Category: Beyond Writing Page 2 of 3

Happy Birthday, Blog!

It was one year ago today that I started this blog. I’ve connected with lots of great people who have offered sage advice – thank you! – and have found an outlet for all the writing-related miscellany teeming in my head.

I’ve had visitors from 35 different countries. Wow!

Some strange search terms have brought people my way. Few have to do with writing though – most refer to either my tattoo or my typewriters. A few of my favourites:

  • Nicole Bross – guys? it’s Who keeps searching this over and over?
  • make sure your worst enemy is not living between your own two ears – Sage advice…
  • do not give up tattoo – close, I suppose.
  • actors who played werewolves – Michael J. Fox? I’ve never discussed this before.
  • can i call myself award winning – Now that you’ve reached this blog, yes you can!
  • bathroom mirror pictures facebook – OMG I hate it when people do this. Why why why?
  • you are not ordinary for me – Thanks, love. You’re a peach.
  • you rise and shine and i’ll – Yes that was the complete search term. I don’t even know.
  • longest thing ever written – Not this blog, that’s for sure.
  • introduction to my mind – Pie’s always a good start with me.
  • been procrastinating for days now, it’s not even funny anymore. – TELL ME ABOUT IT.
  • it feels like my mind is unraveling – TELL ME ABOUT IT.

Anyway, happy anniversary to me. When I look back at where I was a year ago, I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished. I hope the next year brings much more of the same.

Here’s a Little Pick-Me-Up For You

Life got you down? Maybe you’re not happy with what you wrote this week, editing is driving you around the bend, you’re fed up waiting for the snow to melt or you just stubbed your toe?

Consider this. I have a part-time job at a natural baby-goods store and one of my responsibilities – and I am absolutely not making this up – is to sniff used (albeit in theory washed) cloth diapers to assess them for consignment.

So if things aren’t going your way, just remember this: at no point today did you have to stick your nose in a diaper and take a big whiff. I did.

You’re welcome.

I’m Intrigued…

Have you heard about Editorially yet? It’s a coming-soon tool for writers that looks like it’s going to take the best of several tools for writers and combine them into one. Or, in their words,

[W]e came together to make Editorially, a new collaborative writing and editing platform. We believe that the web is not merely another distribution pipeline, but a unique and deserving space for both reading and writing. Our goal is to support and encourage that writing process — from the first flash of inspiration all the way through to publication, and at every point in between.

Editorially achieves this goal in many ways: a Markdown-based writing environment lets you focus on the words and create clean markup easily; collaboration tools let you invite friends and trusted colleagues to review or edit your work; a document version system lets you mark points in a document’s history and compare versions to see what changed; notes and activity feeds encourage you to reflect on your work, for yourself and for others; and discussion threads recognize that the conversation around a text is just as important as the text itself.

And we’re only getting started. This is not just another text editor: it’s an ecosystem for the writing process. We’ve designed a space that brings you closer to both the words and the people — the only things that matter. (from the Editorially Blog)

Looks like it’s right up my alley. I’ve tried several different text editors and programs like OmmWriter, Scrivener and Google Docs, and none give me quite all I need, so I end up skipping back and forth between them all. Right now I write in OpenOffice and sync with Google Drive, and share either through Drive or email. I’m looking forward to giving Editorially a try once it’s released. I devoutly hope it’s free. I also hope there’s the option to work offline, which I often need to do for one reason or another.

What do you think? What do you use to write and share with?

Tonight’s Beverage of Choice

My thing these days is tea. I drink it every day, usually with a bit of honey. I actually blame one of my characters for my tea obsession. Funny how that goes.

Before tea though, my thing used to be lattes, and I would drink one of those every day. Creamy goodness.

I give you now, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.

  • 1.5 c whole milk (not skim or 1% or 2%. WHOLE MILK WITH THE FAT. Yes it’s going to be a thousand calories but yes it’s going to be worth it)
  • 2 T hot chocolate powder (Cocoa Camino or similar quality. Keep your filthy Nesquik away from me)
  • 2 T coconut milk (the solid type from a can, not liquid)
  • 1 chai teabag

Put the teabag in the bottom of your oversize mug. Drop the dollop of coconut milk on top of it so it stays at the bottom. Add the hot chocolate powder and then fill the mug with steamed milk. DO NOT STIR. Walk away for five minutes and let it find its own path to oneness. When you return, the coconut milk should have melted into the rest of the liquid. Now you can give it a bit of a stir if it needs it. Leave the tea bag in the drink.

Experience Nirvana.

You’re welcome.


There’s a Temple Run 2 out now?

Forget all that shit I said about productivity and goals. I have monkeys to evade.

It’s The Most Busiest Time Of The Year…

December. You drive me crazy. The parties. The kids’ events. The shopping. The decorating. The wrapping. The visits with family. Birthmas. It’s a lot to take on, on top of the regular work and household stuff. I’m at the point now where I start bowing out of things I’ve committed to because I need what my three-year-old refers to as ‘lone time.’ I’m a person who very much values her lone time. So is he. Sometimes we have lone time together, the two of us cuddling in bed, and even though we’re not alone, it’s just fine with me. Both my kids have been getting lots of extra hugs over the weekend, like I’m sure most are.

