Friday, January 28, 2011

It has been 31 days since my last confession.....

and I have the following to confess:

1. If you are a writer and want a quiet place full of books and empty of people to work go to a University library the first two weeks of a new semester. DEAD. AS. A. DEADPERSON. (I should know, this is my place of work)  promise they'll let you in free of charge and won't care at all if you stay there for hours or ask them endless questions. (There are only so many hours you can sit in one spot and watch nothing happen.)

2. If you are a gardener, then you will appreciate my laugh when my professor said the following while we, his students, were elbow deep in azaleas, "If you end up with a rash the next couple days, don't worry, it's the azaleas." (No worries, apparently azaleas don't think I'm at all that dangerous and therefore not worthy of rashness...ha, catch that play on words?)

3. Wednesday night I spent three hours re-reading....and my mauscript. Here are some of the things past me wrote: (I blame the writing challenge of 20,000words in two weeks)
      "Lies are like balloons, when they pop, they scare the hell out of you."
      "Lying to Ester(grandmother-type) was like eating a lollypop off the sidewalk, you just felt bad after doing it."

4. I discovered four songs, YEAH 4!, I can't believe it either, that fit one of my main characters to perfection. I usually have a terrible time finding a song that works perfectly and I found FOUR! I'm ecstatic. These totally get me in the writing zone. Click on them to hear them for yourself. Any guesses on what I'm writing?

Not me btw, Source
5.  I started my welding class (I have yet to set fire to my person:) and had a major book epiphany just as the professor was trying to talk to us about a certain kind of welding. Not really funny huh? Well, imagine your face when you get a brilliant book idea.....right. Now, make that face in front of several people and your academic advisor/professor. Yes, welcome to my life. Above is a pic of welding, not me, notice lack of unruly tresses. Go here next week for a post when I compare writing to welding....sure to be fun :) and fiery.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Mish Mash of Confessions

1. Strawberry flavored Halls cough drops are da bomb!

2. I've written barely anything story wise in like 2 months or more-that's going to change, soon.

3. I'm near the end of reading an amazing book that caused me to cry after only the first couple pages...and it's not YA! More on this later. :)

4. is my savior: it's a website where you can set a clock for 25 minutes and do whatever you need to during that time and when the timer goes off you get a 5 minute (or more) break. This tool has helped me get a lot of school done lately. It's great to use if you want to stay focused, which I've really not wanted to do lately due to an illness that I've had since last week that's kicking my butt. But with the help of Tomatoes, I set the clock and force myself to do school for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break to chill out and scour through my blog feed to see what everyone else is up to and then get back to work once the 5 minutes is up. It's shocking how much I can get done after a few 25 minute work sessions!

5. I <3>Veronica Mars. Gets better and better with every episode! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Month of New Experiences

2010 was a grueling year, and I went into 2011 expecting more of the same. But this month those expectations got turned on their ear.

1. I got several expensive gifts for Christmas, but my favorite gift by far was a package of four dollar cherry red hair extensions that my brothers got me. It only took me an hour of telling them over and over that no I wasn't joking for them finally believe that they would be a good gift for me.

2. My mom couldn’t get out of town to get her hair cut, so she had me cut her hair. All of my mom’s friends are commenting on the fact that it’s the first time in 15 years she has changed up her style. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.

3. My mom, who never talks about the fact that I write, asked me if I would write a book based on her mother’s life, and she was stunned when I broke the news to her that I was already planning on it.

4. The morning after I shaved off all my hair, I was walking through the halls of the school I work at and one of the male teachers turned to do a double take of my hair and ended up tripping over a book sculpture and almost crushing a kindergartner. People clapped.

5. My mentor teachers were joking about wishing they could have a large loom for the classroom, but I thought they were serious and built a 4 foot by 3 foot free standing loom out of PVC pipe for the kids to use.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Get in the ZONE!!! Auto-Zone!

If you have no idea what that title means then check out the quick commercial below. Sadly, it isn't one of those that says the tagline with a lot of feeling, but it also goes along with what I've got to say so check it out anyway...okay? Okay. (<--see I totally took in your opinion there)

Remember that nice guy tuning up his car? Well writing for me is a lot like that. Before I can start writing something new I have to get back into the world. I can do that by tuning/adjusting what I did yesterday, aka add some more oil, tighten a random bolt with a ratchet, or act like turning a piece of plastic with a wrench is actually doing anything at all to ready my car...I mean...WiP. *cough* (The funny thing is once you have a little mechanical experience (a college class in my case) mechanic and car commercials become a lot more fun.)

