Saturday, January 30, 2010
2) You only have until January 31st to enter Mary Kole's Kidlit contest. This contest is for MG/YA writers and is a great opportunity -- plus, Mary's blog is awesome!
Friday, January 29, 2010
Filming a project.
Going out for breakfast.
When someone likes something I wrote.
Achieving a goal.
date nights with hubby
new slow-cooker recipes - I'm wild like that
girls' night out at the movies
Disneyworld - seriously, it's my favorite place
reading on the couch with cheese, crackers, and a glass of vino
a good cup of coffee
hiking in the mountains
Author Kiersten White at http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com
I'm a dork.
I was a cheerleader and a flag corps/colorguard member.
I would rather read than do most things.
I drink WAY too much coffee.
I can say the alphabet backwards.
I don't like chocolate.
When I was little I wanted to be a magician.
I really really want to go to Amsterdam.
I still can't believe I actually finished writing a book.
I love anything to do with time travel.
My idea of a perfect date night involves Netflix and wine.
My 5-yo son beats me on every Wii game we play -- I can't ski jump to save my life.
My hubby even beats me in Wii figure skating.
My 5-yo watching daddy sing the National Anthem on the JumboTron at a Colorado. Rockies game was one of my favorite nights ever.
I'm NOT a morning person -- some might even call me 'cranky'.
My kids get up between 5:30-6am every day -- clearly, they didn't get the memo.
One of the many reasons I love hubby is he often leaves me a cup of coffee on the bathroom counter before he leaves each day, knowing I'll need it upon waking.
I'm a major introvert who can present like an extrovert when necessary.
I'd rather be home with my family than anywhere else in the world.
Author Stephanie Perkins at http://naturalartificial.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The trick is learning to maintain an unwavering focus upon your desired end result, your completed dream, the "finish line," without insisting upon, or even contemplating, its means of attainment, no matter how logical, obvious, or tempting it may seem.
I love this. It's so true. As so many have pointed out before me (most recently, Kiersten White had a great post on this) there is no magic formula for the next bestseller. Don't waste your time wondering if you've got the "right" story for the market, or trying to figure out the "next big trend". Just write your book the way you see it. Write the story you want to read. If you let the joy of the process come through in your writing, and you write what you love, others will pick up on that energy and love it too.
I've found that "The Secret" really works. Visualize yourself where you want to be in your career. Don't worry if you can't figure out the details, logic, or any possible way that you'll get there. Just write your book as though it's already sold. Already getting rave reviews.
It's so much more fun to be writing the best book ever(!) than it is to write a worthless piece of crap that will never sell.
People who do all they can, with what they've got, from where they are, no matter how puny their actions, how tiny their steps, or how futile it may seem, simply have more fun. Way.
Of course, to the uninitiated it doesn't appear that way. To them it appears as if only those taking gigantic leaps, who drive cars with fancy wheels, have loads of friends, perfect bodies, and fly around the world in First Class Sleeper Seats, are having fun. But what they don't realize is that we're often talking about the very same folks, just at different points in their journey.
Like Kristi said last week, it's all about baby steps! As long as you're moving forward you're going somewhere. I like this because it reminds me that everyone successful started out clueless and uncertain, but they're successful because they kept going even when it was scary, or difficult, or they were exhausted or discouraged.
A "no" is not the end, it's just another step along your journey to success.
What are some of your favorite inspriational or encouraging messages? What keeps you going?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
1) We've hit over 100 followers!!!! I'd like to thank all the wonderful
readers, writers, etc. out there who are brave enough to admit
following our little blog. You're all made of awesome!
2) My very first award, The Silver Lining Award, has been bestowed upon
me by the lovely Shelli from Market
My Words. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, it's a must read
for great marketing info/interviews.
I love this award as it was created to acknowledge those who create positive and optimistic posts. Plus, it's pretty (see side bar.) I need to award this to 5 fellow bloggers out there and will put up an extra post this weekend.
3) Two more awards were given to me over the weekend by Valerie Kemp:
The Happy Award and The Honest Scrap award. 3 awards in
one weekend! How lucky is that? I should go buy a lotto ticket. These
rewards require answering actual questions and giving it away to 10
deserving bloggers. As I don't have time to do laundry this week, let
alone answer questions, I'll get to this on my other blog over the weekend.
There you have my happy writing news of the week! Also, I made progress concerning the eternal revision process of my YA ms, which doesn't feel like happy news in the moment, but feels great after. So what happy writing news have you had this week?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them. . . including Dimitri.
He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?
About the Author
What is Fear of Success? It's that nagging fear that if you actually finish your book, you'll have to send it out and people will want to read it, and they'll expect it to be good! What if you can't live up to that? Plus, think of all the work you'll have to do if an agent likes it or an editor decides to buy it! What if you do everything right, and someone actually agrees to publish it, and then everyone reads it and discovers your secret - that you are a no-talent hack. Or worse, it's a success and now everyone expects you to write another book! And it will have to be great too!
Whoa! Getting a little ahead of yourself aren't you? That's usually where the self-sabotage comes in. We come up with another, better idea and abandon our current project. We take time off for "research" or to get some "perspective". We reward ourselves for 5 minutes of work with 2 days of relaxation. We rationalize.
When you find yourself doing these things, remind yourself that writers write. And every single successful writer has probably dealt with the same thing. Remind yourself that you deserve to have your dreams come true. The quickest way out is always through. Put your butt in that chair and write through the fear. It will look so silly from the other side.
Monday, January 18, 2010
What are the big events in writing? You probably have your own list but my list of big writing events includes:
* finishing a novel (CHECK)
* revising said novel to perfection
* getting an agent
* agent selling novel to publisher
* finishing second novel and repeat the whole selling thing (bonus
for foreign/film rights)
* full-time career as writer.
I reached my first achievement of finishing a novel (YA), which was huge for me. I did it using baby steps -- I wrote 2,000 words/night. NOTE: There were plenty of nights when 2,000 words didn't feel like a baby step -- it felt colossal. However, eventually these baby steps added up to one whole novel which felt amazing!
I'm now revising my ms, a process involving thousands of tedious, torturous baby steps. The term baby steps is somewhat misleading as it makes it sound easy. I've learned that at times, baby steps = pain. As I'm nearing the finish line with this part, I'll move on to the whole agent thing. This step is the one that terrifies me -- however, even this is slightly less stressful when broken down into baby steps (e.g. perfect the query letter, write a great synopsis, research agents/read every blog known to man involving agents) I've been addressing those baby steps while simultaneously doing revisions.
Being the best writer you can be is ultimately how you will reach your writing goals. Having basic knowledge of the publishing world and rudimentary social networking skills is also crucial in today's world. These are my baby steps addressing these areas:
* join several writing organizations (SCBWI, PPW)
* join a critique group (or two)
* attend writing conferences
* follow agent/editor/author blogs for info on everything from
publishing to marketing
* build your own fabulous blog along w/ wonderful writer friends
* join Facebook, Jacketflap or other social media site. (Note: I'm
still resisting Twitter -- we'll see what happens with that)
Most non-writers out there don't realize the vast number of baby steps involved in getting a book out into the world. Honestly, they don't care. They just want to read a great book.
So remember this when you land on the bestseller list and are asked about becoming an overnight sensation -- the world will see the "big event" of a bestseller. Only you and your peeps will know all the baby steps you took to get there.
What baby steps on your list that aren't on mine? What "big events" have you already reached in your writing career?
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Here's what I've learned thus far about the revision process:
1) Revisions are like rabbits. You think you take care of one -- then you
turn around and there are 20 more staring at you, and not in a cute bunny
kind of way.
2) Don't use chocolate as a revision reward. Or if you do reward yourself
with chocolate, such as after revising each chapter, write fewer chapters.
Your waistline will thank you. NOTE: I'm totally kidding -- I sometimes
reward myself after each page! Chocolate rocks.
3) It's better to mark revisions on your manuscript with a purple pen.
Some red pen purists out there will disagree here, but corrections don't
seem quite so harsh when written in pretty colors.
4) Tweaking takes FOREVER. I'm at the stage of agonizing over every word
choice, verb, sentence structure, etc. and my eyes are crossing. I flew
through the first few revisions and this one is killing me -- I'm lucky if I
get through 10 pages a night. Please tell me this part gets easier/faster
with each completed novel. Even if it's not true, somebody please lie to me.
5) Revisions make your book better. Okay, this seems obvious. Like
when the NFL announcer says the key to winning the game is scoring the
most points. However, this last one if the reason I don't hate this process.
Yes, it's painful at times. Yes, there are nights I want to pull my hair out.
However, now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- just barely,
mind you -- it's still dim and looks like it's miles away. Yet, just knowing
it's there gives me the rush I need to get to the finish line.
What stage of the revision process do you find most challenging? How do you reward yourself? Note: if your answer to this one is that the process itself is its own reward, I don't want to hear from you.
Agent Mary Kole also has some fabulous revision posts such as this one. They can all be found on her Kidlit blog. Any other great revision posts you'd like to share?
Friday, January 8, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Here are a few of the things I've found helpful in keeping my focus on writing.
LeechBlock - This may be one of the best things on the internet! LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that allows you to block certain sites during the days and times you choose. I set mine to block me from the sites that suck away the most of my time, (Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) starting at 10:30am Monday - Friday. What's great is that even if I'm on Twitter at 10:29am, when the clock hits 10:30, LeechBlock shuts it down and tells me to come back later when I'm allowed. I can't tell you how much random surfing it's stopped.
Write or Die - Write or Die is this awesome little application that allows you to set a time and word goal, and then MAKES you keep it! Depending on your settings, if you pause for too long while typing Write or Die will make annoying noises, or ERASE YOUR TEXT until you start typing again. I had been using this online for a while (it's free!) but during NaNoWriMo I sprang for the desktop edition ($10 - works on Mac and PC) which lets you choose your noises, and things like the color of your background and text. I usually set mine at 1000 words in 40 minutes and because of the way it blinks red at me before the sounds start, I usually finish my 1000 words about 10-15 minutes early! It's a really great tool for getting out that first draft because it forces you to stop overthinking and just keep writing.
There are also a couple of great organizers that allow you to keep all the parts of your novel (notes, images, scenes that don't have a place yet) together in one place. These can be a great timesaver because you don't have to go searching for things, or move into another program for something. This can be especially helpful during revisions.
Their websites can do a much better job telling you about them than I can, so check them out! I have Liquid Story Binder XE but haven't had a chance to play around with it. I'm planning to really dive into it when I start revising next week.
Liquid Story Binder XE
What are your favorite time-savers?
Monday, January 4, 2010
WHY I DON'T MAKE RESOLUTIONS
I've read a lot of blogs lately about resolutions and goals for the new year. I love the start of each year -- for me, it's symbolic of a fresh start and gives me an extra boost of motivation. What I don't love are resolutions. They don't work for me. Never have. One year, I made a resolution that involved exercising 3X per week. I thought I'd start small so I'd succeed. Right. I lasted maybe 3 weeks and it was pure torture for me -- worse than doing dishes -- so I gave up. Later, I discovered yoga which I love and guess how often I do it? Yep, at least 3 times a week but because I want to, not because I should do it. I've learned that I rebel against goals, even self-created ones, if I'm not really invested. No more resolutions for me!
THE POWER OF SUGGESTION
So instead of giving myself resolutions, I give myself suggestions. Yes, I realize it's mainly a matter of semantics but it works for me. The term suggestions gives me more breathing room. Years ago, I decided to get my Ph.D. in Psychology and it was never a struggle -- well, except for the dissertation which reached the doing dishes torture level at times. However, I didn't need to set actual goals along the way because it never crossed my mind that I wouldn't finish. No resolutions were needed.
In terms of writing, mid-way through 2009 I decided to write a novel. I had several picture books and a short middle-grade fantasy finished but I was really drawn to writing YA. I started the novel in Sept. and followed Stephen King's SUGGESTION to write 2,000 words/day. I finished the novel in Oct. I'm still revising it but even that process is rewarding -- most of the time. I haven't reached my doing dishes torture level yet, which is how I know I'm not finished. So for 2010, I've decided on several suggestions for my writing.
Here are my 2010 SUGGESTIONS for myself:
1. Finish revising YA novel #1.
2. Perfect query letter.
3. Send out query letter to agents.
4. Attend major conference. (I'm already attending a small SCBWI event in
Jan. and have my major conference picked out for the Spring. BONUS: I'm
helping to judge the writing contest for the Spring conference and it's been
a wonderful experience.)
5. Finish YA novel #2. (20,000 words so far)
6. Continue expanding this blog w/ my Sisters: Lacey, Valerie, and Lisa. In
December, we decided to get serious with the blog and although it's only a
few weeks later, we've been having a blast with it!
That's it. Those are my suggestions for myself for this year and I'm off to a great start even though it's only 4 days into 2010. What about you? What are your writing suggestions/goals/resolutions/whatever you want to call them for this year?