Re-centering With Consistency

So, over at my blog, I’ve been doing some nonfiction series with the thought that the posts will be expanded into a series of books. (Well, actually, I plotted out the books two years ago–writing them has been another story, of course.) The most recent series has been about using consistency to build a writing habit, and, oddly enough, writing the series has done a huge amount to remind me how things are supposed to go.

So it’s been helpful for everyone! Yay me.

I think it’s easy to let your good habits falter without realizing you’re doing so. I think this can be especially true for writers because every step of the process and even every story works a bit differently, so it’s not a steady habit like “work out first thing when I get up” or “drink a glass of water with every meal.”

When I planned my series, I picked topics I felt I understood, that I felt I could help people with, so writing the consistency section has been an eye-opener, because despite my best intentions, I’ve let my consistency go lately as well.

So it’s been an exercise in practice what you preach. I’ve set myself some triggers (i.e., actions that symbolize it’s time to write) and have picked a daily time (first thing in the morning, getting up a little earlier) and it’s working really well for me. I’m finally making the progress that had been eluding me the past few months.

And I …

Continue reading

Standard Operating Procedure

I’m office manager at a school for children with autism. That title may be a little misleading, as I don’t really manage the office. I am the office. Just me, little old me, and the director, who couldn’t find a pen if it was in his pocket (it usually is, and it’s usually not his) and who generally has about seventeen things going at once, none of which in any way involves following those pesky ~rules~ set up by HR or Payroll or Accounts Payable.†

With any school, it’s important that no matter who is sick or absent or distracted, things keep going. When you’re talking about a school for kids on the spectrum, it becomes a bit more imperative. Breaks in routine are Not. Good.

So recently when the boss was telling someone how I’m awesome, that I’m office manager, receptionist, nurse, occasional janitor, sometime maintenance tech, and all the while somehow manage to keep him mostly in line so HR doesn’t come hunting him with torches, and that without me the whole school would fall down–I appreciated it, but I also decided it should not all depend on me. I’m human. I get sick. And sometimes I need a vacation. So I started collecting my checklists and notes on how things work into a Standard Operating Procedure Manual. Kind of like this except not so formal. So if I ever needed to, you know, not go to work, the entire school wouldn’t fall down while I lolled around …

Continue reading

Co-Writing for Fun and Profit

Didja miss me? Well, too bad…I’m back!

Today I’d like to share a bit about Turtleduck Press’s next novel (title and cover art forthcoming in due time). Kit and I have both talked in this space about the fact that we’re co-writing, but we haven’t gone into any detail about the experience…until now.

It’s not Kit’s first time co-writing a novel; I’ve done it before too, but not for many many years. And I’ve blogged before about having a major crisis of faith as a writer last year. So I was a little apprehensive about how it would go.

In fact, it’s been quite a smooth process — at least as smooth as novel writing ever is! It’s helped immensely to have somebody to bounce ideas off, to trade chapters with (we each wrote one point of view, in alternating chapters), to keep each other motivated. Having two minds to work on the worldbuilding and plotting has not meant that we’ve each done half as much work as on a solo novel, but it’s certainly helped — I think we’ve done a better job on this story than either of us could have on our own.

Luckily, we’re on a similar — though not identical — wavelength when it comes to planning. We did a pile of worldbuilding first (it’s a fantasy novel, more or less), then identified our respective characters and wrote some sample chapters. Those went out the window and we started over, with a clearer idea …

Continue reading

The Dreaded Middle

So Kit Campbell and I are working on a secret project for Turtleduck Press. It’s a novel that we’re co-writing, and you’ll hear more about it in due time, after it’s been made suitable for public consumption.

In the meantime, though, we’re wading through the first draft. Well, I can’t speak for Kit, but I’m wading. Or wallowing, maybe. I’ve passed the halfway point and am flailing around in the late middle, feeling rather as if I’m trapped in Zeno’s dichotomy paradox. I’m also fighting the deep-seated conviction that the story sucks (or my half of it, anyway — I’m not about to say that for Kit’s half!).

However, I’m not the only one. Check this out:

Continue reading