September 10, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

All of the buttons are under the WUW tab above!
We've got new fall What's Up Wednesday buttons!!! It's still summer technically, but with school back in and the leaves turning it's sorta kinda fall, right? That said, it's been SNOWING here for two days, so it feels an awful lot like winter.* (Extreme emphasis on the awful.)

And my head is spinning faster than Linda Blair's in The Exorcist...

Whoa. I'm digressing wildly. Anyway...Erin and I were talking and we agreed that WUW could use a bit of a makeover. So, we've decided to scrap the WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW heading and start using WHAT WORKS FOR ME in its place. This new section is for sharing various aspects of our writing habits and processes, whether they're ways to stay organized, inspired, or simply to make our writing time more fun. Something that works well for you might also work for someone else, and you never know what tips might come in handy!



Here’s a list of ideas for what kinds of things to post under this heading:
  • your writing process: how you stay organized, what writing program you use and why, how you do revisions, etc.
  • your writing habits: when and where you write, specifics of your routine, how you get in the mood to write
  • what motivates or inspires you lately (See how that old heading still fits in?) 

  • what your writing space looks like 
  • how you reward yourself
  • writing tips, helpful quotes, or links to articles
  • music on your playlist
  • how you balance writing with family, work, and other activities
  • how you keep yourself disciplined and focused
  • how you brainstorm or organize new story ideas
  • how you deal with writers block, plot issues, etc.
  • tips for writing a query, synopsis, pitch line, or self-publishing
  • writing snacks or other fun essentials
You get the idea. There are tons of fun and useful things we can share in this new section! Basically WHAT WORKS FOR ME is broader while putting the focus more on writing. Don’t feel like you have to stick to this list either—these are just some suggestions to get everyone started—but please remember to keep what you share writing-centred. Hopefully we’ll pick up some helpful tips from one another! Sound good? 

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by me and my sister, Erin Funk, to connect writers on this writing journey. With that aim in mind, if you would like to join us, we encourage you to swing by other WUW blogs each week, get to know 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. **Please remember to link back to the host blogs and/or use a WUW button. We really appreciate it!**

Those of you who are new to WUW, here are the headings we're using:

WHAT I'M READING
WHAT I'M WRITING

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Welcome, and thank you for joining us! 


WHAT I'M READING
I finished THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson and loved it! If, like me, you're a fan of Rae Carson's THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series, then you'll probably love Pearson's book just as much as I did. They definitely felt similar to me.
Next, I picked up and positively devoured Jennifer Donnelly's REVOLUTION. This book was so, so good! One of the best books I've read all year, and one of the best YA books I've read period. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history (in this case, the French Revolution), music in its many forms, and all-around wonderfully written stories.

I'm about to start THE FALCONER by Elizabeth May next, which is a combo of YA fantasy, historical, and steampunk. Cool!

WHAT I'M WRITING
I'm not actually committing words to the page (screen?), but I have been brainstorming an idea inspired by the trip I just took to Europe. For me, it's impossible to walk away from an experience like this without finding inspiration in some form. It's hard to express just how profound an impact visiting the many Canadian war cemeteries and battlefields had on me, the way it felt to ride through the lovely French countryside and walk on the historically significant beaches of Normandy. It's difficult, but I'm going to try and pour all of this stuff in my head and my heart onto the page. We'll see how it goes...

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
How I get into the zone → Every single time I sit down to write, I pull up what I last worked on and give it a read through. Contrary to popular writing advice (I'm looking at you and your poopy first drafts, Anne Lamott), I make changes here and there, tweak what I wrote, basically do a light revision. I've found that this is the best possible way to ease myself into the zone. Kind of like doing warm-up stretches before breaking into a jog and sometimes even a sprint. As an added bonus, by the time I get to the revision stage my draft is usually in decent condition, making the process that much less daunting.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Besides looking out the window at the snow coming down in freaking September and quelling the urge to sob? Not much, really. I've been puttering away at canning and ended up making ten jars of dill pickles and two jars of pickled carrots over the weekend. Yesterday, while the sky was spewing snow, I went outside and picked crabapples from one of our trees with the intention of doing more canning. Now I have a sink full of crabapples, but have yet to turn them into jelly. Tomorrow, hopefully. I've been doing a lot of reading, binge-watching Friends from the very beginning, and drinking tea. On Sunday, I went to a matinée of IF I STAY and really enjoyed it! I still haven't read WHERE SHE WENT, so it's definitely getting bumped up my TBR pile.



