February Wrap Up, And Looking Ahead to March

I, like so many others it seems, it a really bad book slump this month! I blame Rainbow Rowell for this, as Fangirl was just too damn good. I did start a few, and I picked up a bit as the month came closer to an end and A Gathering of Shadows came out.

(If you are afraid of the hype, don’t be. IT IS SOOOOO GOOD, and I’m only 130ish pages in.)

I also started a few other books: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan, a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities and Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. And I have started another book, which I’ll discuss when I get to my March Plans….

February Wrap Up

Books Read

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Monthly Goals

  • Write 9,000 words [Wrote around 5,300, and edited close to 7,900]
  • Get up nerve to post fan fiction first chapter [I have posted 3! And have a 4th one started!]
  • At least 2 hikes [Only did one, but I also got sick sick super sick this past two weekends.]
  • Post more writing or writing ramblings [I posted one. But March will be better!]
  • Work on confidence [I forgot about this one. Okay, okay, March.]

Places to Visit

  • Hartford, CT [I still hate driving. But I did it in style, while listening to Gilmore Guys Podcast.]
  • Epic Reads Presents: A Date with Royalty  [Evie Frye also followed me around a bit this month.]
  • Another Broadway show [Les Misérables, with Alfie Boe in one of his last performances. I sobbed the entire show.]
  • Fort Lee Historic Park  [Well I went to the start of it. It was cold and icy and snowy.]
  • Alice Tea Cup [Not originally on the list, but a cool NYC place to check out. I tried a few other restaurants too. I should start keeping a list…]

While I didn’t read much this month (my subway rides were full of Candy Crush levels — I’m going to have to delete those off my phone. Way too distracting in life, work and….reading and writing.

Ideals of March

The structure of last month was a bit too much for me I think. I make a list of what I want to read, and then it all sounds meh as the month goes on (or I end up with more new ARCs.)

But what I am planning on doing is using the writing books I own to start structuring my writing process. I feel a bit weird saying that, but my brain tends to be sporadic and unfocused. This will hopefully help! Sooooo:

WRITING CONTRACT
Agreement made this 29th day of February in the year 2016 whereby I, Meghan Griffin, do hereby committee myself to writing a minimum of two to three hours a day, every day, for ninety consecutive days, no excuses. The work will begin on the date I set forth in writing below.
I pledge to work diligently and habitually, even when I’m tired, hungry, cold, grouchy, or lonely, or have to get up early or stay up late, and/or even when I’d rather be doing something else. I am entering this agreement with myself because I recognize that the only way to write a novel is to dedicate myself to the project and to put in the necessary (solitary) time. I may or may not enjoy the process, but I also know there’s a little bit of agony in writing. The pain I inflict upon myself shall be my own.
I will begin my novel on March 1, 2016 and expect my first draft to be finished on July 1, 2016*, approximately ninety one hundred and twenty days later. No penalty shall be found for failing to meet this mandated deadline, but the reward for meeting it shall be the satisfaction of having written my own novel. I call blame no one but myself for the delays along the way.
This pledge is made with my full consent and awareness, and under no obligation to anyone but myself.
MGriffin

*From the reviews I’ve read, the writer’s plan does not actually work in ninety days if you have a job or want to get in depth enough. And writing does not pay my bills currently.

So look forward to me actually posting more writing ramblings. Or pictures of me pulling out my hair (and not just the grey/white ones…)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Writing Soundtrack

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s pic seems to be a bit vague, a combination of book and music. Since I can read with almost anything on — I can block out noises and make it white noise (no seriously, I read on the subway with podcasts playing.) Music for me is more of a relaxing or next level concentration, such as work that I need to focus on more than normal or when writing. So I decided that this week’s Top Ten I would do my favorite/current writing songs.

I like a good weird combination of music, but most of my writing music goes from depressing to poppy in a split section, so enjoy?


 

Santa Fe from Newsies

My Amazon Prime music is almost all musicals currently, and then Aaron Tveit music. But Santa Fe is one I constantly listen to. Who knows why, other than the idea of moving across the country to a new type of life might mean something to me….

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Aaaand we get poppy kind of immediately. But this song makes me so happy and push through whatever I can. It’s also one of my punching bag songs.

Manhattan by Sara Bareilles 

There is something about Sara Bareilles’ music, and it only gets better the more I listen to it. This song is so sad and powerful, and it’s gorgeous. What’s funny is, I don’t write angst to sad music. But it feels so much better to listen to it. (Okay maybe a little, but it’s primarily to Damien Rice.)

Bright Lights and Cityscapes by Sara Bareilles

I could really just add this entire EP, but this song is my favorite. Even listening to this song makes me itch to write.

Fireflies by Ron Pope

Ron Pope is a Georgia transplant in Brooklyn, but I so loved him before that. He kept popping up on a Pandora playlist of mine, to the point I had to buy his CD. No regrets. It’s one of my favorite CDs to walk home to as well. His live album is my first go to for anytime I need to buckle down and focus on something.

