Category Archives: time wasters

Ten Reasons Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo This year…

There are a lot of “Non-Nano” and “Nan-Not” post out here in the blogging world…

I just thought I’d add my two cents and state why I decided to give it a try again this year. Specifically, my own personal reasons for doing nano…and why I think I really need to at this time.

1. Why not? Since I’ve been laid off from my day job I have plenty of time on my hands. Lord knows it’s a better time waster than playing Angry Birds, Temple Run, etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Self-esteem. Finishing my writing project on time aka “winning” Nano will give me a sense of accomplishment and boost my self-esteem, which I really need right now.

3. Self-discipline. I tend to start writing projects and not finish them. And, as of late I haven’t been disciplining myself to sit my butt in the chair and write for at least 3-4 hours. Participating in nano will help me do this, stop me from chasing after the next “shinny thing” because I have a goal with a deadline, and need to stick to it.

4. Freeing my creativity. The need to just sit, and let my mind flow…let the words flow.

5. My sanity! Good Lord, yes! The need to pour out my emotions in text format, use writing as a way to deal with things that frustrate me…Yeah. And, with Nano’s “rule” of not worrying about making it perfect I can do just that. If I get mad at somebody I can have my protagonist fictionally kill them. LOL

6. Forming good habits. Good writing habits, that is. When I wrote Wishful Thinking it was for Nanowrimo 2007, and the habit of writing every day lasted long, long past november. True, I did worry more about the rules of mechanics, punctuation, grammar, syntax, and style…but I kept up the good habit of writing daily, having a monthy and daily word count goal and a need to finish what I started.

As Og Mandino wrote, “I will form good habits, and become their slave.”

7. It’s fun. Simple as that.

8. Writing every day makes you a better writer, as does reading every day.

9. It will make me a better editor too. When this draft is finished, and after it sits for a while unnoticed, I will have my work cut out for me for sure! I will have a ton of revisions to tackle, from correcting misspellings and typos due to writing in a rush, fix my plot holes, add dialogue, etc…and then the fun stuff. Grammar. Punctuation. Spelling. Style. Syntax. Mechanics. Come January, I will have just as much practice doing all of that work as the work I am doing writing now. Thus, my skills will be sharpened.

10. When all is said and done, I will have added a great new body of work to my repertoire. And, I can do what I chose with it, polish it up to send to a publisher or have final edits done by an affordable editor, and publish it myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can never read or write too many books. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The more you write, the more likely you are to become successful…So why not Nano?

Write with pride,
~K Crumley

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Filed under authors, creativity, day job, Fantasy Fiction, Goals, Goals and Resolutions, schedules, self-confidence, self-discipline, self-publishing/indie publishing, Staying focused, time management, time wasters, writing

New Words to Live (and Write) By.

~When you give up, and when you quit you are letting the haters win.~

~The road to success is made of many small steps, rather than one giant leap.~

~One word at a time…One word at a time…One word at a time…~

~Writer’s block is the result of under-confidence, rather than not having anything to write about. Take a break, and write a list of top 10 things you can do, or the achievements you are most proud of…If you come up with ten (or more!) Start writing again.~

~Don’t let anybody tell you “You can’t…” they’re probably only saying that because they can’t.~

~To paragraph John Lennon, “(Writing) is everybody’s business…it’s only the publishers that think THEY own it.” ~

~Don’t let anybody tell you “But no one wants to read about ____________.” How do they know? People tend to make grandiose statements, and speak for everyone else when they really only should speak for themselves. Nobody should ever speak for all of the readers in the world–people’s tastes vary when it comes to art. Tell your own story the way you want to tell it. Be true to yourself and to your artistic abilities.~

~Surround yourself with positive people. Let them lift you up. Listen to only positive thinkers. The “Negative Nellies” will drag you down if you let them.~

~Chose your mentors wisely. Foolish people will claim themselves as experts even if they’ve only done one thing right their whole life. The internet is full of “self-proclaimed experts” and less than 25% of them actually know what they’re talking about and/or are worth listening to. (there’s a whole separate blog post on this topic next week). What may work well for some may not be the right path for you. Look at the most successful people, take ONE thing they have done and try that out…Talk to educators (real educators) in the field, and get feedback ONLY from people you trust and respect. Again, chose your mentors wisely. ~