Well, that's about it for my week.
SO, WHAT'S NEW WITH YOU?


* This is not normal for September here, in case you're thinking this is par for the course for Canadian weather. Nope.

51 comments:

  1. Gross snow. But you're in Canada right? When does snow usually start falling? Either way snow in September is gross. Thanks for sharing. :D

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    1. I'm in Alberta, Canada, but snow is definitely not normal for this time of year. Usually it doesn't start until the end of October or into November at the earliest. Technically, since we're close to the mountains, we could have snow at just about any point in the year, but still. So far no snow today, so thank goodness for that!

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  2. So glad for the book recommendation - I love Rae Carson, so anything similar is bound to be great!

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    1. I love Rae Carson's books so much, so it was a pleasant surprise to read something that felt sort of similar in some respects. (In my opinion, at least.) THE KISS OF DECEPTION is a great start to what I'm hoping is going to be a great series! :-)

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  3. Love the new heading subject, and girl, what you do to get in the writing zone is what I do too! I'm a chronic revise-as-I-go writer and that's partly because I like to read a bit of what I've written last and revise that to help get me back into the story! I'll be brainstorming for what I'm going to put in this new What's Up Wednesday section for next week. :)

    Both of your read books are on my TBR, and I'm especially looking forward to Kiss of Deception, so glad to hear you liked it. I was like you re: Where She Went, but after seeing the If I Stay movie, I just had to read it. Devoured it in 2 days and loved it. Definitely a worthy follow-up!

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    1. Erin and I thought that this new heading would broaden things up a little bit, so I'm glad you like it. I thought I was the only weirdo who reread and revised to get into the zone. Yay for both of us being weirdos! ;-) I think you'll like THE KISS OF DECEPTION. I'm pretty excited about having another great fantasy series to read. Have a great week, Alice!

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  4. Still can't believe you've already got snow. Boo, weather, boo!

    Haha, I have to crush the urge to edit my first drafts on the go all the time. I don't like to get bogged down in it before the story's finished. But that's what makes writing so good - it's different for all of us :)

    Good luck translating your inspiration into words!

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    1. I know, right? I second your booing. So gross.
      I'm a total revise as I write gal, but that works well for me. I don't think I could handle sitting down to revise a disaster of a first draft. I'd probably pack it in lol. But you're so right: it's different for all of us! Have a great week, Cole! :D

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  5. What works for me! I will have to change this for next week. LOVE the new autumn buttons...oooh, shiny! I had to laugh that we both referred to first drafts as poopy in this week's WUW. Yes, I too have to re-read as part of the getting into my writer zone process, but not too much. I have a rule of never ending my writing at the end of a chapter...always in the middle of a scene to propel me forward!

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    1. I'm glad you like the new buttons! :-) I've heard advice about leaving your writing at a point that's exciting to pick up again, so in your case, partway through a chapter. I might have to try that sometime. I don't think I'll ever be able to write a legit poopy first draft. I would probably pack it in if I sat down to revise with the equivalent of a poopy diaper lol.

      Have a great week, Sara! :D

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  6. It is definitely Fall! I had a roast dinner on Sunday and porridge for breakfast :D I love the news buttons and the new feature.

    The new idea sounds very interesting, I hope the brain storming continues to go well.

    Snow is September???? I am slightly freaked out, please tell me you live much further North than Ottawa ;)

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    1. The grey weather (minus the snow, of course) is making me want to eat all the pumpkin-y and apple-y treats I can get my hands on. I love this time of year. (Again, minus the unexpected snow.) So I looked it up and we're at 52°N and Ottawa is only at 45°N, so you'll be a bit more south than we are. We also get weird weather like this because of our proximity to the mountains, which Eastern Canada doesn't have to deal with. Hope the packing is all going well! :D

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  7. I love the new buttons and new section! I need to remember next time to check your blog before I make my post. I want to see IF I STAY badly and to read WHERE SHE WENT. Hopefully soon!

