Happy Halloween!

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For the last few weeks, I’ve been bouncing between spending far too many hours at work and holing myself up in my apartment working on sketching out my outline for the sequel to Songstruck. I know, I know–I said I was going to have a draft finished like…three months ago. But now that I’ve scrapped the old draft I was working on, it’s taking some time to get things back on track. Luckily, though, I’ve always been in the habit of cannibalizing old stories, so there are going to be passages from the old version that still fit into the new version. So that’s a plus, and a little less struggle on my part.

Tomorrow is November 1st, which means it’s officially the start of National Novel Writing Month! One of the few times of year when I make it my mission to pretty much spend every spare moment writing. I mean, I carve out time pretty consistently to write as it is, but every November, that kicks into high gear. Late nights, early mornings, and my journal constantly by my side so that I can write when I take breaks at work, too. It’s a crazy 30 days, but I love it! For anyone else participating this year, good luck!

~Sofia

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Appearance at Barnes & Noble B-Fest June 10-11th

Good news, everyone!

professor_farnsworth

(sorry; I had a friend who was always watching Futurama, so now I can’t see that phrase without thinking it in this Professor Farnsworth’s voice)

I have a wonderful friend. This wonderful friend happens to work at a Barnes & Noble store, and put my name up to make an author appearance and do a short workshop during her store’s B-Fest Teen Book Festival next weekend. So I’ll be there on Friday, June 10th and Saturday, June 11th. Both days, I’ll be giving a brief talk about NaNoWriMo and how it can be an effective tool for an aspiring writer (or any other writer).

You’ll be able to purchase my debut novel, Songstruck, at the store, which I’m so excited about. It’s difficult to get self-published novels into brick-and-mortar stores, so it’s a nice treat for me to see my book on a shelf. I’ll also be wandering around the store most of the day on Friday and Saturday, lurking around the other activities, searching for some new books to read, and possibly scribbling away in a corner. I’ll happily sign any copies of my book while I’m at the store, and I always welcome book recommendations to add to my reading list!

Feel free to come find me any time, and I hope to see some of you at my workshop!

The details:

Where: Barnes & Noble, Evansville, Indiana (624 South Green River Rd)

When: Friday, June 10th, 7:30pm & Saturday, June 11th, 3:30pm

What: “A Manuscript in a Month”

You can find more information about the 3-day event and the other workshops and activities here.

~Sofia

Journals and Jobs

I know, I know-I apologized about a month ago for the lack of activity, and then I promptly went silent again.

I’m terrible at maintaining a routine, you guys, and I doubt I’ll really get better at it. I’ve been trying for years to be good at things like this. Things like using planners consistently to keep my schedule straight, or journaling every day, or keeping up a blog…I try. I’m just really bad at it. So as an update, here’s my life so far, broken down into easy-to-digest (or easy-to-ignore for those of you who really don’t care 😛 ) bullet points:

  • I have another exam on Saturday. This one’s to certify me as a National Certified Counselor. It’s a Big Deal and I’m hoping I don’t fail.
  • I haven’t studied for that^ because, again, I’m bad at routine things like regularly making time to study.
  • I got a JOB!
  • I’ve bought about four new journals in the past two months, and they’re all still basically blank
  • I dozed off and fell off my exercise bike the other day
  • I have another trip to NYC (and another ticket to Hamilton)

 

That pretty much covers it. I’m also using April (or more specifically, Camp NaNoWriMo) to buckle down and finish Stagestruck. I’m so horrendously behind schedule on that, and part of the reasoning is that I feel like I need to overhaul a lot of it. Something just isn’t clicking right now, and I’m not 100% sure which element is bothering me. Not knowing makes me reluctant to work on it, because I don’t want to work on a project if I don’t think I’m going to like the final product. At the same time, I don’t want to scrap it entirely and I don’t want to start editing things prematurely. It’s a pain, and I keep finding excuses to procrastinate. Granted, some of those excuses are pretty damn valid. For example, that exam I mentioned up in the list? That’s pretty freakin’ important. Because as much as I’d like to be a super-successful author who doesn’t need a day job to survive…I’m not, and I’m getting ready to start a career outside of writing. To guarantee that career, I need to pass that exam. No passing means that the job offer I snagged a couple of weeks ago will be withdrawn and I’ll be in some serious financial trouble once student loan payments start. I need a job, so pretty much everything leisure or hobby related needs to be on hold until at least the end of this week. After that, I think I’ll have finally run out of excuses to feed my procrastination and uncertainty.

And hell. Maybe I will just start rewriting Stagestruck. Or maybe I’ll break from my usual habit and actually plot things out and find out what needs to change that way.

~Sofia

Updates and (lack of) NaNoWriMo Progress

First, a few updates:

1. I have a new short story up on QuarterReads, as found on my writer profile here.

2. I’m currently wrapping up final editing, and a cover is in the making for Songstruck, which I hope to have available by the end of the year.

Now, then. NaNoWriMo. I was so excited to participate this year, and I made it almost 20,000 words in so far. So I’m already behind, but at this point, I might have to bow out entirely. It’s hard to find time to write–it always is. But this year, there are so many projects in the making for me, it’s harder than usual. It looks like NaNo will take a back seat until next year. Instead, I’ll be turning my focus toward my coursework, work, and of course, finishing up the final editing of Songstruck.

So to all of you who are still writing furiously toward the 50,000 words, good luck!

~Sofia

In Defense of NaNoWriMo

Around this time of year, there’s always an influx of articles–quite a few of which are years old by now–criticizing National Novel Writing Month and those who participate in it.

