06 December 2023

Critiques and Resolutions

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author?

I actually don't write reviews very often. Maybe it gives me flashbacks of having to write papers in high school and college and I just want no part in that. When I do write reviews, it's almost always for a blogger friend's book, so in my case, I write reviews for the author. I'm trying to help out someone I know (through the internet, at least) by saying what I liked about their book and why other people should read it. I've never been that good at critiquing (now having flashbacks to college workshops...) so I tend to focus on what I liked. If I'm reading a book that isn't by a blogger buddy, I'm most likely not going to write a review, and just give a rating. 

Well, we've reached that time of year again where I say to myself, I swear I'm really going to make a change in the new year! Am I doing this again? Yes. Do I believe myself? Well...maybe?

I really do want to get back into writing. I haven't made any specific goals or resolutions yet, but I've had so many different ideas and goals in the past that I figure I can just make a list of all of those! You could just go through all of my blog posts from the past two or three years and find all of my different ideas and schemes that I never followed through on.

Actually, that's probably a good idea. I should go do that...

I do want to get back to writing Uneven Lines. It would be really nice to actually finish it. I've just been really stuck about how to end it. But I have a million little side projects related to it that I hope can help me figure it out. I'd also like to get back to some of my other unfinished projects. 

I think if I had to make a resolution it would just be to start writing again. So I'm planning to just start from there. 

Are you making any writing related resolutions? 

01 November 2023

A NaNo Long Ago

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

There have been more than a few times that I started NaNo and gave up about halfway through, but there was one time where I acutally stuck it out and got to that 50,000 word goal! It was in 2019 and I decided at pretty much the last minute to do it, so I'm pretty surprised that I actually accomplished it. The book still isn't finished, and I've barely looked at it since then, but I really would like to go back and finish it at some point. 

I've talked about this book before, but it has the working title of Sexy Fluff #1. Just before that November where I worked on it, I had this idea that I could probably write romance novels a lot faster than the stuff I typically write. At first I thought, there's no way I can do this for NaNo. I didn't even have a plot, right? Well...literally the next morning I woke up with a plot. So I thought, why not? 

It was a lot of fun to work on and I was proud of myself for actually sticking with it and reaching my goal. Unfortunately, I wish I still had the drive that I had back then in order to finish it. 

I think part of the reason I haven't gone back to it is because I already have some ideas of what need to be fixed, and I'm not sure if I want to just plow through the first draft with what I already have or if I should just start over. I'm sure if I were an outlining type of person I would have an easier time figuring it out. 

This is a tiny detail, but I originally had the book set in 2020. Like, actually naming dates. So, yeah, that's not gonna work. But at least now it's been a few years so I can probably figure out some future dates that will line up with my plot. 

Maybe someday I'll go back and finish writing Sexy Fluff #1. And then maybe move on to a #2, and so on. I'd love to turn this into a series and actually get them published. My goal is to use a different romance trope for each book (#1 is rivals to lovers). There are so many options to create a plot around, I could be writing for years!

04 October 2023

Maybe AI Can Finish My Book...

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

I think what worries me about AI is that if it is developed enough to create books, TV shows, films, etc. large publishers and production companies would not hestitate to use these instead of paying writers. I know this topic was part of the recent writer's strike. But like the question said, AI should be used to help writers, not replace them. If this is the only way it gets used, I would consider it a good thing. But I worry that won't always be the case.

On the other hand, I've actually been contemplating using AI to help me figure out my book. Or at least to have a funny story about AI helping me to finish my book. I thought I could have AI read my novel so far and prompt it to finish the book. I'm a little lost with how to end my book and also struggling with one of the subplots, so I could try a few different prompts to give. 

I figure this could go one of three ways:

1. AI does a great job and completely solves all my writing problems

2. It doesn't come up with anything I can use but helps me narrow in on what I actually need (this kind of thing happens when I've asked my husband for ideas and I hate them, but they somehow help me come up with the right idea on my own lol)

3. AI has no idea what to do with my book and it's a laughable catastrophe that I can make a TikTok about (and I do need to make more writing TikToks!)

