On Writing

Write Like It’s Your Job: February Update

Write Like It’s Your Job: February Update

How did the writer mom work balance go this month? It was alright. It’s so easy for homeschool and family life to usurp my writing hours.

How did the writer mom work balance go this month? It was alright. It’s so easy for homeschool and family life to usurp my writing hours. It’s that ongoing tension of motherhood and creating. The ever elusive “work life balance” and the fact that life overflows its time slot in my planner.

I’m looking at you Pinterest and Instagram.

February Writing Goals

Many of my monthly and Quarter 1 goals are tending tasks. Things that I’ll need to tend to a little bit each month, so I wanted to create a format for those and I did.

  • Finish that draft by March 6th
  • Send my first monthly newsletter since 2013 (that’s forever ago!)
  • Write 4-5 times a week
  • Write 2 blog posts
  • Research writing Mastermind Groups

What did I accomplish?

  • The biggest and most exciting??? I finished the first draft of The Sea & All Its Stars!!!! That’s worth all the exclamation points.
  • I published two blog posts and drafted two more.
  • I sent my first newsletter, Between Worlds. (Are you signed up? Go do it.)
  • I did not get around to researching writing mastermind groups or critique partner groups. Again. I need to make a better plan for this one.

What am I looking forward to in March?

  • Saga Conference – I haven’t been to a writer’s conference (excluding blogging conferences) since 2004. That’s awhile. Saga is geared toward sci-fi and fantasy writers. I’m excited and a little nervous. (Hello, introvert in a new setting.)
  • Spring! It’s rained so much in South Carolina this winter. I’m looking forward to seeing blue sky.
  • I’m rereading my first draft this week to check for any glaring omissions, make minor edits, and then setting it aside until April (Camp NaNoWriMo, anyone?) to let it simmer.
  • Research writing Mastermind Groups and critique partners. Yep. Still trying to figure out direction on this one. Any tips?

What I Read

For February being the shortest month of the year (leap year included!), I’m kind of surprised how much reading I got done. No surprise here that fairy tale retellings and fantasy make up half the list.

  • Deerskin, by Robin McKinley – One of my favorite fairy tales is “Princess Furball” (also called “A Thousand Furs”) and Deerskin is a more mature, beautiful retelling of this tale. It deals with coming to life after trauma. (There are different versions of this tale and some have an element of incest, where the father forces his daughter to marry him. This one does.) (book + audio)
  • East, by Edith Pattou – “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is another favorite of mine. This retelling didn’t stray too far from the original, but was really interesting with it’s use of maps, names, and the superstition of birth direction. I also liked how the four winds were people in different places that helped Rose on her journey. There’s a follow-up book, West. (book + audio)
  • For My Lady’s Heart, by Laura Kinsale – A knight with something to prove, a lady who can trust no one, money and titles and land to be taken…intrigue, betrayal, and love abound.
  • Pride, by  Ibi Zoboi – A modern Pride & Prejudice retelling set in a quickly gentrifying Brooklyn with high schoolers. It’s a captivating retelling and definitely highlights a different side of Austen’s novel. (book + audio)
  • Sky in the Deep, by  Adrienne Young – Keeping with the Scandinavian themed books and all Norse mythology, this one’s a little bit Viking warrior woman, a bit family drama (which might be an understatement). I really enjoyed this one. This only convinces me more I need to go find some fjords. (book + audio)
  • Where Have All the Boys Gone?, by Jenny Colgan – A quick , easy, sweet, know where the plot is going rom-com comfort read.
  • Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi – This is a masterpiece of family history, tracing the generations of two African sisters, one married to a British colonizer and the other sent on a slave ship. It’s a fascinating look at how our ancestors shape us. (almost finished!)

And books I read with my kids:

  • Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman, by Dorothy Sterling – This is a great introduction to Harriet Tubman and the amazing woman she was. It does not shy away from the hardships of the Underground Railroad or horrors of slavery, but it does it in a way I think is accessible to children (it may make some uncomfortable) without whitewashing the truth.
  • Snow & Rose, by Emily Winfield Martin – A middle grade retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” highlighting familial love instead of romance. The illustrations are beautiful (Martin has written and illustrated a number of picture books), the forest world building was lovely and imaginative, but the actual story was a little lackluster.

How are your goals shaping up? What are you reading? 

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