Monday 24 November 2014

Being Done Nanowrimo

November 24th, 2014

I officially finished my 50k early last week.  I believe it was Tuesday.

Once again, this is through Nanowrimo. (National Novel Writing Month). Check it out at:

I started this with no idea. I had no idea if I'd finish it. I had no idea where my story was going, and I had no idea if I would do well with having a deadline.

It turns out, I do.

I'm feeling a bit more burnt out then I'd like though. I submitted my word count on Thursday (the first day they were validating), and I wrote some more Thursday night, but I haven't been back at it since then.

I'm not done the novel. 50k is only about half way there, so I still have a lot to do. I'm hoping to finish the novel by the start of the New Year (or shortly after). I would never have gotten this far if not for this crazy and wonderful NaNoWriMo experiment. I loved it, and even though I needed this past weekend off from writing, I miss it. 

This happened after I was done my first novel, I missed my characters. So taking a break before I'm done is even worse. I'm so emotionally invested, it's ridiculous. 

Unfortunately, I have a few other things I want to finish before I get back to completely jumping back into the novel.

(Like writing many many Christmas cards).

I am now completely on board with NaNoWriMo, and I will be participating in it every year I can. With the month of writing, the next month or two of finishing it, many months of editing, query letter writing, and waiting for a response from the first query, I can write one novel a year. I'm good with that. I don't need more at the moment, as they are still unpublished. 

I will keep you updated on my novel, and update when it's finished, but for now, I'm happy with my accomplishment for the month. I'm proud of myself.

And - still no word from publishers. It's almost disheartening, but I know I'm not the first, and not the last, to get stuck in the waiting game. Things will happen.

That's my update. I'm in love with November, and I'm in love with writing, and apparently I do well with goals. (Who knew?) I don't love deadlines, but I guess I'm good with trying to reach a fast paced goal.

All is good in my life. Busy at my day job writing Christmas commercials. Tis the Season.

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

My First Work Family

November 19th, 2014

I realised today that I haven't lived in one place for more than five years since I moved away from Plenty (17 years ago).  I'm not sure if that's good or bad. It seems strange, actually. I was talking to a coworker who has been with the company for more than 10 years, and I thought about the fact that I hadn't had a job for longer than five years, but it's not because I'm a flake (really!), it's because I haven't stayed in one place for that long since I graduated high school.

This week, I've been thinking about family, friends, and jobs.

Throughout my life, I've had  a lot of jobs. I've always enjoyed (most of) the people I've worked with, but I've never felt like I've had a work family. I didn't know I needed one. I always had somebody who made work more enjoyable, but until I moved to Melfort, Saskatchewan to work at my first radio station, I didn't realise what a work family was.

I didn't know I was walking into a building that was full of caring, wonderful, funny people. I didn't know they would impact my life for the better.

Even though radio jobs aren't always forever, I still found a family. It's a revolving door of people coming and going. Some go to other radio stations, some are just interns, some leave for other jobs, and some... some stay. I didn't stay, but I did stay with the family. I worked there for only a year before moving to Whitecourt. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. While my social life in Melfort was lacking (as well as single men), I absolutely loved my job and the people I worked with. 

I remember a coworker asking me if I always cry as much as I did that week before I left. I never had before leaving a job. I was truly sad to leave my work family.

Luckily, the station in Whitecourt was a sister station, so they were all an email or phone call away, and I still occasionally saw some of them on visits to Whitecourt. This new station was a family as well, I'm sure they learned it from the original station. 

I went through a lot when I was in Whitecourt, and I always knew that both stations had my back. I knew they would be there if I needed to talk, cry, or vent. I had a few more jobs while living in Whitecourt, and suffice to say, they were NOT the radio stations.

Maybe it's just the radio family life. We're all connected some how. It feels like family now as well, but I'll never forget my first family. They were always the first ones to message or talk to me when I had my own hard times (even in Saskatoon).

You know the crossroads in life? Where one choice or moment changes everything? (Like the movie Sliding Doors?) Well this was one of the biggest in my life. It's not often I look back at any other moment, and think, 'What if'?' I do with this decision. What I I had decided to stay in Melfort? My life would have been very different. For the better? Who knows. It was just a hard decision to leave.

I'm lucky, and I'm grateful for them. I don't think I told them this enough, but it's my fact of life. 

I've been sad this week about a loss somebody I used to work with is going through. Life isn't fair, and it's down right scary sometimes, and I just hope he's able to take comfort in family and the family of coworkers. He's an example to follow when it comes to caring and support - the biggest example. I know from experience how great both he and the rest of my past coworkers are. My heart is breaking for him. I hate loss, and just wish nobody has to experience it. 