I figure there's no down side. Worst case scenario I'll just be exactly where I am right now. I believe Chat GPT can do this sort of thing but I haven't researched it much beyond a couple Google searches. But I think it would be at least a humorous experiment if nothing else. Who knows?

06 September 2023

Happy Anniversary, IWSG!!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month I'm a co-host! The other fabulous co-hosts are Sonia Dogra, J Lenni Dorner, Pat Garcia, and Meka James

This month is also a special post because it's the IWSG's 12 year anniversary! The question for this month is: When did you discover the IWSG, how do you connect, and how has it helped you?

**WARNING: Please do not attempt a drinking game where you take a shot every time I say IWSG in this post.**

I had to dig through the archives for this information. Including this one, I have written 120 posts for the IWSG (according to a Google search, that means I only missed 3 months!). The first one was on June 5, 2013, and was entitled The Greatest/Worst Book Ever Written. It was about feeling like your story is the greatest thing ever one day, then absolute crap the next. I felt like I had found the perfect blogging community to join because I was chock full of insecurity (and I still am). It seemed like the perfect place to be. 

The IWSG has been a HUGE part of my blogging for over the past ten years. I honestly can't remember how I stumbled upon it, but I'm certainly glad I did. I do remember that at the time there was no IWSG website, and the sign-up page was through Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog. Going through my first posts I also remembered the old black and white badge with the red font! I don't feel old...

I've really enjoyed and benefited from connecting with so many other writers with the same insecurities. I love how we're able to relate to and help each other out by reading and commenting on posts. Although I've never met anyone in person, I'd like to say I've made a lot of friends through this community. I also remember how frustrating it was when I first started blogging to get people to come visit my blog.  Joining the IWSG helped me get a lot more traffic and find other blogs that I still frequently visit. 

It's definitely important to note that without the IWSG I probably wouldn't be blogging at all right now. I haven't written a non-IWSG post in over two years. I've been in such a writing rut that it's hard to come up with things to blog about. Having the IWSG as a staple every month forces me to come up with something, and there's always the optional question there to help me out when I have no ideas. 

The IWSG also helped me get published! My short story "The Last Dragon" was published in the second IWSG anthology, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. I'm really proud of that story and it's because of the IWSG that it's out in the world. 

I probably would have given up on blogging a long time ago if it weren't for the IWSG. Although writing is often hard for me right now, I have no plans on quitting anytime soon. I'm just taking it one month at a time. 

02 August 2023

Conflicted? Me???

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

If you've been here before, you probably know this was me after reading this question: 

My whole story concept (of my main WIP, at least) has me conflicted. But I've come too far and worked way too hard on it to scrap the whole thing just because of its controversial subject matter. 

I think if anything, being conflicted will actually make the story better. You know, if I ever get back to writing it. When I first started the story I didn't really put too much thought into the fact that I was writing about a taboo topic. It was just the idea that popped into my brain and I was going with it. But now that I've spent a lot of time with it and really thought about the subject matter, I know I have to really take it seriously and put in the work to make this a story worth reading. And hopefully one that people won't immediately brush off once they know what it's about. 

Anyhoo, I've talked about this subject on here too many times to count. Speaking of counting, I am counting down the days until my birthday vacation! After this Friday, I'm off work for a week, and my husband and I are going back to New York City! We're seeing Sweeney Todd, which is one of my favorite musicals and one that I've never seen live. We're also doing plenty of other activities, some new, and some we've done before (going back to the cat cafe for the third time!). 

I always hope that being in New York will get me back into writing because that's where my story takes place. I thought I would watch some writing related Youtube videos and maybe even bring my book on finding your story's theme while I'm on the train. Maybe I can spark some creativity. But either way, it should be a fun trip and most importantly, I won't be at work! 

05 July 2023

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: 99% of my story ideas come from dreams. Where do yours predominantly come from?

