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Do writers have to write every day?

Do writers have to write every day?

I haven’t written a single word on any of my projects in a while. I’ve thought about them. I’ve taken some notes. Some may suggest that I have writer’s block.

But I don’t.

I read some quote that suggests that to be a writer you have to write every day.

Bullshit. That’s probably true for whoever said that, but guess what, not every writer is the same.

We don’t all write about the same things. Fiction or non. Novels, or poetry, articles, blog posts. Fantasy, sci-fi, romance, war. Some of us plot while others fly by the seat of our pants while telling a story. It drives me nuts when someone likes to hand out pearls about what makes someone a writer and tries saying others are not because they don’t do things the way you do.

We are all different. People can be creative in different ways. Writers don’t come marching out from a pod of sameness! We’re weird! So why would we have limits placed on the things that make us what we are?

If you want to list things that help to turn a good writer into a great writer by improving their craft, I’ll probably agree with a lot of those things. But that writers have to write every day? Plllltttt! Get outta here with that.

When I try to write every day, I just add a bunch of worthless crap to my pages. So instead, I go for walks. I think. Showering is a top choice of mine to think about my projects. Reading–I read and study to learn how to make my writing better. There are so many other things that I can do and guess what, they don’t undo the fact that I’m a writer.

Just because I’m not adding to my word count doesn’t make me less of a writer than someone who scribbled out a few words so they can fit into someone else’s idea of what “should” be done.

Do painters have to paint every day to be a painter? Do sculptors have to sculpt every day?

I believe we artists benefit from taking some time to step away, look up from our art, and observe the people and the world around us.

And I don’t have writer’s block. I actually don’t believe in writer’s block. At least not for this writer. When I’m ready to write, I always do.

Like cookies in an oven, my ideas and my thoughts need to bake before I’m ready to take them out and share them. When I write, I write A LOT. All at once. I don’t write every day.  When I’m in the midst of a project, I’ll write every day, multiple times a day!

I get so sick of others telling me how my process should work because it’s how they work or saying my passion isn’t as strong as theirs because I don’t do what they do.

Bullsh*t. I’m off for a walk with my buddy, and I’ll be working on those ideas in my head until they’re ready to be poured onto the page.

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Don’t forget to sign up for my book launch team and get a free reviewers copy of my book. Click here!

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Damn, Goodreads! That’s expensive 😱

Damn, Goodreads! That’s expensive 😱

You know what’s harder than writing a book?

Finding people who want to read it!

Recently (as in yesterday) I claimed my author profile on Goodreads and decided to set up a giveaway as I’d done in the past. And oh my goodness…

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It costs over $100 to give something away for free? For free!

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Now we all know that the cockblocking of indie authors is rampant but geeeeeeez! Even Goodreads? I always thought Goodreads was about the reader. I guess those with the deep pockets will continue to win and will continue to say what readers have access to.

😂 😂 Indie authors trying to find readers but Goodreads is like…

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I could spend the money and view it as a marketing investment, but I just don’t think the Goodreads giveaway is worth that much (speaking from past experience)

Oh well, I won’t give up. I’ll keep trying. It might take me longer, but I hope my work will speak for itself and that my readers will help spread the word. 🤞🏻 And I’ll keep looking for new ways to find readers.

Ahh, I’m reminded of the words of the late, great Tom Petty in his song The Last DJ,

“As we celebrate mediocrity all the boys upstairs want to see
How much you’ll pay for what you used to get for free.”

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

Click here if you’d like a free review copy (phew, I just offered my free book for free) 😂 😂

 

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Accepting Constructive Criticism

Accepting Constructive Criticism

Hello Friends,

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve started sharing my work with others, it’s that if many people are telling you something needs to change, no matter how much it may hurt, you should listen and make changes.

I got a dose of constructive criticism that hurt yesterday.

I had a group web call with other authors and my book coach. They all agreed that the title of my book needed a change. It was like a stab in the gut. I liked the title but they all agreed that the title itself wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t a good fit for a middle-grade fantasy novel. More than the rejection, I’d have to change all my cover files, interior files, website, and review copy.

Fortunately, my cover artist, Ashely Byland of Redbird Designs (Click here indie authors if you’re looking for an incredibly talented and easy to work with cover artist) made these changes for me quickly and painlessly. Did I mention that she’s incredible? She’s incredible!

So my book will no longer be titled…

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But will now be known as…

AsterSpirit3D

Now I could have closed my ears and insisted that I was keeping my title because it’s my book. But these other authors have more experience than I do. They gave me solid reasons why my first title just didn’t cut the mustard. And my book coach is a best-selling author who is a wiz with titles and marketing.

I want to succeed. I can write books. I’m not doubting myself on that anymore (now don’t call me cocky–I just said I know I can write them, not that I think I’m talented. The imposter syndrome is still strong in me) I’m still learning when it comes to marketing and book promotion. But I know the best way to learn (in any situation) is to keep an open mind and accept constructive criticism in a way that allows me to learn and become more successful with each step I take.

Don’t forget to sign up for my book launch team and get a free review copy of my book. Click here!

