Writing: A 10-Step Program

I made the list below the other day for a friend who is interested in becoming a writer. Sometimes it helps (even if you’re already neck-deep in the process) to see each step simplified–even if there are dozens of substeps hiding under each line item.

10 Steps to Getting Published Continue reading

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If I waited till I felt like writing…

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Rejection, Goals and Reasons NOT to Facepunch Bears

So, I was doing that thing that they tell new writers not to do. I had this great manuscript, perfect for a category romance line–it semi-finaled in a contest, got requests on fulls from the very first three agents I queried, great editor feedback… so I submitted it. And then I obsessed over it. For like way too long. I had this whole scenario all built up in my head: I sketched out ideas for the next two books, turning it into a series, spent imaginary advance money on all kinds of stuff…

And then I got the rejection yesterday.

It wasn’t super-devastating and I actually had this little blip of premonition before I even opened my email that my rejection would be sitting there. I read it without much surprise or sadness (they did have nice things to say, which was cool) and, overall, I’m okay with the fact that I didn’t make it with this one.

Why? Because this whole thing was yet one more new writer mistake in a series of them. You know how, when you start writing, you’re like “Ohemgee, I would never do something like that!” Yeah, I’m doing all the dumbs. Here are my lessons-learned:

  1. My barely-out-of-rough-draft novel was not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hey, it’s a fun story! Maybe, with proper editing, it could be good, but right now it’s so not perfect.
  2. If more than one professional points out an area or two in which your novel is weak… it probably is.
  3. Don’t hit Submit and then completely focus a disproportionate amount of your mental energy on imagining what’s happening to your manuscript on the other end of the internet. Especially for more than six months.
  4. KEEP WRITING. Focus on getting the next book done. And then the next and the next.
  5. Maybe the most important thing: if your style doesn’t really fit category lines, don’t try to fake it. This particular book is definitely salvageable, but after a rewrite, it’s so not going to be a good fit for that publisher. But it’ll be in my real voice, more quirky and less formulaic, and probably be a good fit somewhere.

So, like I posted on my Facebook status today, I’m done feeling sorry for myself and am ready to facepunch bears. In a good way. As in, ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me now.

(I do not literally condone facepunching bears. Someone actually shared my post, saying something about how liberals shouldn’t punch bears and I think they missed the whole point. A. I’m not actually politically-oriented, and B. Facepunching a bear would be a great way to go if one of your life goals was to get eaten by an apex predator.)

#Mens Fashion

Image Credit: Awesome Etsy t-shirt HERE. It’s available in a shower curtain, too.

Which brings me to more ROW80 goals:

Finish rough draft of PL&M by August 31.  

Post ROW80 Wednesday updates and visit 10 other ROW80ers.

Work out initial anthology details.

Outline short story by Sunday (30K words).

Plan out cookbook project next steps. 

(Shelving those last three for now, though the anthology will be percolating hard, as that’s the next big project. Right now, though, Peace, Love and Murder takes priority.)

What’s your favorite way of dealing with rejection? How do you feel about assaulting mammals bigger than you are for no reason? Do you participate with ROW80? Want to? Join us here!

Writers: Should you be blogging? Maybe not.

Here’s a reprint of an article I wrote last week for the MMRWA’s Writing 101 Facebook page. Re-posting it here, in case any of my writer friends out there might find it useful!

I’ve been thinking a lot about social media lately, so let’s talk about blogging! Or, why maybe you shouldn’t.

Here are the blogging rules for authors:

1. You HAVE to have a blog if you ever expect to be traditionally published. Publishers need to know that you have millions of avid followers before they’ll even consider a contract.

2. You HAVE to have a blog if you’re indie published. How else will people find you and your books?

Continue reading

Quirks

We all have them.

Some of us more than others.

I don’t think my quirks are particularly interesting, really. I can cross my eyes, like the lovely lady above. I tend to overshare with random strangers. I prefer cold coffee to hot. My definition of a good time is a nap on Sunday or a Little House on the Prairie rerun. I also like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

But I really like writing quirky characters. Like in Lucky in Love, my heroine is vintage-obsessed. She works on antique cars. She watches soap operas. She has an evil, one-eyed cat named Louie. She takes swing-dancing lessons. She’s got a weakness for hard-boiled, emotionally-repressed Marines.

Who sounds more interesting to you: me or Lucky? Wait, don’t answer that. Do you have any personality quirks you’d like to share? Any favorites in characters that you’ve read or written?

And bonus for writers, here are two writer references on coming up with quirks for your characters:

Personality Quirk Generator

100 Character Quirks

Happy Monday! heart

Mindfulness

It doesn’t take much to throw me off track. I can get distracted by lint. Like, for example, when you’re typing away productively and you notice a fuzzy on your sleeve and it makes you think about the fact that your dryer’s broken and the house you’re hoping to buy has a dryer but it also has a clothesline and wouldn’t it be cool to be able to hang your clothes out in the sun because there’s nothing like the smell of clothes fresh from the laundry line, especially if you make that homemade laundry soap you saw on Pinterest with the essential oils in it, and gosh, you’d better start trolling Etsy for a new vintage apron with a clothespin pocket right NOW.

With a mind that wanders that easily, you wouldn’t think that purposely setting a bell to chime every 15 minutes would be a good idea. But it’s actually working.

Hold on, the bell just went off. (Seriously. I didn’t make that up for the benefit of this post.)

Okay, what I did just now was stretched out my hunched up back, drank some water and performed a mental checkup: am I still being productive? Yes. Since my A to Z blog post is the next thing on my to-do list, I’m staying on target.

If you’d like to give it a shot, there are plenty of mindfulness timers out there, which I prefer to use since the alarm-like sound of the countdowns over at e.ggtimer.com are really jarring. Especially if you use them so frequently within the span of an hour. I do like those for writing sprints, though. The timer I like for daily tasks has bell-like chimes and can be found at this website.

And speaking of productivity tools, here’s this week’s ROW80 check-in. (To join up with ROW80 or see other bloggers’ goals, go here!)

ROW80 Round 2 Goals

(For the rest of April, anyway.)

Use a timer! On target. See above. 🙂

Work on Charming Cora Haven’t gotten a ton done. Will try to plug away more this week!

Short blog daily On target.

15 minutes of German Did this 3/7 days.

Plan out mini-sesson for MMRWA Retreat Primary focus right now. Retreat’s next weekend!

MMRWA Retreat Apr. 24, 25, 26 Ditto above.

M, W, F Mid-Michigan Romance Writing 101 FB posts On target. No posts missed.

Galesburg Museum Project Revisit Apr. 27 Posted community event on Monday. Thirty-five new FB likes this week.

Buy a house? Still in progress. Appraisal this week before Friday, two days for a final go-through on our application, need quote on septic repairs and an addendum from sellers, then we schedule closing!

ROW80 sign up/goal post on Apr. 8 Complete.

Retreat basket Complete.

Any productivity technique’s you’d like to share? Do you have goals you’re chipping away at? Share ’em in the comments!  heart

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Goals

I love goals. Making goals is my idea of fun. I can spend hours coming up with extensive lists of things I want to do, while successfully avoiding doing any actual things. I love goals like I love deadlines. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, I love the whooshing sound they make when they fall by the wayside.

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Not completing those goals probably doesn’t bother me as much as it should.  I have issues with accountability. We’re all works in progress, though, amiright? Continue reading