Saturday, June 30, 2012

SitRep Saturday: Vacation Update

So here's the situation: today is the last day I'm allowing myself to indulge the self-imposed vacation. I actually did a lot of work this month, I just didn't think about it as "work." It was really nice. I got a few things figured out, I made progress on a few projects, I watched a lot of movies, I listened to a lot of music, and I spent a lot of time hanging out on the living room floor coloring with my almost-two-year-old.

Over the next few days, I'm going to get caught up on my comments and emails and maybe do some website updates and talk about reviews and my new blog(s). For now, though, I just wanted to let the handful of you who are still around that I'm alive, I'm kicking, and I'm ready to get back to work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nine Writing Things: How To Write Men (If You're A Woman)

In As Good As It Gets, Julie Benz's character asks Jack Nicholson's character how he writes women so well. "I think of a man," he says. "And I take away reason and accountability." Ouch. How do you write men if you're a woman, then? Here are nine of the tips I've found most useful in my years of experience writing men. Do I have all the answers? No. But I have been complimented by actual men on getting male characters "right," so I feel like I have some authority. 

1. Watch the men in your life.
My dad, my grandfather, my husband, my male friends... They're excellent sources of how "real" men behave. They're just regular guys, the sort of men most of us are likely to encounter in daily life. The little things can tell you a lot about how they think and what they feel. Writing a romance? The way these men show the women in their lives that they care can be revealing and useful.

2. Remember that men are really simple creatures.
This isn't to say that a man can't be complex, but as with any character, you start with the basics. And men, generally, need three things: to be fed, to be fucked, and to be respected. Conflict arises whenever he's not getting one of those three things. (Alternatively, when writing women, I believe the basics are that women need to be loved, listened to, and needed.) Hunger can be about more than food, sex can be about more than physical release, and respect doesn't have to come from the community.

3. Watch movies targeted at men.
The kind of entertainment targeted at the type of character you want to write tells you what people in charge think about him. The really popular movies tell you about the men enjoying them. What they like, even why they like it, and what it says about who they are and what they deal with in their daily life. Entertainment is a form of escapism and knowing how men escape can give you clues about the day-to-day conflicts. (For example, as an archaeologist, I believe in the whole men are hunters thing--which, to me, explains why so many movies aimed at men feature weapons and a hunt of some sort. Most men these days don't get a lot of that in their day to day life.)

4. Read books targeted at men.
For the same reasons you'll watch movies targeted at men, read their books. Not sure which ones those are based on the bestseller lists? Ask the men in your life what they're reading or what they'd read if they had a chance. (My husband, for example, reads a lot of John Grisham, David Baldacci, James Patterson, and he hasn't missed a Tucker Max book yet. In my experience, men tend toward dramatic non-fiction or nearly-non-fiction, "crude" humor, and sex.)

5. Read magazines targeted at men.
Magazines have a flashier, more immediate feel. I know more men reading magazines than I do men reading books, to be honest. This suggestion isn't just for the mature-themed magazines, like Playboy and Maxim (though those really are useful for the articles; Playboy was where a lot of masculine cultural revolution began, and Maxim is as much about clothing and gear and being a modern man as it is about attractive women in skimpy clothing). Look at any magazine that targets a specifically male audience. 

6. Read up on your male gender studies.
In this case, "gender" is the operative word. Manhood as a state of mind is something you want to at least vaguely understand before you tackle writing them. What do men want? How do they think? What do they feel? How does culture affect these things? What does it mean to be a man in his world? Generalized studies can help. Women's studies in the west tend to focus on things like "being pinked." Men are subjected to cultural restrictions and expectations as women. 

7. Replace "I feel" with "I think."
This is probably the easiest tip. Anytime you have a character speaking or internal monologuing, replace every instance of "I feel" with "I think" and your man will automatically seem more manly. This isn't to say that men don't feel; they're just more likely to phrase it in terms of what they think.

