Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Cookies And Competition

So, in yesterday's blog post, I asked you all for cookies. Honestly, I didn't expect any. But then my mom commented, and she issued the challenge. Write 1k of Kaz or cut 2k of Sarawen, and I would get cookies.
Guess what?
I did it.
So now Mom owes me cookies. She might have time to make them today, or she might not. I don't really care. The point is, I cut 2k words. I did it because I had the challenge.
Not that I actually need them. The secret is in the competition. She said she'd give me cookies if I cut 2k words. If she hadn't, would I have done it? Probably not. I would have done something, but it would have been less important to me.
So here's my theory: Cookies=competition. No, seriously. Think about it.
Cookies: Taste good.
Competition: Feels good.
Cookies: Make you do drastic things.
Competition: Makes you do drastic things.
Cookies: Are better with eggs.
Competition: Have you ever tried competing with eggs? It's exciting!
Cookies: Can wreck your health.
Competition: Can wreck your life.
Conclusion: Cookies are good. So is competition. Sometimes. But! We need to be cautious about them. I'm a cookie-lover. I'm also very competitive. I think both of these things add color to my life. But I need to be cautious about them. If I get too wrapped up in competition, if beating others becomes the focus of my life, everything important suffers. I lose friends. I lose the joy that comes from setting a goal and meeting it, from striving to better myself. It ruins my life. And I'm not even going to get into what happens when I eat too many cookies.
Does this mean I should avoid competition altogether? No. I proved yesterday that it's a valuable tool. It motivates me. So do cookies. But I should make sure that the focus stays on doing my personal best, not on beating everyone else. And cookies should always be eaten after lunch.
Next post: I prove that procrastination=pie. (Ooh. Pie.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What Have I Been Doing? Well ... Err ...

I started a blog, right? That's a good thing, right?
Let's have a quick recap of the last couple weeks:
June 11: Got around to doing some editing I had been thinking about for a long time (on Sarawen, my too-long YA fantasy). Loved it. Shortened book by 5k words.
June 14: CAME UP WITH BRILLIANT IDEA FOR SEQUEL!!! Did absolutely no editing.
June 15: DAYDREAMED ABOUT BRILLIANT SEQUEL!!! Did absolutely no editing.
June 16: Realized I can't write a sequel until I've edited this book and finished four others. Cried a little. Shortened book by 3.5k words.
June 17: Added something I had cut ages ago back in. Book became 7k longer.
June 18-21: Um. Surely I didn't do nothing all that time? I must have done something, right? Man, I need to keep better records. Oh, yeah. I named the parents of the MCs in my prequel. That's important. Kind of.
June 22: Decided I wasn't getting anywhere and worked on Kaz (my humerous-middle-grade-fantasy-in-progress). Wrote about a thousand words. Made myself laugh.
June 23: Wrote 6k on Kaz. Freaked myself out so much I had to wake up little sister so she could turn off my light. She read last scene. Freaked her out so much she had to sleep on my floor.
June 24: Realized freaky scene wasn't all that freaky. Corrected that. In my mind. Did not correct it in manuscript. Realized that I really ought to work on Sarawen.
June 25: Had killer sinus headache. Beat my high score on Tiki Lavalanche. Repented. Rewrote a few scenes, cut 2k, made Mom and Megrat cry. Felt good. But sick.
June 26: Went to church. Thought about what I was going to write next day.
June 27: Didn't actually write anything. Instead, went to construction site and injured myself. Talked with brother Bam-Bam about his WIP.
June 28: Went to Girls' Camp. Became very ill. Came home from Girls' Camp. Created blog.
Wow! It looks a lot better written out like that! I guess I'm productive after all!
Lest you totally despair of me, I did do more things than I have written here. I just … didn't record them. Like I ate. And slept. And merged all my writing PAF files into a monstrous collection of 1,128 characters. (Yes, I am fully aware of how ridiculous it is to create and name 1,128 characters. But I have to do it. It's important to me.) (Don't worry, only a tenth of them will make it into the books. Most of them died a few decades before the series starts.) I discovered that one sneaky character had been flirting with another character I had already consigned to eternal maidenhood. Behind my back! I grumbled. I let them get married. I worked out a way to generate surnames for a group of people I won't be dealing with until B3. Yessiree, I was productive! Just not in any way that will further my efforts to get published.
And that's why I have you! Your job is to make me write. Productively. By badgering me. And being awesome. And bringing me cookies. (Scientific fact: All sixteen-year-old girls write better with a big plate of chocolate chip cookies beside them.) I also wouldn't mind if you cleaned my room.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check my Facebook again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sarah Blogs (And The World Trembles)

So, I've decided to start a blog. There are numerous reasons. I'll just list the top three:
1. I love too many wonderful people. And too many wonderful people love me and are interested in what's going on in my life and my writing. I want to interact with everyone and keep you all up-to-date, but I simply don't have the time or brainpower to write that many emails, and someone always gets left out. This way, I can keep up with you all! And you don't have your inbox cluttered!
2. I need to keep better records. I wish I could tell you the number of times I've thought 'Oh, I wish I knew when I thought of that!' Unfortunately, I haven't recorded them, so I can't. And as portable as spiral-bound notebooks are, they are easily lost. Or destroyed. (Remind me to tell you about the time Megrat wrote all HER book notes over top of MY important cartoon.) A blog is more accessible, more stable, and, hopefully, more memorable than my scattered scribblings.
3. I obviously don't spend enough time on the Internet. I mean, I only check my Facebook … what? Every ten minutes? WHAT DO I DO WITH THE OTHER NINE MINUTES? Heaven forbid I actually spend that time WRITING? This must stop!
With those important reasons all on top of each other, I think it's safe to say this blog will be seeing a lot of me. Or a little of me, in which case I'll have stopped procrastinating and decided to get serious about editing Sarawen. Either way, you win, right?