Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I mentioned in a post last week that I'm going into my last semester at school. Since the end is so near in sight, it's especially important for me to focus and "keep my head in the game". So I will be taking a pseudo-hiatus from blogging.

This means that I will post if I get the overwhelming urge to share something (not likely when I'm pulling all-nighters and drinking red-bull up the ying-yang. And note to self: really should stop drinking Red Bull) but you can generally expect to not see much activity here for the next few months. When you think about it, it's actually not that much different from the way things are now, lol.

I WILL be back, but in the meantime, you can also connect with me on Twitter, handle @cateemond, if you really miss me ;) 

See you soon!

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Current WIP

I won't get into specifics about my current WIP, but I will say that it is a deeply personal novel that I have been working on (and off) for the past 5 years. 

Back in 2008 I had finished a first-draft of this project via The 3-Day Novel Contest (check it out. It's a really great way to give yourself that kick in the butt if you need to finish something). Suffice to say, that first draft was complete shit. I mean, the most excruciating excrement you've ever read. At the time I thought it was this work of heart-breaking, genre-defying genius (resistance at its best, lol). Now, because of time and perspective I can see it for what it really was - a start. Completely self-indulgent, but a start nonetheless.

For the longest time that first draft sat in a drawer. It was always in the back of my mind, and once in a while I would bring it out of the drawer and fiddle around with it. Nothing serious though. I could never quite figure out where to go from there and at some point I even had plans to give up on it completely and chalk it up to a lost cause (the fact that telling this story terrifies me is another story in itself). 

But I couldn't let it go. At the same time, I couldn't seem to get it anywhere at all. 

Recently, before the holidays, I was complaining about this to my husband. We were driving in the car, and I explained to him (more like whined) that every time I tried to start again I would get into it for a bit, and then all of a sudden come up against a wall and come to a grinding halt. I just couldn't understand because I knew the story that I wanted to tell (or at least I thought I did) and I thought that was enough to guide me on the page when I sat down to write. Yet, it wasn't working. Then he said "why don't you try writing an outline?"Just like that. 

It was like a lightbulb flicked on in my head. Why don't I try an outline? What have I got to lose? "Pantsing" clearly isn't working. But don't outlines stifle creativity?

That last thought is a belief that I have carried with me for some time, and I'm not even sure how I came to that conclusion. Maybe because I've been a student for far too long and the thought of outlines has me subconsciously thinking of boring essays on Shakespeare and poetry. 

But, I decided to give outlining a try because I want the voice that says why not? to be louder than the voice that says don't even try

I purchased the e-book version of Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland to help get me started. 

I am an avid reader of her blog Wordplay, which gives advice to other writers. I read the book in one sitting and before I even finished I began diving head-first into the world of outlining. I'm still there, in fact. And, again, I don't want to say too much about my WIP (I'm a big believer that if you talk too much about something you're doing or want to do you will have a harder time finishing or starting it) but I will say this:

1) Outlining has not stifled my creativity AT ALL!! Just the opposite, it's given me "permission" to play and explore ideas that I never would have considered before when I sat down to write my pre-conceived idea of what the story should be. 

2) It's made me realize that the story I was trying to tell didn't want to be told the way I was trying to tell it. I was focusing so much on the story as it was told in that first draft. When I decided to give outlining a try, I realized that the first draft was actually the "before" and the story actually starts after that. This has been a HUGE game-changer for me. All of a sudden things are clicking, ideas are flowing and a real story has begun to emerge.

I'm still in that outlining phase right now, and I know I still have a tendency to be afraid to write something "wrong", but I'm trying to work through it and just do it. 

What do you think? Do you prefer "pantsing" or do you find the process of outlining helpful?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Too often New Years Resolutions end up like this ...

But resolutions are such a HUGE part of the New Year, at least for me. There's nothing more inspiring than a fresh start; the opportunity to be the person you want to be and move forward. So I make them anyway! Here are a few of mine for 2013:

1) Finally finish my current WIP ...

It's been 5 years in the works now ... enough is enough. just do it! 

2) Get in shape & be more conscious of the food I eat (of course lol) ...

I'm also thinking of doing this juice cleanse to detox now that the holidays are over (I definitely over-indulged). For those of you that don't know, I have celiac disease, so being conscious of what I put in my body is really important (although it should really be important to everybody, but I know that is easier said than done) and I haven't always been the best at sticking to a gluten-free diet :s I'm committing myself to making a change this 2013!! My husband and I just watched the documentary Hungry for Change on Netflix, and we both really liked it (and now have the urge to buy a juicer, lol). It gets slightly infomercial-ly at some points, but overall it has a great message.

3) De-clutter & Organize ...

YES, this is my home office :( Believe it or not, this is actually better than it was before I started tackling it this past weekend, lol. Clearly I have a long way to go, but I'm motivated to keep going (even if it's just so I can post an "after" picture on this blog so I can prove I'm not a complete hopeless mess :p). If you're in the same boat as me, this blog has so many great tips, and you can find a great post on office organization here & here

4) Read more awesome books ...

Just finished reading Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (follow up to War of Art) and am currently reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. Definitely required reading for writers/artists! Also want to make some time for great fiction. 

5) And perhaps the most difficult, but also the most important ...

I know that last one is very vague, but it's something that I've been constantly striving towards. One of the reasons I went back to school last year (other than to get a better job that supports my writing) was because I needed the experience of choosing something, sticking with it and finishing it. I'm now going into my last semester and the end is in sight. When that happens, I will be one step closer to realizing #5.

Now, let's see how many of the other resolutions I can stick with lol. 

Wishing you all an amazing 2013!!!