I think the best words of advice I got after personal loss was to lean on those around me. That advice came from one of my past coworkers.

One more thing, if somebody is looking to donate money this holiday season, I just donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association. I donated to the Saskatchewan division, but you can donate to any location. It's something that's constantly talked about, but I've never donated. I'm glad I did. Canadian Mental Health Association. I donated specifically in support to Writing For Life because I know how writing can change lives, and hopefully make a bad moment better, but there are a lot of programs to support.

I'll have a writing recap next time. Today, isn't about the day.
And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Barbies and writing

November 16, 2014


Barbies may seem like a silly topic to write about. Especially when I'm supposed to be writing a novel. It's my blogging day. First I blog, and then I novel write. This is important too, and if I leave my blogging, I might not get back to it in the way I'd like. I'm proud of myself for sticking to this blog, even though, at times, the posts were slow going (and some days boring). 

Today, I want to write about Barbies.

It actually has quite a lot to do with my writing, strangely enough. (Or, I've had a lot of lack of sleep, and my brain is making strange connections.)

First of all, I read A LOT of blogs. I've read more than one post about Barbies. I've heard more than one complaint about Barbies. You know what? I'm sick of it.

I played with Barbie my entire childhood (admittedly, longer than I should have.) I'm biased, I guess. I'm not sure if her name was ever Barbie -I'm sure I renamed her. I had a lot of them. Mostly Barbies, a few Skippers, and even less Kens. 

I never watched any Barbie cartoons, and she never had the dream house in the You Tube commercial below. My grandpa gave us a house for our Barbies. I'll have to find a picture of it because it was much better than the dream house. And it wasn't pink.

Before I get to why Barbie has done nothing but inspire my writing, I have to say one thing about growing up with Barbie. She was never a role model. I never looked at her, and thought, I hope I have breasts as big as her, and a waist as small as hers, or a face as pretty as hers, or hair as perfect. I never once looked at her body, and thought, she's so perfect, I'll never be as great as her. Maybe it was because, my Barbies had flaws (especially after I chopped off their hair.) None of them were perfect, none of them had perfect lives. They usually got what they wanted (well, not all of them, they often fought over Ken, and only one ever won.) But they were never something I looked at and thought, boy I hope I look like that when I grow up. Both Barbie and I knew that life wasn't always fair, but we kept on going. 

I know people sometimes write about why they won't let their kids play with Barbies. Partially because of her unrealistic looks. Maybe my mom just did a really good job at making me realise that my looks weren't everything. Maybe I knew, I'd never be Barbie. I don't think I ever wanted to be Barbie though. I also don't look at magazines, and think, I want to be like the movie star with the perfect hair, the perfect body, and the perfect life. I know they don't have perfect lives. Neither did my Barbies. 

This particular rant is only to say, I did okay. I grew up liking to play with my Barbies, and I didn't end up with any weird need to have the perfect body. I didn't look at Barbie at any age and think I wanted a body like hers. I was well aware that she did not have a vagina. Boobs only get you so far. (The woman who has had surgery to look like Barbie - she's another story). I've wanted to defend these dolls for a long time, but never had a reason to. 

I mean, Barbies have nothing to do with writing, do they? So how can I blog about her?

Obviously, I have a purpose with this post. And it is that Barbies do help me with my writing. She doesn't so much now, but before I knew how to write, I was making up stories with my Barbie dolls. I used to play with my cousin when she came to visit, and my sister and I played with Barbies all the time. When nobody was around to play with me, I'd play alone. It only takes one person to make up stories with dolls. I always preferred Barbies to Dolls because they had a slightly more human feeling to them. I made stories up from the start, and continued giving them drama until I was too old for Barbies. I'd say the age, but I actually don't know.

Before I knew I had stories in me to tell, I was telling them with my Barbies. My love for storytelling started from childhood. I wouldn't go so far as to give her credit for the great stories in my head, and I also don't think any of my characters look or act like any of the Barbies. I can't remember any particulars about the lives I gave them, but I know they weren't perfect lives. Life isn't perfect, and I knew that a long time ago. That's what makes it so fun. 

I don't usually do this, but I'm going to leave this post with a quote from what I'm writing. The quote won't give a lot of insight into the story, but maybe into the characters.

My main character (Jenna) has a 12 year old sister. She is still innocent, and not at all ready to start being a teenager, but has moments of wisdom. This is one of them:

"When you talk to me it makes me feel like I’m not a kid.”
“You aren’t.” I looked at her. “But, Jasmine, I don’t think you need to grow up quite so quickly. Being a kid isn’t a bad thing.”
          She laughed. “Jenna, I don’t think anybody NEEDS to grow up. Being a kid just means you have fun. Grown ups sometimes forget how to do that, but it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about me growing up too quickly. I’ll never forget how to have fun. I might even teach you how to do it.”   

