Writer’s Block…and Some Other Things

A case of writer’s block

I’ve had a serious case of writer’s block. And no motivation to write lately, even to finish my WIP that’s been unfinished for longer than I’d like to admit. Most of my free time has been spent binging shows on Netflix (with a dash of reading thrown in sometimes, especially graphic novels). I’m looking at you iZombie, Baby Daddy, Reign, 2 Broke Girls, etc. Watching you was beyond entertaining, which is exactly what I needed at the time.

Then came A new idea…

But about three weeks ago, I got an idea in my head. It happened while I was watching my niece read one of the MG (middle grade) books I’d gotten her for her birthday. “Hey, why don’t I try writing a MG book?” I mean I don’t currently have a manuscript I’m avoiding (heavy sarcasm here people). So I sat down the following weekend and started writing. Honestly, it’s been slow going. Probably because I’ve been a lifeless blob for the most part–no judgment to other lifeless blobs. You are my people. Rest and relaxation is key to making sure we stay sane.

And as much as I don’t want to admit this, I was kind of depressed for various reasons. 1) I don’t really put my writing out there much, and when I have, let’s just say it hasn’t gone spectacularly well. I mean I’ve gotten some kind of nice form rejections, so there is that. Speaking of rejection, I sketched out the basics of a rejection blog post that will appear sometime in the near future. So be on the lookout for that. 2) The garbage fire that is the United States, thanks largely to Donald Trump. So not only have I been avoiding writing, I’ve also been avoiding Twitter. All the depressing news was starting to get to me, so I placed myself in a metaphorical bubble to keep the world out.

But let’s get back to the topic of writing. I’m slowly making this MG manuscript idea come to life. I really don’t know if the voice is any good (I’ll ask my niece to be the first reader this coming weekend), but at least I’m writing. And hey, the first draft is supposed to suck anyways, right? 🙂 I figured any writing is better than no writing, even if it means my YA (young adult) WIP gathers even more virtual dust for the time being. As long as my writer’s block is over for now, I’m happy.

Before I end this blog post, I wanted to show you a little visual teaser for my MG WIP.

MG Novel Aesthetic

Overcoming Writer's Block

And if you want to see more pretty pictures, check out my Pinterest board here. Thanks for reading!

2016 Pitch Wars Mentee Bio

This will be my second year entering Pitch Wars. Last year I didn’t receive any requests, which kind of bummed me out. But after I got over the rejection, I finished my second manuscript, and started my third during NaNoWriMo 2015. I’m excited to get back in the Pitch Wars game with something new.

About Me

obviously

I currently live in Waukesha, WI after moving a lot when I was younger. I got my Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, majoring in English – Creative Writing with a Business Administration minor. I’ve worked at the same day job for almost four years as an administrative assistant.

My first foray into writing was with short stories and poetry in elementary school. Then I started obsessively writing Harry Potter fanfiction when I was a teen. I took the plunge of trying to write a novel when I was 18.

My family, and close coworkers, call me the ‘Grammar Queen’. I’m also known as ‘Sister Smartass’ by one close coworker (ha ha). My humor is very sarcastic in nature, if you hadn’t picked up on that already…

how fascinating

Random facts:

  • I’m a Ravenclaw.
  • Pizza is my all-time favorite food.
  • I’m an anxious person. Being published is my dream, but I’m terrible with public speaking. I need to overcome this fear, because I want to be able to talk in front of my fans, whenever they start showing up in my life.
  • I currently don’t have any pets, but if I could have one, I’d chose a dog.
  • I love Netflix. My last binged show was Young & Hungry, which I absolutely loved. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it.

Writing

writing for Pitch Wars

All of my manuscripts so far are YA contemporary romance, but I definitely want to try out some other genres, like fantasy, paranormal, etc. I’ve seriously considered writing NA and adult novels, but lately I’ve been thinking of staying in the YA age category. YA novels are some of the most important ones published.

I’m not going to go on about why I should be chosen, because I think my writing should speak for itself, but I just want to say that I’m a hard worker, and I’d love the opportunity to work with any of the amazing mentors that are donating their time to this contest!

In the spirit of amazing writing, I thought I’d list some of my all-time favorite books:

  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  • Summer of Sloane by Erin Schneider
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • Anna and the French Kiss trilogy by Stephanie Perkins
  • Just Listen and This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

My Manuscript

I’m submitting a YA contemporary romance manuscript to Pitch Wars this year. Below you’ll find a short summary for Celebrity Crush, plus a novel aesthetic. And the Pinterest inspiration board can be found here.

Seventeen-year-old Gwen Harris might be the daughter of a famous actress, but being in the spotlight is lonely—and depressing. Her mother is always filming on set somewhere, her dad lives halfway across the country, and boys only seem to want her for one thing…a chance to meet her mother. After being burned too many times, can she open herself up to true love when it comes around? Or will she let fear stand in her way?

Novel Aesthetic

With all this said, I need to get to work on editing my manuscript before the Pitch Wars submission deadline (just over a month to go). Thanks for stopping by to read my mentee bio. If you’d like to check out the other mentee bios, click here. If you want to check me out, find me on Twitter at @nicolelynnhoefs. Lastly, before I sign off, I want to thank Brenda Drake for creating Pitch Wars and working tirelessly to keep it running. xoxo

Writing Habits (Or Lack Thereof)

writing 4

 

Since this is my author website, I decided to do one of my first posts on my writing habits, or lack thereof, as evidenced by the title of this post. I absolutely love writing, and have ever since I was little. Well to be honest, I love English as a subject in general. Reading, writing, analyzing, etc. Those were, and still are, among my favorite things to do in the world. I starting writing when I was younger, mostly some poetry and a few stories. When I was a preteen/teen, I joined the fanfiction phase. I adored writing Harry Potter fanfiction. Some of my favorite pairings were: Draco and Hermione, Draco and Ginny, Draco and Harry, and Hermione and Ginny. Did you notice that three of those pairings included Draco? Well if you didn’t, I’m pointing it out now. I love him. He was my first bad boy crush. Honestly, I kind of miss writing stories about J.K. Rowling’s characters. But onto my own characters…

As I grew older, I decided I wanted to be a published author. And that brought me to my very first manuscript that I wrote when I was only eighteen, during the summer before college. And guess what? I wrote it in two weeks! Yes, two weeks! I can’t believe it myself. Then college got in the way, and my writing was placed on the low priority list, practically non-existent. I was too busy with homework assignments, reading textbooks, cramming for exams, and writing term papers.

I didn’t find the motivation to write again until I’d graduated and settled firmly into my role as an “adult”, i.e. paying way more bills, renting an apartment, getting a semi-decent bi-weekly paycheck. My urge to write started up again during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2014. I won NaNoWriMo by writing 50,628 words in approximately two weeks (I didn’t start until Day 9, and then I usually spend time with family during Thanksgiving). As I tried to finish my second manuscript in December/January, my laptop died on me. And then when I tried to finish it on my really old desktop, that died on me too. Both computers died within about a month of each other.  Nothing was cooperating with me. Of course, I didn’t have money saved up for a new computer, so I went at least half a year without one.

Finally, I got a new desktop (which I love, although I miss the convenience of a laptop to take everywhere). It took me a while to get back into the rhythm of my story, but I finally finished my second manuscript right as NaNoWriMo 2015 started. I’d already been brainstorming new ideas for my next manuscript. (Side note: I always have  problems trying to figure out a good title for my writing. I know it probably doesn’t matter because publishers will likely change the title before it’s published, but I feel distraught when I have yet another ‘Untitled’ file.) I won NaNoWriMo for my second year in a row  with 51,395 words. I wrote that amount in approximately two weeks again. I had started on Day 1, but I had a family emergency pop up, and then I was out-of-town for the long Thanksgiving weekend again. Have you noticed that two weeks is a sweet spot of time for me? But because I cram all that writing into two weeks, I burn myself out.

And that’s kind of where I’m at now. I need to finish my third manuscript, but I’m still not entirely motivated. I need to get back in my office chair and let the words flow. I did an hour of writing sprints last weekend, but that was it. (Another side note: I love writing sprints. They help me turn off my inner editor while I’m completing a first draft. I’m so focused on getting a decent word count that I mostly don’t edit as I write. If it wasn’t for writing sprints, I’d take a lot longer to complete a first draft, since I’d be editing as I go.) I have a lot more to write before my characters’ will be satisfied. I still get ideas for my story; it’s just sitting down and writing them into existence that’s been lacking. I’ve been contemplating setting a daily word count goal for myself. I know that’s how a lot of authors thrive. I know beating the daily word count goal during NaNoWriMo was one of my favorite things. Basically, I think I just need more structure. If I’m still not complete with my WIP (work in progress), I’ll set a higher goal for myself during April’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

If you’re feeling inclined, you can find information about my manuscripts on the Projects page. The temporary titles for my manuscripts are: Syd-ply Misunderstood (first), Celebrity Crush (second), and I Met You in AA (third). If you click on the links for each manuscript, there’s a hyperlink that will lead you to that particular manuscript’s Pinterest inspiration board. They’re still a little sparse because the idea of showing my novel visually is new to me.

Oh, and if you’re curious, all my manuscripts so far are young adult contemporary romance. I really want to try my hand at other genres (fantasy, paranormal, thriller, etc.) and maybe even other age categories (new adult and adult) eventually. My third manuscript really focuses on diversity, which is the first topic I talked about on this blog. I can’t wait until this manuscript is complete, edited, and ready to send out to agents. That manuscript might be the one that finally gets me an agent! *daydreams*

Diversity in Entertainment: Why We Need It

So diversity in entertainment…why do we need it? Because our world is diverse. As a straight, able-bodied, white female, I might not be very diverse. But I’ve seen both ends of the diverse spectrum and pretty much everywhere in between. I’ve lived in small towns where there are only a few diverse individuals: almost every single individual was white, attended the same few churches, and were about the same socioeconomically as well. And I’ve lived in large cities like Columbus, Ohio where the diversity was astonishing. Race, religion, ableness, sexual identity, etc. were so different from one person to the next. It was a melting pot of differences, and it was beautiful.

Diversity is such a major part of the United States. That diversity we’re known for in this country should be a given when it comes to our entertainment i.e. the books and movies we’re surrounded by. Our entertainment should be as diverse as we as a culture are. I’m making it part of my mission as a reader, and a writer, to push others to consider our diverse world when they read books, write their own amazing stories, and when they watch movies.

We are not a society of straight white people. Our society is so diverse, so broad, that our art should reflect that. It is our duty as humans to embrace diverse entertainment. It is our duty as humans to create diverse entertainment. One race/sexual orientation/gender/religion, etc. is not better than another.

I will work on filling my books with diversity, so one day when they’re published, I can help our world embrace the diversity that makes us so great. I will read as many diverse books as I can. I already started on this a bit, and I’ll list a handful of books I’d highly recommend below. If you have any diverse book suggestions, send them my way! What I’m trying to say with this blog post is that I’ll be embracing diversity in our entertainment like I’ve embraced diversity in our world, and I hope you’ll all join me. Make a stand for diversity in entertainment!

If you’re looking for diverse books, I highly recommend checking out the We Need Diverse Books website. It’s a great resource.

 

Books with diversity:
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter) by Marissa Meyer
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

We Need Diverse Books, WNDB, Diversity, Diverse, Diversity in Entertainment