Notebooks & Books On Writing

Apparently I’ve been missing out, not knowing about this book. It seems that many high school English classes use it, but mine definitely did not. The book is “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg.

I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already loving it. There are so many prompts and ideas and I’m finding it all to be quite inspiring. I read a chapter or two and I have to stop because there’s something that I want to write down before I forget!

I’ve also decided to follow in Natalie Goldberg’s footsteps and start using just plain, single subject, spiral-bound notebooks for my writing practice. I’m a little bit obsessed with office supplies, notebooks included, so I find myself constantly buying new ones, different ones. I’ll buy a large 300 page notebook and then before I’ve even filled 5 pages, I buy a pretty composition book style notebook. And another, and then a fun journal that I liked because it opened flat. Before I know it, I have 6 or 7 empty notebooks lying around, only 25% filled in total! It’s like I’m spending more time worrying about the notebooks and which one to write in than I am actually writing. And how silly is that?!

I figure that if I take the guesswork out of it and give myself that “routine” of using regular single subject notebooks, it will enable me to be more productive.

Basically, I should know by now that I work best with a routine set in place. At the very least, organized chaos. 🙂

Adjusting My Mentality

I may have talked about this topic before, but it’s currently on my mind so here I go. 

For the large majority of my life I was always anticipating the next step. My mind was constantly already on the next big thing. Impatiently waiting for a new chapter to start. That whole “13 going on 30” thing was especially true for me. I couldn’t WAIT to be an adult. I couldn’t wait to get to high school, then college, then get married, then have babies! 

I’m quickly approaching 28 and most of the things I thought would have already happened haven’t yet. As the years went by I realized that the preconceived timeline I had in my mind wasn’t really important after all. Not to me, anyway. I don’t have any children yet… and while I did get married I also got divorced! And I don’t care! That’s not to say that I think divorce is frivolous and something to be taken lightly; I certainly don’t. But I’m definitely not beating myself up over the fact that my life took a different turn. 

Something that I did start beating myself up about, however, was that I’d been working on a book for 2 years and hadn’t finished it. It’s like my mind was always so preoccupied with the future that I wasn’t taking the necessary steps in the PRESENT to get to the future… if that makes any sense. It does no good to anticipate being an author if you aren’t finishing an actual book. Duh. 🙂 I needed to adjust my thought process to focus on what was going on currently in my life rather than anticipating what I wanted to happen in the upcoming months and years. I mean, this seems fairly self-explanatory, I’m sure. But it really did take some effort to switch this up in my mind. I needed a jump start. 

Living pretty much entirely in the present is not only helpful for my work (I’ve been more productive in the last year than in the last THREE years), but it’s helpful for my personal life and my general state of mind. I didn’t want to look back and feel like I missed out on life because I was too focused on what was coming up in life. 

So here I am. Doing my best to live in the moment–in the present. I finished my novel and am working on the sequel. I started my freelance editing side gig. I started volunteering as a mentor to a foster child. I’m working up plans for a potential after school writing program (we’ll see what happens!), and I’m just doing what I can to enjoy life right now. 

Making the Time.

I would absolutely love to be fortunate enough to be able to just WRITE. Only write. Sit at home all day, writing, researching publishing, networking, reading on writing, etc. But let’s be serious… who really gets to do that? Unless you’re a highly commercially successful author with multiple new books out per year, it’s just […]

So, This Book Synopsis…

It seems I’ve been making this book synopsis far more difficult than necessary. Of course. I did some more searching around the lovely Internet for examples and tips for writing a book synopsis, and from what I found it appears that it’s basically what you would say to a friend if they asked you, “So what happens in your book?” and you have like 3-5 minutes to describe it. You want them to get the general idea, but you know that you don’t have time for all of the minor plot points or minor characters. They don’t need to know that in chapter three your MC’s older brother was working on his car, unless that somehow majorly affects the plot. (Which, in my case, it certainly doesn’t!)

So, yeah. I just wasted a lot of time getting all detailed and then freaking out wondering how I was going to condense those eight pages down to more like three pages. It’s kind of aggravating that I’ve spent so much time on the original version that I had. Alas! You live, you learn!

In other news, last weekend completely ran away with me. Do you ever have those weekends? Probably even weeks. Where you are literally going, going, going so much that you barely have time to even think? Or eat?! Yikes! I’m enjoying a restful week so far, so that’s good.