That's actually where I am in the novel, so I've got to get back at it. I've got to get back to my month of NanoWrimo. I'm at 40,000 words!

Since Barbie isn't actually real (and I know that, in case this post is making me seem crazy), I do need to thank my mom for buying me tons of Barbies, encouraging me my entire life, and giving me a realistic view of my body. I knew I didn't look like Barbie (or any other gorgeous actor). Not only that, but I was okay with it. I love what I look like. 

Thanks for reading my rant/ode to Barbie. 

Why don't they make a book writing Barbie?

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Learning to Write. Always.

Wednesday, November 12

I am over 30,000 words written on my Nanowrimo novel.

I'm incredibly proud of myself for how much I've done. My first novel took about three years (but an actual year of dedicated writing). This is going better. It's flowing better, and I'm getting to know a little more about my characters. They still surprise me though.

With my last novel (still unpublished if anybody is keeping track), the time period in the novel was about two weeks. I wrote about each day in Lucy's (my main character) life of the two weeks.

I started doing that with this one, and 30,000 words in, I don't want to do that anymore. I have been skipping a little more, and I can't imagine skipping an entire day (because at least one thing is going to happen each day), but I'm trying to change and improve my writing this time around, and I think that includes skipping over unimportant details. 

That's probably the one thing I don't love about my first novel. It sometimes feels like moments are repeated, and insignificant things get too much focus because I didn't try to sum it up with one sentence. "The day passed by quickly." I think I should do more of that (not exactly like that though), and take more time on the moments that are important. Jenna (this novel's main character), has been through a lot, and I'd rather focus on her breakthrough moments, or on the moments she can laugh, instead of making sure she gets every single meal mentioned in the book.

It's all a learning process, and I guess it is a little because I am used to writing short stories. They were always a snippet of somebody's life. This is a snippet of Jenna's life, but I could get more of the 'snippet' in if I don't focus on the boring details of her life. People can assume that stuff if they want.

I also have to work on descriptions of people. I'm really good at overusing: "She smiled." or "He smiled." But I'm still learning how to talk about what the smile looked like. That goes with not being repetitive. 

So while I loved my first novel, I think I can do this one in a different way. Learn to write my scenes more efficiently. 

Hopefully, anyway.

I've got less than 20,000 words until I reach 50,000, but I don't really think the novel will be done at 50,000. Jenna's story is longer than 50,000 words, I can guarantee that. 

That's it for today. I just thought I'd share what I need to work on as a writer. It's one thing to tell everybody that I write, and love writing, but it's important to admit that I have a lot to learn. Always.

Happy Wednesday. 

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Research and Nano update

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Monday, I wrote about what I love: Writing. I love writing. It's making me so happy these past few days.

I've been writing every day, but not as much as I'd like. I'm not talking blogging here. I'm talking about my novel writing. As I said, I started strong on the weekend. I wrote around 5000 words a day. That's good. I'm proud of that. I've slowly dwindled as the week continued. Today, I've been completely unmotivated, so I was hoping that writing a blog post would put me in the writing mood. I also miss my blog.

Writing on week nights is going a little better than I expected. After working a full day in front of a computer, I would never expect to write a lot on a week night. My goal was 2000 words a day from Monday to Friday. Although I have written every day, I only made 2000 words about two of the five days. I know I've written a lot already, but I wanted to continue to write my goal amount every day. I'm letting myself down, even though I am actually doing well. I think this is a situation where I can be hard on myself though, especially if I get a novel out of it.

Going into this second novel I was worried. My first novel was an idea that had been rolling around in my head for years. Years. I didn't have another idea that I've been holding on to for as long. That's kind of why I went with a character from the last novel. (But not the same theme).

When I do make time to write, I get a lot done in a small amount of time. I shouldn't be surprised at that. I used to be really good at the last minute essay writing in university. (Years ago). It's more than that though, the words and conversations are all flowing very well. (So far.)

According to NaNoWriMo definitions, I am a Panster. Writing at the seat of my pants. In other words, I don't plan. I'm starting to think I need to do a little bit more planning on because I'm not sure where my story is going.

However, with writing, occasionally, comes something I don't love so much. Research. (I didn't love it while I wrote essays either.)