8. Ask a man in your life to read the dialogue aloud.
My darling husband is more romantic than me. He's the most romantic person I know. And even still, I sincerely doubt he'd say any of the flowery things I sometimes catch modern heroes spouting in romance novels. If you're uncertain about your dialogue, bribe a man in your life if you have to. (I hear a good way to get to them is through their stomachs.)

9. Remember that men are active and solution-oriented.
Men like to be doing something. It doesn't even necessarily have to be useful, though that's a bonus. And men typically aren't going to spend three hundred pages wringing their hands over a problem. They're going to be actively seeking solutions. This isn't to say that men aren't introspective, because they certainly are, they just prefer a more active approach to problem-solving, and life in general.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Miscellany: Being Irresponsible... Responsibly

Here we are, beginning the last week of my vacation. I know by now that it doesn't look like I've been on vacation, but that's just because I tried to plan a little bit ahead when I decided to run away from "work" for a month. It may have been an impromptu decision, but I tried not to be totally irresponsible.

That's the point of this entry. See, I believe that everyone ought to be irresponsible at some point. Do something ridiculous just because you want to. But I don't believe that a moment--or a month--of irresponsibility should have negative long-term consequences.

If I had just abandoned all work for a month, didn't write or queue up any blog posts or set HootSuite up to occasionally post a tweet for me, my blog stats would be abysmal. Without blog traffic, I have pretty much zero visibility among self-published authors. And self-published--and small-print--authors are the ones I want to connect with here at this blog and on Twitter. I have slowly been developing this aspect of my "career" (oh, stop laughing, I'm trying) as a self-help resource for authors who are where I was last year, or who are maybe in the same place as me now but are looking for a slightly different take on it.

I desperately needed a break. But I didn't need one that would undo all of my work for the last year.

This is why I'm grateful for Blogger's settings that allow me to schedule posts and for HootSuite's software that allows me to schedule tweets. There's a lot of electronic help out there. I think I want to find more of it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog Roundup: Stella Deleuze

I have featured Stella Deleuze before. She makes regular appearances on my weekly blog roundup posts, usually for her Tip of the Week series, and she was gracious enough to be interviewed back in January. Stella, like Sirra, is both a writer and an editor and frequently rants about poor editing on her blog. In addition to editing and writing tips, she talks about her iguana--Zorro, a lovely fellow--and food--usually posting recipes that look just wonderful. If you're not following her already, you should go do it now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Author Resource: Erotic Romance

If you write erotica, romance, or erotic romance, this blog should be on your blogroll. Emily Veinglory "reports about and comments on the world of erotica and romance publishing, with a focus on epublishers." She describes the blog's "serious" purpose on the About page, which is providing sales data. Sales data you can see here. There's a Resources page as well as a page on dead markets. This is one of my favorite blogs. Not just because everything about it is useful, but because Ms. Veinglory is funny and clever.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gross, Creepy, Downright Terrifying: Six Books To Make You Question Reality


1. Lost Souls and Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z Brite
Yes, right off the bat, I'm giving you a two-for-the-price-of-one entry. Can't help it. I can't pick just one book from her, but I can pick two. (Drawing Blood is also fantastic.) Poppy has such intensely beautiful command of the language. Lost Souls gives me chills every time I read it and I can't enjoy Dexter (the books or the show) without thinking about Andrew and Jay. (If you want to directly support the author, you can visit the Poppy Z. Brite eBay page.)

2. My Life with Corpses by Wylene Dunbar
The only entry on this list that is just creepy and disturbing, this novel is entirely underrated and under-appreciated. I haven't met anyone else who has read it and that makes me sad. It's such a good book. Funny, weird, beautiful, and thought-provoking, this novel is less horror and more existential, but it still makes the air feel a little colder.

3. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
This is my favorite modern American novel. Yes, it's about a serial killer. Yes, it's about excess and self-indulgence. It. Is. Amazing. The first time I read it, I thought I was going crazy. That is, until I got to the first explicit murder scene. Then I realized that it wasn't me, it was Patrick, and holy shit this guy is fucked up. If you have the stomach for it, this is the sort of novel that will drag you bodily from your real world and throw you unceremoniously into the world the author has created. 

4. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
If American Psycho grabs you and drags you into Patrick Bateman's world, Naked Lunch bashes you in the head, knocks you out, and forces you to wake up cold, alone, and scared in the world Burroughs created. I've never done acid, or any other hallucinatory drug, but I imagine it can't be much different from reading this book. 

5. Splatterpunks II: Over the Edge edited by Paul M. Sammon
All right, this one isn't a novel, it's a short stories collection. "A mosaic of viscera, excrement, sex, and degradation whirls before our eyes in this anthology of stories and essays that run the gamut from lame and pretentious to genuinely stunning." Reading this book is a lot like being suckerpunched repeatedly.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nine Writing Things: Begone, Writer's Block!

We've all been there. We just can't write and it's a terrible, dark, empty, lonely place to be. There are millions of suggestions out there on the Internet for ways to beat writer's block. Let me be a cliché and offer nine more. Hey, it's an easy blog post. Give me a break!

1. Set small goals with a timer and a word count.
Unfuck Your Habitat is this fantastic blog on tumblr that has been hugely helpful to me in learning to manage my time. (It's a blog about cleaning and organizing, but the principles work for writing, too.) Set a timer for twenty minutes, set a word count goal (halve your normal twenty-minute word count), and then go. Is it good writing? No. But it's writing.

2. Write a conversation with yourself, your muses, or your characters.
The subject can be anything. Write out a conversation exploring why you're blocked, or what the muses think you should be doing, or the story your characters really want to tell. Get the characters to tell you a funny or sad story from their childhood. Whatever it is, just do it. It can and probably should be as messy as any real-world conversation, full of backtracking and stuttering and pausing and uncertainty.

3. Play a song you're unfamiliar with, try to write out the lyrics or what you think the lyrics mean.
No cheating! Ignore all the song lyric archives online. I did this a lot as a teenager. I'd listen to a new song, write out the lyrics as I heard them, and then analyze the song. This was before I knew pretty much every song ever is about sex, though, so your mileage may vary depending on your level of jadedness.

4. Talk to yourself.
Be as many different people as you need to be. I don't recommend doing this one in public, though. In your car is fine, in your home--alone--is best.

5. Drink. A lot.
Drink enough to lose your inhibitions but not so much you can't spell. Remember to save your work before you pass out or die from alcohol poisoning. You might be surprised at the sort of things you write when you've loosened up and lost the filters that make you fit for society.

6. Use Write or Die or a program like it.
Write or Die is a program that "puts the 'prod' in productivity." It basically forces you to write. I view it as a good parent. I'm not sure what's going to happen if I don't do what it tells me, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it.

7. Take a shower.
I do my best thinking in the shower. It's like the steam loosens the gunk clogging up my writing arteries. This can backfire and lead to you sitting sopping wet in front of your computer, so... be careful. Maybe get a voice recorder or something, set it on a dry ledge near enough the shower that you can poke your head out and start shouting at it. A small child who can write or type would also do in a pinch. Oh! Or a significant other who can be bribed with a bit of a show.

8. Watch a movie you don't like.
Analyze every little thing about it that you hate. List those things. Rage at the movie. Decide that you could do better, grab your laptop, and actually do better. Rewrite it line-by-line and revel in your superiority.