The good news is with my lone time I’m making excellent progress on this latest rewrite. Another 3,000 words have been cut, mostly from the first three chapters. Tonight I’ve been further refining my first fifteen pages so I can send them for a critique from my city’s writer-in-residence. I’m excited but nervous for the feedback. I think some of the stuff I’ve changed works, some of it maybe doesn’t. My appointment isn’t until the new year, but I have to submit this week. I’ve also finished my character profiles, but have yet to do my relationship profiles. After I’m confident my fifteen pages are what I want to send off, that will be my next task. Then I’ll finish the rewrite.

I feel like after this draft is finished, I’ll start querying in earnest and see where that takes me. 2013 will be The Year of the Query! I’m not a new year’s resolutions person, but I’ll be setting some goals in January.

Until then, merry Christmas to everyone! May your holidays be filled with joy and good cheer.

Let’s Be Honest Here

I just ctl+A+deleted a big long whiny post about how I feel like I’m sabotaging myself and not living up to my potential blah blah blah.

Reservation for the Pity Party, table of one, come this way, please.

Then I read this comic by the Oatmeal.

And right after that, this post by the Bloggess.

And together, they showed me two things:

  1. I’m probably more awesome than I feel right now.
  2. It’s okay to not be brave, sometimes.

And also, maybe, that when life has you down, the universe will offer you a sign so you can pick yourself up again. So thanks, universe. Message received, loud and clear.

This is what’s going on repeat tonight:

Time to get back to work.

First-World Problems for Writers

Because we all have our little issues, don’t we?

  • 12-point font looks too big. 11-point font looks too small. Using 11.75-point font makes you a crazy person.
  • Having to listen to every Sleater-Kinney song in your iTunes library because you can’t remember which one reminded you of your main character.
  • Witty t-shirt about writers you found on etsy doesn’t come in your size.
  • You forgot to add tags to your latest blog post; it gets no comments.
  • One of your characters has a serious thing for tea. The next thing you know you have a cupboard full of loose leaf blends.
  • Your other writer friends are counting on you to get published first so they can use your agent.
  • Your cat threw up on your favourite writing blanket; now you must choose between smelling regurgitated Science Diet and cold feet.
  • You have to start keeping a sweater in the bathroom for the nights when you wake up with an idea and sneak out of the bedroom to tap it into your phone.
  • You can’t find an image for the writing quote you want to pin to your inspiration pinboard.
  • Just when you’re really getting into the zone, your kids’ 45 minutes at Ikea Smaland is up.

*all true of me in the last few weeks. life’s a bitch, hey?*

I Should Tape This To My Bathroom Mirror


I’m a needs-visual-reminders kind of girl. I tattoo them on my body, remember? Still struggling this week. But getting better.

Settling Down

After my last post, in which I sent my book out into the wide world, I basically had a complete meltdown. I like the bubble that surrounds my comfort zone, and I don’t like to stray out of it. Putting something I’ve worked really hard at for close to a year into the hands of others? Not comfortable. Then, because – hey! if you’re gonna do it, do it all the way – I shared it with eight or ten friends.

Cue sleepless nights, disjointed thoughts, jitteriness and physical malaise.

The symptoms aren’t new to me – I’ve suffered from generalized anxiety pretty much my entire life – but I was surprised at how strongly I was affected. I wrote the book because I felt like I had to and I was ready to do it, but my intention was always to try and have it published. I’m not second-guessing that decision at all, but I do need to spend some time on reflection to try and find out what about that step bothers me so much right now.

I hope in a few days things will be back to normal and I can start moving forward again. Until the feedback starts rolling in, I want to start some more detailed planning of the next book in the series and try and flesh out some of the “a bunch of stuff happens” (actual notation) in the middle of my rough outline. I have a few scenes written that need to be organized into that as well. Yeah, that’s right, I’m diving fully into outlining this time around. I pantsed my way through almost all of The Unravelling and when I started I actually only had four or five scenes out of the whole book envisioned. Pretty much the entire thing was “a bunch of stuff happens” in my head until I started writing. Now that I know these characters a bit better, I think I owe it to them to plan stuff out.

And as November 1 approaches I’m SO tempted to do NaNoWriMo again. I managed to win it last year, writing a silly contemporary romance, but this year I’m going to Mexico for a week in the middle of it and I don’t want to spend my time there hunched over my laptop instead of sitting on the beach, nor can I make up the missed days over the rest of the month. All the same, I’d like to start writing the second book (it’s called The Unseeing, by the way, have I mentioned that before?) in earnest sometime in November. I have to do something with my time.

In the meantime this blog is probably going to get quieter and posts less frequent as I’ll have little to say while I’m not actively working on anything. With any luck that will change sometime next month as I get back into the swing of things. My last Six Sentence Sunday from The Unravelling is scheduled for this weekend. Hope you enjoy it!

One last thing: if anyone’s looking to swap novels for critiquing purposes, drop me an email through the Contact page above. I’d love to read what others have been working on, and have my stuff reviewed as well.

Happy writing, everyone. 🙂

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