Tag Archive | blogging

ROW80 2012: Round 4 Goals

I’m not going to go into much detail about that long, unexpected hiatus I took other than that I’ve been stressed and having a lot of trouble these past few months, but I’m finally getting back on track with productivity, so I’m coming back to the blog – for now, it’ll mainly be to keep track of ROW80 and things related to that, but I’m sure I will go back to writing my tips and etc posts eventually when I get in the hang of things again.

That being said, instead of participating in the usual National Novel Writing Month this November, I will be participating in this round of ROW80, since this time around, it’s more than a first draft I’m trying to get done – this one is going to be a second draft to what I did during Camp NaNoWriMo, this time hand-written with each ‘diary entry’ planned out along the way based on that draft I did in June. You can read about ROW80 here. It’s essentially an alternative to NaNoWriMo that lasts a bit longer and gives you more time, along with the option of setting and changing your own goals.

That being said, it’s time for me to state my goals for this round.

GOAL:  Finish 5+ Entries per week

This is really exciting. I’ve never participated in ROW80 before, and I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to finally finishing this first book in the planned series. As much as I’ve enjoyed working on it, four years is a long time and I’m so glad to finally be putting this in the direction it needs to go. My break from it after finishing the first draft in Camp NaNoWriMo was one I really needed in order to get some new ideas to throw in this draft and sort of have the time away from it I needed to be able to be refreshed and excited on the project all over again.

Needless to say, I think I’m going to enjoy this.

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July: Currently Reading

As I’ve said multiple times before, I’ve been meaning to catch up on my reading and get into the habit of reading more often, since I already have several books here that I’ve been planning to read and lists upon lists of books I want to read. I tend to read fairly fast, my biggest problem seems to be picking up the book on a regular basis so that can add up – I’ve been working on reading one book since April (which I wound up only reading 70-some pages of during that month, and somewhere between200 and 300 of it in my free time during May, with about 20 or so pages in-between Camp NaNoWriMo escapades last month) and when I’ve managed to pick it up I tend to get really into it and read quite a bit, but I never seem to be able to pick it up again soon and make significant progress.

That’s what this is for. I’m going to give you guys a report on what I’m currently reading now, at the beginning of the month, with titles, current page counts and a few thoughts, and at the end of the month, I’ll give another report – be it with pride, shame, or neither – to show what progress I’ve made, if any at all. I don’t expect to make a whole lot of progress, but I’m hoping to finally finish the one I’ve been reading since April and hopefully start one or two more.

In terms of novels, my ‘currently reading’:

‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

Currently on page 400 out of 450

I’ve been reading Dracula since sometime during April. I really do adore the book, it’s entertaining and inspired me to get back into writing through journal entry format – I just really have trouble picking it back up after I put it down and why. It’s really a matter of picking it up and starting. If I’m able to pick it up once or twice between a few days, I’ll probably be able to finally finish the book, which I’ll admit, at the moment, I’m liking a lot better than any interpretation of the book I’ve seen before, although that’s admittedly, not many.

‘The Salem Branch’ by Lara Parker

Currently on page 166 out of 334

I don’t remember when I started reading The Salem Branch – not too long after I first bought the book, unlike most of the books I have lately. I’m enjoying it a bit, especially since I got it during my withdrawal from the series it’s based on (the original Dark Shadows soap opera, which I was only able to see the portion of the series on Netflix at the time). Now that I’ve burnt through all of my DVDs and will probably have some time before I can buy the next set of DVDs of the series, I’ll probably be making progress on this as well.

As for the non-fiction books I’m reading, I’ve been slowly making progress on ‘Making Comics’ by Scott McCloud (119/272 for page count) while I work on my comic. It’s fairly helpful, at least in getting inspired to work on it, and while I’m not drawing ‘noir comics’, Shawn Martinbrough’s ‘How to Draw Noir Comics’ (finished for the most part, still need to read the example comic it’s got left in the back) has a lot of good techniques and insight on the process of comics.

I’m not quite aiming to finish those two this month as much as I’m aiming to finish the fiction – at the very least, Making Comics is one I’m just trying to read through when I hit a dry spell for inspiration on trying to work on my comic and to get ideas on techniques to use, and I’m not very sure on when I’ll be up for reading the comic example to consider How To Draw Noir Comics completed.

