NaNoWriMo Recap | I Won!!!

NaNoWriMo Recap | I Won!!!

Last week, I conquered NaNoWriMo!

NaNoLogo
Woohoo!!! Yay Me!!! I did it!!!

You were probably expecting an update on my progress a lot sooner, but the day after or really the minute after I won, I got sick. And I should’ve seen it coming with all of my family sick, but I was entirely too optimistic that I would be able to escape the sickness. Needless to say, I was pretty miserable for most of last week, but I am happy to say that I am back and ready to chat.

This year’s NaNoWriMo was a lot different from the years I’d done previously. For one, I outlined the book I wanted to do when I usually pants it the entire time. Another very crucial difference is that this year, I vlogged my entire month. For those of you who don’t know, and if you’re on the internet I’m not sure how you don’t know, but vlogging is similar to blogging in that you’re simply saying whatever is on your mind. In blogs, you write it and in vlogs you’re sitting in front of a camera and talking for a few minutes.

Vlogging gave my writing a new accountability. I knew that I had to do a vlog of my writing update so it made me want to have at least written a little something each day. Sure, there were days when I didn’t write at all, but knowing that I was keeping track of my progress made me want to do a little more than I would have probably done otherwise.

I was a lot more open in the vlogs than I expected I would be. I found myself not just talking about how many words I’d written that day, but also about how my day was, some new books I’d read and I even had an emotional heart-to-heart towards the end of the month (that’s Day 21, in case you wanted to know. If you’re not up for emotions, I’d skip that video if I were you.) It was so freeing and awesome sharing my experiences and everything that came with my day to day life. I’m not sure I would do it as frequently, but I definitely think it’s cool to share a little bit of my day with you all from time to time and it’s something I definitely plan on doing in the future.

NaNoWrimo is and always will be an awesome experience. This year alone, I’ve been opened up to so many new experiences, vlogging only being one of them. I went to my first  in-person write-in this year and I also donated to NaNo for the first time. I enjoyed NaNo so much and I am so thankful for each and every year I do it. I’m already ready for next year!

❤ Maya

But wait, there’s more…

The entire playlist of my NaNoVlogs is below. At the end of the playlist is the NaNoWriMo Tag and a video about Why you should Donate to NaNoWriMo. I hope you enjoy these videos. For more videos every Wednesday, please subscribe to my channel.

A Year Ago Today…

A Year Ago Today…

A year ago today, I had my launch party for my self-published novel, Last Look Back. The book was published a month before, but November 14th is what I consider to be the official publication day. It’s the day when everything started. And when everything ended. I was no longer a novice with dreams of being published. I was now a published author with sales to generate and people to read my book. If you’ve been following my blog since this time last year, you will be aware of my up and down journey with the self-publishing industry How my sales have been minuscule and my morale has gone lower than that. It forced me to consider whether writing was the right career for me and whether I was good enough to call myself a writer. The book’s not selling so that must mean it’s no good which also must mean my writing is no good. I’m telling you, my pity spiral was intense. I didn’t give up writing entirely (it’s too much apart of my soul to do that) but I was ready to wipe my hands clean of getting published ever again.

Perfectly sums up my mood.
Perfectly sums up my mood.

And then I found out about Writer’s Digest Self-published Book Awards. I can’t remember if I spoke about it on my blog or not, but earlier this year, I entered. I think it may have been one of those last ditch efforts to see if my book was good or not. Last month, I found out I didn’t win. I was so used to disappointment by then that it didn’t seem to matter. Depressing, I know. Yesterday, and this is when it gets to the good part, I got an email that read: Your 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition brief judges commentary. It was the comments from the judge who’d read my book. I immediately exited out of the tab my email was on. I was thinking, Yes, I know my book was bad, I’m not ready to hear you say it though.

Closing my ears. Not listening to your probably negative feedback.
Closing my ears. Not listening to your potentially negative feedback.

I stepped back and saw how ridiculous I was being and told myself, Be a big girl, read the dang email and get it over with. You want to know what happened? I didn’t die. Criticism is hard. We know that, but it’s not going to kill you and the comments my judge had were really helpful. The judge pointed out some of the mistakes I’d made, mistakes that I’d call rookie mistakes. Rookie mistake should’ve been expected since Last Look Back was the first book I’d published and I shouldn’t have been beating myself up over how good or bad it was since it was only my first book. I can be my own worst critic. Here we have someone who is reading my book objectively and they aren’t nearly as mean as I’m being about it.

oh thank you
You didn’t think it was horrible? Oh my goodness, thank you.

I’m not going to share everything, but I do want to include one little snippet. Mostly, so I can look back at this when I’m feeling down.

The judge wrote:

 Suggestions: Study editing and punctuation or hire a good editor. Get a great book on self-editing to cut costs on paying for an editor. Attend writing workshops and conferences where classes for these writing skills are common…Wonderful talent shining through. This writer needs to keep writing!

–Judge, 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

To hear my book is good from someone that knows me is one thing, but to hear that my book even vaguely has some sort of potential from someone who doesn’t know me except for some words on a page is something else entirely.This person knows nothing about me except for the pages I sent in and for them to say I have talent, the book doesn’t entirely suck (my words, not theirs), you need to keep writing, and on top of that, to give me tips on how to move forward, was exactly what I needed to hear. I have direction. I have something that I can do to actively get better. I used to think I was an idiot for trying to self-publish so soon, but now I see that everything needed to happen exactly as they did, so I could get here. This year has been one of the most difficult years I’ve experienced, but it all worked out because I’m still here with a story to share with you and a plan for the future. For that I am grateful and because of that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Until next time,
❤ Maya

NaNoWriMo TAG

NaNoWriMo TAG

If you didn’t know already, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. It’s Day 4 and I thought this was a good time to celebrate making it this far (4 days is an accomplishment if you’ve done NaNoWriMo before.) We’ll be celebrating with the NaNoWriMo TAG, 9 questions all about the NaNo experience. I hope you enjoy!

If you would like more of these videos, please subscribe to my channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkMVxL4PKW9rHkDHPO4-tdA.

Also, I’m fundraising for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo which is a nonprofit depends a lot on donations to keep the organization going. I love NaNo so much and I want to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. I would love it if you all would donate to this cause, but if you’re not quite convinced why, you should check out this link that explains just why NaNoWriMo is so awesome (and worth keeping): http://nanowrimo.org/why-donate. My fundraising page can be found here if you’d like to donate: http://www.classy.org/mayasp8. Any donation is appreciated. I and every NaNowrimo writer out there greatly appreciate your support. Thank you so much for helping this program, which has become a best friend over the last few years, stay around for many more years to come.

Have a great day, everyone!
❤ Maya

“It’s a Long Story”: Book 2 Update

“It’s a Long Story”: Book 2 Update

resume-story-e1386013729387-750x422

So, this is the part when I give you an update on my progress with Book two. As you probably guessed from the title, it’s kind of a long story, but I’m going to tell you the short version. When I self-published book one, I was not prepared for a few things and these things had an enormous effect on how I felt about book two. Let me explain:

  1. When you self-publish, you have to do all the work. Now that should’ve been obvious, but I didn’t foresee how stressful and overwhelming doing everything from formatting to marketing would be especially since I had no previous knowledge before embarking on this journey. I should’ve seen it coming, but unfortunately hadn’t and now, I’m not looking forward to doing this all again for book two.
  2. When you’ve written a first book, you get asked how the second book is coming. Great question, the first time. Stressful, the 25th because it reminds you of how little if any progress you’ve made.
  3. When you publish, the book is no longer yours. Because you published and you have this “gift” of writing, you are no longer allowed to keep your book to yourself which may have been the hardest thing for me to stomach because I never realized how personal my writing was and how much I write for me. Most times, I’m not writing because I want to, it’s because I have to to get everything out of my brain and feel better. But having to because it makes you feel better and having to because people are pressuring you to share your work are two different things.
  4. Writing is something I’m good at, but not something I like to do all the time.To be honest, it can be a tedious process and it’s not fun spending all of my time doing it.
  5. When working on a second book, you want the second book to compete with book one which inevitably changes your writing. You stop writing like you and try to write “better.” You write what you think people will prefer, but it doesn’t work and you end up hating everything.

So, what have I learned from all of this. I learned I need to take a break from this book. It’s been stressing me out and making me not love writing as much. I need to take back my book and get back to writing for me. I think I’m going to give myself the summer to have a little fun and read more. I’ll take notes on the book, and maybe I’ll start working on it again for Nanowrimo.  Or maybe I’ll have chilled out before then and will work on it sooner. I have no idea and it’s actually fun not knowing. I’m just going to run with it and hope for the best.

❤ Maya

Goodbye “Storytime with My!”

Goodbye “Storytime with My!”

It’s time we’ve said goodbye to Storytime.

GoodBye

As we say goodbye to another project, it’s got me thinking. I recently read an article about what makes people ditch a book, but what about what makes a writer ditch a project they’re working on. Is it that the project is too ambitious or overwhelming, too boring, too normal or are they just not feeling it anymore? For me, the last option is usually what causes me to give up a project and that’s why Storytime is going bye-bye. The novelty of doing a story every week has worn off and now the show as a whole is becoming more work than it’s worth. The short stories aren’t serving a purpose other than I have  4 more short stories to my collection and the show isn’t serving it’s original purpose either. It was supposed to be a break during the week, but is a lot more work than I first imagined and hard to keep us with, so I think it’s time for me to say goodbye.

If you’ve been following me for a while, or really just the last few months, you know I go through phases. I get really excited about a project or schedule and before long the excitement inevitably wanes. Despite the number of times this cycle has happened, I still find myself feeling bad about it. That I should stop giving up on projects and stick with it. But then the other side of me says that if I’m not feeling a project anymore then I should let it go. If I make myself do it, the creativity will suffer and then what’s the point. I’m a person that needs to try a lot of things before I settle on one that I like. I believe my blog is a testament to this trying and you all get a true view of what I’m like and what my process is like. Plus, I can promise that depending on the day, you’ll always find something different and I’m sure that as a reader that’s what you want. I’m glad that even though there are numerous projects that I’ve worked on, the overall framework of the blog hasn’t changed. Throughout each cycle, I’ve gotten better as a writer and found projects that I like while figuring out which projects weren’t the best for me. It’s a process that I’m thoroughly enjoying and that I don’t plan on changing. It’s who I am and I accept that.

Give it some time and “Storytime with My” might be back. This might be goodbye for now, but that’s depends completely on you all. If you’ve been enjoying “Storytime with My,” speak now and I’ll start it up again. It’ll be less frequent, but on a consistent basis, probably sometime in April. For the month of March, I’ll be working extra hard on my manuscript so the second draft is done by April and I can work on book 3 for Camp Nanowrimo. Yes, I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo for the first time this year. I’ve never been to camp so I’m extremely excited for this new virtual experience. Whether I decide to bring back Storytime or not, the responses I’ve done so far will be added to the Short Stories tab which you may have noticed in the menu above. There you will find all of the short stories I’ve written on this blog in one convenient location. You’re Welcome.

From the #Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. Looking for a good book to read? Let me recommend my book,  Last Look Back for your consideration. The paperback can be found by clicking here and the ebook can be found  here.

First Snow

First Snow

snowing

First, let’s me take a second to say how cool First Snow sounds for title of a book. I’m pretty sure someone probably has already taken that title, but still, it sounds like it would be a great book. If someone hasn’t already taken it, I call it!

Talking about titles instead of getting to the point. Great first post, My!

Wow, this is my first post of the year and I have set the bar for posts pretty low already. High five for me! I’m probably stalling because the only thing I really have to talk is about is that it’s snowing outside. You didn’t read that wrong. IT’S SNOWING!!! I have no idea why I’m so excited. It’s not like I’m still in school and I’ll get a snow day or that have a job that I need to call off from. I don’t know what it is. Since, I was very young, I’ve always loved the snow. There was always something magical about it and it doesn’t matter how old I get, I’m always going to want to go build a snowman, have a snowball fight or play in the snow. I’ll always be a child at heart.

Is there anything else that I can talk about?

I started re-working book 2 of the Last Look Back series January 1st (I officially began writing book 2 back in September, but took a break for Nanowrimo). OMG! I don’t think you all are ready for this awesomeness. I won’t reveal anything yet, but *crazy, happy dance* I am so excited for this book. It’s going to be insane and I’m ready for people to read it now. Well, I’ve got to finish writing it first, but you know what I mean. 2015 is looking good for me already.

Okay, one last thing and yes, I’m about to get a little sappy.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that right now, at this very second, I am currently, literally living my dream. How crazy is that? My dream was to be a published writer and that’s what I am. I write all day and I love what I do. And even more that, other people love what I do. I have gotten overwhelming kind responses to my book and everyone that reads it seems to really love it. I’m just sitting over here and I’m like, Is this really my life? Have I really reached the life of my dreams? And it isn’t even perfect and there have been a lot of ups and downs and I know there will be more, but for right now, I am so happy because I have everything I’ve always wanted. I just…Thank God, I didn’t stop or allow myself to be turned around. And I know I’ve said this before, but I am so thankful for you all. I’m glad you’re here.

Alright, enough with the sap lol. Just know I love of you guys and 2015 is going to be a great year for all of us.  I’ll see you all in my next post.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. Check the sidebar for important updates. Namely, the first “Storytime with My” will be this Friday, January 9th at 7 pm. The live feed can be found in the tab in the menu above or on my YouTube Channel.

 

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!! *or* Nanowrimo’s finally over!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!! *or* Nanowrimo’s finally over!

Last night, at approximately 5:06 pm I typed my 50,000th word and won Nanowrimo. *cue applause* Thank you. Thank you. It was an interesting journey and I was determined to do it since I didn’t quite make it last year. I was so proud of myself when I was directed to the winner page that I thought I would cry. It feels great to have this accomplishment under my belt and I’m looking forward to revisiting the project again sometime in January.

I hope this gives some sort of explanation as to where I’ve been. Nanowrimo is an arduous marathon and it took all of my brain power to accomplish it. It was just like a marathon. In the beginning, I did my best to speed through, but still paced myself. I was ahead of the schedule for most of the month and only took two days off. Towards the end, I really had to pace myself and then on the final day (yesterday) I sped towards the finish line and came out victorious.Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Now that Nanowrimo is over, it is time for me to get a much-needed rest. I plan to watch a lot of movies and just laze around. Consider it the calm before the storm because next year is going to be big for me and you all as well, my fellow rule-breakers. Can you say book tour? Can you say online writing class? Can you say Cyber Monday Ebook Sale? Oh! I’ve said too much already (lol). I have a lot of plans for this blog and since you all are faithful in sticking around, I feel it is only best to give you great things when you get here. As always you all will get more details as we get closer. There will probably only be a few more posts before the end of the year. Be sure to keep your eyes glued to screen, so you  don’t miss the updates for next year’s awesomeness.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My