Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My October Writing Hurdles

Photograph Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Over the past year, I’ve been simultaneously working on two different manuscripts . This may not seem like the smartest thing for a slow writer like me to do, but it’s what works for me. Whenever I get stuck on one story, I simply jump to the other for a while and continue on. It’s amazing what a little time away from a story can do to jumpstart the creative juices again.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent much of October being stuck on both stories, and progress has been slow. I’ve kept myself somewhat productive by sprucing up earlier chapters for submission to my critique groups, but that only works for so long. The multitasker in me is suggesting I work on yet a third manuscript that’s sitting at the bottom of my drawer, but I refuse to go there. I’d just be avoiding the issue instead of meeting the challenge head on. I’ve resolved to hammer away at both manuscripts until I make a break-though in at least one of them.

So far, though, that hasn’t happened, which I find doubly annoying since October is my favorite month, the time of year when I’m most charged up to write.

But I still have three more days before the month’s over, so wish me luck.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 99

So there I was last night, frantically driving to my 7:00pm writer's group meeting, listening to my Googlemaps app tell me I was going to arrive at 7:15pm at the earliest.

The question of the week:  Are you the kind of person who thinks of himself as late at 6:45 because you know you're GOING to arrive fifteen minutes late, or are you the kind of person who doesn't think of himself as late until the clock has struck 7:01, even if you still have 15 more minutes to drive?

I tend toward the latter.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.


How to Win More Fans Through Storytelling

The Spit Shine: Things to Check Before You Submit

The 5 Basic Elements of an Author Website

14 Authors Share Their Advice on the Rocky Road of Publication

A Slow Writer’s Scheme to Win #NaNoWriMo I should probably do this all the time.

Writing Your Author Bio? Here Are 10 Great Examples.

Seven Ways to Jump Start Your Book Cover Design

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Falling Behind As A Writer

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons

I’ve previously highlighted some of the struggles my daughter is going through in high school. I’m happy to say she seems to have weathered the worst of it, but now she’s faced with the daunting prospect of making up all those assignments she missed. She’s feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment, and even though my wife and I are doing everything we can to support her, it’s going to be an long uphill battle for her. Unfortunately, she’s creeping toward the mindset that if she ignores the situation long enough, it will somehow all just go away.

In some ways, I know what she’s going through. Although I’ve finally settled into my new job, I haven’t really settled into a routine, which means my writing related projects are falling behind schedule. I’m struggling to keep up with my monthly submissions to my two local crit groups. I haven’t sent anything to my crit partner for months. (Sorry Sher!) I haven’t logged into my online crit group for over a month, partly because I’m afraid of how many crits are stacked up in my inbox. I haven’t written a promised book review for a book I finished at the beginning of summer. And at the moment I’m desperately trying to finish beta-reading another author’s book by the end of this week. Heck, even this post was written at the last minute.

I keep telling my daughter that if she just keeps chipping away at the pile of work, it will eventually get done. True enough, but as I’m learning firsthand, it’s a lot easier said than done. Hopefully, I can be a good role model for her.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 98

Other than settling into my new job, nothing much happened this week.  My writing is getting back on track, but I'm still stunned by how long it takes me to finish a scene.  Perhaps "annoyed" would be a better description.  Oh well, we all have our crosses to bear.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

Talking Heads Avoidance Device

Nanowrimo Prep: The Index Card Method and Story Structure Grid

How to Find and Select a Cover Designer

Preparing Images for Your e-Book

Is Your Manuscript a Monster?  Perfect for Halloween!

Because Agents Are Human Too – Part 3

5 Ways to Promote Your Free Book 1 Series Starter

And a special bonus link this week
Hogwarts Arises -- A fun video for Hogwarts fans

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Do Writers Write?

Why do writers write?

I suspect there are as many answers to that question as there are writers. Everyone has their own reasons. Me? I write for the same reason I read books and watch movies--it allows me to visit imaginary worlds I wouldn’t be able to reach any other way.