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    1. Thanks! Erin and I were thinking that this new heading broadens things up a bit, giving people more things to put under it. I still need to read WHERE SHE WENT, but I've heard it's very good. Have a great week! :-)

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  8. I'm so glad you loved REVOLUTION because, as you already know, I did too. And I agree that it's one of the best books YA has to offer. Just so unique and well-written and the characters are incredibly real.

    I'm looking forward to the ideas your're cooking up in the story department after your trip. It was such an inspiring experience for you, I'm sure there's a great tale just waiting to take form. Let me know if you need to bounce ideas off of me.

    WHERE SHE WENT is currently in the mail and on the way to my house. Every stinking time I go to the bookstore they're out of stock, so I finally ordered it online. I can't wait to read it, and I can't wait until Liam is done IF I STAY so we can go see it together. Have a great Wednesday!

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    1. I'm really feeling this contemporary/historical thing with a magical realism flair. I think I'll have to scour the interwebz for more books in this vein. And get working on my own, of course. ;-) Though, after the streak of great books that I've been reading, it will be a challenge chasing away the self-doubt demons.

      I really need to start jotting down some of the ideas I've been hashing out--with your help, I should add. I want to tackle this in the most organized way possible, so I'd better get started. I'll definitely be bouncing ideas off of you. (How did we spell that sound affect again?)

      I definitely need to read WHERE SHE WENT, though I have to say I'm not really feeling the contemporary thing much right now. I'm much more into fantasy in all its forms at the moment. I suppose I could squeeze it in between a couple of those. I think you'll enjoy the movie. Tell Liam to get his bum in gear! Have a great week! :D

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  9. I'd heard some terrible rumours about some folks having snow already...still summerish around these parts right now, although we're slowly slipping into fall (and while I don't long for snow, I do wish Autumn would hurry it up a little!)

    I love your inspiration for some new writing, and hope you manage to come up with a story you're happy with out of it...those kinds of stories can just as influential as the inspiration behind them (I'm thinking of you The Stone Carvers!)

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    1. I think Alberta is just unlucky right now. Our proximity to the Rockies doesn't help much either. Growing up in Ontario, we *never* had bizarro weather like this ever. Hope you get autumn weather sometime soon, but NOT the autumn we're having lol.

      I've never read THE STONE CARVERS, but I might have to now. Honestly, there are few things as moving (for me) as walking through these cemeteries and battlefields, remembering our fallen soldiers. Moving and inspirational. I think these are the kinds of things that need to be shared, particularly in book form.

      Have a great week, Mere!

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  10. Welcome back. . .to snow? Okay, now I'm jealous. I can imagine that your story ideas are churning away, and I bet you'll come up with something amazing!
    I feel so guilty about not doing any canning this year, but after the move, I'm still not organized enough. Plus, I have to figure out how they make jelly over here. In Germany, they sold 'jam sugar' and all one had to do was pour in the bag with the purreed fruit and cook it for 3 minutes. Next year :)

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    1. Ugh. I know, right? Boo to the snow. Boo! Silver lining: grey, chilly weather always inspires me to hole up inside and get writing and reading. That's a definite plus when you consider that I haven't felt particularly motivated for some time now. (Making lemonade from lemons...lol)

      After making the pickles I felt like I was kind of on a roll, but then I picked the crabapples and kind of left them sitting in the kitchen. I'm hoping to get a jump on making jelly as soon as I'm done WUW commenting. ;-) In North America we buy packets of pectin and add that to the puréed fruit. It's probably pretty similar to jam sugar. They even have pectin that doesn't require you to add any sugar to the fruit. (Or allows you to choose how much sugar you would like in it. Jam and jelly won't set normally if you cut back the sugar, but this stuff allows you to fiddle with the amounts of sugar.) You should look for that when you decide to can again. :-)

      Have a great week, Tonja! :D

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  11. Pickled carrots sound yum! My mom has been making a lot of cucumber and squash pickles. I've been doing a lot of eating as she tries to can various vegetables :)

    I re-read what I previously wrote most of the time, too - I think of it as a warm-up for my brain in the same sense I wouldn't jump into a workout for my body without one.

    Friends is one of those shows that I can always watch when it's on.

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    1. Pickled carrots are delicious. I just used the same brine we used for the dill pickles. Super easy! Hopefully, they'll all turn out or all that work will be wasted lol. I plan on tackling the crabapples this afternoon and getting going on jelly-making! (A first for me.)