I’m going to go into closing this with a quick apology for getting this posted a bit late (it was intended to be posted yesterday) and if the ending seems a tid-bit rushed. I’m a bit spacey right now, having some trouble fully concentrating on this, but I really want to get it done and posted so that I can have this up as inspiration for me to keep reading, plus for the sake of possibly getting some opinions on what I’m currently reading and answers to my end-of-the-post-questions.

What are you currently reading, and how is that going for you? Are you generally a fast, slow, or average reader?

End of the month update: What I have in store for July

Summer for me, thus far, has been fairly productive in the writing front – I’ve finally completed my first draft, I’ve been updating the blog fairly frequently, and at least trying a little bit to get involved with the community of writers on twitter. Now that I’ve finished up that first draft and Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to a close, though, I’m not too sure if I’ll be keeping up with productivity. While my novel is going to be a bit on the back-burner aside from a little bit of outlining every day or so during July, I have other projects that I do want to keep up with, some work, drawing and painting, and I’d like to at least keep myself writing -something- regularly (aside from this blog, of course).

In terms of keeping up with writing, I’ll probably stick mainly to writing things for the blog and doing some daily writing on oneword so I can focus primarily on outlining the novel when it comes to writing. I’m planning to try to update the blog weekly on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays and do a little writing at oneword on Mondays through Fridays, which may or may not be posted here, considering they’re practically just free writing from what comes to mind first for a minute for me (although maybe a weekly post of my oneword writings on Saturday or Sunday would be nice, or maybe just one at the end of the month of the best things I came up with? We’ll see, I guess). I’m thinking I’ll try to mainly stick to posts about writing, from my tips and opinions to posts on resources I use for writing and why/how. I also have some reading updates in mind, if I’m able to keep up with my reading like I really want to.

That’s another thing I’m going to try to keep up on this Summer – I love reading and I’m actually a fairly fast reader when I work at reading frequently, but I’ve been getting too caught up in other things to keep reading on a regular basis. I think to keep up with this I’ll try to do a post at the beginning and end of the month reporting how I’ve been doing with my reading and what I’ve been reading in general. Since I’m reading multiple books at once, I’ll try to get about 50 pages in each of the fiction ones read a week, minimum, until I finish one of them. I’ll probably go at a more leisurely pace with the non-fiction, since most of the non-fiction I read are books intended to help with the process of making comics, so I’ll be reading it along with working on things of that vein.

In terms of things of that vein, I’m also going to be trying to work on a collaborative comic my lovie and I have been working on throughout this month regularly on at the very least weekdays. I’m hoping to at least get a rough sketch for a frame (it’s going to be a single-frame-a-page web comic rather than a multiple-panels-per-page one – sort of an experiment on our part) done per day during the week. I’m hoping to finish up at least the first chapter before we launch it so I won’t have to rush to finish pages to update on a regular schedule – however, if I do seem to slack from the blog every now and then throughout July, it may be because I’m working on trying to get significant work on this done, since it’ll probably be my biggest focus of the month.

While working on the comic counts as working on art, I also want to keep up with doodling and digital painting, so I’m going to be trying to work on those more during the weekends and free time, which is why a lot of what I’ve said above seems to be focused on during weekdays. Weekends will be reserved to relax and work on various digital paintings and concept sketches for them. Doodling is something I’ll probably do during both the weekdays and weekends to just be silly and avoid getting burnt out.

I’m going to try to update my other blogs, which are all more focused on my art and inspiration for that rather than writing, at least once every week or two, as well, so when I get around to regularly updating those, I’ll probably put up a page on here that can redirect people to those if anyone’s interested. Over all, I have a lot in store for July to keep me productive and busy, which is something  I need to keep up with to keep my mood from taking a turn for the worse too often and is essential to my recovery. I’m not planning on overloading myself or taking it all too seriously – breaks will be there when necessary, and I’ll be keeping in touch with ways to relax, be it talking to my buddies or watching things.

What do you have in store for July?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Two

Word-count: 33,875 and counting

It’s Saturday morning and week two is slowly coming to a close. The chirping of birds is practically all I hear aside from the tapping of my keys, my nose is cold and red, my ankles are covered in strange bug bites. I have been having a bit of trouble writing every day this week like I’ve wanted to, and phasing back into a schedule, but today is going to be my little fix for that.

