Welcome to the June 2022 roundup!
This month, I took some time off from writing. One reason was that my mum came to visit from Sydney for an extended weekend. The other was because I was in a bit of a funk.
After coming off a real writer’s high of finally finishing my Blackbirch 3 MS to a standard I was happy with, I used the momentum to jump right into Blackbirch 4. Even though I have the story planned, 70,000 words written, and I know exactly what I need to do to bring it in line with the rest of the series, the fact that the draft I have is nowhere near as polished as the project I had just completed really threw me for a loop.
I know it was silly of me to expect a draft written 5 years ago would be at the same standard as one I’d just spent a year perfecting, but the frustration in the difference really caused me to get stuck.
It felt like I didn’t know how to write and all the progress I’d made in the last few years didn’t matter. I was a newbie writer again, wading through the mud of a first draft (even though this is draft 7), and it made me not want to write.
Instead, I spent days doing anything but, and I questioned what kind of writer I was and if I was good enough to finish what I started. It’s funny how the high of a good, finished draft can lead to the low of an unfinished one that has so much work ahead. That’s writing though, right? There are so many highs and lows. One day you feel like the best writer in the world, capable of anything, and the next, you wonder how you’ve ever managed to string words together in a sentence that makes sense.
These low-moment thoughts lead me to question my own writing journey and how those highs and lows have made me feel over the years. I put it all in a blog post (Grieving A Writing Life), one that I didn’t intend to share because I was just writing it for myself. Then I saw a few tweets and Instagram posts from fellow writers about their own disappointments about being left off competition longlists and things of that nature and I decided to share the post.
My thoughts were exactly what others had thought too, and it became one of my most viewed/shared/commented on blog posts in a long time. So many of you let me know that you also grieved your own writing life expectations and it really has meant so much to me. You’ve inspired me to not only keep moving forward with my version of this writing life, but to appreciate it, write from the heart more often, and know that we have all felt the same way at some point.
It’s been a positive way to end what I felt was a very unproductive month, so thank you again. This is what else I’ve been up to this June…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 4 and a Blackbirch 3 blurb – As stated in my opening above, I did waste a good chunk of time barely making any progress on Blackbirch 4, but turned an inspired corner at the end, which I intend to continue. As for Blackbirch 3, while I was hoping to have the final edits done and ARCs out to the readers I have lined up, I’m still waiting for beta feedback, so until I get to make the final changes, the future release date is to be determined (but I’m really hoping it’s not too far off). One goal I did set and complete this month was writing the blurb for the back of the book, which means my cover designer can now start putting together the cover!
Watching And Reading…
Top Gun: Maverick – If you’ve seen the 80s classic, Top Gun, you’ve seen the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick. It’s essentially the same movie just with a modern update on the jets and an older-looking Tom Cruise. That doesn’t make it a bad thing. Top Gun is a classic for a reason and you can write off the retreads as a nostalgic homage while enjoying the action of a fast-paced movie that knows how to pull off real-world stunts. After disobeying orders when testing a jet, Maverick is tasked with training the best of the best in a mission that requires them to drop a bomb on an impossible target in a run that needs to be timed to the second. There are egos, training montages, and action sequences galore, plus a little romance to round things out.
Jurassic World: Dominion – Closing out the Jurassic World trilogy is Dominion, taking place in a world where humans are living alongside dinosaurs. It’s a combo that results in deaths and kidnapped dinos for monetary gain, as well as yet another corporation stashing the dinosaurs in a “park” so the heroes can of course visit said park and be stalked by the dinosaurs in a formula that’s worked for all 6 movies. This last one does have the advantage of teaming together main characters across both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies, and if you’re a fan of any of them, you’ll be a fan of this final installment too.
A Wedding In Tuscany by Sandy Barker – This is the 5th and final book in Sandy Barker’s #HolidayRomance series and ties up the fictional lives of the traveling characters we’ve come to know in the previous 4 books. A Wedding In Tuscany focuses on Cat and her sister Sarah (whose story kicked off the series) and a visit to Tuscany that will combine Cat’s wedding to Jean-Luc and Sarah’s milestone 40th birthday. Two such big events also allow for the main and side characters of the other books to be in the same place at the same time and we get to learn about everyone’s futures by the closing pages. The pages in between deal with the fun of families at weddings, hard relationship lessons, and life lessons that can hit you out of nowhere. As usual, the author handles these topics with humor, drama, and descriptions of food and places so vivid you’ll want to eat all the cheese and visit all the countries. Highly recommended for readers of romance who love feel-good stories and endings.
Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall – A handy little guide both for beginners and more advanced authors. Lee Hall’s conversational writing style makes this an easy read that is full of real-life examples and common sense tips when it comes to the art of authoring in modern-day times. While an advanced writer might not learn anything new, it’s good to be reminded of social media and blogging tips they may not have engaged in for a while or to know that what they’re doing is something others have (eventually) had success with. If you’re deciding to blog or join social media for writing but haven’t taken the plunge, or aren’t seeing the engagement you want yet, the advice here is solid. A section dedicated to self-care and mental health is a big highlight of the book and will benefit all authors, from new to seasoned ones.
If you’ve got any good book recommendations, let me know in the comments, or be my friend on Goodreads and share your books/recommendations with me!
If you’d like to add the Blackbirch books to your “Want to Read” shelf and/or check out the reviews, click the following images!
Taking Photos Of
A visit with my mum and tea time kitties. We had the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this month and my mum flew from Sydney for a quick visit. We had a few meals out and saw some very scenic autumn views. Dash and Luna also decided that tea making in the mornings is the most fascinating thing ever and I’ve gained an audience every time I fill up my mug.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
Writing Tip Of The Month…
#WritingTipWednesday posts are added to my social media feeds every week and here is the most popular tip for this month. It’s taken from my blog post, Writing Tips For Action Scenes.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Review Of The Month…
This review comes courtesy of Blackbirch: The Dark Half and was the most popular review posted this month on my social media feeds.
If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
If you’ve read either of my books—and haven’t done so already—please consider leaving a review or a star rating. It really helps indie authors get their books noticed, and also helps fellow readers find books they’ll like.
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my June Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
— K.M. Allan