Quarterlife+


Writing Goals vs. Writing Expectations

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on January 3, 2016
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I feel like goals and resolutions give you too much wiggle room not to do them. You don’t meet a goal, hey, you just set a new one. If resolutions stuck, some people wouldn’t be making the same ones every single year. That’s just my personal opinion.

That being said, I have some writing expectations for 2016. I expect to write at least 12 picture book drafts. That is a lofty goal. If it wasn’t there wouldn’t be a 12X12 group. I don’t need cheerleaders like that. I’m sure that works for some folk, but a big, organized group would probably do me more harm than good at this point. Why? I hate when people feel left out, so I always feel obligated to respond or help or lend an “ear.” I’m not going to get much written if I keep letting myself get distracted. Does that mean I just don’t care about anyone else’s writing goals? No! Do I believe that we’re all in this together? No! We’re not. Wait…that’s a good thing.

Each writer has his/her strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and dreams. Personally, I think that my own desires are pushing me towards needing more critique partners and spending more time actually writing.

Will I still be available to lend a helping hand or an ear to someone who is up and coming like myself? Of course! I just have to pace myself.

Oh, so what’s my other writing expectation for the year? I plan on writing a middle grade novel. I bet you didn’t see that coming, lol.

I have huge expectations, I know. But, I’ve already written two picture book drafts since the 1st of the year. Are they polished? No. There’s a picture book revision week/ month starting soon, and I’m saving revisions for that time.

I’m  all for working smarter in 2016. Let’s see how this goes. Wish me luck, good fortune, and growth.

 

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The year I got off my butt

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 29, 2015
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You know what’s funny about wanting to be a writer, you have to actually write to do it. Mind blown, huh?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but this was the first year I actually put forth the effort to reach that goal. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know that the journey would be this intensely hard, but it is.

I don’t do well with no, and I don’t do well with things that take forever. (I’m pretty sure I was pregnant for like 3 years!) Still, I am sticking to it. That’s a major accomplishment for me, and I hope expect to do even better in the new year–especially when it comes to actively writing and being a part of writing communities.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list of 2015 successes:

  1. I completed PiBoIdMo with more than 30 ideas.
  2. I received a mention in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. ( I won a book!)
  3. I put myself out there and joined a critique group.
  4. I applied for things! (mentorships, scholarships, etc.)
  5. I made some new writer friends who are super encouraging.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for my first year. Besides, the year isn’t over yet. The next couple of days could still be filled with goodies.

I wasn’t a finalist, but that’s okay.

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 15, 2015
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So, as my previous post mentioned, I submitted an entry to Susanna Leonard Hill’s holiday contest. I spent around 2 hours writing it, so I”m not upset about it.

I”m probably not upset for the reasons that you think. Do I think that I would’ve done better if I’d spent more time on it? Nope! It usually takes me a shorter amount of time to write something when my “creative juices” are flowing, and the neighbor’s dog peeing on my tree gave me all of the inspiration that I needed. What a muse!

Here’s what I got out of entering the contest:

  1. I’m over my fear of failure/ rejection. I haven’t submitted to that many agents, but I’ve submitted to enough to get me a little down in the dumps.
  2. Friggin’ Susanna Leonard Hill read and commented on something I wrote.
  3. Other writers read and commented on something that I wrote.
  4. I found more writing resources!

All in all, it was not a bad two hours spent.

Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest

PiBoIdMo really encouraged me to come out of my shell and take chances with my writing. So, here I am taking a chance at a holiday contest (weird for me, right?). In a nutshell, the contest was to write a story beginning with any version of “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.”  Without further ado, here goes nothing (oh, and it helps if you sing along):

Picture Perfect

Sniffin’ around some strangers’ legs

while my human’s fixing food.

Music and spices fill the air;

it’s a really festive mood.

 

Circling ’round this indoor tree

cuz I really have to go.

Box after box is in my way.

Why’s my human screaming “NO!”?

 

Going through my doggy door,

I just don’t understand

why I’m in the cold. It’s snowing!

Thankfully, I’m finally going

 

back inside in front the fireplace.

There’s my human all alone.

Snuggled up close we happily

take some selfies with his phone.

I’m a winner! #PiBoIdMo

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 1, 2015

I did it! I came up with 30 ideas before the end of the month. While I was initially hesitant about ditching NaNoWriMo, time constraints wouldn’t allow me to do both, I’m glad that I did.

For one, I realized I didn’t have my fiction manuscripts planned out enough. Yes, I had outlines, but I wanted more. No, I needed more to defeat the blank, white screen.

I did start working on a memoir, but that would’ve been more for another acronym that I can’t remember.

