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


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


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


Talk Back: do you track your manuscript rejections

June 3, 2013

On my Kindle: Once upon a Tower by Eloisa James

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


As I’m starting the process of submitting my manuscript to agents, which I haven’t done in a while, my brain is leaving the “I’m awesome/I’m horrible” state to a more realistic “I’m normal” mind-frame as my rejections start piling in.

Yep it hurts. And that why stumbling upon an article about rejections by author Tobias Buckell really helped me this week.

Go ahead and read it. I’ll stay here and wait for you.

Done? Helpful isn’t it?

I never done much in way of tracking rejections beside making sure I don’t submit the same story to the same person twice. But now I’m thinking of using some kind of spreadsheet for life.

Just as a way of reminding myself that rejections are part of the writer job and that there will never be a time in my career when I will no longer get them.

So tell me… Do you track your rejection? And how do you do that? Spreadsheet? Notebook? Your bedroom wall?

The floor is all yours! Let’s hear from you 🙂

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back – Do you like promoting your book?

May 20, 2013

On my Kindle: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Talk Back – Tell us how you write! 


Oh I hear you all now.

Of course I hate the promo part of being a writer, you say. I’m an introvert! I hate having to go out there and try to convince people to buy my books!

I hear you because that’s exactly how I react if someone asks me.

Yet, I can spend hours on Facebook and Twitter chatting to stranger because well, I tell myself, they are potential readers.

I can spend hours looking on the web to see whether I should choose Instagram over Pinterest over Tumblr because hey, I have to stay on top of my promo game.

I can spend hours writing daily posts about myself on my personal blog because I think that’s what sells books (especially the part about choosing that very pretty picture that goes with the post which takes a long time to do).

And again I can spend hours designing the layout of my website, blog, bookmarks, ads and all that because you know how important that is!

And let’s not forget how I must go to writer’s conferences, dress up as a vampire, sample fancy drinks and frolic with cover models to increase my book sales!!! (Yes Honey, all writers HAVE to do this and that’s why I’m taking money from the kids college fund to go away and promote my novel! It will pay off in the end, don’t you worry!)

And guess what, I LOVE doing that stuff! Love it so much that I can lose myself in it. Love it so much that it is sometimes easier to work on promo than to write the damn book that never end.

So my own problem is that there is a huge part of promotion that is so much fun that it makes me think that I’m working, where in fact I’m just “playing author” while the real work (aka the actual writing of one book then another then another) is not getting done!

Hence why I reduced my online presence dramatically in the last year to focus on improving my craft and write more.

So tell me, how do you like the promo aspect of your writing career? Do you like it too much? Not enough? Things you love? Things you hate?

Your turn to talk back!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: Do you edit your manuscript as you go?

May 6, 2013

On my Kindle: “Super Secret Contemporary Romance” by Candi Wall and “Super Secret Pirate Romance” by Jenn Bray Weber – I’m Beta reading!!!

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


You tell me: should I edit as I go, or will I write the whole dirty first draft, then edit?

You see since I finished my last manuscript, I have now started a brand new one. Well not so brand new since it’s the sequel to the previous one. Anyhow, as I was finishing that last manuscript, I got back into editing mode which I usually hate and towards the end, I was almost liking it.

Hence my dilemma, if I just go straight back to writing, I won’t be editing for a good 3 months. I will hate it again. And there is a nice feeling to get to THE END with a nice complete novel instead of going up and down in happiness with each draft (I’m done!!!! – but I am really done??)

But when I write the whole first draft without editing, the story grows on me and when I go back to edit the first chapter, I have a better sense of my story and characters – great way to put those unfired guns when you know there will be a gunshots at the end.

So I don’t know. I am 10,000 words into this story and I’m still going back and forth with this. I’ve tried to edit a bit, but my heart is not into it.

So what do you do? Are you consistent in your method or does it change with each project?

And by the way, if you need a little help with plotting, NYTimes bestselling author Bob Mayer was kind enough a couple of weeks ago to share his whole method on how he sets up conflict in his plots. Check it out – you’ll learn a lot!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: Are you a happy writer?

April 1, 2013

On my Kindle: Blood Brothers: The Sign of Seven by Nora Roberts

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


I do have to ask: what makes you a happy writer?

We had this meme from Chuck Wendig (and the associated blog post) circulating around the internet last week and it did get me thinking.

I can’t seem to find moments when I am truly happy with writing anymore. I remember the excitement I had when I finally told myself it was ok to try to write, and when I had, oh I don’t know 3 chapters written or so, I felt soooo happy.

I had spent most of my life dreaming of being a writer and believing that, because I never went to school to study writing, I could never get a book published, see a real book with my name on it in a big bookstore.

And I wish I could say that I was completely happy when it happened (and yes I was happy) but by that time I was so wrapped up in the crazies of the business side of it, that I was not as happy as when I sat down to write those words the very first time.

It took me quite a while to find my happy writing place again. It meant a lot of pulling out from writing groups, a lot of time thinking about what writing means to me and a total different mind-set where happiness comes from accomplishing my allocated daily writing time and spending time in a woken dream with my characters and none thinking about selling, reviews and money.


In Mr. Wendig’s words, for me happiness is when I “care less.” When I just write, have fun and leave the rest to the universe.

How about you? When was the last time writing made you truly happy? What do you need from your writing to find that bliss?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: How do you celebrate writing milestones?

March 18, 2013

On my Kindle: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


What is writing success worth celebrating to you? And how do you celebrate those milestones?

I just finished my manuscript this week-end. By that I mean I finished the whole 90,000 words beast – 5 drafts and all and sent it to printing for a submission.
This took me way too long. All I wanted to do is prove to myself that I could finish something again (and by that I mean something an agent or editor could read) and I am now beside myself with happiness to see that I did it.

It took my a while and a lot of ups and down in the writing business to define writing success for myself. And now that I learned to totally separate the writing itself from the business side of it, I am in a much happier writing place.

So for me success is completion of a full manuscript ready to submit. And I did it. But I don’t know how to celebrate. All I can think of right now is grab a notebook and write another novel right away because it’s so much fun.

I heard of people going out for dinner, drinks, manicures. Having a party, doing something completely different for a while…

What about you?
What do you consider milestones? And how do you actually celebrate?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle