What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm participating in a writer's blog hop called "What's Up Wednesday." It's my first time joining this hop, and I'm not sure I deserve to be here, actually. I love the idea of checking in with other writer's blogs and participating more in that community. But I'm a fledgling writer in the truest sense. I'm only just starting on my very first novel, and it's going pretty slowly! But I am committed to learning the craft and finishing this draft, and so I thought I'd seek out other writers who are farther along in the journey for inspiration. 

Thanks to Jaime Morrow for hosting this hop. The format is to write about what you're reading, what you're writing, what inspires you, and what else you've been up to. Here goes!

What I'm reading

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. I just zoomed through the first two books in this series in the past few days, and loved it! I'm opening up book three now, Islands of Fire. I love the theme of creativity being  undervalued by society, and the richness that can come when you bring creative people together and encourage them. (This is related to one of the big themes in my fledgling novel, so this really spoke to me.) It was my 9 year old daughter who introduced me to this series. (Love that she is now finding books before I do!)

I'm also in the middle of Allegiant by Veronica Roth. For some reason I keep getting distracted and picking up other books before I finish this one. But I am going to finish it this week, as I can't wait to find out about the ending, which I have heard is very controversial.  I've managed to avoid any spoilers, so I'm intrigued to finish this one up. I loved book one and two, and am enjoying the surprises in Book 3 so far.

And because I love having an inspirational book of some kind going too, I'm reading The Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma which calls itself "a fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny." It's a nice, easy read, because of the fable format, and it contains lovely nuggets of inspirational goodness. I find myself underlining lots of passages. One of my (many) favorite quotes: "Most people live within the confines of their comfort zone..... the best thing you can do for yourself is to regularly move beyond it." And I like this one too: "Discover your real reason for being here and then have the courage to act on it." These are great messages for me right now. For all of us, right?

What I'm writing

I'm working on my very first novel (about a girl who learns she has a special power that runs in her family and has caused her father's disappearance.) I wrote a few chapters before realizing how difficult writing was going to be... so I pulled back and started taking classes and reading books, hoping to put myself on more solid footing before drafting further. I'm back at the brainstorming and puzzling-out stage now.

Because of my dare to myself for January (see this post about my 2014 word, DARE, and how it's going to play into my January plans), I am not going to set specific writing goals for each day or for each week, but rather I'm going to practice writing what moves me in the moment. That may result in very little writing this week, or tons of it, and I'm not sure yet. I'm thinking some freewriting about my character, Sam, may help put me back in the world of my story, since I've been away from her for a few weeks due to the holidays.

What inspires me right now

After reading The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann, I went looking for her blog. I spent some time there, looking all the way back at some of her older entries (she's been blogging since 2006!) and I was inspired by how quickly she drafted one of her early novels. After spending some time outlining and making notes, she sat down to write and got the entire draft done in a week by working 12-15 hours a day. WOW, right? You really must read this post. It's jaw dropping. I don't think I could ever put in so many hours in a day, for many reasons, but I love knowing that it is possible. It makes me feel motivated to get moving faster on my first draft.

What else I've been up to

I've been in winter break mode, spending lots of time with the kids, who went back to school on Tuesday. While the break was lovely, I think we were all ready for the transition back to regular routines!

I hope your 2014 is off to a good start!


  1. Welcome to WUW!

    Oh, I like DARE! Great word!

    Wow, write a book in 7 days! I knew about Jennifer Armentrout wrote a 100k words book in 9 days ... I wouldn't be able to pull that, but I read a book titled "2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love" by Rachel Aaron - it's awesome and her tips are sooooo simple! You feel like an idiot for not writing more lol I know I did when reading it.

    Happy 2014!

  2. Welcome to What's Up Wednesday! I really enjoyed the first Unwanteds book, so I'll have to check out the others. I'm in awe of people who can write so much in a day! Usually, I count 2000 words as a good day. But I do tend to edit as I go along.

    "Dare" is a great motivational word!

  3. Welcome to WUW, I promise, we don't bite. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don't feel bad that you are just beginning this exciting writing processes. And as for this Lisa MacMann character, you should know, she's not a real human. She was bit by a mutant spider and is a writing superhero. Normal people do not produce those kinds of word counts. So while you can and should be inspired by her words, never feel intimindated.

  4. Welcome to What's Up Wednesday! Lovely to meet you ^_^

    Lisa McMann wrote a draft in a week? Wow. Impressive! I've managed one in a month but I can't imagine finding the time to crank one out that fast. Best of luck to you with your first draft. It can be fun trying lots of different methods until you discover what works best for you :)

  5. I love that quote about living outside of your comfort zone--I'm going to have to scribble down for my bulletin board. :) I love your attitude toward approaching a first novel and setting goals about writing what moves you in the moment. As someone who probably gets a little too attached to specific writing goals like word count, that's one I should borrow from time to time!

  6. Yay! Writing your first novel! Go, Laurel!

  7. Welcome to WUW, it's a fun way to keep up with everyone :)

    I'm in awe of fast drafters b/c I write in slow motion. It used to drive me crazy but I've learned that it's what works for me.

  8. Laurel, how did you find WUM? What a great idea to find a community of bloggers to connect with. COOL!

  9. Hi Laurel! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I truly believe/know that your writing will be better for letting the words flow as they do. The first manuscript I wrote, or the one I consider my first, I wrote as I wanted and I let it carry me away and ended up finishing it in 2-3 months (with tons of revisions to follow). But, I think it's important to find a balance between staying focused on one project, so you can finish, yet not forcing your writing. Good luck with it, I'd love to read when you're done...sounds like my kind of story :)

  10. Hey! Welcome to WUW, and best winds on the start of your great writing journey. Dare to dream! Nice to meet you.