Friday, August 31, 2012

And Then We Married!

School is about to start.  The kiddos come back on Monday, and the year starts all over again. Which has made me think a lot more about the summer I just had.

Or just that one, really important part of summer.  The part where I got married. 
It's crazy that it's been a month and a half since the stress finally ended and we celebrated with our friends and family.

The one word I would use to describe my wedding was fun.  Everything we did was to make our day more fun.  We're not traditional people and we wanted our wedding to reflect that.  So here are some pictures to share with how we chose to celebrate our marriage :)

In order to increase the fun, my husband and I decided to have first look photos.  These are photos taken before the ceremony.  We figured that way we could just celebrate with our guests after the ceremony was done.

So here's one of those pictures :)




More fun came from having my favourite person walk me down the aisle, my mom.  She's amazing :)


And then there was the ceremony.  One of the best parts of the day (as it should be!).  This was where my writing background came in handy.  With my officiant, we scripted the ceremony.  It reflected us so well, from our untraditional vows to the story of how we first met.  We spent most of our ceremony just like how we look in that picture--laughing.


And....then there was this.  Yes, that's a camel. Yes, we did ride it (into the reception).  It was quite the sight!  And it got quite the reaction.


I could share a lot more pictures, to be honest there's so many amazing ones thanks to our wonderful photographer.  It was an amazing day and based on the feedback we got, it definitely was fun.

So there's the highlight of my summer.  Likely, the highlight of the next few years of my life.  I hope summer treated everyone else nearly as well as mine did.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Think I've Been Here Before

Woot!

I've finished the first draft of my second novel.  I'm really happy about it, but it's not quite that same level of excitement that I had the first time around.

I think the difference is this time, I knew I could do it.  It's like the first time I raced 5 km.  I didn't know I could do it before.  I thought I might just pass out before the finish line.  But I made it to the finish line before I passed out.  And then there was this high that just followed me around the rest of the day. (I was a bit hyper...and probably annoying to the rest of my cross country team).

The next time I did it, I was still excited to finish, but not as excited as the first time.  You really never get that first time feeling back.

I'm really not surprised that the feeling was different this time.  At the same time, I'm actually a little bit proud of myself.  An author whose blog I followed once wrote about how important it is to finish that first novel.  How you can learn so much from it.

Well, he was right.

Even without trying, I learned a lot.  I learned not to freak out about word count (I freaked out about word count in my novel--I ended up with this totally random detour that has nothing to do with my novel.  It's just to make me have to revise and edit more). I learned about routine, filtering (which is bad!), and not getting caught up in scenes.

I learned a lot.  So this book has a lot more potential than my last one.  I really can't wait to see where it ends up when I finally get to revise and edit the hell out of it.

What did your first book teach you?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Being Ninjaed

I thought I should follow up on my WriteOn Con experience, now that it's been about a week since I participated.

Overall, I give the experience a solid B+

It was a lot of fun to hang out with a different group of writers for a little bit.  Not that I'd ever be looking to replace AW.

There were a lot of interesting things going on at the con, a few WTF things, and a few things that weren't really new information--but the theme was back to basics and it really did do that.  I liked interacting with people.

And I liked that I built up the guts to finally share my work with the public.  Here's the thing (or at least the thing for me), until you share, it's easy to live in a fantasy bubble.  It's easy to pretend that you could be writer, even though you have no idea if people will like your writing.  Obviously, I like my writing.  I think it's good enough--or will be good enough someday.  But sharing that first piece of work can really burst your bubble.  Especially when you share over the internet.  It's so easy to be critical when it's not face to face.

It took a little bit of encouragement.  A little bit of trying to get people to tell me it was a bad idea.  And then I shared.

And then the comments started coming.  Most were good (yea).  A few offered some good suggestions (even more yea). Most said they would keep reading even though there were flaws (triple yeas).

And then it happened.

A ninja found my story and thought it was worth the time to comment.

I can't really share my first reaction to noticing a ninja had posted on my thread (I can't share inappropriate words here, just in case), but there was a little bit of sweating.  Then I was braver than I'd ever been and I clicked the thread to read what they said.

I was prepared for the worst.  My (first draft!) writing wouldn't be very good. I was wasting my time, I should find a new night job.  I built it up a lot in my head.

But it wasn't bad.  It also wasn't good.  It was rather neutral.  He explained some things that didn't work (which all made sense to me), but the best thing about the whole experience?

He said he would have read on.

