Link Of The Week- Where To Go When They Beat You Up!

January 13, 2015

 

Hello Musetrackers!

I finished my book and thought it was ready to send out. I’d edited it, had it edited, had a critique group and generally worked on it until I thought it was really good. I was right- it was good, but something wasn’t working. My scores in contests were all over the place. After awhile, I felt pretty beat up. I’m sure all of you have been there once or twice. 🙂

Here’s some good thoughts and advice for the kick off of this new year.

Positive_Quotes_132140

 

The Very Best Articles on Writing for 2014 (on Positive Writer)

http://positivewriter.com/best-posts-on-writing/

positiviethinking

 


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: 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


Practice The Art Of Fearlessness

October 25, 2012

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway

I’ve learned from the best. I’ve had a top education in schools located around the world. I have various undergraduate degrees and even managed to snap up a Masters on scholarship from a prestigious university. So what is the most important lesson I’ve ever learned?

The message came to me in my late 30s through the television of all things. I’ve always been a creative sort, but stumbled because I tend to be a perfectionist. I squashed many of my interests simply because I didn’t think I could do it. Decorating and design shows were just starting and I consumed them. This was a passion of mine and I had a ton of ideas but I never allowed myself to jump in because I might not be any good at it.

In steps a funny fellow named Christopher Lowell.

He was a brilliant designer, played the piano, and dispensed wisdom through yards of material and buckets of paint. The moment came at the end of one of his shows when he read a viewer’s letter explaining how they were stuck because they were afraid to do anything. He set the letter down, looked into the camera and said these words. “There is nothing worse to fear than the fear itself.”

Those words shocked me. There’s nothing worse than embracing the fear. It is the fear that paralyzes you. It is the fear that keeps you from doing the things you love. I knew I had to fight that fear.

That was the year I started painting. It was the year I started writing a book. I pulled out my old sketch books and started drawing. It was the most fun year I’d had in a very long time. It didn’t matter whether I was any good or not (and I wasn’t- trust me!) I learned to tell the fear to shut up and let myself play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson states, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”

We can get so caught up in the idea of writing a “really good book” that we forget to simply write for the pleasure. The fear of not creating a masterpiece or at least writing something that’s publishable can be overwhelming. Suffocating. Paralyzing. Often, I find that the fear itself keeps me from doing anything at all and I have to start fighting this age old enemy all over again.

James Scott Bell also has some words of wisdom found in his book The Art of War For Writers. He writes that while fear is a fact of existence, it need not lead to defeat. Dwell too much on these fears and you can become catatonic. He then tells a story of young Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was a very sickly, weak child. So he stayed inside and read a lot of books. In his biography Teddy explains what he learned. “In this passage, the captain of some small British man-of-war is explaining to the hero how to acquire the quality of fearlessness. He says that at the outset almost every man is frightened when he goes into action, but that the course to follow is for the man to keep such a grip on himself that he can act just as if he was not frightened. After this is kept up long enough it changes from pretense to reality, and the man does in very fact become fearless by sheer dint of practicing fearlessness when he does not feel it.”

JSB goes on to say that from that day on, TR determined to live his life just that way. That chapter ends with three rules for writers: 1. Act as if you had no fear. Act as if you are a writer. 2. Don’t wait for your feelings to change. Turn fear into energy for writing. 3. Set goals that challenge you. Then take an immediate step toward that goal.

Fear. It’s a big topic and one that we constantly battle. Remember there’s nothing worse to fear than the fear itself. Don’t let it stop you. Practice the fearlessness found in all of us.