Saturday, December 27, 2014

End of the Year Update 2014

Wow! What a year! I've decided that every year I'm going to do an End of the Year post to cover the Fall Update and End of the Year so they're all wrapped up in one for the last Saturday of the year.

I believe this is going to be a tradition now lol. In this post I'm going to talk about things I've done this year, things I've learned in my writer journey, and things I want to do next year. I want to format my journal posts like this from here on out. Without further to do, let's get this party started!

What I Did:

Originally I was going to do the top five things I did this year, but ... that didn't work out. So here are the top ten awesome things I did this year!

1.) I went to the Florida Christian Writers Conference - Not only did I have a good time and pitch to some agents, I won Teen Writer of the Year. ^ ^ For the whole story check out the FCWC 2014 post!

2.) I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time ever - I've always want to win NaNoWriMo at least one time in my life and I did! I drafted my steampunk fantasy novel Red Hood! I chronicled the experience via Paperfury's awesome Beautiful Book link-ups: Link-up 1, Link-up 2, and Link-up 3.

3.) I became an editor for Geeks Under Grace - Thanks to my awesome friend Casey Covel, I've become an editor on this sweet Christian geek site. I edit people's grammar and write reviews and other posts. ^ ^ So far I've written reviews for the Maze Runner, The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1, and the Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies!

4.) I won the 100 for 100 Challenge for the second time - I wrote at least 100 words for 100 days during the 100 for 100 challenge at Go Teen Writers! Well technically 99, but I still did it consistently. ^ ^ I did this before in 2012, but it's been really refreshing to do it again. I feel like a lot of my zeal and determination to write came back since ... I was slacking earlier this year.

5.) I made a New Years Resolution to work on three books this year and I did it - I've worked on three books this year! I've edited Subsapien Biomech, I've rewritten Subsapien Grafting, I first drafted Red Hood and now I'm back to editing Subsapien Biomech, but it's getting so much better.

A fan-made cover created by Wesley Wood.
6.) I made a New Years Resolution to do at least one art project a month and I did it - I made a New Years resolution to do at least one piece of art a month and I did! It really helped my creative flow and I feel like my drawing and sculpting skill has grown. ^ ^ I talked about this in more depth on deviantART.

7.) I went to MomoCon and DragonCon - I attended two amazing conventions and I had such a good time! I met some of my favorite actors from my favorite shows, had a great time cosplaying, bought some fun nerdy goodies, and made some awesome memories with friends. I talked about these in more detail in my MomoCon and DragonCon posts. ^ ^

Craig Parker (Haldir from the Lord of the Rings) at DragonCon!
Dante Basco (Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender) at MomoCon!
8.) I did some pretty awesome cosplays - This year I did a lot of cosplaying. ^ ^ I did Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender, a survey corps member from Attack on Titan, a Mirkwood elf from The Hobbit, and a grafting from my Subsapien series. I had so much fun!

Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Survey Corp Member from Attack on Titan
Mirkwood Elf from the Hobbit
Grafting from Subsapien Biomech
9.) I started taking Kung Fu - I've been taking Kung Fu since February now! It's so fun and I've learned so much about combat. It's awesome book research. ^ ^ Now my fight scenes can be more authentic.
My first belt!
10. I made many unforgettable memories with the people I care about - I had so many awesome memories with friends and family this year that I'd overwhelm the post with pictures. I love you all, and thank you for sharing this year with me. ^ ^

Me and my BFF Cassidy!
Me and my little bro Joash. ^ ^
Bonus: Christmas Presents! - I got some really awesome stuff for Christmas including some particularly writerly stuff such as Scrivener (an awesome writing program), Blur by Steven James, Story Trumps Structure by Steven James and Failstate Nemesis by John W. Otte. Then I got some geeky presents like a Smaug Pop!, a Sherlock t-shirt, and a Hobbit calendar. ^ ^

What I Learned:

Here is some sage advice from what I've discovered this year.

1.) Write with a deadline and stick to it - When you're writing a book, give yourself a deadline, because if you don't you'll either never finish it or you're get tired of it. I think it's best to finish a draft in three or four months so you don't get bored with your story. I let myself slack a lot while rewriting Subsapien Grafting this year. I should've gotten at least some more work down on the Subsapien Biomech rewrite this year if I'd been more consistent with my writing even if it's just a little bit.

When you're writing a project write at least 100 words in it a day even if you don't feel like it. It's worth it if it means getting a book written. After a while 100 words is nothing, but if you don't start building up your writing stamina, you will never get a book written.

My antagonist Judah from Subsapien Biomech
2.) Rejections suck - So this year I've gotten rejected officially this year from some agents and a magazine. Four in total--and they suck. All of those legends about mourning over rejections with chocolate and writing are totally true though my version was British candy and Panera Bread sandwiches.

Those plus some super harsh critique from a piece I submitted to a national contest mixed into a bomb that almost broke my resolve as a writer, but after a lot of crying, binge watching TV shows, food, and supportive friends I made it through that really rough phase.

3.) Have a good support group - I don't know what I'd do without my friends Cassidy, Cassia, Lyssa, and Richard. They have been so encouraging to me especially in rough spots.

Thank you, Cassidy, for being my ultimate fan girl, editor and brainstorm buddy. Thank you, Cassia, for being my late night buddy that I could rant on about my books to so I could work out kinks. Thank you, Lyssa, for always saying good things about my stories. Thank you, Richard, for coming over and bringing me food when I get too stressed. Every writer needs friends that do these things.

Chibis of me (from right to left) and my friends Cassia and Cassidy
4.) It does get easier - Thinking back to how I used to write books and how I now write books I have realized that it does indeed get easier to write a story. When you start learning techniques and what a story requires it gets so much easier to write one. My newest novel Red Hood has gone so much smoother than any other novel I've written. The plot is more original and flows better, the characters have developed faster, and my writing flubs have gone down a lot even in the first draft.

So to all of you all less experienced writers, keep at it even though it's tough, because it does get easier. It will get easier to write 1000 words a day, it will get easier to get your characters deeper, it will get easier to smooth out your plot, and it will get easier to get those sentences sparkling.

5.) Don't just grow in your writing, grow as a writer - I think the biggest thing I've learned this year answers a lot of questions I've been having for a while now. Why haven't I been published? Why didn't that agent accept me? God, I thought my writing skill was up to par, and this is what you've wanted me to do so why haven't you let my dream move further?

I believe the answer to this is God has wanted to me not to just grow in my writing skill, but to grow as a writer and a person. I've grown more this past year in my faith and maturity than I was a year ago. I remember thinking, "I'm not sure if I can write this book, because I'm not far enough in my Christian walk to do it."

But now I am more confident in my faith and in my skill and as a person in general. I believe I am more ready as a person to be published writer, but God is the one who knows how to tell and I'll keep trying and get published when He believes it is best.

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

What I'm Going to Do:

My writerly resolutions for next year.

1.) Work on three or four more books next year - I want to work on my fourth (possibly fifth) rewrite of my science fiction novel Subsapien Biomech, I want to work on my first rewrite of my steampunk fantasy Red Hood, I want to first draft the third book of the Subsapien series Subsapien Hybrid next year and if I have time I want to work on editing the second book of the Subsapien series. So I have a full plate next year.

Bryce and Matt from Subsapien
2.) Keeping making art at least once a month and the Expression Challenge - I want to continue to draw at least one drawing a month and I also want to do The Expression Challenge which is a challenge I made up to do six head shots with different expression for fourteen of my book characters to grow my drawing skill and my skill at drawing each of them. I'll chronicle this in more detail on deviantART.

3.) Submit My Heart Out - I want to keep submitting works to be published, and I won't quit until I get a novel published and even then I'll keep submitting book after book to keep my writing career alive. I may even try submitting directly to some publishers next year. I'm not sure yet, but I'm going to keep trying my hardest.

4.) Don't Give Up - Even if I get hundreds of rejections, I'm going to keep going and not quit. I'm stubbornly determined and I'm going to use that as an asset. Even the great authors have gotten rejected.

5.) Blog More Consistently - I tried the most I ever had to be consistent with blogging and social media this year, but I want to step it up a notch with the blog. I've created a new schedule below!

All posts will go up at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Sunday - Soundtrack Sundays - The day I post a new music score piece.
Tuesday - Tea Tuesday - The day I post a review of teas for your drinking pleasure while writing or reading.
Wednesday - Wonderful Word Wednesday -  The day I post an awesome word for writing.
1st Saturday of the Month - A Writing post - (link) On this day I'll post about writing tips, rants and other similar topics.
2nd Saturday of the Month - A Blog-Link Up - On this day I'll do link-ups from Paperfury, because I love doing them and they're so helpful. They usually center around books, characters and stuff like that.
3rd Saturday of the Month -  A Book Review - (link) On this day I'll post a review of a book I've read recently.
4th Saturday and 5th Saturday (If the month has one) - Varied -  These two days will be a character interview, journal post (like this one), author interview, guest post, or a second writing post, book review or link-up. Basically these are the two surprise/flexible days.
Note: If an event comes up such as a convention or conference happens near a designated post's Saturday, I'll write the post on that week and scooch the regular post to a different week, and I'll designate to what week each time.

Sound good?

Self portrait. ^ ^=
This post got exceptionally long (I promise they're not all like this regularly), but well I am basically summarizing an entire year of my life. XD Regular journal posts, which will happen quarterly, will have only five things I've done. I'm hoping to look back at these posts years from now and watch my writer journey and to see the good side since I tend to be someone who looks at the glass half empty. I'm not too good at journals, but I like doing this. I'm also hoping that my journey will inspire other writers.

I lead an unusual lifestyle. I didn't go to college so I could concentrate on my career to a be a writer. I didn't choose the easy, socially acceptable path, but I believe this is what God wants me to do. Since I quit trying to conform to the world and trust in where God is leading me, I've felt more satisfied than I ever have. I'm a geeky, introverted, artistic writer, and I like being that.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting my dream! Thank you to my friends, family and fans/readers!

Lastly I will be taking the week off and will resume posting next Saturday with a long-awaited post! Akemashite omedetou! Happy New Years, everyone!

What are some of your highlights for this year? What have you learned? What did you do on Christmas?

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If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

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