April 9, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you'd like to join us, we encourage you to visit a few other WUW blogs each week, get to know some of the other writers taking part, and spread some writerly love! Don't forget to leave the link to your post in the widget at the end of this post.

For those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we are using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING
WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Welcome, and thank you for joining us!


WHAT I'M READING
I'm partway through PRODIGY by Marie Lu, the second book in her trilogy. It's definitely good, but I'm itching to read something a bit different right now. I'm also slowly working my way through this month's book club read, THE ORENDA by Joseph Boyden. I wish I could say I'm into it, but it's not something I would ever pick up myself. I've learned a lot about the Wendat (Huron) and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) peoples, and a smattering of info about the Anishnaabe (Odawa, Ojibwe, and Algonquin) by reading it, so that's a plus. This latter group is of particular interest to me as Erin and I can trace a small part of our heritage back to the Anishnaabe people in Qu├ębec. So while I probably wouldn't have picked this one off the shelf, at least I'm learning from it, right?

WHAT I'M WRITING
Let's just say it feels like a textbook case of 'one step forward, two steps back'. It honestly feels like I'm making so little actual progress on this WiP, and it's slowly driving me crazy. I haven't found that revision groove just yet, which is partly to blame. Plus, there's that whole thing where you undo (or snip) one thread and the whole story starts to unravel. But I'm still pushing on, trying my best to resolve these issues as they crop up. Like a neverending, not-so-fun game of Whack-a-Mole. At some seedy carnival. With creepy Stephen King's IT-like clowns. Anyhoo. I'm bird by birding the heck out of this story, hoping it'll eventually pay off.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
[See BIRD BY BIRD quote above.]

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
I took part in Elodie Nowodazkij's cover reveal of her debut novel ONE, TWO, THREE the other day. It's wonderful to see such a lovely person realize her dream. And just so you know, she's hosting an international giveaway of ARCs and other great stuff.

Clutter is an enemy to my creativity, this I know. For some time now, my home office has become a dumping ground for all manner of junk. It's not exactly somewhere I want to sit and work, mainly because I find the clutter distracting. So I finally did something about it: I found places for almost everything, framed then hung pictures and a bulletin board, purchased a storage bench (it's red, my favourite colour ), and so on. I keep walking into my office to admire the tidiness and all of the fun colours.


Clockwise from top left: Framed tea print from Hairbrained Schemes on Etsy; my red
storage bench (with cushion for kitties, obviously); I offloaded my hideous office chair
and I'm currently using a wood dining chair with a super cute Pier 1 seat cushion; another
Hairbrained Schemes print with a C. S. Lewis quote about books + tea ; a bulletin board
over my desk with WiP notes; lady bug push pins; and fun canvases with birds + flowers.

Well, that's my week in a (sort of large) nutshell. 
SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU, FRIENDS?



64 comments:

  1. Your comments on THE ORENDA reminded me that I still need to get a bunch of our family tree info from you. It's one of those things I've been meaning to get around to for years now but keep putting on the back burner.

    I love the cute Bird by Bird pic and what you've done with your office. I kind of wish we still had an office and hadn't knocked down that wall in favour of an enormous master bedroom (not that I mind that), but at the time I had no idea how serious about writing I'd get. Ah well. I like that you built the room around those canvases you bought when you still lived here. Very pretty! Also, I can see Puck's toes in that bench pic. :)

    Please don't work any creepy clowns into your WIP. Kidding. Once you get the big stuff resolved, I'm sure the rest will be much smoother sailing. In the meantime keep at the Whack-A-Mole. You might win a way better prize than a cheap stuffed animal. ;)

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    1. I think you asked me to send you that family tree info awhile back and I totally forgot. Whoops! I'll have to make sure I do that. It's kind of all over the place right now, but I should be able to compile some of it for you.

      The BIRD BY BIRD pic was kind of fun because the main bird is comprised of a bunch of birds. Somehow that felt fitting. I'm thrilled to finally have my office in some kind of order. It was such a cluttered disaster for so long now. Now .maybe I'll feel more inspired to spend time in there writing. Yeah, it's too bad you guys don't have an office anymore. I can see you getting tons of use out of it. Then again, it might end up being a dumping ground like mine tends to become. Hopefully, that won't happen again.

