How To Meet Your Deadline: 6 Tips! (video!)

Obvi, I’ve been tinkering with a new editing program, Adobe Premiere Pro. Having a bit of fun in between long stretches of revisions.

Fun fact: I filmed this a week before my initial line edits were due (in order to be able to send a much-more-finished version to fulfill a foreign rights contract). And I’m posting it two days before my FINAL line edits deadline (Monday!!)

So this video a bout deadlines is all kinds of relevant. Also. I’m in a cave right now, so someone please send a flashlight, chocolate, a three-course meal, and coffee.


See you on the other side of the deadline!


Writing Rituals!

Thanks to MK England for tagging me in the writing rituals video! I didn’t answer any of the questions, but I did what inspired me! Which was to poke fun at my own rituals and how they can fail me sometimes. See, rituals are intended to get you into the proper headspace for getting work done, so you have to re-evaluate if it isn’t working for you!

Meeting Other Writers… IN THE WILD

I was at a coffee shop last weekend with Twister (Twin Sister). Coffee, coffee cake cupcake, more coffee, and basically more coffee.

We were discussing things about writing:

  • jump start productivity
  • start a project you haven’t worked on in a long time (sometimes years)
  • decide how to move forward with a nebulous plot
  • discover what themes you are inadvertently addressing and that you want to address

While we were mid-discussion, a group of people pulled together a few tables beside us. A few people gathered over time, and it ended up being a table with about 7 people.

Because I’m a secret ninja spy with terrible eavesdropping skills, I maintained a super level of coolness with Twister whilst occasionally turning my ear to their table.


They discussed Divergent books and movie adaptations, character development, the risks and rewards of second person POV, and past experiences they had with critiques. And one of them was drawing something for her book, and it was GORGEOUSLY FANTASTIC. I wanted to snag a picture of that picture, but I felt leaning over and snapping a photo was probably a step too far.

Yes, I was probably listening more than I should have.

(To be fair, they were literally one foot away.)

((To be additionally fair, it wasn’t so much “intentional eavesdropping” as it was “overhearing words someone is speaking one foot away in the natural lulls of conversation”))


Basically, what I had stumbled onto was OTHER WRITERS. Out in the real, proper world! IN THE WILD. Wild Writers, as it were.

Putting aside the narration in my head (a la: here we are in the natural habitat of the elusive Writing Group–the coffee shop. If we’re quiet, we might just see them in their natural social habits), I spent a good chunk of my outing working up the nerve to say HI.

Not just because I wanted to try to encourage Twister to see if she could join, and not just because I wanted to confirm to them that I’m a pseudo lunatic writer who semi-stalked them through their group meeting. But because I wanted to be brave and say hello.

Writers can be an introverted breed.


So more than anything, I wanted to take a measured brave step toward How To Human.

Just like blogging, writing, public speaking, traveling, taxes, and cooking, it takes practice.

And the conclusion was good, too! I met another writer whose name is Becca. I learned that they were a writer’s group from a (relatively) local library. I got a dash of contact details.

I thought I would be nervous or afraid to speak to them. Granted, as Twister so very helpfully pointed out IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR INTRODUCTIONS, I successfully completed my transformation to a red, red tomato.


BUT! I found, at the end, that I wished I had spoken up earlier, as opposed to getting last minute details before leaving. Not that they would have appreciated me muscling in on their group, but it would have been nice to do a general info-trade. Like what genres or story forms we write, how long we’d been writing, everyone’s real name and such.

So at the end of it all, I wasn’t regretful of my nerves or fear, I only regretted that I hadn’t been brave sooner.

Which, I think, is something most of us can say about bravery and regret.

When You Go Crazy (Pitch Wars #8)

So what happens when you’ve been working crazily on a manuscript for nearly two months straight with a consistent low level coffee buzz surging through your veins?

Weird things. VERY WEIRD THINGS.

1. You start narrating your life, adding dialogue tags after people talk.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Not much… she said, completely ignoring his new haircut.”

“You noticed my haircut? It’s nice, right?”

“Didn’t you hear the dialogue tag? I’m ignoring you. she said with a fiercely expressionless face.”

“But you’re smiling.”

“NO I’M NOT. OBEY THE DIALOGUE TAGS, she whispered.”

2. Your sister wakes you up to say goodnight (because you crashed at 8pm on a Saturday like a BOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY).

Sister hugs me whilst I am on the dangly edge of dreamy-land.

“Night,” she says.

I vaguely return the hug and say, “Go and build a hut in the frigid waters of the north.”

Sister says nothing. Shrugs. Goes to sleep.

Not by the frigid waters of the north. IN the frigid waters of the north. Confusion? Yes.

