backstory on North and South.
Read #11: Shadows of Christmas Yet To Come
This is actually a free short I posted here on my website a few years ago.
Inspired by "A Christmas Carol" (though it has little in common), this short takes us back years before Jack met Clara. It's mainly about giving, and was also inspired by some of my childhood experiences.
I put this short as a "read after Wind and Winter", because you might pick up on more subtle hints if you read it following. Really, it can be read anywhere in the series, but I feel this is the best spot.
Read #12: The Christmas Angel
This short is another jouney into the past -- but this time it's Clara's father's past, telling a bit about how Clara's parents met.
This is, to date, the only short that has very little to do with the overarching plot, though it's a fun short, and it gives a little more backstory on Sebastian, Clara's father.
I enjoyed writing this short because it's more romantic, and I was able to write more about Clara's mom, who we see the least of in the series.
The forgotten pieces.
The remembered past.
The fluctuating future.
What do you do when you can't fight destiny?
The thrilling conclusion to the bestselling series!
HOLIDAY SEASON 2017
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you're having a wonderful Holiday season, are enjoying the spirit of Christmas, and time with friends and family. I love this season so much, because it has a way of reminding us what is important in life.
I also love this season because the spirit of giving that it seems to bring out in everyone. I love giving gifts, and so...I have new gifts for you, my dear readers!
Last year I posted a free Snowflake Triplet coloring page, and this year I have another free page for you to enjoy! Coloring is stress-relieving and fun -- and of course, artistic!
Download and enjoy, and then if you'd like, share your masterpiece using the hashtag #SnowflakeTriplet. I'd love to see your design!
This year, I have another fun surprise, too!
If you're just starting the Snowflake Triplet series, you can download the first ebook FREE (links below), but now you can also download the first short story in the series, The Christmas Wish, FREE as well.
I had a reader suggest that the first part of the short should be read before Clara Claus (as it takes place right beforehand), and the second part after (ditto), which I think is a great idea. Please enjoy the short, and the first book!
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and an amazing Holiday season!
New: Get Your Free Copy of 'The Christmas Wish'
iBooks: iTunes (US) --- iTunes (UK) --- iTunes (Australia) --- iTunes (Canada) --- iTunes (France) --- iTunes (Germany) --- iTunes (Japan) --- iTunes (Italy) --- iTunes (Spain)
Amazon: US -- UK -- Australia -- Canada -- Germany -- France -- Italy -- Japan -- Spain
Get Your Free Copy Of 'Clara Claus'
iBooks: iTunes (US) --- iTunes (UK) --- iTunes (Australia) --- iTunes (Canada) --- iTunes (France) --- iTunes (Germany) -- iTunes (Japan) --- iTunes (Italy) --- iTunes (Spain)
Amazon: US -- UK -- Australia -- Canada -- Germany -- France -- Italy -- Japan -- Spain
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I hope you had a wonderful NaNoWriMo, and a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate (and a safe Black Friday weekend)!
My holiday was lovely, spent with family I hadn't seen in a little while. And, of course, the food was great. (And I unabashedly ate at least seven paleo pumpkin muffins, and was all the happier for it.)
Every year that I do NaNo, I try to write up a post about what I learned from the month of writing. So...here I am to present to you the "What I Learned From NaNoWriMo" post for 2016! Enjoy!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I am happy to say that this is my first completed NaNoWriMo in the last three years (with 57,700, and a little over halfway completed project). In 2014 I didn't finish, and in 2015 I decided not to participate after a few days. And while it was good for me to sit out those years, I'm glad I gave the writing month another shot.
This NaNo was a bit eventful, with me starting one story and writing another. In the beginning I started off with the rewrite of Shadows of Past Memories, but then I decided to swap stories...and that meant catching up, since I didn't want to use the word count from story #1.
It was a bit of a feat, but I managed, and story #2 went really well! I learned so many things from it (and it's not even finished yet).
The biggest thing I learned from NaNo overall this year, though, was that word count really doesn't matter to me anymore.
Is it awesome to reach 50K? Of course. Is it a challenge to do it in a month? Definitely! But as a more seasoned writer (and it feels strange to be able to say that now), I'm not worried about getting a story out in a frenzy, or challenging myself for the 50K.
I've said this before, but there's a new layer to it now.
