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Monday, March 18, 2013

Taking Breathers (March Madness Check-In, Day 18) #WIPmadness


 Hello, March Madness Wipsters! How's your progress going now that we're more than halfway through the month?

Say, remember how back on Day 4, I mentioned seeing Sir Patrick Stewart live at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle? Well, another thing he said during his talk really stuck with me.

It was from the story of how he landed the role of Captain Picard. The tale was itself lively and amusing and I'm pretty sure you can find an awesome version of it online somewhere (like, say, HERE - and the fifteen bucks is totally worth it, especially if you watch the Wil Wheaton vs. Paul and Storm dramatic reading and concert). He had a lot of fun things to say. But I'm gushing, so I'll stop now, kthx. ;)

Anyway, what he said that stuck was that he had schooled himself into doing one thing after an audition: he would assume that he did not get the role, and he would then put it completely from his mind by doing something enjoyable to forget it completely. That way, instead of worrying about roles he didn't know if he'd get, if he did manage to land a part, it would be a delightful surprise. (Cue amusing anecdote about how his agent had to hunt him down when he was chosen to be Picard.)

Gee, auditions for roles? Stressing over being chosen? I don't know about you, but to me that sounds a whole lot like the publishing business, don't you?

Digression: So I totally checked out this weekend. Kind of starting with Thursday when DH and I got the chance to see the Canucks play live, things got crazy-busy. Several non-writing commitments reared their heads, and in the off moments, my own mind was thoroughly entrenched in the land of Dobrenica, set deep in the heart of eastern Europe. Sherwood Smith's Blood Spirits was the sequel to Coronets and Steel, and I apologize to my fellow hosts for not checking in much the past few days, but it had me pleasantly mesmerized.

I have just one goal this month, which is to work towards sending out submissions on my YA high fantasy. Last week I mentioned how I needed to rework a major section. Well, the fixes were made and it's now in my critique partner's hands. I know this wasn't as big as an actual submission, but it is the next logical step, and I am waiting. Rather than twiddle my thumbs, I went straight back to work on my non-YA urban fantasy. And then I grabbed a book I'd been wanting to read for some time, and totally fell under its spell.

I feel so much better now!

The more I think about it, the more I realize that for me, this was me taking that break. I shut down the concerns of the outside world and put the worries from my mind.

Have you ever done something similar? Distracted your brain from fixating on possible outcomes of something huge, like a submission, by doing something fun? Speaking as someone who likes to push forward and not let go until I'm done, I totally recommend it. Now I just have to remember that when it comes to *actual* submissions. Baha.

So. Um. What else can I say today? Hm ... I feel like I'm forgetting something.

Oh, yeah. PRIZE TIME! :D

Congratulations to ... *drumroll* ...

Jennifer Pickrell!

Jennifer, head on over to Denise Jaden's blog to pick one of the many fabulous prizes, then be sure to e-mail her at d (at) denisejaden (dot) com with your choice.

And don't forget to check in at Shari Green's blog tomorrow.

46 comments:

  1. Yay!

    We all definitely need breaks sometimes - once I finish my draft (hopefully by the end of the month), I'm looking forward to taking a least a few days off before I start revising. No big plans, just an extra hour or two a day to sloth around.

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    1. Sounds restful. Even a little bit helps, doesn't it?

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  2. YAY, Jennifer!

    As you all know from my last post, my emotions can get pretty mangled when I'm waiting for word on a project, but I always dive into the next one straight away. On occasion, I will find something mindless and fun to do...go to the movies or have my own mini movie festival at home, do something fun with the ghost kids or the Ghost Hunk. And like Jennifer, sometimes I just let myself "sloth" around or play with some art project I started 3 years ago until I feel the motivation kick back up.

    You guys are keeping me sane this month! Go, Wipsters, go!!!

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    1. Must be the power of insanity in numbers! Mindless breaks help, too. ;)

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  3. Congrats to Jennifer!

    I have just come to the conclusion that yes I do need that break and it's okay to take it. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the "ya gotta keep it going" mindset, whether it's blogging, writing or reading or doing something writing related. This month I was carrying on with a blog break with plans on forging ahead with all other things-but that didn't happen as much as I planned. Yesterday I did the whole soul search what is holding me back-THEN it came to me-maybe I just needed a break from it all. Anyhow, it would seem I am ready and raring to go again and really ready and raring after reading your post! Finishing out the month with sending out some write for hire submissions.

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    1. Admitting we need breaks can be hard to do. It's kind of a type of fear, that pressure to keep at it. I hope you feel a lot better now.

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  4. This weekend I took a breather, did some beta-reading, a little bit of revising, and a whole lotta communing with the great outdoors. Emotionally I have a rough couple of days ahead, so I'm trying not to push myself too hard right now. I have the week off for Spring Break and will spend the extra time nurturing my spirit. ^_^

    Keep calm and carry on, Wipsters!

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    1. Amen to loads of self caring before facing another "situation." Such a smart lady!

