Talk Back: What is a professional writer?

August 26, 2013

On my Kindle: Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!

A few weeks ago the web was abuzz with writers discussing the definition of “professional writers” after a horror writer wrote a controversial blog post on the subject.

Now I don’t want to add to the fire but since I didn’t hear much from writers I know (mostly romance writers) on the subject, I thought I’d come out here and ask you, wonderful Musetrackers:

How do you define a professional writer?

And do you feel the need to label writers in this manner?

I was a little disturbed to see some authors viewing professional writers as only those who are paid to write which basically implies only contracted writers and people on staff at newspapers and magazines qualify.

Because most of us write then hopefully get paid after making a sale or self-publishing, and a lot of us may take quite a lot of time between sales or may not be able to fully pay the rent yet, does this means we are not quite yet “professional”.

And does it matter?

So what do you think? Do you consider yourself a professional writer? What does it mean for you? Is it a question of work ethic or monetary compensation? Do you label other writers as professional or not?

Let’s hear it!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: Does Facebook make you an unhappy writer?

August 19, 2013

On my Kindle: Stay by Candi Wall

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!

There was a French research that came out not too long ago which showed that people who spent a lot of time on Facebook tended to be less happy and satisfied with their lives than people not using the social media site.

People tend to show only the best side of themselves on social media, and admit it, beside cat memes, there are a whole lot of pictures of exotic holidays, family graduations and other milestones, adorable babies and luscious meals from various eateries on people’s feed.

Seeing those constantly, made it seems as if our friends have these perfect glamorous and successful lives when ours is just, well, normal.

When it comes to writers, I wonder if the same is true. Seeing series of beautiful cover reveal, news of new contract sales, positive reviews and pictures of writers frolicking with cover model may seems to us as if all our writer friends are having this wonderful party of success to which we are not invited.

Personally, with almost 5000 friends, a big chunk of them writers, it can seems at time like that. While I toil away at writing my little chapter, Facebook makes it sound like everyone is having successes after successes with nothing but exciting news.

And seeing those statuses, I find, is both good and bad for my spirit. I noticed that when I limit my time on Facebook to a few minutes a day, seeing my friends happy news makes me happy and super motivated.

However, scrolling down for over an hour will see me frustrated that my career is stalling.

It’s all a question of balance.

What about you? Are you on Facebook? How do you react to gazillions happy news from all your friend? A tiny wee bit jealous? Frustrated? Or needed to keep you on track?

I’m curious, let me know!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Musetracks Recommends… Two Books to Help Increase Writing Productivity

August 12, 2013

On my Kindle: WRITE EVERY DAY: How to Write Faster, and Write More and 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

Musetracks recommends… how-to books for the keepers shelf!


You probably don’t know this but I am a book-on-writing addict. I have at least a hundred of them, read all of them and keep reading more. Last week, I was glad to stumble on two very good short Kindle books that gave me great tips to help me write faster.

The first one 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron is a pretty short book and what I believe a follow-up on a blog post that you can also read here.

Ms. Aaron tells us that you need three things to really boost your productivity, one being excitement about everything you write. It sounds obvious and while I thought I was excited about all my scenes, it turns out that I didn’t always know why I cared about writing some parts of the story. I decided to give her advice a try and wrote a one line “FF (Fun Factor – my words)” at the top of each of my scene (like: FF: it shows the hero is really really super sexy”) to remind myself of what I truly enjoyed in that scene.

It works. As I first read that before starting my edits, I get really exited about the scene and can’t wait to show my reader how fun this part is. I stall a lot less with dread and fear in front of my page.

Speaking of fear, the second book, which goes much more in depth about why we sometimes avoid writing, is by multi-published author Cathy Yardley, and titled WRITE EVERY DAY: How to Write Faster, and Write More.

Ms. Yardley knows what it’s like to be busy with a kid, a day job and trying to write on top of it all. She tackles all our “problems” in layers. Solve the issue of time first, then go to the next issue of energy. Then figure out your fears before tackling your process. I truly got a lot out of this and experienced little light bulb moments from reading various passages such as….

“… if you have to wait until you’re making enough money or getting enough recognition to justify the time to write… you’re never going to have the time to write.”

