Socks. Love! This winter has been cold. Like it can’t get above 10 degrees Fahrenheit most days and lately it’s been below zero. So I’m having a more than usual love affair with socks. The other day entirely by accident I discovered that Amazon has socks. You’re probably thinking Well, duh, Nancy! Amazon has everything! But hey, I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed.
So I got these:
So I just signed up for the James Patterson Masterclass, which is a self-paced online writing class. I’m really excited about it. James Patterson is an eloquent speaker. He’s straight forward, no nonsense, which I love.
I got up with the chickens (which if I had chickens would likely be frozen this morning. It’s -20 degrees F this morning!) and downloaded the workbook along with lesson 1. I watched Mr. Patterson’s introductory video on what he is going to teach us, how to get the most out of the class, etc.
Other writers have told me that it’s a class where you definitely get out of it what you put into it, and I can see that right off the bat. With two self-imposed book deadlines this quarter it will be a challenge. But I’m up for it!
I started a writing journal on January 29th. I found a great big thick orange journal in Michaels, and bought it because I love the way it feels while writing. I don’t know. I’m weird that way. Some notebooks/journals/planners I love just because the paper in them, the line spacing, the depth of the book. I don’t know. I never know. Some notebooks feel better to write in than others.
So I started a writing journal, a place where I just writing about writing…what I’m working on, future projects, yearly goals, word count. Anything and everything to do with writing. I’ve been writing every morning before doing much of anything, well, except for making coffee. Hafta haz the coffee!
I usually writing about three pages. This morning I wrote about some really good books on writing that I’m reading. I’ll post more on those later when I finish them.
Anyway, I’m enjoying it, and it’s helping me get my daily word count goal with Book II of the Cold Springs series.
Someone recently asked me what a beta reader is. Beta readers are people an author appoints to read his or her manuscript before publication. Beta readers are necessary to every author. In fact, I don’t think I know any authors who do not use beta readers.
For me, and maybe other writers are different, beta readers are the first set of eyes that see my manuscript before sending it off to an editor. People have asked me why I even need an editor if I’m receiving feedback from beta readers. Editors are looking for the specifics whereas beta readers are looking at the content as a whole. Beta readers aren’t giving me feedback on line edits, typos, etc. Beta readers are reading the whole story quickly and telling me if there are any plot holes, if they feel that a character is doing something totally against his or her personality, etc. Beta readers are basically looking for the story, how my storytelling skills are meeting their expectations.
I currently have three beta readers, two of which will only read in specific genres. One reader asked that I only give her my historicals. Another only contemporaries or paranormals. One doesn’t care what I give her, she’ll read it.
All three readers are extremely valuable to me. After they are done reading my work, I read through their suggestions or sometimes we meet in person and they tell me exactly what they thought of the book while I am taking notes. Either way, I’ve never not heeded their suggestions. Once done, I make the changes. Sometimes I’ll send the book back to the beta reader if she has time and wants to take a second look at it. If not I’ll send the book on to my initial editor where she might edit something similar or simple edit for grammatical errors, etc.
Beta readers. You know who you are, and I love you guys!
I’m learning slowly that if I don’t start taking care of myself there won’t be anything left for me to take care of anything else. Does that make sense? I’m not sure, but I need to put out a blog post and since we’re at the start of a new year I thought I’d talk about taking care of oneself.
Some things I’m learning and setting out to do in this new year:
Taking more time to read: This is a big one. Not only is it good for relaxing but it fills the creative well for writing. Hard writing takes hard reading and lots of it.
Scheduling me time: Be it just twenty minutes to enjoy a hot cut of coffee, that’s twenty minutes I’ve enjoyed. Life needs more enjoyable moments.
Being in the now and feeling grateful. Feeling thankful for what I have, and I have an awesome life with wonderful people in it. I need to take more time to appreciate that.
Get more sleep. Sleep fixes everything, makes you more resilient to fight off viruses and infections, brings your mood up.
Take more time to play: This is a big one. Work can be fun. Attitude is everything.
This blog post has been ridiculously overdue, and I apologize for that. To complain that I’ve been busy is nothing more than an excuse. More like lazy would be a better term. But we did move and that pushed out my deadlines. Again another excuse, and I’m sorry for that too.
So we moved into our dream home. It’s the perfect home for us. More square feet, more land, more privacy. We moved out of the old farmhouse not because we disliked it but because this home came along unexpectedly and we just couldn’t refuse it. Unplanned, totally unexpected, and we jumped at the chance to own it. I have a larger, brighter writing room. Everything is on one level which is better on my back and knees and ahem…my overall laziness. And I even think the kitties love it. They’re constantly racing around non-stop. Not that that’s unusual for them. They’re just doing more of it.
So the deadline…Second Chance, book one in the Cold Springs series, had some setbacks. Some more scenes were needed, some needed to be cut, changed around, etc. With the move my discipline when out the window. Then the holidays….but now I’m back on track, and I’m working like crazy on it. Plus I’ve plotted out another historical.
I’ve been asked if I plan on writing another historical with a Native American hero. The short answer is yes. The long answer is I don’t know when it will be. I want to get to it this year, but I’m not sure if my schedule will allow it. I’m committed to writing two books this year, one contemporary and one historical (but not the N/A hero right yet). Hopefully if I get them turned in early I’ll get to the “fun” one. Native American research is my favorite, what can I say?
November is National Novel Writing Month. It’s a fun goal to set where you try to write at least 50K on your novel during the month of November. It’s a great practice run for just free writing while putting the inner editor in the closet for awhile and just letting the subconscious take over. It always amazes me how many words I can actually put out in a sitting if I stop thinking and just let the words flow.
Here is the website for Nanowrimo. If you want to sign up to be my writing buddy, my name under the site is Nancy Henderson.
It’s a dreary, drizzly October morning out there and I’ll be driving 35 miles to my RWA chapter meeting to hear a workshop on reviews by the talented Nina Pietrafesa. Reviews are a constant struggle for me: getting them, what to do with them, reading them, not reading them, responding to them, not responding to them. Today should be very helpful.
I’m also a little anxious about the drive. Last month a car nearly sideswiped me on the highway. I know, what are the chances of that happening again, but still… I hate driving. I especially hate driving in pouring rain.
I’m typing up the outline to book two of the Cold Spring series then sending it to a beta reader for their input. I’m not sure on the middle, i.e. the dreaded sagging middle. (I have one of those in my book and in real life. LOL!)
Samantha Stone has it all in the city that never sleeps. Ian Woods is running from a past that won’t die. Who knew that a rundown diner in the middle of nowhere would bring them together? Can the new life it provides save them both before the town that cannot forget tears them apart?
This is the latest which went off to the editor this week. Release date is late October/early November. I’ll keep you posted on specifics as time gets closer.
This is my first contemporary, without any trace of paranormal, time travel, etc. involved. A lot of fun but soooo different for me! I just finished the outline for book two yesterday. Working title is “If No One Dies”. Not sure if that title will stay. It might sound too “suspense” or “horror”. We’ll see.