Still Here. Still Writing.

I honestly don’t know why I disappeared again. Lack of motivation, anxiety, low self-esteem, imposter syndrome? But I’m still here and I’m still writing. I will bring this poor blog back. I want to figure out how to make writing work for me in my life, and I will. I promise. For now, here is a piece a boy in the story I’m working on wrote for the girl that he likes:

I know of a girl who can fly. I know she doesn’t look at herself that way, she doesn’t consider what she does to be beautiful. But I watch her walk and I see grace that you usually don’t see in a human. That kind of grace is usually found in swans or house cats — creatures that can glide. She’s just a normal human girl, but she’s the most exquisite human girl I know. She is, in fact, the most ‘human’ being I know. This girl is uncompromisingly kind. She is still figuring out what piece she is in the great puzzle of life. She looks at the puzzle with love even though it scares her. Her life hasn’t been easy but it hasn’t made her hard. She’s strong but still gentle. I know without a doubt that she doesn’t need me and I don’t know yet if she wants me. But I like her. I want to be with her. I’ve imagined what it might be like not to be the only one feeling this love — what it would be like for her to feel it, too. I hope she understands. I hope she feels it, too.

– Kenny Guyton, Where Your Story Ends

Blogmas 2017 – Day 7/31 – 2018 Goals

First off — need a Christmas present for someone who likes to read? Particularly someone who likes to read sad books? Need a good cry yourself? Want to support me? Consider buying my book Good You Were Here, available on Amazon for only $7.50! Ships with Amazon Prime! Signed copies available for $10 if you just ask: claremariespeltz@gmail.com.

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Evan feels like he should be dead. He has survivor’s guilt from a terrible accident over a decade ago. He dwells in the past, thinking of all the things he would take back if only he could. But then he meets Angela.

Angela is dying. Her life consists of managing her congestive heart failure symptoms and preparing for death. But then she meets Evan, a locksmith who can open anything except his heart. They get to know each other, and Angela begins to believe there is time to live before she dies.

Lazlo wants to kill someone. He can’t think of any way to get back at death for taking his wife from him. But then he reconnects with Angela, the dying girl across the street from him, and he has to decide if he will fight off the shadows in his life, or let them consume him, with violent consequences.

As the year runs down, the three of them must come to grips with death in their own ways and struggle to continue living in the moments that have been given to them.

Think about it.

Without further ado…

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2017 has been a good year for me. It really has. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that I actually started setting goals with tangible steps to achieve them. I still have a long way to go, but I’m determined to keep setting goals and growing into the best version of myself.

Here, in no particular order, is my first draft of my 2018 goals.

  • Learn hand-lettering – This is something I know I’m totally capable of doing and absolutely love. I just need to get on Pinterest and invest the time.
  • Go on 3 dates? – I have no idea if this will happen. It will depend on whether or not I meet anyone I actually want to go on a date with. We’ll see.
  • MOVE OUT! – This is just about my biggest priority. I’m determined to be in my own space as soon as possible. January sounds nice. Trying (failing) to be patient.
  • Publish 3 books – Being Daniel will come out as early as possible in 2018. I’ll aim to get Where Your Story Ends out by early summer. I’m not sure yet what I’ll have for you after that, but I’m going to stretch myself and try to get another book out in the fall or winter. Exciting stuff coming!
  • Actually try to learn Spanish – I’ll be perfectly honest – the movie Coco is the driving inspiration behind this goal. I’ve tried twice now and haven’t stuck to it, but I really want to expand my brain and my vocabulary.
  • Travel 2 new places, anywhere. – I always grow when I travel. I have a sister out in Arizona I want to visit and a friend is talking about road tripping to Florida, so we shall see.
  • NaNoWriMo – Doing NaNo this year has absolutely convinced me this should be a priority next year.
  • Cut down on stuff – I have a lot of ‘what if I need that someday?’ junk filling up my room. I want to have only the stuff I need so I have less I need to haul around with me wherever life takes me.
  • Create a nice summer wardrobe – I hate summer clothes. This year I’d like to invest in clothes that I actually like and don’t make me squirm.
  • Exercise somehow – To be fair, I gave this a solid try this summer. I wasn’t even remotely consistent but I was much more active than I have been in the past. Currently, my plan is to get myself a jump rope and at least do cardio.
  • Save $3000! – I really want to build up a respectable savings account. Every time I’ve saved up, it’s been to pay for something huge (trip to Italy, another trip to Italy, laptop, car…) and I want to finally have money put away and invested in my future.
  • Pay off loan woot woot! – I currently have less than $600 to go on my loan and I can’t wait until that is GONE.
  • Road trip with friends? – I have a friend who I really want to introduce to Lake Superior in Wisconsin and I also want to go back to the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. We’ll see.
  • BLOG CONSISTENTLY – No explanation needed.