Back to topic. To get in the zone I need to remember where I was and my purpose. Once I'm there I'm usually good to go and if not, I've always got the back up plan of pixie popcorn and some diet beverages. Here's a good piece of advice I've found really helps: whatever gets you in the zone make it as easy and fast as possible. Make it something you can do every day. The more you do it, the easier it will be and the faster you can get into the zone (AUTOZONE!!!!) AUTOmatically and get writing.

I challenge you bloggers to get in the zone 
(Sorry, I couldn't resist) 
this weekend and get some stuff written. Let us know how you get in the zone in the comments!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kicking Butt

So I like never have time to write anymore.

And that is because my entire world consists of school/work/school/work wash and repeat a billion times.

So when I find myself in a position to spew words onto a page, it is safe to say that I take it by storm and uh ignore the rest of the world, seriously. I have failed exams because I...uh...lost focus and turned my minds eye to writing and forgot about studying. Yeah...

So I have these moments.

When I am prepared I like to have a nice box of thin mints, a steaming hot cup of Honey Chamomile tea(capitalized cause it's important), a dark chocolate bar, cheese and crackers, onion dip and pretzels, and my favorite chocolates from my local store.

I know you've got to be thinking, wow what a pig. But I do not have them all at once, the bolded ones are the ones that are a must. The rest are interchangeable, in fact talking about the onion dip makes me want some really bad...anywho I digress.

I then disconnect my internet (okay not always...) lock myself off from the world, in my room or the living room, blast my iPod and let it all go.

When I am not prepared...uh I use anything and everything I can to get the ideas down. My arm, old receipts, used napkins (okay that's gross, I'm kidding), pants, the back of a test etc. I get kind of desperate, and by kind of I mean like so very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very to like the billionth degree freak out.

And then I write. Just like that, I write.

I know I'm getting in the zone when I lose my train of thought and can't help but day dreaming, and talking to myself and appearing completely crazy to the world. And that is how I get in the zone and kick butt writing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jumping the Tracks

I don’t get a lot of time to write, so when I get the time I really want to make the most of it. Since I’m a very structure oriented person I’ve created a writing routine for myself to help me make the most of my time. As long as I follow that routine I can easily get in my zone and make the most of my time.

Even though I write better when the music is off, the first thing I do when I’m trying to get in the zone is go to and pull up the play list for whichever story I’m working on. Next I open up Write or Die and set my goals. 900 words in 30 minutes tends to be my sweet spot, but sometimes I adjust it for the first round depending on my attitude. However, I always cheat a little by pasting in the last line I wrote from whatever I’m working on. That way I can focus on the writing instead of worrying about repeating myself or getting the mood wrong.

However, the way that I know that I’m getting in the zone is when I start abandoning my routines. When I raise my word count goal I know I’m just about there. Then when I mute my music I’m there, but it’s when I transition from one typing session to the next without needing to carry a sentence over from the last session to help me keep my place that I know I am there and I’m not going to be leaving anytime soon.

- Aaron

Gettin' in the Zone

For me, getting in the "zone" when I'm writing has been difficult (especially lately) but on a good day, when I've got some free time on my hands (HA! Free time? What's that? :P) and I feel the urge to put pen to page, I like to get out of the house and whole up in a coffee shop for a few hours and write, a steamer and muffin in hand, along with my writing tools and then, I'm off. That's how I prepare to get into the zone. It usually takes me a little while to block out the sounds of the coffee shop around me, but once I out.

I can tell I'm in the zone when my drink and snack have gone untouched for more then 5 minutes, when the minutes turn into hours and I don't even bat an eye, when my brain is moving faster then my pen, trying to bombard me with a bunch of ideas at once and my pen can barely keep up, when my hand is stained with ink, when I'm lost so deeply within the story that it feels like my characters and I are the only ones in existence. And the telltale sign that I'm definitely in the zone? When, by the end of my writing session, my hands are cramped and achy and it feels like I'm emerging from a fog, a glorious, crazy, imagination-induced fog, full of images, words, and dreams for of the future, my future, my book's future and that's when I know: I wouldn't trade that zone, that total creative high, for anything in the world.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Productivity or BUST!