~Time is valuable. Take any spare moment you have and WRITE.~

~Read every day. Read mostly in your own genre, but read anything that interests you. Read non-fiction as well as fiction. Read good books, and even skim through bad books. Be a critical thinker and reader. What you like and don’t like about the work of others can help you make critical decisions about your own works, your own storytelling, and style.~

~CONFIDENCE is about more than reading a bad book and saying “I can write a better book than that.” CONFIDENCE is reading a great book, and saying “I can write a book as good or better than this one!”~

~Don’t pigeonhole yourself. We tend to do that with genre, and even with style. So many authors (and soon-to-be authors) go around saying “I only write paranormal romance,” or “I only write literary fiction,” when we should feel free to expand. If your muse is guiding you toward horror, don’t ignore it. If there’s a poem on your heart, write it down. If you don’t want to be known for doing “XYZ thing” then use a pen name, but by all means free that creativity! Maybe you can incorporate it into your own writing somehow, or do a side project…or write some stuff just to write it, without publication. Do not ignore your muse.~

~Formula fiction is a lot like filling out “Mad Libs.” I avoid it at all cost.~

~ The market is fickle. A few years ago we were mesmerized by a boy wizard, then it was vampire love stories, and now the trend is distopia… But epic fantasy has never really gone away, nor has romance, or mystery. As I’ve said before, don’t chase trends, don’t write for the market. Write what YOU want to write, and your books will be more likely to stand the test of time.~

~Feedback is vital, but don’t let your manuscript dwell in the “feedback basement.” That’s when you’re so afraid (or insecure) about your current project that you are trapped in the feedback/revise/feedback/revise/feedback/revise treadmill. At some point, your story is good enough and publish/submit worthy. Have the confidence and knowledge to know (yourself) when that is without relying on someone to TELL YOU when that is.~

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V. I Will Live This Day As If It Is My Last. (part I)

I will live this day as if it is my last.
I will finish this book/this chapter/this rewrite today rather than postpone it for tomorrow.

In short, I will do today’s work TODAY.
Tomorrow’s work belongs to tomorrow.

No longer will I procrastinate, especially with my writing.

Procrastination is another bad habit of mine that I have no choice but to break if I even hope to gain success.

“I will form good habits and become their slaves.”

You never know what tomorrow may bring…
You could wake up in the morning, and be too sick to work on your current project(s).
A storm could knock the power out, and you’d be relying on very little battery juice left in your laptop/tablet/phone.
The internet could be down…
Any number of things could happen that would interfere with your writing/productivity time.

Therefore, we must do what we can to take advantage of every spare moment we have TODAY. Carpe Diem!

Carpe Diem!  Gather ye Rosebuds While Ye May!

Carpe Diem! Gather ye Rosebuds While Ye May!

Take advantage of every spare moment that you have today! Every moment of peace and quiet is writing time, productivity time, and study time. Every uninterrupted second I will put toward work, and work joyfully.

I will treat each day in this matter.

For tomorrow is it’s own new day, and will be full of its own work and accomplishments.

Seize the Day! Live each day as if it is your last.

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OFF-Topic Tuesday: Things I hate about the Internet…

The internet has sadly given people a license to say and do everything. Sadly, not all of it good. Some just borders on annoying. Others use it to create mayhem or commit crimes. These are just some of my internet pet peeves.

Top of the list: Predators. Especially those who prey on children. Some people should NOT have internet access. Sad, but true.

Malware/spyware/viruses.ย ‘Nuff said. ย 

Trolls. Especially the ever-sneaky Trolls-by-Proxy.ย Trolls-by-proxy may log in using their regular account, even their real name rather than an actual “troll” or “ghost nickname” account. But…they post the same inflammatory, trouble-making remarks that a troll would. And, they’ll do so repeatedly until they’ve succeeded in irking the rest of the users at that site, and causing drama. Then, when you call them out on their bs they get all passive-agressive and whiny. Cyber bullies also fall into this same category.

Intellectual blow-hards.ย Self-proclaimed experts at everything and everything, constantly patting themselves on the back while telling others what they are doing wrong.

Facebookoholics and Twitiots.ย you know, the ones who tell you every little thing they are doing, every single moment of the day via FB/twitter. ย Not only that, they use FB/twitter to be intrusive and see what YOU are doing…And, if you don’t post your own status, they’ll spam you with messages to find out what you are doing. Every five minutes they send you an “Are you online?” message. Oh, and they add/follow everyone they’ve ever met in their entire life.

