Tag Archives: writing

Reading, Writing, and Other Awesomeness

8 Dec

Whew!  What a week!

So, Fresh Start December?  Yeah, it’s rocking so far.  Reading, writing, chatting with delightful friends on Twitter and gmail chat—you name it, it’s happening.

And I love it.  It feels good.  Fresh, I might even say.

The writing room is just as fantastic as you might imagine it to be.  It’s got a huge, clean, antique wooden desk, a new comfy desk chair, another desk (which, I discovered yesterday, is PERFECT for scene card shuffling), windows and natural light for inspiration, and a big gray chair that’s perfect for reading.¹


I’m overjoyed to announce that this writing room—get this—actually leads to a Very Productive Kayla.  During the first week of Fresh Start December, I slaved over a new beginning to this Very Important Novel.  Lo and behold, I (FINALLY) actually came up with one.  This beginning has been a thorn in my side for a little while, and it’s nice to have figured out (what I think is) a viable solution to the issues it had.  I still have some work to do on it, for sure, but am super encouraged by the progress I’ve made on it.

Turns out, this writing room is also good for reading novels.  Especially awesome, quirky, yet-to-be-released novels like DON’T STOP NOW, the newest book by super-talented author Julie Halpern.  I think I’ll devote an entire post to this book, rather than trying to cram in all the awesome right here.  You may have heard of DON’T STOP NOW already—Natalie Whipple has mentioned it a few times on her blog.  Consider it without-a-doubt-worthy of your to-read list.  I’ll tell you more about it soon.

Okay, y’all.  Time to get productive up in here.

¹Pictures are forthcoming, *promise*—as soon as I find my camera.  Alas, it is still buried in some box.  (The ONE box I didn’t color code or label, it seems.)

Fresh Start

1 Dec

You know what feels good?


That’s right—in all its frigid glory¹, December is already rocking my face off.  Why, you ask?  Because that means NOVEMBER IS OVER!


No, seriously.  Hallelujah.  November was one of the best—and one of the worst—months I can remember.  Austin is fresh and fantastic, though.  All the stress, all those days spent not writing, all the goodbyes, all the everything?  It’s ALL worth it.

We have more space (ENOUGH space! More than a one-bedroom apartment space! SPAAAAACE!), we’re surrounded by all things green and gorgeous, it’s quiet, it’s steadily becoming organized and delightful, and the Starbucks (four minutes from parking lot to garage! Wheee!) is even better than I hoped for.  Except I don’t really have to go to Starbucks as much, because a) there are a TON of coffee house options here, b) I bought a fresh bag of espresso + cleaned our fancy espresso machine, and c) I have an actual writing room!


Even better?  I actually get to write in it today.

After an entire month of no WIP progress—zero words!—while watching everyone lasso the moon on their NaNo projects, I am SO. FREXING. EXCITED. to get back to work today.  On the agenda: back to work on the fourth draft of WIP #1, followed by (*hopefully*) 500ish new words on the first draft of WIP #2.

Happy December to you all!  Oh, and I’m glad to have the internet again, which means a return to regular blog and Twitter interaction—YAY!  What’s on your December agenda?

¹Which, um, in Texas? Is about 37ºF at the moment.

Quick Hits: Moving Week Edition!

24 Nov

Hey, y’all!

I have approximately five minutes before leaving this lovely land of onlineness¹ and heading back to box-land.  Poor blog, though—you guys probably thought I forgot to bring it to Austin with me.

(FYI, those of you who don’t know me well—yet—this is my second full day in a new city.  Things have been crazy lately, hence the unintentional lack of blogging.)

Here’s a quick-hits list of all things moving-week-related!


Packing Day—Sunday, the day we loaded all of our junk into not one, but two U-hauls—was one of the most taxing days I’ve ever experienced.  However, if you follow me on Twitter (@olsonkayla), you already know this because I flooded you with #ihatepacking tweets.  Sorry about that.


Austin?  Is totally worth the taxing packing day.  It’s fresh and fun and completely awesome.  (PS: Melissa, you can absolutely consider this yet another subtle hint that screams MOVE HERE! in your direction!)