3. You’re brain doesn’t function at optimum capacity. But it’s on high alert at the same time. Sort of?

*hears strange sound from car*

*gets off at nearest exit*

*intends on pulling into a gas station, but there are no gas stations*

*continues driving, thinking yeah, i’ll just drive parallel to the freeway at a slower speed*

*drives for five miles down strange farm-road*

*glances out the window*

*sees Venus, Saturn, and Mars*

*realizes that Venus, Saturn, and Mars are in the Eastern sky*


*turns on GPS which tells me to continue for 8 miles before finding a turn-around*


*clock displays I should be at work right now*


*glares at street, heading north for 15 miles until I get back on the freeway a half hour later and only TEN MILES CLOSER TO WORK THAN WHEN I STARTED*

*walks into work 25 minutes late*

I need coffee, guys. Cofffeeeee.

Taking a Breath and Break

I’m within a week of finishing my hard copy revisions to my manuscript. However, it’s also a holiday weekend (yay, no work on Monday [but because I’m a contractor I won’t get paid for it]). I also have a two-day headache still bumbling around my brain.

I’M SO CLOSE to finishing this round of revisions!!

I want nothing more than to power through and knock it out of the park with a boxer’s final punch. Yet the mixed metaphor is representative of my brain right now: jumbled, cross-wired, and confused.

With that in-around-and-on my mind, I realized today that I haven’t done any revision in the past four days. Friday appeared with a SURPRISE you’re on a break! note. No flowers, though. Just the note. Friday’s flowers are the weekend. So thank you, Friday. Very generous.

At first, I chastised myself for letting my work slide. Then I reminded myself: You can’t work at 100% capacity all the time. You need a break every now and then. You need a deep breath, a moment of silence.

That’s why we have vacations and weekends and off-hours and lunch breaks and coffee breaks and I could go for some coffee right now…


So remember to give yourself permission to take a break when you need it, or else you’ll burn-out, and you’ll end up spending your time in a smoldering heap of crossed wires and metaphors.

First Draft DONE!!

Good News!

I just finished my first draft of The Nameless Queen. I gave myself a deadline of last night, and I sort of met it. Sorta = 1:00 AM. Not within the 24-hour clock of my Wednesday deadline, but within my waking-hour clock! I call that a 95% success!

Woo hoo! Whoop whoop!

After some formatting changes, I sent along the first draft to friends T-Alpha and Airy-air (as they requested/demanded). Then I sent an announcement text and the finished first draft to those lonely souls who were reading it as I wrote it (I’m lookin’ at you, Mom and Eldest Sister).

Then I drank some sparkling cider from the bottle and ate some German chocolate (Ritter Sport, anyone?). Then, at around 2 AM, I went to sleep.

If you’re curious, this is what happens when you drink sparkling cider after brushing your teeth.

Bad News

I had to wake up for work at 5:30 AM. Granted, I slept in until 5:50, but I’m not too keen on my prospects for the rest of the day. A ten-hour round of sitting-in-office-chair-at-work working, scattered with a few calls to finally get Ninja Car into the shop tomorrow for repairs, and finally a stop by the store to get the coffee creamer that I specifically went to purchase on Tuesday, bought 100 dollars of groceries AND THEN FORGOT TO BUY CREAMER.

Fun fact about me: I don’t go shopping when I run out of food, I go shopping when I run out of coffee/creamer. I don’t want to say I have a caffeine problem… but… nah. I’m not even going to defend it. I love me some coffee.

This is all I want from my mornings. That, and no ice on my car.


Worse News

Since I forgot to by creamer, I have no coffee to get me through the workday. Rising levels of anxiety are causing me to BAHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Anyway, some spiced chai tea and sugar should at least give me something to sip at whilst I work diligently. On the radio this morning, however, the radio man was all too pleased to announce: “It’s negative four degrees!”

I’m pretty sure it’s 10th degree treason to sound that happy when reporting a below zero temperature on top of a negative 20 wind chill.


Bright and Shining Awesome News

Despite the cold weather and the sleepiness, the first draft is done!!!

It bears repeating with more enthusiasm:

THE FIRST DRAFT IS DONE! Squeals of joy commence.

Slow-motion emotion. My brain right now.

I’m too excited to question all of the potentially senseless decisions I made in the last chapter. I won’t even think about all the half-finished sentences hiding amidst the indelicate prose of the beastly first draft.


Happy Valentines Day, Coffee

Dearest Coffee,

You warm up my mornings, you brighten my day, you’re there when I need you most, and you never have a cross word to say. You give me the energy to face my day, you comfort me when I’m a lackluster heap of laziness, and you make me feel like I can tackle any obstacle.

Your taste on my lips makes me smile, and you give me warm fuzzy feelings.

Best love,

Your Faithful Consumer