Back to PiBoIdMo! I got a lot out of the month. I have a critique group now. I learned about 12X12 and even plan on applying for one of their scholarships.

The biggest takeaway: I finished something related to writing.

Winning!

 

 

 

 

 

New Writing Strategy Needed

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on November 24, 2015

Okay, I’ll be perfectly honest: I really didn’t think writing picture books would be this labor intensive.

How hard could it be? Ridiculously hard.

I am now at the point where I believe anyone who gets a picture book traditionally published should be showered with confetti that appears out of midair (mid air…thin air…out of the blue…whatever).

There’s so much to say in a picture book with so little room to say it!There are so many rules/guidelines to follow/break. (Shout out to my critique group for having the gift of balance: this is crap/ we love this!)

The time that I’m spending revising and looking up agent information is starting to rival my actual writing time. I’m not too sure that I like that. I’m thinking about maybe dividing my year in half. Maybe I’ll spend half of the year focused on writing and revising and the second half querying and submitting.

I only came up with this plan today, so I’ll likely go back and forth over it a great deal over the next couple of days.

Facebook Rations/ Writing Surplus?

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on November 20, 2015
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So, I realized that I incessantly check Facebook from my phone. I imagine that I waste a huge amount of time doing that, so I’m going to take the app off my phone. I’m probably too lazy to actually type in the url.

If I do just so happen to overcome that hurtle, I’ve decided that I’m going to put myself on a Facebook fast. I’m only going to check it once a day.

I want to see if I am more productive. I can find a million reasons as to why I don’t have enough time to write. This will be one less excuse.

I’m battling my inner procrastinator and excuse-maker.

Why don’t I just stop checking Facebook altogether? Well, I can’t really do that since I’ve joined a few writing groups. I’m not into self-sabotage. I’ve recently realized the importance of being a part of a writing community.

Writing isn’t so lonely after all. In fact, it’s comforting being a part of a group, sharing the same dream. Go figure.

 

 

 

PiBoIdMo, NaNoWriMo, and WNFIN

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on November 5, 2015
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Can I just tell you that I nearly drowned in all the acronyms I discovered, and I’m pretty sure there are more out there for this month. Here’s my first question: Why is everything in the same friggin month? Foolishly, I almost let all of this overwhelm me; I remember the most important idea: Just keep writing.

You all know that I’m trying to craft a breakout picture book. I’ve also started a memoir. It’s also the week that I”m supposed to be doing like 25 performance evaluations for my job.

So…how much do you think that I’m actually getting done? PiBoIdMo is going pretty well. I have plenty of opportunities to crank out at least one picture book idea a day. That’s as easy as taking a shower or fighting to get one of the kids to take a nap. ‘m going to have to play catch up the second these evaluations are over, but that’s something I’d already expected. No biggie. I’ve come up with 17 ideas so far. I honestly can’t wait to start on them, but I’m pacing myself.

The memoir, on the other hand, is a different story. There hasn’t been a great deal of actual writing going on.  I promised myself that come hell or high water, I’d have a book by December. I’m not backing down from that. Wish me luck!

What about you? Are you doing one of the challenges? How is your writing coming along?

It’s my birthday

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on October 28, 2015
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IMAG1319Today, I turn 31 years old. Every year, I find myself reflecting a great deal as my birthday. This year was no different. So, what were my revelations this time? I’m becoming increasingly low maintenance. Also, happiness is something you have to choose on a daily basis.

The happiness thing has been a lifesaver all the way around. I”m kind of a spaz. See, I have no problem admitting it. I can go from calm to freaking out in less than 10 seconds at any given time. That’s stressful for no reason.

See that cake? That’s pretty much all I wanted to happen on my birthday. Well, that and a good nap and to not cook for an entire day. That sounds like happiness to me! It’s looking pretty good, but I’ll let you know how it pans out.

What’s funny about the cake is that my sister got the same one for her birthday. Obviously, the Monroe Dairy Queen was stingy with their cheesecake bits, but it was still tasty. I think it was fun that we discovered that we were plotting on the same cake weeks before our birthdays. Ah, the power of kinship. Here was her cake from last week:

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I finally decided on a topic!

Posted in Family,Writing by Ashley Franklin on October 26, 2015
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To know me is to know that I am horribly indecisive. I ended up with two solid contenders for NaNoWriMo. I had one outlined and another in a pretty solid concept stage. Yeah…I”m not going with either of them. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to dive right into them, but one requires a bit of word building that I don’t want to rush. I keep changing my mind about the point of view that I want to use for the other one.

So, what’s my final decision? I”m actually going to write a parenting book. Shocker! Speaking of parenting, I hear the sound of someone trying to force himself awake. He must sense that it’s been quiet in the house for too long. On that note, more on this parenting book later!

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