July Wrap-Up 2016

In My Life

Summer is amazing! I took a darkroom photography class, which was really fun, even though I had no idea what to expect. My sister came back from her pre-college program at SCAD, so I’m not alone anymore (lol). All in all, there isn’t really anything to report, other than I’m having a blast and don’t want school to start.

On This Blog

I had 12 posts this month on my blog. I took part in the Make Me Read It Readathon, during which I read one and a half books, which was kind of disappointing.

Book Tags

Top Ten Tuesdays

In Reading and Reviewing

I read six books this month and caught up on one review (The Rose and the Dagger). I am now halfway through The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima, which is so far pretty slow but that I hope will get better.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson — 5/5 stars (review)

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly — 2/5 stars (review)

Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo — 4/5 stars (review)

Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo — 4/5 stars (review to come)

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson — 5/5 stars (review to come)

In Writing

This was such a good month for writing!!! Finally, some honestly good news to report. I added over 32,000 to my novel this month, bringing my total word count to 50,000. This draft is going really well, and I’m very glad that I decided to start over one more time to make sure that I’m writing a draft that I’m excited about.

How was your July? What books did you read? What should I read next month?

March 2016 Wrap-Up!

Well, there goes March…

In My Life

This month was pretty good. School was, you know, schooly. We got a week of spring break, though, which was awesome. I got to decompress, watch TV, and write (more on that later).

I also messed around a lot with Photoshop, watching tutorials and doing my own stuff, which is something that I really enjoy but rarely have time for. I might post some of my projects here, if I get enough that I really like.

I also helped my sister with her sewing (read: was her human dress form) and did a photoshoot for one of her old projects. (My sister sews costumes for fun and I get to wear them.) You can check out some pics at her Instagram @by_strings_attached. 🙂

In Blogging

I had 13 posts this month. While I wish that I’d had more, I had a major lack of inspiration, so I’m not complaining.

If you haven’t visited the web version of my blog, you may not know that 52 Letters got a much-needed redesign this month. I realized that the design aesthetic that I had started using in my individual graphics for posts was very different from the way my blog looked…and that I liked it more. So I changed everything to match that new design theme. I also dropped the .wordpress in my blog name, which is mostly symbolic, but makes me feel good. 🙂 What do you think?

blog redesign
sorry for the low quality pic

One thing that I’m super proud of this month was my discussion post series Breaking Down the Trilogy, in which I talked about each book in a trilogy on its own. You can read Book One, Book Two, and Book Three.

I also wrote a random discussion post about which blog posts I actually read and got back into Top Ten Tuesday (with Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR and Top Ten Books I Meant To Talk About More).

In Reading and Reviewing

This was a less than great month for reading. It’s weird, but when I’m on breaks, I read less than when I’m in school. (Does that happen to anyone else?)

I only read two and a half books!!! They were really good, though.

I’m halfway through Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, the second book in the Alloy of Law series. Oh! And I’m also reading Moby-Dick for school…and I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would.

In Writing

This was a great month for writing! (Wow, I don’t think I’ve written that in a while…) Though I didn’t read much on break, it’s okay, because I was actually writing!

I wrote about 10,000 words this month, most of those during the week of spring break. I know that for regular authors that could be a day’s work, but for me, it was more than I’ve done in a while. I’m almost done with my WIP…and then edits start. *cries*

I’m hoping that I can carry this momentum forward into April and finally finish this draft.

I also published three poems this month.

How was your March? What are your plans for April?

The Struggle of Writing Short Stories

I know I said I’d write more discussion posts, but I haven’t thought of any great bookish topics, so I’m writing one about writing instead. Hope you enjoy it anyway (I bet some of you can relate to it)!

I love the idea of writing short stories. Condensing storytelling into a few thousand words, getting the creative juices going for a few hours and actually finishing something—it strikes me as the epitome of writing. Like, if I can successfully write a short story, I will have transitioned into a new phase of being a writer, I will have “leveled up” in some cosmic way.

I don’t know, that’s just me.

The problem is, short stories are hard. (That’s probably not surprising to most of you, but it always seems to surprise me when I sit down to write one and nothing magically comes together.) I seem to face three specific roadblocks:

1. What the heck should I write?

Probably the most obvious problem. There have been countless times when I sit down to write a short story and…nothing comes. I’ll even start with inspiration—anything from my countless Pinterest boards or the random writing challenges floating around—but no plot comes out of it. I have an easy time coming up with characters and worlds and funny one-liners, but stringing all of those elements together with the elusive device of PLOT???

Nope. That doesn’t happen often.

2. Well, that’s just an exposition with a dash of plot for flavor

So here’s what happens: I start with a picture or a prompt or whatever that sets off a lightbulb in my mind and the words start pouring out. After a little while, I have a few pages written and I’m feeling pretty darn proud of myself.

Until I go back and reread it, when I realize that everything I wrote is a great set-up for a larger story (read: novel), but it isn’t close to being a short story. Sometimes, I’m fine with this (my current WIP started off as a random idea for a short story), but now that I’m fully committed to my WIP and I just want to write short stories to blow off steam, this gets annoying.

Being a pantser definitely doesn’t help this situation. I figure out the story I want to write by randomly exploring characters and scenes. That works well (if slowly) for longer projects, but not for short stories. I can’t tell you how many Word documents I have saved on my computer that are three pages of abandoned exposition.

3. And that’s just a lot of dialogue…

Sometimes I over-correct and ignore exposition completely. The stories that result from this are 80% dialogue, with the sparsest descriptions added to give the story context.

I actually love these stories, though they feel like scenes instead of stories (less plot, more snapshot). And though I love writing snappy dialogue back-and-forths, I can never shake the feeling that these stories are missing the backbone that is, you know, scenery and all that.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, there’s the hope that some of you have struggled with these same problems and have useful hints to help get over it. There’s also the hope that some of you have been trying to write short stories and not knowing why they aren’t working, and you’ll read this post and go “ah-HAH, that’s my problem!”

Also, I’m curious: what types of short stories do you like to read? Are these actually problems, or am I just imagining them?

But really, I’m sharing this with you because writing it down helps me focus on what I’ll do better next time. and putting it online forces me to do better next time. I really want to write short stories, mainly because it means that I can share more of my writing with you guys, and part of that process is sharing why I haven’t been sharing short stories with you guys as much as I would like.

So…what are you thoughts? Relatable? A mountain out of a molehill? Do you have any tricks for conquering the monster that is short stories?

December Wrap-Up!

I can’t believe that December (and 2015!!!!) is over tomorrow! I’ll have a 2015 wrap-up tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to take my regular look back at this month.

In My Life

This month was half stressful AF and half wonderfully relaxing. First semester ended, so I had to deal with the craziness of finals. Everything worked out though–I officially have straight A’s (YAYAYAYAY).

Once winter break started, life obviously got more relaxing. I’ve played a lot of games with my family, watched a lot of TV, and basked in the joy of not having school for three weeks.

Christmas was amazing. I’m always blown away by the generosity of the people around me. My birthday is tomorrow, so I’ll do a collective book haul for both a little later.

On This Blog

I had 13 posts on this blog in December. As with November, I feel like I’m in a slump. I have posts I need to write (more on that later), but I just…don’t. With finals, that was understandable, but once break started, I continued to put off catching up on reviews and such. I’m slightly frustrated at myself, but 2016 is a new year, right? Hopefully I can kick myself out of this slump.

I hit 400 followers on this blog!! To say thanks, I’m hosting a giveaway (you can get more info here). I also reached 100 followers on my twitter (@52lettersbooks) and I’m hosting a giveaway for my twitter followers there (if you want to check it out ;)).

I took part in the Guest of the Month Club again. My guest was Kirstie from Upside-Down Books and she shared her favorite holiday traditions in a really heart-warming post. You can see my own guest post here.

I had a few discussion posts:

I also took part in a few memes/tags:

In Reading and Reviewing

I read six books this month (and finished a seventh for school). I reviewed three of them, and caught up on two other reviews (marked with *). (Leaving me with four reviews I desperately need to write.)

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas — 5/5 stars
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee (Penryn #1) — 3/5 stars
  • Going Underground by Susan Vaught
  • World After by Susan Ee (Penryn #2)
  • End of Days by Susan Ee (Penryn #3)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt — 2/5 stars
  • *Fire by Kristen Cashore — 5/5 stars
  • *The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater — 5/5 stars

In Writing

I got back into writing this month! FINALLY!

I wrote one poem, Do Other People. But the really big news is that I started writing my WIP again. I did a lot of characterization work, wrote some flashback pieces, and made some forward progress. So far, I’ve written 7400 words relating to my WIP (but I still have two more days, so I’m hoping to increase that number).

So that’s my December! How was yours?

September Wrap-Up!

September’s over? Wow…I’m exhausted…

In My Life

This month, school got real. And I got real tired. Nothing really happened to me besides the fact that everything is settling into the scholastic rhythm.

I had my first Speech and Debate competition of the year last weekend, and it was crazy. My sister and I ended up in the top 16 of our event, a great way to start off the year.

On This Blog

I had eighteen posts this month! I did drop to only two posts one week, breaking my streak of having at least three per week from summer, but I forgive myself (school and all that).

I took part in three Top Ten Tuesdays:

  1. TT Characters I Didn’t Click With
  2. TT Series I Haven’t Finished Yet
  3. TT Books on my Fall TBR

I also did the Most Likely To Book Tag (which was so much fun, even if I got some crazy combinations) and committed myself to Fall Bookish Bingo, being hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews.

My original blog meme, Weekend Words, is off to a great start. I haven’t missed a week yet (*high fives self*) and I’ve discovered that taking a few minutes to reflect on each week and choose an inspirational quote or two is a great way to end the week. WW #2, 3, 4 and 5 can be seen by clicking on each number.

In Reading and Reviewing

I read five and a half books this month: I reread the Shadow Falls series by CC Hunter and then started the ARC, Illuminae. Illuminae is AMAZING and it is crushing my soul and I can’t believe I’m only halfway through and how will it break my heart next?!?! Seriously, you know when you’re reading a book and you can just tell that it is going to be one of those books that you shove into people’s hands even if they haven’t asked for it? Yeah, that’s this book. (And the graphic design is incredible, too!)

As always (it seems), I reviewed the books that I read the month before, not the books that I actually read this month. I think the Shadow Falls series is going to get a collective review, mainly because I read them very quickly and the breaks between books kind of blurred together…whoops.

  1. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (4/5 stars)
  2. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (a whole lot of conflicted emotions)
  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (3/5 stars)
  4. Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein (5/5 stars!)
  5. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson (4/5 stars)

In school, we finished The Scarlet Letter, which was interesting but which I expected to have a much more climactic ending, and started A Streetcar Named Desire. ASND is AMAZING; we are halfway through and it seems like every scene we read leaves me more shocked, creeped out, and thrilled than I was before. I cannot wait to see where the plot ends up.

In Writing

September was a double-edged sword for me, writing-wise. On the bright side, I finally started posting writing (and about writing) here.

  1. Short Story: Sticking it to the Man
  2. Poetry: Never a Fair Fight
  3. SDJ #4: Writing at Night, When the Juices Flow

On the less-bright side, I only added 2612 words to my WIP in the entire month. I only worked on my WIP one day. Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit ashamed of myself, and I’m hoping that next month goes better.

How was your September? To those students out there–are you starting to feel the exhaustion set in (hopefully not, but let’s be real)? What are you plans for October, bookish, writing, or otherwise?


Writing At Night, When the Juices Flow (Second Draft Journal #4)

I seem to have a problem…

Nowadays, I only feel comfortable writing at night.

I noticed this habit forming during summer, but didn’t really do anything about it. Now that school has started and the hours available to be to write are significantly limited by unavoidable factors, my own consciousness cutting down on those hours based on some irrational desire to write when it’s dark out is becoming detrimental. And annoying, because I often have time during the afternoons (on light homework days or weekends) when I could be writing, but something holds me back.

Part of the reason is that the afternoon is more social for me. I’m more likely to be spending time with my family in the afternoon, rehashing what happened at school, watching TV, playing cards, or just wasting time together. I cherish the time I spend with my family (even if we’re just enjoying a TV show together). Since writing is a solitary activity that requires a lot of focus (verses some of my homework, which I can have conversations while doing), I won’t pick up my WIP if the rest of my family is socializing.

There is also the unavoidable fact that homework and studying take time. I try to get it out of the way when I get home from school (though I give myself around an hour of relaxation and eating time in between), so that I have the nights to relax or to get ahead, but I don’t always succeed. And sometimes, homework just fills up the entire night, leaving me no time for writing. (I’m a light-weight when it comes to staying up late, and I have to be in bed by 10:30/11 or I’m a zombie the next morning.)

But I think there is something else going on, and I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this. During the day, I tend to feel self-conscious about my writing, as if someone is looking over my shoulder (even if they really aren’t). At night, especially when the rest of my family is sleeping, that self-consciousness falls away and my writing gets freer.

I also like the way that tired-ness affects my writing; sometimes it helps me “loosen up.” I’m not saying that full-on exhaustion helps me write (I already admitted how horrible I am with sleep-deprivation), but when I’m slightly tired, I worry less about every word I put down on the page and focus more on getting into the rhythm of the story. While this leaves me with some inelegant sentences, I ultimately value making progress in my story over agonizing over writing perfect sentences the first time around.

Getting to the end of the day also clicks my brain out of “school mode” and into a mindset where I feel closer to the story that I’m writing (oh my God that sounds so cheesy). I’m no longer worrying about school–I know all of my homework is done and that I’m ready for the next day–and I can finally relax into thinking about my personal projects. Additionally, because I make a habit of thinking about my WIP when I fall asleep, I think this has over time built up a Pavlov’s dog-type reaction to being tired and wanting to write.

Have any of you dealt with this? Does writing ever make you feel self-conscious? When do you feel comfortable writing?

Do you have a routine that you stick to, or do you just try to fit writing into whatever pockets of time you find (like me)? Do you have any advice for breaking this habit or forming a better one?

P.S. I wrote this blog post at night. It felt apropos. 

August Wrap-Up!

It seems like school starts back up and time starts flying. I can’t believe that August if over, and that I’ve already been in school for three weeks.

In Life

School started and it feels like it never really ended. I have a lot of the same teachers as last year, and the new teachers I have are for classes similar to the ones I took last year. Very little has changed, besides how much I’m enjoying various subjects. I can already tell that I won’t enjoy my AP English class, which is killing me, because I had really high hopes for the year. Unfortunately, my teacher is treating us like its a regular (not AP) class, and we’ve spent most of our time doing group work or coloring.

The rest of school is pretty good. We had our first round of tests last week, and everything went pretty well (not perfect, but that’s life). As much as I talk about school being a pain, I generally enjoy it, and I love getting to spend every day with my friends, which you just can’t do during summer.

In Reading and Reviewing

I read nine books this month! The first four were another reread of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I fangirled about the series instead of reviewing it. Then I read When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot, which was okay, and reread Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, because I needed a pick-me-up before school started. In the mood for some historical fiction, I picked up The Mirk and the Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson, and then read the companion novel, Strands of Bronze and Gold. Both were good–they’re historical fiction retellings of fairy tales, set in Civil War ear South–and I’ll have reviews for them soon. The last book I read was Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, which was beautiful and incredible and ripped my heart out at the end.

I also reviewed the first two Mara Dyer books (Unbecoming and Evolution) by Michelle Hodkin, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.

In Blogging

I published 17 posts this month. Considering that school started, I feel pretty great about that number.

I took part in all four TTTs: Fairy Tale Retellings I Want to Read, Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From, Auto-Buy Authors, and Books That Would Be on My Syllabus If I Taught Friendship in YA 101. And all of them were on Tuesday! Success 🙂 I also did two book tags (The Fandom Book Tag and Rip It or Ship It) and loved both of them.

Probably the thing that I’m most excited about this month is that I debuted my new feature at this blog: Weekend Words! I love that I finally found a way to incorporate quotes into my blog, and that it gives me an excuse to work on my Photoshop skills a bit. All information can be found here if you want to take part!

In Writing

This was a good month for writing. In my WIP, I shattered my goal of writing 10,000 words, adding 17,000 words! I’m hitting my stride and I only have a few more scenes before draft #2 is DONE! (And then edits start… 😦 )

I also shared the haikus I wrote in school and talked about ways to stay motivated when writing during a hectic life.

Hello, September! I’m excited to begin my first full month of school, and proud of myself for surviving the first three weeks of school so far. 🙂

How was your August?

4 Ways to Stay Motivated During a Hectic Life (Second Draft Journal #3)

Second Draft Journal is a series of posts in which I randomly discuss things that occur to me during my process of writing my second draft of my WIP. Today I’m tackling how I make sure I stay motivated.

Staying motivated. It’s a broad topic. Everyone has their own tips. Here are some ways that I’m kept myself feeling good about writing and itching to sit down and write, even if my hectic school schedule doesn’t allow me the time.

SDJ staying motivated

1. “High Scores”

So I talked a while back about the spreadsheet I keep in which I track how many words I write per day. The spreadsheet itself is a useful motivation tool–it gives me a kick in the pants when I haven’t written in a while, and it challenges me to sit back down and write more when I realize that I only added 900-ish words in a day.

Recently, I took it a step further and decided to keep track of my “high score”–the most words I’ve written in a day, to date. Right now my high score is 4,071 words. I know that’s pretty low in the grand scheme of things, but if I write that many words (or get close) I’m proud of myself.

What I specifically like about the high score motivation tactic is that it is a pleasing balance of motivating without being a lot of pressure. I know that not every day that I sit down to write will be a high score-setting day, but when I can tell that I’m on a role and the words are flowing well, the high score pushes me to stay in the chair for a little while longer and hit a new “best.”

2. Monthly Word Count Goals

I’ve also set myself a goal of adding at least 10,000 words to my WIP a month. For August, I’ve already achieved this (13,000, like what?!), but I know I’ll still keep writing. I like that the goal is low enough that if I have a rough month, I can still accomplish it, but that I still want to keep writing after I achieve it. The goal of getting higher and higher above that baseline monthly target will keep me motivated.

3. Reading Just Enough Writing Advice to Keep My Head in the Game

I wrote a post a little while ago about the debilitating effect that reading other people’s writing advice can have on my self-confidence. While this can still trip me up, I make sure that I expose myself to writing advice fairly regularly. Whether it is a random pin that comes up in my Pinterest feed or a Chuck Wendig post, I make sure to check out writing advice blog posts when they cross my path. I tend not to spend a lot of time reading them–just glancing at the main headings and skimming the paragraphs. This way, I get a dose of writing advice that keeps me thinking about writing and that points me in the right direction, but I don’t get bogged down in specifics or self-doubt. Other times, when I have more downtime, I’ll go back and really focus on the writing advice that I found, sometimes taking notes or bookmarking especially great pieces.

Reading other people’s writing advice gives me confidence (if I’m already doing what was suggested), makes me think (in a good way), or helps me find my way through a rough patch (like a scene or a relationship that I can’t quite make work). Making sure I read posts like that regularly keeps my head in the writing game.

4. Fall Asleep Thinking About My Story

I find it is much easier to sit down and write a scene that I have already run through in my head a few times. I usually do this while I’m falling asleep, playing out different ways a scene could happen, playing with character reactions and personalities. It gives me something to think about, and distracts me from anything that is stressing me out–my WIP is kind of a happy place for me. Making sure that I think about what is coming up next in my story (or just a part of the plot that I need to develop further) when I’m falling asleep also connects my WIP to my daily life, even if I didn’t write that day. Often, if a writer goes a long time without writing, it is hard to come back to the story; I’ve found that keeping the story close by when I’m not writing makes it easier to come back. 

How do you stay motivated? Have you tried any of these methods?

July Wrap-Up!

july wrap up

I can’t believe July is over! Where did it go? I officially have TEN DAYS of summer vacation left. AHHHHH!!! I’m not ready for junior year! (Who is?)

In Life

This month was good. I finished up the ballet class I had been taking at a local community college to get high school PE credit out of the way. I got an A, preserving my GPA and making it so that I never have to take PE at high school again. YAY! I miss all of the awesome people I met, and though it weirds me out to say it, I actually miss getting up at 7 every morning to do 2-3 hours of ballet a day. It was a great way to stay in shape over summer, and I got to learn the basics of ballet from an amazing teacher. I know I won’t have the time or the resources to do both ballet and fencing during the school year, which means that I probably won’t do any ballet for at least a year (if I ever go back to it at all).

In Reading and Reviewing

Remember that long weekend of reading I had last month? Well, this month I finally caught up on writing all of the reviews for those books. I can’t believe I fell so behind. Most of those reviews will be published in August…a full two months after I read the books. Whoops. I’m just glad I took detailed notes after each book so that I knew what to write. (*high fives my June self*)

This month, I didn’t get a lot of reading done. I only read four books, mainly because none of the books I had on my shelf appealed to me. I kept being in the mood for some inexplicable other book that didn’t exist, but I never made it to a bookstore to try to find a book that would grab me.

I did enjoy the books I pushed myself to read. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (review here) was a powerful and creepy read, but the “classic” writing style made it take me longer to read it. I then read the blood-chilling ARC The Dead House by Dawn. A very conflicted review of it will be coming next month. Needing something that wasn’t horror-filled, I read another ARC, Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which I enjoyed. To give myself a break from heavy paranormal and fantasy books, I picked up Aces Up by, which ended up disappointing me, but was fun to read for an afternoon. I’m now rereading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke, wondering if I will enjoy it as much as I did the first time.

In Blogging

Despite being so behind on reviews, this month was a good month for me in regards to posting regularly. I had 16 posts, which shakes out to one every other day and holds me to my summer goal of posting at least three times a week.

I posted five reviews this month, covering a lot of different genres. In the YA fantasy world, I reviewed Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, which was fun to read but lacked originality. For contemporary YA stories I reviewed The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (which I LOVED) and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (which was a light summer read, but nothing special). Firefight by Brandon Sanderson took care of the scifi/dystopian genre, and The Picture of Dorian Gray rounded out this month’s reviews as a classic. Though I usually avoid classics, I genuinely enjoyed this one.

As a random addition, I reviewed season eight of Doctor Who, talking about my newfound love of Clara as a companion and the greatness that is Capaldi as Twelve.

I took part in three TTTs: Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read, Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity, and Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds. In other bookish posts, I took part in the Would You Rather Book Tag and I recounted my amazing time at SDCC in a book haul post. A pleasant surprise, I received the Blogger Recognition Award from Hidden Staircase! (Thanks again!)

In Writing

This was a good month for me in writing (in that I actually worked on my WIP). I added 12,000 words to my novel, bringing the total up to 77,000 words. I can feel myself working up to the ending, and I am ready to finally finish the second draft of this project.

I published two poems: You Never Left and Tomorrow Me. For a Chuck Wendig Challenge, I took a day to talk about what it is that drives me to write. Putting my thoughts down on paper helped motivate me to write, so thanks, Chuck!

I also committed myself to a few personal writing goals. I want to write at least 10,000 words a month, and I want to finish this draft by the end of 2015. I can fail the first goal a few months and still be able to meet the second, as I don’t expect this draft to be longer than 100,000 words. Since I started writing this draft in December of 2014, if I meet those goals, it will have only taken me one year to write. I know that that isn’t exactly the best timetable, but I think it will have been the fastest I ever finish a project. Factoring in all of the time I devote to high school, I will be extremely proud of myself if I can pull this off.

So there was my July! How was your month? What books did you read? What books should I read next? (I’m in a slump, guys! I need recommendations!)


Balancing Blogging and Writing (Second Draft Journal #2)

I’m starting a series of posts called my Second Draft Journal. It’s nothing fancy, just a collection of posts inspired by and following my progress as I write the second draft of my novel, Devil May Care. I’ll talk about everything from writer’s block to character development, but today I’m focusing on how being a blogger affects me as a fiction writer.

ever feel like this?

I love being a blogger. I like that it is an easy outlet for writing and that I get to be a part of a reader/writer community.

However, as I’m working on my second draft of my WIP, I can’t help but notice that when I’m blogging, I’m not writing fiction. If I have a random pocket of time, I am much more likely to sit down and write a blog post (like this one) than commit myself to Devil May Care. Blogging is easier for me, and I can do it while watching TV (I’m rewatching an episode of Psych right now). If I’m writing my WIP, I’m really working hard to make my fiction writing strong. And that takes a lot more focus, energy, and commitment.

Especially during summer, focus, energy, and commitment are not exactly my bywords. Television multitasking is much more my style. So here’s my question: am I blogging too much, sort of using it as an excuse to avoid fiction writing? Where is the balance between blogging and writing?

I like that blogging gives me a break. If I have actually written during a day, blogging is a nice break that keeps my mind thinking about writing but also lets me relax. Blogging has helped me develop a conversational writing tone and pushed me to go outside my comfort zone occasionally. Blogging has an element of instant gratification and real-time feedback, which my WIP (which I keep fairly private) lacks. Blogging and fiction definitely work together positively in my mind, sort of a left/right brain interaction.

If you ask me if in five years, I’d rather be a successful blogger or a published fiction author, I’d say an author 100%. But I also know that I don’t want to stop blogging, and I like that I’ve kept myself committed to three posts a week.

Going forward for the rest of my summer (I only have like six weeks left! *crying*) I am going to try to make sure that however long I spend blogging, I match with fiction writing. Will I be able to do it every day? Probably not, to be honest. But I have to find a balance, and this seems like a good starting point. Does this mean I might have less blog posts, might read a few less books? Yes. But sometime  soon (eventually) I’m going to have to prioritize my fiction writing, and this summer is the right time.

What is the relationship between blogging and writing? To you writers out there, how do you balance your time blogging and your time writing?