For Sucky Days

Yesterday was a day. I really like our apartment and I’ve been killing it with my quarterly goals (learn more about those here, if you don’t know what they are), but so far Georgia has been a pretty big bust. Jared and I don’t have a ton of friends here, and it’s been difficult getting to know people because we are so much busier than we were in San Diego.

No people would be introvert-Meghan’s dream, but the more I get my depression under control, the more I miss talking to people. I relish going to the grocery store because we can have a conversation with the checkout person. You might think that sounds crazy–and it is–but in Georgia it’s also the norm. Like people will talk for five minutes at checkout, even though there is a line behind them. Then on their way out they get the person’s name BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER. AND THEY JUST UP AND DECIDED TO CONVERSE.

And the fact that I am now relishing in that grocery store opportunity must mean that I have reached a new level of weird.

Anyway. Long story short, a bunch of sucky things compounded with writer’s block blues to become one colossally sucky Friday (Friday! The one day I thought I could trust!). So I spent today making videos that cheered me up, and used them for my videos on the WordNerds channel and my personal channel. Good feels all around! The first one is of some wildly successful authors sharing some of their favorite/most intense one star reviews:

And the video on my channel is cute dogs saying nice things. Because nice things are always better coming from dogs.

So if you’ve had a less-than-stellar day, maybe they can help you too! As long as there are cute dogs in the world, no bad day could possibly keep any of us down forever. 🙂

Putting Down The Phone

Don’t get me wrong–I will be the first person to call BS on those viral articles or videos that are like, “She put down her phone for 23.7 Seconds… You Won’t BELIEVE What Happens Next.” You know, the ones that have crotchety people in the comments sections talking about how millennials are ruining the world with their online friendships and selfies.

But I also have been using my phone kind of a lot lately. I have a decent amount of anxiety tied to specific places, and so when I find myself in those places, I pull out my phone. Sometimes I’m reading on the Kindle app… but most of the time I am playing Candy Crush. Or surfing Twitter and Tumblr.

I’d noticed that the habit was bleeding into situations where I wasn’t particularly anxious, like during lunch when I was already watching a YouTube video, or while walking my dog. Easy enough times to overlook it. But then I caught myself Candy Crushin’ it while watching the extended edition of Return of the King. RETURN OF THE KING, GUYS.

And so I said GET THE HENCE SATAN, pitched my phone across the room, curled into the fetal position, and looked into Viggo Mortensen’s ocean eyes until I achieved a sense of balance again.

LOOK AT HIM. Aragorn could solve all of the world's problems amirite?

Aragorn could solve all of the world’s problems amirite?

(Or I set the phone aside and resolved not to pull it out for anything other than researching critically important Return of the King trivia.)

Once I did that, I was so much more into the movie! You might be saying to yourself, “No duh, Meghan.” But for some reason I was really surprised at just how much of it I had been missing when I was only half watching (like half of it. wowowow).

The Lord of the Rings movies are my all time favorite movies. I could probably quote any part of any one of them. But for the first time in awhile, I found myself getting really invested. Like ready to throttle Gollum when he tosses the lembas bread over the side of the mountain. Or actually LOL’ing at Gimli on the Dimholt Road. Or getting crazy choked up when Sam asked Frodo if he remembered the taste of strawberries with cream AND I WAS EATING STRAWBERRIES WITH CREAM AT THAT EXACT MOMENT.

sobbing

The point is THOSE MOVIES ARE AWESOME. Go watch them now. And maybe put your phone to the side if you don’t need it.

New Year, New Existential Crisis

WOWOWOWOW it is 2016.

I didn’t post much because (if you’ve looked at my social media pretty much anywhere else, then you know) I was sick. It was not fun. But now I am not sick. And that is (mostly) fun. The not fun part is really just all of the catching up from being sick.

Like writing. I think I remember how to do that. And working. My eyes already hurt from staring at Adobe Photoshop and Premiere for so long the last few days. And maybe someday I will be able to edit the copious amounts of footage that I have for my personal YouTube channel that I swore I would upload before the break/during the break/on the 1st/…

But productivity is good! It feels good to be working again, even if the new year tends to bring on a bit of anxiety for me. I’m excited to finish my current story and get back to writing fantasy. I’m reading Truthwitch by Susan Dennard right now and WOW does it make me want to reevaluate my world building skills. You should pick that book up if you haven’t yet (and there’s a decent chance you haven’t, since it just came out yesterday. Thanks to Calyn, my Secret Santa this year, for getting me this book so that I could read it right away!).

