Gearing Up For Camp NaNo

The Evil Day Job and writing don’t always mix nicely, especially when you work in soul-sucking retail. Sometimes it seems impossible to be able to unplug from work and find time, or energy, to write once you make it home — hopefully in one piece. And other times…it really is impossible.

I am going to hate myself for saying this, but I have begun to associate this work week as a third Christmas. (Easter is the second Christmas when it comes to retail, and actually Back to School could be the third mini Christmas instead, so maybe this is like my fourth Christmas.) Essentially this week is Hell Week when my boss decided it’s a great time to take an eight day vacation — for what I swear is the third time in only a couple months, throw myself and the two other managers under the bus more than once, and leave all of us to pick up her slack the final week before the biggest boss visit of our store’s life.

Thanks, bitch! NOT! I don’t care what’s going on in your life right now, you should definitely be here for this.

I do not get paid enough for this amount of stress, frustration, and responsibility now sitting on my shoulders. I should also not be going into overtime this week, but guess what? All three of us managers left to deal with this bullshit are probably going into overtime, even when we’re technically not allowed.

You know it’s time to find a new job when you’ve got to the point that you really just don’t care anymore. You do what you get done and the rest… “Well, fuck it. It is what is anymore. I don’t care.”

I get it though. You’re the general manager and you’ve adopted an “I can do whatever the hell I want” attitude because of it. Whatever though. I don’t care anymore. I’ll look for a new job unless things start shaping up as fair again, or I’ll leave and laugh while I watch you scramble to fill an already shorthanded position.

Well no wonder I’m going into overtime then when I’m not supposed to!

*Rolls eyes* Idiot…

I shall forego a longer rant about work though and move onto writing. If there’s one thing overtime kills, it’s free time at home and the energy to do anything once you get home. It also doesn’t help when you work so many messed up shifts that you have to choose between eating, sleeping, or getting things done once you finally do get home.

The bad thing about all this happening right now is that it’s the week before Camp NaNo starts for me. By the time Saturday rolls around I’m going to be so fed up and exhausted that I’m going to need all of Saturday just to recover some sanity and motivation — maybe longer than that at this rate, which means I only have Sunday left in my request off days to get a head start on Camp.

I should have taken the first three days of July off for Camp, but then again, even if I did, my boss would be taking away the approved third day just like she took away one of my approved days — approved in FEBRUARY — this week because her life took precedent over mine.

I did not do it for you, bitch, I did it for the two other managers getting stuck with your bullshit too. Don’t you dare thank me for it, or I might just have the balls to finally say to your face I didn’t do it for you. (The other two managers know straight up I did it for them.)

Despite how much hell this week is going to be I did manage to start my Camp NaNo  project on Sunday. For the first time in two months I finally picked up some of my writing and got to work. Since I’m using Camp to work on the concordance and some minor editing of Fated to Darkness, I wanted to get a head start so I could play around with the best way to go about this project.

I’m glad I did get a head start because I spent a good hour and a half just organizing pages in my concordance and figuring out what sections/categories needed added yet, and making lists for what to include in certain categories (like character sheets, and chapter summary information for easy access to arranging plot lines, and so forth).

By the time I did call it quits Sunday night since I had to be at work early Monday morning, I had a better basis for how to do things, started a rough note notebook to keep track of things for said pages above, had managed to get through the Prologue of my story with the minor editing, and created a reference and question Word doc I can consult and use when I begin the major editing.

My hope is by making this Word doc I’ll better be able to organize the notes I left myself in my rough draft. I’ll be able to use it to answer questions of past events or miscellaneous things, or note that I need a character name, or a chapter title, or that this section needs more editing, or that I need to watch my “telling words” in this section, or this scene needs more description, etc. etc. etc.. By transferring and noting where those references and questions are in my rough draft, I should be able to eliminate lots of unnecessary words and some pages so I’m not printing — or paying — as much when I start paper editing the book. (I plan to put the Word doc on a flash drive and take it to an office supply store to print it instead of using all my own paper and ink.)

I think it’s going to work based on how things started out for me, and my hope is to get up to at least Chapter 11, which is about 146 pages, by the end of July. If I want to stick to my original goal of getting through the whole book by November, that gives me four months, and there’s about 40 some chapters in this book. Roughly ten chapters a month, not too bad — I don’t think. By doing it this way I can use the minimal free time of November and December to organize the rough notes I’m putting in the notebook into my concordance, and also print my reference Word doc and the actual book.