I don’t generally pay much attention to those articles, but I still see them posted here and there. Strangely, a lot of them end up posted in places like the NaNoWriMo Facebook group. Of course, there’s an outraged comment along with it (and then a thread full of outraged comments), but it’s odd. And it’s struck me more than once that it seems like the only people reading these anti-NaNoWriMo articles are people who participate in NaNoWriMo.

Why do we read them? Seriously–why? And most of the comments from NaNo’ers are usually along the lines of “screw that person, NaNo is great!”

Well, on this lovely (surprisingly-sunny) November 1st, I’d like to respond to all of those anti-NaNoWriMo articles in what I think is a much more productive way: I want to talk about why NaNoWriMo is so great. You won’t see a single sentence in this post about how stupid or bitter or uninformed authors of those other articles may be–I’m not playing that game. The rest of this post is going to have precisely nothing to do with those people or their articles.

So here’s why NaNo, to me, is so great:

  • NaNoWriMo is fun. Seriously, I think that’s the most important thing here. National Novel Writing Month is a fun challenge.  It’s a crazy thirty days and it’s fun. You can spend a lot of time chatting with other writers, bouncing ideas off of other people as out of their minds as you are, and then you toss yourself back into the pile of words you’re trying to form into a  story.
  • It’s also frustrating as hell. Seriously, last year, I was in the middle of my senior year of undergrad. I was working on a full research thesis for my psychology major, a capstone seminar for my Spanish major, tutoring in a different foreign language, cramming in a full schedule of classes around all of that, volunteering part-time to train my replacement in my old job…I was busy. How did I end up participating in NaNoWriMo? I stayed up until 5am most weekdays (and I had an 8am class) so that I could spend time writing after I did homework. Or vice versa–I stayed up late trying to finish the homework after writing for hours. I wrote in between classes. I wrote during some classes. I would get to my Spanish class and when my professor called on me to answer a question, I would accidentally answer in Italian. I would get pissed off because I had to work with my thesis partner on that instead of write. For 30 days, I was basically a confused, exhausted, nervous wreck. And I loved it. I had more drive to get things done than ever. No one could really have a coherent conversation with me unless they caught me when I was freshly-caffeinated* and relatively focused. But I wouldn’t trade that hectic, awful mess that was my life for a month for anything.
  • It’s a challenge. No one does NaNoWriMo because it’s easy. In fact, people tend to up the challenge if they find they’ve won NaNo a few times. There are people who, at this very moment, are endeavoring to write 50,000 words not in one month, but in one day. And people have done it. Crazy, right? Maybe. But they wanted to make things more challenging. We do NaNoWriMo to push ourselves. Many of us write all year round, but there’s something about taking part in a challenge like this that can really boost productivity. You know that other people are right there with you, working on their own challenges. There are other people, I’m sure, who don’t usually write, or can’t find the time, and they use NaNoWriMo to make significant progress on whatever project they want to try to write. Most everyone who participates at least makes progress on their project. Some people make lots and lots of progress, and some people finish an entire first draft.
  • The goal isn’t perfection. Most of the time when I’m writing, I’m also editing as I go. If I can’t find the right phrase, I sometimes get hung up. NaNoWriMo largely takes the pressure off. I’m still not one of those participants who’re able to completely avoid editing their work for the course of the month, but I worry a lot less about getting things just right. Hell–I even leave blanks in the story sometimes, with a simple note to go back to that section later and add in the scene(s) that weren’t coming easily to me. I go back to those sections when I get an idea. Last year, I was closing “gaps” like those until New Year’s Eve, when I finally declared my first draft of Songstruck complete.

Not everyone has the time, patience, creativity, stamina, or loose grip on sanity to take on NaNoWriMo, and that’s okay! It’s not for everyone. But for those who do? Enjoy it! It’s going to be a crazy month, and I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. Not everyone is going to “get” why we’re doing it. Not everyone is going to like it. But you know what? You do enjoy it, and that’s really all that matters.
~Sofia

*which caused its own batch of issues. Like I mentioned last time, caffeine and I don’t play well. But damn, did I need it that November.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

Currently listening to: Yellow Flicker Beat, by Lorde

Hello, again! I’m back, and ready to get back to blogging (and writing!). My sister’s wedding was lovely, by the way. Here are a few highlights:

  1. My new sister-in-law’s younger sister and I frantically trying to find out where we were supposed to stand right before we were told to walk down the aisle
  2. Both of us also tripping on our way down the aisle (not our fault- there was this grate thing that they covered up with a long carpet but covering holes with a carpet doesn’t do much when you’re wearing stilettos)
  3. Both brides insisting on wearing shoes that were a fabulous mixture of “amazing” and “medieval torture device”, and steadfastly refusing to take them off, blood and blisters be damned
  4. My sister and her wife-to-be both sobbing and laughing like goofballs when they were exchanging their vows
  5. Fathers dancing in the embarrassing way only fathers can

And now, with all of that over and done with, and all of the centerpieces, clothing, and random decorations and such finally mailed out to my sister (my mother and I took custody of it all after the wedding since my sister was flying back to where she lives), I have some breathing room. Which means that I can turn my attention to some other important things. School, for one thing, but more importantly…

NANOWRIMO 2014

That’s right-NaNoWriMo. Also known as National Novel Writing Month. The project I “won” with last year turned into an entire novel, and I’m hoping to repeat that. Of course, that will mean months and months of editing, gathering beta readers, and more editing, but that’s down the line. For now, my focus will be on the main goal of NaNoWriMo: writing 50,000 words in 30 days, starting November 1st. It’s going to be crazy, and I can’t wait to get started.

~Sofia