Last year I set a goal to write two new novels and revise one old one. In the end I wrote 1.5 new novels and revised one old one…so close! And I could try to blame illness on that unfinished half, but if we are being honest I probably stopped writing a week before the kidney stones made their grand appearance.

This year I am going to set the same writing goal, I think. A little more writing than last year, because I still need to finish the last half of my NaNo novel. Probably more editing too, since I need to do another round of edits on the novel I am querying before I can send it out to anyone new.

And though there are a lot of things that make me really anxious about this year that I’m not quite ready to do a big post on, there are some things that I am excited for. I’m doing my own form of journaling–really it’s a slightly more artistic form of list making. But still, it seems to be helping. Jared and I have some exciting travel plans this year (Denver and, hopefully, Washington D.C.). I have an idea for a TV show (or web series?) that I want to write. There might be some co-authoring going on, too. And I still love my job and am hoping to learn more about animations this year.

So here’s to a year of productivity, good books, and lots of writing!

What goals did you set last year? Are they any different this year?

Revisions, Revisited

It’s Friday again! Where did this last week go? I feel like it’s been a blur of stress and work and Christmas decorations.

If you’ve been following me at all in the last couple of months, then you know that I did a four-part vlog series on revisions. I had so much fun making it!

I am gearing up for yet another round of revisions (based on that agent rejection I talked about two months ago). And I’m honestly a little nervous about them. Though that probably doesn’t surprise you much–most things make me nervous. #anxietylyfe

I’m planning on making a pretty drastic change that will involve completely trashing a massive chunk of the book. Like, it’ll get rid of some characters that I really love and take out a piece of the magic system that I had set up. I think it’ll help the book a lot, and so in that regard I’m looking forward to it. And I’m excited to be working on a fantasy novel again. I love this contemporary, but when people’s lives aren’t at stake, it is difficult to feel like there’s much of a plot. 🙂

But also it’s going to be haaaaard and I want to whine about it.

ANYWAY. That’s not why I’m here today.

If you wanted to see that four-part revision series, I’ve embedded the video below. But I know videos aren’t everyone’s style, and YouTube’s automatic captions are really not that great, which sucks for people who are hard of hearing or deaf. SO, I’ve also written up my revision steps! Now you can print them out and do whatever you want with them.

As long as you don’t sell them, because that would be weird. Don’t make it weird.

But if you’d like to access that, you can here.

Again, a ton of my revisions process was influenced by Susan Dennard’s guide to revisions (so much so that, while going back to find the link to it, I realized some of the titles of our lessons are really similar! Whoops…)–so be sure to hit her up for even more amazing revision tactics!

Still Behind, But Grateful

Thanksgiving! The time of cheesy gratitude posts!

Things have been crazy over here, and sadly I haven’t gotten anywhere close to caught up on my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m at almost 27k at this moment. Jared has to pull an all-nighter for his job (and he is TERRIBLE at staying up late), so I am going to try to write while he works. Y’know, to be supportive and all. So in my fantasy world I miraculously write 23,000 words in 27 hours…but the odds are stacked against me.

Win or “lose,” I’m so glad that I started this project for NaNo. I’d been so terrified of writing it, and nothing forces you out of your shell quite like National Novel Writing Month.

That being said, I had an idea for a new YA fantasy that I am DYING to get started on…so I can use that to push me toward the finish line, as well!

I am also incredibly grateful that Thanksgiving week is about to be over. I will be home in around an hour and a half. Back to my own bed and my own desk and my slightly uncomfortable plastic chair and the schedule that I love (even though I sometimes pretend like I hate it).

Sometimes I think I’m a lot like Bilbo.

Bilbo

So here’s to a week full of normal things! And hopefully lots of writing too. 🙂

Getting Behind

I am SO behind this NaNoWriMo. And while I was sitting there, panicking and feeling depressed about it, things were just getting worse. The more I felt like I was ruining everything by not forcing myself to write, the more I felt like I couldn’t sit down to write. I started to feel like my story sucked and I had no plot and all the things I write are actually only going to damage the LGBT+ and the Mormon community because you don’t even know what you’re writing HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO WRITE ANYTHING GOOD IF YOU CAN’T EVEN GRASP THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE WHAT DECENT WRITER USES AS MUCH CAPS LOCK AS YOU DO.

