And It Begins….

My very, very, VERY HELPFUL AND AWESOME BROTHER has started reading through my story. He’s going above and beyond, making comments in the margins about every knee-jerk reaction he has. I seriously have to give him a huge shout-out and thank-you. Once he’s read through the manuscript, the various revisions will take a while, but in the meantime, I’ve started compiling a list of possible literary agents. I also ordered several *cough*sixteen*cough* books from the library on a topic that, in his reading, my brother recommended might need a little more research. I know that’s really cryptic, but I’m superstitious enough to not want to share details of a manuscript until it’s all done.

So, for now, it’s a lot of reading, a lot of revising, and a lot researching. Not a huge update, but this is the part of the writing process that is made up of little steps.

But each step, even small, is still forward. Wish me luck.

A Missed Week, But….

A finished manuscript!

*insert party*

Last time I wrote, I was celebrating that I was done writing. Today, I’m happy to report that I’m done with editing and that I’ve started compiling a list of literary agents.

But I’m not quite ready to send my manuscript off yet. My novel has to pass the ultimate test—my brother. See, he can spot inconsistencies a mile away. He’s the bloodhound of plot holes.

So once he reads it and offers any final edits…. Well, then it will be the time to start writing queries and sending them out.

And doing a A LOT of finger-crossing.

But progress is definitely happening—more progress than has happened in years. It is both exhilarating and terrifying. I’ve worked on this manuscript for about a year and a half. The story itself means a lot to me—and is, actually, a pretty solid reflection of myself.

And to put that out into the world? To hope that people get what I was trying to say? That they like it? Or, if they don’t, that they at least recognize the work and ideas I put into it?

That’s scary.

But we can’t let fear lead our lives. My dream since the fourth grade has been to be a published author.

And, to quote my favorite character Aizawa from My Hero Academia: “There’s nothing crueler than letting a dream end midway.”

And I won’t let that happen. Wish me luck,

Not All Weeks Can Be Productive….

If last week was for writing, this week was for fun and relaxation. Life is all about balance, right?

I didn’t get any time to really sit down at my computer and dive into a story, but I did….

  • Finish reading this month’s novel for my library’s book club. (Review coming soon!)
  • Went out for sushi! (Yum!!)
  • And… the big one…SAW HAMILTON LIVE!!

My awesome brother got me Hamilton tickets for Christmas… and… yeah…. It was amazing!!! If you ever have the chance to see this show, please, please take it.

So yes, not much writing, but a lot of living. And sometimes, you have to embrace that. After all, a story is only as good as the experiences a writer can echo while telling it.

And this upcoming week…. back to the keyboard!

A Day Late…

But not without good news!

I know my plan was to post on every Sunday, but yesterday, I got a little bit distracted.

I played my first ever videogame all the way through! (It was only four hours long and my brother was helping me with the puzzles, but still… it was kind of a nerd-complishment for me.)

In case anyone is wondering, the game was called To the Moon, and it was actually more of a visual novel. I loved every second of it. The game told a really compelling story in way that only a videogame can. The added element of interaction really brought what was a sweet, but also heart-wrenching story, to new levels.

But, on to the point of this blog: Writing progress.

Last week, I… WROTE THREE CHAPTERS! That’s huge for me! So often, I don’t have time to write, or I just feel creatively drained. But that was not true last week. Three chapters, done. And I’m actually excited to write more. It doesn’t feel like something to check off my to-do list; it feels like something I WANT to do.

It’s been a long while since I’ve felt that way about writing. As much as I adore it, more often than not, the last several years, it’s felt like something that just needed to get done. It was such a relief to really have fun with it again.

And, not going to lie, I felt a little maniacal at one point. You know all those memes about authors putting their characters through ridiculous trials…. Mwahahaha… that was me.

Authors be like Favorite character? You mean next victim. - Evil Plotting  Raccoon | Make a Meme
I was only slightly less maniacal than this raccoon.

So yes, this past week was a good one: I tried a new hobby and made progress (and rekindled some love) in an old one.

Lots of love, all!

Loooooong Time, No See

Happy 2022, everyone! Like the title says… looong time, no see. It’s been… about a month? Give or take?

I’ve missed connecting with everyone here on the blog, but I needed to take some time for myself and my family around the holidays. (And then some time after the holidays to put myself back on a regular schedule.)

The beginning of the year has meant re-instating my exercise and healthy eating routine. (Which is surprisingly difficult after a month of Christmas goodies. No matter how hard I try, broccoli just doesn’t taste as delicious as fudge….) Any fellow librarians out there also know that January is a busy time. We need to wrap up all the boring, statistical stuff from last year, and start planning ahead for this year’s programming.

Basically, the past couple of weeks have involved a lot of to-do lists and not a lot of creativity.

But life is starting to stabilizing. My to-do’s are starting to be manageable at work, and my exercise routine is… well, a routine again. (And yes… I’ve even replaced the fudge with broccoli.)

I should be able to focus more on writing from now on, but I do also want to be 100-percent honest: I may not have as much time to blog. Before my hiatus, I wrote about how there is only so much time (and also only a certain amount of creative juice) in me each day. So, going forward, I probably won’t post as many stories or poems. (Unless I have a burst of inspiration that just MUST GET OUT.)

I have a wide variety of poems, observations, stories, etc., posted here that, hopefully, prospective agents could peruse after I send off queries. (I don’t even know if that’s something they would do, but I’d like to think of this blog as an extended resume/portfolio.)

In the meantime, I really think the point of this blog is more about my publishing journey. I’ve shared my writings, and if you’ve been with me for a while (THANK YOU!!!), you’ve gotten an idea of my writing style and my publishing goals.

So now, let’s get down to business. (I dare you not to sing that a’la-Mulan.)

Each Sunday, I will post an update on my publishing journey. In between, I may post some reviews (because, as focused as I am on writing, I’m definitely not going to stop reading.) (It’s almost like I’m a librarian or something…..) I may also post some fun lists, because… yeah, I just really enjoy making lists.

But if I’m going to get serious, I need to streamline my focus. I need it to be laser-accurate. As much as I’ve loved sharing my stories, poems, photos, and thoughts on this blog… I need to take a hard look at myself, my schedule, and my priorities.

In my personal life, my priorities can’t change: I want to be healthy and keep aiming for the weight that will help me be that. I want to be there, in the moment, with friends and family. I want to read the books that I love.

In my professional life: I want to keep being the best librarian possible. I want to do everything I can to make my library a community center for all ages.

So in my writing life? What is it I really want to do? I want to be published. What does that mean? (1) Finish the book I started with NaNoWriMo. (2) Edit the YA book I’ve been working on for several years. (3) As much as I hate it, I think I need to rewrite another manuscript I finished ages ago. I think it’ll be “punchier” if I have a different starting point and if I switch perspectives between the male lead (who is the only narrator currently) and the female lead. (4) The most difficult goal… query letters.

And I need to actually do this. How? Cut away what doesn’t need to happen. I’ve shared many finished works. Now it’s time focus on finishing more. And I need to keep myself motivated. Weekly updates on this blog will certainly help with that.

Wow… this was a very long, and also very late, beginning-of-the-year post. Thank you, everyone, who has stayed with my since I started in 2020. It’s been two years, and I really hope that 2022 will be when I write an update that says: “I’ve gotten a reply to a query! And they want more! So excited for this next step in my journey!”

I hope I can share that with all of you. Wish me luck. Happy new year–and lots of love!

Best Made Plans….

Often go awry. I didn’t get as much time to write this past weekend (and week) as I would have liked. At the risk of sounding like I’m making an excuse, I was a bit under the weather. And then, once I felt better, I had to catch up on the fallout from being sick. But today, I did finally get the chance to sit down and write.

I am now up to 38,018 words. Not a ton of progress… and I am running out of days for NaNoWriMo.

But I have made progress. At the beginning of this month, I had barely started part 2 and had no idea how I wanted the third and final part of my manuscript to go. Now, part 2 is done, and part 3 is completely outlined and also started.

I have 11,982 words left to write to hit 50,000. (Reminder: This NaNo, I didn’t start from scratch; I continued my project I began last year. My goal was to get this manuscript finished.)

With that amount left, I need to write 1,997 words each day to hit that 50,000. That doesn’t mean the manuscript will be finished–which is the ultimate goal–but I will at least hit that very important marker. (Though I’m still holding out for the ultimate goal of, you know, actually finishing.)

It’s doable, if I leave myself time to write. With Thanksgiving coming up, and work scheduled 4 out of the 6 days, it will be difficult.

But not impossible.

So here we go… crunch time!

NaNoWriMo, Days 3-6

It’s been a few days since I’ve updated—mostly because not a lot of writing has been happening. The brainstorming I’d planned on… wasn’t really a thing until yesterday.

But I was determined to do at least something yesterday. So I set an alarm for 30 minutes and started outlining. I decided I’d list each chapter and write underneath that hearing what needed to happen during it. I write better with a road map, so my goal was to, hopefully, force myself to make one.

And it worked. What was once a skeleton of an idea is now starting to grow some muscle. I still have more outlining to do, but now I at least have a direction.

It’s turning out to be darker than I first intended, and also pretty “heady” in the sci-fi department. But, they also say write what you’d want to read… and this would definitely have me turning the pages. I hope, one day, it will with readers, too.

The goal today: Write for one hour. Let’s do this.

NaNoWriMo, Day 2

Alright, two days in a row writing. So far, I’m on a roll. (An itty-bitty-baby roll, but still a roll.)

Yesterday, I wrote for 30 minutes. Today, an hour. I’m up to 34,412 words. (I started around 31,000. I didn’t think to actually write down my starting number.)

I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock, though. I am now officially on Part Three of my manuscript.

And this is where I stopped knowing exactly what I wanted to happen. The directions on my map have faded away into the ether. I’m left with nothing but blank parchment.

And that’s partly exciting, but mostly… frustrating.

What do I write next? How am I going to reach my goal and actually finish this story that has been floating around in my head since college (and that I’ve actually been working on for a year) if I don’t know what comes next?

Which means that, tomorrow, I will likely not be writing, but will instead be brainstorming.

I’m thinking a cup of tea, a comfy chair, and a favorite journal are in my future.

NaNoWriMo, Day 1

My family and I have a tradition of wishing each other a happy first of the month. I’m not entirely sure when or why it started, but I’ve always liked the sentiment of it: Happy First. We made it through one month. We have a brand new start ahead of us.

So, in that spirit: Happy Nov. 1, everyone!

What that also means for writers: Day one of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

If you’re not familiar with it, NaNo is when writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in one month (about the length of a short novel).

It’s definitely quite a feat, and not something I’ve ever technically accomplished. (Several years ago, I did manage to finish a novel, but it was short the 50k mark. What can I say…. The story was just finished.)

This year, though, I’m doing something a little bit different. The novel I started for NaNo last year is still unfinished. I’ve worked on it throughout the year, made some decent headway, hit a roadblock—lather, rinse, repeat.

So my goal for NaNo is not to hit that 50k. It’s just to finish this particular manuscript.

I’m hoping NaNo will give me a kick-in-the-pants and that blogging about my progress each day will keep me motivated and honest.

Because lately, I haven’t had much time to write. I’ve been focusing on other goals…. Namely, losing weight.

I feel like I kind of need to explain why this blog about writing has had fewer updates about me… you know… writing. All year, I’ve been exercising and adjusting my eating habits. And for the most part, I could still squeeze in time to write. But I kind of hit a point where I needed to kick my routine into high gear if I still wanted to see the scale decreasing.

So that has been priority one. I’m hoping with NaNo, though, I’ll be able to re-find that balance and make progress with both of my main goals: Writing and being healthy.

And, in case anyone is curious, I started the year at 162 pounds. (Not great for someone who isn’t even 5-foot.) My most recent lowest weight was 136.6. (Though trick-or-treat kinda got in the way…. Darn you, delicious Halloween candy!!!)

To sum up: NaNo = Finish last year’s project. Blog = Hold me accountable. Weight = Keep going down!

Wish me luck. With all those goals and only so many hours in a day (and a full-time job), I kind of feel like I’m going to need it.

My Mini-Vacation To-Do List

You know how much I love checklists….

Alright, I’ve had my fun at the Comic Expo. I’ve taken some time to reorganize Word-Maleerie. Now, it’s time to get serious.

I’m taking a few days off from the library and using them to finish a few long-procrastinated projects. Many of them are related to writing; some are not. I won’t bore you with my household organizing or my to-read list (though now that I’ve added reviews to the blog, you may be seeing the fruits of that—if I get it conquered).

But I will share what I’m planning to accomplish as a writer. Here it goes:

  • Revise my query letters. (Shout-out to my library’s Write-Away Club who all gave me some great advice a couple meetings ago when I brought in what I’d been sending to agents and publishers.)
  • Finish “Part Two” of my current writing project.
  • Write a script for a video introducing myself which I plan to have on the homepage of Word-Maleerie. (Bonus points if I get it filmed and edited.)

Three items on the writing to-do list. Not many, but each task has quite a bit of work that goes into it.

I’m hoping that posting my goals on my blog will keep me accountable. I’ll write again in a week with an update on my progress—which will hopefully be straight-up success! (Fingers crossed!)

Wish me luck, all! *Cracks knuckles, pops neck* Let’s get down to business!