Crystalize by Lindsey Stirling

Occasionally I need music that doesn’t have words, especially when I’m struggling with getting them out. I love movie soundtracks, but those can also occasionally be too distracting. If you haven’t listened to Lindsey Stirling, take a minute and try. I saw her in concert last year, and she’s amazing. AMAZING.

Alien by Sebastian Pigott

This reminds me — I need to see if I can find more of his music. This song is one that I use when I am writing relationship conflict. I think it comes from his character Kai on Being Erica, which is only how I know this Canadian singer.

Never Leave LA by Emily Kinney

Did you know that Beth from Walking Dead could really sing and had put out CDs? I have a good collection of her music. She did some live singing on her interview with Chris Hardwick on The Nerdiest, and I loved it. It’s good dialogue writing music, good snarky (or super adorably cute) music.

I Should Go by Levis Kreis

So much angst.

and the final song:

New York by Snow Patrol

I give up trying to understand my taste in writing music.

Of course my play list is much longer than this, and gets even more embarrassing. Does anyone else find themselves having a “type” of music for writing?

Mid-Month Updates, ICYMI

I think I am having the best February ever, and now I shall knock on wood to keep from jinxing myself.

touch-wood

Especially as I am driving tomorrow for the first time since I moved to Brooklyn.

I am not reading much at all right now — Fangirl kind of ruined me for a little while. I am not sure what’s going on, but I’m moving slowly through books. I think most people have this ebb and flow, no? I’m slowly making my way through an ARC, which 25% in there still doesn’t seem to be any story.

But I made it out to Books of Wonder on Sunday, and ended up picking up Sophie Jordan’s Reign of Shadows and Victoria Aveyard’s Glass Sword

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I am ashamed to say that I knew nothing of Sophie Jordan’s work prior to the signing, but I did buy her book out of interest. Then she started talking, and I became a fan almost instantly. She’s incredibly chill and fascinating to listen to. I cannot wait to get out of my reading funk and read her book. Victoria Aveyard was pretty cool too. I have been to a few book signings, but never a dual panel. These two seemed to get along well!

I’ve been writing quite a bit this month too, outside of work related writing and blog posts. I actually posted my first chapter of a fan fiction I’ve been working on off and on since last July – a Gilmore Girls x Supernatural x Chuck x Veronica Mars crossover. Ambitious, no? If you’re interested in following along, let me know.

I’ll get to the point where I’m posting actual writing samples, but I haven’t actually finished anything that I’ve drabbled.

So I guess my ponderings for this week are kind of easy:

  • Does anyone else have a direct, inverse correlation between their reading and writing habits?
  • What do people do when they can’t bring themselves to read anything, not even really fan fiction? Just ride it out?
  • Are love triangles over? Can they be?
    • Piggy backing off that — would anyone read a YA story where the relationship doesn’t have jealousy or insane insecurity? Like a couple that gets together and stay relatively chill?
  • Where do people pull writing prompts? I swear, half my battle with writing is deciding writing prompts.

A Salinger Character Moment

Despite its thin walls and lack of air conditioner, I love my new apartment. I good portion of it is still in boxes (most of my bedroom and half my kitchen?) but I can sit in my living room and pretend that the rest of the place is unpacked.

And getting rid of a car and commuting by subway is much better than I expected. I’ve read eight…maybe nine books this month, 90% of which was done on the subway. I’m three reviews behind, but I’ll catch up soon enough.

You might be thinking that clearly, living in a city with so much going on, you’d never stay home. Well, I’m not that kind of person I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I go out and explore — I try to explore a new area (hopefully of Brooklyn) at least once a week. This weekend I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, then found Kee’s Chocolate, which was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network. (Levain Bakery is another stop from the show that I’ll make at some point!)

I also just bought a ticket to see Misery on Wednesday with Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf:

But I tend to be introverted, so days like yesterday are spent inside, writing and playing video games and cooking. Lori’s taco soup is going in the crockpot soon for this week’s lunches, and I spent the better half the night working on a few book ideas. I’m a little stuck, but that’s mostly because my desk and boards aren’t se up yet. And with alcohol delivery as simple as food delivery, well.

Fireball whiskey with amaretto or vanilla coke is wonderful.

And so thus, my best friend pointed out to me this morning that while my night sounded boring at first, I was writing in Brooklyn drinking whiskey. And something about the “in Brooklyn” part made is that much more magical? I truly regret not sitting on my fire escape pondering my wasted youth.

Unfortunately, unpacking boxes in Brooklyn doesn’t have the same ring.

Anyways, I did not participate in NaNoWriMo like I wanted to (thanks move!) so expect my December to be a bit more NaNoWriMo-ish. Especially while I flesh out a potential chick-lit idea, loosely based on my life drama. It’s hard to write, knowing the characters are kind of based on real people.

NaNoWriMo Prep Update Number 2

Confession: I casted my book characters for the future movie of the book.

Did I jinx myself? Probably. But I so don’t care. I absolutely love Scrivener. You can build character profiles and everything, without having to create a ton of different documents or a running word document that gets all jumbled. So below is a screenshot of my book cast. Names are probably going to change, and some are loosely based on people I know and love, who I think would be amused by who I picked.

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NaNoWriMo Prep: Ramblings of an Update

One of the items on my long bucket list is to finish a novel. I tried completing National Novel Writing Month a few years ago (six. six long years ago.), but I let finals prep always get in the way of finishing. I recently (by recently, I’m talking June-ish) pulled out that incomplete story and was impressed that I didn’t hate it. But I did realize how much I missed writing. This led to me attempting Camp NaNoWriMo this past July. I wrote 20,000 words of a fan fiction, which I’ve been staring at all week, debating whether I finish it or not. I’m thinking that posting the first chapter will kick my butt into gear and force me to finish it, but that’s a debate for another time.

You might be asking, “Why a fan fiction?” There are several factors that played into this. I haven’t tried writing since 2009-ish, outside of journals, twitter updates, grad school papers and work related nonsense. And after finishing Allegiant,  whose ending was good from a literary stand point but SO SUPER FRUSTRATING, I went digging for fan fiction to make me feel better.

Then it hit me. If I was going to ease back into writing, I might as well do it with characters and a world that has already been developed. That way it’s just plot building, not everything building. Plus, I went out West in July for a week, with no computer.

Camp Nanowrimo taught me that I can’t get by on vague plot ideas, hoping that an epiphany will hit at the right time. (It does, frequently, but that’s not a way to work). It was also my first time trying to write a novel out of sequence, rather than in a linear fashion. Linear fashion leads to my boredom usually, but it’s also hard for me to remember transitions. This year I invested in Scrivener, which really helped with doing this. Thus, I have 20,000 words of essential randomness with notes like “transition!” and “remember timelines!”

Because of this I started planning for November as early as possible, the moment I had an idea. I don’t have a clue how most writers do this; I think it’s about finding your own way. For me, I use four things to plan my writings: a cork board and index cards, a whiteboard, a notebook, and now Scrivener (or at least I’m trying to).

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Thankfully I live alone, because these both exist in my foyer, along the same wall. My phone has way too many pictures of my whiteboard to be transfered, and I’m missing ones that I should have taken pictures of. I use my whiteboard for ideas that can be erased or need to be webbed out. My cork board is a collection of ideas that didn’t need to be expanded on or require potential multiple erasing. Quotes from people that sparked ideas, character cards, researched cards, the email address of the Xfinity person I am to contact if I have problems. My whiteboard also has a list of crochet projects I’ve promised to people, and notes regarding my fan fiction that I can’t bring myself to delete.

I’ve been told I can use Scrivener for all of this, but I just can’t bring myself to do so. Does anyone use Scrivener to its full potential? There is something about the need to physically outline rather than…virtually…that I prefer.

Anyways, I’ve began to flesh out my main character, and the basics of a plot outline. I’ve got a small list of things that I want that I haven’t achieved yet but that I want. I’ll probably spend today transferring notes to Scrivener and my notebook, as well as agonizing over if I an going to officially post my fan fic. November will be here before I know it.

Introductory Post, You are a Bia-tch.

The thing I let define me the most in life is that 5 years ago, I nearly died twice.

I was diagnosed with a rare and incurable autoimmune disease, and then 3 months later, I ended up in a car accident that left me in ICU for a month. The six months between my diagnoses and my officially being healed from my car accident is a blurry time with lots of tears and pain medications. I came out of it with a healthy sense of a higher being and a new appreciation for (or total fear of, depending on the day) visual scaring.
A quick synopsis of my life for the next five years would have me graduating basically on time, finding a day job in an industry that isn’t disappearing anytime soon, playing tennis constantly, applying to graduate school….
….and basically hitting a quarter life crisis. I’ve been so go-go-go to make sure I “survived the accident”, that I’ve pretty much forgotten to live the exciting life that should be my mid-twenties. I’ve done some things that are exciting – I’ve flown a plane, I’ve visited NYC as an adult, taken a road trip on my own, etc.

So now that I’ve officially entered adulthood (I’ve got the job, I’ve bought my first car, my first computer, 2 cell phones, my own insurance, and travelled on a business trip), and I have just passed the 5 year anniversary of my accident, I’m going to start testing myself.

The plan is simple: Each week I am going to do one new thing on my list of things I want to do. The lists are at the top of the page, with three separate pages: A list of weekly possible events, things that would require fluke accidents (meeting Jennifer Lawrence, for example) or lots of prep time are on the second list, and the third list are 30 Day Challenges.

Anyways, this is just an introduction – I am going to go over in more detail when I’m not half closed eyed and sleepy. The first week of doing something is going to start December 1st (so fitting!)