      There will definitely be no creepy clowns in this WiP lol. I'm trying really hard not to bog myself down with ALL OF THE changes that need to happen in this story and just taking it a bit at a time. It's hard, but the only way to tackle this thing. Bleh. Looking forward to our writing session tomorrow! :-)

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  2. I love all your tea things! Waaaaaant!

    I am having the same "want to read something different" feeling. I'm really enjoying the book I'm currently reading, but after this I need a definite genre change.

    That bird by bird quote is fun :D Good luck!

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    1. I really couldn't resist the tea prints. They were just too cute and perfect! The girl from Hairbrained Schemes (who makes and sells these) is from British Columbia and she always gets them to me super fast. Love it!

      I'm enjoying the story I'm reading, but I think too much dystopian back to back calls for something to break it up, you know? I'm craving something paranormal or urban fantasy or whatever. Thankfully, DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS just showed up today, so I know what I'll be reading next!

      The bird by bird quote always reminds me of that saying: "How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time." Either quote works perfectly for where I'm at right now. Have a great week, Cole! :-)

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  3. Clutter does my head in as well. I often tidy up my desk and remove all the stuff that gets dumped there just because most of the desk is empty. Love your bench :) What a cool idea.

    And I am sure you will get your story sorted out. Revisions are hard to start but once you get into it, it will be easier.

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    1. I need to remove anything that begs for my attention. Stuff like housework that needs to be done and so on. Really, I should do something about distractions like social media, too, but I think I'm too undisciplined to turn off my internet lol. ;-) I'm really hoping my office doesn't become a dumping ground again. It happens WAY too often. I'm totally in love with the red bench. Right now I have knitting and yarn stashed in the cubbies.

      I really hope I find that revision groove soon. This story has already been revised like crazy, queried, and then torn apart and revised again before I decided to change some major plot points. It really does feel neverending sometimes!

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  4. I can't work if things aren't clean. Ugh. And I love Bird by Bird! Hope you get a lot of birdie steps accomplished this week!

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    1. I'm fine if what needs tidying isn't anywhere I can see it while I'm writing. Out of sight, out of mind and all that. ;-)

      I got so much out of BIRD BY BIRD, particularly this whole concept of tackling things a bit at a time. I'm still not quite able to embrace the poopy first draft, though. I don't think I'll ever be able to write like that, and I think that's okay. It only makes my revision process that much easier. Ha! Easier. Right. :P Have a great week, Alison!

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  5. I hope your writing goes better. It sucks when you feel like something isn't going anywhere.

    Aw the home office does look very tidy. I wish I could be that tidy.

    You know, I still haven't read Marie Lu's Legend. I'm just so behind in reading. I know quite a few people think the same as you do about wanting to read something different.

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    1. Well, I guess it's going somewhere, but it's getting there *really* slowly. Kind of like a slug lol. I just have to remember that even if I'm getting a little bit done at a time, it's something.

      We'll see how long my office stays in any kind of order. I want it to be a good place to work, but I suspect it will become a dumping ground again before I know it. I sure hope not, though.

      I'm enjoying Marie Lu's books, but I think I need a little break from dystopian for a while. Thankfully, DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS showed up today, so I'm set! Have a great week, Kamille!

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  6. I love your writing zone redux! It is gorgeous, simply gorgeous. My writing cave is also my Etsy "workshop"...so I've been writing in my hammock instead. (far less glitter out there)

    And I feel your pain on your WiP. Revising is my least favorite step in the process. Why can't we just come up with the ideas and the characters and then someone else can turn it into a cohesive book? But look at it this way, you're still striving, you're still trying...that makes you leagues ahead of 99% of the people out there who will never, ever even *try* to write a book. You wrote WORDS, Jaime. You took what is inside your head and put it on paper. That is wonderful. That is brave. Keep going. I am going to buy your books someday.Of this I have no doubt. (We're all saving blog space for *your* cover reveal) ;)

