Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hindsight Is... #IWSG | December's Bookworm News #SpecFic

The Insecure Writer's Support Group was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. December's co-hosts are Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner. Find the other IWSG participants here.
December's question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I can think of three distinct things I would have done differently, but the last two bleed over into what I would have done differently in 2016 too.
  1. Take a break. Thank you all for your kind comments on last month's IWSG post about my writing hiatus. It took a few weeks to settle into not writing/editing, but I am less anxious about not writing and editing. I've decided to take the rest of the month off so I can start the new year fresh.
  2. Read Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron much earlier than I did. I just finished this book, and it's amazing. True, I was doing some of these techniques subconsciously in my work, but the questions Cron has me asking my characters and scenes will make a difference (for the better, I hope!). It's given me so many ideas on how to take Forged and Destined to the next level.
  3. Work on one project at a time (i.e. The Fate Challenges). While I don't necessarily regret working on Soul Reaper series, I do wish I'd used that time to focus on finishing up Forged and Destined instead. If so, then they would be out in the world now. Or at least much closer to publication. It's looking like mid-2018 for Forged and early 2019 for Destined. Live and learn. *sighs*
What would you do differently?


2018 Stats: 111,229 words written and 908,601 words edited


Changes are coming to my "Bookworm News" section.

Starting in January, Bookworm News will be in its separate post on the last day of the month. The post, if not including a guest post, will have its comments turned off. I'll still highlight what books I've read as well as what speculative fiction books were released. These posts are also available for cover reveals and guest posts, if anyone is interested.

But the biggest change is that I am no longer reviewing books I've read. I do not come to this decision lightly as I know how important reviews are, but they're causing me too much stress to write and are making reading not as enjoyable as it used to be. I will continue to rate what books I read on Goodreads and maybe even leave a sentence or two of what I loved, but I won't officially be reviewing books.

BOOKS READ
Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce
Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

BOOK REVIEWED
Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce
All the kingdoms of Wales are threatened when the Picts arrive in Mark Noce's Dark Winds Rising. Set several years after Between Two Fires, this novel follows Queen Branwen as she seeks to keep peace within her kingdom and her surrounding neighbors. The cunning and passionate Branwen matures throughout this story as she faces Queen Sab's sinister plot, which kept me guessing until the end. Noce makes the late 600s Wales come to life. I do hope there will be another book because the Queen Branwen series keeps getting better. An enchanting and fast-paced historical novel, Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce is a must-read.

SPECULATIVE FICTION
RELEASING IN DECEMBER

Dark Winds Rising by Mark Noce
Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron
Huntress Lost by A.A. Chamberlynn
Rebel Faerie by Rachel Morgan
Ghouls by Lou Klein
The Young Queens by Kendare Blake
MIND: The Fracture by Jenn Nixon
Doom Sayer by Clara Coulson

As this is most likely my last post for this year, I hope everyone has a storybook ending for 2017. Happy Holidays!

42 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that you aren't pressuring yourself and are willing to take a needed break. And it is great to write reviews, but reading on a schedule and reviews can get too time consuming when you work and are trying to do your own writing. Glad you're taking care of yourself. Happy Holidays!

Julie Flanders said...

I've got to read Wired for Story. I am so glad you mentioned it again because I had forgotten to add it to my Kindle YET AGAIN. This time I will do it right away LOL.

Glad you are feeling good about your hiatus and I hope you will be refreshed and ready to go next year. Merry Christmas, Cherie!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to pick up that book.
It does take time to write reviews. At least Goodreads allows you just to mark stars.

M.J. Fifield said...

Glad to hear you're feeling less anxious about not writing and editing. I had a three month hiatus once, and I never felt less anxious about it, which kind of defeated the purpose. You're definitely doing something right. :)

Happy Holidays!

Christine Rains said...

The break is definitely a good thing. I'm taking one over the holidays. I'll have to pick up Lisa Cron's books too! I know I stress about reviews sometimes as well. Yet I try to say a little something about everything I read. Here's to a fantastic 2018! :)

Heather R. Holden said...

