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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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Are those hawks circling overhead?

Are those hawks circling overhead?

One of the most difficult things about my writing journey has been feeling like prey–a little field mouse scampering around a field with hawks circling overhead.

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When I started writing this blog post, I wanted to call them vultures, but that wasn’t right. Vultures eat the dead, and some of these people are after warm blood–fresh blood–and after they’ve picked the bones clean, they leave a broken skeleton of a writer feeling victimized, shamed, and left with empty pockets.

That’s how it always works, though, isn’t it? There are always plenty of people looking to take advantage of the dreamy-eyed creatives. So many people try to profit off of writers and artists either by taking a slice or taking our art for free.

Btw, it makes me so sad to see so many books listed for free or for 99 cents. I know some of these books are self-published, first draft crap that’s slapped up without much care, but some of it’s not. Some self-published works are pretty great and have had a lot of love and care put into them.

Anyway, why are people willing to pay more for a cup of coffee than a novel? Ugh, I wish making coffee was my passion.

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Anyway, back to the main point of this post…

I saw an offer for a webinar and I signed up because I never turn down free information. Who knows? There may be a nugget there that made listening to someone talk for an hour worth it. But as I suspected, it was just a bunch of pointless circle talk promising to help people earn a bajillion dollars from blogging.

LOL! Okay, maybe not a bajillion but a living (oh, and there was this underlying message that suggests if you fail, it’s probably because you weren’t willing to “put in the work.” Hmmm…or pay for what they’re gearing up to sell you.)

It’s like in A Christmas Story when Ralphie finally gets his decoder pin…”Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine?” Yup, another crummy commercial.  But I wonder how many of the aspiring writer/bloggers threw down their decoder pins and marched out of the room? How many stayed, believing that if they signed up for the course being sold that they’d be successful?

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The whole time, the people running the webinar kept claiming they were doing this simply because they wanted to help other writers. Hmm, more like take advantage of writers who will do almost anything to see their dreams come true.

I know don’t have everything figured out (my lack of success is proof of that) but I know paying …”Not $5000, not even $1000 but only $500″ isn’t the way. Especially when what you’re paying for is just even more useless circle talk.

And these clever charlatans know that there will always be a fresh batch of new, aspiring writers/bloggers hoping to be seen and heard. And therefore, there will always be a fresh flow of cash heading their way.

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I’d feel bad about the piece of paper I wasted taking notes during the stupid webinar if I didn’t use them for this blog post. Oh, and also, I had fun drawing some poop emojis and other random doodles.

Anyway, I don’t know how to get seen but I do know that since I stopped trying to follow all the “advice” of others claiming to be experts (especially any advice I’d have to pay for) and started being myself, my followers have been growing.

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

 

Blog · Interviews

Writer Interview 📝 with Jim G. Black

Writer Interview 📝 with Jim G. Black

I’d like to introduce you all to a fellow writer I met on Twitter. He’s such a supportive and wonderful person, I wanted more people to know about him and his writing.

***

I asked Jim a few questions and here are his answers…

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing?

A: My favorite thing about writing is the research. Writing outside of what I know gives me the opportunity to learn new things.

Q: What is the most difficult part of the novel writing process for you?

A: The most difficult thing is staying on track. I’m ADD, and get distracted easily.

Q: What inspired you to write your work in progress How long have you been working on your work in progress?

A: What inspired me? Long answer lol. I have always had several book ideas floating around in my head. As a result of two rounds with renal cancer, I lost a kidney in 2012. In August of 2017 my other kidney shut down, resulting in a hospital stay and several weeks of recovery. During that recovery time I started thinking about my bucket list, which included all of the books I ever thought about writing. I told myself that, if I was ever going to do it, now is as good a time to start. I’ve been working on it since last November.

Q: Do you plot out your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or some combination of the two?

A: Some of it I have outlined, however, I tend to write it in my head as I go along, then just type it up when I get time to sit and write.

Q: How do you select the names for your characters?

A: My MC is named using my middle name, Grant, and the middle name of one of my ancestors, Canaada, yes, with two “a”s in the middle. My book has several “beasties” in it, and it’s hard to come up with names for them.

Q: Are you working on anything new?

A: Not really working on anything new. I also blog, and am doing more of that lately. I have a couple ideas for short stories, but haven’t made any notes on them yet.

Q: Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or whenever you find a spare moment?

A: I write whenever I can find time to sit down and do it.

Q: Do you have any writing rituals?

