January 2016, in hindsight

I wont deny it. I think 2016 is starting out great.

I ticked a couple of tasks right off my 2016 bullet list early in January. If of interest you might go and read the posts from earlier the year.

Two more things happened in January that make me really happy. First. One of my characters manages to surprise me big time. And second, even more important, I made progress with my writing habits. Hugely so.

It turns out 4:30 am is just the right time to get up an write. Well ok – its 4:51 by now but one needs to get the eyes open and some coffee into the belly, no?) However. I am sitting. very early in the morning and I write. Without kids interrupting, without husband searching some misplaced item and calling for help. If someone had told 2 month ago I would get up this early I would have laughed. Very loudly. Seriously – late riser and all what I used to be…

But, I had to do something about a meagre output I had at the end of 2015. I had to find some hour I could reserve for nothing but writing and plotting and honing my characters. Turns out, the only time I can possible manage writing in a reasonable reoccurring and stable way are the early hours of the day. Family is still asleep so I can spent time with my “imaginary friends” as my husband has started to call this whole endeavour. (haha, he is not wrong I guess)

I have started the experiment “become an early riser” in the 2nd week of January. And I am not just a little proud to report: it worked. It still works! Other than going to bed at 22pm instead of midnight it was the easiest thing. I cut myself some slack at the weekends – 5am is still good enough on these days. I kept it up for the rest of the month. By now it is not even an ordeal anymore. Guess there is a grain of truth in all this “form a habit in 21 days”- programs.

So.. yay me! I will go ahead and tick off another point on this bullet list.

And yes .. there was this wonderful moment a few days ago I wanted to share. The moment one of my characters kind of … surprised me. I was writing along happily at a scene where she had to draw a lot from a case. A very importand draw. We are talking life changing draw. And what does she do? She takes two. That little b*tch took two lots instead of just one. Cheater! Ha! I loved it. Still do. Worked it into the plot smoothly. I am still smiling when I think about it.

I attribute this headway, one might even call it a success, to one of the advise books I have been reading lately. J.S. Bell introduced me to the method of Voice Journaling to flesh out important characters. Works like a charm.

So … in hindsight. January 2016 has been a blast. If the year goes on like this it will bound to bring more surprises. Let’s see where February takes me. Spoiling us with with 29 days this year! Now more coffee… and back to the blank page.

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Critique Group Search

With yesterdays achievement a rather easy task I figured I might as well tackle the next item on my list. This time it was 1) not so easy to solve and b) involved some internet (re)search. Latter quickly blew my mind and the number of open tabs in my browser as well. This is what happened:

I had been searching for a critique buddy in 2015 – without success. Turns out I just searched the wring thing. Originally I was hoping to find a native English speaker here in town who would sit and talk with me, drink coffee, point out critique worthy things in my WIP and I would return the favour. Like a real-life-writer-friend. BUT, living in Germany lowers the number of native English speakers. How to find someone among those few who lives near enough for personal meet-ups and who is interested in investing the amount of time necessary? Not an easy task, if not downright impossible.

Dismissing this plan of action I pondered the possibility of an online critique group (CG). Imagine my surprise … there are thousands! Good start.

Now, how to choose one? I found a blogpost, more like 10 blogs, dedicating a post to CGs. I clicked all the links. Open in new tab, open in new tab, open in new …… Browser got slowly lagging and I quickly lost overview of all the tabs. I scanned through the different websites, bookmarked a few and dismissed others.

In the end I signed up with Critique Circle. Their website looked friendly enough. The system of credits they use seems ok. So I just went ahead. It won’t cost me money but time to help others by critiquing their stories. In turn I will get feedback from different natives on my language skills. And on my writing as well.

This is a big step forward and makes me happy.

Second item on bucket list done. Yay!

SCBWI Germany

It’s January the First and I tackled an item on my bucket list for 2016. Yay me! There is nothing as motivating as the start of the new year. Don’t you all agree?

In December I talked to Melinda Salisbury – you all should totally check out her blog (http://melindasalisbury.com/) and her first YA book The Sin Eater’s Daughter! She told me about the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and since my WIP is going to be YA, too I figured I join them.

And I did. Today. 🙂

I have already been through the website and blog. Hopefully there will be an event near me soon.

Anyways. One thing at a time. And the first “CHECK” on my bucket list.

 

 

Bucketlist 2016

If I had to judge my skill for organising on a scale from 1 to 10 – if being totally honest – I would have to give myself a -1.

There are people who just naturally manage all there is to manage without any help. I am not one of those. There was a time I was able to remember the teeny-weeny-st detail regarding my daily life. That was before I got kids. Sometimes I joke around that half of my brains went to my firstborn and half of what was left to the second daughter. So I have only 1/4 of my former capability left. And that effectively put an end to my organising skills.

Thank goodness I got an awesome husband as well and he helps out – in terms of introducing me to supporting technology. Email-reminder, Todoist project management and my all-time fav: bullet lists.

Bullet lists are my thing. I write them all the time. If I get up on weekends with some projects to finish, stuff to organise for the kids or chores around the house – I write myself a list.

Then I  come back from time to time to see what I can check. I strike through what I already did, add what I did when it is not at the list (and score it out immediately – silly me). That works surprisingly well. 🙂

So today I will start a bucket list for 2016 that is writing related. I hope that will help me to get things going in the right direction faster than last year.

  1. Get a critique buddy.
  2. Check for german chapter of SCBWI – if there is one,  sign up.
  3. Decide on the basic structural frame for WIP
  4. Find something else than MS word for a writing environment.
  5. Stop or at least minimise procrastination.
  6. Find a way to carve out daily writing hours.
  7. Write some more blog posts.
  8. Review this list at least once a month. Maybe the … 14th each month would be an idea and add all things that came up eventually.