uniquelyallie: (bucky writing)
And I don't know why. Well, I do. Kinda.

I spent this year (kinda) over at Dreamwidth because I hated the "new" look of LiveJournal, cringe every time I see ONTD on LJ's main page, still not crazy about the Russians, and my friends' list is basically dead. But Dreamwidth's not much better. I have like two friends over there.

I spent this past weekend reminisicing again over how cool the Internet used to be with LJ, Romance Divas, AOL's Writers Club, Genie RomEx, RWA... and how there's not places like that anymore. I know I did a similar post bitching about this (probably around this time last year). I hate how RWA is like THE thing for romance writers -- and it's not. They restructured their bylaws for tax purposes, which caused a lot of local chapters to die. Ohio Valley RWA is one of those dead chapters, and I refuse to fork out close to $150 to join National and an online chapter or two when online chapters are nothing more than promo opportunities.

Divas has changed focus from when I joined in 2005 -- and rightfully so because pretty much all of the people who were there when I joined are actively publishing. (Absolute Write's forum's too big; Harlequin's forum is too small.)

I guess I'm looking for a beginner/intermediate place a la AOL's Writers Club or Genie RomEx, where the pubbed authors hang out at, but so do the aspiring authors working on aspiringly things. And there'd be nightly writer chats.

I just can't believe with how awesome and big and endless the Internet is... there's NOTHING like that anymore? And there's NOTHING that competes with RWA?

I've spent the past 1 1/2 years surviving in college, but haven't done any fiction writing in the meantime, so I opened up another goal room for myself over on Divas this morning, even though I don't feel fiction writerly. I have a month off for Winter Break, so I'm like, "This would be the perfect time to write a draft!" I've done it for NaNoWriMo. I've even reached 50K. But the problem is... I don't know how to write a draft where all 50K words tell a complete story. In my last NaNovel I wrote in 2013, I'd sometimes rewrite a scene two or three different times, and just apply it all toward the word count. So I had a story a little over 50K -- complete with a beginning and end -- but I had to gut huge chunks, leaving me with only 12K.

So after I opened up the goalie room, I decided maybe I should get back to journaling. I need a safe space that's not a "professional" blog like what I have on my fiction writer's site or my journalist's site. That means either LiveJournal or Dreamwidth. Maybe if I'm back here on LJ, something will trigger in my brain like, "Yeah, remember when you used LJ back when you were a happy naive writer who was writing for fun? It can be that way again!"

I only wish I could wipe out pretty much all of my old entries. I tried it before, eliminating some of the ex-fiance entries, but it's just such a pain in the ass. I think I could only delete one entry at a time or something.

No promises I'll stick around, but I'll try.
uniquelyallie: (bucky writing)

If you are able to recall any pleasant writing experiences, make a note of them. Then remind yourself of these experiences whenever you think about writing.

Katie and I writing every weekend when we were in junior high. I can't remember how it started... probably had something to do with Mrs. Leesemann. I don't think we were in the same English class together, and I think that while Mrs. Leesemann was actively encouraging me to become a writer... Katie started writing because she liked it. We'd take turns spending the night at each other's house, pretty much every weekend. We'd go to the mall during the day, sometimes, or we'd hang out and watch a movie. But then came that time... it was writing time. I remember one time when we watched "Say Anything" at Katie's. We were so caught up in the movie, so in love with Lloyd Dobbler, so squealy happy how the movie ended that once it ended... we ran upstairs to Katie's room and started writing.

We'd write by hand. Pens and spiral notebooks. We'd write for stretches of time. I can't remember how long. But we'd take breaks and read what we wrote out loud. We never critiqued. We were too young to know what "critique" was. We were too caught up in each other's stories, too excited about what we were creating to even care about critique. Maybe we might've offered ideas. And then we'd write for another chunk of time. We'd do this all night long. I remember one time at my house... we did this until 7:00 the next morning.

3-Day Novel 2007. I remember I wasn't planning on doing it. It was $55 to enter the actual contest. I hadn't written anything major (Edison/Bauldner) since 2003, 2004. But someone on the 3-Day message board posted how God called her to do this. I don't know. It just set me off. I've always believed in something, but not necessarily a God. I remember thinking how God doesn't make anyone do anything; it's YOU who makes yourself do something. So I entered the contest to prove that to this woman.

I don't remember what happened around the midnight start time on that Friday night of Labor Day weekend. I probably worked at The Post. I don't even remember the beginning of Grant & Lauren being born that weekend. But I do remember it being SO MUCH FUN.

I wasn't even sure going into this that I'd actually finish.

I remember in the days leading up to the weekend, putting together Grant & Lauren's soundtrack, and trolling for Adam Levine pictures. I had an outline, but it was a sketchy one. Even the character profiles were sketchy. I remember walking to Starbucks every morning that weekend, listening to whatever specific song for the scenes I wanted to write on my iPod Shuffle, and getting a large pumpkin latte and a cheese danish. I remember the transition to appletinis and Papa John's pizza at some point in the day, every day. (I had gone to the Party Source before the weekend and got the biggest bottle of Apple Pucker and vodka they had. I figured I was going to need a lot of alcohol to get me through.)

It was the combination of the appletinis and just... just having a huge chunk of hermit time... I don't even remember really thinking about the story as I was writing it. Only have three days to write a whole novel (even if the average word count for a 3-day novel was 30K)... there was no time to think, to question, to doubt. I'd take brief breaks, pacing myself throughout the weekend, and read what I wrote. I remember being amazed at how there was a story coming out of me so fast. I remember the drunken excitement I had when I wrote my very first sex scene ever--and it wasn't cheesy.

I can't remember the end of the weekend, other than I finished. And that I was sick of pizza and needed to detox for weeks from the appletinis.

I remember printing off the manuscript, so I could read it before sending it off to the contest. I remember staring at the printer in amazement as the pages slowly spewed, amazed that I had written a complete story. I sat at the card table in the living room in my apartment in Clifton with a large glass of water, and read the entire story out loud. As I kept reading, I just got SO excited. I could see the story, I could see the characters, Lauren's voice really jumped off the page. By the end, I was crying happy tears. Crying because I had fallen in love with Grant & Lauren as people. Crying because the story came together so easily even though it was rough. Crying that I actually DID IT. I had written a complete novel.

uniquelyallie: (bucky writing)

From Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer's Block:

Think about sitting down to write--a report, a term paper, a legal brief, a short story, or any other form you choose--and observe your emotions, your thoughts, and your physical response. Do you feel a sense of dread? Does your heart beat faster? Do you tell yourself, "This will never work out"? Or do you quickly think of something else you should be doing instead?

I just feel blank. I'm sitting in front of Lime--sure, I'm probably writing--but I feel blank. I'm too caught up in something else, but I don't know what. It's not like I'm thinking ahead of what I need to write. Usually when I write, I'm typing so fast to get the story out. There's probably a lot of backspacing going on, but it's not like I'm correcting anything or making things better. I'm just... backspacing.

There's no excitement. No rush. I'm just going through the motions. Everything I love about writing I now hate. Yet I don't hate. Maybe dislike? I don't hate Grant & Lauren. But when I work on them... there's no excitement. I'm not seeing the movie in my head. I try listening to their soundtrack to get me jazzed, but nothing. I haven't listened to Sondre Lerche in forever because he's so associated with Grant & Lauren.

I'm blank. I'm numb. I feel nothing. I know I should probably walk away from Lime, but I don't. I sit there, either writing very little or writing nothing at all, because deep down... I *want* to write.

If I try to work on something new... nothing. No words come out. I'll look at outlines for other novels, and I can't see the movie, or I can't feel the excitement I had when I wrote those outlines. I think about playing with writing prompts just to get my brain dislodged. Nope. I read writing prompts, and all they are are sentences to me.

I don't even get angry or frustrated that I'm not writing when I'm trying to write.

But I guess I do avoid writing, going through this blankness, because I don't go through the motions every night of just sitting there in hopes that something will click and the words will start flowing again. I fall back on excuses: I had a crappy day at work (which is true, more often than not. Especially with this miserable assignment). I had no work to do for most of the day at work, so I'm drained. I had to stare at a lot of labels all day at work, so I'm drained. Traffic coming home was awful, so I'm annoyed. The apartment is so cluttered that it drains me. I want to spend time with Jason... which used to be crazy fun all the time... but now? It's just fun. Sometimes it's like a chore. Wait. That's the wrong term. Sometimes it's blank, too. But it's because he's not spending time with *me* because I've lost that writer part of myself.

I can't wake up early to write before work because I'm not excited about the day. I mean, look what I have to look forward to. Staring at labels and templates. Though I strangely like comparing ingredients. Maybe because it feels more like editing.

I wonder if this writing blankness indirectly plays a part in my pissiness with Thursday group?

I don't feel anything when it comes to writing. Be it the actual process or the other aspects of it. I mean, yeah, I'm starting to read again. But it's been books on Christianity. I've avoided reading fiction much like I've avoided writing. Hell, I can't say I've *avoided* writing. It's hard to avoid something that you just don't do anymore.

I'm jealous of Dan. I think that's why I get nervous about him coming back to Cincinnati and Jason spending time with him. I'm jealous of Dan because he's doing music; he's doing what he loves. I'm lucky if I can write a paragraph. The other night when Jason said he needs to break out the SK-1 and start playing with it, start making music... I got jealous then, too. Because he's inspired, because he's going to be creative. Meanwhile, I'm just so... blank.

God, just writing this journal entry... I've done a lot of backspacing. And when I'm writing this... I'm not even thinking. But it's not "not thinking" like in a good way. Like I'm so lost in my words. I'm just... not thinking. And it's like I'm not even *there*, experiencing the flow. Yet it doesn't feel like I'm forcing the words. I didn't even want to do this prompt. I started reading chapter two. I had to make myself stop, force myself to pick a prompt to explore, telling myself that I'm not going to get my writer self back if I don't at least try.

I think I feel blank in most areas of my life.

uniquelyallie: (bucky writing)

A snippet from yet another awesome blog post by Leonie Dawson:

In case you need reminding:

You need to be out in the world, big, sharing your gifts in the biggest way possible, helping as many people as you can.

uniquelyallie: (Default)
How do you like the new look? :)

It matches my Twitter name and my web site (which is currently pointing to my LJ, until my site redesign is done).

It's kinda sad that I'm retiring smitsp. Like I said yesterday, I only use that name on NaNoWriMo (it's sentimental... even though I haven't really been on the site very much within the past year, I think the last time I was on there, they have your joined date listed in your message posts. I kinda like seeing my joined date as 2002) and Philly Blog (since it's a huge active message board, and I kinda want to be gender non-specific).

Oooh, I just Googled smitsp. I forgot I also use the name at BookCrossing, AllRecipes.com, and Apple support boards.

But there was a time where *everything* was smitsp. My email, my message board names (I even started out on Romance Divas as smitsp), IM names (well, actually, I can still be reached at AIM as Smitsp and Yahoo IM as smitsp2001). I even debated on doing smitsp.com as a domain name back when I was thinking of a domain name for myself. I knew I didn't want to use my first and last name, because I knew I wouldn't be writing under Smith. Wasn't crazy about smitsp.com. UniquelySteph.com came to mind since I've always been different.

What the hell is a smitsp?

It was my login name and email address I got when I got my free Internet accounts at UC back in 1993. Back when you could get an account on their VAX and Unix systems. UC does their login/email addresses as last name + initial of first name + initial of middle name. Obviously, there was a smithsl, so I got smitsp.

When I returned to UC in 2000 for four years of part time classes, I applied for a free Internet account again. No VAX. No Unix. It's now Bearcat Online. My login/email address? smitsp again.

How'd I become a smitsp2001 at Yahoo?

Some idiot grabbed smitsp. Pissed me off. I was like, "Who even *knows* how to snag smitsp?" I mean, if it weren't for UC, I wouldn't be sitting in front of my computer thinking, "Hmmm. I need a user name. What would be a good user name? I know! smitsp!"

I even checked. I entered all sorts of various passwords that I used, figuring that maybe I created a Yahoo ID and I just forgot. Nope. Someone else is really smitsp there.

Back during my AOL days... when AOL was cool because it cost like $5 million dollars an hour, so no one could really afford it except for cool people... smitsp never once popped into my head as a screen name. I was known as Pita Bread.

When I got an invite code for Gmail... yep, planned to be a smitsp. But, nope, didn't happen. Again, someone thought smitsp was a really cool email name to have.

I just looked over my Google search results for smitsp. The first two pages, everything there is me. With the exception of this... the second to last result... that's not me. I have not been--nor will I ever be--a 40 year old male. Again, I gotta ask, why are others thinking smitsp is a really good user name now?
uniquelyallie: (Default)
Yep, I'm a lemming. Or a sheep. Or whatever follower animal you'd like to associate me with.

You can find me right here.

I wasted most of yesterday trolling around on Facebook and pimping/tricking/whatever word you'd like to use for "decorating" my page.

Hope to meet you there!
uniquelyallie: (Default)
I'm finally getting around to skimming through all the Pennwriters email that's piled up. Found out that they're bringing in Lisa Scottoline as one of the guest speakers for the '09 Pennwriters conference in Pittsburgh.

I've never read anything by her--but I totally will now that I know she lives in Philly and sets her books there--but check out this tidbit from her bio:

Always interested in writing, and a big fan of the hot new writers Grisham and Turow and the newly created legal thriller genre, Lisa realized that no women lawyers were writing legal thrillers, and decided to give it a shot. Living a life solely financed by five Visa's cards, Lisa allowed herself five years, or $50,000 in credit (whichever came first) to write and sell her first book.

Three years later, Lisa had a finished book, a daughter starting school, and five maxed-out credit cards.

I know, I know... being amazed at someone's debt is not a good thing because debt is bad. Really bad. I just wish I had a more productive goal with how I got into my debt, like umm, writing and finishing a book. :)
uniquelyallie: (annoyed)
So I wanted to try and get started on revising the next five pages of Grant and Lauren this morning before going off to the hell known as employment.

Instead, I got sidetracked with trying to get George's batteries to charge. I got George, placed him on my piece of crap wobbly TV table, woke him up from sleep, and saw that both batteries were down to three bars on the control strip. WTF? Haven't had a chance to take George out anywhere to use him.

Somewhere between Saturday night, when I kindasorta tripped over the cord, because I have to use George on my futon, which means the power brick cord is across the floor for anyone or any cat to trip over, and Sunday, when I unplugged all my computers before going up to the parents' to spend the night, his good adapter decided to kindasorta die. Kindasorta meaning it won't charge the batteries inside the computer, but it'll still power the thing.

I don't understand how George's adapters just stop charging the batteries. Because the good adapter--the one I bought used off eBay back in April--has stopped charging his batteries. The adapter still draws a current because it powers the Powerbook, but when I look at the battery stats in EMMpathy, it says that the battery is running on battery power instead of showing it's on AC current and doing a maintenance charge.

Against my better judgment... I drained both batteries with Battery Amnesia, figuring their little brains got screwed up somehow. Even as Battery Amnesia was doing its thing, I knew--KNEW--this was not going to work.

And I was right.

Nope. It's the adapter. And now I can't charge either battery in the computer. I can't even charge the batteries with that stupid VST standalone charger; I get errors.

No, it's not the batteries themselves. Not indirectly, I guess. I still have one official Apple Powerbook battery, and it charges fine in the VST charger. For whatever reason, I can't charge the non-Apple batteries in the VST charger, but can in the Powerbook, and they work fine. Get 3 1/2 hours of battery time, which is average for George. (His original batteries held a charge for around four hours.)

Why does an adapter stop charging the batteries, but keeps power to the Powerbook? This is the third adapter that's done this. The other two are George's original adapters. They once charged batteries inside the Powerbook, but back when I tried reviving the batteries I'm using now before I got the one adapter back in April... one of them showed (still does) that the batteries are running on battery power, when they're really pulling AC current, and the other adapter... I keep getting messages to plug the adapter in... even though it's powering the computer.

I thought maybe I did something to the adapter Saturday night. I kinda tripped over it, while drunk, but caught myself before I could really do any damage. And I'm pretty sure I checked to see if it still charged then. (I got in the habit of doing so after discovering that the other adapters went "bad" earlier this year.) I pulled the plug out of George, he switched over to battery power, I let it go for a few minutes, plugged the adapter back in, and then saw the lightening bolts in the control strip, showing me the batteries were charging.

Today? All I see in the control strip is a graphic of a plug, showing that the computer is drawing off AC current, but the charging has never kicked in.

I spent $80 today on a "new" adapter from PowerBookGuy.com. There's an adapter that's up on sale for eBay--auction ending tomorrow--but I got the $80 one too. So now I have to wait at least a week, and I'm now back at being a hostage on where I go to write and--just because of my nature--I'll get all worked up driving to Bruegger's, worried that I won't get an outlet.

I mean, I even had the insane thought today of: "Fine. This just completely screws up the Golden Heart. I am *not* about to do all of the writing on my stupid entry in this crap-ghetto-fur-infested dwelling."

I found my car adapter. I'm going to see if it'll charge the batteries. I used it once in the car--years ago on a drive up to a Dayton concert. I'm hoping it'll still work, and that it'll pull enough power from the car to charge the batteries. Then I get to sit in my car for an hour or so, while these batteries charge, before going off to write. Because, if the car adapter works, I have to charge the batteries before I leave, since the computer can't charge anymore. This means sitting in the car for up to three hours. (I had once drained the batteries out at Jeff's; took three hours to charge both batteries in the Powerbook.)

This sucks.
uniquelyallie: (investigating)
What sucks is that I can't go into detail about my grief. At least, not yet, anyway.

1. Denial: Been there, done that last night with thoughts of "My story was different!"

2. Anger: Hit that about 10:30 p.m. last night. With realization that editors do indeed want tried and true, but different; and that maybe all my ideas are bad ideas.

3. Bargaining: I'm thinking this is non-applicable.

4. Depression: Hit that after the anger last night, but then that faded away once I decided that I was going to work on Rejected Story for Romance Divas' Fast Draft. But then the depression came back about 1:30 p.m. today when I was sucking down a Blueberries and Creme Frappuccino at the mall, where everyone annoyed the piss out of me because all the tables outside of Starbucks were taken, so I wound up at the food court, where I couldn't have quality fume time because of annoying, screaming spawn.

Brownie points to Starbucks for playing Fallen by Sarah McLachlin. Such a feel good song. Not.

5. Acceptance: Get back with me after I have my Miles (of Sideways) therapy. No, I don't have any swill to drink, but I did buy a bottle of Pinot Noir and will see how far I can get through the bottle tonight. I was going to watch Sideways, but am opting for Show Cats on PBS instead.
uniquelyallie: (yay)
And I came up with it all by my very self!

The seed was planted, thanks to a discussion I had with Dayna Hart about taglines and branding. She wanted to use "I write weird" but Crystal Jordan came up with "Like nothing you've imagined." So I told her that I wanted to use "I write weird." She didn't recommend I should go with that. :)

Taglines and branding have been the farthest thing from my mind. Until, ummm, this week. Which I don't want to talk about because I don't want to jinx anything. So anyway...

