Perhaps that’s the exact feeling I’m waiting for?

We’ve now reached the cover process for my novel and I’ve been finding that this stage has my thoughts going in ever direction, which is why I’ve been making notes and taking my time to really work through what it is I want. Not to my surprise, sitting around staring at images all day doesn’t seem to help me make a decision faster. I contemplate each element of the piece, and try to make a list of questions I have. I’m starting to realize that I don’t just want it to be right, I want it to be perfect. I want whatever I choose to feel like it belongs on my book. I want this cover to be something I’d pull off the shelf myself, something that peaks my interest and makes me want to take it home. I want to be confident when I make that final decision, that this is exactly what I want. I don’t want to be in that state of contemplation, of indecision, of unease…so I’m going over the images again and again, debating on if it really does feel right.

I wonder if this is what it’s like when you’re choosing a wedding dress? Was I this obsessed with picking the perfect prom dress years ago? I had a certain criteria sure, but I think at a certain point I put one on and it was the perfect fit and perhaps that’s the exact feeling I’m waiting for? I’m waiting for that perfect fit.

Still, at this moment in time I’m not sure what I want to do, which frustrates me because I like to give prompt responses. I don’t like to leave anyone hanging. I guess this blog post is also me figuring things out.

I hope I get to the point where I do. Where I can picture holding that book in my hand and go “This is the one.” Until then, I’ll be staring off into space, eating banana bread and enjoying a cup of tea.

Writing Exercise

I’ve started doing little writing exercises, and have doubled down on reading novels in order to improve upon some of my skills.

I find reading helps me understand the areas that I need to work on, because I’m able to see and interact with multiple texts.

With the writing exercises, I’ve been doing little things like picking a word and basing a couple paragraphs around that. I like doing this by hand versus typing it out on the computer because when I’m finished I can go through and highlight the areas I’d like to improve upon. For example, if I notice that I used one of my crutch words, I can underline it and spend some time thinking about alternative words that I can use or if a sentence is pronoun heavy, I can highlight it and find ways to fix that and make the sentence stronger. I find trying to do this on the computer can make it harder for me to stay on task because there are a lot of distractions.

Truthfully, I started writing out a new chapter today and then while breaking for lunch ended up spending an hour browsing books, cleaning products and plants. Me browsing books isn’t anything new, I do this several times a week and just ordered a handful yesterday however, cleaning products? I don’t need any new cleaning products right now. I was just at the store the other day. I bought dish soap. Why do I need to look at fancy, expensive dish soap and contemplate the different scents offered?

I don’t.

That’s why doing these writing exercises is a lot more effective when I do them on random scraps of paper or in one of my journals. Initially I actually went to look for new journals. I have two which are currently unused, but I plan on using them for other things. I’d rather have one that is completely dedicated to me practicing and playing around with different techniques and just…focusing on improving. A journal where I can make mistakes and highlight things and scribble and doodle on. I absolutely adore journals. I think they’re beautiful, and you can use them for so many things but also I find that I can really grasp things when I put them to paper…and I can track my progress, which I find during this pandemic has really helped me keep my sanity.

One thing that I also do with these writing exercises I’ve been doing, is using my current characters. The reason I decided to do this was because it lets me put them into different scenarios and really play around with them. I also get to take the time to think about that character, and how much they’ve grown over the course of the story. Sometimes, I also really enjoy the little scene I’ve put together and decide that its worth incorporating into the actual novel. It keeps me focused and engaged in the world of the story.

If you’d like to try out this writing exercise yourself, its honestly really simple.

  1. Decide what it is you’re going to work on. It could be setting descriptions or creating movement in a scene.
  2. Choose a word as your prompt. It could be potato, plunder, wilt…anything really. Sometimes its fun to grab a dictionary and open up to a random page!
  3. Begin writing. It doesn’t need to be long. It can be a couple of paragraphs, a single page, maybe two. While writing try to keep in mind what your main goal is.
  4. Go through and highlight or underline areas that you need to improve on. This will help you see if you’ve made progress.
  5. If you like, rewrite it or write a new paragraph taking into consideration the things that you’d like to work on.
  6. Compare each version and see how you’ve improved. Be sure to again, highlight or underline what it is you think you can work on and make notes for yourself.
  7. Be kind to yourself. It’s very easy for us to bash ourselves and our work…so if you begin to feel frustrated take time to breathe. Step away for a while, get some fresh air, clear your head…and then start again once you’re in a good head space. These exercises aren’t supposed to make you hate your writing or yourself. They are meant to help you grow, and that takes time. So please be kind to yourself, and do the best you can.