A: I don’t have any rituals. Maybe I need to develop some. It may help me get into a routine lol.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

A: I think relate-able characters make for a good story. When I read a book, I like it when I can actually place myself in the story through one of the characters. Not necessarily the main character, but one with whom I can find something in common. It just it that much more fun and easy to get into.

Q: Dogs or Cats?

A: Lol…I love all animals. We have five cats, and I love them all, however, I would love to have another dog in the near future.

Q: Savory or Sweet?

A: Savory always lol. My dessert philosophy has always been “no sweets, more meats”. I’ll take an extra burger or hot dog over cake and pie any day. Tastes better with beer 😉

Q: Beach or Forest?

A: Forest. I grew up in Southeast Tennessee and spent a lot of time in the woods, camping and hiking. I never even saw the beach until I was a teenager. Living in South Carolina, I do go to the coast, but prefer dirt over sand. Another philosophy, “any place with more palms than pines is no place for me”.

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your free time?

A: In my free time I’m reading. I also like attending plays, concerts, ballgames and singing.

Q: How can readers keep in touch with you?

A: Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlueHose2006

Facebook: Jim G Black Writing https://www.facebook.com/jimblackwriter/

WordPress:

I hope to have my website up and running by the summer.

Q: Do you like to hear from your readers?

A: I love hearing from people, and am always happy to talk with anybody about most anything.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

A: There is not much else to tell. I try and be laid back and just exist for the most part.

***

Thanks for spending some time answering these questions for my blog, Jim. I hope my readers will check out your blog and social media sites.

 

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A little help from my friends

A little help from my friends

As some of you know, I’ve completed writing and editing my romance novel and am now at the querying stage. Recently, I came across the most interesting agent with an unusual submission process which I found extremely entertaining. He also sound a little bit like Seth Rogan and I had a fun time watching his videos on submission.

Anyway, this agent talked about the importance of having a platform and having a good one. (My platform is my following on social media, my blog, and email subscriber list. This shows that people are interested in me and my work.)

I only recently began to work hard on growing my platform. I had a different one before for another name under which I wrote middle-grade fantasy novels. I severed ties with my publisher and deleted all my accounts and started over in November 2017.

It’s always been extremely difficult for me to ask people for help but I need some support. I need your help growing my platform. I know there are quite a few of you who come over from Twitter to read my blog posts and I really appreciate it. It would help me so much more if you would also follow my blog. You can use the subscription window that pops up when you visit this blog or sign up to “follow” with WordPress, or even better, do both. If you’re hesitant to sign up with the popup subscription form, I just want to reassure you that I won’t share your email address with anyone or spam you.

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One more thing, I’d also appreciate if you’d follow my other accounts on social media sites where you’re active. I’m happy to follow back so if you’re one of my readers, leave a comment and let me know you followed because of this blog post and I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Here are the links to my social media accounts Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ 

Phew, I’ll admit, that was difficult for me. And I just want to say thanks again for reading my blog and supporting me. You have no idea how much it means to me. You’re all great!

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Be a good little manuscript!

Be a good little manuscript!

I’ve sent my baby out into the world. If my manuscript were a person, he’d have just gotten on the bus wearing a little backpack. And I’m standing in the driveway waving goodbye with tears streaming down my face.  bus-school-school-bus-yellow-159658

Goodbye, my darling.

My stomach is tied up in knots. Is he prepared? Did I do everything I could do to make sure he would perform well out there on his own?

I sent my manuscript to a beta reader, a critique partner, and an editor. I’m very nervous to find out what they’ll think. (It’s stomach churning misery)

This time is difficult for me. I’m already trying to find ways to occupy my time. I don’t think I’m quite ready to move on to a new manuscript but maybe I’ll work on my query and a synopsis. Did I ever mention how much I hate writing a synopsis? I REALLY hate it. It’s torture for me.

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Eh, maybe I’ll put that off a little longer. Ha!

I could paint (I’m not good at it but I enjoy it) or practice my guitar. I might do some reading or binge-watch The Sopranos.

Whatever I do to occupy my mind, I’m excited for my little manuscript to come back to me because however he does out there in the world, I’m very proud of him.

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And as always, I’ll be working on my Patreon page to share some of my writing with my patrons.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

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Procrastination Queen

Procrastination Queen

Hey, friends,

So, as you know, I finished writing the first draft of my novel. YAY!!!! As much as that was a huge accomplishment for me, the hardest work is ahead.