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    2. Enjoy your spring break peace. Sending you good thoughts about the coming storm. You can weather it. You are strong.

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  5. Congrats, Jennifer! What a nice way to start the week.

    My kids are back to school/work and so am I. Finished my 2 assigned chapters for revision and will try to get another one done later today. Unfortunately, this MS is growing instead of shrinking. :( I'm already over 106K for an urban fantasy. Not sure what to do now, haven't a clue what bits to remove. Time for beta readers, I think.

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    1. I've been trying to register for CPseek.com for a while now but have yet to receive my activation email. Could one of the current members help me contact an admin?

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    2. Beta readers can help you see things you never saw before. Hope you can find someone whose feedback works well for you, and vice verse!

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  6. Hooray for Jennifer! That's a nice way to start a new week. :)

    I've been taking a break without really intending to. I'm enjoying a family visit and there's nothing like precious grandchildren to change one's priorities. Except for getting some decluttering done in my office, I didn't go anywhere near my current project over the weekend. (Admitting that makes me feel like I'm sitting in a Writer's Anonymous counselling group!) I think today is going to be another goofing-off day, too, but I'm not feeling overly guilty about it. There's going to be roasting turkey around here, and extra company.



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    1. Oh, that sounds lovely, Carol. I hope your visit ends with you energetically refueled to get back to work! Don't worry about your project, enjoy the visit. :)

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  7. I love applying other areas of life to writing. It really helps put things into perspective for me. I had house guests for the weekend, so I had kind of a forced break (except when they all took a nap and I had an hour or so free). I'm basically working on formatting type stuff these days anyway...not very motivating, but I'm eager to get back to revising, so I will get through this!

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    1. That is the flip side of things. Once that break, even a forced one, has happened, there's this driving energy to get back to work. I hope you had a great weekend, Denise!

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  8. Congrats, Jennifer! Enjoy the breather!

    My main March Madness goal was to revise a WIP I've been working on for ages and send it to my agent. Well, it went out yesterday!

    My breather will only last a day or so though since my editor has said she'll give me revision notes on my other ms tomorrow. But today I can play, or houseclean, or write whatever I want.

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    1. Nice. Even one day can help. Good luck with the coming revisions!

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  9. I'm about as big a fan of taking breathers as I am of cabbage. As in, not much. I know breathers are really important. And I *know* they work - I took one this weekend too and the result is that my revisions have new steam and energy today. BUT. I still hate taking breathers. I can't get the idea out of my head that I'm slacking off, going backwards. I need to get more zen in my attitude. Remember that going backwards sometimes is the only way to go forward. Good luck this week, wipsters!

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    1. It's okay. I understand that nagging fear because I suffer from that sometimes, too. BUT. If I don't take those breathers (sometimes forced) I do eventually burn out. And bad things happen. It's going to be okay if you take that break. You'll be okay. You'll still get there. And when you do, you want to be healthy and sane enough to enjoy it, don't you?

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  10. Congrats, Jennifer!

    Hmmm, doing something fun? To me that would involve giving myself permission to do something on Saturday like seeing a chick-flick movie, getting a facial, pedi/mani, visiting B&N, or just going shopping. Anything to get away for a few and 'forget' about all the craziness that is part of my life right now with my writing projects and homeschooling.

    This week hope to attack a scene every day. My latest news on getting a contract to write the second book in the Goddess series has me motivated to start on that too but I'm going to wait till next month. Still, that was some good news. I didn't want to write a sequel till I got a contract. Learned my lesson the hard way on that one.

    Good luck, everyone!

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    1. All great examples, Kim. Congrats on the contract!

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  11. Yeah that sounds like what I'm trying to do when I query, but I think I'm too emotionally invested in this story. :-/

    I'm going to go sleep now after only having writtin 750 words today. Still, I am ahead and the reading I can catch up on.

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    1. 750 words is still 750 words. Enjoy reading!

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  12. I think my biggest problem is I spend more time on breaks than on writing. But I'm working on finding time everyday to just write, nothing else.

    But even if I take a break, I find myself turning the story over in my head. I usually pause the TV and write down a note or two and then go back to the show.

    I haven't discussed it officially yet with my writing partner, but I think we might adjust our goals a bit for this month. Since we write at different times of the day, I have to find away to let her gain access to the vision in my head which means I need to roll up my sleeves and tackle an outline/treatment/synposis of sorts.

    BTW: Do you find it easier to set daily goals by words/pages/scenes/chapters written or by time spent?

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    1. Discipline can be a challenge, but wow, the results are a great source of wonderful feelings. Personally I find that the target medium changes daily, depending on what the story needs.

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  13. I try to set daily goals. Right now I'm shooting for one scene a day. When I do a first draft my goal is usually 500-1K a day. Really depends on the project I'm working on.

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  14. When I take a breather, I usually use that time to sew, which is still creative but uses less brain power.