Before, I was trying not to worry about 50K and focus on the story...then I was focusing on the story...and this year, I was focusing on the story and actually taking my time.
NaNo has a way of making you rush. And while that works for a lot of writers -- write it fast, and then take your time editing -- I find that it doesn't really work for me. This month, I learned that I write best taking my time, and thinking through what I want the first go round.
Before, I used to do this in a different way: through plotting and planning. Now I plot and plan of course, but I also take my time directly in the middle of the story.
What does this look like? This month I discovered that it's good (for me) to backtrack and input new bits, to rewrite chapters if I'm not immediately satisfied with them, to wait a day or so until I have a clear picture of what I want to write (and it shows up!).
I'm halfway done, and it's not perfect, but it definitely feels more cohesive than it has in the past.
Will I still need to edit? Of course. Will I change things, rewrite? Of course. Editing is a powerful tool, but I've found by taking things slowly, I've been much more happy with my writing...and the process.
Would I have gotten to this point if I had never done NaNo the "normal" way -- written furiously, strove for 50K? Possibly, but not in the same way. I like the "fast" idea behind NaNo, because it really does help writers to get out of their way, though I still wish there was an emphasis on editing afterwards.
But I'm not new to the game anymore; I'm starting to realize that. It's strange when you get to the next stage.
I know how to write a novel. I know how to reach 50K. I know what type of characters I like, what my style is. It's not easy still, but that's because it's work -- it's always going to be work, but loving work.
I've gone to new places because of NaNo, and this year was no different. Now I can sit back, with my less fast style of writing -- editing in between, pausing for long moments, not worrying about how many words per day, so long as the story is told and I reach my deadline -- and enjoy the process even more.
What did you learn from NaNo this year? How did your month go?
A Snowflake Triplet Surprise
The Year In Review
Bonus: Songs That Inspired Me This Month
I love music, and here are some of the songs that helped me write this story (and inspired bits of it).
Firstly, I went to see Moana the day before Thanksgiving. I really loved it! I would definitely recommend the film. I could really relate to Moana, the music was wonderful, and there was a definite focus on characterization that hasn't been there in some recent Disney films. Thumbs way up!
(This song is a mild spoiler, so if you haven't seen it yet, well -- spoiler alert!)
One of the anime on my list on Netflix was Aldnoa.Zero, which I never got around to watching. This month, when I needed a break from writing, I gave it a try. It's...imperfect, but I enjoyed parts of it -- especially this ending/battle theme (the score in general, really).
I tried to find a (non-sped) version of the original, which is my favorite (I like how it has lyrics in Japanese, English, and German), but I couldn't due to liscensing. So here is AmaLee's version, which I also really love (also available on iTunes for purchase!).
Last but not east, the original opening theme for Owari No Seraph! I love vampire stories (and the story I happened to switch to was, surprise, a vampire tale, contrived quite a few years ago). I started the anime a few months back, but I really like the manga more, and read it this month as inspiration.
Another case of "I prefer the original", so I've included the (sorry, sped-up) original song, but AmaLee's is great too (I bought a copy, and you should, too!).
(Just to say, none of these videos are mine, obviously.)
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Happy November, and happy first day of NaNoWriMo 2016!
I'm not sure if I've said so yet, but I'm extremely excited for this year's NaNo!
I've had some debates, some back and forth about what I wanted to work on (it happens every year...), but I finally made my pledge!
This NaNo, I will be working on the second draft of Shadows of Past Pages, the (new) first book in the Foxfire Chronicles.
Originally, I had an idea for a companion book to the draft I wrote earlier on this year, but thanks to my wonderful writing friends helping me plot and giving me encouragement, I have decided to mesh the two ideas into one.
It should be very exciting!
Once I had my idea in place, I made the decision to craft a cover, too. I love doing covers for NaNo, because they really help me get into writing (and plus they're fun).
As inspiration for this cover, I looked at the covers of Japanese light novels (because my art is more manga style), and went through old sketches of my characters. I'm still working at perfecting the use of colored markers, and I even challenged myself to use some new markers for this project, but overall I like how it turned out.
I "messed up" in one place, but then it gave me an idea for the story. Here's a writing lesson (and a NaNo lesson, too): there aren't any real mistakes in art, only opportunities to be creative and to improve your skills. Spend NaNo improving and letting your imagination run!