The only downside, so far, is the lack of internet access at our apartment.  We’ll be hooked up soon, but for now I feel totally out of the loop.  I miss you guys. *waves at sweet friends*


Our new apartment comes complete with a zillion awesome places to work on my novels.  Bay window here, fireplace there, two patios, trees, peace and quiet…I’m so excited to get a little more settled in so I can get back to work!


People in Austin are FRIENDLY.  I’m serious.  We’ve already met some of our adorable neighbors—two young, married couples—because they came down and introduced themselves while we unloaded the U-Haul. (Ahem, I mean while we stood around and watched the paid movers unload the U-Haul.)(Best. Decision. Ever.)  Everyone we’ve met has been kind and welcoming.

Okay, that’s it for quick hits.  We’ve got some unpacking to do…whee!  I’ll be back soon(ish).

In the meantime—since I’m sort of out of the loop for a little while—please fill me in on your own quick hits!  I’m doing my best to keep up with all of your blogs, but it’s harder than usual given my less-connectedness.

Wishing you all a special and lovely Thanksgiving!

¹Funny how my made-up word looks sort of like loneliness. (Not that I’m lonely. Just that it’s funny.)

Accio Chopstick Wand!

19 Nov

Remy the Ravenclaw Cat. Yes, that is his wand. And, yes—it IS a chopstick.

Here at our house, ALL of us are excited about the Harry Potter premiere.  This afternoon, we’ll be taking a break from the boxes (the Chick-Fil-A waffle fry boxes, obviously)(sans cats) to go be awed and amazed by what looks to be an incredible movie.

Can. Not. Wait.

No, seriously.  I can’t.  I’m about to throw on that Ravenclaw scarf, whip up some fake butterbeer (vanilla bean ice cream + butterscotch syrup + cream + blender = AWESOME.), jump in my car, and drive to the theater.

Soon, I shall be out of this moving phase and will stop posting pictures of our cats.  Thanks for hanging in there with me. ❤


16 Nov

I miss writing.  It’s only been a week or so, but I miss it, y’all!

As I mentioned in my last post (I know—so long ago, right?!), both of my WIPs are officially on hold until December.  It’s sort of necessary, given this pack-and-move-practically-overnight situation we’re in, but still.  I miss it.

Sure, I have some snippets of time here and there.  I could write something.  It’s largely a focus issue, though—not a time issue.

Revising my WIP into a fourth draft is something that deserves a fully-focused mind, not a mind that’s dealing with huge physical and emotional transition.  And, even though the first draft will be a first draft (read: in need of MUCH work, no matter how much focus is devoted up front), I’d still like to make it as coherent as possible.

I have a feeling December will be full of words and huge progress.  After a) this long break where I’m already itching to work, b) reading some good fiction during times when I would usually be writing, and c) the impending Harry Potter-palooza, I will have no choice but to be inspired.

So, December?

BRING IT ON.  I’m ready to wear off more letters from my keyboard (let’s all take a moment to mourn faithful letters D and C, the first of many keyboard ghosts), ready to dig in and focus, ready to do what’s necessary to make sparks fly on both projects.

But first, I must deal with Cardboard November and the Great Transition of 2010.

Once we’re settled, though: flying sparks. Words like wildfire. Important progress.

And I can’t wait.

So…About Those Goals…

10 Nov

Question: How long does it take November to go from feeling like a WHOLE MONTH! to feeling like oh-wow-only-TWELVE-DAYS-before-we-move?!?!?!

Answer: Not long.

Fortunately, the upside to twelve days is that my writing goals won’t have to be set aside for too terribly long.  And, oh yes, despite my lofty ambitions, they are being set aside—but only until December 1 (extra week of padding time included for the holidays and the unpacking phase).

Packing can get tedious, but I’ve figured out something to make it more fun: a color-coding system!  You knew I would do that, though, right?  Yes, yes, approximately 94.6% of the fun of this packing process is due to mini-post-its, a sharpie, and uniformly shaped boxes.  (The other 5.4% of the fun = the satisfaction of seeing quick progress take place, FYI.)  My system makes for a very pretty, very organized, transitional period.

How’s November going for everyone else?  Crazy-busy, like mine?  Rolling right along, without problems, exactly as planned?  Somewhere in between?


Wish I could write/read all day, but it’s back to the boxes I go.



Happy Days are Here Again!

5 Nov

It’s a sunny, cold-but-not-freezing, altogether fresh Friday morning.  It’s a good hair day, a my-latte-is-amazing day, an I-have-a-new-J.Crew-necklace-and-am-so-wearing-it-today day.  Plus, I had fresh organic raspberries in my oatmeal this morning.  So, of course — on a day like today — what else is a girl supposed to do, but belt out the “Happy Days are Here Again” song in her trés echo-y apartment complex walkway on the way to her Jeep, you know?

(Yes.  I did this before nine in the morning.  Perhaps I can blame the amazing raspberries for pushing me over the edge?)

(Fortunately, only one dog attempted to bark me into silence.)

Anyway.  It’s fitting that I’m having a happy day today, since I’m guest posting at Natalie Whipple’s blog about — you guessed it! — happy things.  Every Friday, Natalie does a post for the Happy Writers Society.  This week, my two cents are up.  Check them out here if you haven’t already, and be sure to check out every single other post Natalie’s ever written, while you’re at it.

Big Bowl of Crazy

4 Nov

Why, hello, November!  You are bright and shiny (read: dark and rainy and cold and AWESOME), and I’m so glad you’re finally here—just one question.

When did you arrive, and how did I miss you?

(Oops.  Two questions.  My bad.)

Somehow, the number at the bottom of my screen tells me it is already the fourth.  Wha?!  This would not usually be a daunting number, except that it’s November.  Not that I’m doing NaNo, but still.  My November is turning into one big fat bowl of crazy.  I need every day I can get.

So…isn’t a non-NaNoWriMo November supposed to be calm, lovely, smooth, and entirely stress-free? (HA.)  Turns out, that only happens when you treat November as merely November.  If you replace NaNoWriMo with your own combination of NaNoBlahBlahBlah, all sorts of crazy is possible.

For example, here are all the NaNos I’m n̶a̶ï̶v̶e̶l̶y̶  bravely taking on this month:


NOT the pull-out-your-hair, scribble-till-your-arm-falls-off 50K version.  More like the 500 words per day version that I invented merely to get WIP #2’s first draft rolling.  It’s nice to have a no-pressure outlet purely dedicated to creating something fresh.  So far, I’m reaching this goal about every other day.


The lovely Beth Revis invented this one, and the Rev is for revision.  (Note that Beth has a distinct advantage, since the entire revision process is practically named for her.  If only it was called Olsonision…or Olsonion? Alas.  It isn’t.)  This is the Big Project.  The still-needs-work-but-it’s-kind-of-almost-there project.  It’s going well so far.  I’ve figured out a process that works for this draft (the fourth)(funny how everysinglepart of this process requires a new system, no matter how well your old ones work) and am excited and encouraged about the upcoming changes.  Some are significant, some are minor.  All are needed.


This is what Natalie Whipple is doing this month: a ton of reading.  She plans to burn through her tall stack of to-be-reads.  My stack of want-to-reads is ever growing, but for November, I’ll be happy if I get through one—two at most (James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade).


This is fun to say (imagine Sun’s harsh Korean father on LOST saying this like it’s an order to one of his subservient minions), and I made it up two seconds ago.  It stands for Kayla’s November Gym Month.  Yep: self-explanatory.  My sitting to moving ratio isn’t pretty at the moment, and I am dedicated to getting back into good habits.  Even if that only looks like a 30-minute walk on the treadmill—I’m mostly just aiming for consistent effort right now.


Linda came up with this one last year: National House Cleaning Month.  Though I sort of need to participate, I hadn’t planned on it.  I mean, look at my November plans, y’all!  They’re…daunting.  Possible, but daunting.  To add cleaning to the mix seemed useful, but not ultimately important enough to shove my other goals aside.  Until now…


No, I’m not talking about peaches. (MoMo = もも = peach in Japanese, FYI.)  Nope—it’s Kayla’s November Moving Month.  We’ve had some life transition goals in the works for a while (meaning we’ve been dreaming/praying about them and wondering how/when to actually try to act on them).  Well, turns out November is THE month!  Things have fallen into place quickly and perfectly, and we’ll be making a major move before the first of December.

As you might imagine, this last thing could flatten the rest of November to the ground.  Stack of books to read?  Flattened.  Shiny new WIP?  Pancake.  Revisions?  Roadkill.  If that happens, whatever.  Life happens.  And this transition?  Certainly counts as life.  December will be there, if all else fails.

However—I’m going to try to keep the impending transition from steamrolling over my goals.  Forward progress, discipline, and a calm spirit: those are my only REAL goals for November.  If I can accomplish those, I’ll be happy.

So?  Four days in—how are you guys doing with your various sets of lofty goals?  Updates, please!

November Eve Eve

30 Oct

It’s that time of year again—November Eve Eve!

The day before the day before November starts, and crazy hopeful writers everywhere pick up their pens (oh, who am I kidding, they take to their keyboards) and write like mad for a month.

It’s the day before the day before the day outlines will be shelved in favor of that One Magnetic Idea, the Hugely Huge One that requires a ton of planning but who cares?! I can totally write a zillion-word (50K is for wimps, yo!) epic masterpiece trilogy in a month with no prior thought whatsoever—it’s November, and that means my brain and fingers and keyboard are infused with MAGIC!

It’s also the last day where sleep is an option, because Halloween?  Pretty much backs up to November.  Bubble-clad Lady GaGas, sparkly-sexy vampires, Princess Leias, Voldemorts, and Pippi Longstockings everywhere will flock from parties to coffee houses, bust out their laptops at midnight, and FALL ASLEEP IN THEIR BOTTOMLESS CUPS OF COFFEE WRITE!

So…am I doing NaNoWriMo?

Heck no.

I’m a NaNo cheerleader, which is every bit as important!  This is a PSA to everyone who’s tempted to think November is only for participants.  No, my friends!  The participants need cheerleaders!

Who else is going to remind them to eat?  Reassure them that it’s TOTALLY OKAY if they actually heed the Inner Editor (not to be confused with the Inner Critic) when she speaks her mind?  That doing the Halloween-party-to-coffee-shop thing at midnight, dressed in bubbles, is a bad idea in more ways than one?  That sacrificing quality for mere quantity only leads to editing misery?  To be their Harry Potters when they are Dumbledores in Voldemort’s horcrux cave (“Make me finish this no matter how much I protest!”)?

No, friends—November Eve Eve (and the rest of November, for that matter) is not the time to sit back.

November Eve Eve is the day to adopt a NaNo Participant, whip out your cute little cheerleading outfits, and prepare to ENCOURAGE!

Here are some suggested adoptees to get you started:

@melissaiswrite / @LizaKane / @KristenYard / @jamieharrington / @LauraJMoss / @Anna_Dawes / @betherann / @mercedesmy / @Simone7304 / @WeronikaJanczuk

Disclaimer: these extreme examples of crazy people in no way resemble the awesome participants listed here.  These ladies have good heads on their shoulders, and I have every confidence they’ll whip November into shape and wield it to their advantage (as opposed to, uh, getting whipped by November).  All the more reason you should cheer them on!  :)

Oh! And PS: I listed their Twitter handles because it’s easiest to follow that way.  If you prefer to follow blogs, not Tweets, click over anyway.  Links are included with their profile sections.

PPS: If any listed participants would rather be cheerleaderless, shoot me an email [olsonkayla (at) gmail (dot) com] or a comment and I’ll remove you from this post.  And, conversely, if you’re NOT on the list—and can’t face November without pompoms and pyramids—just let me know!

You Say You Want To Edit?

28 Oct

"You say you want to edit? Oh, human – what am I going to do with you? You'll have to get through me, first. And, PS: this is payback for all those hugs you give me. Only villains give hugs."


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