    Okay, I am shutting up now. (since this might be the longest blog comment Ever)

    Hope your week is shiny and bright and clutter-free! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kris! It's definitely somewhere I want to sit and write now, so that's good. I've been meaning to do this for some time now and even had most of the stuff to decorate it with, but I just didn't get around to it. I think if I tried writing in a hammock I'd probably doze off from pure bliss. ;-)

      Normally I kind of like revisions, but this ten millionth round is really causing me grief. I think it's because I'm trying to keep too much and tweak it to fit the new plot points. It works sometimes, but other times it's just kind of hopeless. BUT the fact that I am moving forward, slowly but surely, is keeping me motivated. I *will* finish this thing! :-)

      Have a wonderful week, Kris!

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  7. One of the things I loved about being in a book club is that you end up reading stuff you never would've picked on your own. This can lead to some awesome gems but, unfortunately, can also end up dragging you through some books that you'd really rather put down! I still remember a few of those stinkers! Sorry you're wrestling so much with your WIP right now. But you've definitely got the right attitude... just keep plugging away! Have a great week, Jaime.

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    1. You're so right about book clubs. I've read a good number of books that I would never have otherwise. I really think it's great to broaden my horizons like this...even if I dislike some of the books. But I guess there is still stuff to learn from those books we don't like, right? Have a wonderful week, Kitty! :-)

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  8. Oh my gosh, I feel you on the cluttered office front. I have plans to do a whole office facelift—new paint, new furniture layout, tons of new accessories, etc.—but until I tackle that, I'm stuck working between mounds of clutter and piles of paper. I love what you did with your space. The pops of red really brighten up the whole space!

    And I don't think I've ever told you how pretty your site is. I just love it. :)

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    1. Ooo, that sounds fun! It would be great to do an entire facelift on an office. This place is a rental, so we're kind of stuck with the colour on the walls. Fortunately, it works well enough with the stuff I have. And at least all of the clutter is dealt with finally. Red is my favourite colour, so there was always going to be some red in there. ;-) Plus, I found the colour scheme I went with goes well with all of the book spines on my shelves in every different colour.

      Thank you for the blog compliment, Meredith! It's sometimes tough to make Blogger blogs look nice (WordPress always seems nicer), so I'm happy you like it. :-)

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  9. Oh, your office looks great! I just got my very 1st one and am looking for inspirations - thanks so much!!! As to Orenda, I'm actually starting reading a book by that title next week, but mine's by Ruth Silver. I'll have to grab yours afterwards and compare ;)
    Ug! I need to stop by Elodie's and congratulate her! SO happy for her!!! And I love that bird quote. Sometimes those MS really get stubborn. I either let them set a little longer then or plow on. Good luck with it :)

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    1. Thanks, Tonja! It's about time I got the place in order. Now I have no excuse not to write. That's so fun that you get to decorate your office from scratch! There are too many things I like, so it's hard to limit it to a handful of things.

      I didn't realize there was another book called THE ORENDA. I didn't even know what the word meant until I started reading this book lol.

      Elodie's cover is really pretty. I'm so happy for her! The BIRD BY BIRD quote is really helping me keep my head on straight during this overly demanding revision. It really is the only way to tackle a troublesome WiP, that's for sure. Have a great week!

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  10. Good luck taking it bird by bird. Keep it up!
    The ONE TWO THREE cover is sooo pretty.

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    1. Thanks, Emma! I think it's the only way I can tackle this story without going crazy. Have a great week!

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  11. Good luck Jaime, you can totally do it, bird by bird...<3
    Your office is absolutely gorgeous, I love what you did to it!
    And thank you again SO MUCH for helping me reveal for my cover yesterday, lots of hugs from Malaysia!

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    1. Thanks, Elodie! I just have to keep reminding myself to take it a little bit at a time and not get hung up on everything that needs to get done. That's when it all starts to feel overwhelming.