I’ll be looking at this, adding to/editing it throughout this month, and hopefully, I’ll go into 2018 with an awesome list of goals and a clear plan to meet each of them.

Got any goals for 2018? Think setting goals is dumb? Let me know!

God Bless,

Clare

Click here to check out all of Blogmas 2017

Click here to buy Good You Were Here on Amazon

Blogmas 2017 – Day 2/31 – NaNoWriMo Lookback

At the last minute (November 1st) I decided to do NaNoWriMo 2017. I tormented myself over it because I was supposed to be editing Being Daniel, right? But the truth is that I was getting really burnt out on Being Daniel. I decided it would be good to take a break and have some fun.

(For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an online challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.)

So I rolled up my speed-writing sleeves and started on a book currently titled Where Your Story Ends — a story that will tie together the plots of both Good You Were Here (my first book) and Being Daniel.

I’m so glad I did. Here’s the skinny:

Where Your Story Ends is about high schoolers Kenny and Peach. Kenny has his convictions called into question when he befriends a disabled man named Mal, while Peach struggles to find her place between her separated parents. It’s a little bit comedy, a little bit romance, and a lot learning to find hope in suffering. (I’m undecided on this but there may even be some supernatural elements.)

Around day 27, I was feeling a little bit bored and unmotivated, so I channeled my inner 13-year-old and went on elouai.com and made some avatars for three of the characters.

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Some fun crazy facts:

  1. The first time I did NaNoWriMo in 2010, I wrote a story called My Hero which, I’ll be perfectly honest, is a total train wreck. It was basically a soap opera, but it did have a few good elements and I loved my main character — a girl named my Patricia who goes by Peach. I always hoped to go back and salvage some of that story. This year that’s exactly what I did.
  2.  I almost added Kenny’s storyline to Good You Were Here because a lot of the themes were very similar, but in the end, I’m glad I kept it to just Angela, Evan and Lazlo.

So how did my NaNoWriMo go? Was it tough? Was it fun? Did I win?

Yes to all three.

It was tough. About halfway through Week 3, I felt like I had run out of story to tell. I still had over 15,000 words to go and it started to seem like I was adding new scenes I’d just have to cut later. That was frustrating, but it was better than most of my other NaNo years where I got to 50k and wasn’t even halfway through the plot.

It was fun. I love this story. I think it will be a truly beautiful one and I hope I’ll be able to share it with the world sooner than later. (Being Daniel comes first, I promised!) It was also really fun to write about teenagers again. That might sound strange, but Good You Were Here and Being Daniel are both about adults ranging from their 20s to their 70s. The dynamic is different. With teenagers, there’s this youthfulness and innocence that is more enjoyable for me, even though the content is just as heavy as it is in my other stories.

I did win!

Here’s a graph of my progress throughout the month of November:

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It took me almost two weeks to even get on track. The goal is to write 1,667 words a day, which really isn’t that much, but I just couldn’t seem to get there and every day I was farther behind. Eventually, I did. And then I fell behind again. Caught back up. Fell behind. Over and over. But in Week 4, I finally buckled down and was able to finish on Day 29 with 50,030 words.

And there you have it. My NaNoWriMo 2017 lookback. I’m so glad I decided to do this. It was exactly what I needed. 10/10 will do it again. I’ve already made it one of my goals for next year. 

Speaking of which —I know it’s almost a full year away now, but I strongly encourage anyone who has ever even thought about writing a book to try NaNoWriMo 2018. It’s such a good way to motivate yourself to get the words out and worry about the details and typos later. Plus, it gives you a beautiful community of people all encouraging you and working towards the same goal to lean back on whenever you need it.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for Blogmas Day 3 tomorrow!

God bless,

Clare