For example, my daughter loves dragons. She wishes they were real. Sometimes, she wishes she could be one. She’s even come up with a pretty good idea for a story about dragons. I keep telling her to write these ideas down. Perhaps she’ll never get around to writing the story, but putting the ideas on paper might make her dragon populated world seem more real to her. At least that’s how it works for me. I write because it makes my imaginary worlds seem real.

This mindset is what got me started on my writing journey in the first place. The Goblet of Fire (the fourth story in the Harry Potter pantheon) movie reminded me so much of my college years that I longed to return to those days, but the only way that was going to happen was if I sat down and wrote a story about it myself. In the process, I discovered how much I love writing fantasy, and things just kind of took off from there.

Some people consider writing to be therapeutic. I think of it as an alternative way to visit foreign lands/worlds/universes. Not only is it cheaper than flying/disapparating/teleporting, but I don’t have to pack any suitcases either.

Why do you write?


Friday, October 9, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 97

It's been one heck of a week around here.  The new job is great, but a bunch of other family issues reared their heads and my week began to resemble a sit-com.  All seems to be quieting down now.  I'll be replacing a couple of graphics cards tonight so the kids can play Minecraft, but other than that I think I'm actually going to do some writing tonight!  Woohoo!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


6 Tips for Finding a Cover Artist

12 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Book Cover Designer

Summarizing Your Novel: The Query Trenches Part Two

The Unspoken Pinch Point: Your Climax

Take The Test: What’s Your Self-Editing Score?

Should You Go Wide or Join KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited?

Promoting A Pre-order

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Insecure Writer and Life

Today is October's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because I have such little control over life.

As writers, we’re used to a lack of control. Maybe our obligations don’t allow us enough time to write. Maybe the words don’t come when we sit down in front of the computer. Maybe no agent will respond to our queries. Maybe no one will buy our book once it’s published. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been f thinking about how little control we have over our non-writing lives.

Three weeks ago I learned my project at work was ending, which meant everyone in my group would have to find new positions within the company (not an easy feat) or be cut loose. Needless to say, all my energies were focused on finding a new job. Fortunately, I found a position elsewhere within the company, but for a couple of weeks, the future was pretty dark and scary. It’s one thing if no one wants to buy your book, but it’s another if no one wants to hire you. (Unless you’re a full time writer, of course, where the two options are one and the same.)

If that wasn’t enough, my daughter has been going through some tough times at school. After being bullied at the end of last year, the idea of returning to school bothered her all summer. Making it through a whole day of school is an ordeal for her, and she’s already missed several days due to anxiety. She’s slowly fighting her way through it, and I’m proud of her for not giving up, but there’s only so much I can do to help and that’s hard for a parent to deal with.

As a result, I haven’t spent much time writing, or keeping up with this blog, or keeping up with everyone else’s blog. I expect that to change somewhat now that my job situation is headed back toward stability again, but it’s darned scary to know how quickly life can overwhelm you.

Maybe Alex should start an Insecure Person Support Group too. It's not like you have to be a writer to be insecure.

What non-writing insecurities are you dealing with?


Friday, October 2, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 96

So what can I say?  Another Wednesday come and gone with no post.

Hangs head in shame.

And I haven't been keeping up with visiting your blogs either.

Hangs head lower.

My only excuse is that the last couple of weeks have been quite unusual, very busy, and at times, traumatic.  I expect everything to get back to normal by next week (crosses fingers), but in the meantime, I apologize for my lack of activity.  On the bright side, however, I now have plenty to talk about in Wednesday's IWSG post!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


The Trouble with Transitory Actions

Nanowrimo Prep: The Master List

How Ingram Spark Prints Your Print-on-Demand (POD) Book

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Distribution Plan? Part Two

7 Mistakes I Made on the Way to a Publishing Contract

3 things you should be writing about on your author blog

The Big Five’s Secret Shadow War on Amazon and the Indie Marketplace