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Finding support along your writing journey

 

Hello friends,

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about the bumpy road that I’ve traveled along during my writing journey. Sometimes, it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels in the mud and I really need to turn and look back at where I began.

Reality will surprise you.

Let me just start by saying that I’ve been lucky, I’ve had quite a few people who supported and encouraged me from the start. But I was surprised that some of the people I initially thought would support me most haven’t. Their words saying one thing, their actions showing quite another. I’ve talked to other writers along my way who don’t have any family or friends supporting them. It’s incredible how many people think writing is just a hobby. I don’t fault them. When I was in third grade, I never thought I could be a writer when I grew up. So, I wrote in my free time while working a “real job” for the entertainment of my work friends and my family, never thinking I could share my work beyond my small circle. Imagine where I could be now if I took my writing more seriously way back when. But wondering about that is a whole other blog post, and I’ve tried to train myself to stop doing it.

Back to my point…to the writers who are just starting out, don’t stop if you find you’re not getting the support you long for. Just write and connect with people through your blog (if you have one) on social media. You might find people you barely kept in contact with from long ago will suddenly be the ones lifting you up. You may find people you don’t even know will be the biggest fans of your words.

You’ll find your people.

Don’t get discouraged if some of the people closest to you that claim to love you and support your work don’t show that support. They don’t follow your blog or read your blog posts (let alone an entire novel), they don’t share anything on social media, they definitely won’t buy your book or write a review. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, but they just don’t understand how hard a writer’s journey is and how much encouragement matters.

In the beginning, they may be all you have, and when you don’t feel supported, it can make it hard to continue. So, to any writer starting out, I just want to remind you that you need to try your best to keep putting words down even if you have no one who wants to read them at the moment.

Keep pushing. Keep moving forward and don’t let that discourage you.

You may just find that strangers or people you barely know will be the ones to encourage you and read every word you write. Take the time to make connections on social media. Get to know these strangers because, before long, you might find that they aren’t strangers anymore but friends.

Someone I barely knew on Twitter, but who I found funny as hell, enjoyed my tweets as well. And now she’s one of my besties, and we chat every single day. She’s one of my biggest supporters, and she more than makes up for the lack of encouragement I found from others, and she makes me believe in my talent.

Shout out to Billie Jean! You’re amazing, and I love the poop out of you!

I also found others who have supported me. People I barely know. And I didn’t do this by posting and shouting about my writing/book all day. On my blog, I write from my heart–including ups and downs. I spend most of my time on the social media platform I enjoyed most (Twitter). I play games. I goof around. I interact with other posts and tweets. I don’t censor myself. None of this is challenging because I have fun. This should be fun, after all. Sure, you’ll still get discouraged from time to time, but now you’ll have people behind you who will lift you up and make you laugh.

Don’t let anyone make you feel foolish.

I’ve had people in real life squash me and make me feel like my usage of social media is stupid and a waste of time. They made fun of how much I tweet. Yeah, I tweet a lot, but I’m spending time with the people who support me. How can that ever be a waste of time?

Boo to the people that bring you down! Some people who will claim to support you but may secretly want to see you fail because they’re jealous that you dare to follow your heart.

At the end of the day, you need to concentrate on the ones who want you to succeed, for real, no matter how you met them or where you met them.

If you’re a new writer and you don’t have support, I’m here, and I understand. Feel free to comment or email me kalicecompeau@outlook.com.

 

Blog

It’s good to take a break.

Hello friends,

I didn’t post on my blog last week because I needed a break. I may be spreading myself a bit thin with posting 5 works on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz, writing a weekly post for this blog, plus all the other things I have going on in my life. I’m not going to stop doing any of these things, though, because I realized that while I might need a break from bits of it at times, I’m capable of doing it.

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The hardest part for me in keeping up with writing in this blog and posting my works-in-progress on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz is how vulnerable it makes me feel. This blog reveals feelings that I have always tried to mask. It’s not easy to share my struggles and admit that I walk around feeling like a failure who has no idea what in the hell she’s doing. But when someone reaches out and lets me know that they connect with a post, it makes it all worth it.

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Sharing my works-in-progress on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz really kicks me outside my comfort zone. I have one complete novel up and I’m still in the process of writing all the others. I’m finding it challenging to write new chapters and give them, at least, a second edit before putting them up. Usually, my books go through multiple edits (my first book probably went through around 30 rounds plus a 3 professional edits) before sharing. Talk about showing your warts! I’m not perfect, no matter how hard I wish I was. Opening up and putting my process on display feels horrible in many ways but I think it’s been good for me. I love getting feedback and I greatly appreciate those of you who have checked out my chapters.

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One thing I’ve learned along my writing journey (and I guess in life, in general) is that I have to sometimes do something that is so uncomfortable for me and ask for the things I want. So, I’m going to give that a whirl again… If you’re reading along on Chapterbuzz, would you become a “fan,” “buzz” my chapters, and comment occasionally.  If you are following along on Wattpad, would you please “follow” me, “view” and “vote” for the chapters you enjoy, and leave comments, please. Believe it or not, I love feedback and it doesn’t have to be all positive. If you notice errors, point them out. I’m sharing, not only because I want to find readers, but I want to improve. I can tell when someone is trying to be helpful and when someone is being a troll, so if you aren’t a troll, don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Please and thank you.

