Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG October 2018--The Reality of a Writer


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the October posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

I wrote my post before I read the month's question, however, I think they fit rather well in the end.

The October Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

My husband thinks of me as a dreamer. For the most part, he's right, but I'm also a realist. You have to be if you're going to answer the question of why you write honestly.

Why do you write?

I write for me.

If all the books I've published disappeared from the world today, no one would miss them. I know that for a fact. Oh, sure. My mom would miss them. Maybe my kids. My good friend Kathy who has beta read every one and given invaluable advice on all of them. Maybe a handful of people that know me personally. But the world will not miss my stories. And I'm okay with that because I didn't write them for the world.

I wrote The Magic Wakes as part of my healing process from a traumatic experience and resulting depression.

Stellar Cloud is a collection of blog fest pieces from when I was blogging almost every day and reading hundreds of blogs a day. For me, it represents those friendships that helped me through some really hard times and helped me find my way as a new wanna-be author.

I wrote Fade Into Me for my girls. It was the first novel that I knew what the theme was before I wrote it. This story was a turning point for me with my writing. Still far from perfect, its a story from my heart just for them.

Even my romances are personal. Chocolate Kisses came about because a good friend's teen daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She is this beautiful harpist--seriously she looks like an angel sitting on stage playing--and my brain started asking all these questions. Landscape Love was written at a time when I desperately needed to feel like I was enough. Through writing it I learned that sometimes we simply need to be enough for ourselves and the rest will follow.

Even the new book, The Hand of Atua, is about my journey of faith. Sure it's set in space, filled with war, refugees, pain and suffering. But it's really about two people learning to trust in their god. Learning that when he says "they are in my hands" all will be well, even if he calls them home instead of saving them.

So you see, it's okay that my constant begging for reviews falls on deaf ears. Right now, at this moment, I remember why I wrote those stories in the first place. They were for me. It doesn't matter what others think. I don't need their validation today (maybe tomorrow, lol!). But tomorrow I can come back and read this post and remember again.

I write for me and it is enough.


Have you reached the point where it's enough for you?

I have also started a private facebook group for people who are willing to read and critique early versions of my projects and who want free books in exchange for honest reviews on Amazon. If you're interested (all you need to be is a reader!) check it out.



Charity's Street Team
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This is a work in progress, but it will be a group where the people who read early versions of my books and give me good feedback can meet and discuss. There will also be opportunities to receive early copies of new releases for honest reviews.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September IWSG--Calmer Emotions With Better Perspective

Last week I ran away with my family for a cruise. Getting away--no phones, no internet, no one needing anything from me, and sadly no writing either--was exactly what I needed. I didn't even get to read that much. The experience helped me get my perspective back though. 

I had been creating my own emotional turmoil because I was falling behind my goals. For some reason, I'd forgotten I was in charge of MY GOALS! Timelines can change if they need to. Especially when there hasn't been adequate time to work on a project and no one else is demanding it be finished. No matter how much I want to release it by Christmas, it will be much better to wait and put the time in that it needs to solve the problems with the plot and some major pacing issues.

This was confirmed by a few comments from a beta reader Sunday. I was lucky enough to have another author agree to read for me. Better yet, he'll be the first man to read this mess of a story. I miss having men in writer's group! He's only been through a few chapters and he's seen things that once mentioned are obvious. Sadly, they were not to my female mind. 

Funny how a few simple comments can put a mind at ease. I knew something was off, that's why I couldn't finish the story, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Now that I have a direction to work, I feel so much better. And, I'm fine not publishing this book until next year.

It'll be worth the wait, I promise! 


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The September question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

My first novels were traditionally published because I had no idea what I was doing. I'm glad I went that route. It allowed me time to learn and grow while a team of people helped me get started. It was a smaller publisher though. This simply means they put the money up front into the cover, editing, typesetting, put the books on Amazon and moved on. There was no marketing and no timely reporting to let me know if my marketing efforts were getting results. I eventually made the move to get my rights back for those books.

All my books are now self-published. I've found that the control freak in me likes being able to access stats any time I want. If I'm running a promotion or ad, I can watch in real time to see what works and what doesn't. No more wasting time or money. Plus, I love searching for the perfect cover and having more control over that first impression. Now if something's not working, I know it's my fault and I fix it. It's quite liberating.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

August Frustrations for IWSG

I'm kind of an emotional mess right now. At the beginning of the summer I set goals for my writing for the rest of the year. They were realistic and completely possible. However, I'm falling farther and farther behind. I'd like to blame circumstances and other people in my life for this, but the truth is I'm the one that allows everyone and everything else to interfere with my writing time.

For instance, last week I made plans to physically leave my house for 2 hours on two different days so I could write. I should have turned off my phone. But I didn't. I ended up using half of my writing time to work on preparedness fair stuff because of incoming phone calls. Now, this is something else important in my life right now, and it has to be done, but other professionals know how to block out their time and stick to a plan. I need to learn how to do this.

Then there is my family and friends. I love them. So when one of them says, "Hey, let's go do (fill in the blank)" I drop everything and that's what we do. Most of my family now lives near me so my week can fill up quickly with different invitations. I don't want anyone to feel like my writing is more important than them, but I need to learn to say "sure, but can we do it after 11:00" or maybe a different day, or something.

My need for everyone to be happy with me is killing my writing time and putting me farther behind on my goals. Eleena's story should have been finished a month ago and handed to beta readers by now. It still needs an ending. I made some progress, but it isn't finished. It NEEDS to be finished now if I have any hope of publishing it by Christmas.

Pray for me? I'm starting to think that's my only hope. The good news is school starts in two weeks and that will mean less running around during the day. That should give me time to sit and get my two hours of writing in EVERY DAY. With that, I should be able to finish quickly. Then I'll have to hope my beta readers are availble to read and comment quickly so I can start revisions.

Everything just takes so much time!

I'm sorry to vent so much this month. When I don't get good writing time in, and when I feel like my goals are being thwarted, I get cranky and negative. Here's hoping I'm in a much better mood by September.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The August question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Don't worry about following all the rules or trying to make everyone happy. I did that. In the early days, I tried to shape my story to make every critique partner happy. It took a while to learn that as a writer, you will never be able to make every reader happy. When people read your story they will get different things out of it because we all have different experiences that shape our perspective.

The fix for this is to make yourself happy with the story. Look at the comments from your early readers and ask, "will a change here make MY story better?" If not, move on and throw that comment away. Sometimes a comment can show you where a weakness lies in your plot that needs to be fixed even if it isn't in the way suggested by the critiquer. Be willing to see that and take the steps necessary. So, keep an open mind, but keep your story and goals your own as you sift through each piece of advice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July IWSG Post, A Day Early But Dragging Behind!

I just noticed we were posting a day early instead of tomorrow on the 4th. The last few days have been crazy busy and I'm just getting a chance to sit down and post something. 

First off, I'm in a pretty good place. The insecurities are there, but I think they are under control for the moment. Saturday I released a new book into the world. It was my best to date as far as preorders go. Now, if only a good handful of those will turn into reviews. That's always a challenge. I was feeling nervous, okay, terrified really, about the release until earlier today. 

Why? 

Spice level of the romance. It's pretty spicy. Clean, but the kissing is intense. :) My first romance was definitely sweet and had some meatier substance to it with the examination of Kerri's illness. This one is completely different. That scares me a little, but it also makes me feel good that the characters aren't the same. They are unique, as is their story. Now that I've come to terms with that, I'm ready to move on to the next story. (Oh, Landscape Love will be on sale for 0.99 until July 5th. Just click on the link in the left sidebar)

I've been reading Eleena's story. It's still not finished but only needs another 5000 words or so. Basically, it needs the ending. Then I can start the revision process to clean and polish it up. It's not in bad shape either. That's got me pretty excited. I might be able to get it out in time for Christmas.

So, for today, I'm just going to set new goals. I'll need you to keep me accountable!

End of 2018 Goals:
1. Finish draft of Eleena's story (no later than the end of July)
2. Do clean up revisions on Eleena (need a good name for this one) and get to beta readers by end of September
3. Draft Jennifer's story by end of August/ mid-September. This might be a stretch, but I have an outline and several scenes sketched out already. Since it will only be around 50K it's totally possible. 
4. I'd love to get both of these stories back from beta readers and published by the end of the year. 
5. If I finish everything above--get Selena's story drafted for a spring 2019 release and get back to book 3 of Talia's series. 



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

July 3 question - What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My ultimate writing goal is to continue improving my writing skills as I share the characters and stories in my head. I want to be able to connect with people on an emotional level with all of my stories by digging deeper and writing with honesty. 

It's never been about money, so that hasn't changed, but now I don't care so much about finding an agent and big publisher. I'm comfortable with the self-publishing because it's about sharing my heart along with my characters. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG May Fun and June Releases!

First, sorry I missed everyone last month. May was crazy busy, but wonderful. Hubby and I drove down to Dallas to see Les Miserables, we had all the end of school year stuff for my boys, and then hubby and I went to Ireland for 10 glorious days! 

Cliffs of Moher
Dublin

Texas was a quick getaway, but Dublin was amazing. My hubby was going for a week of work and I was super lucky to tag along. We went a few days early so we could get out in the country and do some sight seeing. It was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and we walked 30 miles (according to my fitbit) the first 3 days we were there. Once hubby went to work, so did I. 

I settled into the hotel and finished Landscape Love and sent it off to my beta readers. That only took two days, so I still had plenty to get out in the city on my own to explore. Since returning, I've been working on revisions and edits to get LL ready to release at the end of the month. Here is where the insecurities come in.

Landscape Love is only my second straight up romance. That still makes me nervous, but this one is also spicier than the first novel. That in itself isn't the main issue. My biggest concern is that my  main character is Hispanic and often slips into Spanish when she's nervous or angry. I'm not Hispanic. I don't speak Spanish. See where my insecurity comes in? 

What if google translate has steered me wrong? What if I have my character saying something that culturally would never be said or what if I offend someone? In an effort to avoid these things, I have a dear friend reading for me right now. She's helping me tweak the Spanish to what she would have said, and I've asked her to let me know if there is anything/anywhere she would have viewed the situation differently or handled it differently. Hopefully that will be enough. 

Now, in my head I know I can't make everyone happy, but it would be nice, you know?

The good news is my writers group have found this story to be as funny in spots as I thought it was. That makes me happy. It was a fun time writing and I hope others have a fun time reading. 

It's up for pre-order now.

Have you written about a different ethnic group or culture other than your own? How did you research and were you a basket case knowing others were going to read it?




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

June 6th question: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Definitely book titles. I kind of suck at it! In fact, I still don't have a good one for Eleena's story (my next scifi) and I've been working on it for two years now. Nothing seems to fit or sound like a book anyone would pick up. I'm really hoping some of my awesome beta readers can help me come up with something in the next few months because I really hope to finish it and get it out by the end of the year. 

Characters just come to me and most of the time they tell me their names pretty quickly. There was only one time I struggled with a name. That was Caedan in Fade Into Me. He had about seven different names before the book was released. I almost gave up on him!
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