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Writer not writing

Writer not writing

Hello friends,

I cannot remember the last time I opened up my laptop and worked on my novel. Was it in June sometime? Has it really been since May?

So what’s keeping me from writing… writer’s block?

Not at all. The slow down started when I began querying my romance novel, Hearts Mingling. The querying process is extremely time-consuming, but more than that, it takes all the joy out of trying. As a matter of fact, querying kind of makes me feel like I hate writing. It’s a misplaced emotion. It’s not actually the writing I hate, but it does make it all seem pointless–like I’ll never find readers for my work if I can’t get by the gatekeepers.

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I’ve also been taking a few courses. One–a marketing course for a small business I’ll be part-owner of and do the marketing for. The second–another marketing course, but this one is specifically for authors. As you know, in addition to my other small business, I’ve started my own publishing company, WhistlePig Publishing, to independently publish my children’s novels. Who knows, someday I may also be publishing my adult works as well.

All my time and effort has been going into these ventures, but at least I feel like I’m moving forward with my writing and my quest to find readers. I’m no longer stalled out in the querying trenches, spinning my wheels, and feeling like a loser.

I’ve begun building my book launch team and have been fortunate enough to have received excellent feedback from my readers. (And btw, all of you who have joined and been kind enough to let me know how you’re enjoying the book–THANK YOU! You have no idea how much it means that you’re willing to help. I suffer from imposter syndrome and doubt myself daily, so your words pull me out of some serious self-despising darkness).

If you haven’t joined my book launch team but would like to, click here to sign up to get your free review copy. Those who join, download the free ebook on launch day, and post their reviews will automatically be entered to win prizes.

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It’s tough to be a writer who’s not writing, but at least I’m getting closer to writing again. I am now a writer who is planning on writing and feeling the excitement bubble build inside. The bubble that will grow until it bursts and forces me to sit down and write because I won’t be able to think about anything else.

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I’ve decided to finally write the final two books for The Great Connection and turn it into a trilogy. I originally planned to do that, but then the query process smashed that thought into a million little pieces.

But now that I’m an indie author I can officially say, “Whatever, I’ll do what I want.”

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So take that, gatekeepers. You can’t tell me what to write and you can’t keep my readers from making their own choices!

Don’t forget to sign up for my book launch team and get a free reviewer copy of my book. Click here!

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I’ve got some exciting news

I’ve got some exciting news

Hello friends,

I’m excited to share some news with you. I’ve decided to independently publish my middle-grade fantasy adventure novels under WhistlePig Publishing.

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To kick things off I will be releasing my first middle-grade fantasy adventure novel.

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After living the nomadic lifestyle of a military child, Aster Finlay’s father is retiring, and her family is settling down into a more “normal” life. But when Aster discovers that she can communicate with animals, she realizes her life is going to be anything but normal.

In order to have a successful launch, I will be putting together a launch team.

What does a launch team do, you ask?

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Excellent question!

Here’s what the launch team does…

  1. Sign up and get a FREE reviewers copy
  2. Read
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Write a review
  5. On launch day (TBD) I’ll send out a link to the book on Amazon.com so you can download the ebook for FREE in order to be considered a verified purchase.
  6. Leave your review on Amazon.com

This will allow my book to get pushed up in the rankings (hopefully to the #1 spot) helping readers to find my book.

If you’re interested in getting the FREE reviewers copy and joining my launch team just click below.

 

*UPDATE – Since this original blog post, the title of my book has changed to Aster The Spirit Talker*

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Traditional publishing vs. Self-publishing

Hello friends,

As you all know, I’ve been sticking it out in the querying trenches, and it’s been hard on my heart. I know I need to develop a thick skin and over and again I’ve heard, “Remember, this is a subjective business.”

Yes, I know. I completely understand that. I know market trends matter. And I also know that nothing makes sense. Seriously.

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Listen to this…

I have a friend who works as a literary intern. So basically, she wades through piles of query letters to sort through those the agent may be interested in and she also reads manuscripts for the agent as a screen before the agent reads them. Here’s an example of what I mean when I say I know that nothing makes sense. My friend read a book that, although it wasn’t her favorite genre, she couldn’t put down. It was a page-turner and was incredibly well written. She passed the book on to the agent who said that she really gobbled it up but wasn’t going to take it on. Why, you ask? Oh, because the author had approximately 11 books published through small presses. The agent actually called him a hack even though she agreed the writing was very well done. But it doesn’t stop there, friends. The intern asked if he could publish under a pen name. The agent said he definitely should but still wasn’t going to take him on. In the same conversation, the agent asks the intern to read another book. The agent had already read it and said it was “a mess,” written by a debut author. A MESS people! And why was she willing to take on a manuscript that is a mess? Well, because the author was a District Attorney. Goodness knows no one can write things unless it’s true to life. Good thing when I wrote my middle grade fantasy about witches, I really was one.

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So here’s the point of this blog post. I’m starting to think it doesn’t matter what I do or how many years I spend writing new books. I can continue querying agents until my heart cracks one too many times and just becomes a pile of dust ready to be blown away like a fart in the wind.

