6-Year-Blogiversary: I AM STILL DOING THIS!?

I know I keep saying this every year, but I truly can’t believe that it has been 6 years already. On the one hand, blogging has been such a constant part of my life, that I don’t really remember what it was like without it. However, at the same time, I never truly thought that I would stick with this for such a long time. I mean, it’s been literal years, and by now I don’t feel like I will ever really quit doing this, even if there are months that I don’t post a whole lot.

Usually, I try to do something special for these kind of milestones, because I want to give back to the people who made all of this possible – YOU! Even if I keep repeating myself, I insist that it’s necessary to really say this – blogging would be dull without the people. If there had been zero interactions, this would have all ended a long time ago, but instead (even during the tough times) this community has become a refuge and place of friendship. I love talking about all day every day kind of situations, the latest binge-watch or more personal, in depth subjects with some of you. It brings me joy to know that there is someone on the other side of this screen who reads this and maybe agrees with what I had to say or even if they don’t, try to talk to me and have a friendly discussion. It makes this already pretty small world a little smaller and therefore make me feel closer to all of you.

Back to my original point, I am currently not exactly at my most inspired or swimming in money. Last year (check out the post here), I did a giveaway of my own art work in return for Q&A material from you. As I said, I am not at my most creative at the moment and therefore I was wondering if you would be interested in a repeat of that?

Basically, here is how it works:

  • You ask me questions you always wanted to know the answer to in the comments or on Twitter – nothing is off limits!
  • You additionally state that you want to enter the giveaway – the artwork will be a surprise! (ONE winner will be chosen at random)
  • All of this should be done by June 14th, 2019
  • If you are not yet 18+, please have the permission of your parents to enter. I will need personal information should you win the giveaway

If this flops, we will just pretend this never happened and I only did a low-key blogiversary celebration. If it is a success though, then I will post the answers to your questions next weekend and inform the winner separately. Lastly, once again a big fat THANK YOU from me to all of you! 

My WIP in Gifs Tag! (again)

I already did this tag a while ago for Arcadia (it was originally created by Michelle @The Writing Hufflepuff) and I had so much with it, that I now really want to dive into it for the #witchyWIP! I was always fascinated with witches, but being surrounded by such a witch comeback on TV, I just feel so motivated to work on it. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the post as much as I enjoyed working on it!

THE RULES

💛 Thank the person who tagged you
💛 Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!) and link back to this post so she can find out aaaall about your WIPs!
💛 Try to limit the amount of gifs you use per question – I’d say maybe stick to five or less but I’m not the boss of you

THE QUESTIONS

Sum up your WIP in 4 gifs!

I hope this will make sense eventually but I am not even through planning the story at the moment.

Time to introduce your main characters!

August

That girl has the patience of a saint, but if anyone comes for Josh, she’s not going to hesitate for a second to get into a fight!

Josh

Josh has a heart of gold and can charm the pants off of pretty much anyone. It’s hard not to swoon for him (but that’s just my opinion)

Rosalie

Rosalie loves her children with the fierceness of a thousand suns … sometimes she goes to far though.

Mirabella

This is on point Mira ever since she laid eyes on August.

Matthew

None of you (not even the Google Doc people) have met Matthew yet, but this will make more sense once he shows up … in the future … at some point

How would your main character react in a crisis?

August is the Queen of Crisis! I am pretty sure she’d be calm and collected with a plan already forming in the back of her mind.

If you were to meet your main characters, how would you react?

Nothing can get me near those folks, but I’d be there watching from a distant, all giddy inside!

And if you were to meet your antagonist?

I’d be out of there so fast and I don’t even have a specific antagonist in mind right now.

Is there any romance in your WIP? How would you sum it up in gifs?

I don’t want to give anything away on this one. You can guess for yourself what this romance is and who it is about. I’d love to hear your theories and may even be willing to tell you if you are right!

How do other characters feel about this ship?

They are generally not too happy …

How do you want people to react to reading your WIP?

I TAG THEE

Since I already did this tag and nominated a couple of friends to do it, I just want everyone to have the opportunity to take part now! So, if you are a writer and want to tell us about your WIP, consider yourself tagged!!


What are your thoughts on the #witchyWIP? I shared some snippets of it during the Rising Author Tag if you want to know more. Tell me all about it in the comments!

The Rising Author Tag

I wasn’t actually tagged for this, but I saw The Rising Author Tag over at Beth @Reading Every Night and thought it would be really fun to take part. There are some definite rules to this, which I am not sure I will 100% comply to, but I still want to try my best.

RULES

  • No tagging back
  • Tag four people
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Come up with 10 new questions

QUESTIONS FROM BETH’S TAG

What is your current WIP about, and what’s its status? (ie. plotting, writing, editing, etc.)

This is already starting out more difficult than I thought, because I am working on several WIPs at the same time. Well, I guess I have neglected Arcadia a bit these past couple of months, but you all already know quite a lot about it anyway. So for the sake of making this post easier (and also to talk about something new), I am going to stick to the infamous #witchyWIP for this one.
It’s in the very early stages of writing, somewhere in the middle of chapter 12 to be exact, and about a family of witches who take in a girl who’s coven was eradicated for yet unknown reasons. The girl’s family was very powerful, so they are all cautious and scared about what she might be capable of and things get even trickier when she and the youngest son of the family perform a (forbidden) binding spell that ties them together forever. It starts from her childhood on and is told from other people’s POV but is meant to ultimately turn into her own POV as soon as she’s an adult. (I am working on a pitch that will make it sound more interesting – promise!)

Do you plot things out and/or outline, or just figure it out as you write?

I am someone who very much enjoys figuring out things as I go along, but for this one I have to plan ahead a little bit, because I am terrible with timelines and WILL mess them up if given the chance (Arcadia is living testimony of that).

What are some book ideas you want to write in the future?

FUTURE!? I have three unfinished WIPs and one finished one that needs desperate editing. I am going to try my best to stick to the current things before getting new ideas. However … one day I would like to write a contemporary YA book about a girl from Europe who goes on an exchange semester in the US (write about what you know and whatnot).

Out of the characters you’ve written so far, who are your favourites?

This is like asking a parent to pick a favourite child – HOW DARE YOU! But … if I must … I love my little confused but rational wolf girl aka Kasia from Arcadia.

What’s your writing routine, if any? (ie. snacks, music, time of day, location, etc.)

No real routine comes to mind when I think about me writing. I do prefer to have music on, sometimes even putting certain songs on repeat for certain chapters, but I have also had days where I needed complete silence. I’d say it all depends

Show your WIP’s aesthetic in images or words (or both)!

I think this might just be the project I have the least visual idea of, but here you go:

Bonus aesthetics for the other WIPs:

Arcadia
Dreamer
Break Up Buddy

What (or who) motivates you to write?

Honestly, it’s just everyone who ever read a snippet (or more) of my work and told me they liked it. Every single person who got invested in the fate of my characters. By now, that group of people I trust to share my projects with has grown far bigger than I initially thought possible and I hope you all know who you are because you are the best!!!

What do you find is the easiest part about writing? The hardest?

Easiest – having that scene in your head that needs to get written down no matter what. It’s okay if it doesn’t turn out right, but you just need to let the words out. I adore those moments because I have such a clear mental image of what I want to say.

Hardest – just generally sticking with a project, seeing it through when the going gets tough and you might get stuck at certain parts of the story.

What genre will you never try, and why?

It’s very unlikely that I will ever write historical fiction, because I hate research and doing those kind of stories without research is just … strange.

Share a tiny (or large) snippet/excerpt of your writing, if you’re comfortable!

This is the entire opening chapter if you like a real glimpse:

And here are two very random bits:

I hope you enjoyed those snippets! Definitely let me know what you think!

MY QUESTIONS

So, I am not sure I got this right, but I am also supposed to create 10 questions? Am I supposed to answer them myself as well? Does the next person only answer mine? Since I am confusion and I really like the questions I found on Beth’s tag, I am going to pass those on to the people I’ll tag.

I TAG THEE

Marie | Caro | The Orang-utan Librarian | Rami | WHOEVER WANTS TO DO THIS TAG

What are your thoughts on this? Did you enjoy another sneak peek into my writing life? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Writing Life: Sharing Your Work in Progress

I’ve hinted at maybe doing a post about the ups and downs of sharing your work in progress in my NaNoWriMo update from last week, so I hope you are up for some insights on this topic! First off, I want to start by pointing out that I don’t mean to say that everyone should share their WIPs, whether it be in public or in private. I understand that not every writer feels comfortable, ready or willing to share their story in the early stages and that is perfectly alright! You do you and always follow your gut! This is just my personal experience.

