Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Joy of Pity Parties

Yesterday, I held myself a pity party and enjoyed every minute of it. I even whipped out an incredibly bad blog piece full of misspellings, grammatical errors, and creative dog poo (don't ask me why).

The problem lay in my inability to make any progress on any of my current projects. Even editing, which normally bores me to the point of starting up writing on another project, didn't crash through my blockage. I felt stupid, ignorant, and annoyed with everyone and everything.

So, I held a Pity Party for myself: I snacked on the very last Cadbury Cream Egg that I found at the bottom of purse (nice and squishy with a hint of lint), I put extra sugar in my lemon water, I fired up a new time-wasting game on my iPad, and I bribed my tortoise-shell cat with treatsies so she would snuggle with me.

I watched Youtube videos, snarked a bit on Twitter, played Hay Day on my iPad for over an hour (don't tell hubby), and watched Parks and Recreation for over two hours -- all at the same time!

And then, this morning, a miracle occurred: a story idea that's been stuck in my head, suddenly unstuck itself and I have a solution to unsticking two characters stuck in a muddy plot with zero direction. This morning, I felt better. Not necessarily rejuvenated, but not quite so....defeated? Disheartened? Frustrated? Useless.

I didn't feel so useless as I did yesterday.

So, what I learned in the last 24-hours: Pity Parties can lead to a stronger sense of purpose and self.

Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Doomed.....

What the heck stands between me and my keyboard? I mean, what the hey!?!

When I was driving home from Bible study all these great ideas floated through my head. The minute I get home? Gone. Gone. Gone.

I folded clothes: this awesomely funny idea flitted around my head until a snazzy punchline made me snort and giggle. Sometime between blowing my nose and sitting at my keyboard? Gone. Idea is gone.

I know this comes as no surprise to other writers: writer's block sucks. I don't feel prepared to handle this. All the websites and blog posts I've read so far give writing exercises to break through.

Well, that's fine and dandy, but what do I do about the depression? The feeling of failure? Defeat? Or how about the stupidity that keeps flipping through my head?

I mean, I feel as creative as dog poo - and I'm pretty sure my dog can sculpt human faces as he dances around letting the poo drop. That means my dog possesses more creativity than I do. His poo appears far more artistic than my writing.  Especially this blog piece.

The only thing that makes me feel better is that after I post this on Twitter, no one will bother to click on the link except bots.

22 bots, exactly. Every day my blog records 22 hits. 22 bots scan my blog for no reason whatsoever.

I rock.

Well, I found one last Cadbury Creme Easter Egg at the bottom of my backpack. I'm going to eat it, enjoy it, and forget about writing.

Until I need to feel bad about myself again. Then I'll try to write again. And try to remember those kick-ass ideas that only seem to come when I'm up to my elbows scrubbing the shower.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Writing Priorities - where writing isn't the priority

I love sitting down with a cup of awesome tea, my puppah laying down next to me, and some good music tinkling in my ears. I love the process of writing. However, I love my family more.

I preach that this philosophy - family comes before writing - needs to belong in every writer's psyche.   Long before your writing ever sees income, your family will support you (or not) and long after your writing fades away, your family remains.

After returning to writing after a long break, my family moved forward with a foster-to-adopt situation. I felt very little dismay as, once again, I set aside my writing to take care of my family. As I write this today, I can see where the items from the spare bedroom sit in the front room. Tomorrow, I'll keep working in the spare bedroom and write, alternately.

When our new family members arrive, summer will arrive, as well. This means even less time or perhaps actually packing up and leaving the house. I mean, as it stands, my teenage son cannot leave me alone for more than 15 minutes (no exaggeration) when I write, how do I expect two little girls to leave me alone?

However, as my children age, I don't want to miss important events, cues of problems brewing, shopping trips, special times of treats, etc.

Yes, I dream of publishing, of representation, of seeing my  work in a bookstore or on the page of bloggers. However, long after I'm dead, my writing will fade away whereas my descendants remain. So where should my priorities lay, really?

As long as publisher or editor aren't waiting on me, I put my family first.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Authors: Can We Talk?

Someone, somewhere told you of the importance of an online social media presence. Like a dutiful and conscientious writer, you immediately set up your Facebook account, your Twitter account, your Blog, maybe a Vlog, maybe an Instagram, maybe a couple of other accounts. Now, you thought, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the sales numbers to rise.

They won't. Sorry. They won't.

Let's examine the phrase "social media". Media, means collectively, the means of electronic communication. (Remember that word "communication"). Social, in a nutshell, centers on communication...the word relates to interaction with one another. (Remember: "interaction").

So, let's interactively communicate. 

When that advisor, or friend, or webinar on book promotion told you to go forth and Tweet, Facebook, post blogs, etc., they meant for you to interact with those communities. Interact: behave with reciprocation.

Some of you "fail" to understand social media or interactive communication. You simply post links to your book or to your book's positive reviews over, and over, and over again. You do not interact. You do not communicate you do not reciprocate in communicating with the Twitter, Facebook, etc. communities. 

I've purchased many books as a result from Twitter because authors interacted with me. I own all of Tasha Alexander's books because she and I communicated with one another. I started reading James Rollins for the same reason - even though I never would normally read his writings (and I love him). Cyndi Tefft convinced me to try her books because I find her interesting. I admire Courtney Milan on Twitter and applaud her fight for the rights of writers, so I own a vast majority of her books. 

If all you do is tweet links about your books, how will I know you're interesting? How will I invest in you?

So. From this point forward, please, I implore you: practice interactive communication.

Thank you for listening.