(Wait, what free time in November? That’s NaNoWriMo! And the start of the holiday!)

The more I think about this, the scarier it is to see how far I’ve really come. At the same time it’s exciting. It’s hard to believe I’ve really come this far.

Now if only I can figure out how to regain energy and motivation in the face of work’s hell to keep pushing forward this week — I would like to get through Chapter 1 before Camp starts — and in the future at this rate… Music only helps so much sometimes. I need another way. Like maybe taping the logo of my company — or maybe my boss’ face — on my target and practice shooting my bow at it. Bet you I’d hit a bull’s eye…

How do you unplug from work to shake off it’s exhaustion and frustration to be able to focus on writing and/or editing once you’re home?

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The Benefits of Guest Posting for Authors

Hello and welcome to my first post in the new system I am trying out for this blog, A Writer’s Guide. I hope to make things more informative and thoughtful than just my simple ramblings of the journey that is writing for me.

To start, this is not an actual guest post from someone else. Yet. This time I am simply going to discuss what could be some benefits to having guest posts, as well as the many ways in which you can use guest posting.

As I’ve been brainstorming for topics to use in these posts, I stumbled across the thought of guest posts. I realized it was something I considered doing before, but for different reasons than I am considering it now. With that realization I began to wonder a few things:

What all can guest posting do for you, or fellow bloggers/authors? Can it be helpful in growing your online following by expanding to others as well, which in turn might bring new readers that could potentially become new followers? What kind of guest posts can you feature?

These questions began to tumble about my head, exploring one avenue of thought before branching off to another. The more I tinker and debate over the idea, the more I see the possibilities within guest posting. Let me break it down a little bit in regards to the questions I had about it.

What all can guest posting do for you, or fellow bloggers/authors?

Obviously to have guest posts all the time defeats the purpose of running your own blog, but it can be beneficial to spread your wings a little bit and include others once and awhile. Of course it may require some more work than simply sitting down at your computer and typing out a post from your own thoughts. You’d have to coordinate with the person you wish to feature for the post, figure out what you would like them to write for you or talk about. Then you have to go through the process of creating the post with them and getting it scheduled and completed with enough time before your date of posting.

Yes, that is a bit more work, but it could also be great fun to chat with fellow bloggers and authors to co-write a post. You get to possibly learn something new about them or about the topic you are discussing, have a laugh or two even. Plus it changes things up a little for your current followers, and who knows? Perhaps your followers could become their followers because they like what they see in your guest post. You could not only be helping yourself by trying something new, but you could be helping them as well.

This possibility goes hand in hand with the next question I presented.

Can it be helpful in growing your online following by expanding to others as well, which in turn might bring new readers that could potentially become new followers?

The answer, plain and simple, is yes! It can definitely be beneficial in expanding your online following. If you host a guest post, then not only does that post get sent out to your followers, but it is highly likely your guest will share the post with their followers as well. Therefore you get double the eyes on your post, and as I stated above, perhaps some of those followers will become both of your followers because they like what they see.

It could even go further from there. Perhaps a follower of your guest likes them so much and what they posted with you that even they share the post. Now you’ve got triple the eyes viewing your post perhaps. It could go on and on from there.

If you show you’re friendly and talkative with other bloggers and authors, you’re giving yourself a boost in which others might just come to you to see what you’re all about. A bit of advice I was given is that you have to go out and sort of reel your followers in by being active with others, guest posting is a great way to do that. Who knows? Maybe someone could even like your idea of guest posting so much that they contact you to see if they could share a guest post with you, or invite you to write one for their blog.

The possibilities in the extra number of eyes you could reach are almost endless by guest posting with others.

What kind of guest posts can you feature?

And speaking of almost endless possibilities, there are various ways in which you can feature guest posts in such a wide range of topics depending on what your blog is about, what they’re about, and so forth.

Last year in October when I got my debut publication, one of the things my publisher did for promotional benefits was feature an author interview guest post on their blog, Once Upon A Word. In it I got to share a little bit about myself, give insight into where and how I came up with the idea for the short story I wrote, share an excerpt of said story to gain some interest for my work, and answer a few other questions in regards to the topic and theme of my story and the anthalogy I was published in.

I was suprised to be asked to do an author interview for the blog, for I hadn’t expected it, but the more time has passed, the more I’ve come to realize it is a great promotional benefit without much fuss or grandstanding so to say. And every author out there knows promoting can be a royal pain in the arse, so if someone asks you to guest post an interview, why ever would you turn it down? It’s essentially free pubilicity for you! A win win all around!

So, naturally, an author interview is a great way to feature a guest post, but it doesn’t just stop there.

Guest posts could range as far as simply asking someone to share their secrets to writing (if they dare give them up), or to share their wisdom and tricks of the trade. Perhaps you could even feature a guest post as a part of someone’s research into a certain aspect of writing or publishing, create a poll or survey with another. You could simply discuss the ins and outs of this industry with someone more experienced and get more insight, in turn helping yourself and anyone else who follows you. Instead of an author interview, you could create a book review and then ask the author for them to host a character interview for you just for fun.

The ways in which you can feature a guest post are almost limitless. If it can be fun, informative, promotional, or helpful in any sense, and involves another author/blogger — even a friend — you can probably find a way to create a guest post out of just about any idea you may have.

Overall, should you venture into the world of guesting posting then?

That answer is ultimately up to you as a fellow blogger or author. I, however, do believe that guest posting can have many benefits to you and your fellow guest poster. It’s a great way to draw new eyes toward you by featuring someone else. It can be loads of fun to share a post with someone else. It gives you something to fill your post requirements when your creative juices are completely blanking on what you can write about thanks to the soul sucking Evil Day Job. You can use it for promotional reasons as an author. You can not only help yourself grow, but support someone else you care about, which in turn helps to get your name out there just a little bit further just like theirs.

There are many more benefits to guest posting, and while I’m sure there are some downsides — the extra work to creating the post and coordinating with someone, and the possibility that things may not follow through as you had wished them to — I believe that the benefits in this case outweigh the downsides.

So does that mean I’m going to start featuring some guest posts?

Probably. I’ve already had a couple ideas as to what guest posts I can feature and with who. Of course those posts won’t come right away, and I’ll have to see if they’ll accept a guest post on my blog first, then work with them to create the post. Sometime in the future though I’m rather sure there will start to be guest posts popping up within this blog. Perhaps I can make it a once a month thing, or an every other month thing.

Whichever way it comes to pass, there is one thing I have learned:

authors success

And that is especially true for authors and writers. Supporting their success by celebrating and sharing it with them not only brightens their days and relieves some of the burden on their promotional shoulders if you guest post with them, but it may just be returned to you one day later in life. You know what they say, what goes around, comes around.

So support your fellow authors like you support the celebrities you don’t even know, and share a guest post with them. After all, word of mouth is our greatest tool in the writing industry.


(Footnote: To anyone, author/blogger/writer/reader/so forth, who has other ideas or topics they would like to see me cover or talk about, please follow the first hyperlink above and drop me your ideas in the comment section. I look forward to hearing your interest.)

Finding Topics

summer solstice

Blessed Summer Solstice, folks!

It seems like just yesterday it was the start of spring and here we are already at the longest day of the year. I hope many of you get to enjoy the beautiful weather and extended light, I unfortunately have work. It sucks to think the days are going to start getting shorter already. Didn’t the nice weather just start?

Solstice aside, I didn’t get a chance to write and post my first helpful post last Friday. Lots of things got in the way and I lost track of time, and at that point after finally deciding what I’m going to go forward doing from this point on, Morgana struggled to come up with a topic to babble about.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it though. I’ve started a list of topics that I can use for those posts — including things like the benefits of Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo, where to find inspiration, brainstorming and outlining and world building — and whenever something strikes me that I can use I add it on. It’s not a long list yet, but it’s growing slowly.

Other than my brainstorming for topics, I have failed to be productive at all this past week. I’ve had the want to be productive, but not the will and motivation it seems. I suppose the want to be productive is a good start though considering my past weeks. If only I can get myself moving on the actual act of being productive now that’d be great.

I do seem to have decided what I’m doing about Camp NaNoWriMo in July though, and it’s not going to be my normal kind of decision. (I believe I’ll explain more next week about it.) We’ll see how this decision works out because I want to be able to start the project before Camp starts just to get a feel for how it will go, and if I can manage to make it work. Hopefully I’ll be able to have a chance to start before Camp, but at the same time… The rest of this month is a giant clusterfuck of things going on. If I’m not working, days off will consist of not being home to get any work done. Go figure, right?

(I’m mostly blaming the Evil Day Job because I’m about fed up to my eyeballs with all the bullshit going on there.)

As long as I have some opening shifts next week I should be able to manage it, but, you know, for whatever reason I’m getting the short stick for the past month or so and only getting closing shifts which leaves me NO time to get anything done at home, so who knows what I’ll really end up with.

For now I will do what I can I suppose, and try not to throttle anybody in the process. I should have the time to write and schedule a post for Friday this week now that I have some topics to use. I’m undecided about writing a Shard this week so I’m not sure if there will be a Wednesday post just yet. If the prompt gives me an idea by the end of the night perhaps I will write something for it and post again, but in the meantime I do have a question for my dear readers.

Whether you’re an author, a publisher, a writer as a hobby, a journalist, or a reader, or anything at all; when it comes to stories, writing, and everything in between, what kind of topics do you want to hear about, and maybe learn something about? What kind of suggestions can you give me for a topic to write about that’s a little more informative than just my rambling? It can be anything from involving characters to involving publishing to involving a certain genre or research or more. What do you, as my followers, want to see me post about from this field?

Changes Coming

It has been a month since I have posted anything. I am neither apologizing for that or explaining why I have been absent this time. This year has been a trying roller coaster in many forms, most of which have been downhill drops. Not the fun kind of downhill drop either.

A lot changed for me toward the end of last year. I became a published author and began to follow that dream further. It’s amazing how quickly the high of an accomplishment such as that can die, and it’s also amazing just how quickly it can all go up in smoke. A lot changed last year, but this year even more has changed again, and still must change.

For that reason I am switching things up on this blog now, and I plan to finally redo a lot of the pages as I had wanted to in the beginning of 2017.

Originally, I had created this blog two years ago as an author platform to help get my name out there, to be able to log my journey and look back one day to see how far I’ve come. As I’ve gone along though I’ve realized it’s hardly been what I had hoped it would be, just like Wattpad.

Every author out there envisions this sudden huge following and fan group flocking to their work whenever they join something new like a website/blog, or a writing site, or a Facebook page, but very seldom does that actually seem to happen.

Maybe some people just get lucky, while others continually struggle to build that following — though not for lack of trying. To the people who grow and grow beyond imagination day after day and year after year, gaining a fan base of readers who actually interact with them, kudos to you. I wish I knew your damn secret.

I, however, have not been one of those lucky ones. I have never been a lucky one for anything in life, no matter how hard I work.

Since my lack of luck has hardly gotten me anywhere in two years of WordPress, and four years of Wattpad, I am changing the way I do posts here.

This blog will no longer be a straight diary-like journey of my writing and dream. I will not stop sharing my journey so that I can one day look back on it, but posts will be less about me, and maybe more about writing. As of now the idea in my head is to make one of my posts (either Tuesday or Friday) about what’s going on, and the other something more…informative or helpful. My hope is it will draw in some more readers, and maybe more interaction, but it doesn’t mean there will always be a post. Sometimes I may just not have anything to say anymore.

For now I am also forgoing Sunday Snippets. With the completion of the first draft of Fated to Darkness, as well as not much else in the works, or shareable in my eyes, at the moment, I have decided I am stepping away from it. It wasn’t like I was getting very much support from the group anyways, despite the fact I was a supporter of everyone’s snippet at one point, regardless of the fact they visited my blog or not. Maybe that’s selfish or bitter of me, but I’m tired of not feeling good enough and forgotten. No one’s even noticed I’m gone. Perhaps I will go back to it one day when I feel I have something again to share, or if I feel like trying again to see if anyone cares, but for now I am done with Sunday Snippets.

Lastly in regards to my posts, I am undecided if I will continue my Shards on Wednesday’s from P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Word prompts. A part of me wants to because flash fiction is a good writing excercise and some of them are really fun. The other part of me though is a bit worn out worrying about getting one written and posted when I never know what that day is going to bring thanks to my job. Not to mention, again, they hardly ever garner any kind of feedback or interest, even on Wattpad. Perhaps they will pop up here and there, or maybe I’ll write some whenever I have time and those posts may be sporadic little treats instead — probably not considering I’m a tad OCD, but I am undecided if I will truly continue them or not.

For these reasons, I will be changing how I use Wattpad too, and my author page on Facebook. I have no idea where I am really headed now concerning my dream, this blog, or anything else, but I do hope those of you who follow me will stick around to find out with me.