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Phew! That was hard and I feel a swirling cloud of discomfort in my gut but it will be worth it if someone who didn’t know I want those things, does them. It really means a lot to me to connect with readers. This is why I do this. I love telling stories but it’s not as much fun to tell them to myself.

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I’ve blabbered on long enough with this post. It’s a beautiful (but chilly) day. I’d like to get out and go for a walk to enjoy it. I also need to edit and post (hopefully 🤞🏻) four chapters.

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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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Sinking

Sinking

My darling friends,

I know I usually post on Mondays but I have some feelings to work through and the best way for me to do that is always by writing.

Over the last few days, I’ve been sinking. Not like a rock in water but more like a discarded daisy tossed in some bubbling, gray muck. I’m not exactly sure what brings me to this place, again and again, but here I am.

I suppose it may have something to do with this sunless, never-ending winter. At this point, it feels like summer is just something I dreamed about once. It snowed this morning, and my spirit sank as quickly as these daffodils.

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I’m taking my vitamin D supplements, but I don’t know if there can ever be a replacement for the warmth of the sun kissing your skin. It’s kind of like a virtual hug versus the real thing.

Maybe part of it is the feeling that people think of me as a toy and not a person with a beating heart. I’m real. And so is my pain. It would be easier to have your heart completely snapped in two and left alone to repair, rather than slow, cracking fissures repaired shoddily with sweet, loving words.

The biggest culprit, I’m sure, is the rejection that comes along during the querying process. I know this is typical, but I think what bothers me most is that people who are not writers and have never written and queried a novel seem to think that if the book is any good, or if you have any talent, your novel will immediately get picked up. I think that’s the part that makes me feel like a big, fat, failure more than the rejection itself.

I’ve been honest about my process and failures, but it’s hard to share that part. It would almost be easier to suffer in silence in some ways and not share what I’m going through. It’s hard to live up to people’s assumptions. If I didn’t suck, I would be successful. Simple. Easy. That’s what they think.

And so many people think they could write a novel (if they had time–how many times have I heard that) and it would be the next great American novel or a New York Times Bestseller. I know that’s how people think because many have messaged me for “writing advice” and told me how they could write a book and that they’re sure it will be “better than anything they see on the shelves now”–the shelves I currently can’t get my book on. That’s why I know that they think if this book doesn’t get published, then it must be because I’m a talentless loser.

I already feel that I’m a talentless loser all on my own. I have a lot of fear that this is what’s going to be proven to me and not the phrases I’m always repeating to keep going. “Keep writing. You can do it. One day it will happen.”

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I know I can work through this. I always do.

Perhaps there wasn’t a lot of point to this post other than me knowing that this expression of my feelings will begin to heal me. Maybe some of you feel the way I do, and you’ll know you’re not alone, in whichever way you are sinking.

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Chin up, Charlie.

Chin up, Charlie.

Keeping my chin up, having a stiff upper lip, and growing a thick skin…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Best to admit it, I think.

While I don’t necessarily feel the need to whine, complain, and bash myself over this hard, hard, super hard process of write/edit/query/rejection (mostly the query/rejection portion)…I also don’t feel the need to pretend I’m tough and that it doesn’t get to me, that I don’t want to give up. Quit.
I am a sensitive girl, always have been. I have always cried at movies and TV shows (agh, the end of E.T. or the Green Mile and that particular episode of Highway to Heaven with the homeless boy living in a box with his cat) Happy endings, sad endings, doesn’t matter…a river of tears will flow. Books also make me cry (The One and Only Ivan had me doing a very ugly cry, complete with gasping. This was partly because it is a beautiful and sad story and partly because it was similar to a book I had been writing and my book seemed too similar to this one to continue with. Mine was about a space chimp. When I stopped writing it, I felt like he died).
Kisses in movies always make me “woooooooooooooh!” gush out loud. Funny, ah, I love funny things and people beyond belief! I don’t know if I love anything more than getting hysterical with someone.
And really happy moments make me squeal like a pig! I just can’t contain it.

Yes, I am a person of tears and pig squeals! My heart, I wear it right there on my sleeve. I’m not a person with a poker face or with a stiff upper lip. If I’m mad, there is a pretty good chance my brows will betray my feelings.

I will be super embarrassed if my work is never deemed good enough. I almost didn’t share this journey (journey, I hate that word, but I can’t think of a better one at the moment) because it is hard and embarrassing. I am sure I am going to shed some tears. Of course, I will, this is hard on the heart. But, I am going to keep writing. I am going to keep on editing. I am going to keep on visiting the Grammar Girl to try and relearn everything I forgot since school. I am going to keep querying. I am going to keep on getting rejected. I am going to feel free to share my failure and my success. It is not going to be my little secret.

I am going to keep trying. When I need to cry, I’m gonna. When I need a hug, I’m going to ask for it. And hopefully, the day will come when I will squeal like a pig.