Productivity is at it's max for me whenever I am most busy. It used to be that I was best at 2 am but most days I'm just too tired for that anymore and my brain is fried from classes and work. So.....

Exibit A:
One week before fall finals....alone in the dorm with super awesome sidekick roomie. It's about 10 in the evening after a full day of classes and work. 
Bethany: I'm just sooooo tired of this crap. It's all crap. Who needs it?
Sidekick: No one. How was work?
Bethany: Uuuuuuuggggggghuh. (<--that was a really bad groan of exhaustion that I was too exhausted to utter)
Sidekick: What happened?
Bethany: There were people...everywhere....they all wanted things.....sooooo many things.
Sidekick: It is a university library and it is nearly finals week.
Bethany: I just want to stop. I want all of it to just stop. Why can't I just write. That's all I want, to write. (in a sad pathetic moan) I juuuuustt wannnnnna write!
Sidekick: It sucks.
Bethany: Why does it have to be so hard?
Sidekick: It's life?

As you can see, finals or near finals week would obviously be a bad time to try to write even more than I normally do. Could I have done it earlier? YES. Did I? Noooooo. Why? I don't know. I write pretty much all the time, but for some reason a huge surge hits me right when I'm supposed to be doing a project or during finals get the idea.

I guess you could say I strive when I'm challenged within an inch of sanity...note to self discover the units of sanity before you fall off that cliff.

I hope everyone has a good day! And happy writing when you're busy and when you're bored to tears. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My formula for productivity

I tend to be my most productive from seven to ten in the morning on Saturdays in November. How’s that for specific? Although I have to admit that it almost sounds too specific now that I’m reading back over it. However, I have proof.

Saturdays: Every Friday night I spend at least an hour talking to a friend who is just now getting to a point where he feels comfortable admitting that he writes for fun. We bounce ideas off each other, do research, and e-mail segments of our stories back and forth. By the time we get off the phone all I can think about it writing, but I can’t because I have to go to bed. As a result I’m raring to go come Saturday morning.

Saturday mornings: Whenever people ask me what time I get up on the weekends I answer “about 10:00 or 10:30” but I’m actually up and dressed by 7:00. I just lie about it. Why? Because around 10:15 my phone starts ringing and e-mails start coming in. This way I can write for a few hours undisturbed before my life invades. If I didn’t have those three hours two or three times a week I’d never get any writing done.

November: In general the whole month of November tends to be a very productive time for me because I’m wracked with guilt. Every year I do NaNoWriMo in November, and signing up for it and making that commitment really helps motivate me. I pride myself on accomplishing anything I set my mind to, and I work my but off so I don’t have to suffer the humiliation of not getting the job done. A little twisted I know, but if it weren’t for November I probably wouldn’t have gotten a first draft of even one book done, let alone two.

Still amped up from the night before + deception + the month of guilt = productivity

There it is my secret formula for being my most productive. Yep, this is what happens when you ask a math nerd to figure out when they are their most productive. Thank goodness I’m cute.


Pushing Through the Pain

So this week's topic talks about when we're most productive in regards to our writing and I have to say...I'm not sure anymore. In the past, I've been a total night owl and (if I'm on a roll) and can write-or stay awake daydreaming-until the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, that's changed drastically. I still stay awake pretty much all night (I'm a total insomniac) but I don't write much at night like I used to. I don't know what it is. Now, when night falls, I look forward to reading, listening to my Kindle, watching Veronica Mars (Best. Show. EVER!) on Netflix, or god forbid, actually sleeping. But writing? I always have the best intentions when I sit down at the computer at night. I say things like "after I write 200 words, then I can watch V.M., I mean it this time!" Ha! Guess which option usually wins?

I don't know if my lack of writing is because I'm exhausted from being a college student, pining away for an office (or even a bedroom for that matter) of my very own, unable to focus due to noise/no noise/homework, boredom, lack energy, motivation, or all of the above. Who knows, but I know that I can't keep using all those things as an excuse anymore. If I want out of this writing dry spell, I have to force myself out of it, not keep sitting around wishing. wondering when it will go away and tricking myself into thinking that if I wait just a few more days and give myself just a little bit more of a break that the dry spell will pass.