ID Thieves/hacks/spies. ย I’ve been victimized by these people. They will ruin you financially, given the chance. ย Really a horrible experience.ย 

Virtual Grafiti.ย 

You know, when people go to abandoned/unmoderated/unmaintained message boards and post obscenity, radical political messages, “Kilroy was here” or whatever they want to. I can think of no better example than Frodo’s Mermaid Haus website of the late 90’s. It was a place where many could post links, stories, ads, etc pertaining to mermaids and merlore. When “Frodo” fell ill, and was in the hospital (if my memory serves me correctly) the site went unmaintained, and the message board went unmoderated. People started posting “gangsta” style online hookup lines, obscenity, spam, and whatever else they wanted to. The saddest part was it used to be a child-friendly site, where they could talk about Ariel and their other favorite Disney characters. I’ve seen this at other sites too, like Elfwood where random anonymous poster leaves a comment “LYK OMG THIS SUX!!” under a picture or story. I’ve even seen similar “reviews” on Amazon. It’s all VERY annoying, but not as bad as what happened to poor “Frodo.”

There’s probably more online nuisances that really bother me…but this is all that I can think of right off the top of my head. Feel free to add your own.

~K. Crumley

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Off-Topic Tuesday: Game of Thrones, Season 2

Okay, maybe this is not entirely off-topic since Game of Thrones is first and foremost a fantasy novel series by George R.R. Martin.

…Then again, maybe it is. I’m posting mainly about the series on HBO.

Basically, what I want to say is that I’m less enchanted by this season than I was the first. The first season drew me in, and I was positively addicted! This season…? Not so much.

Here’s why?

The sex scenes.No, I am not a prude by any means. Nor do I expect it to be like “real sex” but…really, last season’s sex scenes really didn’t bother me (even the first, shocking Lannister incest scene). But this seasons…? I feel they are just painful, awkward, and ugly. It’s almost like watching two drunk virgins give it a go for the first time…

Not enough of my favorite characters. I couldn’t word it any more simply than that. Not enough Arya, Dani, John Snow and of course Peter Dinklage (Tyrion). Too much Littlefinger, Joffrey (who I loathe), Cersei, and now Stannis. Which brings me to number three.

Stannis is a major disappointment! I expected this strong, rugged bearded Warlord. What I got was a watered down soap opera lead actor stereo type. OOOh, he was seduced away from his ailing wife by a witch! How ground-breaking. Not! (see what I said before about two drunk virgins going at it.) Maybe it’s the actor, maybe it’s directing…or maybe the character just got watered down. I haven’t read the books but the way Ned & Robert talked about him in season 1 I expected someone like Blackbeard meets Thor. Now, we have another pretty boy vying for the throne, who is less intimidating than Renley…or even Tyrion…or even Arya. UGH!

I was promised Dragons!!!! Where are my Dragons?!?!? I guess I have to be more patient since the season just started…

What’s with Cersei becoming all soft? She would have had Littlefinger beheaded for what he said last season. why did she have the guards turn around? why is she so intimidated by her own bratty douche of a son (I guess she fears he’ll behead her too.) I want to see her be a bitch in a big way, not just a passive-aggressive snide way.

Oh well. The season is new yet, but I hope it gets better.

For an even more enlightening view on GoT season 2, check out my friend & fellow writer LK Rigel’s blog.

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Much Ado About Nothing…

Last week I had participated in another grueling message board conversation about a successfully published commercial author putting down self publishing. Said author did not, in a recent interview, give any real concrete arguments against it. She merely said, “DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.” Yes, just like that. In all caps.

Needless to say, it offended a bunch of indie authors at this board (as should be expected.) A 10 page long rant ensued. Arguments ensued. Feelings already hurt became trampled on. Insults were hurled about. Nasty comments were made. And, when the dust cleared we all realized it was (as someone else put it) a “knee-jerk reaction” and a little “silly” in retrospect.

