becoming, books, Burn, challenges, change, editing, etherhart press, Fantasy, Goodreads, new zealand independent book festival, NZIBF, Sun-Touched, The Way the Sky Curves, Uncategorized

2015 Year in Review

2015 has been a massive year of ups and downs for me – mostly downs, but I think that’s changing. Despite that, I think I did pretty well with my goals for the year.

While I haven’t yet reached my ‘books read’ goal for the year, I’m pretty close, and I *think* I read more published stuff than pre-published. I did do a reasonable amount of editing work, but it was primarily for cash, and that was a nice change. After much consideration, I have decided to cut back even further on the number of clients I’ll work with in order to really give my own writing time to shine. While I love having some cash I made all on my own, and it’s meant I could cover all my costs without digging into the family income, I’ve come to realize that it’s sapping my creative energy, and that’s not good for my writing (or my mental health).

IMG_20151223_145519638I think this year has gone a long way to the ‘reconnecting with myself’ goal. It’s quite intangible, but I think people can look at me now and SEE that I am more comfortable in myself now. I got my nose re-pierced, and I dyed my hair awesome colours. The general consensus is that I should have done it years ago, and I look more’me’. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks so 😉 Though to be honest, it wouldn’t really matter if they thought that anyway – I did it for ME.

I did some other things that were a little outside my comfort zone, such as attending the Independent Book Festival in Auckland. I had a much better time than I expected, and learned that actually, I can totally be a people person when I need to be – AND enjoy it! (even if I need, like, a week off life after to recover lol).

Alongside these things I published three new pieces. Two novellas, and my first full-length novel. Sun Touched has been a long time in the making, and it’s been amazing to get it out there and have people read it. The most common thing I hear from readers is that they could barely put it down, and just had to keep reading – mission accomplished! Dad doesn’t always enjoy my stories, but he loved Sun Touched, and gave it to a friend of his to read while she recovered from a hip operation – and she is going to try and get it in at the library near her! lol

I have LOTS of hopes for 2016, but primary among those are to treat myself more kindly, give my writing the time it needs, and continue to build on the things I started this year. More on that in the new year – until then, enjoy the last of 2015, hope you had a lovely Christmas, and have a happy New Year.

life, new zealand independent book festival, NZIBF, writing

Up, again.

Sun catching
Sun catching

The sun has been shining here for a few days now and I am feeling much, MUCH, better. I took the pressure off, allowed myself to just take it easy and do the things I wanted to rather than doing everything like I normally do (or trying to, anyway).

It’s under a week now until the book fest (in fact, one week from today you can expect a wrap up of that event here on the blog!) and I am feeling in a really good place about it. I know I’m going to be nervous as heck, but also that I will be there with some great friends and we’re going to have a kick ass weekend regardless of whether we sell any books or not. Plus, a few days kid free just being an author? That’s pretty awesome too. I could use the downtime from parental duties, and I am going to enjoy the hell out of the road trip listening to just my music, really loud!

I’ve finally started work on Flare again. I’ve spent some of my ‘medication adjustment period’ reading Take Off Your Pants, a book about outlining. This has always been the bane of my authorial life. I never outline properly and I always pay for it. However, seeing as I was only a few thousand words in, I got to put the tactics to practice and work on the outline for this novella. Which made me realize I had started too late. So I’ve slowly been drafting the new opening scenes (mostly on paper with pen, while lying on my sunny deck), and then I’ll finesse what I already had to line up to my new, stronger outline.

It’s interesting, because I am noticing this happening a lot more. I had until now been thinking that for some reason I was suddenly bad at writing. Like, I’d forgotten how to do it, and it was just that much harder now. While admittedly I am a bit out of habit with first drafting these days due to the heavy editing loads I’ve had, I actually am realizing that I’ve moved past the ‘blindly writing shit because words are better than no words’ stage of my career, and am actually thinking more carefully about plot, and character, and everything else. There is definitely still a place for first drafting quickly, but this being the sequel I never intended to write (my plans for the Mother book of this trilogy changed after people wanted more from Carmel) I need to tread a little more carefully, and develop the world accordingly. I’m actually invested in getting it more right than wrong on my first take now, and not willing to leave that to chance.

Generally, in the past, it’s taken me a good 10K on novels, and half that on novellas to really get a feel for my main character, but I’m working on knowing them better before I go in now, and that should hopefully help cut down my revision time later on.

Anyway… Life is good. I’m actually feeling happy which is kind of wonderful. I’m hoping it lasts this time.