What I’m Reading, What I’m Writing: Reading challenge update and preparing to submit

Inspired by the New Hampshire Writer’s Network Live to Write – Write to Live blog, I’ve decided to start my own regular posts about what I’m currently reading in books, audio books and blogs, and what I’m working on in my writing. I hope to make this a regular (weekly or biweekly) feature on the blog.

I hope you’ll share what interesting things you’re reading and writing in the comments, and please feel free to link back to your own blog!


As Spring timidly begins to show her reluctant face, things are picking up. I have a busy few weeks ahead and it seems the first half of summer is already spoken for. In preparation of events to come, I’ve been quiet on the social media front. While I have certainly fallen behind on my blogging, I haven’t fallen behind on my reading. In fact, with 13 out of 44 books read so far this year, I’m one book ahead of schedule on my 2014 Reading Challenge!

Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to.

What I’m ReadingApe House Sara Gruen

In the last few weeks, my selection of reads have been across a variety of genres. I took a nostalgic trip to my younger days, listening to the audio book of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I first read this as a teen, and I was surprised to find how much of it stayed with me over the years that have passed.

I read my first Neil Gaiman book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a magical and transformative read. I listened to the audio book read by Neil Gaiman himself which itself was a treat!

I read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a fun and quirky read. I flew through a lighthearted read, The Men I Didn’t Marry, and slogged through Proof of Heaven, a book I thought I would enjoy but didn’t.

Now I’ve just picked up Sara Gruen’s Ape House. Have you ever loved a book so much, you were afraid to read another book by the same author out of fear of not loving it as much as the first? Water for Elephants ranks among my favorite books of all time, and since reading it years ago, I’ve avoided reading any of Gruen’s other novels.

I have finally put my reservations aside to read this book that I’ve wanted to read for so long.


What I’m Writing

After going through two rounds of critiquing with a trusted writer friend, and another set of revisions, I’m preparing to submit a short story for publication. This will be my first attempt at submitting a piece I have written, and I am equal parts excited and anxious.

I’ve begun researching literary magazines to possibly submit to (more on my lit mag adventures later) and am bracing myself for the rejections that are sure to come. I will be sure to share my progress along the way!


My Favorite Quote of the Week:

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Blogs and findings around the Interwebs

Five amazing tips to help you write your novel
I love these tips from Alice Hoffman.

Advice every young writer needs to hear
A collection of short videos from published authors sharing their advice.

Oh, the Places you’ll Go!
From the Write Unboxed blog, how to create an authentic sense of place in fiction.

The 9 Ingredients for Character Development
Some tips from Writer’s Digest

23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway
What can I say, I just LOVE quotes about writing. This is a great collection of some great ones from Hemingway.

10 Life Lessons to Excel in your 30s
I enjoyed this article and hope to get a head start on a few of these things before I enter the next decade of life!


Enjoy the weekend!

What are you reading? What writing projects are you currently working on? Share your reading and writing adventures in the comments, and feel free to link back to your own blog!

One Word After Another…

In Week One, I was in love with my NaNo Novel. I woke up early each and every morning to fire up my laptop, eager to write and to add up each pretty little word and record them on my spreadsheet. I fell in love with my characters and with the art of writing and became completely immersed in the story. My NaNo Novel and I were in the honeymoon phase.

Then Week Two hit.

My writing sessions produced pathetic word counts.  Suddenly my writing, my plot and my characters which were shiny and new just days ago seemed dull. My ideas had never seemed more unoriginal. My “novel” was nothing but a collection of short scenes with talking heads. I fell out of love with my NaNo Novel.

Dang,” I kept thinking, this NaNoWriMo thing is HARD. Adding insult to injury, smack in the middle of Week Two, I got a cold. Not just a case of the sniffles, but the kind of cold that makes you feel like you could sleep for days. Great, I thought. Just what I needed. Perfect timing! I chugged orange juice, took a nap and kept sitting at the keyboard. I had several days that I didn’t write the 1,667 word minimum. For the first time this November, I fell behind. I thought about quitting, but I didn’t. Each writing session, I kept putting down one word after another. And slowly, they added up.

This is How you Do It Quote

Today, I am feeling as though I may have broken through the slump of the infamous Week Two. I’ve written 2,028 words so far today and feel like I could write more (and maybe I will!) I’m feeling excited about my novel again.

I have recently fallen in love with Neil Gaiman who tweeted his Pep Talk earlier this week. In his Pep Talk, he describes exactly how I have been feeling these past few days. He says,

You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days…

That’s how novels get written.

After a string of lousy days, I’m now past the halfway point. I’ve now officially made it past the point where I gave up last November. I’m going to celebrate those accomplishments. Then, I’m going to keep writing.

One word after another…

Words Written Today:  2,028
Total Words Written:  27,756
Words Left to Go:  22,244
Percent Complete:  56%

I’ll be sharing my progress throughout November! Subscribe to my blog for NaNo updates and follow me on Twitter @iamJenniferK for helpful hints and inspiring quotes in 140 characters or less!