So why am I bringing this issue here to my harmless little blog, in which I’ve somewhat refrained from my “pro indie” rants?
Two reasons:

1) I’ve decided to NOT let it get to me anymore. People are going to say what they want, even people who should know better…
This commercial author doesn’t know me, I doubt she’s even read my books. And, yes as a successfully published author you’d expect her words to be more eloquent (gotta credit editors). But, I’ve decided not to let this elitist brand of nay-sayers get to me anymore. I am no longer going to take it personally, unless it actually does get personal. By that I mean, if someone says “A lot of indie books are good, but that K. Crumley’s books really suck…” or “Wishful Thinking was the worse book I ever read…”

If the blanket statements don’t apply to me, then they don’t apply to me. I’m just going to ignore them. I know that I have taken the proper steps to ensure that my books are not the equivalent of literary toilet paper. And, this is something that is my responsibility alone as an indie author.
I’ve made improvements to my books even post-publication, by changing the covers or altering prose, eliminating formatting errors, correcting typos, etc…
Now of course subjectivity comes into play. I write about faeries and mermaids, instead of vampires. My voice is more dramatic than some. If my books are “not for you” then, they’re “not for you.” I can take that type of criticism. Heck, I think most people can.
Yet, I continue to remain true to myself as an author. But now I’m wondering off topic here…
*ahem*

2. I haven’t heard of this author. I haven’t read one book by her. She’s not even in my genre. Her words carry no weight with me.
Now I know some people have a problem with that…in the MB conversation I referred to earlier, people thought that myself and some others were being snide and catty by saying that. As if we’re trying to discredit her level of “fame.” When really, it isn’t that at all (speaking for myself here.)

If I never heard of someone, but they said “XYZ thing.” Then, their comment on XYZ means nothing to me. Who they are in other people’s eyes has nothing to do with my perception of those people. All that author is in my opinion, is another author who went about things another way and has a closed mind toward another way of doing things.

In the arts–or maybe in any field–we chose our own mentors, authorities, and people to emulate. Someone we have never heard of isn’t going to fit into that category (at least not automatically.) And, even those Mentor’s POV’s will be taken with a grain of salt at times. If J.K. Rowling herself came out and said “Authors shouldn’t self-publish right away because they’re selling themselves short…yada yada…” I still wouldn’t stop what I’m doing. But I would listen/read, and respect it as her honest opinion.

Finally, it is no sin to claim you never heard of a “famous” author. People have different levels of familiarity, and as a wise person once said “every author is unknown to some portion of the general public.” That’s irrefutably true. Even if you read avidly, even if you are a writer, there are some authors you never heard of. I think that applies to ANY field, the arts especially. As a dancer, I was shocked to find that one of my friends hadn’t heard of Natalia Makarova, Gelsea Kirkland, Margot Fonteyn, Suzanne Farrell, Et al. She knew full well however about Joel Gray and Baryshnikov. Her knowledge of the dance world, evidently was limited to Cinema. It did not mean that she was trying to discredit my dance knowledge, or any of the prima ballerinas I had named. And, it was a fact that she never heard of them…
No reason for her to be tarred and feathered. I’m sure any advice these esteemed ballerinas would give on dancing would fall on deaf ears with that girl. That’s the only point I’m trying to make.

I could add a third point to this, about the fact that there are people in this world who just love to argue. People who have a bad day, and come online looking for people to take it out on. People who love to bully, or insult other people to make themselves feel superior.
But, I won’t waste my time on that. We all know that it’s best to avoid feeding trolls. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great week, and enjoy writing and publishing…by whichever means you chose to do so.
Don’t let the generalized statements get to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

~K. Crumley

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Off Topic Tuesday: Squirrels Outside

Okay, I was in a really good mood when I woke up (despite feeling sick with the flu). And, tried to contemplate on what to blog about today…

I decided to write about my new pets, while I was outside feeding them.

I’ve been living in this apartment now for six months, and sadly they have a very strict “No pets! No exceptions!” policy. As someone who has had pets most of her life, I found this rather frustrating. You get used to having them around; it seems rather lonely without them.

However, my apartment building is nestled back in the woods. There’s plenty of wildlife around. And, the Squirrels–both red and gray–are always scampering up and down the trees in front of my living room window. So, as of recent I’ve taken to feeding them. I make a point of buying some sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc when I do my grocery shopping. Every morning, I get up and throw a few handfuls out to these squirrels, and then watch them come and eat them. It’s really cute! In fact, if I sleep in past 8:30 am I surprised to see them out front, squawking at my window or front porch.

The other night, I wasn’t feeling very well and was unable to finish my dinner of left over pizza and garlic toast. So I threw out some pizza crust and the half-eaten slice of garlic toast, after breaking it up into small pieces of course. I wasn’t sure they would like it or not.
About twenty minutes later, as I was taking out the garbage I spotted a little, fuzzy gray squirrel running up the tree with a piece of garlic bread in his mouth. ๐Ÿ™‚

This reminds me…I need to pick up yet another bag of peanuts at the store.

