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


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


The distraction of shiny new writing things…

May 13, 2013

On my Kindle: Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

Do you ever get super distracted from your WIP? Oh how I hate that!

I had a little time to spare the other morning before leaving for work and I started googling for publishing opportunities.I saw a call for short stories series and my mind started to play with that information.

What if I submit that short story I have? It’s almost ready! Then, I might have another book out there soon if it get accepted! Those stories are only 13K words!!!

Oh so attractive! And what a wonderful distraction from the monster beast that is my work in progress.

But I got to finish that first!!!

I get so distracted. I tend to jump on new things so easily in a “Oh, I can write THAT” fervor. Hence the paranormal short, the steampunk novel, the small town romance, the YA fantasy, all waiting to be edited.

Live and learn.

I MUST finish, edit, polish and submit my current project BEFORE I do anything else, don’t you think?

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: 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


Talk Back: Do you track your writing progress

March 4, 2013

On my Kindle: A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


Do you track your writing progress? Experts tend to say that to keep a habit it helps to track it. Do you agree? Or is this obsessiveness getting in the way of your creativity?

I can be quite an obsessive person when I tackle projects and yes I tend to track things. Perhaps too much, which tends to make me worry more about the tracking then the actual project. But some tracking has its use.

I’ve done various form of tracking. I have used a wall calendar to write down my word counts each writing day. That was nice to look at the wall and see how much I was doing each month (and that blank spot guilted me into writing every day).

I also used a running list of word counts with one column for the daily words and the other a cumulative sum of words, which was really motivating.

Now my focus is much more on making sure I spend an hour a day – 6 days a week – on my manuscript so I’ve again changed my tracking method.

My trusty writing tracking bible!

I now have a huge log book that is really pretty and will last me for years. I log each writing session with the date, the type of work I’m doing (writing, editing, polishing) and the time spent on that session.

So far so good. It helps!

How about you? If you track your progress, how do you do it? What works and what haven’t worked? And if you don’t, do you find it easier to just focus on the work?

Please let us know. It’s so nice to hear from you all!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle


Talk Back: what is your writing plan?

February 4, 2013

On my Kindle: A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Do you have a writing plan? Do you have a good idea of where you are going with your writing? What will you be writing and where will you be submitting your stories next?

It’s been a long time since I have contributed to the blog and it feels so good to be back. I had to step away for a while as I went back to school then found myself a steady job as a science teacher, and kept my writing to just that -writing.

As I come back here, I am very curious to find out more about you all, wonderful readers and members our Musetracks community. I want to know more about your writing and how you survive this crazy endeavor that is stringing words together to delight others and perhaps make a bit of a little living out of it.

So I return here with a new feature to the blog. Please talk back to us by commenting below. I really want to know. Tell us here so we can all learn from each others.

This week I am very curious to know if you have a writing plan. Is it very organized or kind of loose? Do you have a plan A, B and C in case things don’t work out the way you want to? Are you writing your first novel? Your tenth? Are you submitting to New York or small presses? Or perhaps you have a solid self-publishing 5 year plan all laid out for you? Where are you going with this?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle