Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday's Children: Attention Deficit...Oh Shiny!

Recently, I saw a quote that said, "Being a good writer is 3% talent and 97% not being distracted by the internet."

Realistically, I think it's more than 3%, but the 97% seems about right. Yes, I know that more than 3% + 97% equals more than 100%. (I'm bad at math - but not that bad.) But the internet is so delightfully distracting, it often feels like it takes that much effort not to fall prey to its charms.

I mean, who doesn't want to check out the blogs of their favorite authors, or peruse Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords to see what new books look intriguing. Then there are the links a dear friend sends to me because she knows I'd be interested in reading the articles. I'm also guilty of looking at Pinterest for inspiration photos and getting sucked into the vortex of pretties. And let's not even talk about email distraction or the youtube links my kids send me. Most of these links are from my oldest son who says I suffer from Attention Deficit...Oh Shiny! That's a pretty apt description.

So how do I combat the shiny?

Mostly, I make deals with myself. I must write X number of words within an hour before I'm allowed to click one link. If I want to click another, I need to accomplish another word count goal. The same goes for checking email. If I go out to look at Pinterest, I set a timer. When it rings, I'm back to the manuscript.

Sometimes, I'll #wordwar on Twitter with writer friends. We post our hourly accomplishments and cheer each other on. Writing is a solitary activity, but it's helpful (not to mention motivating) to know that there are other people toiling away with you. It's sort of like making the internet work for you.

Occasionally, if I'm desperate and on a deadline, I'll just disable the internet on my computer. And it doesn't get turned back on until I reach a predetermined goal.

Figure out what works to keep yourself from being distracted and feel free to post some of your tips and tricks. Don't let this happen to you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation...

During the summer, I usually spend a week in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with my family. It's one of the most gorgeous places known to man - forests that go on forever, waterfalls, the Great Lakes - well, three of them, at least. It has a kind of wild beauty that I never get tired of. And as a bonus, I've met some of the nicest people on my trips, too.

This summer, I managed two weeks in the UP. And better yet, one of them was a writers' retreat. There were six of us staying on the nearly deserted shoreline of Lake Superior writing our little hearts out. It was beyond amazing. There's something so energizing about staying with a bunch of friends who have the same interest in creating stories that you do. It was like a little commune with a common goal of making as much progress as possible on our books. In addition to writing, we laughed almost constantly. My face and my stomach ached for a week after we got home just from all the laughter. It was an amazing time.

The location was especially great for me since my series is set in a small town on the shores of Lake Superior. It was like being immersed in my story world - well, you know, minus the vengeful supernatural beings.

These are a few images from the trip.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How I Got Here

It's a little intimidating to go from cheerfully writing one genre for a number of years (five to be exact) and doing fairly well at it, to completely starting from scratch in another - but that's what I'm doing.

It's not that I don't enjoy the other genre and the stories I tell, but sometimes an idea takes hold and it won't let me go until I thoroughly explore it. And sometimes that story isn't even remotely related to what I've been doing. And trying to make it fit that mold feels beyond wrong. So I decided to quit fighting the idea and start writing it instead, throwing myself headlong into the world of young adult fiction.

It makes sense that I'd feel a pull toward YA - it's primarily what I read for pleasure. And writing it has made me incredibly happy. It's been incredibly freeing. I'm really excited about making this change and taking the next step in my writing journey.

I'm happily following a new path wherever it leads, and I hope you'll come along with me.