Jae vs. Ms. New York Times Bestseller

I attend a writing group where we critique each others’ works. We all submit by email, a maximum of 10 pages and then meet together and discuss what we liked and what we didn’t.

Those of you who have had me beta read for you before, you know I’m particularly honest. Though I admit I try and soften the blow with a preamble before I send off my comments. I feel like we all want to be serious writers though and if you wanted sunshine blown your way you’d take it to your mom or auntie or something so they could tell you how special it is. But we writers, I feel like, owe each other the courtesy of honesty. Helpful honesty, but honesty nonetheless.

I feel like I’ve personally been helped by this honesty and encourage it when I submit my own pieces.

But the thing about being in a writers group is you will often encounter those who came claiming they wanted feedback, but actually wanted a pat on the head instead for how awesome they are.

Needless to say, those types and I are always at odds in the beginning. They want to fight me tooth and nail for their baby. Then one of two things happens. Actually, one of three, but 90% of the time it’s one of two. We’ll get to three in a sec.

1. They hate everyone for not absolutely loving and agreeing that liquid gold comes out of their keyboard and eventually quit the writing group, because who really goes to silly groups anyway? They don’t need others’ opinions because clearly God ordained them to be a writer.

2. They realize that everyone is getting “hammered” with feedback too, but the others tend to accept it more graciously than they did and they simmer down and become one of us. And their writing tends to improve drastically each time we meet.

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Spurts and Space

Yesterday a lot of you mentioned in the comments your habits when it came to writing, especially for writing those difficult scenes.

Sometimes you just need to walk away, many of you said. Let it get cold. Get it off of your mind. Go watch some Korean dramas for crying out loud. (Thanks a lot Gloria, for my new found addiction to Liar Game). Sometimes the writing needs some space.

But don’t you also find that occasionally when the writing spurts it really spurts and it’s like nothing can stop you now. NaNoWriMo could come and pass and you’d still be tapping those fingers away at the keyboard.

I think everything in life has it’s pulse. And just like our own pulses we can have some effect on whether that pulse goes fast or slow—or stops completely.

Sometimes you do need a break. Even if you have deadlines or goals to be met, a break can still do you good. I often go for a walk, or as previously mentioned, watch a Korean drama, or play a mindless game, just to get out of my story head for a minute and breathe.

But when I’m spurting, I tend to let the spurt continue on. For me I tend to jam on through until I encounter a problem that slows me down, makes me rest, makes me think. Sometimes I feel like a bad writer in these situations, but lately I’ve reminded myself much like the heart beat, there needs to be those moments where the pulse goes down again before it comes back up. There has to be those pauses.

For us they may be long pauses or very short ones. For us they may be long spurts or short spurts. After all, a healthy heart gets subjected to more rapid beats for a short period of time.

BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN THOSE SPURTS NEVER SEEM TO COME?

While it’s important to take a break, it’s important not to stay away too long. For me sometimes the break doesn’t come from no writing, but writing something else. I’ve found a lot of refreshment from going to a completely different genre and letting my writing brain have at it. It could be another novel or a short story, but even if it goes nowhere I think that can be equally as important in “resting” as taking time to get away from writing completely.

I also think reading is another way to refresh the mind. One of my favorite Ray Bradbury quotes essentially says that. It says we’ll never run out of ideas if we’re always stocking the fire with fresh ones.

“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels,  films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every  morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life,  mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake  early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping  beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.” -Ray Bradbury

So you’ve shared with me how you take a break from problems? But what things do you do to recharge in general? What about getting inspiration or gaining the motivation to “spurt” your writing? How do you keep your mind fresh and writer’s block far from you?

A Valentine’s Message

Happy Valentine’s Day. I know my post is a little late in the day, but I heard something yesterday I wanted to share. An important message I’ve touched on before.

I used to celebrate Valentine’s Day as Single’s Awareness Day, but in recent years, I’ve given that junk up. Why?

Because nobody likes a grump. And you know what else? I don’t like being a grump. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, and coming from someone who is very aware of their singleness, I say to the haters.

Suck it up.

grumpyvalentine

Blog Chain Posts: The Revived

Alex tagged me in what she deems a “book meme” post and my first thought was: Oh yeah, the blog! Then my second thought was: Shoot, I need to put up a post!

And here you have it. A bunch of random questions to be answered by yours truly. Shall we begin?

How old are you?

What are you, the NSA?

What book are you reading?

The name escapes me, but it’s Book 2 in Sophie Jordan‘s Firelight series. Candlelight? Miller Lite? Anyways, I’m enjoying it. It’s an easy read about a girl who’s actually a dragon with romance. Ding!

What are you wearing?

Seriously, are you the NSA? But since you asked, my work out clothes. I worked out real good. And you’re probably glad blog posts don’t smell.

OTP?

(For the old people in the audience: this is short for One True Pairing, or your favourite couple from a story.)

Right now I’m going to have to go with Yoo-Kyung and Hyun-Wook from a Korean drama called Pasta. HW is arrogant as all get out, but I still find him charming somehow, even though I’d prefer YK gave Mr. Cactus a chance. Doesn’t anyone care about Mr. Cactus?! ANYoNe?!

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A Short Pause

I’m sure you’ve noticed, the blog isn’t getting much attention these days. I’ve got lots of life happenings I don’t want to whine about here, so I haven’t much. Anyway, I think things will be okay, it’s just I’m feeling a lack of motivation for the blog. I think I’ve got burnout.

But that’s not to say I’m quitting. Just a short pause. Look for all new posts this January. For now I need a little hiatus. I may still get on your blogs and bother you there. And if you leave me a comment I may chat you up, but no new content here until January 2014.

Until then, enjoy a little Christmas cheer from one of our favorite captains, Captain Picard.

See you in 2014!

Mini-Reviews: Museum of Thieves, Mockingbird, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

God bless my Kindle and the wonderful ability it has given me to read more books. Now that I’m working on firing my 5am coach—again—I should be able to get more reading done on the train commute (vs. the car because I’m late). But, I still have managed to squeeze in three books, and here they be.

MUSEUM OF THIEVES

I believe it was Kati over at Mystic Cooking that first brought this book to my attention. Aside from the totally awesome book cover, this is a great MG, semi-dystopian read by Lian Tanner. It brings up some interesting social ideas too, specifically how much freedom we as a society are willing to trade for perceived security.

The main character is Goldie, a girl who eagerly awaits being set free from always being chained to a guardian or her parents—literally. But when a bomb explodes, the city leaders rethink letting the children off the hook so early. Goldie can’t take the imprisonment anymore, however, and runs away. She encounters the Museum of Thieves—a sanctuary for people like her—and soon learns that the ‘safe’ world she came from is much more nefarious than she ever imagined.

If you love visual-writing that doesn’t go over the top, this is the book for you. At times you almost care more about the museum itself than the story because it’s so fascinating (but don’t worry, the story is still excellent). Characters are well written and arc wonderfully, and for me there never was a dull moment. This book is certainly worth a look to see how the author married description with story so they worked together to hook readers. Great read!

My grade for this book: A+

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