Back Down the Rabbit Hole

Currently listening to: “Just Like Fire” by P!nk

I HAVE OFFICIALLY GRADUATED! Now I have my Master’s degree, and I’m gearing up to start the brand-new job I got to go with it. But in the meantime, I realized something.

I’m not a student anymore. I’ve been a student for my whole life (okay, minus the first couple of years). And for the last two years, I was a student all the time. No summer breaks, no long, luxurious winter breaks…I didn’t have more than 5 days’ worth of break at a time, and I certainly haven’t had a break where I wasn’t expected to be thinking of assignments that needed completed.

There are no assignments right now. No papers or presentations or exams.

What the hell do I do now???? My job isn’t going to involve a ton of off-hours work. For the most part, I’ll be able to work while I’m at work, and once I’m home, that’s my time. You know what that means? I’m going to have time to write again! This will be the first time I’ve ever had that-leisure time that I can actually afford to spend writing. I had to shoehorn writing in while I was in undergrad, and quite frankly, even I wasn’t on top of my shit enough during the last year of my Master’s to put my coursework on the back burner like I did back then. It was rough trying to get Songstruck written, and it was rough getting all of the finalizing work done on it last year. But it was doable. This year, though? Guys, there are a lot of exams and things involved in wrapping up a Master’s degree. I’ve had time to sketch out some basic ideas–including some ideas for changing up how Stagestruck is currently going-but that’s about it.

And now that’s gonna change! I’ve got a few things coming up–a little trip back to NYC and then an event at a Barnes and Noble store–but then I’ll be getting on a more solid writing (and hopefully blogging because seriously, I suck at this. Someone give me an idea for a fun topic that can turn into a daily/weekly blog thing. :P) routine. I’m really looking forward to it.

~Sofia

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Opportunity Knocks, or How To Sell Books

You know what’s tricky? It’s not writing the book (though that’s hard), or editing the book, or getting a cover for the finished book.

It’s getting people to buy the book.

That’s kind of where I get stuck. My book sells, don’t get me wrong. I see sales come in, or take a look and see that someone’s been reading a Kindle copy. But I don’t like to throw myself out into the spotlight, and along with that, I don’t actually enjoy marketing. I don’t like trying to get reviews. I don’t like reading reviews. I’m really just content to know that my work is out there, and that some people might find it and like it. I never thought that would happen, and never really imagined that I would be able to say that I’ve published a book. So to some extent, that alone is enough for me. But I do still like to see sales come in. I mean, there’s always something especially nice about seeing that someone, somewhere has decided to spend a couple bucks to read my work. I mean, that’s just outrageous, right? This thing that I spent so long making, and someone I don’t know–and in quite a few cases, someone who lives on an entirely different continent–decided they wanted to buy it? I love that. I’d love to see people keep finding my work and taking a chance on it.

And that’s where the “opportunity” from the title comes in. It’s still in the planning stages, and may not happen at all, but I might have a chance to participate in a workshop at a pretty big bookstore, and that bookstore would put in a special order for copies of my book. I would take part in some of the activities planned, maybe do a talk about what the process of self-publishing and/or writing a book is like, things like that. It’s the best kind of marketing for me, really, because I wouldn’t really be doing any marketing–I’d just be talking about stuff I know and like, and my book would just happen to be there.

~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 ๐Ÿ˜› ) 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

Time Flies!

Wow! Sorry for the radio silence. The last few weeks have seriously been kicking my butt.

I was sick for a while with some odd, undiagnosed (because I’m one of those people who never thinks to go to a doctor until I’m already feeling better) illness, first. So that was a terrible few weeks. I was also spending those few weeks frantically studying for a big exam for my grad program. Friendly tip: make sure you know what the date of an important exam is. I’d thought it was March 25.

It was, in fact, March 4.

Anyway, I got that exam out of the way, only to realize that I’ve also been falling behind on my internship hours, which I need to, you know, finish my program. ๐Ÿ˜›

So all in all, I’ve been having a hectic time lately, and my free time hasn’t been spent writing because, honestly, when I’m this busy, writing stresses me out, too. I’ve worked on a few projects here and there, but not the projects I need to be working on (read as: Stagestruck). I’m finally getting myself back on track, though (except with those pesky internship hours), and that means hammering myself back into some semblance of an actual routine. Time for school stuff, time for work stuff, and time for writing stuff. I’m also trying to kick my habit of starting story on top of story on top of story and neglecting existing works. I’ve got Stagestruck to finish, after all, and I’ve got another project that’s maybe 1/3 finished that I’m rather fond of and would like to finish. And I got a lovely idea for another one that I’ve forced myself to jot down in a quick note on my phone and then leave alone. At least until I get something else off my plate! I know that Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up, and NaNo has always been a good time for me to really focus on getting writing done. I’m always able to make myself sit down and get words on the page when I’ve got that as a motivation to carve out more writing time than usual. Once I get the first draft done, things always go pretty smoothly as far as revisions, edits, etc. I just need to get the words down first!

