A Writer's Journey

January 15, 2018

Time to Knuckle Down

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
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It’s a New Year!

Time for some new habits!

Starting today, January 15th, I will start to convert The Christmas Wish from an Outlaw Queen fanfiction into an original work with hopes of publishing it for next Christmas. I know I should probably dive right back in with the Big Project, but I feel like I would need to finish this first so I can meet my self-imposed deadline.

Then I will jump start the Big Project. I’ll let you know when.

I’ve decided to go back to my old system—a half hour a day dedicated to The Christmas Wish and then working on everything else. Which means I’ll have to figure out a new way to work on my fanfics—maybe putting them on a rotating schedule. I don’t want to neglect them.

I’ll check in every so often, I promise.

Wish me luck!

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January 1, 2018

My 2018 Anticipations

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
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Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is a lot less stressful than 2017 turned out to be for everyone!

As I’ve done for the past few years, I’m sharing my anticipations for 2018. I don’t like the word “resolution” and feel that’s just setting myself for failure. But if I anticipate something…well…that’s different.

So here are my anticipations for the year:

  • Work on The Christmas Wish with aim of self-publishing by Christmas
  • Jump start the Big Project and work for self-publishing in 2019
  • Finish “Better When I’m Dancing” and start to turn my Soldier Verse drabbles into a proper story
  • Work on some original pieces
  • Network more with authors, both in and out of fandom
  • Continue my regular posting schedule on this blog
  • Read 13 books this year
  • Review more books on my other blog

And on a personal note:

  • Exercise more and lose some weight

So those are my anticipations. Here’s a toast to 2018 and wish that it’s not as crazy as 2017 was.

Please share your own anticipations for 2018 in the comments. I’d love to read them!

    December 25, 2017

    Christmas Lights

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
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    It was cold.

    She rubbed her hands together as they were getting cold despite the gloves she wore. Her nose had lost feeling a while ago and she could feel her body trembling. Yet she waited, knowing it would be worth it in the end.

    “I’ve brought hot chocolate,” he said, holding out a thermos. “You want some?”

    “Thank you.” She took it, smiling at the man. Like her, he came up here every Christmas Eve. She never asked him his name and he never asked for hers. They just sat on the hoods of their cars, watching the city below.

    He watched as she poured some hot chocolate into a cup and then took the thermos from her. Instead of going back to his car, though, he lingered. “May I join you?”

    “Umm, sure…” She scooted over a bit so he had some room to sit on her hood.

    Their shoulders brushed as they watched the sun set over the hills. “Almost time,” he said.

    She nodded, sipping the hot chocolate. “This is good. Thanks again for it.”

    “You’re welcome,” he replied before they fell into an awkward silence again.

    Setting aside her hot chocolate, she held out her hand. “I’m Noelle, by the way.”

    He chuckled. “Noelle? How appropriate.”

    “Thank you.” When he didn’t say anything else, she leaned closer. “And you are…?”

    “Kris,” he replied. “Like Kris Kringle.”

    She giggled, trying to hide it behind her hand. “Sorry. It’s probably not funny.”

    “No, it kinda is. I’ve come to accept it.” He winked at her and she flushed.

    “I get it, though,” she said. “I’m a Christmas baby and I was teased mercilessly.”

    “Christmas baby as in…?”

    She nodded. “Tomorrow is my birthday.”

    “Is it as bad as I’ve heard?”

    “I think it depends on your parents,” she replied. “Mine are pretty good at trying to separate the two, so it’s not as sucky. But I’ve never had a birthday with my friends on my birthday. When I was little, that’s all I wanted. I even asked Santa for it.”

    He smiled. “I doubt he could give you that.”

    “No, he couldn’t, though he did leave a very nice apology letter and a doll wrapped in birthday wrapping paper,” she said.

    “Santa was considerate.”

    She laughed. “Yes, he was.”

    “Today’s my birthday,” Kris said, sipping his own hot chocolate. “I’ve escaped my birthday party.”

    “What? Why?” She set down her drink, focused on him now.

    “Because everyone gets overly cheery in trying to pretend that my birthday isn’t Christmas Eve and after awhile, I need a break from all the attention, you know?”

    Noelle nodded. “I guess so.”

    “So, I come here and watch the lights with you,” he continued. “Then I go and get a drink at a nearby bar with my friends.”

    “That actually sounds great.”

    Kris nodded before looking out over the little town they called home. “It’s about to start.”

    They both fell silent as church bells rang to welcome the evening. Houses began to light up, block by block, until the whole town was illuminated in bright reds, greens, blues, yellows and whites. She could make out some Santas as well as several reindeer and an army of snowmen. There were also a few Nativities and a bunch of stars shining below them.

