Getting started is the hard part

Yesterday I wrote 1200 words just before bed. It took me about an hour and a half to churn it all out. I went to bed feeling a little giddy with how quickly the words flowed out.

Today? I sat down at the keyboard and looked at the words and my mind went blank.

I think starting is the hardest part. Once you get moving your mind just tends to flow. The words come, even if they are terrible words, and you eventually find yourself with a chapter. Then another chapter.

That’s the problem tonight. I chose a particularly tough chapter to write and my mind just kind of balked because I knew that every word I put down was terrible and would have to be rewritten. But that’s the purpose of NaNoWriMo. You just put down the words and don’t worry about them. Come back later and polish them up, or throw them out and rewrite it. I’m not very good at that, I like to get the words (mostly) write the first time and when I know I’m having difficulty with a particular scene or chapter my fingers just don’t want to go.

I suppose this is just another one of those learning experiences I need. Get the words down, and come back for them later.

Now to write.


Posted by on November 20, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, On Writing


Tags: , ,

The Half Way Point

It’s day 18 of NaNoWriMo and a little over half way through the month. I’m currently at 25,800 words. Just slightly over half the 50k. And at this point I know I can make it, I’m actually farther ahead then I’ve been most years. But I am behind. Partly because of a huge storm that knocked out power for a day and a half. But the rest is all me.

Every year I do NaNoWriMo for the words, but mostly to learn something about myself, and writing in general. The last couple of days I learned that I have created a pattern for myself to write, and that if I’m knocked out of that pattern it’s really hard for me to get back on track. This is a good thing in that with a pattern I am able to sit down and write more. It’s a bad thing because you can’t always perform the same ritual every time you sit down to do something and that shouldn’t stop you from doing it.

My ritual: Sit down at the computer, put on my headphones, turn on some chillstep, and open scrivener. The chillstep playlists I use don’t have words, and I’ve listened to them so many time that I can tune them out, but they also help me block out everything going on behind me. I write in the living room, so there are children on the TV, Gregg at his leather working station, and a general hubbub going on most of the time. Even when I write in other locations I will use my phone to play some chillstep while I write. The music gets me in the mood. (I highly suggest getting a musical soundtrack to anyone who wants writing to be a habit. You just have to find the one that suits you.)

The storm came through and power went out. I sat at work slowly watching the sun sink, the office getting darker and darker. About thirty minutes before the sun set completely the one loan emergency light in the office also died. The battery is only suppose to last long enough to get people out of the building, and no longer.

My co-worker and I had only one little flash light. My phone was on it’s last bit of juice so I couldn’t even use it as a flash light. I did manage to sneak out and get a couple candles, but two loan candles don’t really light up an office much.

When I got home to a dark house with no TV, no computer, and no chillstep, writing seemed the last of my worries. It’s amazing how much the lack of light really bothers a person after a while. At least it bothered me. We lit a bunch of candles, and started a fire, but after a while of sitting in the dark not even reading my kindles was enough to distract myself from the utter quiet.

I think that was the worst part. The realization that lack of sound really bothers me. Odd since I work in an office by myself and there is no sound except the near constant vehicles driving by outside for 80% of the time. Even odder since I spent most of my life separated from the rest of the world, with no sounds other than the wind whispering though the trees, and birds singing from the branches. I lived on a farm well before Pandora, MP3’s or even Walkman’s. Music was a luxury, not an expectation.

I like to think that half the reason I like noise when I get home is simply because I just spent eight hours in an office that was extremely quiet. It’s good to have some noise to remind me that I’m not alone. I have always associated noise with my children and SO being there in the house with me. When I went to bed alone I always slept better if I could hear the video game playing in the background because I knew where my husband was. Now it’s the soft “tap tap tap” of Gregg punching designs into leather. Noise reassures me because I know where my family is, and that everyone is safe. And I’m not alone.

So last night I tried to write. I pulled out a notebook, not unlike all the spiral binders I have tucked away in my closet with thousands of words written on them, and tried to write. I scratched out a couple of ideas, wrote down the names of a few characters and…nothing. No more then twenty words and my mind just kept focusing on the quiet. The emptiness. The darkness.

I had to get out of the house last night. We went to the supermarket and had some deli food, sititng in the little food court with a bunch of college students charging laptops and phones since the campus was out of power. The noise, light, and people made me feel better. But I still didn’t get any writing done last night.

So it’s the next day. The power came back about 1pm today, and I have my music and my computer. My family is behind me doing their individual things, and my music is half drowning them out.

So why is it so hard to write today? It’s a good question. Gregg said to stop focusing on the fact that I’m 4000 words behind, and just focus on the next 200. That’s doable, right?

200 words, here I come.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 18, 2015 in NaNoWriMo, On Writing


Tags: , , , ,

Witch’s Sacrifice by Crissy Moss


Thank you Dave Higgins for the thoughtful, and well crafted review.

Originally posted on Davetopia:

Witch's Sacrifice by Crissy MossMixing a fresh take on high-fantasy tropes with a realistic version of young love, Moss creates a tale that will appeal to both lovers of epic struggles against evil, and those seeking a more personal narrative.

Since the goddess abandoned her people, the islands have been plagued by the evils of magic. Only the tyrannical Acolytes, servants of the dread Kraken, prevent witches from enslaving or killing everyone. Or at least that is what Marizza has been taught since birth. But when the unwanted advances of the town bully trigger her own magic, she discovers it might not be that simple.

Set on a chain of island kingdoms, the premise of a brutal sect achieving great power through the propitiation of an immense sea monster is immediately plausible. And the early example of random destruction caused by an untrained witch panicking makes the hatred of magic all the more realistic.

View original 338 more words

1 Comment

Posted by on November 6, 2015 in On Writing


A warm up

It’s day five of NaNoWriMo and I am at 5716 words. That means I need to write 2600 words today (and this blog post doesn’t count.) Can I do it? I’m hoping for another 1000 words tonight honestly.

So why am I here, on a blog, instead of over in my scrivener writing my novel? Because I find it cathartic to clear my mind and talk to everyone before I go rushing off to write sometimes.

So what’s happening, besides NaNoWriMo? Gregg is finishing new leather projects and starting to take commissions. He’s finishing his second one tonight for a wallet with a radiation symbol on the front. It looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

I just got my Made By Mommy craft challenge box, and that’s due by the 24th of this month (am I crazy? I didn’t realize it was due so soon. I’m NUTS!) But I have a couple ideas and might work on those tomorrow in between word sprints.

And I haven’t done the Tuesday Talks or Wednesday top five this week because of NaNoWriMo. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to do them this month because I am making writing a priority.

It’s been a great month, and I’m so happy with how much I’ve already gotten done in a week. I’m excited to see how far I can take this.

PS I’m a 6400 words now, and I have tomorrow to get in another 3000 words. I think I can handle that.


Posted by on November 6, 2015 in NaNoWriMo


Tags: , , ,

Creativity and Depression

I was listening to the recent Author Strong Podcast where Nancy talks about her battle with getting the words out now that she quit her day job. She took a leap of faith, and now she has to deal with her depression trying to assert itself.

I listened as she stumbled, trying to explain to Matt (a very cheerful and go for it type of person) why it was easier to say “do this to work around it” then it was to actually do it. And I saw myself reflecting back at me.

I’ve dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. As a teen I had school, and sisters to help pull me from it. When I got married I had the children to help. In the last six years I’ve been happier then I’ve ever been with a new life, a great boyfriend, a supportive family, and an outlet for my creativity. And yet for the last month I’ve had that old beast, depression, rearing it’s ugly head.

I know what’s causing it. I know what I need to do to make it shut up and stop all the self doubt and whispers in my head that I’m not worthwhile. But that doesn’t make it easy.

For creativity, this is horrible. Every time I sit down to write I have to talk myself into it. Not just the act of writing, but the act of sitting at the computer for anything other than playing a game or checking email. Just opening the files so that I can read through them is a huge stress when depression starts whispering to me, and it’s not always easy. When I do start to clunk away at the keys sometimes I can write, other times I will put down a few words before the whispers in my head telling me I’m not good enough, I’ll never get anywhere with this, I’ll never finish, get too loud for me to write anymore. I’ll get up, do something else, change perspective, but I simply can’t continue on with that work…yet.

I sent a tweet out yesterday that said “Depression is a lying bastard.” It’s a common refrain now, a reminder that all the whispers in my head are wrong. I am worth it, I will finish, I am stronger than I seem. All those things and more.

Someone replied “I don’t believe in depression.” I don’t know if he meant it as a joke, or he honestly doesn’t believe in it. It really didn’t matter why he said it. I looked at the tweet and all I could think was: “Man, I’d love to have the luxury of being able to dismiss depression as nonexistent.”

In some ways knowing what’s wrong, and why my creativity is floundering, helps me get through it. I can write a blog post, or tell Gregg about the things going through my head, and things tend to die down for a little bit. Sometimes. Other times I can’t seem to break free from the cycle. Even while writing this blog post I had a moment where I could not pull myself from the destructive thoughts.

If you think of the brain like millions of chemical reactions going off all over the curves of your cerebellum then it is easier to see how one miss fire could trigger a cascade effect that can run out of control sometimes. Thoughts that keep repeating themselves, destructive thoughts that keep cycling over and over, a lack of will because it is simply easier to avoid new things than deal with that destructiveness.

We do have some control over the chemical processes in our minds. There are techniques and medications we can use to lower certain hormones which cause the more harmful problems. But not all of us have access to medications, and the techniques aren’t effective 100% of the time.

How do you explain depression to someone who doesn’t have it, or someone who thinks it’s “all in your head”? I don’t know. I have trouble describing it to myself some days.

But I will continue to sit down at the keyboard and try to write, even when the chemicals in my brain don’t want me to, because this is important to me.


Posted by on October 18, 2015 in On Writing


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Won’t you take me to Funkytown?

This month has been less than stellar. It’s already the 9th and I’ve had two good days of writing, and couple days of no writing.

I think I know what’s causing it, or rather aggravating it at the moment. I’m under a great deal of stress from the rest of my life. This has put me in a kind of funk, and I hate it. I admit I’m prone to depression sometimes, and I’m not quite at that stage at the moment, but sometimes it does look a little bleak to my messed up brain chemistry.

I can’t tell anyone why that stress is (yet) but I can tell you I am taking measures to alleviate it. The solution isn’t an easy one, and it took me months to finally decide to do it, but my close friends who know about the situation agree that it is the best thing for me right now, and are being very supportive in the situation. I will let all of you know what happened, and what my choice to fix it was, as soon as things are fixed.

What does this mean for my writing?

It means I’m not writing as much as I’d like to, or need to, in order to finish the novels I had planned on time. NaNoWriMo is coming up soon and I was planning on writing a stand alone novel, “Awaken the Dragon”, but I don’t want to do that unless my Witch’s Trilogy is finished and on to the editor. As it is I am 50,000 words into a 80,000 word novel. I think I might end up using NaNoWriMo as a boost to get it finished.

After NaNoWriMo I planned to start working on my urban fantasy series, Eternal Tapestry, about goddesses in the modern day world. I still plan to do that. I have five novels already outlined for it, and some of them already have several thousand words of beats and chapters written. For 2016 I want to get at least four of them out. They are shorter novels, but fun to write, and not quite as difficult as the Witch’s trilogy has proven to be.

On other news I am moving all of my books (short stories and novels) off of other platforms and going strictly KDP. This means that you can get (almost) ALL of my books through Kindle Unlimited. It also means there will be several books coming up for free. I had been holding out on the Witch’s books since I wanted to put the first perma free once I got the third one done but it’s not doing anything while I wait for that to happen. Better to try KDP for a few months and see what happens.

I’ll try to have one free story every other weekend for a while. We’ll start with that and see what happens.

Also, if you haven’t seen my youtube channel yet here is a good opportunity. I decided to participate in Booktube more. It was an easy choice since I love to read, and I’m passionate about books. It’s also loads of fun. Who doesn’t like to talk about things they love?

If you’d like to see some of the episodes you can check that out here. There will still be the occasional vlog from Gregg and I, and there will also be Loot Crate unboxings, and other little things. But mostly it’s going to be about books I love to read and I think others will like too. I would love to see you guys in the comments. Tell me what books you love, or which characters you hated.

I’m also going to try… TRY… to be better about sending out newsletters. I’m terrible with it and I know, but I do want this to be a useful thing, not just sending notes in bottles so I feel like I need something to say, and with my publishing schedule I don’t have a lot to say very often.

To that end: do you have any questions? Concerns? Gripes? Let me know. It will give me something to talk about in the next newsletter.


Posted by on October 9, 2015 in On Writing, Updates


Tags: , , , , , ,

New steps

Things can change so fast sometimes. My daughter is in taking her test for a permit. She’s going to learn to drive! That means she’s a step closer to moving out.

I how she passes. I hope she moves out. And I wish she was still my little girl sitting beside me on the sofa while we watch Digimon together.

They grow so fast, and it’s amazing to watch. They take the life you helped them start and make it their own. Sometimes I don’t agree with her choices, sometimes I want to chain her down and make her quit growing up so fast. Other days I can’t wait for her to move out and be her own person.

Teenagers are nature’s way of encouraging parents to let go of their children, or so they say, and I can totally see that now.

BTW, she just passed her test. I’m afraid Dave, and totally excited at the same time.


Posted by on October 8, 2015 in On Writing


Tags: , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,094 other followers