My goal as a writer has always been to do chick lit and weird (straight SF, time travels, and paranormal romances)--and to do both genres under *one* name. So many writers have so many identities for what seems like each romance subgenre they write. They claim it's so that readers of their traditional romances won't be offended if they buy and start reading an erotic romance because, yes, readers buy on name alone.

My philosophy? We're all intelligent adults. Don't buy my (non-existent) books on name alone. Double check and make sure you really, really want to read whatever (non-existent) book of mine you're holding (or looking at on a web site). I'm sure you (the reader) are smart enough to figure out my (non-existent) book you're holding is a science fiction, and you won't like it because you hate science fiction, and you were hoping it was really a (non-existent) chick lit instead.

So you're seeing what I had to work with: Writing under one name. Two very different genres. Using one tagline.

As I drove to the paper tonight, I thought about the head-scratching (and not in a good way) chick lit I started reading this week. So many things in the book aren't sitting right with me--and, no, it's not because it's poorly written. It's the *story*. I can't believe "the lives and loves" of this particular heroine.

I started thinking about Becky Bloomwood (the Shopaholic series heroine); Rosie Dunne (of Love, Rosie); Holly (from P.S. I Love You); and Emma Corrigan (Can You Keep a Secret?). I enjoyed those books immensely; the characters--especially Rosie Dunne--sticking with me long after the stories are over. And why? Because they're *real* people. Becky, Rosie, Holly, Emma... they could be my neighbors or my friends because I can *relate* to them.

When I got home from the paper, my tagline became clear: Where realism and weirdness collide.

Realism: the theory or practice of fidelity in art and literature to nature or to real life and to accurate representation without idealization.

That covers my chick lit.

Weirdness: of strange or extraordinary character.

That covers my SF, time travels, paranormal romances.

Brownie points for me using two nouns.
uniquelyallie: (bucky writing)
I made myself go out yesterday. This is a big deal for me because, usually, I just stay inside and do nothing. Well, I do go out, but it's usually to Kroger's to get a pizza, and then I come straight home, and basically do nothing. Sure, I say I'm going to write or plot and drink a lot, but usually what I do is... drink a lot, eat the pizza, and then fall asleep.

The plan was to wind up at Kroger's to get pizza, but I was going to go to Bruegger's first to read through the Wikipedia printout on vampires.

I had to go to the post office to mail my rent check or my butthead landlord will slap me with a $35 late fee as of Monday. He better have a grace period this time around since the first is a Sunday. It should be in his mailbox on Monday; I went to Dalton Street. They're open on Saturdays until 6 p.m.

Instead of doing my usual pizza thing... I decided to go up to Trader Joe's, so I could do sushi and wine tonight. Something completely different and a little healthier... rice aside. On a whim, I went to the small Starbucks--though not as small as the drive-through/walk-in Starbucks up in Grove City--where I usually had good plotting experience in the past.

I wound up getting a small (I refuse to order my drinks using Starbucks' pretentious terminology) Raspberry Mocha Frappuccino... and... wow! That was just like sucking on a Godiva raspberry truffle. And I read my Wikipedia vampire printout and... wow... a lot of possible big plot holes were cleared up after reading some of the folklore. This is for the vampire proposal for Cobblestone that Rhonda Stapleton encouraged me to do, but I'm wondering if it's going to be too far off for Cobblestone. It's an erotic romance publisher, and the guidelines for the vampire series says erotic... but... ummm...

To paraphrase-quote Agent Smith: "Weird, twisted stories... I've missed you."

To continue on with The Matrix references: I'm going way down into the rabbit hole on this one. It feels goooooooooood!!!!

I haven't been into the rabbit hole since the Edison story. God, I've missed it!