    It was a Christmas Eve tradition though no one knew why everyone started to wait for the bells to ring to turn on their lights. Noelle had discovered how beautiful they were from that particular overlook and that’s when she had met Kris. And now they were on their way to becoming friends.

    “Beautiful,” he said.

    She smiled. “It is. People are definitely missing out.”

    “I agree,” he replied. “But I hope they don’t catch on. I like this being our own private thing.”

    “Me too,” Noelle agreed.

    Kris hopped off her hood. “Well, now that we know each other’s names and that our birthdays are so close together, care to join me for my birthday drink?”

    “I’d love to.” She hopped off as well. “Where are we going?”

    “Just follow me. It’s not far away.” He headed toward his car.

    Noelle smiled before catching sight of his thermos. She held it up. “Do you want this?”

    He grinned, leaning against his door. “Give it to me at the bar. That way I’ll know you will follow me.”

    “Don’t trust me?” She leaned against her car again, grinning at him as well.

    “I do,” he said. “But a little insurance never hurt, right?”

    Noelle laughed and placed the thermos in her car. “See you there.”

    He nodded, getting the car. Together, they turned on their lights and soon pulled away from the spot. Behind them, the Christmas lights twinkled and beckoned them to a night they would never forget.

    December 18, 2017

    Year in Review: 2017

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
    Tags: ,

    So, we’re at the end of the year. Next week, Christmas, I have a special short story I wrote last year but missed Christmas so I set it up for this year. And then after that is New Year’s, which will have my anticipations for 2018.

    For now, though, I would like to review how 2017 went for me. Let’s start with my anticipations for the year:

    Continue to post regularly here on WordPress.

    I’d say I’ve been pretty successful at this. Maybe I could’ve been better, but overall, I succeeded.

    Post a flash fiction a day on my tumblr.

    I tried but I ended up falling off sometime around the mid-year. I just ended up focusing on other things—like my Soldier Verse prompts.

    Work on the Big Project and self publish it by the end of the year.

    I’ve written about this lately. You all know what happened to the Big Project and my plans for it in the New Year.

    Work on the Christmas Project and self publish it by Christmas.

    Yeah. Didn’t get to do this.

    Get back on a regular fanfiction posting schedule.

    Where’s a laughing gif when you need one? I think I even threw myself off more this year due to a switch in my work schedule.

    Network with more writers, both in fandom and out of it.

    I met a few writers—both online and in person. So I guess that counts? They were mostly fandom, though, but I’m not complaining about that…

    Continue to try to read a book a month.

    Well, I didn’t really succeed with once a month. However, my goal for the year was 12 books and I surpassed it with 13. So I’m going to count this as a success.

    Write more book reviews for my blog.

    I’m on track to have 18 reviews for this year, which is equal to the amount I published in 2014. I probably could’ve done more—maybe gone back and reviewed a few older books—but I’m impressed with this amount.

    So my 2017 wasn’t too bad. I discovered a new Outlaw Queen universe—the Soldier Verse—and participated in a bunch of fandom related writing events. Those were definitely fun!

    In two weeks, I’ll set my anticipations for 2018! Stay tuned!

    November 27, 2017

    NaNoWriMo 2017 Wrap Up

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
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    I know there’s still almost a week left but I’m calling it now: I’m not winning NaNoWriMo this year. And it won’t be a record breaking year either.

    I’m okay with that.

    This year just wasn’t my year. I never really felt either of my stories. I thought I was excited about both but nothing really ever took off. My second attempt just seems too out of character for Regina and I’m not sure I can salvage it—as a fanfiction. I think it might work as an original story, though.

    I’ll have to see.

    Not feeling my options were a big reason why I’m not going to win. I know that. I did finish an 11k one shot for this year’s Outlaw Queen Advent Calendar but that didn’t have anything to do with it (except be the reason why I had no writing to add on Friday). I had the same thing last year but still managed to write a lot then—but I really was into my project last year.

    Maybe next year will be better. And maybe I’ll return to an original work then. We’ll see.

    How was your NaNo?

    November 23, 2017

    Time to Give Thanks

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
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    Today is Thanksgiving. It’s amazing to think it’s already upon us. I told you this part of the year always seems to fly by.

    Anyway, since it’s Thanksgiving, I want to once again share what I’m thankful for.

    Of course, I am always thankful for my family. I love each of them—no matter how crazy some of them are. (Though in some circles, I’m probably an eccentric cousin. At least, I hope so. It seems like a cool role to fill).