      I'm so happy my office is finally in order. It's making me very happy and also making me want to spend more time in there working on my story. Perfect! :-)

      You're most welcome, Elodie! I'm so thrilled that cover reveal day was a good one for you! :-)

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  12. Bird by Bird is one of the best writing books I've read. I know how frustrating it is when revising seems to take forever, but just take it one step (or bird) at a time. Good luck! :)

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    1. BIRD BY BIRD is one of my favourites. As is ON WRITING. So much wisdom in both of them! Right now this whole bird by bird thing is the only thing keeping me from losing my mind when it comes to my WiP.

      Have a great week, Emma!

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  13. I'm the same way with clutter - if it's there, I can't concentrate. I have to have everything in its place. The office looks great!

    I've been in that bird-by-bird stage before, too. I've even bargained with myself that if I sit down with my WIP for 20 minutes, I get to do something fun afterward.

    I know you'll hit your stride soon, so just hang in there :)

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    1. I'm really hoping I can keep my office clutter-free this time around. I actually want to sit in there and write now, so that's a definite plus. And the colours just make me happy, too. :-)

      I need to start bargaining with myself as well. Find little incentives to squeeze in some writing every day. I used to be so good with that kind of thing, but I've become a slacker in recent months. I suppose wanting to get this thing done already is its own motivation in a way.

      Have a great week, Jennifer!

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  14. Your new office decoration are so pretty! I love the color scheme and the prints.

    I love Anne Lamott and her bird by bird concept. Keep going one step at a time and you'll get there. I understand how hard it can get but you can do it!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet! I've had this stuff kicking around for ages now, but just needed to actually put it up. Well, and tidy things up. I wanted to go with a colour scheme that went well with all of the different colours of book spines on my shelves. I think this works well. :-)

      BIRD BY BIRD was such a good book! Lots of inspiration there. It's definitely helping me get through this revision. I think I need to print off that bird picture above and put it over my desk to remind me not to get overwhelmed by it all. But I'm making progress and that's always a good thing, so I'm mostly happy.

      Have a great week, Ghenet!

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  15. I commend you for reading Prodigy, I read Legend and really didn't like it. =\ Good luck with your WIP!

    I'm the worst for clutter (especially when I'm at uni!), it's so much nicer to work in a tidy space. It's looking lovely! :) I love those canvases.

    Have a lovely week!

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    1. I've read LEGEND twice now, but this is my first time through PRODIGY. I think after this I'll take a little break from dystopian stuff. Thankfully, DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS showed up today. I think it will be my next read.

      I allow clutter to take over way too much. But when I deal with it (finally) I'm always so relieved and happy. It's making me want to spend more time in my office, maybe even writing, so that's a good thing!

      Have a great week, Jess!

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  16. I feel you with revisions. They are so HARD! It's hard to really feel the book and be excited about it when you just want to tear out your own hair (or as one of my CPs put it, *wants to stab manuscript*). I much prefer the first draft fun where you don't have to worry about if the story is working or not because everything just feels new and wonderful!
    Good luck! You can do it!

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    1. I don't remember ever struggling so much with a revision before. And this isn't the first time I've revised this thing either! I'll be happy when it's done. I *definitely* want to stab this manuscript. (How appropriate!) I really do miss the first draft fun you speak of. Hopefully I'll be back to that point sometime in the not-so-distant future.

      Have a great week, Melanie!

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  17. I know the "one step forward, two steps back" Revision Mamba or tango or whatever it is (I'm not a dancer, can you tell?) I'm actually right there with you, where I cut some threads and now am attempting to reweave things together. Good luck!

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    1. I'm not a dancer either, but I think you've nailed it with the whole tango thing. All of those reweaving is exhausting, but I know it will pay off in the end. Good luck with your story, Tori!

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  18. Love the "bird by bird" quote. That's exactly where I'm at in my editing process. It certainly does feel like a daunting task, but I'm hoping I'll find my groove and be able to whip this story into shape.

    Love your writing space! The flower and birdcage prints are adorable.

    Best of luck with your revisions!

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    1. Have you read BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott? It's such a great book, full of inspiration for writers. This little nugget of wisdom is the only thing keeping me sane right now. Here's hoping we both find our groove soon!

      I'm really happy my office is finally in order and pictures are up. I went with a colour scheme that looks nice with all of the different colour of book spines on my shelves. Now I actually want to spend time in there!