I just finished up an entry to my current novel that I’m working on here, and clocked in my current word-count. This particular entry was taking me a while, and I’m glad it’s over, so that when the next wordsprints start up on my twitter feed, I’ll be able to jump into a new entry and new scene that I don’t have very planned out aside from making it something important and potentially plot-effecting. Thinking about it is exciting, but I’m going to let that build up until the sprints start. Until then, I’ll be working on other things – this post, my current side project, maybe even reading.

Week three is going to be exciting, I think. I’m nearing 40k – that’s really shocking me. Looking at the counter and my progress on the website, however, I’m not satisfied – it’s not steadily improving. I’ve been missing out on writing at all some days, and others, I only write a little, not enough to update on. I’m trying to get back to my entry-a-day thing, so that I can finish at least 40 -45 entries before the month’s end. I’m going to be trying to make a steady and fair amount of progress daily, even on my birthday (tomorrow), and find whatever ways possible to keep the writing fun and exciting.

When July comes, I’ll write a few entries, maybe one or two per week, but focus mainly on reading and drawing throughout the week with writing more prominent on the weekends. Towards the end of next month, I’ll probably start steadily writing more entries to get prepped for the beginning of the next session of Camp NaNoWriMo, in August, which I’ll be continuing this current novel for (adding 50k new words, though, of course!), and after that’s done, I’ll probably flip back to the July ‘schedule’ until November comes around. I’ll still be keeping up with trying to write a blog entry or two per week, and maybe working on short stories, but I’m thinking my other two projects, my big one that I worked on for Script Frenzy and my current side one, will probably take the reins more in-between NaNoWriMo months and after November, which is when I’m hoping to finish this novel’s draft up.

I’ll probably leave it be for a bit, and a few months later, come back to it and work out editing notes, get down a sort of timeline to work from to rearrange and reference during rewrites and during the writing of the rest of the series, so that when working on another book in the series, I don’t have to pull out the full draft and search through it, but rather just look at my timeline/detailed summaries for personal reference. I’m not sure what all I’ll be working on aside from this current project and blog-posts in terms of actually getting writing done, and that is a bit scary to think about – with all of that time in-between 2012 NaNo season’s end and 2013 NaNo season’s beginning, which is when writing will probably take control again, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing to keep myself sharp.

Aside from my planning for the future after NaNoWriMo season for 2012 is over, things have been going fairly well. I’m hoping to improve on all of the things that have been hindering me along the way during week two, and get back on schedule today.

How has week two been treating you? Any problems, or anything opposite of that?

Camp NaNoWriMo: My Plans and ‘Supplies’

I’ve already mentioned a few times before that I’m going to be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this June. I’ve never participated in either of the Camp NaNo’s before, and I’ve only participated in November’s NaNo once, which I wound up giving up on. This year will be different – I’ve got time, goals, rewards, and inspiration. I’m building up more and more excitement for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I plan to go through with this. I’m outside now as I write, sitting on my porch and enjoying the fresh air – something I’m sure I’ll be doing during most of my writing sessions during ‘camp’.

My project this year is the same one I tried to go through with last time, and the same I’ve began several unfinished drafts on, even completing one of them. None of them quite had the right spark – and after a while of immersing myself in a different project along with reading up on the craft of writing a lot more, I’ve figured out how to make it work for me much better. The plot’s being twisted around and recreated, new twists have been added, and I’ve gotten heaps of ideas for new character development, something that was missing from the older drafts (despite my absolute love of it – my characters and their relationships as a whole are some of my favourite parts of writing). Instead of sticking to the same old story that I usually try to tell, I’m starting at the same place and allowing myself to branch out to whole different levels of the story. It is, as I mentioned in a previous post, a continuation of an edited version of a short story I posted on here a while ago, The Angels.

This may not be the final draft, but I have a feeling it will be the best version yet – complete with new dimensions to old characters, and a plot much more fun to get into than before. I am 100% sure that when this draft is finished, it’ll take tons of revising and rewriting to make it into really something, but that’s not really the point – you can’t edit a blank page, and if you don’t start with anything, you won’t end with anything either. NaNoWriMo is a tool to get a draft started/finished, not a tool to complete a polished, ready-for-publishing novel, after all. Now, without further ado, my supplies for camp:

  • A few pre-written entries to the novel

I’ve been doing some pre-NaNo writing, to get the ball rolling on my story so that when the event actually begins, I’ll be past the opening and ready to delve into new and exciting dimensions of a story that I’ve been through several times. My project is going to be written in journal entry format, seeing as it’s one of my favourite formats to both read and write in. It’s a blast getting into my character’s head and it’s a way to make the story very personal – it’s not just his story, it’s his thoughts and his emotions weaved into it on a different level. Journal format isn’t right for everyone, but for me, it makes writing the story much more enjoyable, and that’s what matters at this point – I have to enjoy writing it as much as possible to be able to get things down so quickly.

For camp, I’ve decided to try out a software made for journals, called ‘The Journal’. It’s working very nicely for me – it took a little bit to get used to (which was another reason I started doing some pre-NaNo writing, in order to get used to the program) but it’s easy to get in the hang of and use. Since I’m writing in journal entry format, I’ve created a category for my NaNoWriMo novel and am using the journal features that the program was primarily made for. It logs each entry per day (which I will have to change the dates when I save the draft as a whole, but it is useful) and has a little calendar that you can manage and click through to each entry on, even allowing you to add onto days that have already passed or start entries for days that have yet to come, which is also useful for novel-writing in some ways. It saves your entries periodically, and also has a ‘save as’ feature under the export file section where you can save each entry (or even the entire thing) as a different file-type (I go with .rtf’s for the time being while I just save an extra copy of my work).

Dropbox is how I manage to keep all of my files backed up and in-order. I haven’t had it for long, but it’s a great help – if you save a file in the dropbox folder, it will store a copy of it on your account online and on every computer, phone, etc you have connected to your Dropbox account. It also allows for easier sharing of files and folders. This is where I save my extra .rtf copies of my entries for my novel, in it’s own little folder in my Dropbox. Not only is it easy to use, it’s very useful and helps you keep your files on-hand as easily as possible! I suggest it to anyone who wants to keep their files safe and sound and would like to be able to access their files not only from any computer or phone that they have the program on, but anywhere so long as they can get online and into their account.

  • Drinks and snacks

While I’m not much of one for snacks, I love to have a drink while I write. Coffee, sweet tea, green tea, Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, anything I like, I’ll drink it while I write. It helps keep me comfortable and energized, and the occasional snack is great too. As I write this, I’m sipping on some very, very sweet tea, expecting a little bit of supper in an hour, which will be around the end of a pre-writing session. I’ll also probably go to Starbucks every now and then like I did during November to enjoy some of their delicious little snacks and a mocha while I write (this usually helps me get a lot of work done – going out into a different environment specifically to write both gives me some fresh air and a change of setting, along with motivation!).

  • A friend to participate with

This June, both my sweetheart and I will be participating. Having someone else to participate with is actually very exciting for me – especially since we’re going to be sitting down and powering through some writing sessions together. We have our goals set for our days and will both work towards them together until we both reach the minimum word count goal we’ve set, meaning that if one of us has hit that goal but the other hasn’t, both of us keep writing regardless until the other has. Not only does that encourage writing more than our daily goal when it happens, it also has some motivation for the other person to get their draft down faster (again, as NaNo is a tool for getting things down, not getting a polished, publishable draft, getting the story down quick is a goal for most) since the other person will continue to work despite hitting their daily goal. We’ve also decided that after we both hit our goal, we’ll discuss the work we got done today and whatever problems we encountered/things we discovered during the process.

  • Rewards

I guess this kind of ties in with the last two here, but I have worked out a rewards system for the month. Every Sunday, if we’ve hit at least our minimum goal in weekly word counts, we’ll be able to watch a movie together to relax for a little while. The movies are generally less serious ones and moreso ways to relax and get a laugh after a week of hard work. We’ve also both chosen something to get the other when we finish writing these drafts, which might not necessarily be during NaNoWriMo, but still provides incentive to keep writing. Another reward I’m planning on giving myself is being able to read a little bit once I’m finished with my goal for the day.

  • Twitter/this blog

Yes, they’re distractions – but being able to escape and get distracted every now and then is okay, especially when you’re doing a lot of work around the time. Not only will tweeting and blogging document the experience and how it’s going, it allows me to reach out to others who are experiencing/have experienced the same event before. One of the most enjoyable parts of NaNoWriMo is, to me, learning about other people’s points of view on the event and how it’s gone/going for them.

Daily word count goal for weekdays: 2,000 words

Daily word count goal for weekends: 840 words

Are you going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are your goals and “supplies”? And for everyone in general, what have you been working on lately in terms of your writing, and how’s that going?

5 ways blogging may help a writer

Blogging is a fairly popular thing among web-users, that’s a given – tons of us read them and most likely, even more of us write them, from blogs centered all on someone’s personal life to fiction blogs to fandom-dedicated ones and to the place that most of my attention focuses: writing blogs. I read them, and I write one myself. I enjoy it, and it helps me as a writer in more ways than one. Today, I’m going to be giving a list of not only some of the reasons why I blog, but also the reasons I think that it’s worth giving a shot.

Before I begin, however, I will say this: blogging isn’t for everyone, and it might not be ‘your thing’, but I do suggest you give it a little try if you ever have some free time and you actually feel inclined to. It might not be something you enjoy, and that’s perfectly fine. Different things work for different people, after all.

1. The ever-popular ‘writer’s platform’

One of the most popular reasons I see being mentioned in posts about blogging as a writer is to build a writer’s platform. This is, essentially, building an audience through writing your blog. The idea of this is that if you tag your posts accordingly, people interested in the subject of them will come and you’ll get people’s attention. These people are finding out that you and your writing exist, and some amount of them will be interested. By gathering an audience for your blog, you’re gathering a potential audience for your work. I believe that the writer’s platform is something that can be very useful to some, while it’s definitely not required – people have gotten by without it plenty of times before – however, for me, getting people interested (and hopefully helping them in some way while I’m at it) is something that I really want to do. Sure, it’s not going to happen over night, but even getting a small “platform” can be helpful in the end.

2. An outlet, just for you

Sometimes, you might wind up wanting to say something that you can’t convey in your work – you can write a post about it. Your opinions are your own and you can express them, and somewhere, someone else may be interested in reading them. I like to focus most of my posts on my opinions and thoughts on writing – this blog is basically an outlet for my thoughts on things, where I can organize what I think about different topics, but most of the things I post about are centered around the topic of the craft of writing. I don’t often get opportunities to outright express my thoughts *on* writing in my stories, and through posting about it, I can both organize those thoughts and clear my head of those things I want to express to the world a little bit more to focus on my stories. Not only is this blog about writing, it’s about my own thoughts on it.

3. It’s still progress

Just sitting down and beating a post out on the keyboard and from the depths of my mind is still writing, even if it’s not working on my stories, and when I’m not inspired or motivated to work on those, I still need to write. Turning to the blog not only gets me writing and is a form of practicing it, it can get my mind working and get me back into the ‘flow’ of writing when I just don’t feel like working on my projects. It’s getting writing done, even if it’s not on those, and at least it’s doing that – it’s making progress with writing. Not only does it help with “writer’s block”, a little post to get the mind working can serve as a warm-up before getting to work on those serious projects.

4. Helps with tracking your progress

Through writing a blog, you can keep records of your progress in writing, whether it’s on a project or not, if you write about that particular topic. You can basically track how much you’ve gotten done through looking back through the archives on that, which is why I not only suggest blogging about writing, but about what you’ve been getting done in terms of it – looking back at your progress can help you reflect on what you’ve been doing and see just how much you’ve -really- gotten done since a certain point in time.

5. The beauty of your readers

If you tag your posts, you’ll wind up with at least a few people reading your blog eventually. At some point, this means, they’ll most likely comment on your posts. Through communicating with your readers, not only do you get to see someone else’s opinions on your topics, they may end up giving you feedback that could, in the long run, really help you out. Not only are comments fun to read and respond to, they can be helpful, as well.

Overall, blogging is very enjoyable and quite an aid to me in terms of my writing. I definitely think it’s worth trying out for most writers, even if it turns out to not be their ‘thing’ – it’s an experience worth taking a stab at.

If you write or have written a blog that has touched base on your writing/writing in general, why, and did it/does it help you in any way, if so, how? I’d love hearing what everyone has to say!