Sneaking Writing In

One of the special things about being a writer is that you can work from practically anywhere. For instance, this is one of the first times that I’ve sat down at my desk in the last few weeks.

Goal-wise for this month I knew that writing times would be hard to come by, so I planned accordingly on paper. But, for some reason, that “knowing” didn’t quite reach my brain. As the month nears the end though, I can look back at my goals and go “Ah-ha! This month did go as planned.”

In February I lugged my computer all over the place with me. I took it to work (and brought it inside to keep it warm) just in case I was snowed-in away from home. I took it to my best friend’s house while babysitting. I took it to my “adopted” parent’s house while visiting. I squirreled it around my office.

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I worked on writing with friends hanging out in my office. I worked on writing while cloistered away because I needed a bit of quiet time. I worked on writing while keeping one eye on the clock so I could jump up at the last minute and race to work. I worked on writing while my best friend was in labor.

I worked on writing while holding her new baby and reading and singing with her other daughter. I worked on writing while listening to my adopted dad play the mandolin. I worked on writing when my brain was tired and I just wanted to sleep. I worked on writing while feeling all bright and chipper in the morning.

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This month I didn’t accomplish a lot when it came to writing. I had to sneak in moments to blog and edit. To answer comments and emails. To even sit down at my computer with a brain that felt halfway compatible for working.

And do you know what? It was a good month. It was a very life-filled month. It was a month where I didn’t hit any milestones with writing, but I kept at it. Being a writer isn’t only what I do, it’s also part of who I am. But it’s not all of who I am, and therefore I need to be flexible when the occasion for flexibility arises.

February was a good month. It wasn’t stellar, but when I had time and could muster the energy to write, I redeemed that time and made it count. And sometimes that’s what writing is about. Not about hitting personal records, but instead about being aware of what and when and how I can pull out my computer and type away.

Writing isn’t always easy. Nor is it always fun. But I am a writer, and therefore I will write.

31 Things An Author Thinks

This I find myself thinking as an author:

  1. How long can I sit here editing before I need to get up to be on time for ___________?
  2. This would make a good story.
  3. Oh, I should take a picture of this beautiful scenery for my blog.
  4. I miss Raquel. Or Nicolette. (Or any character I haven’t gotten to spend enough time with.)
  5. Will editing and re-writing ever end?
  6. When can I responsibly start writing again instead of editing?
  7. Is it worth it?
  8. Is it normal to be on draft 23?
  9. Is it normal to feel like I’ll never be finished?
  10. Is it normal to blog for this long without huge results?
  11. What constitutes “huge results” in the first place?
  12. What is the point of blogging and social media?
  13. How do I divide my time as a writer?
  14. This plot twist is the best.
  15. This plot twist is making. me. freak. out.
  16. Can we just get to this plot twist already?
  17. Oh my lands. How am I going to wait YEARS for people to get to this plot twist?
  18. Why is this plot twist in the second book instead of the first?
  19. Lydia Joy Howe, what are you even thinking?
  20. Okay. I need a beta reader now.
  21. Okay. No more beta reading for now.
  22. Why did I choose to be a writer?
  23. How could anyone not want to be a writer?
  24. Being able to listen to music while working is the best part of being a writer.
  25. I think I’ll edit right now just so I can listen to some great music.
  26. Alright. I need some encouragement.
  27. Who’s around who I can tell about my writing?
  28. I don’t want to ever talk about my writing again.
  29. Alright, if I don’t tell someone about this idea I’m going to burst.
  30. Being a writer rocks.
  31. The end.

Corkboards {Aka New Favorite Thing}

My new favorite thing might happen to be corkboards.

I’m not sure what it was that made me realize how cool corkboards are, but recently I’ve discovered just how special they are. I might have found one tucked away in my storage. And bought one online (not the brightest idea). And then stood in the aisle at the store debating how much of my paycheck I could happily justify spending on new corkboards.

Thankfully I went overboard instead of underboard (haha), and therefore I might still be able to splurge later on this year and buy some corkboard squares to hang on my wall. (Now those things are spot-on cool!)

For now though, I’m thrilled to simply be enjoying the corkboards I have… The one that sits on my desk where I keep my goals and book review information:

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The (bought online) Junior Church Corkboard where I’m outlining my goals and plans for the weeks ahead:

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My currently-empty-but-on-so-big-and-beautiful one that I hope to hang on my door and use for all writerly related things for my current book. (Oh! Happy day!)

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And of course my Scrivener corkboard, because that might possibly be what got me into this happy phase to begin with:

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As a child I never realized I would one day literally be dreaming of corkboards, but hey! Thus is the life of an author.

Have you ever dreamed of corkboards?

Signing Books, Sending Emails, and Meeting Blog Friends #AuthorLife

This has been a fantastic week at the Creation Museum, and I’m kinda sad that Friday has arrived so quickly.