I never had an interest in doing a vampire story. Thought it was all too cliche with the vampires trolling around after midnight, not being able to be in sunlight, and sucking blood. Then there's that whole sex appeal thing that oozes from vampires. (Hi. They're dead and they're out for your blood. Not sexy.) But... but... and this is probably going to sound egotistical... but... I'm coming up with ideas on how to break the cliches and the ideas feel plausible.

So to Rhonda and New Doctor Who (specifically the Ninth Doctor)... thank you for steering me back to weird! I've sooooo missed this! I actually walked around Trader Joe's, after my Starbucks plotting, smiling.
uniquelyallie: (lilly after kismet black moment)
Yeah, I know, it's an endless issue with me. Writing has not been truly fun for me since, ummm, probably early to mid 2004 when I was still working on the Edison story. I fell into a funk regarding my personal life in November '04 until March '05, but then that improved ten-fold (and then some), but I never really got my writing groove back. I worked on tidbits, scenes, sketches here and there. Plotted out some things. But never produced anything substantial or have I yet to finish anything.

I can blame my screwed up daily schedule and my screwed up sleep habits all I want, and I will because they do play a part in my lack of writing groove. People can say it's because I'm not writing what I really want. They may say I need to focus on science fiction (with/without romantic elements) since that's what the Edison story was/is and that was/is what got/gets me jazzed. (Sorry for the odd verb combos, but I caught an episode of the "new" Doctor Who last night on Channel 48 and nearly crapped my pants because the show's premise was just So Friggin' Good, and reminded me of why I got jazzed writing science fiction to begin with). But that's not what's preventing me from getting my groove back because I like chick lit just as much as science fiction.

I did some Googling of things the other day, which related to my '04 funk, and doing so made me realize something:

I need a group. I need activity. I need to physically be around other writers.

When I was in my groove... I was writing. I wrote regularly on the Edison story. I was writing a short story a month. I would write random scenes that had nothing to do with whatever story I was writing at the time. Those random scenes were usually either good practice and/or story potentials.

And what motivated me and my groove was being in the Kentucky group... when the Kentucky group was good. Back during the Keilly-Jack-J.D. (before he lost his mind) era. Back before all the freaks (Fred, Randy, Roger) showed up and changed the direction of the group.

I know I'll never get the Keilly-Jack-J.D. group back, and I'm not about to go back to the Kentucky group since their focus doesn't match up to mine... but I realized that I was at my happiest being in a good fiction group. Fiction = multi-genre. And I realized that I was at my ho-humness being in a pure romance group, like my former local RWA chapter. Yet I also have other issues with my former local RWA chapter... like how I never felt serious enough within the group, and that it was just one big clique that I never could break into.

So I can have all the "intentions" I want, i.e., I need to work on my daily schedule; I need to change my sleep habits; blah, blah, blah, but the bottom line is... I need a group. Sure, an in-person group would be wonderful, but I'll settle for a couple of really good online groups too.

And I think one of those really good online groups is Romance Divas.

But I'll have a confessional. (Yes, I know that other divas may read this). I disappeared from RD this past March for a couple months--due to falling into my yearly funk about writing and realizing that I will never truly fit in there. What made me realize that was participating in one of their We All Win contests with yet another chick lit. It was the query letter contest.

Okay, sure, my query letter wasn't exactly superb... but it received, well, odd comments. Sure, I got the few (again) who say, "I don't read chick lit" and then they proceeded to judge my entry. But I also got such "helpful" comments as:

  • Trying too hard to be funny

  • Good storytelling doesn't go out the window, does it?

  • Wow... three months after this contest... and those two comments still stick with me like gum on the bottom of my shoe that I can't get off, and I still remember who said the bit about good storytelling.

    And that whole experience and those two comments were why I ran and hid from Romance Divas. Those were some of the reasons why I flunked myself out of their mentor program. (The other reasons for that being... I couldn't get back into the Edison story--which was what I was working on for the program--and, overall, not having my groove back yet).

    But, within the past week or so, I returned to the Divas. Why? Because Divas did motivate me with the WAW contests and the submission calls from various publishers. But I'm doing RD with a whole new mindset now:

  • I don't have to read every single message... every single topic... every single forum.

