Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season…or is having a wonderful season. Whichever way you want to spin it. My holiday season is hardly over. Sure, Christmas has come and gone. But that was only Christmas #1 for me. Christmas #2 falls on New Year’s Eve this year. Christmas #2 is when my mom’s side of the family gets together for their holiday celebrations. We exchange gifts. We eat rich food. It’s all very fancy (sometimes, when EVERYONE is present for the Dudley Family Christmas Party, we’ll take a large family picture. The last one was taken two years ago, because that was the last time my cousins were able to make it from Chicago).

And then I have Christmas #3. Sort of. That’s also on New Year’s Eve, but that one is ALWAYS on New Year’s Eve. That’s my Christmas party with my friends. Sort of. Because we also combine it with New Year’s Eve stuff, it’s only Christmas-related for all of an hour (which is when we get bored with unwrapping shiny things and return to our on-going game of Apples to Apples). That party is a Secret Santa one. I bought my person’s gift several weeks ago. Since then it’s pretty much been gathering dust in my room. Eventually I’ll wrap it.

I’ll let you know for sure, once all the gift-giving stuff is over, but this year is turning into something of a re-creation of a Christmas I had about ten years ago. That was when I had just fallen in love with Harry Potter. I have a picture from that Christmas…me with all my Harry Potter stuff. A t-shirt, a magnet, a trivia game…some other things too that I can’t currently remember. I need to find that picture again, because I might need to re-create it. So far I’ve gotten the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, ultimate edition DVD of Sorcerer’s Stone, and a Deathly Hallows wall calendar. My nerdliness makes me very happy.

It’s also a Christmas of YA novels. So far I’ve gotten The Hollow and The Haunted by Jessica Verday, as well as Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m stocking up on some favorite books, essentially, because when I finally move out I want to have my own little library in my room. I don’t have room for it now, because I refuse to buy another huge bookcase until I know what kind of living situation I’ll be going to.

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season. Have a safe and happy New Year, in case I don’t post again before that!

Being Inspired…

Apparently, my mind needed a bit of a writing vacation. I think that’s why I’ve been in a slump for the weeks since NaNo ended.

I mean, it’s kind of understandable.

In October, I was desperately trying to finish Call to Action before NaNo began. I succeeded. I finished the first draft mere hours before ringing in November. I celebrated by getting some Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. And then I returned home to count down to midnight.

Midnight hit. I started writing again. Frantically. I was desperate to win NaNo a second year in a row. I succeeded.

And then I started editing Call to Action.

Frankly, I think my brain was screaming at me to JUST STOP IT, ALREADY!

This past week, I was a little concerned as to why I haven’t been able to sit down and start working on Book 2 of Care’s saga. The sequel to Call to Action. My first attempt at what might possibly be a trilogy. I was worried that I’d burned myself out. I was worried that I was too scared. I was worried that I would forget something significant that happened at the end of Call to Action, since I’m still trying to read through that mess.

In truth, I’m realizing now that I think I just needed a break. I needed a couple weeks of NOT writing in order to get writing again. I needed a short time to just focus on making Call to Action less of a disaster. I needed to get some pleasure reading done and step away from the writing marathon that my life has been over the last two months. I think the break worked. Over the last couple days, I’ve felt excited about starting a new story. I’ve felt ready to begin work on the continuation of Care’s story.

At work for the last few days, I’ve been listening to my Book 2 playlist on shuffle on my iPod. One song in particular has been inspirational for me to get in the right mindset. It’s a song that I didn’t have when I was working on Call to Action, but I wish I had. It’s from Scott Alan’s newest CD (it’s the hidden track), which wasn’t released until I was already done writing that first draft.

I wanted to share it with you, since it’s been on my mind. Hopefully, this inspiration will stick around for a while longer and I’ll actually get down to writing within the next couple days.


A new vlog post…about my vampires

Ever heard of the musical [title of show]? If not…shame on you. It’s wonderful. You need to get on that. If you’re a creative person at all, you would probably love it. It’s all about the creative process and the problems that come with it.

So for this week’s Wo-Town Writers vlog post…since it’s free week and we’re getting to do whatever we want…I decided to talk about how I relate to the [title of show] song “Die Vampire, Die.” It’s kind of my theme song, especially when I’m starting new projects or editing finished ones. Thus…now.

NaNo Reflections

Here we are. November is over. Another National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. Somehow, I survived. Even more than that–I won for my second year in a row!

It feels good. It feels incredibly surprising as well. If I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure I would be able to pull off 50k in 30 days this year. Sure, I was psyched. And of course I was going to try. But…the thing is…this is the first year I’ve held a full-time job at the same time as attempting NaNoWriMo. The five years I participated while being a full-time student, I managed to fail every year. NaNo 2009 was something of a luxury in my eyes–while it sucked that I didn’t have a job, I could focus all my energy on that 50k finish line. My confidence was a little down at the beginning of November this year, because I could only think about those five years when I was a full-time student and failed miserably because I didn’t have the time and the energy to put into such intense writing.

Color me surprised when it turned out to be a little easier than I originally thought it would.

The first important thing I learned–just focus on that 1667 words per day quota. Yeah, I knew this from other years. It’s preached around every corner in the weeks leading up to NaNo and throughout the month as well. Anyone who’s participated can rattle of that you just need 1667 words a day in order to reach the 50k at the end of thirty days. Hell, even I’ve rattled off that information. I had three mentees this year and I told them this about a thousand times before November started. Still, it was something I needed to remind myself several times. If I could just get those 1667 words a day, then I was fine. If I happened to get more than that, then I was golden.

The second important thing–it’s okay to fail. I’m not even talking about the general sucktitude of the story itself (and my novel from this November has a pretty grand level of suck). I even embrace the sucktitude of the NaNo novel first draft. It’s part of the fun…just shutting up that stupid inner editor that is perpetually running its mouth in my head and writing whatever happens to come to mind. No, I’m talking about the failers of the actually daily word counts. The fancy stats page on each user’s profile on the NaNo site this year showed more info than usual. At the beginning of the month, I somehow managed to convince myself that I would have the perfect November, where I would be at least on quota every day. I never wanted to see those stats fall below the set goals on my page.

This, my friends, was just stupid.

It’s okay to fail. I realized this by about week 2, when the struggles started. When the Harry Potter movie came out and one of my best friends from college came into town for the midnight release and I didn’t get any writing done for three days, that’s when it really mattered. It was okay that I didn’t have the “perfect” November stats-wise. The end goal was the important thing, and I accomplished that two days ahead of schedule.

The third important thing–family drama is a great time to write. A story: I went to Hamburg, NY for Thanksgiving. Stayed with the grandparents. Ate at the aunt and uncle’s. Spent six hours both ways in the car with my parents and sister. I love my family. I do. But we’re really good at the drama. With the exception of my step-grandmother, I’m the only liberal democrat in the entire family. My step-grandmother is far more left-wing and vocal than I am (which might seem impossible, but it’s true). Some of my other relations are incredibly far right-wing. When the drama started or the politics were brought up, that in particular was when I opened my laptop. Ignored my family. As soon as all that started, it was time to write.

I got a lot written over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Now it’s back to the real world. I have a first draft of a project I finished in October (but started writing mid-summer) that I’m about to do my first round of edits and revisions on before begging friends to read through it too. I have another novel to start–the sequel to the one I’m about to start editing, actually. I’m getting back on the agent query train for the one I started sending out earlier this year. The novel I wrote this November is going to be put in its little drawer, along with all my other NaNo novels, both completed and otherwise. Maybe someday I’ll take it back out to make it look less pitiful, but for now we need some distance from each other. It was fun, but now my energy needs to go elsewhere.

Farewell, NaNoWriMo. I’ll see you next year.