Throughout this week I’ve had so much fun following my adopted parents around and helping when possible (yay!). I’ve spent hours back in the offices sending Where Dandelions Grow out to dozens of new reviewers, answering lots of emails, working on editing Echoes, and other writerly tasks. (Today I sent out the information regarding the Cover Reveal that takes place next week! *cue happiness*)

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I’ve also had a delightful time meeting new people each day after Dad’s concerts and workshops. Yesterday I talked to a family with six young boys who said they love my book and keep the audio version in their car. That was incredibly, fantastically encouraging! That kind of feedback is what helps keep me going even when writing gets tough, and reminds me of how blessed I am to get to write.

It was also fun getting to sign some of my Cool Critters of the Ice Age books. Nothing like signing a book to make me feel like an actual author. 😉 When not signing books (which, in reality was most of the time), I had a good time getting to answer people’s questions about what songs are on what CDs, and which DVD I would recommend, and all that exciting stuff.

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One extra-cool thing that happened the other day was I got to meet some people in real life that I’d only known through blogging/emailing. A couple of years ago a guy introduced himself to me at a conference, saying he’d read my blog before after seeing a link shared by a mutual friend. I didn’t stay in contact with him, but two of his sisters ended up becoming beta readers for various books of mine. I’ve had fun emailing them on and off, so it was so neat and unexpected to suddenly meet them in real life. (YAY for blogging friends!)

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If you’d like to be a part of the Cover Reveal team, email me at: aidylewoh@gmail.com (Any type of social media works for this – you don’t have to have a blog.) Thank you to everyone who has already signed up – y’all are amazing!

Question of the day: Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If you could meet any blogger in real life, who would you want to meet?

Have a totally delightful weekend, y’all!

Writerly Happiness: When Book Reviews Make You Want to Cry

This morning I’m doing that whole “Twenty-first-century-author” type thing. I’m in the backseat of a car, typing away on my laptop while using my phone as a hotspot, and the phone is plugged into an external battery so I don’t have to rush to conserve the juice. Pretty crazy, right?

Today is a happy authorly day for me. Not only did four (!!!) more of you sign up to read Where Dandelions Grow since Saturday night *cue happy dance* but two people have posted reviews on Goodreads. And yes, I will happily admit to getting tears in my eyes when reading the reviews and thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to not only get to be an author but to have you AMAZING people as part of my community.

If you want to check out the reviews that are live, you can look at the Goodreads page for Where Dandelions Grow. I’m also blown away by how many of you have marked the book “To-Read” – Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you haven’t done that, I’d be thrilled if you’d take a moment to do so, and if you want to recommend it to your friends on Goodreads, too? Well, that would be totally amazing as well! 😉

 

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Traveling office – and yes, that is a pile of clothes next to me cause I’m going to the Creation Museum for the week. Y’all should come visit! 😉 

I finally received the final front cover of the book from my designer, so that means I get to send that out in an email to everyone who has signed up to read WDG in exchange for review. Cause you know, they get the first sneak peeks. 🙂 (You want to get into the fun? It’s still not too late to sign up! Tomorrow is the Five-Weeks-Until-Release-Day! *cue yet another happy dance*)

 

This morning I’m also working on sending out info to everyone who has signed up to be part of the Cover Reveal team because the Cover Reveal is only eight days away! (If you’d like to take part in that, but don’t have time to read and review the book, you can email me at aidylewoh@gmail.com – We’re going to have lots of fun with Giveaways and all that.)

Among other writerly things that I’ve done recently, on Friday and Saturday I sent 38 emails, wrote 11 book reviews, scheduled two (book review) blog posts, and hung out on quite a few blogs. That’s in addition to having an already-busy weekend (which included packing for this week, having a bunch of company, and hanging out at my sister’s house).

And speaking of busy, we’re only about a half an hour away from the Creation Museum so I’d better sign off here so I can send out those emails. Have a delightful Monday, y’all! Thank you SO MUCH for being part of my journey as an author. Your support and community mean an incredible amount to me! 🙂

How to Properly Use Hashtags as an Author

I remember the day my life as an author totally changed in an irrevocable way. It was as if the sun had suddenly burst through the clouds and I could see what I’d been missing all those years.

It was the day I first discovered what a hashtag is. 

For years I’d had a difficult time figuring out how to keep track of my writing. Since I write long novels I was always losing my thoughts and ideas in the throes of a thousand delightfully written pages.

You know the struggle:
*What’s the name of the main character’s mother’s grandma’s first car that was stolen in 1963?
*Did the best friend want to be a fabric designer or owner of a ceramics factory when she grew up?
*Is the dog a Border Collie or Basset Hound?

Every author on planet earth has a hard time remembering these small (but incredibly important) details from time to time. I’ll admit that I probably had a harder time than most people, probably because I like to have complex characters and so, therefore, I had lots of little details to make them feel more realistic. (I mean, come on. Nothing screams The author really did a lot of work creating these characters! like reciting all the names of the main character’s friends from first grade. And, if you’re extra cool – like me – you’ll even include middle names. Just a word of caution: Don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you that kind of info isn’t important and bogs the story down. They’re just jealous that they aren’t willing to put as much work into their own character’s backstory.)

But back to the hashtagging.

Apparently, people use hashtags as a way to keep things categorized and therefore easy to find. (Look at techy little me! I even took a screenshot of an explanation so you could see it for yourself.)

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After I discovered that, I began using hashtags in all of my writing. Like, ALL of it. #WayCoolIdea As it turns out a lot of people don’t even know what hashtags are, because I received a couple emails back from publishers I’d been asking to publish my book, and they were like “No thank you, and in the future if you’d like to appear professional, you might want to refrain from using hashtags in emails.” Which of course shocked me, because #HashtagsAreTools and #HashtagsRock so I emailed them back and offered to teach them out to use hashtags properly, and can you imagine? They never even replied to my (very nicely worded) email. #Rude

Not that I’m worried though. I’m the one who will have the last laugh because I’ve got approximately 12,540 (okay, yeah, I counted) hashtags in my newly finished, thousand-page, handwritten manuscript which is going to make editing a total breeze.

That is if my Google searches ever decide to show up helpful information.

#DontTellMeHashtagsDontWorkOnPaper
#PleaseWork
#AllThisWorkForNothing
#HashtagsDontDoThisToMe
#WhatIsThePointOfAHashtag
#OkayThenBeThatWay
#HashtagsAreLame

– – – –
So, if y’all didn’t gather this, today’s blog post was written in jest.
#IHopeYouEnjoyed #WelcomeToMySenseOfHumor #PleaseLeaveAComment #ByeForNow #ThisHasGotToStop #Wow

That Day I First Became A Published Author

Happy Monday, Y’all! Am I the only one who has like ten thousand things to do this week? I’m excited about seeing what I can accomplish, but also maybe a wee bit overwhelmed when I stop and think about all there is to do.

I’ve been working on getting my book Where Dandelions Grow ready to be released, which has been so rewarding. (And Hey! It’s not too late to sign up to be part of the release team! If you want to read the book for FREE in exchange for a review, you can sign up here.) With the release of a new book, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all part of the story regarding my first book release.

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Cue the year 2013 and I was in the beautiful state of Hawaii with my family. Even though I was throughly enjoying my time there, I was also frantically trying to get everything in place with my book, Cave Secrets of the PterodactylI’d co-authored the book with my adopted parents, and there was a really good chance that it would be published, and the next couple of weeks were the determining factor.

I spent a lot of time on the phone and computer and texting working out small details (like who I wanted to dedicate the book to), without actually knowing if it would be published or not.

Then I awoke early one morning to see I’d received a text from my adopted parents telling me it was a go. I kinda totally flipped out, wondering if I was reading the text correctly. (With the time difference, I’d gotten into the habit of answering texts and then falling back to sleep.) Jumping out of bed I quickly threw some clothes on in the dark – not even knowing if they matched – then slipped out of the hotel room, through the lobby, and onto the path that led down to the beach.

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I called my adopted parents, nearly shaking with excitement (they were the ones dealing with the publishers, so I got all my info from them). When they answered I probably had to ask about ten times before I finally let it sink in that my book was indeed going to be published.

Sitting out on the beach that morning, I talked to them, begging for all the details, and watched as the surf rolled in and out. (See the top picture.) When my adopted parents finally had to get off the phone to go to work, I snapped a selfie that clearly shows that I’d dragged my young-little-braces-self out of a deep sleep to hurry down to the beach. 😉 Really though, although I’m not generally a fan of selfies, this one will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s when and where I learned that my published-author-dream was coming true. (And, this also ended up being the first picture of myself I ever showed on Noveltea, because until that time I hadn’t posted any pictures of myself online.)

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After we got home a few days later I signed the contact for the book, and the dream was underway.

My author-ish life didn’t explode after that like I thought it would, but it was a good beginning. I got to attend some conferences/hang out at the Creation Museum bookstore and do book signings. I’ve gone places and randomly seen the book in bookstores. I’ve met fans of the book, which still feels incredible.

And now I’m about to release my fourth book. (Two self-published, two traditionally published.) I’m still a bit in awe over the fact that I get to be a writer. It’s not always fun. It’s not always easy. It’s not always what I feel like doing at the moment. It’s hard. And discouraging at times. And quite crazy.

But it’s worthwhile. It’s a dream come true. And I’m so thankful that this is my dream – that this is what I get to do.