My Weekly Update – Reflections on Campnano

Well another writing challenge done and another win.  Yea me.  Not an enthusiastic win, but a win, nonetheless.  It was not as easy or as successful content wise as June.  But, again, I won.  I have to keep reminding myself there are more words on the page today then there was 30 days ago.

I learned a few things about myself as a writer during this challenge.  I learned I can write even when I’m not 100% certain whether the story will work, not 100% certain that the story even makes sense and not 100% certain there is enough content to even be a story.  Those concerns were rolling around in my head all month and still I won.

I missed not having the daily connection and support from other challenge participants during the process.  I just felt more connected to other writers during Junowrimo.  You could always go online and find a sprint to participate in.  It wasn’t as easy to nail down writing groups this month.  I also enjoyed getting to know the other participants during June.  My cabin mates were not the most talkative people.  I guess they were busying writing.

But, I now except the fact my mind seems to like deadlines.  And, the 50K in one month challenge is still the best opportunity to get a novel written in one month for me.  Now I am looking forward to finishing this story in September and on to the next one in November.

I have to admit, after November, I hope no one creates another monthly writing challenge.  I think I will need a break until Junowrimo starts next summer.

Here is a small excerpt from my 2nd novel.  Enjoy, because that’s all you are going to get:

“Be careful getting up.” When the blood rushed back to the rest of my body and I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to pass out  I walked over to the mirror. I couldn’t speak. And, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  It was beautiful. I looked beautiful.
“I look fucking hot.” The shop started howling. I turned to Thomas. “What do you think?”
“Wait, what the hell are you asking him for?” Sebastian said.  He looked defeated, like I kissed his best friend.
“You don’t like girls with tattoos.” Bass scrunched up his face and shook his head.
Two of the shop guys high fived, laughed and pointed at me. “She’s got you down, Bass.”
“Shut up,” Bass said and walked over to me. “Who told you I don’t like girls with tattoos?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.” I was enjoying myself. “Ok, what do you think?”
Bass was standing to close behind me. To close for someone who I just meet and I realized I was standing in the middle of shop with no shirt on and my bikini top tapped on.  “This tattoo was made for you.  You look beautiful.”  We held each others stare in the mirror to long for two people who really didn’t know each other.  But, I wasn’t going to look away first.

Post to Watch

Ironic because two posts that caught my attention this week were on people watching.  It is one of my favorite past times.  When I move to a new city, I always scope out the best locations to people watch.  It gives me such insight into characters, dialogue and even the nonverbal way people interact with each other.  Plus, I am a nosey person by nature.  You can learn a lot about people just by watching them.

Snotting Black is one of the first blogs I started to follow and last week she posted an interesting letter to the guy whose date she observed from a distance. Check out Notes I Took While Watching Your Date.

Carol Kilgore wrote an interesting guest post on My First Book blog about people watching, event watching and names that as a writer I found helpful.

My New Followers
I hit over 4,000 followers on twitter last week.  How cool is that?  Thank you to my tweeps and to my new followers; The Inner Wild Kat & E.K. Espinoza.
Next Weeks Schedule
Monday – Summer:  Fact or Fiction – Post #1
Wednesday – Summer:  Fact or Fiction – Post #2 & Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Friday – Summer: Fact or Fiction – Reveal Post
Sunday – My Weekly Update
*Tattoo Tuesday will return next week. 

My Weekly Update – What the Heck is it?

What the Heck is it?

Hint: It’s not a science fair project.

I have lived in China for over 5 years and, I have eaten my share of weird stuff.  Coagulated pigs blood, anyone. But, this ‘what ever the heck it is’ was a first for me.  So, I decided to use it to spur on a little competition.  Can you guess what this is and/or what’s in it? 

If so, I would be happy to beta read, edit or critique a short story or one chapter of your WIP.

I beta read a story for one of my blog friends and really enjoyed it and learned a lot. And, I am testing out my edit and critique chops, so we all win here.

I will keep this contest open for a week.  And, if no one can guess what it is, I will take the most creative answer.  Have fun.

The Posts

Ava Jae wrote a great post on How to Read Your Writing Objectively.  Great read for me as I will tackle the art of editing my first novel in September.

Jeff Goins posted My Morning Routine in 10 Simple Steps this week.  My biggest struggle is getting going in the morning.  I need a routine.  The post includes several links to other writer’s morning routines.  The one thing they all have in common, waking up early.  Why can’t a morning routine start at 11:00 am?  It’s still morning.