I discovered why some of my fears were actually trying to protect me, such as how the fear of my family’s criticism is actually a protecting me from having the writing taken away from me. I was glad to have discovered this book through the Amazon Kindle recommendations, especially to see that Ms Yardley has also a great blog of smart writing advice called Rock Your Writing which you can find here is you are interested. I promptly added it to my blog feed reader.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Disclaimer: I do not know those two authors personally, found both books via Amazon Kindle Recommendations and purchased the books myself.

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: Are writing conferences necessary?

August 5, 2013

On my Kindle: Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


What do you think? Now that Jenn has made us all totally jealous with her RWA photos, I feel like I am totally missing out.

Yet, unlike her, I have no real reasons to justify the price of going to a writing conference right now. I don’t have any book to sign, no agent or editor to meet and while I would love to learn more about the craft by attending the many workshops offered, the benefits would not outset the costs for me at this time. If I’d go, it would be a total splurge just for a little time out and to meet all my writer friends.

And I’m afraid that right now I don’t think attending writing conferences are necessary for me to reach my current goal (make a sale).

That said, this is only my own opinion and I may totally be wrong. So I turn to you for input. Do you think writers need to go to writer conferences to meet their goals? Is it different for writers at different stages of their careers? Are some conferences more useful than others?

What is your experience and thoughts on this?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: Writing goals half-time!

July 8, 2013

On my Kindle: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


And here we are, half way into the year, and I ask: are you on your way to meet your yearly writing goal? Are you ahead? Not quite there?

As usual, I am in the not quite there team but not as bad as it could. My writing goal for this year is definitely process-oriented and totally in my control. I had planned to finish the manuscript I had started (done) and submit it to agents (done). I also planned to start the sequel (done), finish it (half-way there) and edit it (it looks like I will be about to do this by the holidays).

I had also hoped to edit another manuscript I have under my bed, returning to my roots with a sexy paranormal romance, by the end of the year. But as I look at how long it takes me to write and edit, I see that it won’t happen. I may have time to write a paranormal romance novella which would be very cool.

All is well though because mainly my goal was to write for an hour a day on most days, squeezing time before and after my day job, and I have done just that. The habit is here to stay.

So your turn now, how are you doing with your goal this year so far?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Writing: am I wasting my time?

July 1, 2013

I apologize if this is a repost for those of you who receive blog posts by email or view them via a blog feed reader. We did some reshuffling last week to ensure you don’t miss out an inspiring guest post but we are back to regular scheduling now.


No seriously, am I?

I spend painful tiny writing sessions at the crack of dawn adding 50 words to my story then another 50 and another 50 until maybe I hit 500-800 before it’s time for me to get to my day job, and I wonder, why on earth do I do that?

Do you ever get that feeling?

I question myself over and over, realist to the possibility that this manuscript is perhaps just practice. That no matter how I submit it down the ladder of agents, trad-publishers and small publisher, it might never be good enough to actually be read.

And that the 250 hrs I spent are just gone from my life.

I just sit there at times in front of the blank page or staring at lines of unedited work wondering, why continue to do this if there are no guarantees?

It’s really hard to find the answer to that question, isn’t it?

Because there are easier ways to spend our extra time, easier ways to earn a living, or be creative and certainly not something to do in a quest for fame. So why?

There are so so many people we meet who confess they have a book in them. Is it a way to express ourselves to the world? To put some order to our jumbled thoughts, inner voices and dreams.

Maybe I am wasting my time, I truly don’t know. But I could also waste it on mindless TV, Facebook addiction, hours of Angry Birds or snarky gossip with so-so friends.

At least I’ll have something out of it at the end, right? Even if its unfit for public reading!

And at least those voices inside my head will finally have found a home.

Happy Writing!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: What are your summer writing plans?

June 17, 2013

On my Kindle: Blood Oranges by Caitlin R. Kiernan w/a Kathleen Tierney

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


Does your writing schedule change during the seasons, or does it stay pretty much the same?

Here in Seattle, schools are out and it means kids are now at home for the summer. When I was at home with my kids, summer meant that my writing time was short and I had to plan around them. Now that I am working as a teacher and that my kids are in middle school, things have reversed and it means that, starting Tuesday, I will finally have time to write more.

So I’m hoping to finish, or at least get the major part of the current project I am working on. I am a little worried that the summer weather and restless kids will prevent me from doing as much as I want, but that’s the plan anyway.

So how about you? Are summer more productive? Less? Distracting or a better time to focus? You tell me!!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,806 other followers