White Rabbits! It’s March!

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It’s not quite with it in terms of Spring weather, but we’re getting there. I’ve been missing my blog, and my writing, and my reading, and everything that keeps my head sane. The cold reminds me that we really haven’t gotten too far from Christmas, but March – March sounds so promising!

I’ve moved libraries as of February. Me and another MLS grad are trying to turn around a little branch in a middle class neighbourhood. There’s chipped paint, and a bit of an unkempt feel about the place, but it’s not bad by any means. I’m really happy to be there, honestly, because it’s my branch for now and having new events and new book displays pleases me to no end.

But I’m busy, as I always say. I have to get up at 6AM, get on the bus at 7 with Steve, then by 8 I’m on the Metro through the city. I’m lucky to have lunch to myself, so I can at least get something down on paper, or read a few pages of a book. I even thought about documenting my library experience, but I only get a few lines at a time before I have to put the diary away and tend to something else.

Sunday though, Sunday is for resting. So here I am, writing in my blog, deciding which book project I want to work on today. I’ve had some good premises for book ideas lately, but stopping and starting doesn’t make for a very satisfying experience. But I keep on keeping on, as we all do.

Hope everything has a good work up to Spring.

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Being a writing librarian

Library garden in a bit of snow.

I’ve been working at my new library job for three months now and in February I am supposed to be transferred to a new, smaller and quieter library. My hope is that in this new place I’ll have a more relaxing lunch break where I can jot down something each day in order to keep up a new novella idea I had.

Being a natural procrastinator, it is really hard for me to get back into writing when I’m busy all week, riding the bus to and from work, and being on duty as the customer service representative of books that I’m supposed to be every day. But, as I’ve said, this new library may be quieter and less of a worry to scramble around and end up completely exhausted by the time I get home.

Librarians do not sit and read books all day. We don’t even stock shelves all day. Of course, in our district, librarians are locked away alone in some office somewhere away from the public. What I do is customer service – we deal with the management of the library. Helping customers with books, CV writing, emails, photocopying, room bookings, reading to kids, making sure kids don’t pull plugs out of the back of computers, the list goes on and on. It’s not a stressful job (teaching high school was the most stressful job I’ve ever had so anything not stressful to me means something that doesn’t make you physically ill every day) but it is demanding so you have to have lots of sleep and with-it-ness to make it through each day.

So trying to wind down for the hour I have at lunch it’s tough. Plus, I don’t have that whole hour alone because other people come in and out of the staff room. But I started writing a messy manuscript in a notebook that I keep in my book bag for the 10-15 minutes that I have to just sit and get some words down. I’ve started something contemporary because trying to deal with sci-fi or a thriller seems a bit too detailed for a willy-nilly word sprint in the afternoon.

A lot of people have given me great ideas on how they make time for writing, but with anything in life, I have to figure out what’s going to work best for me. I stopped worrying about a word count because it was starting to feel like it did with jogging – all I could do was stare at the numbers and pray that the countdown didn’t take too long. Number and me just don’t work well together.

January has been a crazy month, so he’s hoping that the rest of the year gives me more time to write.

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What happens before breakfast?

Breakfast toastie at Costa. #mymorninghasbroken

I’ve heard it said many times that our best time to write is when we’re sleepy. Some writers feel better getting to work before dawn, and some write better late at night. When you’re working full time, what works best for keeping your writing goals in check?

I don’t have any word count goals right now because I’ve slacked so much on the actual butt-in-chair aspect. When I have time, I sit at the computer and churn out some outlines of book ideas that have come to me. I explore details of each to see what would fit or work better for each story. Of course, it won’t be until I get the writing underway that I’ll know what will actually work.

I have such a hard time getting my head out of the real world and into my own, that when I’m running around, I can’t focus on getting words down. I don’t know what could change that problem other than trying different things until I find something that works.

So, what do you do to keep your writing afloat? Do you work late at night, early morning, during lunch? Here are some ideas of what worked for other writers:

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Writing and publishing goals for the New Year

Happy New Year from across the pond! #2015

Now that I’ve been working in libraries for a few months, I’ve come to a strange conclusion about books – there are a lot of them, but only some really popular ones.

In our library, the authors who move the quickest are Stephen King, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Martina Cole, Marian Keyes, and Richard Patterson. Aside from King, I’ve not read any of these authors, just because they aren’t really my taste in books. With the kids, they still check out Jacqueline Wilson as well as the Tom Gates or Wimpy Kid books. That’s about it. Everything else is hit or miss, and their popularity seems to go as quickly as it came.

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good books. I’m just now reading Gone Girl, but we have copies sitting on the shelf – the peek of “gotta have this” has passed.

So what does this mean for authors? We all want to be loved and adored by readers, of course, but the lasting power, the importance of one book – is it really something we should be striving for?

I’ve decided that, no, that’s not how I should be looking at my books. I like to get the stories in my head out and into words. I like the idea of sharing my stories with others and readers like my stories. And I don’t want to waste my time not doing something I enjoy.

This is why I’ve pretty much hooked into the self-publishing for this year. My YA sci-fi got some great feedback from potential editors, so I’m pleased with that, but it just means I want to keep working on them, edit and publish them myself.

My NA Thriller that’s the Shakespeare retelling wasn’t a hit with anyone I queried. But I like it and I told it the way I saw it in my head for years. I can self-publish that as well and move along without getting upset or have hurt feelings that my story wasn’t what someone else was looking for.

I’ve also found great solace in not fighting the publisher race as well. I’m fine with Wattpad and Smashwords. I’m fine with just doing what I want to do and getting on with it. It’s not to say that I won’t query editors later on, but for now I’m fine with being on the solo mission.

I hope everyone has been having a great New Year. Keep writing and keep on keeping yourself happy in your work!

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Four more sleeps until Christmas

Coffee and mince pie.

For the first time in a long time, I’ll be working the week of Christmas. I have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Christmas Eve) to make my appearance at the library. Luckily the agency staff all got a couple of extra days off as well, so I’m free to hang out at home with Steve. (We may actually have a change to drive somewhere and do something outside of town!)

Today the Christmas turkey arrives so we can put that in the fridge. We may also brave the retail mall for some big TV shopping. On Monday we’ll have to get the rest of our Christmas necessities: biscuits, milk, oranges, and kitty litter. Tuesday is the late night at the library, and Wednesday I’ll be donned in my Christmas jumper. At least we close early that day.

My new job is turning permanent next year, so the boss in the process of getting my contract sorted. This means chasing up references, and producing a proof of address in order to get the ball rolling.

Lately, as I’ve said more than once, I’ve just been busy doing my daily routines. I finally was able to get my hair done last week, so I don’t look like some ragamuffin who looks in the mirror and think everything’s okay. I’m also done with the Christmas shopping (aside from the television shopping today). Of course, every time I think I’m done, I think of or see something new to add to the stack of presents in the closet that needs wrapping.

That wrapping never ends!

I haven’t been reading as much since I discovered that looking at an electronic device on a bus makes me sick to my stomach – bummer. The same goes for my writing, even though I have a set plan of events for my YA sci-fi series. I’ve been editing the first book with my CP and writing the second book slowly but surely. (Very slowly.) Since I’m not in the midst of the Twitter/PitchMad fever lately, I’m not as worried about getting things done in a rush and it, inevitably, ending up sub-par.

I also have my NA Thriller that still needs publishing on Smashwords. Maybe I’ll get to it early in the New Year. My schedule will change soon, so I may end up with half days on Wednesday and every other Saturday off so I can catch up on the book stuff much easier.

Anyway, with that update, I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. Hope you have a great holiday!

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