Writing for me is kind of like exercises at the moment. I haven't exercised regularly in a long time, and now that I have been for the last few weeks, it's starting to get a little more bearable every time I do it. Sure, when I first start to do the exercises, the last thing I want to do is keep going, all I want to do is quit, but then when I push through the pain and the urge to quit, things get a little easier and by the time I'm finished I'm exhausted and sweaty and in desperate need of a shower, but I feel better. I feel better for having pushed myself and working hard and not giving up (for long anyway, lol) when things got tough and that's when I know in the long run that it will all be worth it, all the agony I'm going through now, the burning lungs, straining muscles and sweaty brow, will all be worth it in the end when I get on the scale and see I've lost weight.

The same goes for writing. I may not want to do it when I first start out and try to come up with excuses for why I should quit and do something else more fun, but then when I get into it and get into a groove, it gets a little easier and before I know it I have a page under my belt and I'm feeling great and that's when I know: in the end it'll all be worth it, all the agony, the dry spells, the writer's block, the doubt, when I have a finished first draft in my hands.

Sorry for the rant, I just had to get this all of my chest, but I guess to answer the question when am I most productive the answer is simple: when I push through the pain and refuse to give up. I think that'll be my writing mantra this year: push through the pain and never give up. Well, I'm not making any promises, but I will promise to try my damnedest to make this happen.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Best Magazine I Read In December

In a recurring theme, the best book I read this December was once again about cooking. Only this time it was a cooking magazine instead of a cook book, but the information was just as interesting if not more so.

My mom picked it out for me the last time she was in the city. Apparently she saw the huge slice of decadent chocolate cake on the cover and thought of me. However, the Taste of Home Celebrations edition had a lot more than that in it.

One thing that I really liked about it was that it was centered on recipes for different holidays and get-togethers. Because of this there was a large variety of radically different recipes in the one magazine. For example “Celebrations” contained recipes for Asian Spring Roles, Spring Pea Soup, Southwest Rib Roast With Salsa, and Elegant Chocolate Torte. It was nice not having to buy eleven different magazine to gain access to such a wide variety of recipes.

However, my favorite aspect of “Celebrations” was that it had little tips and sidebar recipes. More bang for my buck that way. Not only was I able get all of those great recipes, but I was also able to learn how to prepare lobster tail halves and make white Russians. Since I love learning new things this was the perfect cooking magazine for me.


January Reading List

So, as you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting a Best Book of (Insert current month here) post for a few months now. This is because I've been reading, here and there. but I haven't finished reading anything for a long time and, unfortunately, that was also the case for December. BUT! Never fear! I just went to Borders Books and Music over the weekend and picked up four new books to sink my teeth into! My goal for this month is to finish reading at least one of them so that I finally have a proper Best Book of... post to write for the month of January! Now, without further ado, meet my shiny new additions to my already overflowing bookshelf:A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Gorgeous covers, no? :) I've started reading Mockingbirds and Fallen and really like them so far! Plus, I've seen all of these books mentioned in the blogosphere, so really, how could I not read them?! :)
Hoping for a much more detailed Best of... post this month,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Late late goals.

Here is the full post, but I'm in a rush so I wanted to say SORRY x INFINITY for the late-ness. I am going to imporve on this in the new year, though my start has not been good. Here is a summarized list of my goals.

Do MORE research for Glass Heart
-Finish Glass Heart
-Read, over 100 books
-Pass AP exams (with flying colors)
-Give Kittens baths
-Continue to work on stepping out of my comfort zone.
-Query until my fingers bleed (after finishing
And editing obviously)
-Choose a school(for those who are wondering I have been accepted to 6 for 6, out of 14 applications so it will be tough. What was I thinking?)
-Buy(and read) EVERY book that is written by one of my buddies on the blogsphere
-Buy a Wand from Olivanders at TMWOHP.
-Figure out some of the Bestie angst I've been dealing with.
-Clean my room
-Categorize my entire book collection before departing for college
-Organize my life (hehe not happening, but I can hope)
-Help out my crit. groups as much as I can.
-Oh and most important, be at the Midnight Showing for HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 in full HP garb. Yes I am that kind of nerd!
-Alright, I lied, this is the most important, begin posting regularly again, on this blog and my personal blog.

Here is my complete ramble filled post over on my personal blog, if you want to read it otherwise, sorry again, I PROMISE I am going to do better.