              

Writing was always a lonely task to me. Of course, I got to meet all these wonderful characters for the first time and they miraculously somehow came from my brain, which was always incredibly hard to believe. I feel pure excitement whenever I dive into a new story, but at the same time I just want to share that with SOMEONE out there. Every time, I kept a story to myself, I started to procrastinate hard at some point until I was lacking motivation to continue at all. This is clearly an issue concerning lack of discipline on my part, but I found a way to counteract that by sharing my work as I go along with friends, family and sometimes even strangers. And when I say I share my work, I am not talking official beta readers or critique partners, but just people who may or may not comment on what they just read. Obviously, as I mentioned in my opening statement, this is not for everyone so here are a couple pros and cons of the experience:

THE PROS

  • The absolute best motivation I have ever found to continue writing is the constant encouragement of strangers as well as friends who have read and loved my words. They want to know how the story continues, so I want to keep providing them with entertainment and answers to questions as well as new mysteries as I go along. I truly adore everyone who has ever taken the time to read what I have written. It’s not perfect and I appreciate that they stuck with me nonetheless.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to stay objective as a writer. I encourage all my readers to give me suggestions if they notice something that isn’t quite right and I have realised that my first instinct is to get defensive (but that’s the beauty of being online, you don’t have to respond asap and that feeling can go away), but then I can see the value in having a fresh set of eyes on my writing. You don’t HAVE to take all their suggestions into account, that’s not the point of it all, but it’s good to hear different opinions.

THE CONS

  • Sharing your work publicly involves a lot of trust, so you have to find a way that makes you feel safe in the process. There are various platforms that allow you to share your stories to a broader audience, like wattpad, where I uploaded all my current chapters for Arcadia and Dreamer (click on the titles to read the stories). There are guidelines among the community members that forbid copying content, but obviously nothing is ever foolproof. My current #witchyWIP isn’t on there, not because I have made bad experiences, but simply because I didn’t want to share it with all the world for now, but rather an exclusive circle of friends. I chose Google Docs for that, as it still allows people to comment and has great options for security purposes. It’s just a matter of finding the right platform that works for YOU!
  • Waiting for someone to read your work and actually react to it can be torture! People have lives and they don’t just wait in front of a screen to read my very random story updates. However, the longer the wait to hear from just about anyone is, the more the questions start to plague my mind – What if no one likes it? What if they don’t feel like they can tell me if they don’t like it? What if I shouldn’t have written that part? What if … None of that necessarily has to reflect on your story though. Sometimes it’s just a matter of lack of time and it’s also difficult to hold a reader’s interest if you don’t continue the story regularly. Like, I completely understand that some people might not want to wait a month for a new chapter.

In the end it all comes down to what feels right for you as a writer. Maybe you don’t want share your work until you’ve reached draft 15, but maybe you need that encouragement and interest from the outside to get through writing draft 1. Whichever type you are, I just know that I personally love nothing more than getting reactions be it in comments, people screaming at me in my DMs (always welcome by the way) or just sending me gifs and aesthetics for chapters. It’s what keeps me going and that’s why I am so grateful for all the people who take the time to read my work!


This is it from my little writing insight this time! Do you sometimes share your unfinished work? How are you all doing on your WIPs? Who is still going strong on their NaNo project? Let’s chat!

NaNoWriMo Update: Why I Stopped After a Week

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, know that I occasionally dabble in participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s a yearly event in which all writers out there are challenged to write at least 50K within the span of the month November. It’s a lot of fun, but also very stressful at times. My first year was actually the only year I traditionally “won” NaNoWriMo by completing my RomCom Break Up Buddy. After that I tried to work on Dreamer, Arcadia and now currently the #witchyWIP, but let’s get to that in a bit.

First off, I want to say that I in no way want to discourage anyone from participating in NaNoWriMo. I have made some great friends through it, been to cool meet ups and actually FINISHED writing a book. Those are all things I doubt I would have been able to achieve without the platform that NaNo offers. However, this year I also realised why it doesn’t work for me on the long run anymore and I’d like to go into detail about that a little in this post.

I want to talk to you a bit about process. Every book is different. Even authors with a certain writing routine sometimes face stories that just have different requirements. Sometimes people are pantsers, sometimes planners and sometimes a mix of the two. I usually prefer to just completely take my story as it comes, but again, this doesn’t work for all projects. From experience, however, I know that I cannot sit there and plan out a story, neither in detail nor in a rough outline. My mind wanders and I get terribly bored when I actually write the scenes because I know what is going to happen. When I write, I often feel like a reader, also experiencing and discovering the whole world for the first time with every new word. I don’t know if others feel the same, but the more I know in advance what I am supposed to write, the less fun and the more difficult it is for me to actually transfer it to the page.