(in case you couldn’t tell, I depression-spiral when I feel like I’m not doing enough…)

But I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. I think it’s pretty normal to hit the middle of your book and start feeling like you have no direction and no clue what you are doing. And I think that feeling that way doesn’t necessarily mean that I (or you, if you’re feeling like this) don’t know what I’m doing. Or that I can’t figure out what I’m doing in revisions.

(aforementioned beautiful, inspiring place)

(aforementioned beautiful, inspiring place)

So I went to a beautiful, inspiring place and thought about my plot and why I love this story. I wrote down some of the ideas for scenes that I wanted to come next. Then when I got home I took a nap. And THEN I sat down and made myself start writing.

And things went so well! So much of writer’s block is just fear of moving forward, and the second I looked that fear in the face and said,”Shut up. I’m telling this story,” everything went so much smoother.

So if you’re also hitting a block in your writing, tell your fears to shove it. Then write your story.

NaNoWriMo & YALLFest Update

It is almost the halfway point of NaNoWriMo and I am feeling PUMPED! I am a little behind thanks to YALLFest prep and travel (I’ve got 19k and I need to have almost 22k), but I’m pretty confident that I can get caught up over the next few days. How is your NaNo experience going?

I’m currently writing with the other WordNerds (and one of our viewers, Rye!) at the cutest coffee shop in Charleston, Ticera Coffee. THE PLACE IS TRICERATOPS THEMED. Can it get any better than that? I submit to you that it cannot! Everyone is so great in person, and I can’t even remember why I was nervous for this trip. Except for I do keep catching myself looking at everyone’s legs like you have those too???

In all, I am having a great time, and looking forward to the amazing panels coming up. I’m hoping to learn a ton and not pass out when I meet some of my all-time favorite authors (lookin’ at you Elizabeth Wein, E. Lockhart, and Libba Bray).

WordNerds write-in at Tricera Coffee!

WordNerds write-in at Tricera Coffee!

Teen Looooooove

I’ve been writing my first ever YA Contemporary for NaNoWriMo, and I am loving it! I wanted some really upbeat music that would reflect the sassy but optimistic tone of the protagonist. And so I did the only logical thing, and pulled up Spotify and typed in “teen love.” And it just so happened that there was a playlist by that name. It has been perfect for getting into my MC’s head! So, without further ado, here it is! (if the embed code doesn’t work, it can be found here)

NANOWRIMO IS TOMORROW

Things I have done to prepare:

Now can we panic?

I’ve done a ton of stuff to prep the WordNerds for vlogging on the official NaNoWriMo YouTube channel, and I do have my idea for November. I have thought a lot about said idea over the last few months…

But I am still feeling woefully unprepared. I mean, it is Halloween and I haven’t even carved my pumpkin yet! And this is supposed to be my favorite holiday! I’m over being an adult. Next year I should just quit my job and focus all of my energy into making an awesome costume out of the bits of cardboard that I can afford. 🙂

Anyone else frantically trying to get ready for November?

‘Til-I-Finish Tuesday

THIS IS HAPPENING.

Today, I am going to finish the first draft of my work-in-progress, COURT OF GLITTERING CRIMSON.

I’m calling it a 10k/’til-I-finish Tuesday. Because I think max, I have close to 10,000 words left. Realistically, probably closer to 8,000. Hopefully not too much less, because I don’t want the draft to end up being too short! My longest novel ever completed is 63,000 words (after several rounds of revisions)–my first drafts tend to come out closer to 57,000 or so. So I’m feeling REALLY good about having a draft that is closer to the appropriate length.

I’ll be tweeting about my writing happenings all day today, so if you’re trying to finish a story too, you should join me! I’ll host some word sprints (even if it turns out that I’m the only one doing the sprinting for a while haha) using #WNSprint.

But even if you don’t join in for another Tuesday filled with all-the-words, how is your writing going? Are you so ready for NaNoWriMo, or are you frantically trying to get things prepared (like me)? Either way, you are awesome and I believe in you!