Editing! Over and over and over, I’ll have to read this novel and find plot holes, inconsistent character traits, sentences that don’t make a lick of sense (oh, man that happens more than it should), wrong word usage, etc. This part is tough for me. I think the biggest reason is that I keep saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m such a crap writer!” and I will tinker with the same sentence over and over and over. Remove the comma. Stare. Add the comma back in. Take it out. Turn the sentence into two. Make it one sentence again. Add the comma. Stare. Delete the entire sentence.

This may be why I’ve all of a sudden become the crowned Queen of Procrastination.

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I got off to a good start on the first day. I edited the first two chapters, but then I really earned my crown.

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What did I do to earn my crown? Well, I sat around watching movies. It’s so important to clear those movies off my Netflix list, you know. I’ve been tweeting and playing hashtag games. I’ve watched Youtube videos. I’ve researched screenplays (like I need anything else to work on right now). Oh, and I’ve suddenly found Snapchat filters to be a very important use of my time.

I feel so much better now. Glad I got that done.

Sigh.

I know I need to sit my ass in the chair and edit these chapters. Once I get the second draft done, I’ll be able to turn the novel over to my first reader. And that might be another reason I’m dragging my feet so hard. It’s terrifying to share my work. Even though my first reader is someone I trust completely and someone who has been honest but gentle with feedback on my other novels, I’m still scared. I’m scared to reach each new step.

I’m scared of sharing with betas and critique partners. I’m scared of rewrites. I’m scared of querying and the rejection that will come with it.

But I’m going to take a deep breath and stop with all the procrastination. I’m going to take off my crown and remember how much I love my stories and how good it does feel when I finally do share them.

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

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Fellow INFPs, do you feel me?

Fellow INFPs, do you feel me?

Oh, my fellow INFPs, can you tell me? Do you feel fundamentally flawed?

Much of the time, I feel like nobody understands me. So many people seem to operate on logic and don’t understand that I am based in the heart. I must seem ridiculous to them, and I find that when I speak to them I have trouble packaging my words in a way that helps them understand how I’m feeling or why I feel the way I do. And I’ll admit I don’t always understand them either. How does one work from the mind and not from the heart?

I feel destined to be misunderstood and alone. All the things they love about me come from the same place as the things maybe they don’t love so much.

All that they adore in us can turn into the reasons they chose to ignore us. Our passion. Our heart.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt ashamed of the way I am. I noticed I was different–more sensitive–than others. Hiding the tears I cried during sad movies. Plastering on the fake smile that I cultivated to cover the injury inflicted upon me by the simplest of statements (to them) until I was alone and it dripped down my face like melting wax lips.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve worked hard to embrace my sensitivity and what makes me…me.  But it’s tough when a friend tells you that maybe you aren’t worth their friendship because you get sad or upset when they attack something that you are extremely passionate about. They don’t understand that it feels like the world might crumble without those things which make your heart soar. Without which, we might stay hidden in the dark shadows that our pain buries us in. Often times, they don’t even see how what they may have said could be perceived as an attack at all. Are we unsolvable puzzles to others?

When I love someone and find them worthy of my attention, I love them deep within every cell of my body. This doesn’t happen often. I don’t have many people that I want to focus on in such a grand way, but when I find them, it is like magic. They are magic. But if they end up rejecting me, it feels like a world of color was suddenly reduced to gray.

They may not understand that because I care for them so much, their words can sting more than anything brought upon me by those I do not give a shit for. I guess that is a lot of responsibility to put on someone who may not understand the space in which I live.

But I don’t think they understand the heavy load that my affections place on my shoulders. I feel the pain of others deeply and am often compelled to listen and help. Their pain becomes my pain. If someone or something matters to me, I will put everything I’ve got into making it all better for them.

But not everyone is like this. Sometimes when I need an understanding ear or hand to hold, I can come up empty. Left to shoulder the torturous burdens alone. Not that other types are bad. They just don’t see or feel things the way I do. I understand that they are not trying to neglect or hurt me but they are…different. But understanding that fact doesn’t lift the clouds, does it?

So, am I meant to be alone?

Perhaps this why so many of our kind turn to the pen. The page will always understand the rhythms to which our hearts thump. Putting our words into black and white feels like the safest way to express and release our pain. Maybe no one will read or listen but it helps when we can transform our feelings–heart–into art.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

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INFP me.

INFP me.

I’ll never forget the first time I took the Myers-Briggs Personality test and learned I was an INFP. It was a little creepy how well the test knew me, but it was also a relief to read that there are others out there like me. Even though I tend to be a loner, I felt so much less alone.