So, what does that mean? I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which should be perfect for anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, but here is where life throws me a curve-ball: NaNoWriMo is on a tight schedule. Having a certain word goal every day, getting badges and that sweet satisfaction from reaching certain milestones is something I find terribly motivating. I am also a competitive person at heart (at least when the only person I am competing against is myself), so I REALLY want to reach those goals – at whatever price. And all too often that price is a suffering quality of my writing.

NaNo is not meant for creating a perfect first draft. It’s quite the opposite! It’s supposed to help you break free of the chains of an overthinking mind and to just get. things. done. It’s a tool to get a story on paper, not to send it to publishers right after, but rather to have a framework for the amazing tale you can shape out of it once you get to editing. Now, editing is the bane of my existence. I hate it with all my heart, probably for similar reasons I don’t like outlining.

All of the things I have mentioned above lead to a certain realisation. I am not claiming my #witchyWIP is perfect! I know it is not, but the first chapters that I wrote before NaNo started were of a certain quality. I was aware that it needed tidying up, but I didn’t despise the existence of entire chapters. With me getting into a competitive NaNo mindset and really wanting to hit those word count marks, I just wrote and wrote but overall, I wasn’t really happy with the content I put out there (you have to know that I always share my work with a couple people. Let me know if you want to read a writing insights post on sharing your unfinished work!) So, I made the decision to not participate in NaNo for this project anymore. For me personally, there was no joy in getting chapters done if I wasn’t ultimately happy with what they contained. There was simply no point for me and I don’t regret my choice.

So, to all the brave NaNo writers who are still going – I wish you the best of luck! I hope you have a great time during the event, but I am out.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are things going for you? Have you participated before or do you want to in the future? Let’s chat!

Writing Life: Switching Between Ideas

It has literally been over a year since I’ve last used this feature or the previous version that was Writing Insights on the blog. While I have created a couple of write tags, I’ve given very little insight into my writing process and struggles I am facing lately. So, I am here today to talk about how I cope with several story ideas swarming my head, even when I want to focus on one of them alone. I feel like this topic isn’t just applicable for writers though, but also for bloggers who have a gazillion post ideas.

SHOULD YOU SWITCH BETWEEN IDEAS?

I don’t think there is any one way to answer this question. Some people need structure and focus to work on a single project, others need the rush of multitasking to get things done. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing. However, I can’t help but feel a little guilty for choosing to work on newer and shinier projects once the going gets hard on old favourites. Is it my fault for being so easily distracted or is it healthy to get things out of the way that seem to cloud your judgment and motivation for what you’ve been working on thus far?

Let me give you an example! As many of you know, I have been working on my story Arcadia (details about it here) for several years now. I may not be the fastest writer, I may not even do the best job I could with this first draft, but I am being the most dedicated I could be. At least that’s what I thought. As of late, my thoughts have become increasingly occupied by what I skillfully dubbed the #witchyWIP for now. I didn’t have a plot idea, I barely even had names for the characters, but these random scenes just kept invading my mind over and over until I wrote them down.

Here’s the first chapter/prologue that came as a result from that:

And after that, I just couldn’t really stop? I didn’t have answers to the questions I was asking myself with this story, but I sure as heck wanted to find out where it was all going. While I am usually very much a pantser for all my projects, I found myself outlining what could be (even though I am sure it’s not nearly as detailed or coordinated as other people do their outlines) and making notes in all my notebooks and on my phone whenever inspiration struck. So, while I still love Arcadia, Kasia and Dyson and everyone in the story very much, I just can’t seem to focus on that particular story right now. Does that mean I am going to abandon it altogether? Of course not! It’s a story I very much intend to finish and since I was going at snail-speed anyway, it doesn’t seem like it would make too much of a difference if I jotted down a couple scenes for something new in the meantime. Still, the guilt remains

For now, I have decided to just go with the flow and continue to write for whatever story idea I feel most inspired to work on. With everything that is going on outside of blogging, we will see how much time and energy I will have in the weeks to come anyway. But I would like to hear from you fellow bloggers and writers:

Do you get distracted by newer and shinier ideas as well sometimes? How do you balance wanting to explore something fresh, while continuing to work on your old projects at the same time? Do you get things done or gradually forget about what you previously worked on once a new idea comes to mind? I would love to discuss this topic with you in the comments below! 

The Life Choices Write Tag

I said I would do a new Write Tag this month and for once I am really keeping my promise! If you have missed previous installments of this very irregular feature, you can check out the posts for the Winter Is Here, Valentine’s Day and Milestones Write Tag by clicking on their titles. You are also more than welcome to join in if you haven’t yet! I have once again tried to steer clear of seasonal tags, because I want people to be able and do them whenever they feel like and am therefore happy to present the Life Choices Write Tag! It’s all about those little moments in life that define us and in this case hopefully our characters. Let’s get to know them better!

Once again, I will be doing this tag myself by answering the questions with my WIP (Work in Progress) ArcadiaWhile I have made some important decisions (like it is definitely going to be a duology and not a stand-alone), there’s still loads of work to do. The heat has made it a little tough to think straight, so I haven’t really been working on it. I am hoping this tag will motivate me again.

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post(I want to see all your lovely answers, people!)
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
    Kasia and Dyson have known each other their entire lives, their paths intertwining at every crossroad. So forgetting he ever existed doesn’t make any sense to Kasia and neither does finding out about the magical beings that took him away from her. Now, with the help of some allies with motives of their own, she will do everything she can to get him back, not knowing if either one of them will ever be the same after all is said and done.
    You can check out this post to find out more about Arcadia!
  • This is pretty focused on main characters but don’t hesitate to use several characters for the answers if you want to! (We want to get to know as many of your characters as possible)

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Where does your main character (MC) live? Were they born there or did they move to that place?

Kasia and Dyson moved to Vancouver together after they both finished university. Their families live in Ontario, but it’s not really an issue for them. First it’s not an insurmountable distance if you want to see them for holidays and second, they felt it was more important to start someplace new get trapped in their old routines after graduation.

Does your MC have a dream career? What (if anything) stops them from pursuing it?

Dyson’s greatest dream was to become a sort of mix between Indiana Jones and Noah Flynn from the Librarian movies. His knack for studying, but also outdoor adventure ultimately did lead to him becoming an archaeologist. The actual excavation sites are not nearly as exciting as the movies made them look, but he soon found himself gravitating towards teaching and jobs at museums anyway. (So, in short, he pursued his dream career and ended up loving it!)

Did any of your characters ever go against their parents/family’s wishes? How did that change their relationship?

Well, Dyson did when he didn’t find a “reasonable” job in his family’s eyes. They came around eventually and never truly held it against him, especially since Kasia went the more sensible route and became an accountant. That way not both of them had precarious jobs, but it still elicits the occasional eye roll at family gatherings.

If faced with their greatest fear – would your MC try to overcome it or run the other way?

Kasia’s greatest fear (aside from loosing Dyson) are heights, which I can very much relate to. As long as someone (again, preferable Dyson) is there to hold her hand though, she’ll at least always try.

Did any character have to cut a person out of their life? Why?

If I may refer everyone to chapter 9 of Arcadia … I don’t even feel like I should talk about this again. I’ve made a lot of people sad with that one. (Click here to read Arcadia if you haven’t yet, but want to.)

What is your main character’s biggest regret?

I shared an aesthetic the last time, of a little road trip (that probably won’t make it into the book) and I think there is a certain kind of regret involved with not actually going through with it, especially since it’s so uncertain if they will be able to now.

Which character is most likely going to help a stranger, even if they got nothing out of it in return?

This is someone a lot of you don’t know at all or at least not very well yet, but Casper would be my answer. I wanted to say Findlay at first, but I want to give some recognition to Casper too. He has a hard shell but a soft inside. He would never get a “most friendly” award, but if someone actually needed help, I don’t doubt that he would show up.

If your character got good/bad news, who would be the person they first tell?

Kasia and Dyson would call each other and after that Robyn. Georgie would call Fin, although I am not 100% sure he would call her first in return. I am really looking forward to figuring out who Leo would call. Haven’t found an answer yet though.

BONUS: Make an aesthetic for your MCs life if there had been no obstacles (money, geographical, etc.) and they had everything they wanted. (It is up to you if you want to explain it or not!)

I am going to leave this open for interpretation for now, but give me your best guess in the comments!

I TAG THEE

I hope you liked the tag and if you did, please don’t hesitate to spread the word!!! People have so many stories in them and I hope this helps them get to know their characters.