If you follow me and my editing / literary coaching business Heart of the Story on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have noticed an experiment I’ve been running on Mondays. It’s called Question of the Week, a conversation starter where I post a question about writing and any writers who are interested can respond.
So far, some of the questions have focused on your current writing project. Others have been about reading (since reading is an instrumental part of being a writer, right?) or the highlights and challenges of the writing process. So the topic varies from week to week; and since it’s not a chat with a set timetable, it’s something you can drop in on at your convenience.
There’s a lot of discussion in the writerly blogosphere about the importance of social media, regardless of whether a writer is published. Much of the advice is valid: Social media is a great way of publicizing your work (books, blog, etc.), networking within the industry, and developing an audience. Personally, I’ve grown to appreciate Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest over the past couple years. They’ve either been instrumental with building the blog’s audience and driving more traffic, or helped me connect with other writers, bookworms, and SF&F fans. (In Twitter’s case, it’s been a blessing for both.)
So, why have I been absent from social media lately, apart from Goodreads? It’s not that I’ve given up on it. Rather, the absence began with an intention, then drew on longer for reasons I couldn’t pin down until recently, thanks to a book I’ve been reading and some recent reflection on the “energetic” toll this year has taken on me.
Recently I was nominated by the wonderfully bookish and insightful Nandini @ Pages That Rustle for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop. (Thanks for nominating me, Nandini!) And having celebrated my eighth blogoversary last month, now seemed like a good time to look back on how I’ve grown as a blogger since the day I launched this site.
First things first, though. The #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop was created by Sarah Brentyn @ Lemon Shark. And since every blog tag has rules, let’s go over them now: Continue reading
Wow. Was it really two months ago when I launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for my trip to the 2017 Iceland Writers Retreat? Now, the “promotional” period is over (it ended this past Saturday), and thanks to people’s generosity I raised $2274. This falls short of the $3500 goal – but you know what? That’s still really good. It means that a dream-come-true overseas adventure and investment in my writing career is financially within reach for me. That is enough to say I’m DEFINITELY going now. 😀
To celebrate, I thought I’d offer insights on running a crowdfunding campaign. Because, well, it was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done – more than writing a novel! But it was also one of the most unique and rewarding learning experiences in my life. So, let me share six tips based on what I learned – some practical, and some attitudinal. Because in many ways, your mindset and definition of success might be more important than how close you come to your fundraising goal.
(NOTE: Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, January 26th.)
Nature can play a pivotal role in a story, from thrusting obstacles into the protagonist’s path to dazzling with its majesty beauty. This complicated relationship between the natural world and mankind can lead to incredible stories in real life as well as in literature. So, in today’s edition of Theme: A Story’s Soul at DIY MFA, I explore how this idea is conveyed as a theme in Rae Carson’s Walk On Earth a Stranger and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. It turns out that wagon train journeys and survival on the high seas have more in common than we might think.
(NOTE: Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, November 3rd.)
I’ve been meaning to write a case study on friendship for my DIY MFA column for a while. And why not? Friendship has the power to change people’s lives in amazing ways – in real life, and in the stories we read. In fact, literature has shown us not only the ups and downs of these relationships, but also how they often defy boundaries such as age, race, and gender. And I couldn’t think of two better books to use as examples than Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, because both explore this theme masterfully.
If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed my #WIPjoy Tweets during the month of June. This meme is a month-long challenge led by YA sci-fi and fantasy writer Bethany A. Jennings; and for every day of the month, writers answer a specific question and share bits about their current work-in-progress (WIP). Participants can also take the meme to Facebook, their blog, and other social media outlets they
The “index” image for #WIPjoy June 2016, courtesy of Bethany A. Jennings. Click to view a larger version.
This was my first time participating in #WIPjoy, and it was a lot of fun! It especially gave me a chance to learn what other writers are working on, get a taste of their writing style, and cheer them on as they work on their drafts. Now I’m even more excited to read some of those stories when they’re published someday!
And what I did I share for #WIPjoy? The Keeper’s Curse, of course! (It IS my only WIP at the moment. *lol*) So, I thought I’d share a collection of my #WIPjoy Tweets here with you. This post doesn’t contain all of my Tweets from the challenge – but it does feature some of my favorite questions / answers, and several of the excerpts I shared. Feel free to share any feedback in your comments, or “like” or “retweet” any of the linked Tweets. 😉 Enjoy!
[EDIT: Somehow I forgot there were 31 days in January, so this is accidentally going up one day early. *oops*]
No, that’s not possible. Another month hasn’t gone by yet. I’m still trying to get used to writing 2015 instead of 2014!
That pretty much sums up how I feel as I write Time Flies!: January 2015. The first month of this year went by way too quickly – and it was an awfully stressful month offline, which stalled my blog-writing for a while. I was forced to put articles for this site on the backburner just so I could meet my deadlines for my outside columns. So… yeah, January 2015 was a blur. Things look like they’re starting to slow down, though, so I’ve been able to start catching up and cross off items on my “to-do” list.
Let’s be more positive from here on, starting with the past month’s updates: Continue reading
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you ended your 2014 with a safe and fun celebration; and I wish you good health, joy, fulfillment, and great success in 2015, whatever your goals may be. 🙂
I also want to extend huge hugs of gratitude to everyone who visited the blog this year and continues to come back on a regular basis. 2014 turned out to be the most successful year statistically at this blog, with more visits, likes, and comments than in years past. *breaks out confetti and pompoms*
One thing has undoubtedly contributed to that increase: outreach. Joining Twitter and making a greater effort to visit blogs by writers, book reviewers, and other bloggers last year helped make a difference. But there’s only so much I can do myself by commenting and putting myself out. So, for all your feedback on book reviews, novel updates, and other musings… for your retweets and Facebook shares… for your support, curiosity, and enthusiasm… I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, I’d like to look back on what 2014 meant to me, and what my hopes and plans are for the year ahead. Continue reading
In some ways, WANACon doesn’t count as a field trip in the true sense of the phrase. (Click here to read my “promo” article for WANACon.) It’s an online writing conference you can attend from the comforts of home, someone else’s house, a cafe – wherever you can bring your laptop and find a wifi connection. However, it meant two days of geeking out and investing time and money into learning more about the craft of writing, something I’m more than thrilled to do. I may have been at home and in front of my laptop for much of the time, but in my head I was seated in crowded classrooms and surrounded by other writers who shared my passion and excitement. I took flurries of notes, listened to each presenter with rapt attention, and almost immediately applied what I was learning to my work-in-progress (WIP). In other words, I was far, far away mentally – and I had a blast! Continue reading