I'd say my ideas come from all over the place. I've gotten a couple ideas from dreams, most notably the novel I still refer to as Shiny New Story, although it is no longer shiny or new, just titleless. I had a dream about two characters who were in a particular relationship/situation (I can't tell you what--it's a spoiler!) and I thought that would be really interesting to write about. 

Uneven Lines came to me after watching this trashy exposé on student-teacher relationships on TV. For reasons I can no longer fathom, I wanted to write about a taboo relationship between a student and a teacher (AKA the dumbest idea I ever had, yet here we are). A few hours later, while I was sitting in a writing class minding my own business, Jordan birthed himself from my brain and threw his entire story at me. And the rest was history. 

Honestly, the fact that the story centers around a controversial relationship has been the hardest part (that and dragging subplots...). I want to make sure I get the story right or no one is going to be interested in reading it. Of course, I've talked about my creative slump more times than I can count here, which is probably the biggest factor in me not finishing the book. But I have to make sure I tell the story right, and I just haven't had the brain power to get there. 

Other ideas have just kinda popped out of thin air. I started writing Sexy Fluff #1 because I was just doing a writing exercise with some characters from an Uneven Lines sequel, and realized that I could write happy, sexy romance scenes much more easily than my usual complicated storylines. I had a random thought that I could probably finish books faster and possibly even get them published and make money doing so. But I couldn't actually think of a plot, right? 

Well...I came up with a plot by the next morning. And I decided to start writing it for NaNoWriMo (which was literally right around the corner). I still haven't finished it, due to aforementioned creative slump, but working on it was a nice break from my usual heavy story ideas. I also have an idea to create a whole series of Sexy Fluffs with a different romance trope for each book  (#1 has a rivals to lovers plot). I think it could be fun. 

Overall, though, I feel like I actually have a hard time coming up with new ideas. Maybe it's because I already have enough unfinished ideas taking up space in my brain. Perhaps once I actually finish them, more ideas will follow. 

07 June 2023

Creative Slump

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

That's an interesting question for me, considering the fact that I haven't properly written anything in a few years. I've done some editing, some brainstorming, a note here and there, but no real writing for quite some time now. That isn't to say that I've made a choice to "stop" writing, exactly. It's more like a creative pause. 

So, since I'm not actually writing, what have I replaced it with? Well...not much, really. Writing has always been my main creative outlet, and while I have had other interests, they mostly turn out to be temporary or just an idea that is never brought to fruition. I tried getting to jewelry making for a bit, but haven't committed to it as much as I'd like (especially considering the amount of beads I bought....). I made a few bracelets for myself but then didn't try anything for awhile until I made a bunch for my niece last Christmas: 

So at this point, it's just an occasional hobby. Nothing ever seems to keep my interest like writing has in the past. I like watching movies, but I don't think I'd be good as a reviewer. I've thought about starting a Youtube channel, but I'm too shy and don't have a good idea what my focus should be. I have started using TikTok, but I've only made a few videos so far. I have interests and small ideas, but nothing major to fill the void of writing. 

You could say I've been in a creative slump. I've also been in a reading slump, which is probably related. Or both slumps are influencing each other, since usually reading inspires me to write. I think I got discouraged when I read too many heavy, long novels in a row, then wanted to read a light, fluffy, romance to break things up, and the one I chose was SO BAD that I had no idea what I wanted to read anymore. 

I do have a few new books lined up that I hope will get me back into reading more. And possibly even inspire me to get back into writing. Maybe even get back to Uneven Lines? I know, now I'm talking crazy. But as I always say to myself, one thing at a time. 

03 May 2023

Yet Another Harebrained Scheme

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

I suppose I could take this question two different ways: what helps motivate me to write, or where do my ideas come from? When I think of "getting in the zone" to write, music is always the thing that helps me the most. I always create playlists for my books and listening to songs that make me think about my stories always help inspire me to write. 

