Friday, January 25, 2019

Writer Stereotypes (Part 2)!

Hey'a, everyone! Last week, I shared some of the writer stereotypes that fit me pretty well. This week, I'm focusing on the opposite: writer stereotypes that, when it comes to me, couldn't be further from the truth. So, let's get started!

 Writer Stereotypes (Part 2)

  1. Writers are insomniacs and night owls who stay up to the wee hours of the morning to write. My hallmates can confirm that this is not the case. While I have occasionally, in a fit of inspiration, stayed up to an unholy hour because the words just kept coming, I typically try to turn in no later than 10:30, maybe 11. After 11 PM, I am definitely not in a state where I can write coherently, nor am I inclined to try. I would much rather get up early (or early-ish) and write before the sun comes up, accompanied by a lovely mug of chai.
  2. Writers cannot survive without coffee. I'm pretty sure that this is directly caused by the last stereotype? In any case, I strongly dislike coffee, even the smell of it, and the best efforts of my coffee-loving friends haven't changed that. Tea, on the other hand? Like I said last week, I love it. But I can survive just fine without it, especially during the summer.
  3. Writers delight in the pain they can cause to their characters (and readers). There seems to be a trend among certain writers to treat their characters' pain as either a competition or a joke. People brag about how horrible their characters' lives are, they laugh about how much they torture their favorites. And, yes, causing your characters (and, by extension, your readers) pain to some degree is required to tell a good story. But I don't agree with pain for the sake of pain. I believe there's no such thing as purposeless pain in life, and so I don't put it in my stories.
  4. Writers use their writing to get revenge on people whom they dislike. I used to threaten to do this on occasion, but it's not a threat I'm likely to carry out. When I'm writing, the last thing I want to think about is the people who frustrate me; part of why I write is to get a break from those people. So why would I want to put them in my novel, even as dragon food?
  5. Writers hate editing but will correct your grammar anyway. I do dislike editing, though I dislike it less when it's my own book. However, the odds that I'll actually correct you grammar are pretty small. Most of the time, I don't care. Or, if I do care, I'll just judge you silently from my side of the internet. No pressure.
What about you? Are there any writer stereotypes that don't fit you in the least? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)   

Friday, January 18, 2019

Writer Stereotypes (Part 1)

Hello, friends! So, stereotypes. Everyone's affected by them. Everyone tries to pretend that the stereotypes for whatever they happen to identify themselves as — writer, bookworm, athlete, science person, crafter, girl, guy, anything — doesn't actually apply to them. But, y'know, while not every stereotype applies to everyone in a particular category, some of them will always apply to some of the people. That's as true for writers, and for me as a writer, as it is for everyone else. This week, I'm revealing some of the writer stereotypes that apply to me. Then, next week, I'll reverse the topic and talk about the stereotypes that I don't embody (and, in most cases, probably never will).

Writer Stereotypes Banner

 Writer Stereotypes (Part 1)

  1. Writers are reclusive introverts. Well, "reclusive" is a stretch, as my roommate (or anyone in my hall) will tell you. But despite the fact that I somehow acquired a social life after coming to college, I'm still very much an introvert who needs a certain amount of peace and quiet in order to function. And even when it comes to writing, I may love the Inklings writing org events, but I don't really get much done at them.
  2. Writers love working at coffee shops. Not all the time, and not if they're crowded and busy, but going to a coffee shop to write often provides a nice change of scenery and a bit of extra motivation to write. Of course, the fact that I get something sweet and yummy to drink whenever I go to one certainly helps too.
  3. Writers are spend more time in daydreams than they do in the actual world. This isn't as true as it used to be. Middle- and early high-school me definitely lived her life with her head in another world — typically one involving magic, dragons, adventures, portals, and guys who talked about something other than sports, video games, and school. (Trust me: for middle-school me, that last one seemed as far-fetched as a dragon in my backyard.) But even now, it doesn't take much for my brain to wander off into the world of one of my books, either playing out a scene I'm going to write or figuring out how whatever song I'm listening to might describe one or more of my characters. That said, I like to think I'm a little more aware of my surroundings than I used to be.
  4. Writers can write anything. Pros of being a PWID major and a creative writer: I probably can write whatever you think I can write, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, business or pleasure. (Or, if I can't write it now, I'll be able to write it within a few years.) That said, I can't write everything equally well. I'm much better at fantasy than contemporary or historical fiction. I'm better at marketing materials than official reports — at least, I'm pretty sure I am. I'm better at fantasy than marketing materials. You get the idea.
  5. Writers love tea. I do not know where I would be without tea. Probably in a very sad, miserable world. I'm not an addict, but I will say that my morning tea sets up my best days and makes my bad days a bit more bearable. (And it got me through Professional Editing and Instructional Design 1, and it's going to get me through Instructional Design 2, all early morning classes that cause me more frustration than they should.) And when I need to settle down for the long haul with my writing, or when I need motivation to work on a troublesome scene, a cup of tea is just the thing to get me going.
What writer stereotypes do you fulfill? Please tell me in the comments! And don't forget to check back next week to find out what writer stereotypes I definitely don't fit.
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)    

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019: It's Goal Time

Well, here we are. 2019. We're four days in and I already feel like we've been here for ages. But I guess that's not really a surprise, given how long last year felt. Hopefully, 2019 will be better than 2018 was — though, all things considered, 2018 was a pretty great year. And I did a reasonably good job meeting most of my goals . . . though not all of them.

2018 Reviewed!

  • As you may remember, last year, my main writing goal was to set myself a writing challenge of some kind every month so I would keep up a more consistent writing schedule. I'm happy to say that I largely succeeded with this, though there were a few months (especially towards the end of the month) when I basically just defaulted to a goal of 100 words per day, six days a week.
  • And that goal paid off! I wrote and edited a total of 183,132 words this year, up by about 54K words from last year! So, basically, I got an extra NaNoWriMo's worth of words in this year, which is pretty fabulous since I never actually did a full 50K NaNoWriMo (even though I participated in all three events).
  • I did not work on all the projects that I hoped to. I managed another few chapters of Destinies and Decisions, but in general, I'm setting aside the rewrite until later. (It's entirely possible that I'll rewrite the first three books, then restart the rewrite of book four, but we'll see.) As for Between Two Worlds, I didn't even touch it.
  • But I did finish Fight Song! And I wrote almost two dozen short fiction pieces of varying lengths! I didn't spread out the short stories as much as I intended to, but I'm not complaining.
  • I also published my first book, Blood in the Snowso, I mean, that's exciting. It also definitely wasn't in the plan for the year, but, hey. Plans change, and I think that was a change for the better. Though the release didn't go as smoothly as I hoped, everyone's been super supportive. (To everyone who's said nice things about my book: thank you! You get all the hugs.)
  • In 2018, according to my Goodreads Year in Books, I read a total of 109 books and 33,848 pages, with an average rating of 4.1 stars. That's pretty good, considering that I actually dropped my Goodreads reading challenge in 2018 from my usual 99 books to 77 books.
  • However, my C.S. Lewis reading challenge thing? Epic fail. I didn't even make it out of January before my new books overwhelmed my old books. Oh well. At least I enjoyed what I read.
  • I got a marketing and design internship! I actually still have it; it's just very, very part time! I have concluded that if you let me work from home on marketing stuff for the next ten years, I will probably be very, very happy.
  • I became secretary for the Honors org and so far am enjoying the position. I do need to send an email out soon for that, though.
  • I actually kept up with doing German on Duolingo the whole year! So now, at least in theory, I know more German than I did when I started. I don't think I could hold a solid conversation in German, but I could probably find my way around a German city and make myself understood in short exchanges.
  • I did not keep doing martial arts (mostly because the instructor left), but I did learn how to swing dance! Kinda. And then I stopped going this semester because classes didn't fit in my schedule and social swing is super boring when no one asks you to dance.
  • I reworked both my blogs and created a shiny new author site!
  • I finally found a D&D group! Without advertising for other players! (That said, I did respond to someone else advertising for players.) I am very happy with my group and my lovely paladin, and I can't wait to get back to it next semester.
So, that was my year — a good year, overall, if a busy one. As for 2019, then . . . well, that's another adventure. As usual, I'm setting some goals, though (again, as usual), they're more a general idea of what I want to accomplish this year than hard-and-fast I will do this in 2019 or die trying. I like to keep things flexible, after all.

2019 Goals!

  • Once again, I want to set myself a writing challenge every month. I mean, it worked out well last year, so why not keep it up?
    • That said, I'm going light in January because I pushed myself so hard the last two months. My goal is 300 words of writing, editing, or worldbuilding per day, 5 days a week. (That said, as long as I get some edits done on Mechanical Heart and make a little progress on Dust of Silver, I'll be happy.)
  • What projects am I hoping to work on this year? Great question!
    • Editing Mechanical Heart even more and submitting it to the Golden Braids collection. For those unaware, Golden Braids is the next Arista Challenge group release that Kendra's running. My hope is that I can publish Mechanical Heart with that instead of doing it all on my own. Of course, Kendra has to accept the story first for me to do that . . .
    • Writing more of Dust of Silver. I'll probably do this in conjunction with the Tattered Slippers Arista Challenge, though I entertain no illusions of having it written, edited, and ready to submit for that release. However, it is quite pleasant to work on retelling the same fairy tale with a lot of other writers, and Dust of Silver is primarily a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling.
    • Writing a new novella? Maybe? Speaking of the Tattered Slippers Arista Challenge, I need to figure out whether or not I'm going to write anything to submit to it. I caught a glimpse of a plot bunny the other evening, but only time will tell if it's worth chasing down or not. Right now, I'm just giving it time to grow while I work on other things.
    • Editing Once Upon a Dream? Maybe? I know that I want to publish Once Upon a Dream, a Sleeping Beauty retelling featuring magic, chemistry, and romance, at some point. It's already in pretty good shape, but it needs to be expanded in certain areas. I'd like to start doing that sooner rather than later.
    • Figuring out a rough publishing plan. At some point in the near future, I need to look at what I've written so far and what I plan to write in the future and determine how it all fits together — not in a hard-and-fast sense, but in a some-idea-of-where-I'm-probably-going sense. What do I want to release now, and what do I want to save for when I've established myself a little more? What am I self-publishing and what am I submitting to traditional publishers? If I submit something to a traditional or small press publisher, do they have any kind of dibs on future books? Are there any restrictions on crossovers between, say, traditionally and self-published books? I need to find the answers, and I need to do it sooner rather than later.
  • I'm setting my Goodreads reading challenge at 77 books again, even though I read so much last year. That seems safer than going for 99.
  • I'm also going to make another attempt at reading more old books, but I'm not aiming for anything so intense this time. My new goal is to read one book per month that was published before 1975. Or, at least, written before 1975, because all the new Tolkien books are a thing. (I don't know if they're a thing I'll actually get around to reading, but y'know, I'm leaving the possibility open.)
  • Continue to survive and do well in college. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll do this whether or not I make it an official goal or not, but y'know. I might as well say it.
  • Get another internship and/or continue the internship I have. I'm a tiny bit hesitant to try for a full-time desk-job internship like I had back in New York for this summer because of some other stuff I want to do. However, I do want to get more work experience and, ideally, continue to earn money. But I also love the internship I'm currently at, so I'm hoping I can keep working at it either part- or full-time, depending what else I'm doing.
  • Attend the RealmMakers writing conference. I was a little uncertain about whether or not to put this up here, but I've been telling so many people that I hope to go that I might as well say it on the blog. Is it the wisest financial decision? Not sure, especially since I just did some calculations and realized that it's going to cost a bit more than I anticipated. (I hoped that my Actual Writing Job paycheck would cover all the expenses with a bit left over. It won't. But it should cover most of the cost.) However, I think that the opportunities for networking with publishers and other authors and learning from more experienced authors will be worth the money. (And, if nothing else, I want to meet some of my writer friends in person.)
  • Keep practicing German and start learning another language. Since German is going to so well with Duolingo, I'm thinking of trying another language, one I don't have prior experience with. I'm still debating which one; suggestions are welcome. I've also been informally learning bits and pieces of ASL from some friends on my hall, and I intend to keep working on that. Depending on how time works out, I may try to learn it more formally through LifePrint or another site as well.
How was your 2018? What are your goals for 2019? Any suggestions for what language I should learn or what old books I should read? Also, if you've been reading my blog (or my old writing thread on the Underground) for a while, are there any of my stories that you're especially hoping I publish in the near future? Please tell me in the comments!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)