~Sofia

Short Stories

Currently Listening To Irresistible by Fall Out Boy

The site that currently hosts my short stories, QuarterReads.com, is no longer active (*sad face*). In light of that, I’ll be looking for another place to post the stories. I’ll probably settle on Wattpad, but I’ll do my due diligence and see what other options are out there. In the meantime, I’ll also be posting the full short stories (rather than the shorter samples) here on my site.

If you use any sites to post short stories or other writing, or if you have favorite sites to go to read content on, let me know! What sites do you like? Dislike?

~Sofia

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Currently listening to the In the Heights Original Cast Recording

Merry Christmas, everyone!

If you’re anything like me, the holidays tend to be something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they provide a much-needed break and some fun celebration. On the other hand, they’re exhausting. I love my family, but for Christmas, I usually have around three days’ worth of near-constant family contact.

Basically, I need a break from my break. ๐Ÿ˜› I need a nap and some alone time. Luckily, I’ve had a couple of chances to have some of that alone time. And I’ve been spending it writing like crazy, because my Christmas break is also the only tiny sliver of time I’ve managed to carve out as writing time. I’ve fallen behind my original timeline for having Stagestruck‘s first draft completed, but I’m okay with that; I’m making good progress on it, and that’s what matters right now.

In the meantime, remember that I’m running a giveaway of the new edition of Songstruck on Goodreads. Just click here and follow the instructions to enter!

3d on transparent SONGSTRUCK

Happy Holidays!

~Sofia

Of Nerves, New Ideas, and Neopets

Currently listening to Lights, by Ellie Goulding

You know what’s seriously nerve-racking? The sudden realization that people are reading your writing. And not just people, but people. Strange people. People you’ve never met and will probably never meet.

This isn’t a new sensation for me; as some people might know, I’ve been involved off and on in role-playing on Tumblr*. And with that, every now and then you get a non-RPer who likes or reblogs one of your roleplay posts, or a drabble, or an in-character ask. Personally, I don’t have any issues with that–it’s great that people like the posts and it’s awesome that they express it! But sometimes there’s a moment of “Oh my God someone is actually reading this. Who are they? Why are they reading it? Do they really like it? How often are they reading it?”. I mean, it’s writing that you’ve put out in public, so it’s reasonable that other people might stumble onto it and read it, but seeing actual evidence that that hypothetical audience exists tends to give me a moment of…well, it’s not quite panic, but…it kind of is. Maybe a flash of crippling insecurity before O get over it and go on with my day.

I get a similar feeling when it comes to people reading my other writing–my book, my short stories…You see, I’ve been seeing some Kindle sales ofย Songstruck recently that I know don’t belong to anyone I know. That’s great! It’s what I want–what any author wants! It’s still a little unsettling, though, and there’s still that moment of fright because people are reading things I wrote. It’s not like a roleplay where there’s at least one other writing partner spinning stories with me and we’ve got a shared responsibility for the content that people are reading; my book is just me. I’m a little more exposed than I’m used to, so it always takes a few moments longer for me to shake off the strange realization that people are actually reading my work. And I’ve been even more surprised to see that people have been pretty steadily reading my stories on QuarterReads.com. Those are just short stories that I’ve scrawled in my spare time or when I needed to take a break from other writing, and people are reading them, too. Hopefully, they’re even liking them. But it’s still intensely weird for me sometimes to see such crystal-clear evidence of their presence.

What else was I going to write about today? Oh, right. New ideas. One of my biggest problems has always been sticking with a writing idea and following through with it. Despite that, I’ve been managing to pretty steadily work on Stagestruck and I’m fairly pleased with how it’s going even though I still need to go back and fix those chunks at the beginning. But I’ve also got a few ideas for an Alice in Wonderland-inspired piece bouncing around in my head. I’ve already got drafts of three different possible Wonderlandish stories that I’ve tinkered with over the past year or so, but last night a series of characters came to mind. I had to open up Storyist to make pages for them, and I even found some images that just screamed those characters. So now I want to explore those characters and nail down a story for them. I’m trying to resist the urge. For now, at least, so that I can keep up the progress on Stagestruck

But maybe if I just write a short story about them for now…

~Sofia

*I feel like it would be disingenuous if I didn’t admit that I got my start with roleplaying as an 11-year-old on Neopets.com. I still have one of my accounts there, too, even if I haven’t logged on in ages**, and I still mourn the loss of my oldest account which I lost the password for years ago and must have been purged from the system. Medieval-world-inspired RPs were my thing. And more often than not, I wrote some kind of thief or mage. Go figure.

**That’s a lie. I logged in today, because this post made me think about it. And I’ve got a Halloween Lupe, a Zombie Peophin, a Mutant Jetsam and a dorky Electric Lenny because the Lab Ray never gave me anything cool. Jealous? ๐Ÿ˜›