A Bit More About #Inktober (Part 2)

So about two weeks ago I blogged about attempting #Inktober despite having pretty much no art skill. If you didn’t catch that post, you probably should, because it’s about a lot more than just drawing badly, but here’s what you need to know for today’s post: I have pretty much no art skill, I’m doing Inktober (drawing in ink and sharing online) anyway, and I can only improve with practice.

Laura as Mara Jade with R2-D2

my Mara Jade made a friend at the con.

This past weekend I was teaching cosplay and mythology/folklore (Japanese and Norse) sessions at Quest Con, and between sessions I joined a one-hour art lesson, taught by artist Steven Moore. I figured I would learn something useful, and at worst I’d make someone else at my table feel better about their own work. Continue reading

What is up with #Inktober?

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

Drawing a sword from the book, not stabbing the book. In case it was unclear.

If you follow my social media, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting ink drawings for #Inktober, and that they’re generally awful. You might have asked yourself why I would do that. Do I know how bad they are, or do I see my work through a blissfully ignorant filter? Is it some sort of prank?

So here’s what’s up with Inktober.

First, in case you aren’t familiar with it, #Inktober is a month for doing one drawing — in ink — and sharing it per day. You can find the brief background and this year’s optional prompt list from the creator Jake Parker. It’s something like National Novel Writing Month, but for visual artists.

Now, let’s recognize that I’m bad at drawing. No, I’m really bad at drawing. The local catchphrase for referring to truly hideous visual design is, “It looks like Laura drew it.” (Don’t feel bad. I’m often the one saying it. It’s not wrong to acknowledge my skills are in other sets.) So why on earth would I do Inktober, which unlike NaNoWriMo specifically requires publicly sharing one’s work?

I’m doing Inktober for several reasons: Continue reading

News: I Have a Tesla

20151205_135738 It was roughly three years of observing and dreaming, before I had finally realized I’d saved enough. And lemme tell you, there’s no feeling like achieving a dream.

Word got out this weekend, when I picked up the car itself. I have become the very pleased owner of a Tesla Model S.

And the key point for this blog is, my books are buying it. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Continue reading

NaNoWriMo and My Secret Weapon

NaNoWriMo Winner 2015So, I won NaNoWriMo this year. But I cheated.

Okay, “cheating” may be something of an overstatement. I did not write my 50,000 words in a single project, but I did complete or make significant progress on several different projects, and that qualifies me as a “NaNo Rebel” in the NaNoWriMo community, but still a winner.

Projects included:

1) A fun little disaster tale which will be appearing in the upcoming C is for Chimera anthology (look for release details in January).

I’m pretty proud of this one, because while it isn’t the fastest story I’ve ever written, it is definitely the fastest I’ve ever produced on demand, from editor email to finished product in about a week.

2) A short story I’m intending to submit for another anthology this month. I won’t say too much on this one, because it’s not done yet and the deadline’s coming up scarily fast, and it’s a genre that’s a bit of a stretch for me. But I did get about 12,000 words written so far, so I’m certainly giving it the old college try.

3) A novel — again playing with folklore and mythology, but not Japanese or the Fae this time. Continue reading

The Monumental Marathon 5k: Go, Me!

Totally just an achievement post.

Last week I was traveling, spending much of my days on a bus. In the evening I found a hotel treadmill or, one lucky evening, a great trail by a river. I wanted to lift weights, but hotels don’t always offer weights. But all hotel fitness centers have a treadmill.

One night on a treadmill, I bumped up the speed to a jog. And when I was able to maintain that pace for a solid five minutes, I felt ridiculously proud of myself. (I know, I know. Go ahead and laugh. I’ll even laugh with you.)

Where I’m going with all this is, while high in a fit of optimism and fitness enthusiasm, I stumbled across a tweet warning of the imminent closure of registration for the Monumental Marathon. I hadn’t even known it was happening, but it offered a 5k. I signed up. Continue reading

Achievement Unlocked: Art

I have a short list in Evernote titled “Unofficial Goals Indicating I Have Arrived :D”. There are only a few entries, formatted as a checklist, of cultural ripples I have observed around successful stories.

I keep the list a secret, because I don’t want to influence the process. I want to see the organic ripples — I want a reader to tweet my title on #FridayReads because she was enthusiastic about the book, not because a friend did it just to make me feel good. Only once an achievement has been unlocked do I allow myself to share that it was ever a goal. (Yep, a #FridayReads appearance was one!)

And today I can check off another. Fan art. Continue reading

The Ragged Edge: The 10k Goal

grasp_hand_small_redder

(Photo credit: dsearls)

So to review, I noticed late last year that I had a really great year running, with over 9,000 books in paid sales. I did some very simple projections and realized that I might just break 10,000 paid sales by the end of 2013. So I announced on Facebook that if the magic number were reached, I’d release a free unpublished short story for my readers.

As we drew nearer to the deadline, I formalized the promise and sweetened the pot with another short story.

So, did we make it? Continue reading

Goal: 10,000 for a free story

Seahorse

Seahorse (image credit: bertarista)

So a few weeks ago I mentioned on social media that I was quite close to hitting 10,000 paid sales this year, which is flippin’ awesome. And if I hit it, I said on impulse, I’d share an unpublished short story with my newsletter readers. (It’s about a seahorse.) Continue reading

A Behaviorial Look at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

photo by clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html

So right now a lot of writing friends and I are stocking up on coffee, candy, and Prozac, building our bunkers for National Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo). Only I don’t like coffee, so I make up for it with chocolate. To each her own.

NaNoWriMo is a blitz to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (Of course, no, one isn’t writing a publishable book in 30 days, nor is 50,000 words a complete novel in nearly any genre. But that’s not exactly the point, either, so work with us here.)

Considering that at my sugar-and-caffeine-induced perfect zone, I peak at about 1000 words per hour, and that’s not really sustainable — I know a lot of professionals who are quite pleased with 250 words per hour — and considering that normal life doesn’t actually suspend for most of us, you can see the challenge here. So motivation and discipline are big concepts for the NaNo community.

There are lots of ways NaNo writers motivate themselves, but it boils down to several commonly-used terms — small incentives, big incentives, anti-incentives, and rituals.

Let’s look at them from a professional behavior perspective. Continue reading