~K. Crumley

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Filed under off topic tuesday, time wasters

Writing ADHD (part 1)

I think I have a rare condition known as writers ADHD. Or, simply put “too many good story ideas, to little time.” I tend to have difficulty staying on one project at a time…I kind of bounce around a lot.

For instance, I will be working on something for a while, and then get revisited by the Muse, and have to write some new story ASAP while it’s still fresh in my head. For this reason, a lot of my stories wind up on the back burner…sometimes indefinitely.

I’m try to remedy this situation. What works best for me is to create a spreadsheet with charts for all my current projects.
Divide it up into 2-3 tiers, creating deadlines for “top tier” projects as well as (hopeful) release dates. I find putting that kind of pressure on myself keeps me focused. LOL

Second tier: Older first drafts I really should finish. This tier also includes all the first drafts that I finished and left on the “pre-revision back burner” for far too long…

Third tier: all those new idea brainstorms I have.

So now, I jot down those ideas I get struck by and label them as “future projects.” Then, I go back to my First-tier WIP’s.

Well, that’s just how I get myself off of this “too many projects” never ending treadmill. Feel free to share your own!

~K. Crumley


Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to offend those who suffer from ADHD, or their families.

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Filed under changes, creativity, Goals, Goals and Resolutions, schedules, Staying focused, stumbling blocks, time management, time wasters, writing

Being True To Yourself

Be true to yourself as a writer. Be true to your muse, your voice, and your spirit.
Don’t try to fit into someone else’s “box” or waste your time trying to emulate others…or worse yet, imitate them.
Yes, they say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But, too much “flattery” and your writing won’t be your own. Your stories won’t be your own. Your voice will not be your own.

Tell the stories YOU want to tell, not what you see as being a big seller, or popular trend. Trends come and go…
And, who knows what comes next after this vampire trend ends. It just MIGHT be your story. And, even if it isn’t there’s always someone out there–or maybe several people out there–who aren’t chasing fads, but want something new, fresh, original, and above all else a GOOD STORY.
Focus on the art and craft of writing, get in touch with your Muse…
Don’t sell out your art, in pursuit of a “get rich quick” scheme.

Don’t focus on unreachable goals like becoming an overnight millionaire, or being dubbed “the next so-and-so.”
Set attainable goals, and reach them one at a time. Remember “you have to walk before you can run, and run before you can fly.”
You may not have “overnight success” but you will have some success, whether it being able to live fully off of your writing OR just some small personal goal that you’ve reached.

Take this all for what it’s worth.

Write with pride. Pride in yourself!

~K. Crumley

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Jealous of Other Writers?

The question pops in my mind quite often, rather out of random though or from someone bringing up the subject in an online forum.

Am I jealous of other writers?
Am I jealous of the Amanda Hockings, JA Konraths, and HP Mallorys of this world? Am I jealous of the many indie authors around me, who press on and do well…and release book after book?

Hell yeah, I’m jealous. I’m jealous of MOST other writers in fact. But not for the reasons that you would assume.
I’m not jealous of their sales figures, per say.
I don’t envy the money they’ve earned in revenue.
I don’t envy fame, or being “well known” in certain literary circles.

I covet only one thing…TIME!

I freely, and without any shame admit that I am envious that other writers have more time to write than I do.

Recently I had to take a little vacation from writing, and even from this blog…TO MOVE. Yes, I am renting a nice little apartment (which I love) but all of the packing, moving, cleaning the new place, etc…has taken a significant amount of my (already limited) free time.
Then there is my job, where I work 40 plus hours a week.

I can hear the lectures now…
How I should make time to write. yeah, yeah. I’m getting to that in a bit.

Things will settle down. I’ll get all the rest of my stuff moved in, and have everything “finalized” and be all settled in.

I have a shorter commute to work (THANK HEAVEN) which allows for more writing time. I have no distractions from my parents, and this place is “no pets allowed” so I have no distractions that way (as pleasant as they may be at times). No duties to feed the dogs, take them out, etc. Oh yes, and no barking.

I intend to come up with a writing schedule, and stick to it. Probably in the morning, before work. After work I’m usually way too tired.

And, of course when inspiration strikes, I must write! Even if I just jot what’s in my mind on scratch paper, and type it into a word doc later… ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am sure that this envy will pass as I devote more time to writing and am no longer running around like a chicken with my head cut off. hahaha!

I look forward to getting all settled in at my new place, and just having more time to myself…and more time to write. ๐Ÿ˜‰

~K. Crumley

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