No Matter What, Don’t Stop Creating

Sometimes the world is a terrible and terrifying place. If you’re like me, it’s easy to get caught up in the news, trying to make sense of the chaos. Hours or even days can pass by while I hang on to the hope that somehow the world will be made right again.

It’s easy to wonder if writing fantasy novels is a worthwhile way to spend my time these days. My doubts come from feeling like writing fiction is a luxury for times when the world isn’t in upheaval, but that time doesn’t really exist. The world is full of people doing ugly, cruel things to each other. That fact isn’t a recent development, and yet, human beings have been creating art as a form of self-expression pretty much from the beginning.

I’m often mentally and emotionally exhausted these days. The stress of living with constant uncertainty wears me down. I know I need to step away from it all and only come back when I have recovered my strength, but so much has happened lately that stepping away is at least as frightening as trying to keep up to date. Often, the only way I can feel better once it all starts to feel like too much to handle is to step back and read a book for a while.

My goal as a writer is to give people a place to escape. With so much happening it is easy to become overwhelmed by it all. Reading fiction is a chance to briefly step into another world, catch your breath and find equilibrium again. We all need these little escapes. No matter the medium, art offers us all a chance to rest and heal before we jump back into the fray.

The world needs creativity and beauty. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t important. Don’t let anyone silence you. We’re constantly being reminded of ugliest, darkest side of humanity these days. Let’s keep making art so none of us forget that there is hope, too.

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Writing Progress January 23 -29, 2017

DailyWritingProgress

January 23

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,169
  • Today’s word count: 375
  • Thoughts: Well, I managed to write more than yesterday. I just need to keep climbing up until I have a respectable word count again.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I know I can write more words in a day than I have lately.

January 24

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,246
  • Today’s word count: 77
  • Thoughts: I’m really disappointed in today’s word count. I allowed myself to become afraid of finishing the scene I was working on and it completely derailed my day writing-wise. It’s something I need to work on moving forward.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I think I managed to push past the part that caused me to be afraid last night, so I’m thinking it should be smooth sailing for a while.

January 25

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,342
  • Today’s word count: 96
  • Thoughts: I’m not sure why I didn’t write more. This week is just weird. I’m stressing out about a lot of things I can’t control and that’s taking energy away from the things I can control. I don’t like it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Revisions. Thursday is revision day so I’ll be cleaning up a chapter before I dive back into writing. Maybe the change of pace will do me good.

January 26

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,136
  • Today’s word count: -206
  • Thoughts: Revisions. Whenever I revise a chapter I think it is the hardest thing ever, although I disagree whenever I’m working on writing a first draft. I guess everything is the hardest thing ever in the moment.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More revisions! I’m still working on this chapter. It’s not playing nice.

January 27

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,176
  • Today’s word count: 40
  • Thoughts: Revisions are done! I added a few words here and there and I’m feeling pretty good about the work I did.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Post this week’s chapter! Hopefully write more!

January 28

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,444
  • Today’s word count: 268
  • Thoughts: I got the chapter posted and managed to write a bit! No complaints here!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I think I can manage a good deal of progress if I put my mind to it.

January 29

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 29,688
  • Today’s word count: 244
  • Thoughts: Well, I guess I didn’t put my mind into writing enough. I’m not too disappointed because I did make some progress, but it isn’t nearly enough to make me feel satisfied.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I need to pick up the pace and get the story out of my brain and onto the screen.

Inbetween: Chapter Seven

inbetween-draft-cover

I’m pretty excited about this chapter. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Things are really starting to happen now and I can’t wait to see where the momentum takes us.

I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters for being here with me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you and it is thanks to you that I can keep moving forward. Check out my Patreon if you want to join the ranks of these extra awesome people.

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Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG

This is right on topic for me this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want my presence on social media to be a positive thing in my life and the life of others. I want to talk about things I love, not spread hate or pick fights.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie.

Today we are going to dive back into social media because who we are on-line impacts the odds of our success. Whether we like it or not, engaging on social media and cultivating a following is going to massively impact our professional success (or lack thereof).

In sales we had a saying, Fish where the fish are. Well my darlings, the fish are schooling on social media. When we are online we are not only engaging with the readers of today, we are cultivating future readers. This applies as much to the pre-published newbie as it does the internationally best-selling author.

We are wise to remember that we now have entire generations glued to smart phones and LinkedInInstaSnap, and if we don’t learn how to navigate these waters? Bad juju.

This said. Social media is an extraordinarily powerful tool that is too…

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Three Ways Writing A Plot Twist Is Like Telling A Joke

These jokes are great. The points made about plot twists needing set up and an element of surprise are spot on!

Allison Maruska

Who doesn’t love a good joke? Lots of people pay hard-earned money to see comedians stand on stage and make them laugh. But have you thought about what makes a joke funny?

There’s an element of surprise when a joke makes you laugh. You expect a story or situation to go one direction, and it ends up going another in an amusing way.

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The other day, I was talking with Dan about writing surprises in a story – twists, if you will. A good twist needs a few things to be most effective, but it need not be complicated. In fact, twist-writing and joke-telling have a few things in common.

1. They both play on common experiences.

Consider the joke tweet by Jonnysun up there. With the first two lines, we’re in a scene with a tired mall Santa at the end of a long day. We expect a tale involving settling…

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Writing Progress January 16 – 22, 2017

DailyWritingProgress

January 16

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 27,100
  • Today’s word count: 610
  • Thoughts: Yay! Writing! I would like to write a bit more than this each and every day, but I’m regaining my writing strength.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Write! Let’s see if I can cross the 800 word mark for the day. I think I can do it!

January 17

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,060
  • Today’s word count: 960
  • Thoughts: Well, I passed the 800 word mark! That’s exciting! I’m feeling pretty good about my writing right now.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I want to see if I can write more than 900 words again tomorrow.

January 18

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,518
  • Today’s word count: 458
  • Thoughts: I couldn’t keep up the momentum. My routine got disrupted and it threw things off.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Revisions! Thursday is always revision day. I just want to get through the entire chapter in one day again. I made it happen last week and it was such a relief.

January 19

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,511
  • Today’s word count: -7
  • Thoughts: Revision days are always hard. I didn’t finish this week’s chapter and that’s frustrating enough, but the work I did is 100% ready to go live on Saturday.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More revisions. Hopefully, I’ll get back to writing.

January 20

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,511
  • Today’s word count: 0
  • Thoughts: One of those weird days with no progress one way or the other. Revision does weird things to a word count based progress logs.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Try to get the chapter up. I’m feeling a bit disoriented so I’m not sure how that will go.

January 21

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,545
  • Today’s word count: 34
  • Thoughts: I really didn’t give writing the time it deserved today. My word count is the result of adding words here and there as I did my final read through of chapter six.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Get back on track! Make writing a priority again!

January 22

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 28,794
  • Today’s word count: 249
  • Thoughts: I think I’m getting back on track. I’m writing and I’m sleeping at the normal times again. Next step: remembering what day it is without checking!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! The forecast looks like it will still be grey and rainy so I’ll be staying in and hiding from the weather. At least that means fewer distractions. I could really use some sunshine right now…

Inbetween: Chapter Six

inbetween-draft-cover

Here we go! This chapter is just a little bit late. Sorry about that! My usual schedule went out the window this week. I hope the chapter turns out to be worth the short wait.

I owe a huge thank you to my fantastic supporters for being here with me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for you. Check out my Patreon if you want to join the ranks of these extra awesome people.

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FEAR—Is the Mind-Killer in Control of Your Life?

Oh boy. This post really hits home for me. Fear stops me from moving forward so often. Sometimes I afraid of not doing a certain plot twist justice that I end up with teeny tiny single sentences of progress in my writing for days on end. The longer I’m in the writing game the bigger the fears get. It’s something I’m fighting to overcome every day.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Noemi Galera. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Noemi Galera.

The single greatest challenge you will face in trying to accomplish anything great is FEAR. FEAR is nothing to be underestimated and we need to learn to manage it if we want to succeed. I remember being a kid and Dune was one of my favorite movies. At the age of ten I memorized Paul Atreides’ mantra:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

At the time I just thought it was a seriously cool movie line. It was only when I grew older that I began…

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Shove it in a Drawer: The Importance of Taking a Break

Ever since I finished writing The Dreams at the tail end of 2016, I’ve been itching to go back and completely rewrite the whole thing.

revise all the things.jpg

Even as I was writing the later chapters I started spotting things I wanted to go back and change. I told myself I had to reach the end before I started messing with the beginning again.

Usually, I’m all for using my enthusiasm for a project as fuel for a monumental task. Going into such a massive undertaking with little or no enthusiasm is a guarantee of failure. In this case, I’m forcing myself to give the draft some space.

 

The Dreams is getting shoved in a digital drawer for a few months.

It sounds cruel to me. This novel is my baby. Well, it was my baby for more than a year. Now I need to shed that attachment. If I was working on a physical copy I would put it in a drawer. Since my work is completely digital I’ve moved the folder out of my direct sight to reduce the temptation to check in on the poor thing.

I need to make sure I forget what I wrote before I read through it all. If the words are still in my head, I’m more likely to read what I meant to write rather than what I actually wrote. Letting it slip from my memory will allow me to see it with fresh eyes.

idiot-wrote-this

Without fresh eyes, I can’t be objective.

I’ve already received some really great feedback on parts of the second draft from readers. I haven’t acted on that feedback yet because I want to look at my own writing without feeling attached to it before I decide if I agree or disagree with each comment and suggestion.

While I’m thinking like the writer I’m more likely to be defensive and excuse something because it was not how I intended it to be. When I’m thinking like a writer the story is my baby and I want to protect it from all the cruel words suggesting it could be improved. Giving myself some time to forget the story will allow me to see it from the perspective of an outsider.

I’m not sure how long of a break I will need. Right now I think I will be ready in the spring, but back in November, I thought I would be ready by February. Whenever I decide I’m ready, I’m confident that the time away will work to my advantage.

Do you take time off from your novel between drafts? What other strategies do you use to look at your work objectively?

 

Writing Progress January 9 – 15, 2017

DailyWritingProgress

January 9

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 24,387
  • Today’s word count: 804
  • Thoughts: I had a pretty productive writing day considering I felt like I was playing catch-up for most of the day. I always seem to accomplish the most when I’m already slightly busy that day. If I’m too busy, it falls apart. If I’m not busy at all, I slack off. I need to perfect the business balance for maximum productivity.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I’m going to try to keep the momentum I built up today moving forward. I’d like to see my writing productivity snowball this year.

January 10

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 24,592
  • Today’s word count: 205
  • Thoughts: My word count isn’t as spectacular as I would have liked, but I’m still pretty happy that I wrote at all. I want to be able to set high goals, but after the days I missed over the holidays it is probably more reasonable to just try to write every day.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I just need to keep writing. As long as I write every day this week I’ll be happy.

January 11

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 25,679
  • Today’s word count: 1,087
  • Thoughts: Yay! This is the sort of word count I like to see! If I write like this every day I’ll have a draft finished in no time!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Thursday is revision day. I hope I have the energy to keep up the writing momentum too.

January 12

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 25,953
  • Today’s word count: 274
  • Thoughts: While the word count I reached today isn’t as high as yesterday’s, I’m still thrilled because I finished all the revisions for this week’s chapter in less than a day! It’s such a relief to have that done and out of the way already. Now I can get back to focusing on writing more of the story.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I have some personal goals I’m trying to reach while writing this novel. As of right now I’m ahead of schedule, but I don’t want to lose my lead.

January 13

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 26,172
  • Today’s word count: 219
  • Thoughts: I’m not happy with this word count at all. I should have written so much more today. My motivation just evaporated early and instead of doing things to get it back, I watched TV. I guess one day like this isn’t so bad, but I’m still disappointed that I let it happen unintentionally.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I have a chapter to post and I’ll be stuck inside most of the day due to nasty weather so I should have no excuse.

January 14

I posted this week’s chapter, but otherwise, no writing progress was made. Throughout the day I was tired, distracted or often both. I need to figure out a better system for Fridays and Saturdays as they are my most chaotic days every week.

January 15

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 26,490
  • Today’s word count: 318
  • Thoughts: Not a spectacular word count to end the week, but I’ll take it. It’s better than nothing. At least next week will have a good jumping off point.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I feel hopeful for the new writing week.