Since I started this blog and started working hard on my social media presence, I’ve had countless people ask me where they can read my writing, tell me they enjoy my blog, and ask me when they can buy my book. Am I missing out on sales and sharing my work because I’m so wrapped up in worry about the stigma associated with being a self-published/indie author? One, who by the way, makes 75% of royalties rather than 15 or maybe 35%. It’s no secret that authors have to do their own marketing whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. Does it really matter that my book isn’t available in a bookstore? I can’t remember the last time I went to one anyway. I buy everything on Amazon.

Just out of curiosity I did a poll asking whether or not people buy books from self-published authors. While it isn’t a large sample, I was surprised by the results.

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Most people said they do or would read a book by a self-published author. I tried to think back to the time before I thought about publishing any of my work at all and wondered…did I have any bias against self-published books? No, I didn’t. Not at all. If I perused books on my kindle, I would pick whatever sounded interested. I didn’t care who wrote it. I didn’t check the publishing house. I didn’t even look to see if it was a self-published book.

So where did I get this idea that there was a lot of bad stigma surrounding self-published authors? I realized it was from other writers, authors, and traditional publishing.

As I query and collect rejection letters, I’m reminded again of all the times someone has said to me, “I love your blog, where can I buy your book? Or do you have anything else I can read?” And I’ve had to say no. Why? Oh, because it’s sitting on my computer where–quite possibly–no one will ever see it.

I know that there are quite a few (especially romance) indie authors who have done quite well for themselves. So why don’t I try?

I know I need to

  • Pay for proper editing
  • Pay for good cover art
  • Pay someone to format things correctly
  • Invest in marketing myself
  • Maybe hire a PA

But two of those things I’m going to have to do anyway. I’m not going to slap some poorly crafted, first-draft turd up on Amazon and call it a day. I’m going to work hard to showcase my work in a way that I can be proud of. Something that when I sell, I get to keep a large portion of royalties for myself, to invest in myself and future projects. I’ll also have more control over…EVERYTHING.

Yet here I am. Still questioning what I should do? But why? Perhaps it’s the validation. Maybe it is me wanting to be accepted by other authors as a “real” author. But I can tell you, I’ve read a lot of self-published, indie press, or yet unpublished work that I have adored and I’ve read traditionally published crap that I couldn’t bring myself to finish.

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I would love to know what you all think. Please leave a comment below.

And as always…

*If you enjoy my blog, please give it a follow and subscribe using the popup window. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and I’m now on Pinterest. Please and thank you*

 

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Busy (wingless) Bee

Busy (wingless) Bee

I know! I know! I’ve done a horrible job at putting out blog posts regularly. I’ve just been a very busy bee lately. I’m working on a new novel (yay!), sending out query letters (gah), I’ve just started a marketing course, and am working on opening a business.

I realize that I shouldn’t let those things neglect my blog but I’m having a hard time feeling like there is any point to this anyway. This or social media. I’m just the crazy lady on the bus talking to herself while some random troll shouts back “No one cares!”

I’m also sick with some horrible head cold that makes me feel like my head is going to explode and then when I lie down to sleep at night a parade of coughing begins.

Excuses, excuses. I know. Well, despite this and the darkness in mood I feel moving in over me, I’m going to do my best to do what I can to move forward. That may mean neglecting the blog for a bit and just sitting in the sunshine or walking through the woods to remember why I do all this in the first place. It’s not the platform building, or the querying, or blogging…it’s the telling of stories. Maybe I need to focus just on that, even if the only person who ever reads my stories is me.

 

 

 

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I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

 

Hey, you with the tear in the corner of your eye and the frown dripping down your face,

I know you’re querying and I know you’re thinking of giving up.

Here’s the truth: Querying is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s hard on your spirits. There’s a lot of research involved. It requires a lot of time-consuming attention to detail, and you are most certainly guaranteed to receive a lot of rejection. Maybe–all rejection and nothing else.

It’s brutal on the heart and spirit. You feel like a complete loser. It’s embarrassing. And there comes a point where you may feel like an untalented piece of shit poo, and you should just quit. But you have to look in the mirror or open up those pages and look at all those words that spilled out of you with great passion and heart. Ask yourself–how much you want it?

Don’t forget that every writer has been rejected. Even those you think of as being “the greats.” Maybe they didn’t get quite as much rejection as you are getting, but they still got rejected by someone at some point.

When you get those rejection letters that tell you that the agent or publisher just “didn’t connect” with your book, think of all those books that your friends so highly recommended, but you just didn’t love. Over and over you’ll hear that this is a “subjective business,” remember that it’s not just a line that agents feed you. It is, in fact, a very real truth. It doesn’t mean that you, or your book, suck. There are a lot more factors that go into someone deciding whether they want to take on your project than just the words you wrote.

One day, you’ll get something other than a rejection if you keep working to improve and you don’t give up on yourself no matter how hard it gets.

And remember…

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.”

You just need the courage to continue. Be tenacious. Work to improve. Do not ever give up. You can do this. I believe in you.

 

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