Pop by my Twitter during NaNo to see how the novel is going! I'll be posting my word count, and talking a little bit about the new draft.
Best of luck with your NaNo project!
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Only a few days are left until this year's NaNoWriMo, and I'm still plotting! I'm extremely excited, and I hope that you are, too.
I'll be working on a story that is connected to Shadows of Past Pages -- a sort of part two (kind of). I'm thrilled to say "hello" to my characters again!
I've been mentoring a young writer, and have created this World-Building sheet to help her (and myself). I tried to put down everything I could think of. It's detailed, but not too crazy, and it's been very helpful so far...so I wanted to share it!
The worksheet is a little skewed towards Fantasy aspects (since that's my genre), but it should work well for other genres too (just skip over the magic bits...or combine genres!).
Also, if you haven't already, check out my Character Worksheet, to get to know your character(s) better!
I hope these tools help you in your plotting! Have a wonderful NaNoWriMo, and best of luck!
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
If you popped by a few weeks ago, you might have read my 6 Year Publishing Anniversary post.
I personally can't believe that it's been 6 years already! It's been such a wonderful journey, and I've learned so much through trials and triumphs.
Starting in 2015, I've created a "drawing of the year" to kind of embody my journey that year, as well as a drawing to go along with that year's Publishing Anniversary. I've been working on a new one to celebrate my 6 years in publishing...and it's finally here!
This is also my last official InkTober drawing for this year! (I'm might try and do another this week, but we shall see.) This is the first year I've reached my InkTober goal (one drawing per week, at least), and I'm very proud of myself!
So without further ado, here is the 2016, 6 Year Anniversary drawing!
A Bit About The Drawing ~
This year has been a big year for Inspiration, so I wanted that to be the theme for this drawing: celebrating the stories I've penned that have seemed to inspire others the most.
Included are: a snowflake for the Snowflake Triplet, red arrows for the Beastly Tales, a heart for Lyrics of the Heart, a crescent moon for the Foxfire Chronicles (one of my current, big projects), and different colored squiggles (for lack of a better term) for the Phantasmagoria Duet.
I had a lot of fun designing this year's drawing! Thank you so much, as always, for your support. I have some of the best fans!
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Ah, the end of October(...ish): carving pumpkins, praying for cooler weather, getting ready for Halloween, and...NaNoWriMo is coming!
Whoever decided to make NaNoWriMo the month of November was, in my opinion, a genius. What better way to wrap up the year than with a new story? But as much as I love NaNo, it also presents its flurry of challenges to be overcome (secret: that's the best part, really).
My relationship with NaNo has been an interesting one. In 2009, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo. I was taking French class at the time, and one of my classmates told me about it. I ended up starting late, but I finished the 50K (writing The Ending), and couldn't believe how much fun I had. I couldn't wait until the following year!
In 2010, my best friend Ree and I did NaNo together, and even went to events. It was exciting to meet other writers. I made good friends, and wrote my first Horror(ish) novel, which is one of my all-time favorite projects. The next few years I worked as unofficial, and then official, ML (municipal liaison) for my region's NaNo.
Then 2014 came. That was a very difficult year for me, and I ended up needing to opt out of being ML because of personal matters. I vowed (well, assumed) that I would never do NaNo again. And then in 2015 I realized why I was having such trouble with NaNo: I was focusing on winning.
If you're new to NaNo, here's the lowdown: in November, writers are challenged to write 50K (the length of a novel, by some standards) of a writing project, typically something brand-new. 50K is the goal, what all NaNoers strive for--
But that's only half the story.
Is 50K an awesome goal to shoot for? Certainly. It's a feat to reach that in a month, and it should be celebrated, but here's the truth: 50K is not the real goal of NaNo. At least, not in my book.
What's the real goal?
Yes, I know this just transformed into a lesson, but bear with me. The best part of NaNo, the real goal, is to learn -- what you're capable of, what you need to work on, how you deal with deadlines, how you can schedule writing time and stick to it, what you may want to do in the future.
NaNo may have a challenge of 50K, but the real goal is to learn more about yourself as a writer.
I pride myself on being as honest as I can with my readers, so here's a new dash of honesty:
Those of you who have been with me for a while have seen my struggles firsthand: with writing, with holding onto your passion for your art, with what authors are "supposed" to be and not be, with how difficult publishing can be.
I've lost my way along this journey plenty of times. I've hated writing at many moments. I've nearly given up, and that seemed acceptable at the time. A lot of these pressures I have put on myself, but that's what happens when you're a perfectionist (and having a logical personality type in a creative, emotional field does not always help).
I still struggle, but I am getting better. I truly believe that everything comes full circle, as I mentioned in my 6 Year Publishing Anniversary post. I am growing closer not only to the writer I want to be, but to the writer I used to be.
The writer I used to be absolutely loved NaNo. It brought something special out in me: a greater connection to characters and ideas, because I didn't have time to doubt what I was putting onto the page in order to reach that 50K; a connection to other writers the world over, all struggling and crying in joy and frustration.
In coming full-circle, I am "Un-Learning", as Mrs. L'Engle calls it in her book "Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith and Art" (seriously, read it). Sometimes you really do have to forget what you've been taught, and find your own way...even if it's back to where you started in the first place.
NaNo is special, and it's a wonderful thing. It gets writers into writing, and provides an almost magical inspiration. NaNo is reminding me of what writing is all about: the crafting, the characters, the excitement, the story.
We should be excited when we go to write, even if it's not amazing every time. There shouldn't be drudgery, even if sometimes we will inevitably be frustrated.
NaNo has made me return to plotting and thinking long and deep about my stories, which I had not been doing for a while in the rush to publish (but that's another blog post entirely...coming up. *wink, wink*). NaNo has made me reach out to my friends more than ever, and join in the wonder of brainstorming together.
Together, we make each other better, and NaNo brings that excitement out. I'm returning to an old story (well, a new/old story -- a companion to Shadows of Past Pages), my friend Ree is returning to an endeared project, and my new friend is working on her second novel ever.
Speaking of new friends, here's another secret(ish): writers are better together.
NaNo provides plenty of opportunities to meet new writers, so get out there and meet some people! Some you will not click with, but others you will, and there's really nothing like having friends to share your work with, get ideas from, and celebrate the ups and downs around.
NaNo has reminded me of the importance of working with and helping other writers to grow. When we make one of us stronger, we make all of us stronger. Writing is about sharing, and that means sharing best practices and encouragement with other writers, too.
So share some NaNo love! Tell your friends, and help them along.
Find a young writer to inspire -- find an old writer to inspire. You'll be surprised how they are able to inspire you, too. Just being around someone who hasn't forgotten the spark -- or maybe needs to be reminded that there is a spark -- will do wonders for you.
It has for me.
My last bit of advice and NaNo love before I finish this ridiculously long post:
Take this time before NaNo to fall in love with your story.
What does that look like? It depends on the person.
Maybe you're more of a Plotter, and need an outline, and dialogue cards, and extensive character profiles, etc, etc. Maybe you're a Pantser, and all you really need is to feed your inspiration so that when the time comes, you can write with a well of things to keep you going.
Maybe you're more like me: a Plotser, who needs both inspiration and detailed planning. I'm a bit of a weirdo when it comes to plotting. I love the world building aspects, and I like to have ideas of what might be contained in chapters, but the outline just doesn't do it for me.
I'll be spending time drawing up characters, figuring out backstory, and writing out my fictional language for the next week or so, and that works just fine.
Find things to inspire you. Connect with your characters. Figure out what genre you're writing it, what tropes you might want to turn on their heads. Get ideas, plot, gain inspiration. Make sure that November 1st can't come fast enough.
Here's a little questionnaire to get you started. Characters are my favorite bit of writing, so I wrote up a character discovery sheet. Feel free to use it, and pass word onto your friends! Have fun!
I hope you all have a wonderful NaNoWriMo! Best of luck to you!
New InkTober Drawing ~
My next to last InkTober drawing! I've managed to keep up this year (with my personal goal), and am very proud of myself.
This is Clara, from the Snowflake TripletSnowflake Triplet. I had fun trying a new angle with this drawing, and adding the heart. (My brown pen ran out, so she ended up with mostly white hair. Foreshadowing? Possibly...)
This drawing is available on merchandise, along with other Snowflake Triplet doodles, on my Redbubble. Thank you for your support!
Also, if you're looking for a fun Christmas book, you can download the Clara Claus ebook free from most retailers! Happy reading!