Today at work, I did some research about rape victims. Where did I turn? Pinterest. It's strange right? I also use Pinterest to plan my wedding even though I haven't been asked, and don't really know if it will happen. Pinterest, to me, is for planning imaginary weddings, recipes, quotes, clothes... material stuff. I randomly searched rape quotes though, and I found so many things. People who have been through something horrible, and are allowing their voices to be heard.

I want to give my character the right voice. I haven't been through this, personally, and I hope I'm writing that part of it correctly.

I haven't had to do a lot of tough research for this one. The first novel, probably still needs a bit of research on certain things that I don't know enough about, but I'll get back to it.

One other thing, I realise this may have been the first time I mentioned that rape is in my book. (I think). An actual rape isn't in the book. This deals with the aftermath of it. My first novel dealt with the aftermath from a different perspective.

Side note, I've also been trying to stay off Facebook so I can focus 100 percent on writing. It's not going very well so far. Especially today.

Now, back to my novel writing...

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Monday 3 November 2014

I really Love Writing

November 3

I forgot how much I loved writing. This has happened more than once in my life (sadly). I tell people I love to write, but then I don't do it. I don't write, and I slowly forget that it's a passion. How do you forget what your passion is?

I mean, I really love it, and not only that, but I REALLY missed it. 

I'm doing well with the NaNoWriMO. To be perfectly honest, I'm a little bit surprised with how much I've written. (I still have about 40,000 words to go, but I've got a good start.) Today, while at work, ALL I WANT TO DO IS WRITE. I am so invested in my story.

I wrote around 5000 words on both Saturday and Sunday. That's more than I had planned, and I really hope I can keep it up.

I think I convinced myself during recent months that blogging was enough. And don't get me wrong, I love blogging. I love my 'online journal', but I also love writing stories. 

I am completely in love with the writing of my new novel, and I'm getting attached to the new characters, it's crazy. 

I'm writing about a character from my first novel. She wasn't a main character. Her role was important, but there weren't a lot of details about her. I'm learning a lot about her already, and I'm also a bit surprised at her stubborn nature, as well as how strong she is. 

I didn't write an outline before I started (even though I did consider it), so I had no idea where the story would be going. I have a better idea now, and it's going to introduce a few new characters into the mix (that I hadn't considered). 

I just need to find a way to make her laugh more, and then I'll be set. (Or she'll be set... I'm not sure anymore).

That's my nanowrimo update. It's reminding me that I love this. If writing fiction COULD actually be my one and only career, I would be very happy. I do love my day job, but it's becoming really clear to me that a life of writing would be a dream. I can make my dream come true by simply writing -whether or not it's done full time or not. I'd like full time though. I can do that anywhere.

I'm feeling quite happy and care free today. I wonder if it's because of the writing?

 I wasn't feeling as care free last night when I was trying to sleep, but that's because I kept thinking about where Jenna (the main character) was at that moment.

Okay, after work, I'll head home, and jump back into my novel.

By the way, if you have a moment check out this: 12 Attributes Every Writer Needs. I really enjoyed it. If you're a writer, you should appreciate it. 


And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.

Saturday 1 November 2014


It's a new month!

As with my blog tradition, I will do my 'month start' post as per usual. I only posted about 8 times in October. I was away for half of it, so I guess that's an excuse. I hope to improve this month, but am quite busy with other writing, so we'll see.

As it is, this will be a VERY quick post because I have four more pages of novel writing to do, and then I get ice cream.

So here we go, Happy November! 

Life: Life is good. I'm challenging myself this month with NaNoWriMo. I'm sick of waiting to see what happens with my first novel. Time to start writing more. Today was the first day, and if I continue like I have, I'll have a first draft by December (if not earlier.) 

Other than writing and work, I haven't seen my friends very much since I've been home. This is my fault. I miss them though. A lot. I was actually worried about this writing competition because it is going to take A LOT of my time. I can't apologise for that, but I can feel bad, and miss my friends.

Novel: I'm waiting for a publishing company to get back to me with a yes or a no. I want a yes, but would take a no if it means I hear from them.

And I'm working on Jenna's story. I didn't realise it needed to be told, but I see now it does. I also am already surprised by this character's stubbornness and strength. I didn't see that in her until today.

Love: In love in love in love and in love. It's my favourite constant in my life. Things are good. As always, he's my number one supporter. I told him last night how nervous I was about doing NaNoWriMo. He said he knew I could do it. No problem.

Every day I'm more and more grateful to share my life with him. 

This Time Last Year: 

Exactly on this day last year, we were flying to Ontario. I met Clint's friends and family for the first time. I loved it all. I took a break from novel writing, and spent a week discovering Clint's Ontario.

That's it. Back to writing for me.

HAPPY November! 

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.