What’s Making Me Happy: May 2017

Is anyone else having a hard time believing that May is almost over? Gosh, was it busy. Not in a bad way, either. But in between writing, work, trips to Cape Cod, and life in general, I also worked on the online photo album of my Iceland trip that was one of the promised GoFundMe perks. (FYI: If you’re one of those donors, I hope to have the link ready within the next week or so. Sorry for the delay!) As a result, I’m on a social media hiatus (except for Goodreads) until the photo album is done, and then things should return to some sense of normalcy.

So what kinds of things made me happy in between all of May’s busyness? Would it surprise you if some of those joys are lingering reminders of Iceland? 😉 And as always, feel free to share the things that made you happy this past month in your comments on this post.

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What’s Making Me Happy: March 2017 (Plus, I’m on Hiatus Until April 18th)

The best way to describe my March 2017 would be “a month of two parts.” (Did anyone catch the nod to the Kingkiller Chronicle prologues? *wink*) The first half was still stressful and discouraging like February had been, partly because I was still dealing with anxiety flare-ups. But after taking active steps to better manage my anxiety (including resuming my writing routine), and thanks to the knowledge that spring is here (YAY!), the second half of the month was more productive and meditative. Oh, and busy with final preparations for the Iceland Writers Retreat! I can’t believe it’s NEXT WEEK!! 😀

And now that I think about it, this month’s edition of What’s Making Me Happy reflects that mix of excitement, relaxation, and creativity. So let me share my March joys with you, and feel free to share yours in your comments.

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What’s Making Me Happy: February 2017

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I owe it to myself to do a What’s Making Me Happy post. February was a tough month. Despite the joy of a new writing project and the hope-excitement for the upcoming Iceland trip, it was also a month of stress, fatigue, and a resulting illness. So lately it’s been a challenge to maintain any sense of contentment or confidence in… well, anything, including writing.

But February wasn’t all gray skies, cold temperatures, and pessimism. In fact, several things about the past month did lift my spirits. So today I’d like to celebrate the sounds, sights, flavors, and places that made me happy over the past month. Let’s start with…

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Chronicling The Craft: Six Writing Lessons I Learned While Working On My WIP

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today we finish our celebration of the end of Draft #3 with a tips-oriented post.

Working on a novel is a learning experience in and of itself. You’ll make right and wrong decisions, figure things out, and find ways of improving the story. You’ll also absorb tips away from the WIP via blog articles, workshops, and literary conferences. That “self-teaching” can double – or even triple – your knowledge about writing between Day 1 of Draft #1 and The End of Draft #3. And after wrapping up my WIP’s third draft, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned about the craft of writing and about myself as a writer.

So, the last Chronicle for Draft #3 isn’t exactly a tips-oriented post. Instead, it’s a retrospect of discoveries I’ve made since I started working on The Keeper’s Curse (or TKC). Perhaps these lessons might help you on your own writing journey (or maybe you’ve already embraced them). Then, at the end, I’d love to know what you have learned about yourself or your process from any of your writing projects. 🙂
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Chronicling The Craft: Battling Writer’s Doubt and Regaining Your Confidence

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 60% completion of Draft #3.

No writer (or anyone pursuing their dreams) is immune to the monsters of doubt. At any time during our process, we might lose faith in our story, our characters, even our own abilities. And when we do, the effects can cripple us, sometimes to the point of giving up.

It’s a tough subject to broach. I’ve hit the wall a few times myself, but I’ve rarely written about it. But I should write about it. In fact, all writers should. Not only does it make us feel less alone in our struggles, but it allows us to find or share ways of managing any doubts or anxieties we have about our craft.

For today’s Chronicle, I’ll share one of my recent struggles with doubt while editing my WIP. I’ll also reveal my personal method for dealing with those fears, and how some of my writing friends manage theirs. Perhaps some of these tips might work for you. Or, maybe you already have your own ways of bouncing back. The point is to encourage and motivate one another to keep doing this crazy thing we love called writing. I hope this post will accomplish that for you.
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Chronicling The Craft: Adjusting Your Writing Schedule (and Maintaining Your Sanity) In Response to Life Changes

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Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post is the tips-oriented post to celebrate 40% completion of Draft #3.

One of the biggest challenges with Draft #3 hasn’t been craft- or story-related. Rather, it’s process-related. Certain life changes made my previous writing schedule unsustainable, so I needed to rethink how to approach the editing process and devote adequate time and effort to my story. And when you’re used to having a particular schedule, altering it for creativity’s sake can be an overwhelming and eye-opening experience.

So, today’s Chronicle focuses on the “writer’s life” side of things. I’ll offer tips on adjusting your writing routine in response to life changes. I’ll also explain why writers should practice acceptance and patience when altering their routines, and why it’s essential for us to take care of ourselves as we do so. Our sanity and well-being are just as important as our craft, right?
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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 21: Christmas-January Haul, Plus My Reading Plan for 2016

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

It’s been a while since the last Stacking The Shelves post! I always try to be good (i.e., not buy any books) in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and I did pretty well with my ban again this year. Of course, I put books on my Christmas list instead, just to make up for it. 😉

Today’s post will be a mix of gifted books and other additions to my (overflowing) bookshelves. And, since last year’s reading plan worked out amazingly well, I have a new one for 2016 and will share that, too.

Finally, this is the first post using photos taken with my new camera. I’m still learning some of its functions, but for the most part the pics came out pretty well!

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The “Be Thankful” Challenge

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Thanksgiving may have been last week, but the holiday season is a good time to be thankful for what we have and who we cherish. So, when fellow fantasy writer Elizabeth Rawls nominated me for the “Be Thankful” Challenge,  I knew I couldn’t let this one wait. (Thank you, E.!)

The rules for The “Be Thankful” Challenge are:

  • Share the “Be Thankful” image in your blog post.
  • Write about 5 people in your life you are thankful for.
  • Write about 5 things in 2015 that you are thankful for.
  • Spread the love and challenge 5 other blogs to take part.

So, let me share with you some of the people and things I’m most grateful for…

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Guest Post: Sara Letourneau – Seven Keys to Maintaining Your Writerly Well-Being

I stopped by The Sprint Shack earlier today for a guest post on “writerly” health and well-being. Read on to learn how to balance creativity with self-care so you can be at the top of your game as a writer and as a happy, healthy human being. 🙂

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Our healGuest Post Template(1)th and wellness are two of the most important “possessions” we have. Yet as writers, sometimes we take them for granted. If we’re too engrossed in our work and lose track of time, or a crucial deadline on a blog post or a round of rewrites is looming, we might feel tempted to ignore sleep, hunger, and other needs.

Here’s what I can tell you from personal experience: It’s not worth it. In fact, it’s essential for us to step away from our craft now and then so we can take care of ourselves. And by remembering to balance creativity with self-care, we can be productive, happy, and healthy.

So, how can you maintain your well-being without sacrificing too much of your writing? Here are seven keys that focus on all-around areas of physical, emotional, and mental wellness.

Key #1: Hydration

Staying hydrated isn’t limited to physical exercise…

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Stacking The Shelves Vol. 4: Tea with Tris and Four (Sort Of)

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Welcome to the latest volume of Stacking The Shelves! This meme is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may those books be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and e-books.

Volume 4 of Stacking The Shelves features a book I recently borrowed from a friend and my first Christmas gift of the year. Here they are! Continue reading