9. Just start writing.
Sit down. Set fingers to keys or pen to paper. And just start writing. Your ABCs. Your name. Why you like the boy next door. What you think that cute barista does when she's home alone. Whatever, it doesn't matter. Just write.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Miscellany: Coffee Is The Writer's BFF

Granted, the title of this post could also be "Whiskey Is The Writer's BFF" but it's kind of early in the morning for booze, don't you think? (The answer is, of course: No. No it's not. But let's pretend for the sake of what is socially appropriate that we all totally agree drinking before nine in the morning is not cool.) Most of us drink coffee. A lot of coffee. Coffee keeps us up at four in the morning when we just need to finish that last chapter, it keeps us sharp when our eyes want to go crossed and we start breathing blue, and it's the first thing we reach for when we stumble into the kitchen after a few hours of dream-filled sleep where our muses punished us for our dishonesty.

Or maybe that's just me.

Anyway, coffee. It's a glorious, wonderful, beautiful drink. Some of it is better than the rest. I know a lot of people swear by Starbucks, but... meh. I mean, it'll do in a pinch, and I guess it's better quality than Folgers. (Ever since I got a French press, I judge a coffee's quality based on whether I can drink it black straight from the press. Starbucks dark roasts pass, Folgers does not. I was a diehard Folgers drinker for many, many years, so this was a crushing realization.) I prefer Seattle's Best when I'm given the chance and Dilanos above that (though Dilanos is hard to get outside of northwest Washington state in my experience).

But the absolute best coffee I have ever had, ever, was Bad Ass Coffee. It even has a story.

A few years ago, while my husband was deployed and I was a receptionist and there was no kiddo in my life, I planned a cross-country road trip to visit a friend in Hollywood and do silly things like go to Disneyland and the tar pits. Along the way, I was planning to hit several archaeological sites, like Aztec Ruins and Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, then spend a night in my favorite southwestern city, Flagstaff. My friend found herself without a job a week or so before my planned trip, so rather than wait for me to get to her, she hopped a plane to me and we drove west together. It was amazing. She is the very best road trip buddy in the whole entire world. We saw Aztec Ruins and stayed at the Step Back Inn. We spent several hours driving around Albuquerque looking for liquor. We spent the night in Flagstaff, where we stayed up late having coffee in a diner near our hotel. It was a fantastic vacation even though we couldn't find a place to have pancakes in Winslow.

Thanks, in part, to Bad Ass Coffee. In Arizona, we had to take a detour. This detour took us on state highways instead of the interstate, and on the side of one of these highways, I saw a sign for a ridiculously named coffee shop. Come on, seriously? Bad Ass? With a name like that, it either had to be really good or really bad. So we turned around. We found the cafe. We parked. We went inside. And we ordered.

And then, the next day, we took another special detour. Because there was another one outside of Phoenix, according to the Google search she did on her phone.

Bad Ass Coffee is perfect, delicious Hawaiian coffee and no matter what you do to it, it's amazing. If you click the link and check out the store, you might have a mild heart attack at the prices. Pay them anyway. It's worth it.

And if you're ever in the Los Angeles area, I seriously recommend Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They serve some pretty great Hawaiian coffee, too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blog Roundup: Sirra

Sirra is the origin of the #stabbylove hashtag on Twitter. She's a freelance editor and translator anse d she's the sort of editor you want on your payroll: she's not nice. In fact, she's brutal. But she's fair and she's brutal only because she wants to help you be the best writer you can be, which means that she really is exactly the type of editor new writers in particular need and should pay attention to.

If you only choose one tag to look up on her blog, read all the entries that fall under Twitter Writetip and EditTip. These entries are collections of her Tweets on the subjects of writing and editing and they're short, sharp, and very informative.

And if you're looking for an editor, head over to her editing blog, read her requirements, and then contact her. I understand that her rates are really reasonable and she's an excellent, quick editor.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Writer Resource: Savvy Authors

Savvy Authors is a writing resources community. Joining is on my to-do list for several reasons. Among them, the blogging networking and the resources like Autocritter and Cliche Finder. It seems really well-organized and well-run. Here's the link for new user registration.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Characterization Trait Resource: The Bookshelf Muse

The Bookshelf Muse is a writing tools blog. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi cover pretty much every character trait imaginable with explanations, examples, and discussion. They even have a book out: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression. I love this blog. It's fun, it's informative, and it's pretty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nine Writing Things: Help! I Need To Name My Characters!

One of the things I like the least about writing is naming characters. It's hard. It's just as hard as naming a real baby. But it's okay! Because I know what to do when it's time to name a character.

1. SSA.gov - Popular Baby Names
This is especially useful if you're writing something set in the US after 1879. You can look up the top 1000 names for boys and girls for any given year. It's fantastic.

2. Thinkbabynames.com
This website is great because you can look up a name... and then look up variations of that name.

3. Baby Names UK
The thing I like about this site is the blog. The short posts glossing over issues relevant to the subject of baby names can be kind of useful, like this one on taboo names. As with any aspect of writing, research and reading can help stimulate creativity. Anything that makes you think is a good thing.

4. The Editor's Blog - How to Name Characters
An article on character name theory, complete with tips, examples, and explanations.

5. Name Generators
Wizards of the Coast, Behind the Name, Fantasy Name Generator... The Internet is full of these.

6. White Pages
If your setting is in the modern, real world, a quick Google search of white pages + location should turn up residential listings you can use to name your character. Even if it isn't, there's inspiration to be had.

7. Name Memes
Your Star Wars Name. Your Star Trek Name. Your Lord of the Rings Name. And the silly ones, like Your Porn Star Name or Your Spy Name. Ridiculous? Yes. But maybe something good comes out of playing even if the amusement isn't enough for you.

8. Family History
My family tree is full of names like Millie and Jeanette on my mother's side and Alma and Sabine on my father's side. Check out the old family Bible or the inside covers of the books in your grandmother's library.

9. Make shit up.
Seriously, that's what we're doing, anyway. Just make a name up and commit to it. If anyone asks, tear up and tell them it's the name of your dead grandmother/grandfather/child/beloved pet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Miscellany: Movies!

One of the things I'm planning to do with this time off is see a bunch of movies I've missed since I did that silly thing and fell in love, then started a family. I used to be a huge movie nerd. Huge. So huge I seriously considered applying to USC to get into the film school. In the days before IMDB, I was the movie database for my family, my parents' friends, and some of my friends.

And then I met the love of my life (an actual person) and, well... some things became less important than spending time with him and working. I still went to the theater about four times a month, but that was only four times a month, and I wasn't renting three or four movies every Saturday night anymore.

The only genre of movie I tend to avoid is romantic comedies. I'm not a fan. I make exceptions, however, if I'm a big fan of the lead actor or actress or if it's a story I'm particularly fond of. I also make exceptions if I've been drinking tequila. I don't know what it is about tequila, but it always makes me want to watch chick flicks. I saw Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in the theater because of tequila. Oh, yeah. I sobered up halfway through. That is not a movie I recommend seeing sober.

One of the chick flicks I'm planning to see is What's Your Number? which stars Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Anna Faris is an actress I make an exception for. The same goes for Chris Evans. (Have you guys seen the Scary Movie spoofs or House Bunny? Or Not Another Teen Movie or The Losers? Those are all good times.) Actually, I'm hoping to work my way through all of the Chris Evans movies I've missed since the Fantastic Four. Apparently, there's a great indie one in which he plays a drug-addicted lawyer.

I'd like to get caught up on the Jason Bourne movies because I loved the first one and I'm really excited about the next one. I haven't seen The King's Speech or Black Swan and I've heard great things about Blue Valentine. I'd like to see The Resident all the way through because Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes my heart beat a little faster. I missed the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. Jensen Ackles did a couple of movies--My Bloody Valentine and Ten Inch Hero--that I missed and I'd like to see.

And I haven't even touched on the movies I want to see for the actresses, the screenwriters, or the directors!

It's going to be a busy month.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blog Roundup: J. A. Konrath - A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

J. A. Konrath is a pretty successful self-published author who also runs a pretty successful publishing blog. A Newbie's Guide to Publishing is an incredible self-publishing resource and an inspiring story. I covered him a little bit in my Nine Things post on blogs run by writers for writers.

I'm not a dedicated Konrath follower. I read his blog once a week, sometimes once every two weeks, and I skim posts before I decide to read them. I'm not a big fan of his fondness for calling people "pinheads" and I'm a long-time Internet user, so I almost never read comments on provocative blogs like his. But he does offer posts of value, particular and unique insight into the publishing industry, and he seems to be well-connected so when he hosts a guest post, it's usually a pretty good read.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

SitRep Saturday: Formatting Download

First of all: Yes, this blog post is backdated. I'm doing this to keep things tidy on my blog.

Guess what's available at Smashwords? That's right, Basic Fiction Formatting for Smashwords in OpenOffice is now available as a download there. If you don't have a Smashwords account, you can download the PDF here from my Google Docs account. Like any good reference material, I'm sure it will be revised as I learn new things about formatting and OpenOffice and as I experiment with my own order of doing things, but right now, I'm just glad it's finally available.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Self-Publishing: On Sales (March and April 2012)

My last sales post showed sales for February 2012 (compared to January 2012 sales and including an overview of my figures from the first six months of self-published fiction sales). I intended to post March 2012 sales at the beginning of May, but time got away from me. Now here we are in the first week of June and I still owe you readers a look at my March sales plus a look at my April sales. Shall we?


Well, that's... depressing. Can I say depressing without looking like a jerk? Those sales are still more than I hoped for, but the trend is also going in the direction opposite of the one I hoped to see.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Nine Writing Things: Great Blogs Run By Writers For Writers

When I first decided to self-publish, I did a lot of reading. A lot. I found a ton of great articles, started a blog, and started following a bunch of bloggers who were writing about writing. Not just self-publishing, but writing in general. I've written long enough to know that I don't have to do what everyone else tells me to do, but that other writers--especially older ones, more experienced ones, and ones published in genres I don't read--generally have valuable things to say.

For today's Nine Things post, I'm going to share with you nine of my favorite writer's blogs. 

1. Joe Konrath - A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
 Joe Konrath has been blogging since 2005 and he has a wealth of industry-specific knowledge, tips, and tricks that he regularly shares. He also has some pretty strong opinions about issues within publishing and self-publishing and he is very good at articulating those opinions. I read his blog regularly just so I can feel smarter. 

2. Chuck Wendig - Terrible Minds
I devoted this week's Blog Roundup post to Chuck and for good reason. His blog is a nice mix of writing advice, industry knowledge, anecdotes, writing exercises, and information about his work for those of his readers who are fans. There's something for everyone there. 

3. Stella Deleuze - Words by Stella Deleuze
Stella is, in addition to a writer herself, an editor. So with her blog, we get both sides: the writer and the editor. She is also a reader, a gardener, a hobby chef, and a conscious critic of self-publishing and indie authors. I like Stella personally--she's straightforward and kind and not afraid to express herself--and I enjoy her blog. Her rants give me a lot of ideas about what not to do. 

4. Laura Bradford - A Writer's Notes
I love the minimalist design of her blog and her relevant, easy-to-read posts. She doesn't update as frequently as most of the other bloggers on this list, but when she does, she offers things like posts about knowing your audience. 

5. James Killick - James Killick's Blog
Usually, James offers a nice, concise post of writing advice weekly. He understands the total writer package, that being a writer is about more than raw talent and specialized interests. He understands that most of us want to be read and liked. His posts display that understanding and generally offer advice to reconciling all parts of the writer self. 

6. Kate Aaron - Only True Magic
The thing that makes Kate's blog unique among the writer blogs I read, I think, is the fact that she regularly writes about gender and sexuality issues in writing, the industry, and in reading. I like that. I almost always learn something new, or at least learn to look at something in a different way. 

