Mindscapes 5 | Playlist

playlist for reading and writing

Calm instrumental playlist for reading and writing.

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow here in the United States, and with NaNoWriMo coming to a close, I thought I’d celebrate a little by compiling a new playlist for reading and writing. This one is calm, contemplative, and unobtrusive, so you can focus on getting lost in a good book or a world of your creation. I hope you enjoy!

Mindscapes 5: Music for Reading and Writing from andreabrame on 8tracks Radio.

Still (still) here

A photo posted by Andrea Brame (@andreabrame) on

Considering it has been some time since my last update, I thought I’d post a little something just to say I’m still alive and still writing. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, trying to figure out where I belong in the world of kidlit. I haven’t come to any firm conclusions yet, but I know I’m not giving up. I’m sticking with it. I can’t help it!

Being a writer sounds so glamorous, but the reality is lots of early mornings or late nights or stolen moments when you work on plot and characterization and dialogue and story. If there isn’t time, you have to carve it out where it hurts the least. As a parent who hasn’t gotten a whole lot of sleep in months … years, really … I admit I tend to give into vegging out on the couch or simply going to bed more often than not lately. As my husband tells me, quoting someone whose name I don’t remember, “If you don’t know what you want … it’s sleep.”

I should probably be sleeping right now.

But here’s the thing. I’m stuck. I’m stuck on some science and some characterization and some plot holes. I’ve written all the things I know and now I’m stewing on the things I don’t know. I don’t blog here much. I don’t even open Scrivener as much as I should. But I’m thinking it through. Sometimes in the middle of the night, after I wake up and realize what I could next. And then I give myself insomnia because my brain won’t stop thinking and let me go back to sleep! At 3 a.m.!

Whenever this happens, I’ve learned that what I need most is a blast of inspiration. I go to a store I love, solo, and just browse. I take in the art and the design and let myself get lost in it. I even take pictures of things that particularly make me happy. It might be washi tape. It might be towels. It might be a funny saying. But I enjoy it all. Then I stop and breathe in nature. I browse hashtags on Instagram (#instabooks, #bookstagram, and #igreads are faves). I meet up with a friend over coffee. I hug my husband and just savor the moment.

And it works!

So, tonight, in the still evening hours when my son is deep asleep and the dark has drifted in and the rain is falling gently in a mist and chill electronic music is playing on my iTunes radio in my earbuds, I’m writing this update. Then I’m taking some time to write. And it will probably be crappy writing. That’s okay. That’s what first drafts are for. I’m going to hand-wave my way through this science-y mess that is keeping me back in fear, even if it means I make up ridiculous faux science just to make it through. I can go back and fix it later.

This is my story. I’m the writer stuck in the wilderness of the middle of her book. So I can write my way out … I control my fate.

And when I have, you’ll be the first to know. Well, second. I’m pretty sure my husband and son will hear my triumphant shout of victory when the last word is written.

(Oh, and by the way, if you are also on Instagram, drop by and take a look at my feed. I’m scratching a creative itch while my writer wheels spin by sharing a photographic series of the books we love and live with as a family. Check it out!)

Camp NaNoWriMo


Ahhhhh. It feels SO GOOD to be able to post this little banner. Some writing friends and I challenged each other to participate in the spring camp session and we all completed our goal word counts. Go us!

I appreciated the low-key atmosphere of camp. I participated in and won my last full NaNo back in 2012 (with my YA contemporary WIP), but life got a little busier when my son arrived the next year, so a goal of 10,000 words on a current project was much more doable. I put Man Cub down for his nap or bedtime and booked it to my laptop for thirty minutes, or even an hour or two at a time if I was lucky, before clocking out and reporting back for mom duty the rest of the day. I’ve come to appreciate loose outlining and comments to myself in the margins of my writing, because without those two things I would be lost without longer chunks of time in which to write. I still pants the heck out of some individual scenes, but always with character goals and the overall outline in mind.

The little over 10,000 words I added to my current WIP, a near-future YA book (working title: The Echelon Project) has taken me well past the halfway point in projected word count, although I’m not sure if it is past halfway according to the plot or not. The more I spend time in my main character’s world, the more twists and turns have presented themselves and as a result some of my earlier writing will need to be evaluated to see if it still belongs in the story or not.

That being said, I am feeling good about my progress and hope to realize my goal of finishing the first draft and starting revisions by summer.

Still here

ORGANIZING - Remember back in September, when I was getting my house in order? I’m still in the middle of that. It is a never-ending process, I guess. Right  now I’m participating in a Lenten decluttering project started by Ann Marie of White House Black Shutters. It is called 40 Bags in 40 Days, and I’m about 25 bags into the process. Five years of marriage, three moves, and one baby later, and I think Daniel and I have finally combined and pared-down our belongings. Yikes.

SLEEPING - Sleep was also an issue in September. It still is, I guess. Just a better issue. Toddlerhood has not changed our son’s night waking schedule, but it has vastly improved his naps and bedtime, so I can’t complain. Much. In fact, I can pretty consistently depend on naps and bedtime for uninterrupted writing time, if I take the opportunity. (Sometimes you just have to veg after chasing a one-year-old all day.)

WRITING - I’m still working on my science fiction project. I tweeted the other day that my story seems to be coming together from the outside-in. I’ve figured out the ending, and have a beginning that matches it. Now I just need the middle, and I am filling in scenes in my tentative outline in Scrivener as they come to me. The science-y aspects still are my nemesis, but I will not give up! Which brings me to my last little update …

March is halfway over. April is coming quickly, and with it Camp NaNoWriMo. This year I’m going to keep working on my current project. I don’t have any concrete goals this time around, but I am excited to be bunking with some local writer friends (hi Amy, and Cassie!). It is nice to be out of the baby haze and getting my creativity back, and even nicer to have like-minded people coming alongside to keep me honest and cheer me on in my progress.

Happy New Year!

Birthday! 190 Birthday! 193 Birthday! 194 Birthday! 196 joy31

So, 2014 was kind of a big year. This little guy came home from the hospital with us at the very beginning of it.

And now,  we just celebrated the beginning of 2015 with a brand-new one-year-old boy who happens to call me momma (sometimes, when he feels like it and is prompted. We’ll get there.)

I can’t wait to see what comes next!

{photo credit for the last picture: my friend, Joy}


Sadness. I simply cannot add another writing project to my plate write–er, RIGHT–now.

So, for me, it is NO National Novel Writing Month.

But to those of you who are tackling it this year, go you!

I’ll be over here, in my little corner, chewing on the end of my pencil and trying to get the last bits of my first draft’s plot hashed out on paper. So I can actually write the durn thing.

Through a plot dimly


This is my plot. Fuzzy, uncertain, shrouded in mist.

I’m working on that.

Right now, I’m brainstorming as my antagonist. Setting her up for success, so that my protagonist has something to truly fight against.

But her motives are unclear. Her actions hazy.

It is a challenge. But that’s okay. I’m up for a challenge. Not to mention, my leading lady is kinda kick-butt, in a nerdy, matter-of-fact kind of way. She can handle it.


Image credit: Alice Popkorn, via Flickr