Quick Novel Update!

Today I got to see the mood board that’s being sent off to the cover design team and oh my goodness…I absolutely adore it. I’ve looked at it over and over again. It has the exact feel that I want and there are so many amazing books on it as well!

I’ll share the mood board itself at a later date just because it’s really special to me at the moment…and I kind of want to keep it to myself just a little longer (I hope that’s okay?).

This is so cool. Like I keep asking myself if this is real.

While that’s all being done, I’m jumping back into editing and working on the draft for the sequel. I’ve been trying to take everything I’ve learned from this first book an trying to apply it here. I hope that my efforts pay off.

I know that there’s still so much to do and there is definitely a lot more for me to learn, but I’m going to keep having fun and I cannot wait to for my next set of instructions and to see what the team puts together!

We’re Getting Closer!

I really enjoyed the editing process so I’m looking forward to the next step in my publishing journey. I’ve got lots to do so I created a schedule for myself to keep track of everything. My deadline is fast approaching, so I’ve actually been writing this blog post in between during my breaks.

I’ve been meaning to post a novel update video on YouTube, discussing this portion of my journey, but I film on my phone and it hasn’t been working properly. I’ve got a few little clips that I backed up immediately onto my laptop just in case my phone decides to be a butt again…which is like a few times a week unfortunately. I also noticed the other day that I reached 100 subscribers on my YouTube channel, which honestly surprised me because last time I checked I thought I had only 30 people subscribed to my content. I really don’t understand how the algorithm works. One of my oldest friends from elementary school actually found my channel the other day but I have no clue how to message people on YouTube. I haven’t seen her since high school! It was funny because I had been talking to one of my buddies about her the other day. I’m hoping she reads this so I can be like “Hi!!!”

The feedback that I’ve received on my manuscript has been incredibly helpful. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned. I’ve even made little notes so that I can go back and reference some of the comments and advice I’ve been given and apply it to my other work. My notebooks only got a few pages left in it now, but thankfully I have two cute ones that I’ve been saving for an occasion such as this one.

I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading during the lock down, but I suppose I’ve had to put that on hold because of all this publishing stuff. I’ve thankfully plowed through the majority of the owned books in my TBR, and ordered two more from a series I’ve been reading. One of my co-workers also gave me some excellent recommendations, so I’ll be checking those out once I’ve got a little more free time. I own one of the books from her list so I plan on starting with that one!

I wonder if anyone at work knows I have a blog?

Hi everyone! How’s life? I miss you all!

If you follow me on instragram, you’ll know that I just started playing Animal Crossing. I’ve wanted to play for a while now and have had the game for at least a month, but I didn’t have time to start the game because I was either recording or editing…or babysitting. Then when I finally had the time to play, I got busy again! My sister’s been playing on my behalf. I finally got a house in the game.

I’d better get back to work. I’ve got some things I need to wrap up.

Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Apparently it’s my blogs anniversary. I hadn’t even realized it until just now. Traditionally, with my older blogs I would make a long post highlighting the years…but I didn’t plan anything. This will also probably be posted a day late because its 11:30pm…

So for starters…

My blog is officially a year old. Happy 1st Birthday kiddo!

I’ve been catching up on my reading lately, and I have a bunch of new reviews planned out. My TBR was shrinking last week, but now it’s growing again! Hooray!

I also have a bunch of exciting news that I can’t wait to share. I hope you’ll all be as excited about it as I am. All I can say for now is that I’m doing a super cool project, that I am pumped about! I’ll talk more about it before the premiere!

Today I had my favourite ice cream and watched 90 Day FiancĂ©e with my sister which my Dad absolutely hates but put up with because we rarely get TLC on our station unless its like a monthly promo thing…we also didn’t let him change the channel. I’m not a huge fan of reality TV but I find this show addicting. I don’t know why. I think I can recall a YouTuber who discussed TLC (The Learning Channel) as a modern day Freak Show. I agree with her. After thinking off the top of my head, most of what airs on that station reminds me of the old “COME SEE THE MAN WITH THE SEVEN EARS!” type thing…only its on television. I wish I could remember the name of the YouTuber, because that video is seriously worth watching if you have the time. I want to say her name was Ada?

Anyways, that’s enough about television.

I had ice cream, finished compiling and organizing my research results and now that I’m finished with that I’ll be rewarding myself with a few more books to add to my shrinking TBR.