A general shout out to Wise, Ink. An indie Author’s Best Kept Secret ( I hope it is ok to tell). They are a great resource for any and all things writerly and recently posted two articles to help us Authorpreneurs.

New Followers
Elana Millman at Man on Top
Jeni at Joy and Woe
Vergielyn Cubol
JB Rowley
Ronald DeStefano
Donnie Dark O Girl
Give More Get More
Next Weeks Schedule – I seemed to have moved Friday post to early Saturday morning.  Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.
Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday – A proud mother shares her son’s art work
Thursday – Sydney Quotes the Movies –
Friday/Saturday – Blog Post
Sunday – My Weekly Update – Look at goals for September and I need to have put a dent into my Campnano WiP or I am toast. 

Insecure about POV

How appropriate that the August installment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group would fall on the first day of Campnano.  In my case, there are going to be a lot of insecurities that will be exposed or resolved based on this months writing activity.

I have been reading and researching a lot on POV lately.  My Campnano project is about two characters and I tell the story from both of their point of views; switching back and forth between the two through out the story.  I have a good outline and a good game plan, but what is missing is why these two POV’s should be in the same story.  I feel they shouldknown not sure how to show that in the story just yEt. And, I am a bit concerned about how to distinguish from one point of view to the other.

But, my biggest concern is that I have never writing a story from a man’s POV.  What if my big strong, sensitive guy starts sounding like a girl?  That can’t happen or it will throw the whole story off.

Even though I am a planner and I have a plan, this is probably one of the few times in my life that I know I won’t stick to the plan and it is a little scary and exciting at the same time.

I guess from my fellow support group members, all I need this month is a big rousing “You can do it.”

Then I am good until next month.

Anymore POV concerns I need to be aware of before I dive into this project head first?  

My Weekly Update – Interview, Interesting and I’m Going to Camp

This is Interesting.


Last week, an interview that I conducted a couple of months ago was posted on My First Book.  It was a really great interview and I am happy it is out there because the interview is so me.  If that makes sense.  And, it surprised me just how different things where just 2 month ago.  Two months ago I had not finished my first draft of ‘I’m Coming Home’. Two months ago, I didn’t have an outline for another story and ready to tackle another challenge (Campnano starts in 3 days). And, 2 months ago, I didn’t really have a clue how writing would become so much a part of my life the way it has.  I enjoy conducting interviews because I can learn so much from other, but I had no idea in doing an interview, I would learn so much about myself.

Thanks so much Misha.


A couple of items I found interesting this week:

In the last two week, I had two days with huge numbers on my site. I like to think it was because of my brilliant content, but part of it is what I am calling the ‘Stumble Upon Effect’.  I have a Stumble Upon tribe in Triberr and all we are required to do is Stumble each others post and I am happy to see that it has increased my site hits.  And, the most popular page viewed on those two days – Tattoo Tuesday.  If you want to gain some exposure, submit your tattoo stories.  I would love to feature you on Tattoo Tuesday.

Another Triberr related item of interest, my blog friend Fel at The Peasant Revolt shared her thoughts on SEO.  I admit I am clueless about why this is so important to grow your blog traffic and she clears it up a bit. She also shares a fun webinar by one of the Triberr creators Dino Dogan on the this topic.  Great stuff.

Another great post I came across was over at Pensuasion called A Modern Make-Over:  The Classics Retold. As someone who loves movies, old and new, I found it interesting her take on how well these modern make overs retold the classics we know and love.

I’m Going to Camp

That’s right people.  I am going to camp.  I have once again signed up for a 50,000 words in 31 days challenge and this time it is called CampNaNo.  I am basically testing out my theory that I brought up last month about whether my first writing experience in JuNoWriMo ruined me.  All things came together in June, which allowed me to write a good and complete first draft.  So, the real test is, can I do it again.

I am on track with finishing my outline, character and scene sketches.  The more I get into this story the excited I am to tell it.  You can follow my progress with daily update under the Sydney Aaliyah Writes tab at the top.  Wish me luck!

New Followers – thanks so much to my new followers, you guys and gals are awesome.

Karen from Charron’s Chatter
Julie from Word Flows
The Star Chasers
Susan Moffat from Writing Glimmers
Chris Stocking from Write to Perfect
Kelly from This is Helenora
Poetic Parfait
Carrie at dare I eat a peach?
Deena the Digital Diva from Digital eBook Building and Formatting

Next Weeks Schedule

Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday
Wednesday – Insecure Writer’s Support Group & First day of Campnano
Friday – Blog Post – I am prepared this week
Sunday – My Weekly Update