Ooh, Wired for Story sounds amazing. And glad to hear you're feeling less anxious about your writing break. Hope this is exactly what you need to feel refreshed in 2018!

And I can relate to taking a step back from book-reviewing. I had to do the same years ago. (The work was overwhelming, and I just couldn't handle all the trolls calling me "f-ing crazy" and such for my opinions.) If reviews are causing you stress, then I think it's more than wise for you to stop.

Gwen Gardner said...

Oh wow, your stats put mine to shame. You get a lot done and I'm so slow by comparison. *sigh* Well you sure do deserve a step back. I'm sure you'll find it beneficial.

Happy Holidays!

Tamara Narayan said...

Happy Holidays! I don't blame you about reviews. It's so tough because on one hand, I can easily see any problems in a story because I'm a writer, but on the other, I don't want to criticize because I know how tough writing is.

cleemckenzie said...

Taking those breaks is so important. They give us time to gain a different perspective. It seems yours worked! Hope your holiday is lovely, and here's to a great writing 2018.

Pat Garcia said...

I learned in 2015 how important it is to take breaks. Basically, December is my winding down month where I close up things and organise for the new year. And it is a month where I enjoy cafes and a bunch of other venues that I push on the back burner during the year.
Wishing you a successful crossover into 2018.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Nick Wilford said...

Sometimes we really need a break to refresh ourselves and come back stronger. Here's to a wonderful and productive 2018.

Patsy said...

Taking a break from writing can sometimes be the best thing we can do both for ourselves and our work.

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

In some ways I wish I had taken a formal break from writing last year, rather than not being productive and feeling guilty about it. I hope you have a wonderful festive season and a fabulous start to the New Year. Cheers - Ellen

Chemist Ken said...

Sometimes working on multiple projects at the same time can keep you fresh. Doing so may have delayed one of your stories, but your other story will now come out sooner. I say work on whatever your muse tells you to.

Chrys Fey said...

Taking a break is something all writers should do at least once every year.

That's a book I've been interested in checking out. Since you loved it, it's moving to the top of my list. :)

Olga Godim said...

Taking a break once in a while is always the right thing to do. It rejuvenates you. Good luck with your fresh start next year.

emaginette said...

Sounds like you found your stride. Keep it up. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Patricia Lynne said...

Glad to hear you're not feeling as anxious. I hope you enjoy the rest of your break this month and have a happy holiday.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Taking a break is essential. I've read your posts and the hard work you put into your writing and goals. Everyone needs a breathier once in a while. You've always amazed me how you could work on several projects at a time. I've tried it and it doesn't work for me. Perhaps you've come up with a new plan that is better suited to your own productivity. Wishing you success, always!!!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Good for for deciding to take the rest of the year off. I understand how scary that can feel. With my family opening up it’s own business this year, my writing time has been cut into almost nothing. I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity for growth. Wishing you warm holidays and a wonderful new year!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I don't switch gears between projects very well myself. Even going from manuscript to blogging is a tough. I tend to obsess over whatever I am doing at that moment.

farawayeyes said...

Taking time off and relieving the pressure is ALWAYS a good idea. Something I need t learn. I’m interested to read the book you talked about, sound helpful I’l have to look for it. Thanks.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful updates, especially on how your rest worked out! I'm so glad it made a difference. I get the stress of writing reviews - they are hard for me to write, too. I've been "starring" things on goodreads, but not saying much lately.
I hope you have a storybook ending for 2017, too. Happy Holidays!

Juneta Key said...

I do not do reviews like that either for a similar reason. I say a couple line, or if something really impressed, and rate on both Amazon and Goodreads. I often do it on my Kindle Fire, which will do one review and post the review on both Amazon and Goodreads for me, instead me having to go to each site.

I think you awesome for 2017 but I get that about narrowing focus that was my pick too.
Happy Holidays.

Sandra Cox said...

Sometimes we just need a break.
Thanks for the writing guide suggestion. I'm always on the lookout.
Hope your holidays are spectacular.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

This is a perfect time of year to take a break. (Not that ANY time isn't pretty doggone terrific.) But this time of year is very stressful for some people... you'll be the one in the crowd with the peaceful smile on your face. Enjoy!

I understand your stepping back from writing reviews. I tend to review every book I read, but I write short ones.

Yolanda Renée said...

Writing reviews is a stressful thing, but a few sentences about what you've enjoyed makes sense. I've tried to do the same thing to take the pressure off because as you say a review is a necessary thing. We all want them, need them, but hate to write them. :)

Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a bright and prosperous New Year!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Reviews do take a lot of time! Breaks are awesome, but both starting the break and restarting after the break is hard (at first). I haven't read (or heard) of that book. I'll check it out!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Taking a break now ad then is necessary. I'm just now discovering this. There is another life out there besides writing, and spending time doing other things we love is good. Then we're ready to go back to our stories, at least this is what I recently discovered.

I write a lot of reviews, but am slowing down because it is time consuming. I enjoy reading the books, but was trying to do too many.

Have a lovely rest of the week.

erica and christy said...

I'm glad you're taking pressure off yourself. I, too, took a writing break this summer after my grandma passed away. My publishing schedule is behind because of it, but I desperately needed to take a break. You will move into the new year refreshed and motivated. Christy

alexia said...

Glad you're taking a well deserved break! And I definitely agree on one project at a time, though I never end up pulling that off :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I love when a craft book helps you see what you're doing right and gives you new tips too! The book for me this year was Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. Great stuff

Diane Burton said...

Working on more than one project at a time is such a challenge. I found that I kept waffling as to which story to work on then ended up not working on either. Not good. Good luck with your project. Happy Holidays!

dolorah said...

I think I sort of fell into the last break I took from writing. Seems I never climbed out of the hole. I am determined to spend 2018 writing. I miss it. That writing book sounds interesting. And I would get more writing done, I think, if I settled on one project and worked it to completion. Successes are great incentive to keep going :)

Cathy Keaton said...

Congrats on your much needed break! When you're tired, you just need to rest for a bit. But, not too long! ;)

I might want to read the book you reviewed. It sounds like it might be right up my alley.

Fundy Blue said...

"Live and Learn." That's a model for life, isn't it, Cherie? Wishing you all the best with your upcoming books, even if finishing them feels a ways off. I don't review a lot of books. I find it stressful, because I don't want to say anything unkind about a writer's hard work. I do make short comments on Goodreads like you do. "Wired for Story" sounds like an interesting read. Have a good one!

Nicki Elson said...

I totally agree that reviewing is stressful and can detract from reading enjoyment. It puts authors in a tricky situation. Good for you making that tough decision.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Do you hear me clapping for you? I am! I am so happy for you that you are making positive changes that will make you happier. Taking the rest of the month off is wonderful. I think it will help you feel recharged and energized. We can wear ourselves out writing, editing, and reviewing too much. It sounds like you are making great changes for your blog too. I hope reading will become more fun for you now that you won't have the pressure of reviews. I always put up stars, but I don't always have time to put up a long review. I do it when I can, but I hope that the stars are still helpful for fellow authors. :) I know as an author- I appreciate stars so much.

Have a wonderful December.
~Jess

Ellie Garratt said...

I’m glad you’re taking a break, and made some positive decisions for 2018. We keep telling ourselves we can do it all and only end up adding more stress. It’s takes the joy out of both writing and reading. Here’s to a less stressful 2018!

Loni Townsend said...

I'm glad to hear about your focus shift and doing what's best for you. I hope you see great improvements and find peace of mind, relaxation, and rejuvenation!

Sherry Ellis said...

Taking a break is important! It's amazing how much more refreshed and motivated you can be after one.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best in 2018!

Vanessa Morgan said...

Happy New Year!