      Good luck with your revisions and have a great week, Stephanie!

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  19. I've never read the Legend trilogy, but might have to give it a go now that all the books are out and with all the raving reviews. Progress can be slow goings at times, but as long as you keep it up, eventually you'll get to the end! I hate clutter as well. When I'm not writing and feeling antsy, I know it's because of the state of my home. Have a great writing week!

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    1. It's always nice to start a series once all the books are out. No waiting! The series is good, for sure, but I feel like something other than dystopian for a while. (Still like dystopian, but I need to mix it up a bit.) Progress is always a good thing, so I'm trying to see this extremely slow pace that I'm revising at as still a good thing. It's forward movement and that's always good. If I can't see the clutter I'm not as bothered by it, but it's definitely a problem if it's in my writing space. Hopefully my office stays uncluttered for a good long time. Hope you're having a great week!

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  20. long time no see. :D I love the "bird by bird" quote. Keep moving forward. You have your own group of cheerleaders in the stands.

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    1. Hi, Leslie! Hope your school year is going well. The BIRD BY BIRD book is full of inspirational tidbits, but this one is my favourite. I think I might print it out and put it over my computer as a reminder. :-)

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  21. I bet the clutter-busting you did will substantially improve your revisions. I can't write a word until my kitchen is clean. (I need to get over that, as it's a real limiter.) Loving the Bird by Bird quote. Your post makes me want to frame photos and shop for cute art and do something about all my blank walls....

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    1. I think it can only help at this point. I actually want to spend time in there, so that's a good first step towards more revisions happening. That BIRD BY BIRD quote is the only thing keeping me sane while doing this revision. It really is the only way to tackle this thing. You should definitely put stuff up on your walls! It's so much fun. :-) I went with colours that complimented all of the colours of book spines on my shelves. Have a great week, Laurel!

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  22. I hate clutter, or even being remotely disorganized. My friends always get super creeped out by my room because they think my level of organization is "unnatural." But that's what works for me, I guess.

    Hopefully you find some revising mojo soon!

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    1. I hate clutter and I prefer to be organized, but sometimes I get a little bit slack and then the clutter takes over. It's so hard to get anything done when it's like that. I don't think any level of organization is "unnatural". Well, Sheldon and all of his labelled stuff on Big Bang Theory is a bit overboard, but don't think I haven't been tempted. ;-)

      Have a great week, Stephanie!

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  23. Love the office decor. A fun and pretty environment seems to keep me writing and happy!

    Good luck on the revisions, I know it's hard to feel movement. But, you'll get there. Bird by Bird. Love that!

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    1. Thanks, Jennie! It's about time I got it in order. And I agree: a fun and pretty environment is the best for writing and happiness in general. :-) Also, being surrounded by books I love.

      Any forward movement at this point and time is a good thing, so I'm happy for it. Now that I have an uncluttered office, I can feel myself wanting to spend more time in there, hopefully writing! Have a great week, Jennie!

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  24. My home office is very cluttered, but that never seems to bother me. I'm sort of blind to clutter, things have to get so bad they are dangerous before I even notice there is a problem. Your nice and neat office is inspiring though. Maybe I should take a quick break from writing to pick up a few things. Na, I'll just keep writing.

    Have a great week!

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    1. I think some people work well, or fine at the very least, around clutter. It's always been a problem for me, so I'm happy I finally dealt with it. Now maybe I can actually get down to the business of writing! Have a great week, Kate!

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  25. All I have to say is I love Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. She is awesome.

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    1. It really is a great book. So full of inspirational tidbits like this one. I think I'll print off that bird and put it on my wall as a reminder not to get ahead of myself.

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  26. Your office looks so lovely! And I know what you mean about slow writing. I thought, "Oh, I'll just change a few things" and next thing you know several chapters need re-writing. Ugh. And boo to creepy clowns!

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    1. Thanks, Adrianne! It was high time I did something about it, so I'm glad I did. It's much more conducive to writing now. I'm planning on trying to tackle some of those "few things" that have grown into several things today. Wish me luck! (And good luck to you, too!)