To be honest, I’ve always been embarrassed by the way I am. I remember always crying at movies when others didn’t, desperately trying to stop the tears from forming then falling, and when they did, quickly trying to wipe them away before others saw. One time, when I was little, I vividly remember watching an episode of Highway to Heaven. In the episode, a homeless boy wishes that someone would love him, Jonathan comes to him to make his wish come true. It had a happy ending. I cried and cried. My sister laughed. Her laughter stung.

I learned to be embarrassed by who I am. “Too idealistic, too altruistic, impractical, taking things personally, and hard to get to know” these are the weaknesses of the INFP.  These are my weaknesses.

Yes, I am hard to get to know, and it takes a long time before I show people the real me. There are only a handful of people who truly know me. So when I finally let someone in, and they disappoint idealistic me, it hurts immensely.

I’m so thankful to be a writer. I could let the pain and shame about how I react consume me. But now, I take to the page and turn all the negative feelings I have for myself into works that I’m proud of.

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Do you know your personality type?

Are you an INFP, like me? How do you work through your “weaknesses?”

You can find out more about the INFP personality type here

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

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How to read more

How to read more –

I’ve admitted before that I’m a reluctant reader. I don’t ravenously devour books. I don’t have the kind of swoony love affair that others seem to have with them. Now, when I do find a book that grabs me, I fall head over heals in love. Like those Matthew McConaughey movies where he’s this big playboy until he meets that one special girl.

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When I find that special book, you know what it’s like? It’s like I’m Angela Chase obsessing over Jordan Catalano!

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Unfortunately, there aren’t many Jordan Catalanos leaning against lockers waiting to steal my heart (Ah, I love the way he leans). For me, the book world contains a lot more Brian Krakows.

Now, I LOVE to tell stories. I think people assume that all writers love to read, but it’s just not true for me. They are two different activities. I mean, I like to eat but don’t necessarily like to cook. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

But I know I have to read to be a better writer. It’s studying. I have to do it because I want to be the best at what I do, so I’m willing to put in the work. (Keeping my fingers crossed each time I open a cover that love is waiting inside!) And I’ve been reading a lot more. A LOT more! It’s gotten easier. How? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I’ve made a list of all the things that make it easier. I’m sharing because maybe it’ll help other reluctant readers.

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1) No guilt over how long it takes me to read a book. I’m always slow. And who cares? What does it matter how fast you travel from cover to cover? Maybe us slow readers are the ones who are stopping along the way to smell the roses. Besides, anyone who cares how long it takes you is kind of a jerk.

2) If a first chapter is painful to read, toss it aside! It’ll only reinforce your belief that reading is a horrible task. Reading isn’t horrible, the crap book is.

3) I take recommendations. This is how I found THE WHEEL OF TIME series. I’m enjoying it, and I plan to finish the whole thing (slowly).

4) When I do take recommendations, I don’t care to pretend I think it’s awesome or even that I’m willing to finish it. “Good, but not my cup of tea” is a good line to throw out there.

5) Read outside the stuff you’d find at Barnes & Noble. There are a lot of good books published by small presses that don’t make it into the stores as well as good self-published books. Did you ever consider that you just may not like the stuff that’s meant to sell to the masses? Sure, there’s some self-published crap, but then you return to number 2 on the list -you don’t have to read the whole thing! And a lot of times, the ebooks are free or 99 cents on Amazon. That’s better than picking something up at a bookstore, paying a lot more, and it ends up being crap too. I’ve started quite a few books I hated recently and was glad I got them at the library instead of the bookstore. You don’t have to have a big bookshelf to impress anyone.

6) I require absolute silence when reading! I’ve learned not to try to read anywhere women gather and have unreasonably loud conversations. There are always these loud moms roaring on about their Disney Cruiseline vacations and who booked a more lavish trip! And by the way, WHY do people talk so loud? Especially when the person they’re talking to is sitting right next to them? But loud-talkers are a whole other topic. I used to constantly try reading in places that weren’t silent, and I’d end up reading the same line over and over. It was frustrating! Once again it reinforced the belief that it was the reading I hated and not what I now recognize as a hatred for overly loud people. I want to fall into a different world, and I can’t do that when some lady is bragging about the size of her husband’s SUV.

7) Most importantly – I read what I want! For the longest time, I was embarrassed to read middle-grade fantasy in public. Then I stopped caring what other people thought.

So that’s it. I hope it helps.

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau