Everyone says writers need to read anything and everything they can get their hands on.
I’m sure they’re right. When I was younger, my nose was always buried in a book. Reading was my favorite free-time activity.
Nowadays, with a full-time job and a Boyfriend, I have a lot less free time. The time I do have tends to be devoted to things like cooking, eating or playing online. Most of my reading is confined to blogs. A few of them deal with writing, but since I’m still trying to lose about 50 pounds, the majority are healthy living blogs.
As a result, I know about 500 workout tips and 1,002 different ways to make oatmeal — good for my diet/health, but it doesn’t do much for my creativity.
The precious little time I have left after working and taking care of the business of life, I tend to want to spend writing my own books, not reading someone else’s. Sure, I tweet my #FridayReads when I think about it — but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice I often tweet the same book several weeks straight.
But with so many of my Starcatcher sisters’ stories hitting the market, there are a lot of great new reads I don’t want to miss. I’d start naming some of them, but I’m afraid I’d miss too many. We’re a talented group.
With e-readers putting books at my fingertips 24/7, there’s no excuse not to read them. I already own a Nook, and I finally broke down and put the Kindle app on my phone, too. Now I can download some of the free books tweeted by some of the authors I follow.
Since downloading the Kindle app, I’ve devoured GH winner Laurie Kellogg’s “A Little Bit of Deja Vu” and am more than halfway through Juli Alexander’s “My Life as the Ugly Stepsister.”
I’ve been sneaking a few pages while standing in line at the grocery store and bank, or while I’m in the bathroom at work. (Shh … don’t tell.)
Now that I’m reading books as often as blogs, I look forward to crossing a lot more titles off my TBR list. You can follow my reads — and my progress on the 2012 reading challenge — on Goodreads. (I originally set a goal of 26 books for the year, but now that I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading, I hope to read a lot more than that.)
It’s over now, and I just settled into my favorite spot at the Starbucks in Camp Verde (near the outlet, naturally). The plan is to sneak in a little writing time before I crash.
Am I nuts? Why not skip the attempt to work and crash right away? How much will I really get done?
Of course I’m nuts. Aren’t all writers a little off-kilter? The thing is, even though I’m physically exhausted, my mind is racing. I have thoughts I need to get down before I forget every last one of them. Plus, I have a synopsis I need to rewrite — and fast — so I can ship requested material.
Every day of the conference was jam-packed with learning, laughter and inspiration.
Here are a few of the gems I walked away with from the weekend:
— Never talk badly about yourself. There are enough other people willing to do that for you. (Bob Mayer, Friday afternoon workshop)
— All writers wrestle with self-doubt. To reach your goals, you have to slay the doubt demons. (Allison Brennan, Saturday keynote speech)
— The way you structure your writing space can help your subconscious mind — and your muse — realize it’s time to work. (Tawny Weber, Saturday workshop)
— Not every sex scene needs to be mind-blowingly perfect. In real life, first times are often awkward. (Elizabeth Hoyt, Saturday workshop)
— In both dialogue and description, word choices set the mood and will vary depending on the character doing the speaking/observing. (Laurie Schnebly Campbell, Saturday workshop)
— Don’t give away all the details about a character’s backstory at once. Curiosity about why a character is doing what he’s doing pulls the reader into the story. (Martha Alderson, Sunday workshop)
There was so much fantastic information to be gleaned from the presentations that I’ll never remember it all. The conference center hotel was great, with a gorgeous courtyard and two pools. (Next time, I’ll remember to pack a bathing suit.) Late April is the perfect time to be in Phoenix, because it’s not yet hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.
The conference couldn’t have come at a better time, either. My Golden Heart score sheets came back on Friday and one of my two entries earned not one but two 3s. Ouch.
Luckily, I had plenty of positive support from my chaptermates who were also at the conference. Even better, I was too busy to dwell on those sucky scores. Until now, that is. Maybe I’ll get lucky and crash before I start to think too much about ’em.
Desert Dreams only happens every two years, but it’s definitely worth the short drive from Flagstaff. I’m already making plans to save up for the next one … or I will be as soon as I come back from RWA Nationals in Anaheim this summer.
Long time no hear from me, eh? I might not be blogging very much these days, but I’m still writing, writing, writing my free time away.
All that hard work is starting to pay off, though. I have a completely revised/hopefully ready for submission version of “Operation Snag
Mike Brad” out with two beta readers, now that my CP’s done with it.
I’m also headed to the Desert Dreams conference down in Phoenix tomorrow. It’s my first one, even though I’ve lived in northern Arizona since 1999. I’m looking forward to that experience — even if I haven’t quite finished my packing yet. I’d best get on that. I just wish it didn’t involve searching my car — in the pouring rain — for my sandals. Think I’ll move the car into the garage before I start the search.
Also on this morning’s too-exciting agenda before I head into the office for an 8+-hour day? A haircut, possibly a trip to Target for new sandals, and writing time at Starbucks. Yep. Still busy as all get-out.
I set a new deadline for myself: Finish a new, improved draft on “Diva in the Dugout” in time to submit it to Avon Impulse by May 30. Hey, if they’re looking for stories featuring ballplayers (among other things), I have the perfect story for them.
That vacation week I had to burn in May is starting to look more and more fortuitous. I’ve worked at the Daily Sun so long that I have four weeks of vacation time … and nowhere to go for all but one. So we just put me on the schedule for a random week in May.
Now I know how I’ll be spending that week of vacation!
It’s too quiet around here. What are you up to these days?
Twitter is abuzz. Bloggers are raving. Last night I read a story on a mainstream wire service talking it up. (I’m debating whether I can get away with running it on our books page without causing an uproar.)
What has everyone so hot and bothered? “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I enjoy a good, steamy story as much as the next gal. And the article did an excellent job of making the book sound intriguing.
However, I’ve also heard/read that it got its start as “Twilight” fan fiction. Since I couldn’t get through any of the “Twilight” books, that makes me leery.
Hold onto your rotten tomatoes, please, and save your breath. You’ll never change my mind about Bella and company.
But I will take your advice, writer friends, about “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What say you? Should I spend valuable free time reading it or give it (and its sequels) a miss?