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  27. I *love* your office! It looks so great! I'm really looking forward to getting to work on my office this summer...and hopefully getting back into our writing routine, too! You should feel free to send words anytime, though!

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I wanted to go with a colour scheme that wasn't at war with all of the books on my shelves, you know? The end result is nice and bright and happy. I love it! :-) (I actually have some knitting projects in DAVIDsTEA bags in the corner because the bags actually tie in nicely with the colour scheme. LOL. You've created a monster, you have.) You'll have to share pics once you decorate your office. And I would LOVE to get back into our writing routine this summer. That would be wonderful. I've missed you! Once I have some of this new plot woven into the WiP, I'll be sure to send it your way. I've been meaning to email you for a while now, by the way. Must do that soon! :-)

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  28. Wow, I'm impressed. I have zero organization in my home right now, and I'm desperate for it. Good ideas. And I get the whole two steps back. I feel four steps back.

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    1. I think I'm, by nature, an organized person, but all too often my place gets seriously out of order, cluttered, and even pretty messy. When that happens it makes me cranky, though. So I guess it was about time I did something about it, right? I think you have a pretty good excuse not to be organized right now. I suspect book releases/launches take a whole lot of time and energy. ;-) Here's hoping we both regain our footing soon!

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  29. Hi Jaime! I love love love the bird by bird image. That book has been an inspiration to me for many years. And you've inspired me to tackle my dumping ground - I mean, my office. Right now it's piled high with HG's guitar equipment, stacks of books, junk that needs a home, papers to file, etc. Maybe I'll spend some time there this weekend!

    Enjoy the rest of your week - and know that there are a lot of us taking it bird by bird. :)

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    1. I loved BIRD BY BIRD. I'm so glad you recommended it all those months back. (It was you, wasn't it? I have mush brain right now LOL.) There were so many nuggets of wisdom and inspiration in that book, but this one has to be my favourite. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by things, so it's a good reminder to take it one step (or bird) at a time. I think I'm going to print off the image and put it over my computer where I can see it ALL. THE. TIME. I'm pretty sure you're feeling that same urge I had to get some spring cleaning done, and what better place than the office, right?

      Have a wonderful week, Sara!

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    2. Oh, and feel free to take and use the bird by bird image if you'd like! :-)

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  30. Your office space is so cute! :)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal! The colours are making me really happy. :-)

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  31. I enjoyed LEGEND, but I've not been over-anxious to read the rest of the series. Maybe one day--I'm not averse to picking up PRODIGY, but there are so many other things I want to read more. Sorry, Marie, if you're reading--which of course you are, because everyone who's anyone reads Jaime's blog. ;)

    Cut one thread and the thing unravels? One of my biggest revision fears. But it's more out of laziness--when the novel's written, I'm anxious to get it out the door, not face the prospect of months of re-writing and re-plotting. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do...

    The office looks wonderful, Jaime! May your tidy space give you lots of inspiration this week. :)

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    1. You know, I really enjoyed LEGEND, but I think I wasn't in the right mood to read PRODIGY. I think I would have been into it a little more if I was reading it another time. I'm taking a break to read DAYS OF GODS & MONSTERS before continuing on with CHAMPION.

      I don't think I would worry too much about the unravelling issue with your revision. I'm dealing with this on a different level because this is a little bit closer to a rewrite than just a revision. I've changed a good deal of my plot, so that means whole segments either have to go or be tweaked extensively. I'm sure you'll be safe from unravelling issues in your revisions. :-)

      I'm really enjoying my uncluttered and decorated office. It's MUCH more conducive to writing, I tell ya. Have a great week, Colin!

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  32. GREAT job re-organizing your office! I can't stand clutter either; it makes it really hard for me to focus...

    Just keep trekking through that WiP. I know the feeling, and I have to agree: Bird-by-bird. :) Right now I'm working with a checklist, which, even if it just goes, "1. Write this scene, 2. Write that scene" helps me realize that I'm accomplishing stuff.

    Also, your current reading is reminding me that I need to get back to Daughter of Smoke and Bone--I started it a while ago and *loved* the first few chapters!!

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