  • I'm sure as hell not going to enter the WAW contests anymore. Sure, I'll use the contests as a motivational deadline, but I'm not going to actually enter them. My voice... my style... it just doesn't fit in there.

  • Don't volunteer for anything or sign up for any program because I never seem to complete the program in question (had that problem with Evolution when Nonny ran an extensive writing program I was accepted into) or my lack of time management screws up my attempts at volunteering.

  • Thank fellow divas for their time and help when they answer my questions or give me advice.* (See below for more explanation).

  • Whether or not I make any lasting friendships... or whether or not I'll ever really fit in there... I don't know. But what I need more than anything, right now, is to get my motivation back.

    * And I know... I'm to blame as well for not fitting in at RD. Back when I was trying to read every single message, every single topic... I never could keep up. So I'd post questions or discuss rants in my life, and I would get answers and advice... but I never hardly ever thanked anybody for their help because I'd get so bogged down in messages or distracted by other things. So I need to take that with me as I try RD again. How I was, so I won't be that way again. It could be called karma. Or an example of how I need to pay it forward. I don't know. But it has bothered me... how I used to be at RD. Trying so hard to be active and friendly, but yet always failing miserably.
    uniquelyallie: (Default)
    My intention that I focus on during the Yoga Booty Ballet pre-warmup is:

    Find a critique group.

    I thought I wanted to be in two critique groups. One for my chick lits; the other for my SFs and paranormal romances. I'd have to do both online since I'm not a member of OVRWA anymore, and it's kinda pointless for me to rejoin seeing how it's a pain to wake up on Saturday mornings after working nearly all night at Work #2 and how I'll be moving at the end of this year.

    I don't want to go back to the Kentucky group either, since the dynamic there was so far off the final time I attended. I guess I kept hoping that somehow--somehow--the Kentucky group would go back to the way it was when I was the coordinator. The final meeting I attended proved me wrong. As melodramatic as it sounds, it was like attending the group's funeral... even though the group is still running, and it's going into its fourth year. Which is cool, really. But I attended my final meeting, and when I left... I just wanted to cry because it was so far from what it started out to be, and I just didn't fit in there anymore.

    There's a Cincinnati multi-genre group that I always wanted to check out, just because Jack's in it, and he's always enjoyed that group, and I've always liked and respected Jack. But, honestly, there's an overall snooty vibe in that group. That and I had a run-in with one of the members back when he was a member of the pre-Kentucky group. (I refer to that moment as the Case Incident.)

    So I'm in two online critique groups through my online RWA chapters. One for my chick lits; the other for my SFs and paranormal romances. You would think all would be well in my world.


    The romance online critique group... it's way too active and huge.
    Every week, the critique coordinator posts a statistics report. There was something like 15 submissions and 133 critiques in just one week. WTF??? I wouldn't be scratching my head if I didn't know that the same people pulled off doing all 133 critiques. How is that possible? And are their critiques any good and meaty? You have to stop and wonder about that.

    The FF&P critique group... well, it's kinda pointless for me to be in there at the moment since I'm not dealing with the Edison story. It seems just as active and huge as the romance one. That or it just seems like it is since everyone uploads their submissions and critiques into the Yahoo Groups' web site, and then all members get announcements saying that a file has been uploaded. The big selling point of me actually using this group when I get back to the Edison story is that some of the members are familiar with cyberpunk.

    I need either a small online critique group until I move to Philly, and then I'd want to get into an in-person critique group. Because I miss meeting in-person. When I was in the Kentucky group, I was so motivated with my writing. We met every week--critiqued every other week--but I made myself personal deadlines, i.e., I would have something to submit by such and such date. And it didn't matter if I had a completed chapter or just a couple of scenes within a chapter. I made sure I had something to submit by such and such date.


    uniquelyallie: (Default)
    Allison Kelsey

    December 2015

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