      So you're the second person who mentioned doing the whole rereading thing when sitting down to write. And here I thought I was the only weirdo who did that. ;-) It seems to work well for me, so I'm just going to keep on doing it.

      I've seen so many Friends episodes--mostly out of order--but I'm not 100% sure I've seen every single one, so I decided to watch it from the beginning. I never get tired of watching them, and they're still pretty darn funny. :-)

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  12. Loving the new banners and the change from "What's Inspiring Me" to "What's Working For Me." Looking forward to incorporating them both into next week's post. I'm so glad you read and loved REVOLUTION! It's one of my faves. Have you read A NORTHERN LIGHT yet? It's equally beautiful. Best of luck with the new ideas simmering in your head. Considering they're inspired by your trip, I'm definitely excited for you. Have a great week, Jaime!

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    1. Glad you like the changes, Katy! We figured it might broaden things up a bit, since finding something inspiring is sometimes a challenge. REVOLUTION had been on my TBR list for ages, but I just never got around to. I really should have read it sooner! I loved the whole contemporary/historical/magical realism combo of it. I'm definitely on the hunt for more books in this vein. I just requested A NORTHERN LIGHT from the library, and I can't wait to get reading it too. Now to set the books aside for a bit and squeeze some writing in... ;-) Have a wonderful week, Katy!

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  13. I had not heard of Revolution, but I clicked on your link and I have now added it to my TBR. Wow, it sounds amazing. Definitely will be checking it out! I love that you are going to use your experience in Europe to create a story. Some trips are life-changing like that! Have a wonderful week and so sorry about the snow. :(

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    1. Oh, it's so good! I hope you like it when you get to it. It's a great combo of different genres, in my opinion. Now to find more like it... ;-) I'm thinking of using my trip inspiration to write something that is a mix of historical and magical realism with some contemporary mixed in. (Sort of like REVOLUTION in some respects, now that I think of it.) Wish me luck! :D

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  14. I loved Revolution!
    I do the same thing you do when I start out my writing for the day- give the last bits I worked on a quick read-thru, make a few line edits but nothing major. Just enough to get me back into the groove of where I was.

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    1. Wasn't it incredible? I need to get my hands on more books like that. Or write something in that same vein. ;-) So there's a handful of us who employ the same method to get into the zone writing-wise. From the sounds of it, you and I tackle it the same way. I only make minor tweaks as well. Works for me! Have a great week, Melanie! (Minus the snow, of course.)

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  15. Snowing? Oh, my. I'm not ready for that!
    I love the idea of "What Works Now"--and I'm looking forward to seeing other writers' strategies as I slog through a first draft this fall!

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    1. Neither am I. Boo. No snow so far today, so that's a good sign! It's supposed to be shorts weather again by Sunday. This place is so messed up lol. Erin and I both felt that the new heading will broaden things up a bit and allow for some really cool tips, tricks, and whatnot. I'm looking forward to what others share as well! I'm going to be planning and then slogging through a first draft myself, so we can cheer each other on. :-)

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  16. We're supposed to get snow tomorrrow, too (do you live in/near the mountains too?) I loved REVOLUTION too, and I loved Donnelly's other book A Northern Light just as much (more, in some ways). I loved your writing section about the battle fields and Europe - stuff hits me like that sometimes too and I have to pour it all out on the page.

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    1. Oh, I hope for your sake that the winter weather passes you by. They were calling for snow here all week, but thankfully, it isn't snowing yet today. The weird thing is we're back to shorts weather again by Sunday. That's just messed up. :P I honestly don't know what took me so long to get to REVOLUTION. It's been on my TBR list for ages. It was so good! I just put in a request at the library for A NORTHERN LIGHT, so I'm eager for that to come in. I've heard lots of great things about it too. My Europe trip was moving and inspiring and I can't wait to pour all of that onto the page. Hope it goes well! Have a great week, Margo!

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  17. Boo snow! I'm glad you loved REVOLUTION. I actually haven't read that one of hers… but I LOOOOOOOOVED Northern Light. Ohmigosh. One of my fave books to rereread :) I love the new section too. Great idea to say what worked for us in writing. :) have a great one Jaime!