But Why Can’t I Just Be Perfect at This?

Practice really does make perfect. Or at least, it makes progress. :)

Over the last few months I’ve been helping a family member work on the sequel to their already published novel. I have no problem openly admitting that at first I was a bit nervous. I’m naturally inclined toward editing, but there are still SO many things that I’m just not quite sure on. I read through grammar and punctuation guides like crazy, but until I have to actually do the work it’s difficult for me to retain the information.

So working on this book is helping me grow so much, and I’m so grateful for the experience!

Same goes for my internship position with Underneath the Juniper Tree. Sometimes I’ll come across something that doesn’t seem right but maybe I’m not quite sure… so I have to go look it up. And at first I felt like a total fraud any time I had to look something up–I had this idea that since I wanted to be an editor I should just know everything–but I feel much better since throwing that idea out the window! I certainly don’t know everything (as much as I wish I did…!), and it feels GOOD to learn! At least, for me.

Here’s to constantly learning new things! What is something new you’ve learned recently, or learned more about? Share below in the comments! :D

Light at the End

I believe that by Thanksgiving my book will be 100% complete (all finishing touches done with), as will my synopsis and query letter. My only issue is that I want to have it looked over by objective eyes–another editor to go through and catch what I’ve missed. However, my financial situation at this time isn’t really going to allow for that. Ugh!

Hopefully I will be able to find someone to do it for a reasonable price, or perhaps will find a connection where I could get a free manuscript edit, like I did for a client… ! THAT would be fabulous. 🙂 Maybe an I.O.U. situation? Edit for edit? I’ll figure something out no matter what. Ideally, Pitch Wars will pan out!

Thinking about doing this all over again with the sequel is just too much for me to think about right now… it keeps popping into my mind and I keep pushing it out. HaHa! It will be fun to continue the story–I already have it all mapped out in my mind–but it’s a long process.

Also, I will be participating in Pitch Wars prep… ! The things you can come across via Twitter, I tell you. I got my editorial internship with Underneath the Juniper Tree, I discovered a fabulous editor who helped me figure out query letters, submitted a Twitter pitch for Write On Con, and received feedback… all from social media! 🙂 The things the Internet can do…


@jashanawriter <–Follow!

Internship Excitement!

A few weeks ago I applied for an editorial internship with a literary magazine. I saw it via a Twitter connection (I follow & am followed by one of the editors), and I knew I had to at least try. Of course the standard doubts were in my mind… “I won’t be what they’re looking for.” – “I don’t have enough experience.” – “Am I really good enough?” But I sucked it up, wrote what I hoped was a whimsical, charming, yet professional cover letter, double-checked my resume, and sent the e-mail.

Then of course comes the waiting game. I knew they were accepting applications until the 1st so yesterday I thought about it, but still was very convinced that I wouldn’t get it anyway so it didn’t weigh on my mind too much. Then today I get an e-mail from them, and I see the initial, “Thank you so much for applying…” and my heart sank a little. But then shortly thereafter, I saw, “We would love to extend the internship to you.”

AHHHH!!!!! I freaked out a little bit. I’m pretty sure I didn’t stop smiling for about ten minutes.

It’s just so perfect, because being a “responsible adult” (which is really no fun, but sometimes necessary) I have a 9-5 job to pay my bills. I can’t afford to take a part-time job so any internship requiring my physical presence for an allotted number of hours per week is simply out of the question. So this is something I can do remotely, online, from home, on my hours! And it’s for an editorial internship… precisely what I was looking for.

I guess Twitter hasn’t been a complete waste of my time after all. 🙂

I am so so SO excited!!! And I don’t even care that I probably sound like an overly caffeinated high school girl. One year of experience and being mentored is a completely legitimate reason to jump around my room smiling and generally freaking out. I’m sure in twenty years I’ll look back and find my level of excitement quite amusing… but then again, I hope not. I hope I never forget what it feels like to just be starting out, and to get those smalls steps in the desired direction. I hope I never lose that hunger.

Check out the online children’s literary magazine I’m now an intern for… ! (Guys, did I tell you I have an internship? HaHa!) >> Underneath the Juniper Tree. <<

It’s creative, fun, and generally kickass!