Friday, January 4, 2019

No, I get it

I do. I really do. I understand. I have a problem.

I mak speelin misstacks.

(Did you understand that?)

My downfall is that, from time to time, I misspell a few words.  For example (watch out, here comes a long story).

The last conference I attended, I had tried to get in a specialized class with an up and coming agent (he's a big name now).  I was disheartened to learn that I didn't make the list of class members but would be put on a waiting list if a position opened up.

I was WAY down the list. So I figured there was no way I was getting in. So I didn't prepare anything to take with me.

I was so wrong!

The night before I was supposed to go to the conference, I received an email stating that I was admitted into the class and had about thirty to sixty minutes to submit my query letter to the agent.

Um...what?

I was SO unprepared. But I skimmed through my query and sent it anyway. I didn't want to pass up on an opportunity to learn from this agent.

The next afternoon, I sat in a small, frigid room with a handful of other writers. My teeth chattered as we went through each person's query one by one. Soon it was my turn to be put over the burning, hot coals (truthfully, I wish it were hot in that classroom. I was so cold my nose turned blue).

Needly to say, I was humiliated. I had at least two or three spelling mistakes and was frowned upon by the agent. I wanted to tell him that I had only thirty minutes to prepare and turn in the query he had just read in front of my peers. But the fault wasn't his. It was mine. I should have been more prepared. But that's not the moral of the story. Nope.

The moral is:

All writers have flaws. All of them.

It's true. Mine is spelling (thank goodness for spell check and Grammarly -not sponsored, but they are so cool 😉).

Some writers have issues with voice. Others setting. Sometimes plot structure. The trick is to find out what your weaknesses are and start to improve them.

How? Read well written books, learn from other writers, listen to your readers, etc...etc.

I used to make a list of issues I had in my writing (that my awesome crit group would tell me about) and take that time to improve those areas. If you really want to write, it's well worth the time.

So remember everyone makes mistakes. That is how we learn. As long as you are searching for ways to improve your writing and move forward. (You can do it!)

And by all means, reread your query before pressing that send button!!!! I beg you!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

What to Write?




When I started writing, I took a class from a published author with many middle-grade books under her belt. After reading my work, she mentioned that I have a great young adult voice for writing. 
She also mentioned that I have a great voice for middle graders. Which brought me up to the dilema...what should I write and who should I write for?

I had gone to classes with other published authors who mentioned that they wrote what was popular at the time. Over time, I have seen some of my writer friends turn from dystopian to romances, because that's what they felt was selling at the time.  Maybe I should start to write romances? Maybe I should write about mermaids because it might be the next trend? 

But the best advice I heard was from an author who tried for years to get her books published. She didn't get published until she figured out what genre she was passionate about. Then her books started to sell. That was my answer. Her advice:

Write what you are passionate about. 

That passion will seep through your words and through your pages. And the readers will feel that. Should you write it if it's not popular or not the "in" thing? Why not?  If it's well written, it will be well received. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How I Found Time to Write: Step 2

Finding time to write is a hard.


There are tons of reasons why, but the main one is because as writers, we are not on a 9-5 schedule. You can write anytime and any place you want. Which also means sometimes you won't write...at all!


My biggest distraction is myself. There is always something more pressing that needs to be done, doctor's appointments to attend, kids to get to school...you get the picture.
What can you do to help sit down and get that writing done?
For the next few weeks, we will be looking at what has worked and what hasn't for me and some of my other writer friends. Here we go!


Step 2 
Block Out Time

So what did you find out about how you spent your time? I hope it was as much an eye opener for you as it was for me.

So...

What are you doing?
After you've evaluated yourself and what you do with your time, are there times you are not doing anything that you could be writing (like watching TV. Curse you stupid zombie shows)? Take that time and write it down. Or are there things that can be done quicker than normal or more efficiently to give you more time? For example, throw dinner in the Crockpot in the morning allowing more time to write in the afternoon. Can you move those things to a different time that would be more conducive to writing? Can you eliminate some of those things for more writing time?

Times of the day
Did you know that you are more efficient at certain times of the day?  I get more running done in the morning than I do at night (which is why I like to exercise in the morning). But it differs per person. Are you a morning person? An evening person? Not two people are always the same. I personally prefer writing in the afternoon after the stresses of laundry, cleaning, kids out the door, dinner prep, are done. I went to a writer's conference where one of the speakers mentioned that once he found the best time that worked for him and started using that time for writing, he was able to write more words per minute and get more done towards his weekly goal.

Times of the week
I don't write on certain days. It's true. I don't write on Sundays or Mondays. I leave Sunday for God and family. On Monday I do house tasks to keep the family running smoothly.

Times of the year
Oh, and that can also be applied to the time of the year.   I don't write much in the summer when my kids are out of school. I've tried time after time. Summer is too busy, I write in the fall and through the year until my kids are out of classes again. Is that why NaNoWriMo is in November? Maybe. hum...

Block Out That Time
Now that you've taken the time to evaluate your time and what you are doing during that time, the next step is to find a time to block out just for writing.

Like I said before, I prefer writing in the afternoon. I was able to get more writing done during that time and I didn't worry near as much about what other things I had on my plate for that day. Yes, I'm not perfect and I have missed a day or two, but when I stick to my blocked time, I get more writing done and am more successful.

Block Out That Time!!!!

Next week we will talk about step #3, goal setting.

So, what times have worked best for you? Are you a morning or an evening person?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How I Found Time to Write: Step 1

Finding time to write is a hard.

There are tons of reasons why, but the main one is because as writers, we are not on a 9-5 schedule. You can write anytime and any place you want. Which also means sometimes you won't write...at all!

My biggest distraction is myself. There is always something more pressing that needs to be done, doctor's appointments to attend, kids to get to school...you get the picture.

What can you do to help sit down and get that writing done?
For the next few weeks, we will be looking at what has worked and what hasn't for me and some of my other writer friends. Here we go!

Week One:

Evaluate your time! 

This week all you are going to do is evaluate what you do with your time. We are all creatures of habit. There will be some times that work better for you and some that won't. So keep a journal/notebook/record of what you do each day for a week.

  • When do you wake up? 
  • When do you go to work? Outside the home AND inside the home (we know that underwear doesn't clean itself).  
  • When are you the most tired?
  • When do you eat?
  • When do you waste time?

Keep a journal for one week. Next week we are going to talk about those times and what to do with them.

See you next week!