    After finishing up my revision at the end of last week, I'm now trying to decide how to use the rest of the month. I can either finish up a first draft of a WIP that's sooo close to the end (I'm leaning toward that) or begin a really major revision on another manuscript. It's not a minor point that the agent wants to see the revision, but I think if I'm really being strategic, it would be smartest to finish the first draft so it can then simmer in a complete state while I work on the other revision. There, I decided. Hey, thanks MM peeps! :-) That's my new goal - complete that WIP draft by the end of the month!

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    1. Yay! Glad to help you figure out your goals. It can be a challenge when there are many writing projects, many choices to be made, can't it?

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  15. Congrats Jennifer. Enjoy your prize.

    My progress has been slow going, but it's getting their. My number one goal was to finish planning for my WIP by last Friday (I'm a huge project outliner) and start getting words on the page by last Saturday. I'm a few days late, but tomorrow I will start getting those words on the page. I'm excited. I can't wait to see how this book will turn out.

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    1. Hope everything works out for you to start tomorrow! Sounds like you're in exactly the right mindset now.

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  16. That's excellent advice from Sir Patrick Stewart. Too bad it's so hard to follow. I'm getting better at the waiting game but it's a struggle sometimes.

    I'd actually managed to pull off the whole actively not worrying about results thing after submitting my entry to the Pitch Madness contest last week. I've never entered a writing contest before and I had zero expectations about making it out of the slush. Well, today, I woke up to learn that I had made it through to the second round, which was a nice surprise. I'm still keeping a lid on my expectations and I'm sure the odds of making it to the agent round are exceptionally slim considering the quality of the work I've seen people share so I feel like I'm succeeding in this whole "give it your best shot and move on" business. Whatever happens, happens. It's out of my hands now.

    In other news, I'm nearing 5k words for today and I want to see if I can hit 6 before bed. March madness indeed.

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    1. Wow! And more WOW! Good job, Melissa!

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    2. Thanks! It's been a day and a half, that's for sure.

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    3. Cool! Best of luck with your Pitch Madness submission!

      It really is better to put it from your mind, rather than to place so much hope in it that you assume you'll do well. The disappointment can be bitter. No, I am TOTALLY not speaking from experience here. *blushes* Honest.

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  17. I also took this weekend off. I had two goals running simultaneously this month and I pretty much finished off my volunteering goal this weekend. I have a touch left, but am crossing the finishing line. Yes, the writing has suffered, but I'll be able to focus on it more now. And if I don't make the writing goal, hello, that's what April is for, right?

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    1. That's why the NaNo gods invented Camp NaNoWriMo. Have you signed up for it?

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    2. Agreed on Camp NaNo. Haven't decided if I'll sign up but I do have some planned writing vacation time so I might. Glad to hear you feel better after a break, GP.

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  18. Congrats, Jennifer!


    Lately, if I'm not writing, I'm doing something writerly or something bookish. Other than that, I'm with the tots. I have my non-fiction revision, sent off the judging critiques I did for a novel contest, and worked on my short story anthology submission.

    I have a change in plans for Camp NaNo this year. I originally wanted to continue my MG Adventure series or my YA Thriller series, but I decided that my 'breather' would be to find new characters to fall in love with and write about for the month of April. I think that time away will give me a fresh perspective when I revisit those drafts for further revisions.

    Hmmm... is it a breather when I take a break from writing with more writing? LOL

    Another breather, now that I think of it, is my switch to trying shorter fiction. One, it got me published. Two, it's something I hadn't thought I'd be able to tackle, but now I love it. As I work to tighten my prose, I know my novel-length fiction will benefit from it.

    I'm reading more than I did last year and now that I'm more immersed in social media, I'm discovering so many wonderful stories out there that should keep my eyeballs busy for the next few years, at least.

    The most important breather I've taken this time around is to be understandably critical of my work but not be too hard on myself. Once it's out there, I've learned to let it go and move on to the next story. It's hard to let go of your babies, but how else will they flourish?

    Off to put the little one to bed now. The babies certainly put things in a breathable perspective for me, too, and for that, I'm grateful.


    Cheers,

    Tonette

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    1. Tonette, for me it's totally a break to write something different! I have a few projects of different genres and hopping between them can be refreshing. The only pitfall is *not* giving myself a break with actual pleasure-reading. Because then even my fun-writing can start to feel like a chore.

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  19. Hey, everyone. My primary e-mail (not my author's e-mail) was hacked, so I spent part of today dealing with that. Responding now!

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  20. Oh, poor you! Hacking issues are NOT fun. Late checking by, but wanted to say hi before I moved over to Shari's blog for Tuesday's check in. Falling into a good book is awesome. I recently did that last week with Laini Taylor's DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. Hope your email issues smooth out soon!

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  21. I'm late. I've switched from writing to doing some CPing, and I got so involved in the story I was reading last night, that I forgot all about checking in. Well, I was working :)

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    1. And for your tardiness you shall be thoroughly punished.

      Baha, no worries. Plus, "Late because Working" is the best reason ever!

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