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    1. Boo snow is right. It's WAY too early for this rubbish. Bleh.
      You should definitely get your hands on REVOLUTION. It's so, so good! I don't know why I waited so long to read it, especially since it was on my TBR list forever. I requested A NORTHERN LIGHT from the library, so hopefully it gets here fast. I've heard such great things about it. Erin and I both felt that the new heading for WUW would broaden things up a it while still focusing on writing. We're both looking forward to seeing what people share! Have a great week, Rachel! :D

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  18. Well, shoot. I didn't see the change to the format until I had already posted, but NEXT WEEK I'll be all over it. Looking forward to soaking up all the writerly tips from you guys!

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    1. That's all right! We figured people would just start using the new heading next week anyway. :-)

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  19. Snow?! Yikes! Summer's definitely over, unfortunately! I find it impossible not to tweak my drafts as I'm writing, as it usually ends up saving time in the end. Have a great week!

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    1. I know. Isn't it gross? I love fall, so I'd like a little bit more of it before winter sets in. From the sounds of it, there are a number of us who tweak what we've written as we're writing and before the draft is complete. And here I thought I was a weirdo. ;-) Hope you're having a great week!

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  20. Oh biscuits, I didn't see the new headline until I posted my WUW.

    No to snow! Mother Nature should not be skipping Autumn like that! If the weather has to get colder and days darker, fine. But the least she could do is give you Autumn first. If you want, you can take this heatwave we're getting. I'm not a heat person! Northerners melt. =(

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    1. That's all right! Erin and I figured everyone would just start using the new heading next week. :-)
      No to snow is right. Boo. I love autumn, so it had better make a reappearance before winter sets in for good. It's supposed to get a bit nicer again, so I'm hopeful.

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  21. Love the new autumn buttons! Look forward to using them and the new headline in my posts next week. :)

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    1. Thanks, Emma! Now if we could just get our autumn weather back... :-)

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  22. That's totally how I get into writing every day, too. It helps to get back in voice. And that's awesome that you can pickles and whatnot! I really want to make some pickles but it seems so intimidating...

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    1. Nice! From the sounds of it, there are a bunch of us who reread what we've written last before starting to write again. :-) I just spent all afternoon and evening making crabapple jelly, not something I EVER plan on doing again. Talk about tedious! And I'm not even sure if it turned out. Ah well. Live and learn, right? Pickles, however, are actually quite easy. I suggest trying something like that first. (Working with pectin for jams/jellies is a pain in the bum.) Hope you're having a great week!

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  23. Snow? I'm so sorry! I'm definitely nowhere near ready for winter.

    I re-read just a bit before writing too, sometimes tweaking but resisting the urge to go into full-fledged revising. Since I'm a slow writer, I'll do just about anything to speed up revisions.

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    1. I'm nowhere near ready for winter either. I never am, to be perfectly honest. Sadly, we get way too much of it here. :-/ Here's hoping fall returns before winter sets in. I don't do full-fledged revising either. What I do is just tweaking as well. I find it really helps get me going. :-)

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  24. I was just admiring your new buttons over on your sister's blog. =) You guys make the cutest ones! And seriously, you have snow? I actually related this fact to the lady at McDonald's drive thru today, lol! She was talking about rain headed our way, and I'm like- well at least it isn't snow, b/c that just totally happened in Canada!

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    1. Thanks! (About the buttons...) :D
      Yep, we got snowed on. It's pretty much all melted now, thankfully. There was only a bit left on the rooftops. But just south of us in Calgary they got totally dumped on today. So gross. It's only in part of Alberta, though. The rest of Canada is safe from snow for a while yet. ;-)

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  25. I LOVE your What's Up Wednesday series… love. And I'm the same way with your "what works for me" section. I always dive in, do a light revision, and that definitely helps me get into the story. And welcome back! It looks like you had SO MUCH FUN on your trip. The pictures I saw were amazing! <3

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  26. I love this new "What Works For Me" heading! Hoping to find some good tips out there…especially re: drafting because it suuuucks.

    I just listened to the second part of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast with Courtney Summers and they were raving about REVOLUTION! It's not the type of thing I'd usually pick up but I think I'm going to have to check it out :)

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  27. HA! I totally missed this last week, so this week's post on my blog still has a "What Inspires Me." That's okay though. I love this change, so I'll adopt it next week. :)

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