Let’s talk about August, shall we?
August has ended. The calendar page has flipped. I’m getting ready to put the finishing touches on my cute little bullet journal for this month. I’m calculating totals. So, it’s time to update all of you on my progress for this month.
I have a few things I was working on in this category for the month of August.
The big plan for the blog was to post as often as possible. I wanted to get more short stories or poems up.
Why? Well, I used to do this all the time. Lately I’ve been feeling a little unfocused on my short stories or my poetry. I know this has a lot to do with my general mood and stress level so I wanted to let myself get back to this.
In August, I posted 5 of these.
I know I can do better than five. I’ve done months in the past where I’ve posted every single day! But this month, the stress won. I seem to find myself in one of those times when my perfectionism is refusing to let me put a single word on paper because it’s got me convinced it won’t be the right words. This has happened before and I know I have the tools to get through it. But it’s a battle right now.
Don’t worry. I’m proud of those 5 posts and more will happen. I’ll try again, maybe even in September.
The big plan for August was to finish the edits for the GhostlyYA, which I did. Actually, point of fact, the edits were finished in July. But I left myself a big list of things that needed to be rewritten or corrected before August was over. Those are all finished (except for one that I need to think about for a bit longer). I added another 1500 words to the project and I really do think it’s about finished. I’m going to put it away for now, let it simmer, and come back for another reread soon.
I’m still proud of this project. The ending is PERFECT, the character is great, the storyline works, I loved playing with the idea of an antagonist who is actually a better person (by most society standards) than our protagonist, and I think the themes hit. But it still comes in a bit shorter than I meant for it to and I know it’s low on descriptions. Letting it simmer for a while and coming back to it will let me decide if that’s a good thing … or if I need to beef up those descriptions. Only time will tell.
A SPARK OF MAGIC
Ahem — also known as the MagicalYA.
The ARCs are out and I’ve spent more time than I care to admit this month curating that ARC project. A Spark of Magic is the 7th book I’ve published and yet it’s the first one to experience a real 3 month long ARC campaign. This is a big deal. 3 months is industry standard, but it’s REALLY HARD for small or independent authors to hit that. Basically that means 3 months of watching those downloads click up without earning any money. We can only hope the campaign leads to reviews which lead to finding new readers which lead to sales, basically.
It actually got it’s first (ahem — four star) review this morning. I’ve got a few big things planned for the next couple months for this release and preorders should start in October. YAY!
Cue video of me screaming into a pillow.
This project just keeps battling me. Every step of the way with this one has been a struggle. If you remember, this is the project that sat in the idea journal for YEARS because I couldn’t figure out what twist made it stand out from the other things available in this genre. I finally figured that out this year and was able to get the idea outlined.
I thought that would be the end of the battle. It hasn’t been. Not even close.
Instead, this project has stalled me out repeatedly on every step of the project.
I know myself as a writer pretty well by now. I know there’s got to be something about this project that just isn’t right yet. My irrational perfectionist brain literally grinds to a halt on projects it doesn’t feel are absolutely perfect. If I know something ahead isn’t going to land right or if something I just put down for the previous chapter isn’t exactly what I wanted, my brain refuses to keep going until I fix the problem. There’s no point in stressing about it or beating my head against the figurative wall. I just have to find the problem.
More than once this project has stalled. More than once I’ve submerged myself back into the outline and tried to find the solution. The fact that I’m back in the stalled position and haven’t written a word on this project in August tells me I didn’t find the right problem. I’m going to have to drop all the way back to the outline, I think, and really figure out what’s going on. I am going to have to try something DRASTIC to get unstuck on this one. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what that is just yet. Hopefully it finds me soon.
So, What’s All That Mean?
It means I had an AWFUL month for actual words written. 5 blog posts, a stalled major WIP, an editing project that was practically done, and a lot of marketing work (which isn’t words written) means I only managed to write about 12k words this month.
I have to do better in September.
But writing is only one side of my book addiction, as you likely already know. Reading is a major passion of mine and reviewing books by other authors is part of what I consider my job to be. So, let’s talk about how that went.
5 Audiobooks (parent dropoff and pickup are back in full swing)
For a total of 10 books (3345 pages)
5 Borrowed from the library
2 Review copies from the author or publisher
2 Advanced Reader Copies from the author or publisher
1 Purchased (although technically it was purchased by someone else and given to me as a gift)
1 Romance (which actually took book of the month for my bracket challenge)
1 Historical Fiction
1 Middle Grade
2 Young Adult
1 1-star rated (do not recommend)
1 2-star rated (problematic)
5 3-star rated (good but likely niche)
1 4-star rated (great for the genre)
2 5-star rated (genre crossing great reads)
What Won the Bracket Spot?
For the first time, a romance book took the spot!
The best/more memorable book I read this month was What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. What If It’s Us is an adorable romance book with a meet cute, good friendships, and a happily-for-now ending.
Then, because it’s past the first half of the year, that book had to face off against my favorite read from February, Donn’s Legacy.
Donn’s Legacy was the conclusion to the paranormal trilogy that began with Donn’s Hill. It was the PERFECT conclusion to the series and a great book even alone. It had suspense, great characters, a little romance, and a lot of ghosts. I LOVED it.
At the end of the day when they face off, I have to give the win to Donn’s Legacy.
Then, because that closes out the top of the bracket, I had to go further. I had to face off Donn’s Legacy with Brave New World.
Brave New World is the original dystopian novel. It started an entire genre, really. It’s tension, wrong decisions, and big themes about government overreach make this a can’t miss book.
But I had to consider which one I enjoyed reading the most and will remember/recommend the most. In that vein, I had to give the win to Donn’s Legacy. Really, if you put both of them in front of me to reread I’m going to choose Donn’s Legacy a little more often. But they’re both favorites and I would totally reread both of them!
For September, I need to keep things simple. I have to remember the advice I give my own children: have small measurable goals for the day and make it happen. I’m holding myself to these insanely high standards of writing and reading. Then, when I don’t hit those numbers it’s like I’m ready to throw in the towel for the week. September will be about small goals in baby steps and celebrating wins.
I’m hoping to post more of those wins I just mentioned. I’m hoping to get a few TikToks up. If you see those, make sure to comment and let me know you saw them!
I am participating in the #WriterlyWIPChat #SmoreWords and #TheMerryWriter challenges over on Twitter. I may pop in and out of the #FallsPoetry tag on Instagram.
4 books make the required list this month
- Birthright by MA Vice
- May Day by Josie Jaffrey
- Broken Tomorrow The Mother by Andrei David
- The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (ARC)
Of course, since school is back in session, I’m sure I’ll hit a bunch of audiobooks too. Right now my source of audiobooks is exclusively borrowing through the Libby app from my local library. I would like to open that back up to reviews soon, but right now doesn’t feel like a good time to commit to that. It’ll happen eventually.
A Spark of Magic
We’re basically 2 months out from release at this point.
September is going to need to be the month were the final proofread is finished and the book itself is finalized. I’ll also be putting together more marketing ads for use in October when the preorder campaign will kick off. I’d like to have all that stuff together before preorders open.
I’m going back to the drawing board with the Apocalypse Project. I’m reviewing the entire outline and looking for something drastic that may jumpstart it. Cross your fingers and wish me luck on finding it.
I’m also hoping to post more than five times to the blog (Ugh) maybe even with short stories or poems. If you see them, COMMENT ON THEM. This lets me know which ones you like! I love your opinions when I’m shaping the blog.