I (May) Have A Problem

bookproblemcolourediteduseI’m reorganizing my writer’s dungeon (I mean office) to suit a makeshift home photography studio temporarily and I had to move the bookcases around. I have at least two and a half more tall bookcases plus some books in line for room on the shelf. In consideration of this awareness I will be adding book reviews more regularly to this blog. I can’t however promise I won’t keep buying new books (and old ones). It’s both a passion and a hobby of mine.

writersmug

In the meantime time to get back to writing book #3 #MustardSeeds #siblingrivalry #twosisters #oneplaceinthespotlight #thestakesarehigh #childcaughtinthecrossfire #WIP

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Virtual World Tour

 

So I am a writer of my word. I practised what I preached. I Dared to Suck Dare to Suck and I published my second book, a compilation of my favorite posts from Not My Straitjacket which I only recently realized I hadn’t celebrated the two year anniversary since its creation. If you have read this blog in whole or in part I invite you to rate my book on Amazon.com The official launch date for this book is September 13th, 2017.

Thank you for reading! Time to celebrate and let the virtual world tour begin.

Remember it is said: Sharing is caring.

Money for Nothing: Cheques For Free

Startup Stock Photos

I love my life. Want an assignment? Here you go. Have an idea for a story? Send it to us. Have an idea for a blog on a topic you love? Write about it and we’ll pay you to do something you love. Sometimes it feels like I am being paid to live life to the fullest, if only every freelancer were so fortunate.

Over my writing career I have had the pleasure of interviewing local celebrities, change-makers and activists working towards improving social issues in the community. I have met athletes, politicians, musicians, actors and people in the writing industry whose views and experiences have changed the way I see my social landscape.

I have encountered first- hand what it feels like both to succeed and fail on rollercoaster wavelengths and I have come out of these failures feeling stronger, more determined and as focused as ever on producing results never before seen compared to — myself.

In a recent conversation with a person whose tenacity and success I admire it was pointed out to me that we are our biggest competitors. It is not the writer whose paycheques are bigger or smaller than my last that I need to focus on but the writer who yesterday wrote social statuses on social media instead of spending time in a Word program writing fresh work.

We can only do better today than we did yesterday if at first we put the idea in our heads that we ought to always be pushing ourselves to write more, produce better quality pieces and not settle for what we think is our best work (at least according to another writer I know who swears that *they are never satisfied with their work and thus the end result is brilliant and highly successful). Oh wait, I’m doing it again. Seems the person who I was talking to was right – I do look at the writer to my left and to my right. I think a lot of us do. That said, is it necessarily wrong if our intention is to empower ourselves to do better by aspiring to what another has already achieved? I am told, it in fact is ill-advised.

Do you ever find yourself questioning why someone you know got the book contract and you didn’t? How have you felt when receiving rejection letters from publishing companies? What were your coping skills? How did you improve on your next query from your last? Have you used advice offered in responses from editors?

As writers I think we all begin at the start line of the metaphoric race that is our writing careers, preparing ourselves by learning the tools of the trade. Accumulating resources on writing, studying authors and periodicals with work by people whose work we admire.

It ought never be the goal to do anything other than your best, whether your best is a best-seller, an award winning article, or something you write that never gets published and is for your eyes only.

Writing as a hobby is relaxing, stress-free, exhilarating and enjoyable. Writing as a career is getting paid to live writing while enjoying all the stress-free, relaxing and exhilarating experiences life has to offer. Doing both, you can’t ask for much more.

Keep your eyes on the finish line and try not to look too much at your competitors, it will only slow you down.

 

 

D-I-V-O-R-C-E,Commitment and the Writer

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I’ve divorced myself from the writing lifestyle. That is to say, I’ve been away from regular hours in the office typing away at a keyboard. I haven’t committed to writing exercises, carrying around books to study the plot and character structure or even just to bask in a café and enjoy the winter scenery of page after page of even my favorite author and I’m not about to apologize. In fact, it is quite possible the healthiest thing I have done for my writing career to date.

Minus a blog here and there it’s been nothing but leisure activities including but not limited to photographing everything under the sun, family time and watching some great flicks. (As long as I can keep my eyes open after the kids are asleep that is). More than one person has suggested and I agree they are right, that perhaps it’s too soon for my little ones to be watching Misery or Carrie so I save the horrors and thrillers for when they are sleeping  CryptTV.com streams some of my favs. Then there’s the action movies I have to choose from and my fav actors to watch. I never tire of films with Johnny Depp or Meryl Streep (Ottawa’s local actors are also quite good but I’m not naming names. You know who you are.)

I love watching One True Thing for the thousandth time. I cry every time I watch Losing Isaiah. The Deep End of the Ocean is a touching drama that will pull at heart strings too, I love that the protagonist is a mother and a photographer. I’m a fan of Finding Forrester. Alice Through the Looking Glass and Maleficent is a go to when I just want to get away from it all. G.I Jane, Far and Away, God Bless the Child, my absolute favorite local film is, I can’t say actually (I have a few preferences) but ottawashortfilms.com has a collection of great shorts.

I’ve been pressed for time to make it to the theatres but I would have loved to see La La Land,

A Monster Calls and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

I drink less coffee and more tea these days, my Stephen King book, Blaze, came in handy when I had to go to the emergency room in a matter where everything worked out; I got to read little more than a paragraph that night. Like I said, I really have not been living the writer’s life as of late.

I meet people in person over chatting online. I talk to strangers but I don’t take notes. I ride the bus but I don’t use my senses to explain the experience of being transported from one end of the city to the other, I don’t bother to take note of the sights, smells and other senses. Instead, I chat with my children playing silly mom and daughter/son games. I speak loudly when it might be better to whisper. I remember who I am when I’m not a writer. I breathe.

Life. It’s all about life and living. But I’m here now, committed once again to the writer’s lifestyle and the dedication and focus I need to recommit to get manuscripts polished and sent out and queries ready for publishers. Really, I went on a Writer’s Vacation, I plan to do it again in the future now that I remember. I remember who I am when I am not a writer.

Sometimes, you just have to say no to the workload and deadlines. Sometimes, you have to choose yourself over your work, your health over a hefty paycheque. Sometimes saying no is what writers’ like me really need to do to really want to say yes when all is said and done. This is what I want. This is what I do.

What do you say?

 

 

 

A Writer’s Resolutions

In 2017 I resolve to write more blogs, revise less, produce more, brainstorm religiously, finish my novella, query traditional publishers, connect with industry professionals, reach a wider audience, set up book signings, write my first play, finish my first feature, draw inspiration from untapped resources, live larger, experience things for the first time and write them into history.

In 2017 I will see more plays, watch more movies, read more books, expand my mind and by doing so increase my database for potential plots. I will drink less coffee. No, I will drink just as much coffee because it makes me happy.

I will reach out to literary agents, go to more writing workshops, network with other creatives. I will eat more Kraft Dinner (because I think it tastes good).

In 2017 I will apply for more grants, encourage new writers, promote other authors, write more reviews, spend more time writing in my office rather than arranging it, let music be an inspiration as I write, watch more films, I will involve my family in the creative process by introducing them more to the writer side of me and not just the wife/mother they know so well.

I will post more sticky notes with encouraging messages, set up more deadlines, meet those deadlines and move on to other projects. I will carry a book with me more often when I go out and read it too, as Stephen King suggests it is a great way to spend time. And well, why not?

In 2017 I will read more blogs, post more blog reviews, write more often using hashtags. I will set aside the first draft of a piece of work for at least 24 hours before revising it, I will not post impulsively? I will write more status updates on social media.

In 2017 resolve to write and see what happens.

In 2017 I will be a more productive writer. What New Year’s resolutions have you made for your writing career? Inquiring minds want to know.

So You Want to Sign Your Life Away (sort of)

 

What I learned attending authors’ book signings:

  1. Come with an army of books to sell. You never know how many sales you will get in those few hours.
  2. Have something to offer your customers. Whether it’s a treat or bookmarks show your readers you appreciate them taking the time to come out to see you and hopefully to buy your book.
  3. Smile and acknowledge everyone who approaches your table. If you are caught up in conversation with one of your readers, take a moment to acknowledge the people still in line waiting to see you. Their time is precious too.
  4. Have a stack of business cards and other contact information available to your readers. This will establish a personal connection between you and them that will encourage them to look you up and read more of your work when they get home.
  5. Have a banner or signs with bold printing showing the title of your book and your name as the author on the display table. It is meant to attract their eyes to your table and hopefully they will be curious enough to approach you.
  6. Be prepared for the unexpected. To quote Depeche Mode, “People are people so why should it be, you and I should get along so awfully.” Not every fan who approaches you is going to have a conversation with you that interest you or meets your expectations. You may find yourself talking for what seems like ages with someone you find utterly annoying before getting to the next reader. Suck it up buttercup. Next!
  7. Remember your manners. You know those things your parents taught you were the lifesaving social graces to getting your way with things in the world? Well, maybe not your parents did, but certainly someone’s parents out there. Thank people for coming to see you and remember to that one person your words with them in those moments may make all the difference in their lives. Authors have been known to have that impact on people. (This is especially true when you write books on topics that people can relate to themselves.) Say, “Please take the time to check out my (book, blog, Instagram account) and thank them in advance for doing so.
  8. Bring a friend or your greatest support buddy. It can look like a zoo with a sea of people crowded around the table hoping to get a selfie with you or maybe awaiting your autograph. It’s great to have a second person around to socialise with other readers waiting to speak to you. But in the same breath, don’t wait twenty minutes to acknowledge the next person in line. I can’t emphasize this enough. It could cost you a sale or worse, a reader.
  9. How would you like me to sign that? Best wishes and X’s and O’s are nice, but not everyone is going to want a standard inscription. Making it a personal experience by asking what they’d like you to write will impact how they think of you.
  10. It’s not all about you. Well, it is and it isn’t. The reader wants to feel that you see them too and that you are not just awed by their recognition of your presence in the room. When you greet them, ask their first name, take a moment to learn something about that person. Make it a moment that person will (hopefully) take away smiling.

Did I mention I’m gearing up for my first author signing? Stay tuned for times and locations.

I’ve done my homework for the day. This is me signing off.

#amwriting #coffee #writerslife #workingonadeadline.

 

 

Fall Calling

So I’ve been hiding out for a while. I have been busy learning. I’m studying screenwriting, taking on writing challenges (BlueCat Screenwriting Challenge) and editing other authors’ work.

It’s interesting to me how in dec0nstructing writing for its core elements while editing: story structure and plot consistency, diction, syntax and character development to name a few, I can better identify where the work could use improvement or rewriting in my own prose.

In every other moment of my waking life I am dedicated to my family and meeting their needs as best as I can. The life of a writer can be so ordinary at times. Picking up toys off the floor between sentences, sneaking away from the computer more often than not to build castles out of blocks with my daughter. Taking art lessons from my six-year -old son. Seriously, I cannot draw a convincing stick person to save my life.

I hope to get back to blogging more regularly in 2017 but for now, its all about creating fresh material to draw inspiration from and finishing up old writing projects.

Going to brew a cup of coffee now and try to prepare for my interview at 3:30 with Paperback Radio.(Interview airs August 30th between 1 and 2 p.m.).