As far as ideas go, they're all over the place. I've gotten ideas from dreams, from watching trashy daytime television, songs, life experiences, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. Sometimes if I just let a really basic concept or a trope sit in my head overnight I'll be able to come up with a whole story around it. 

I've been trying numerous different ways lately to spark some sort of inspiration. Can't exactly say any of them have actually worked (yet!) I seem to get plenty of ideas but I'm not very good at following through on said ideas. Basically anything I've said here before and you probably commented, "that's a great idea!" Well...I can't seem to get past the "good idea" phase and get to the "actually doing something" phase. 

That being said, I do have another harebrained scheme. The good thing about this one, however, is that I really think it's something I need to get done eventually, even if it doesn't lead to any immediate inspiration. 

I've put a lot of details into Uneven Lines over the many, many, many....many years I've been working on it. I love things like symbolism, themes, motifs, etc. What I want to do is write all of these little details down into one place, kind of like Cliff Notes for my own book. It's really just for me because I want to make sure I remember all of these details, and maybe going over them will help spark some ideas of how to finish the book and expand upon everything I've been putting into the book so far. 

And maybe someday I'll actually have an audience for this book and I can share these things and blow everyone's minds! I can dream. 

After lots and lots of searching, I bought a journal to write all of this down. I ended up choosing a simple gray one (because gray is one of UL's colors...yes it has colors...). I thought about getting something fancier and was looking at all kinds of custom journals on Etsy but I didn't really want to spend too much money on it, just in case, you know, I don't actually do it....but I also didn't want to use an ordinary notebook, so this journal has lots and lots of pages to write all of my nonsense. 

And as long as I actually do it, I may be able to fill all of those pages. 

05 April 2023

Make a Schedule

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

This month's optional question is: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Actually, that's four questions!

My very first book was a picture book that I wrote when I was 8 years old. I wasn't thinking too far ahead about a writing career at that point, but I knew that I loved to come up with stories and wanted to write them down. As I got older and started writing novels, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. 

I would love to be a full time writer and completely support myself through writing. Unfortunately, that's not where I am at this point in my life, and my day job does take up a lot of my energy, making it difficult to make time for writing. I've also been in a creative slump for quite some time which has also kept me far from completing any of my writing goals. 

I think my main goal right now, one that I can actually accomplish in the near future, is to create a writing schedule for myself. I want to mainly focus on Uneven Lines, of course, but I'd also like to give some time to other book ideas I've come up with, especially ones that I feel I can write a lot faster and maybe actually have a chance of publishing. 

So creating some kind of schedule for myself along with a list of the projects I want to work on is my main writing goal for this month. I'm hoping just to get to a point where I'm writing consistently again. Then maybe I'll be able to see some kind of career in the future. 

01 March 2023

Envious of Everyone!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

It's already a new month? What the heck?? This month's optional question is: Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

I wish I could think of a particular line or plot twist that made me feel this way, and I'm sure there have been, but I think at this point with my writing, I'm envious of pretty much anyone who's actually writing. 

Even at my best, I'm a slow writer. I've always been in awe of those authors that can bust out multiple books per year. I don't think I could come up with enough ideas for that many books, let alone write them. I do have a good handful of unwritten or unfinished book ideas, but I feel like it's typically very hard for me to get new ideas for stories. They only come around once in a while. 

I've been in a creative slump for quite some time, but for the past month or so, I feel like life has just been too hectic to focus on writing. I have a lot of plans to get more organized and try to focus on different projects in the hopes that something will spark that creative energy. I've got a lot of writing books and workbooks that I hope will help figure out how to finally finish Uneven Lines. What I really need right now is the time and energy. 

I know it'll work out eventually. The chaotic happenings in my life seem to finally be mellowing out (although who knows what could happen next!). I just need to find a way to work writing (or writing related activities) into my daily schedule, then maybe I'll get used to it and want to do it all the time! We shall see. 

01 February 2023

Feeling Something

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I don't want to get ahead of myself, or jinx anything, but I just have this feeling that I might start writing in the near future. 

I woke up this morning (my day off work, luckily) with the sudden urge to read a few of the most recent chapters of Uneven Lines. I can't even remember the exact thought or moment that triggered it. Probably just some half asleep attempt at finding inspiration. In the past when I've had a similar urge, I usually procrastinate doing other things all day, then never get around to it and the urge passes. Or I may try reading but I dislike something about it and stop myself. 

This time I decided to force it. Even though I could have gone back to sleep once my husband went to work, I got up and turned on my laptop. I read through Chapters 26 and 27, even though 27 is certainly the worst chapter and probably needs to be completely rewritten. It was exactly the sort of chapter that would normally have me cringing enough to stop reading. But I read every word of those two chapters. 

Of course, there were lines that made me cringe. But there were other lines I absolutely loved. I almost wanted to print it out and highlight them. Tell myself no matter how much I need to rework these chapters, those lines are keepers. 

I don't think actually writing will come easily or fast, at least not for UL. I have a lot to figure out. I'd like to do some more reading of what I have so far, as well as some brainstorming. I got a book that helps you figure out your story's theme, which I think will help me figure out what I'm trying to say with this book and also how to end it. I want to make a list of all the motifs and symbols I have throughout the book and analyze how and why I've used them, and how I can expand on them to really make an impact on the story. 

I have a lot to figure out before I do any actual writing or rewriting, but I think it could be fun really diving deep into all of these details, because they are what I love most about this story. Those are the lines that make me smile or make my heart race. The ones that let me know I can't give up on this book even though it seems impossible. 

This time, I think, I'm going to do all I can to keep this feeling alive. 

04 January 2023


It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

I'm at least attempting to start the year out with a bang--this month, I'm a co-host! The other awesome co-hosts are Jemima PettDebs CareyKim LajevardiNatalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin

This month's optional question is: Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? For instance, in 2021 my word of the year was Finish. I was determined to finished my first draft by the end of the year. In 2022, my word of the year is Ease. I want to get my process, systems, finances, and routines where life flows with ease and less chaos. What is your word for 2023? Why?

I had an idea of what I wanted to write about for this post before I knew what the question was, and the word that comes to mind from that idea is not something that I ever would have thought could be a 'word of the year' for me. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a really cool word of the year if I could actually commit to it. 

And that word is: MASTERMIND

Let me backtrack a little here. It all started with Taylor Swift. 

"Mastermind" is the last track on Taylor's newest album Midnights (which I love, but that's not the topic at hand). I really liked this song right away, mostly because it reminded me of Jordan. Like in a I need to add this to his personal playlist kind of way (of course I have one of those!). Because he IS a mastermind! I've always known this. Perhaps a bit more sinister than this song implies, but still, it seemed to fit. 

But this isn't just about Jordan. It's also about me. And still a bit about Taylor Swift. HEAR ME OUT. I want to write books the way Taylor Swift writes songs. Not just that she's good at it or can bust out album after album. I mean the CRAFTINESS. 

I love being methodical when it comes to writing, especially with Jordan's stories for some reason. I love symbolism and Easter eggs and tiny details that seem like nothing but you find out later are extremely important. I want to plant tiny moments in the first book that you won't realize matter until the third book. It's really fun and these things kind of come easily to me somehow. 

So, I want to be a mastermind! I want to own it. Most importantly, I want to DO IT. I haven't been writing at all for quite some time, feeling like I've lost my mojo. Maybe if I start thinking about the things that I find fun about writing, the rest of it will start falling into place and I can actually get motivated again. 

Part of my plan involves figuring out my story's theme. I've always struggled on getting to the ending, and if I can figure out what it is I'm trying to say with this story, maybe it will become clearer. That also means really figuring out what Jordan's master plan is within the story, which is also fitting for this post. All his tiny little plans are very obvious, but I've always felt there was something else lurking beneath the surface that I hadn't figured out yet, maybe even a twist to reveal. 

So maybe this year I will own being a mastermind.