    I’m also thankful for still having steady employment at a place I love to go to every day. I am grateful for having amazing coworkers who have created a great atmosphere that makes it a great place to work. And I am grateful to be aligned with an organization that does such great work in the community.

    I’m thankfully for finding Once Upon a Book Club as it has introduced me to books I might not have read otherwise. I’ve been enjoying expanding my bookshelf.

    I’m thankful for Lana Parrilla and Sean Maguire. Thanks to them, I found an amazing group of friends.

    Which leads to me thanking my friends. You all are amazing and I enjoy talking with you. I’m so grateful I got a chance to meeting a lot of you this year—either if we went to dinner in March or met up at OUAT NJ last month. You all are amazing.

    Thank you to the Outlaw Queen fandom. We’ve been through a lot but we’re still standing strong.

    And my biggest thank you goes to all my readers! Whether you read my fanfics or read this blog, you all are amazing. I would probably write anyway, but it’s nice to know I’m not just shouting into the void. That there are people listening to me, reading my words and liking them. And not just liking them but commenting and engaging with me. I enjoy all our interactions.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    November 10, 2017

    Starting Over (NaNoWriMo Edition)

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 1:00 am
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    Yes, I decided to scrap the project I was working on and start all over on a new one.

    Why?

    I just wasn’t feeling my original project. To be honest, I had been waffling for most of the month so far. And keep in mind, we’re barely ten days in. But I couldn’t come up with a better idea so I decided to power through it.

    Then came Tuesday. I was trying to find something to watch and saw that Hallmark Channel was airing A Princess for Christmas. I had seen it a couple days earlier but it was the only good thing, so I watched it again. And a couple days ago, I caught “Crown for Christmas,” another Hallmark Christmas movie.

    It hit me hard. I was going to do “Crown for Christmas” but with an Outlaw Queen twist. Robin would be the hotel worker who meets the queen of a small European nation (Regina) and is then recruited to help care for her son—just as a tutor rather than a governess. Or whatever the male version would be.

    So I’m doing that now. And it’s definitely going better than my original idea. Always goes to show that sometimes it pays to take risks.

    Wish me luck!

    November 5, 2017

    Starting Over

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 11:00 pm
    Tags: ,

    Okay, I’m sure you know by now that my faithful laptop Old Blue died on me this past September and that I lost almost everything on the hard drive. So I’m now saving everything on my OneDrive account.

    I’m sure you probably also remember me working on something I cryptically called my “Big Project.” Guess what was not saved on OneDrive?

    Yeah.

    So now all that work is gone. I mean, I’m not back completely at square one since the “Big Project” is me converting one of my Outlaw Queen fanfictions into an original novel. At least I have a baseline to start from again.

    There are a lot of questions, though, I need to ask myself. Well, there is one big question I’ve been asking myself for several months now:

    Do I recreate the extensive rewrites and additional material I initially created when I first started on the “Big Project”?

    I’ve really been trying to figure this one out for several months now. I wrote up a lot of new material for the Big Project but I want to keep it under 100,000 words as that is a bit wordy for a novel. And I also figured that people like the original enough—did I really need the new material?

    Then I think about some of the stuff I added. A lot of the early part of the Big Project was written from the Main Female Character (MFC)’s point of view and then later on, I added the Main Male Character (MMC)’s. The additional material added some of his perspective earlier. I would like to keep that.

    This might end up being a compromise. I try to keep the word count down by sticking as close to my original fanfic as possible but adding some new bits to flesh out the MMC more.

    Well, I have some time to figure it out. I first want to get through NaNoWriMo and then I’ll restart the Big Project yet again.

    October 23, 2017

    NaNoWriMo 2017: It’s Coming!

    Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
    Tags: , , , ,

    Holy crap, October is almost over! The end of the year always seems to fly by, doesn’t it? Not the dreary winter months of January, February and March but the fun months—Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! (Come on, that’s what we really think when we hear October, November and December if you’re American).

    It also means that NaNoWriMo is around the corner. Once again, I will be participating. And once again, I will be using it to write my Outlaw Queen Christmas fic.

    So, what is it about? Glad you asked!

    (more…)

    October 16, 2017

    So What Happened to My Stories?

    A couple weeks ago, I posted about how my laptop Old Blue died. I wrote that I was waiting to see if the IT guy at work could salvage anything off the hard drive. The answer is in:

    No.

    So, yes. Everything that hadn’t been on OneDrive is lost. And that ended up being a lot.

    As I said, lesson learned. I’ve been looking into an external hard drive to be sure I have a backup though I’ve started saving a lot more to OneDrive. I’m not going to lose all of that hard work again.

    How much work, you ask? Well…

    (more…)

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