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24 February 2023

Exploring New Things: Writing, Food, And More!

Written by Sarah-Maree

At last! Friday is here, and I am finally sharing what I’ve been up to lately! Yeesh, after two weeks, there’s a lot more to cover than I had originally planned.

From writing to editing to reading to crafting to living, I’ve been all over the place!

I mean this in a good way. I've been busy, but I think I'm enjoying it this time. At least, I'm enjoying it for now. Attempting to do too much at once and then maintaining that level can certainly be draining. Don't be surprised if in a few weeks if I'm suddenly like - writing is the worst! Lol

Improvements In Writing And Editing Thanks To Writing Buddies

First, the fun stuff! Have I mentioned that writing groups are awesome? Well, they are! (I go into details here about the benefits, and here talks about where to find local groups.) 

I'm going to boast here for a second as I pat myself on the back for sticking with it. Not only have I published one book, but I'm proud of the work I did for it and my second published novel (Positivity Camp and Sir Ryac and the Dark Mage). Along the way, I picked up skills and noticed bad habits.

However! I haven't been alone on this journey. With writing buddies joining me along the way, they've helped me spot bad habits, and they've inspired good ones. I'm not naming names yet since some people are shy, haven't chosen a pen name yet or even if they want one, and some for other reasons. One writer, I shall call her A, does a fantastic job with infusing color and other sight based imagery into her descriptions. Writer B does a creepy job of adding in those sensory details that really build on evoking a not-quite-rightness about a place or person. Writer C takes the world building up a notch (they all do fantastic world building) by alternating between different sensory details. Meanwhile, Writer D just nails it when it comes to evoking particular emotions from the reader by really delving into sight, sound, taste, touch, and even smell in a scene. You can't get much better than that, right? Wrong! There's always room for improvement. Otherwise, storytellers would all be doing the same thing or they would stop improving over time. Each one of us has strengths and weaknesses.

So, what about this has me so excited? If you started singing the mimic song, then you know me well.

In my case, I want to be the mimic. I want to absorb their skills and make them my own. And recently, I felt like I did a major level up as I strived to do just that. Did I do better than them? No idea. More importantly, do I care if I did better than them? No, I don’t care. In fact, I constantly remind myself that I shouldn't compare my writing to anyone else’s. We need to mimic what we enjoy and adapt it to OUR style. If it doesn't fit, adjust or discard it. My writing is my own. It may be inspired or spurred on by others, but it is all mine. That means the good and the bad are mine, too. And darn it, I'm damn proud of me!

The Takeaway From Mimicking Writing Friends

I look at what I like in others stories and what's working for them. Then I adjust my style to either mimic or incorporate what I like as a reader.

The Best Way To Improve Any Skill Is To Read

See what I did there? I ended the last section with needing to read more, and here I am, discussing some recent reads of mine!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, actually. From communicating better (Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz) to looking at what makes someone happy (The Art Of Happiness by 14th Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler) to being better at publishing (How to Self Publish Your Book: A Complete Guide to Writing, Editing, Marketing & Selling Your Own Book by Jan Yager) to a novel just for fun (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline). I’ve only finished the first book in the list as I'm currently still taking extensive notes for the ‘How to’ book, and that takes time. Still, I'm happy with the progress and discoveries I’ve made. I may jump back into a look at it in a future post, but that's all I'm going to say about it for now.

As for the other two books, those are really just some light reading. I’ve read Ready Player One before, and I may have done a review on it in the past, particularly after the movie came out and I became raving mad at it. It’s rare for me to have read a book and then to have watched a movie, so I didn’t really fully understand people’s anger about book to movie adaptations. Oh, and the movie Holes kind of ruined me as it made me falsely believe that movies could get it right.

Anyway, I’m just ranting at this point. So anyway, with a variety of genres in the mix on my reading list, it’s been rather fun juggling them all.

Progress On My Latest Novel Charm Of Night

Yeah, yeah. I know I said I was looking forward to jumping back into M.A.D., but what can I say? I fell in love with the shiny new project and out of love with the old project. Again. 

Every time I think I'm close to wrapping up the story, in that I have X number of plot points left to hit, a new plot point shows up. Wanted to do a fun getaway scene? Woops! Now you're stuck dealing with a new character who has thusly added two new plot points.

I could be mad, particularly if I didn't like what the runaway characters decided to do, but I'm excited about the random additions. It just means that finishing the first draft is taking longer than I would like.

My current crazy goal, and I am aware of logistical issues, is to have the first draft done by the end of March so I can send it off for editing in April. I keep seeing werewolf things in my news feed, and I'm getting pretty stoked that there is an audience out there who will likely want to read this story. Still, it is a pretty intense goal. Wish me luck!

Handcrafted Books For Free At My Local Library

As if I wasn't already doing a lot, I decided back in November or December of last year to reach out to my local library. I've been thinking about sharing my passion of crafting books by showing others how to do it. In April, I'll be helping thirty or so kids stitch their own book and glue their own cover down. It's both exciting and stressful, particularly as the prep work for 30 books already takes a lot of time and effort. Now there is the added difficulty of making sure to have the supplies for that many kids to do it, and in a one hour period, no less! What have I gotten myself into?

Personal Changes And The Always Popular Food Section 

I know this is a small section, but it comes with photos!

New Hairstyle

For starters, I've been having fun braiding my hair and putting it up in a new style (new for me). Check it out!

Food At Home

Normally, I don't indulge in foods I know to be really bad, but we made restaurant quality ranch, and we just had to find something to finish the large batch off with. So, we made fresh, beer-battered onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. I have NO regrets, save for the fact that now my food is all gone.

Electric Works Building Conversion

If you're local, you may already know about the old GM Electric Works building in downtown Fort Wayne being renovated. It already has a lot of local businesses inside selling a wide selection of goods. There are also some pretty fun restaurants inside, too, and there are more on the way.

At Bragg A Lot Sweets And Drinks my husband and I tried candied grapes for the first time. Despite their odd appearance, and warnings of being sour, they were quite good and rather sweet. I look forward to seeing new additions to the area as more businesses fill the building up. 

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Trying to avoid inspiration? Well, you’re in the wrong place already, so I can’t really help you. Sorry. But if inspiration is something you enjoy, then subscribe to my blog here or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to see what I’m up to during the week.

As always, may your adventures be many and your inspiration be endless!