Category Archives: inspiration

Urgh growing as a writer

Someone emailed me some typo locations yesterday from Second Chance Romance. I cringed as I fixed them. I am so unhapy with it. I have grown so much since I wrote that book. It needs a total overhaul, but i don’t have the time or energy.

I had a long conversation with my husband about it. I wanted to delete Summer Fling, it’s my weakest book.

I’ve read author comments where they say they wish their first book would disappear or it was right to be rejected. I get that. I just don’t know what to do. I stand by the story, just not how it was told.

On the other hand:

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
— Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words)

Making mistakes means I’m doing what people are scared of. And so what if I don’t become rich, most authors do not. The only place I can go is up. I have to go write I had a terrific historical erotic idea. There are not enough of those.

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Letting go of what isn't working

I wrote 6,000 words on a novel.

It wasn’t working. I re-thought my character and went back to work.

I wrote 13,000 more words.

And I forced the conflict.  My characters are not meshing. I didn’t give a damn about if they got together or not.They were damp carrots in a cold plot soup.

I decided to drop the whole thing.

It was difficult. I put a lot of time and energy into those words. A lot of lost sleep and cuddle time is in there.

I’m onto my next project. There will be four Flames novels. The four original guys in Second Chance Romance. Kip Turner, Kyle McLachlan, Corey Porter and Doug Black.

The best thing is now that I’ve stopped what wasn’t working, the inspiration and excitement is back.

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Why you should be imperfect

I wrote a long post justifying my imperfection in my novels.

When what I wanted to say was this:

Imperfection is okay.

At least I’m out there letting people read my words. And while I let people read my attempts so far, I’m working getting better. Everyday.

I would rather have 100 people tell me my grammar isn’t perfect but my stories and characters are great (which all my feedback so far has said) than to have my novels sitting on my hard drive.

Writer’s have a great opportunity before us. We can write something and put it out there. Chances are at least one person will read it. Or we can sit with our thumbs up our butts and in 10 years look back with regrets.

My husband has a theory that when people feel crappy about hitting 30 or 40 it’s because they feel like they having accomplished enough. If you want to be an author, then be an author. If you want to start a business, do it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now is the time.

Not everyone can deal with my writing “mistakes”. Not everyone will like my writing. (If you buy something you don’t like there is a period in which you can get a refund from most retailers).

You know what? Not everyone likes Twilight or Harry Potter or whatever. A lot of people do. Should we deprive the world of them because one, a hundred, a thousand people don’t like them?

I won’t even go into the people who run around going “but who is checking on the quality?” Woe is me the sky is falling because someone published some crap. People have been publishing crap for ages.

Some people like the crap (Quentin Tarantino keeps making movies, I know a lot of people who live for the reality series the Bachelor save us from the world where love is a contest and bad writer’s get published by “the big six legacy publisher’s).

So I say, fuck everyone who demands perfection.

They might be people who are afraid of failure.

Failure and imperfection mean you are doing something. You are trying and you aren’t afraid to do things that might not work. I’m not suggesting that if you release a novel you edited yourself that you’ll be the next bestseller. Lower your expectations. You might not even pay your electricity bill for a summer month with the proceeds.

And people might give you crap for promoting the image that indies aren’t professionals.

We try to teach children not to worry about what other’s think about them. And then we are too afraid to try for our dreams because of what other people might think of us. do what you are afraid to do.

Releasing a book that has a misspelling or grammatical error is not a matter of life and death. No one is going to come to your door and yell at you. The grammar police may have a little tantrum in the corner. A reader or three might ask for refunds. (No one has asked for a refund of anything yet). But not following your dream can have a huge impact on your life.

No one can stop you from trying. Let’s see what happens when they see us coming.

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How I inspired myself

I have untold amounts of time to lay around. I practice attachment parenting (the co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, babywearing type) and he’s a very dependent sleeper. So I nurse him to sleep a few times a day. Which equates me laying around a lot.

I forgot to grab my book to read at nap time and my mind is very busy. As Summer McStravick says her mind is like “a little yappy dog that’s always on the go, yapping”. (That’s a paraphrase of her I can’t recall her exact words and since she said it on a podcast I don’t have a link). My mind is a “yappy dog” that never shuts up. I’m pretty sure I’m a little ADD, and I hate being unentertained.

So, on the note of Summer McStravick, she has this idea called Flowdreaming. Where you do a guided mediation with positive energy and emotions and thinking. It’s like positive thinking supercharged of sorts. Which equates with what I read in The Purpose of Your Life by Carol Adrienne where she says positive thinking isn’t just all happy thoughts, it’s setting your intention for the way you want to feel and going after that feeling.

Back to where I was lying around and my mind was yapping at me for some direction. I turned to my next hockey novel whic h I abandoned due to lack of feeling it. I abandoned the project I went to after that, because of my second Rule “No writing stuff that isn’t fun.” I wasn’t having fun. And I know the hockey thing is going to be good if I can unravel the characters. If I can fall in love with the characters.

So my mind said, if you aren’t in love with your characters, which characters are you in love with?”

I loved “Sleepless at Midnight” by Jacquie D’Alessandro . There are some great romantic scenes which are really hot. Really hot and swoon-worthy. I mean you want to be the heroine and have a hero who acts exactly like him. She is that lucky. I love the emotions between them. The tension. The way you want to grab them and scream “You love each other. Just get together already.” Except the conflict is out of their hands and they can’t be together, except they have to be because they love each other.

Anyway, I’m feeling all the happy feelings inside me.

And then my whole plot came into my brain. I’m so fucking excited to write it, but I had to write down how I got there.

(And then I have to write something else totally unrelated, but is pervading my life and I understood it in the shower this evening. Freaking Freecycle moderation. DId I ever mention that it is occasionally the bane of my existence and i want to quit? I can’t wait to move so I can stop the insanity).

So, that is the story of how I inspired myself. If anyone has a story about how they had fun writing today leave a comment with your email or shoot me an email.

BTW, no affliate links here. Except y'know, my Smashwords.
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Why have fun instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting serious?

How many books are you selling? A few less than Amanda Hocking? Does it even cover your power bill for the month?

Do you get any reviews?

Do you have self-doubts if you are a good (even decent) writer?

Do you have any idea how else to get your words out to a larger audience?

Do you find the more you focus on trying to get readers, buyers, reviewers or just any indication anyone is reading your books the less you feel like writing new stuff?

If you answered “NO” to any of the above, you might be better off just giving up. Or you could just give up on sales and reviews and have fun writing again.

I really have my doubts that there is anything you can do to boost your sales.

I also believe that having more books with your name on them is the best way to boost your sales. Except, no one is buying the shit you have for sale, so you don’t really have any motivation to write anymore because no one will read them either. Maybe.

The more shit you have out there, the better chance you will get discovered. By any reader.

There’s also the chance that the whole positive thoughts thing works. But the caveat to setting your intention is also letting go of your attachment to it happening. (Just saying it could be true).

Besides, isn’t focusing on what you aren’t getting making you miserable or crazy?

It’s making you crazy because it’s focusing on what you cannot control. Other people’s buying habits. Or if they even SEE your book for sale. The web has untold number of sites, books, ideas clamouring for attention. People can only see so much.

Are you willing to stop jumping up and down with vain hope? Are you willing to have some fun while you make shit up?

Not as glamorous as being discovered like Amanda Hocking, but I bet she had a lot of fun while she wrote 20-some novels in the past few years.

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Having Fun Instead

The writing/publishing world is abuzz about the best way to publish. And by best, they usually mean, what will make you the most money, how you will get the most people to buy your book.

There have also been some discussions in self/indie publishing about pricing. Is 99 cents too low? Unprofessional? Does it attract the wrong type of customer? Are readers who buy 99 cent books just hoarding them? Is it a good way to build a fan base? Do 99 cent books lack quality of story? What about editing?

I believed it for a while. I read the blog posts. I followed the industry closely. I questioned my own plans.

And it came to me recently.

 

I am not having fun with writing anymore.

I’m worried about my sales ranking and making money and if I need to hire an editor or cover artist and if I should raise my prices. I  worried about writing the next book in the Up in Flames series. I worried about whether the whole contemporary romance thing was even worth it because paranormal is HOT now. Historical does fairly well. Contemporary is a lukewarm market unless you sign with Harlequin.

The point of this for me was to write my ideas. To have fun making up stories. To dream up these fantasy lovers who are flawed men, who sweep women off their feet. These fantasies we dreamt about in high school.

I am not doing that anymore.

I’m having ideas that I’m playing with. As I’m working on them, I feel pressured to market and produce. I’m worried about what people are going to think of my writing (okay, I’ve always been worried about that. I used to keep at my stuff hidden from my family. IT’s still easier to share with total strangers than my mother.)

I want to have fun.

For the next while, anyway, I’m going to have fun with writing and reading. I’m going to read free and 99 cent reads from Smashwords and review them. (Though, to be honest, I’m worried about having to give bad reviews, but any review is better than none). I’m going to break all the rules. In fact, I’m going to write new ones.

The FUN Code (more like guidelines?)

#1 No Self-Promotion. No linking to myself.

Caveat to #1. To inform people of this project I have to tell them about it. But it’s project promotion so others can read my promotion of others. And I’m hoping other authors will give up on promotion and money made being the end all of success. I want other authors to measure how much fun they are having writing, like the good old days. Besides, most of us aren’t selling that many copies anyway. We might as well give up and have fun.

#2. No writing stuff that isn’t fun. I can even abandon projects in the middle of working on them if I don’t feel the flow.

#3. Read for fun. Review what I read. Promote what the good, and maybe some bad. Write e-mails with details to the bad and ugly telling them where things have gone wrong. Especially regarding blurbs. I read a lot of bad blurbs lately.

#4 Unsubscribe and delete all industry blogs. For me this is Konrath’s blog, Jane Friedman‘s blog, Publetariat, Ditchwalk, and anything related to productivity (urgh! I am at the point of loathing productivity blogs. I don’t need another tip on how to get more done. Give me tips for getting more FUN) and anything related to writing that isn’t about how AWESOME it is to make shit up.

Caveat for #4. If you want to go hard-core, unfollow those bloggers on Twitter and unlike them on Facebook.

#5. Wasting time is not a crime punishable by beating myself up. Making mistakes is encouraged.

#6. Reach out to other authors and share insights, info on their work and encouragement.

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Hockey burn-out

I am stepping away from my current WIP, which is the next Up in Flames book.

I’m not writing well. I’m forcing the story and not feeling inspired.

I am going to write some other stuff.

Might even be slightly more commercially viable stuff (read venturing  into paranormal land). Not because I feel the need to be commercially viable, but because I have some ideas that interest me.

So, yeah hockey on hiatus. Maybe I’m just not feeling the hockey love because the Flames aren’t doing well- again. (They were when I was working on Complications over Coffee edits).

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