That was worth more than anything else I heard that weekend.  An agent would think my writing was worth reading more of.

So I came out of the experience feeling better about my life as a writer.  I can do this.  I'm not about to give up on it.

It was the best thing that happened to me all conference.  Even though his post started with some negatives, it helped me realize that I am a writer.

How did I figure all this out?  By showing a little bravery.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Being Brave

Some of you already know this week the WriteonCon is going on.  For those of you who don't know what that is (Mom), it's an online writing convention.  There will be some agents, some organizers, and a whole bunch of writer's looking for their break into publishing. And some other writers hoping to learn so they can improve their craft.

I'm in that second group of writers.  I want to learn more about craft and hopefully next year, I'll be ready to post a query and hope for an agent to ninja me.  (The agents wander around the forums with ninja names, posting on anything that interests them).

The most awesome part?  It's free.

I signed up for the forums and critiqued for the first couple of days.  And then I started to think.  I could post my first 250 words up there.  Other people were posting things from stories that weren't finished, things that weren't ready to be queried.

So I considered.  And then I sent my 250 words to my mom and my best friend.  Hoping they'd tell me, no it's terrible, don't do it. They didn't.  They told me to do it.

I had to suck up some courage and be brave.  It's hard putting your work out there.  I mean, I've posted work before.  I used to write fanfiction--which can still be found online--and some original work.  But they're all from before I was serious.  Back when I thought I knew what being a writer meant (sitting around and browsing the internet until inspiration hit you).

I read some reviews.  Are people going to tear my work apart? Am I really far away from publishing?  At the end, I realized I was afraid.  I was letting fear hold me back.  Fear that someone was going to burst my bubble and tell me that I couldn't be a writer.  That I didn't have the talent.

But I can't live like that.  You can't be a writer if you're afraid to share; if you're afraid of some rejection.  So I sucked it up, put on my big girl pants, and posted.

Nothing terrible has happened.  Of course, I've only gotten two reviews, but I think that sort of points to what I was already thinking.  That I'm an OK writer.  There's nothing terribly wrong with what I do, but I might need more experience and practice to really get there.

If you're interested, here's the link to my story Magic Wanted.  Feel free to read it and tell me what you think :)  Or don't.  I've discovered I'm OK either way :)


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Coffee Shop Writer

Earlier this week I had a great idea. My husband (that still seems weird to say) needed the hotel room for an interview.  I needed to find some time to write, so I decided to wander around and find a coffee shop to write in.

I mean, if that's how JK Rowling did it, it must be a great idea, right?

So, at about 8:45 am I trekked out of the hotel and wandered around Toronto looking for a coffee shop.  It didn't take long, it is Toronto.  There were about 3 within 500 m of the hotel (2 were Starbucks--I guess in case you didn't want to cross the road). I settled into the one that had comfy chairs.

I don't know about everyone else, but I can't just go into a coffee shop and sit there without buying something.  I don't go to coffee shops often (I don't like coffee), but these places are pricey!  I bought my ($5!) drink and took a seat, popped open my laptop, and got ready to get to work.

The one (and only) thing that seemed to work for me at this particular coffee shop was that there was no wi-fi.  So at least there wasn't that distraction.

But what I didn't expect was how noisy it would be.  I mean, I expected people (and looking back, I should have remembered it was rush hour and would be busy), but I didn't expect as much noise as there was (probably caused by the amount of people).

And of course, I didn't bring my headphones so I got to listen to the sound of the bell ringing every time the door opened (it happened a lot!) and of course there was the blender sound (which also happened a lot!) and there was the conversations going on.  My favourite was the interview I got to listen to.  I don't know what the interviewee thinks, but I have my doubts that he got the job.

To sum it up, there was a lot of noise.  But I was a little proud of myself. I did manage to focus past all of it (I credit that with the lack of internet) and did get almost 2000 words done--which is a good day for me.  I actually only gave up because I really had to go to the bathroom and didn't want to pack and unpack my stuff again.

Anyway, lesson learned. Coffee shop writing may not be for me.  Or, maybe I just need to bring some headphones. Or not go during rush hour.  Or go to a bigger coffee shop (I've been in the one Rowling wrote at...it was a lot bigger!)

So maybe there is no lesson learned.  Maybe I need to try it out in a few different ways. There is something to be said for a change of scenery to help with your writing.

Thoughts?  Do you write in coffee shop?  Or are there other (better) places that help you focus?