I’ve been low-key participating in a co-workers read-athon. I like read-athons, but I sometimes have a hard time filling all the prompt categories. Sometimes I try to knock out two categories with one book. I’ve found this helps. I love that her prompt allows us to read diversely and explore different mediums and genres but also gives us the freedom and flexibility to read whatever we like at our own pace! I also got a very lovely list of series recommendations from her, which I am extremely grateful for! I was starting to worry that I’d run out of novels to read. She’s such a fun person to work with, we literally just gush over YA novels and the majority of what she recommends me is 100% up my alley!

Working in a bookstore is the best. I miss my co-workers so much during lock down but every once in a while people send out emails or our managers call to check on us. It’s extremely thoughtful and I just…I feel so happy and safe with everyone at our store.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t complete 5 books in four days last week. My managers even asked if I was really reading that much…and to be honest I don’t even know how I accomplished that. I haven’t read like that since I was in my first year of university. I guess it happened because I was multitask reading a bunch of different books around my birthday and then when we went into lock down I was just reading with my niece…because this little girl who used to hate reading now adores it! We pretended to have a book club. I think we should try to continue it via social distance because it was so much fun. I actually have a post planned involving some of our reads and reviews of certain Middle Grade books. She gives fantastic reviews, so I’d love to get quotes from her on her recent reads for that post. Who knows, maybe I’ll interview her.

She’s also been making her own comic series! It’s really creative and I love how her personality shines through it. She’s got a great sense of humour so seeing that in her stories always makes me happy.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog over this past year, and have found new books to add to your reading list…or perhaps one of my writing related posts has helped you. If you have a blog, feel free to share your link in the comments, I love checking out other bloggers!

Novel Update – April 11th, 2021

What’s one to do with all this free time…?

I’ve finished another round of edits, which is fantastic, however every time I do, I have no idea what I should do with myself. Since my area is back in lock down, I have a lot of free time again.

Prior to this current lock down, I had been reading to keep busy between each of my edits. I find reading and engaging with different texts helps me stay on task. I suppose it’s like studying. I like to see how others go about building their scenes, creating atmosphere, how they break up their chapters…etc.

With all this free time again, I’ll probably jump back into writing since I don’t have anything to edit right now. Thankfully, I can record. I’ve been working on some music and animation projects that I’m very excited about.

I hope to share these projects with you all over the next few months. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I enjoyed working on them.

~ Ardin.

I’ve been listening to this track recently, and added it to one of my character playlists.

Other Posts on This Blog:

Editing Tips!

I made this video back in 2020 after having several people mention that when it came to editing they felt overwhelmed. Most pointed out that they had know idea where to start.

I thought that by putting my tips into a video format, that it would make it easier for people. I wanted to keep it short, and to the point. I’m someone who enjoys this process, but after years of tutoring and editing for others I’ve learned how quickly a person can stress themselves out. A lot of them will say things like, “I just wanted to write a story! Why do I have to do more work?”

I get it. I do. You feel like you’ve finally completed something and then BAM, you get hit with this realization that there’s a lot more work to do. It’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to be a little stressed out by that, especially if this is your first time completing a book.

I hope that this video will be helpful to those who get overwhelmed by this process. I spend a lot of time editing myself, and something that I have learned…and this is probably one of the most important tips, is that it is important to take breaks. Step away for an hour, go for a walk, call your folks, play a game…whatever it is, take a few moments to allow yourself to unwind. Your thoughts will flow better, and you’ll be able to edit more effectively while you’re in a good headspace.

Happy editing!

Reading and Writing

Oddly enough, every book I’ve read/purchased within these past couple of weeks has a pink and blue cover. Perhaps it’s my brain reminding me that spring is coming or my love for cotton candy ice cream?

Either way, each of these books have been fantastic and engaging. I’m thrilled every time I pick one up.

A lot of the ARCs I’d been reading/was interested in came out this month so I’ve been making a list of which ones I definitely want to check out.

Editing has put me a little behind in my reading schedule. If only reading your own work over and over counted towards your reading goals for the year. Oh well. I enjoy the editing process. I continue to learn new things about my own writing and how I can improve the development of my characters and stories. It’s almost like when you’re studying a text but instead of doing a single scene analysis, you’re analyzing it as a whole. I hope that I can apply everything I’ve learned to my other projects.

Reading books within my genre also assist me when I’m editing. They provide examples of different things that I may be trying to improve upon in my own work, which is wonderful. It also allows me to see how others go about conveying certain elements of their story, such as feelings of loss or frustration.

There are times when putting certain emotions to paper is difficult. Mainly because it is so easy to say that a character is feeling uncomfortable versus showing that discomfort within a scene. It’s something that takes a lot of practice and I truly believe that part of that practice does come from the books we consume as authors.

I’m curious to see what types of books I consume the most this year and how that reflects my writing.