7. Lynn Viehl - Paperback Writer
Resources! Lynn has been a professional writer for fourteen years (according to her blog heading) and while her blog may be light on the advice, it's definitely heavy on the resources. She offers tips, tricks, programs, websites, submission information, and all kinds of other useful resources. Reading her blog is like reading a morning paper written just for writers. 

8. Aimee Salter - Seeking the Write Life
Like Joe Konrath, Aimee is very brusque, very matter-of-fact, and not even a little bit afraid of sharing her opinions. She's smart and she has plenty of advice for the persistent writer, advice that runs the gamut from how to improve query letters to how to beta read to how to not be one of those indie authors giving the rest a bad rap. I stumbled across her blog by accident one day and have been following ever since. I may not always necessarily agree with her opinions, but it doesn't matter, because her input is valuable. 

9.  Sierra Godfrey - Sassy Sassafras
Sierra follows blogs I don't follow and I don't have to because she does a weekly blog roundup, too. I like her casual, friendly tone and I like that she includes real-life examples of what she's talking about. This blog is an easy, useful read and I really enjoy heading over there to check out what she's offering each week.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Miscellany: On the Importance of Having Fun

Writing is hard. Writing is really, really hard. It's labor intensive, it's painful, it's exhausting, it's soul-sucking. Writers are a bunch of masochists. What other explanation is there for why we put ourselves through this?

Fun.

At least, it should be a reason. And to be honest, I've lost sight of that a little. That's part of why I'm taking this break to just goof off. I need to relearn to enjoy myself and my writing. I think fun is the key I'm missing, the key that will unlock the door to being a better writer.

Isn't that what we all want? I know it's what I want. I am always looking for new ways to learn to be a better writer.

And I'm certainly not opposed to having a good time while I do it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blog Roundup: Chuck Wendig

This month, we're doing something a little bit different. Rather than rounding up all the best posts of the week from the writing blogs I follow, I'm going to pick a writing blogger and share with you some of my favorite posts from that blog. Today, we're going to look at Chuck Wendig.

Every week, I devote at least one roundup paragraph to him--and for good reason. Every week (or at least almost every week) he has a simple 25 Things post detailing twenty-five things you, as a writer, need to consider. This week it was writing the first chapter of your novel. Last week, it was reasons to quit writing. There are a ton of these posts and they're all sound posts.

I'm not saying it's all the gospel truth and you should just follow him blindly, but I am saying that the man is saying things worth hearing. Even if you're generally averse to profanity, I still think he's worth checking out. Sometimes we need to be shocked out of our comfort zone.

If you don't have his website bookmarked, go ahead and do it now. I'll wait. All done? Good.

Want to read what he has to say about writing but you don't want to read it in blog form? He has books. 250 Things. 500 Ways. 500 More Ways.

He seems to know what he's talking about. And even if he doesn't, he's good enough at BS to make me believe it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

SitRep Saturday: Time For Vacation

Remember last week when I wrote about how I'd abandoned real life and work in favor of being a fangirl? This week hasn't been much better. In fact, I'd say it has been worse because I went back to the movies to see The Avengers for a second time and I won't even try to count how many times I watched Captain America: The First Avenger this week.

Unprofessional? Perhaps. But I was talking to a friend yesterday and I realized just how desperately I need a vacation. An author I admire a great deal posted in his blog about receiving a book on the subject of how writing (creating) can become more work than fun and how important it is to get the fun back. Right now, I feel like I'm stagnating. I feel like I need to do something to figure out what I'm doing and where I'm going and I need to get back to having fun. I think fun is a key part of this.

So I'm going to take off this month. Over the next few days, I'm going to be working to write posts to queue up. There's no reason my readers (few as you are) have to suffer. And while I'm "off" I'm going to see what I can do to regain the fun of writing.