A Whole New Year

Obligatory New Year’s Post is Obligatory

I’m not making any drastic changes heading into 2022. I think there’s far too much pressure on resolution and sweeping realignments that set people up for failure, especially someone like me that needs an external structure to succeed, but is neglectful in seeking one out. I could use a writing buddy or two heading into the new year. I remember how fast I made friends in online forums at the beginning of the ’00s and now, social media makes it so much harder, at least for me.

No! This is not the lonely writer post!

What I have done is reorganize my goal and tasks around three (four) simple BIG ideas. I have three major goals (three is a magical number – four goals if you count my “Personal” category) and I call those major goals – “BOSS”. Yes, these are my Gohma, Dodongo, and Barinade of my life quests. Every task I put into my calendar has to fit under one of these BOSSes or it’s not really worth my time.

Screenshot of my partial Notion database

I break things down even further, having separate MINIBOSSes for each BOSS. This gives me a way to see what areas within each BOSS I’m putting my time into and if there needs to be adjustments. I do all this in Notion using databases. Originally, I tried to limit my MINIBOSSes to just three per BOSS, but I found that, at least in my “Active Writer” boss, I needed a few more areas, such as “Working on Craft” and “Marketing.” The most important MINIBOSS here is “Finish Current Projects” because that’s where I have the most trouble. I have a separate database for Writing Projects and I try not to add anything to it unless the concept is completely clear to me. Everything else goes in a “idea” file.

This year I want to really lean into the idea of changing my “environment” instead of myself. Instead of acting as if my process, or my thinking, or my existence is a “problem,” I’m focusing on how I can create the space (physical and mental) where I will thrive. Coming up with this organization system has been key in this. I don’t feel the pressure to get everything done every day (my daily list is just things due “today” and “before” – and I’m purposefully not setting tasks with “priorities” because, in my mind, they’re all important.)

As for the writing, here is the plan:

  • I’ll be continuing all of my Vella series (one of them ending in late winter.)
  • Finishing up my first thriller novella, Chatterbox, to give away as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter (so look forward to that!)
  • I need to find a copy editor that I can work with on a regular basis. I’ll start searching in a few weeks. (I’m open to suggestions if you know of a good one.)
  • I’m planning on publishing some flash fiction on here and then compiling them as I go into anthologies
  • I’ve outlined the first two novels in a psychological thriller series to be published by the summer. More info coming soon!
  • The Shape of Us Mysteries first novel, Pedigree, is moving along and I hope to have that ready to go by March, April at the latest.
  • My Woodlawn College romance will get a sequel (Secret Title) to be released in Kindle Unlimited with the novella form of the series, Art History. No timeline on that yet.
  • Hopefully other opportunities that I can’t even see yet.

So that’s where things stand. I have the organization down and some of the systems in place and very optimistic goals. But I feel that now I have a better understanding of who I am and how I work and with that, can better give myself the grace to make adjustments.

May we all find some comfort in the new year and pinpoints of hope to help light the way.

Hey! Listen!

Navi

Trying to do too much?

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I’ve been watching/listening to a lot of videos about writing, craft and business, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not only putting the cart before the horse, but I don’t even have a horse, or a cart, or a road, or a place to go. Outside of my three Kindle Vella series, I’m a bit scattered, even though I’ve talked about various projects here before.

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I think that’s why the Kindle Vella series appeal to me now. I’d had a hard time finding a following on other serial sites and, while, the market seems dominated by steamy romance and LitRPG (neither of which I write) I decided to take a gamble.

Then I quickly became overwhelmed. And started having new ideas. Then over-overwhelmed.

The natural step after over-overwhelm is paralysis and then I get into a funk and don’t do anything at all. You can give me plenty of planners, systems, motivation, even people to sit with me while I work, but I won’t know where to go. And the one thing I’m bad at is the one thing I need to be good at: finishing my shit.

I even started a NaNoWriMo group focused on Finishing Our Shit Stuff and then abandoned it after a week or two. (Sorry, y’all. It’s not you. It’s always me.)

I’ve been thinking about all the half-finished, partially-started pieces I have saved and wondered if I could dedicate myself to finishing these pieces and putting them out there, whether indie publishing them under this pen name or submitting them to publications under another. Who knows? But it’s a challenge that I have only failed in the past.

Nowhere to go but up, as they say.

What I am doing now is reassessing each week what tasks actually get me moving forward. Writing is always a Definitely. Other things, not so much. So, more writing. (Yeah, I’ve been here before and this time may not be different, but there’s only one starting place and that’s where the starting starts.)

Good luck to me. Good luck to you.

WOUND: The Characters

I try to write character-driven stories. When I’m reading, my immersion level increases dramatically when I can identify with a character. I don’t have to be similar to them in any way (and that’s my privilege talking) but that connection really drives the reading experience, and therefore, that’s how I like to write.

The physical description is only important to me if it drives the story. I tend to do minimal details and let the reader color in the visual person. I want their personality to come out in their dialogue and choices: what path do they take, what questions trip them up, etc. I think this is closer to how we get to know people in real life, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun.

For my Vella series, WOUND, I have a set group of characters that I use for point-of-view and a set point that are not. When I started season two I wondered if I should switch from one group to the next, but I worried that if any readers connected with, say, Carol, in season one, they may resent not hearing from her until season three (there are five planned in total). So I’m sticking with my four originals…that is, unless something happens.

I did want to take time to dig deeper into their stories (for research and for fun) and thought it might be interesting to post it here. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some ideas and backstory of my characters in WOUND, point-of-view and other. I’ve also made some great picrew images of them, to help me paint their personality on their faces.

NaNoWriMo Progress Days 1 & 2

Looks like we can’t get those cute little widgets from nanowrimo.org anymore, so I’ll just make a short post to let you know that, HEY, I am not terribly behind.

As of the beginning of Day 3, I am only 256 words behind on Pedigree: A Shape of Us Mystery. That’s not bad and I’m pretty sure I’ll make that up today, since I’ll be away from home and have some distraction-free time.

Pedigree – 3,078/50,000 – My NaNo Profile

Negativity and writing

At the time of writing this, the world is a mess. This isn’t about that, but that ain’t helping.

There are times when I’m late posting something because I’ve just been burdened with other work or am lazy. Once or twice I was just uninspired, which is against everything I think about when it comes to the work of writing. This week though, my issue was one that I deal with on a regular basis: seeping negativity. This week I nearly drowned in it.

While my private life is just that, I do find myself spending nearly every day with a terribly negative person. It is not a relationship that is easily severed, though distance can sometimes be achieved. When days are good, I find myself impenetrable to the dark aura and the distant yells. When I am in a weakened state, less confident in my identity or ability, those tendrils sneak past my defenses and seriously fuck up my day. Or two days, or three. I can usually cap it there, but I’m increasingly weary.

My situation is not uncommon and I think I could find some help in talking about it more. Not just with professionals, but with people (especially fellow writers) who deal with a similar issue and who find themselves wasting a lot of writing energy just protecting their own happiness.

What say you? Do you have tips on how to remain hopeful in the face of negativity?