Keep Writing. Keep Creating. #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone. Today, I want to be encouraging and brutally honest. On social media and in emails, plus writer groups, I’ve witnessed so many authors struggling. And it brings me to my post today to reiterate something I’ve spoke of before, but also the awareness about this business as it stands for many right now.

It’s been a difficult year in publishing and it has shaken many authors to their souls. Many have considered hanging up their author hats because of low sales and the closings of most notable publishers – Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing and All Romance eBooks. Regardless of why they closed (at least for two of them who took author’s monies and ran away), it’s disheartening to see this happen. The cause overall is low sales. Across the board, there is suffering from this factor. All authors are feeling it – whether self-pubbing or hybrid (authors who do both). Many say that love makes the world go round. I’m a realist, and let’s face it, money makes the world go round. People need it to live on and nothing in this life comes for free.

What blows in all this mayhem of author’s self-doubts and reevaluations the most is the stories we may lose from these very talented authors. It’s heartbreaking to hear of those who have stories to tell who won’t share them with the world any longer. Being an artist, a creative soul – of art, writing, music – is that the heart and soul of these individuals all have stories to tell with their crafts. If they can’t do that and profit from it, unfortunately, it can be damaging to their happiness and stifling creativity can lead to depression and loss of value in oneself. The loss of trust in those who were running businesses and supposedly working with the authors’ best interests (and abiding contracts) is inexcusable and can feel like we’ve gone 20 rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard. I have had the experience myself, lost hundreds of dollars and had to jump through hoops and land mines to get rights back to books when the publisher breached contracts. It was heartbreaking and stressful. And while it was agony and I didn’t want to deal with any of it any longer, my characters continued talking, my heart ached for stories that I wanted to write and I forged on. For the words, the characters, the writing I needed to do.

Many authors have lost faith in this business due to the publishers who have taken their money and been dishonest, stomped all over contracts and treated them like shit. It is so frustrating at the dishonesty we’ve seen as of late. I can’t blame any authors for wanting to run for the hills and who want to protect what stories they do have. It’s become a cruel business for many, in a lot of ways, but I do hope with all my heart that every author – aspiring or with a catalogue of a hundred titles – can find the median they need in order to continue writing. There are stories within all of us that need to be told.

I encourage any authors doubting themselves or the business to ponder all sides. Sales may be down, but is it only the money you’re after? If it is, well that’s your business, and while I believe it’s doing it for the incorrect reasons, remember the artistry in your soul. Do you wish to reach people with your stories, have that creativity inside you that you wish to share? If you simply wish to write stories then do so. True authors can’t go long without writing a story, can’t stop hearing those characters in their heads and their hearts bursting with stories that must be told. That is the main reason why authors need to forge on. KEEP WRITING.

If some wish to take the time to sit back, reevaluate the business and recharge after so many blows, then do so. But never stop writing. Write until your WIP folder is full. Always keep that storyteller in you alive. And one day, six months or two years from now, you’ll have succeeded in honoring yourself and created stories and worlds that are full of passion and adventure, and you’ll want to enter this business again. I’m all for taking that time away from this business, but never stop writing. This business changes daily, with many hills and valleys. But a creative mind/soul never stops. Do not close the door to this business completely.

I know many authors are still struggling with decisions about the business and if it’s worth it. I wish them all the best of luck, I really do. And I pray that they never give up completely. True artistry needs to be explored and stories need to be told. Authors, as I said, aspiring or otherwise, write the stories alive inside you and then find the path in publishing that is best for you and honors the work you’ve created. But keep writing.

 

Until next week,
KEEP WRITING!

Kacey (2)

Inspirations and Word Counts #SatisfactionSaturday @KaceyHammell

 

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Good morning everyone! Kacey here again. I hope you had a fabulous week and accomplished a lot of writing. It was a 6k writing week for me. Not too shabby but I’m not 100% pleased with myself either. However, it is much better than that dull boring old word – nil, zilch, nada, zero, zip, zippo, naught, nothing – so I can’t get too down considering what I did accomplish.

I usually post my words for the day/week in a couple author groups, on my publisher group of writing encouragement that we have, and the like. Yesterday morning I did the usual update and later in the day received an email from an author this afternoon who wanted to know how I could accomplish high results, and what keeps me inspired.

Now, I’ve shared a post or two in the past about inspiration, but I got thinking, perhaps it bears repeating. It’s never redundant – IMO – to share words of encouragement, resolution, being there for others when they’ve either hit writer’s block, or their imaginations are sparking that day. So, I decided to sit back for a couple hours and think of some of the things that have helped me, inspired me and kept me going over the last 3-4 weeks, which helped me accomplish about 25,000 words.

First off, knowing that there is nothing currently on my “Coming Soon” page. I had a new release in Dec, Jan & Feb. 2 were new works (which took me a year to write both during health issues), and a re-release from a previous—now dead—publisher, and I’ve been steadily increasing word count in my latest WIP. I know myself well enough now that it takes me more than a month to write a full length book – I mean 40,000 and up. If I was working on a story that was say 10-15,000 words then it might only take me 4-6 weeks, and that’s with no interruptions. I’ve learned this about myself and know that a story is done when it’s done. I never set a word count – unless for an anthology, but that rarely works out for me because I can’t seem to stay within the word count limit – so the stories are done when my characters say they are. Now, with nothing on the upcoming page, I’m eager to get my stories done and see there is more on the horizon. Oh, I know I can self-pub as I do on the side (being a Hybrid author and all that fun), but I write the stories for characters who are active in my head. Overall, the drive to have more in readers hands drives me, as it should all authors.

Second, I’ve been distracted to a point, though it’s helped to distract me FROM what’s happening in my life away from writing. My second child is heading off to college, out of town in Sept, so the writing is keeping me from thinking about it too much. And it’s kept me focused on something I can control. With him leaving, I don’t feel that control of knowing every moment that he’s safe, his Diabetes is maintained and overall just worry for him. So, if this keeps up, and when he does go off to school, boy I might just have novel after novel done because it distracts me from my worrying and concern. And hell, the lack of control of keeping him close and understanding that he needs to spread his wings.  Sometimes, life outside of writing can help. But I do not love it. Not a bit. But I’ll use the emotions to further my writing career along.

I’ve also taken to going back and reading some of my earlier work. For me, it’s motivated me to write deeper and fuller characters than what my older (3-4 year old works) titles had. I love all my characters, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve familiarized myself with them again and all the things that make them tick. But I also look at them now as a reader. I now see even more richness to each character. So much so, that if the time ever comes to re-release or revise them, I actually have some notes on my tablet copies in areas to enhance and bolster. I can also see my growth as an author and wanting to “show off” some of those new ways I’ve grown and learned into the new stories.  I never thought I would use older titles to pump me up and remind me why I love writing so much, but I’m glad I did. At first it was because I wanted to revisit a character again and couldn’t sleep. Now, I’ve read 4 old titles again and am inspired to do more with them at a later time, and to push myself even further as a writer.

Music. I live and breathe music on a regular basis. Growing up, and with my own kids, it’s every genre possible that is always playing in our house. If we are cleaning rooms, dusting, rearranging anything or just hanging out playing a board game, we have an endless playlist of songs always going. I go through periods where I have to write in silence and others when music has to be playing. I’m in the place now where I need the music to be pumping hard in the background, a sexy song to get the erotic feels moving and the sad songs to punch me in the gut when writing a crucial heartbreaking scene. Lately, Ed Sheeran is a huge inspiration to me right now. His latest album, Divide, is exactly what I needed. As well, the 50 Shades soundtracks have helped a lot (though I’m not that big a fan of the books or movies) then did some fantastic magic with the soundtracks. Give me some smooth jazz and great R&B, and I’m happy. Things start to come to live when I can feel the beat thumping through my head. I close my eyes and can just let the music lead the character forward, propelling them into a great pace and the words flowing.

And of course, the simple amazing photos online helps so much. Hot sexy men and women photos that get the thoughts running rampant are a must. I use places like stock photo sites, Pinterest and Facebook to spot moving photos and looking for those images that spark a thought, a single sentence which can lead to a whole book, or simply take my breath away. And I am not just talking about sexy photos or erotic couples in each other’s arms; I’m talking any kind of photos. I visit cover artist, Jay Aheer’s “Simply Defined Art” Facebook Page a lot. The visionary greatness of her creations is always inspiring to me. She creates powerful and compelling images that I can’t even begin to figure out how, and I’m left breathless and pondering the emotions coming from each one.

Of course, I have to share something from Ed that is playing all the time here.

There are many more ways that author’s use to feel/be inspired and create great stories with. These are a few of mine, which have kept me sane, but I do have a few other author’s advice to what helps them that I plan to try if my normal routes don’t work. I’ll keep you posted on anything new that might help.

To be honest, the other thing I did just a couple days ago was … I took a day off! A full day of little social media, didn’t even take my notebook and pens with me to write if something struck me, and I played hooky all day with my husband. We didn’t do anything that would make anyone jealous – like take a cruise or anything LOL – we just went and did normal married couple, we are thinking of renovating a few household things – and then had a long lunch full of laughter and talking. No cell phones on the table, no computers, no cares or worries (our children have specific ringtones on our phones so if it wasn’t one of those, we didn’t care), and just vegged and hung out. I took a day off without even thinking about the words I still had to do, the blog posts or what story would be next, I simply took a day off and boy did I need it. More than I thought.

So, let’s add that to the list. Take a day off every now and then and just live. Leave everything else behind and simply recharge.

 

Until next week,
Happy Writing!!

Kacey (2)

 

 

 

 

Characters #SatisfactionSaturday @KaceyHammell

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Good morning all! Hope you’ve had a great week. Chilly here today. The cold temps have returned to Ontario, and I’m extremely bummed about it. We got a touch of spring and Mother Nature has taken it away again.

As always, every blog post is from my pov and my take on how things work/don’t work in my writing/my career. This week, I want to talk about characters. I’ve always been a believer, since I read my first Nora Roberts way back, that the characters are what drive stories. The characters are the heart and soul of the story and good writing, not the plots. It’s Roarke & Eve from JD Robb’s “In Death” series that keep me coming back. Harry, Hagrid, Hermoine & Ron kept me coming back to the Harry Potter saga. And even movies … It is Dominic Toretto & Brian Connor that have kept me returning to the Fast & Furious franchise. As well as John McClane that has me watching Die Hard twice a year.

Whenever I start to get ready to write a story, it isn’t the outline I spend more time on, it’s the character spreadsheet. I need to know what drives the H/H. Their occupation, their childhood problems that have followed into adulthood, where they met their BFFs, what were some hobbies. Plus what their parents were like, what kind of music and movies they like and what they collect as a hobby. Some of the answers to these questions may never make it into every story, but it gives me a much better sense of who I am writing. I want to know everything about them that I possibly can, as well as what brings those secondary characters into their stories. For me, the more I know, the more I have to build on.

In knowing the above, it gives me a better understanding as to what the angst/trouble/struggle is for the characters. And sometimes it’s the minute details that can become a barrier for me as I write, possibly hitting a roadblock, and the only way I can get through it is to know things about my characters – mainly to become a better writer IMO – which readers may never see. Every story has hurdles for the characters; it is never smooth sailing, so the journey, and overcoming those feats make for some great writing. I also learn what the characters determination/motivation is and where it comes from. Having the insight to what each character needs and wants, and the way that s/he will go about obtaining everything is something I need to know from the beginning. Things will shift and change a bit as I write but it gives me a starting point. It also gives me a direction to go with the characters, their arc, and how it evolves from page to page. The heroine may start off as a quiet, button-up librarian or teacher at the beginning of the story, but the hope is that she evolve into a spitfire bombshell comfortable in her own skin by the end.

No information is too much for me. Everything that matters to my characters matters to me. They make the story, I just write their journey onto the screen/paper. Some authors are probably reading this thinking I’m off my rocker and saying to just sit and write, and that’s fine, but everyone’s process is different. I go where the characters lead me and their openness in the beginning makes it much easier to write the story, as well as understand their reasons and motives for whatever happens.

It makes for a better writing relationship as well.

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing.

Kacey (2)

What’s Your Name Again? #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning all. Happy Saturday. It is the last weekend in February and I feel like I haven’t accomplished a lot this month. Time is simply flying by too quick.

As always, I try and speak from personal experience only and happenings in my life as a writer, even personally. I came across an older email from an author colleague from a while back and it got me thinking for today’s post. In that email, the author wanted some help with character names. I love the process of coming up with the right names for each character. And yes, as some may have noticed in the past when I share my rituals, I have a spreadsheet of names that pop into my head, I hear on tv or read in magazines. I’ll put my own spins on some of them, and the list is so long, I don’t think I’ve even used 1/3 of them. I find the more unique ones, I’d rather save for paranormal stories, but each name has to fit the personality / quirks of the character. And I’ll cross out names I’ve used in any books, whether main or secondary characters.

Sometimes I start with a name that gets changed through from draft to draft. When I start writing a minor outline of traits for the characters (ie: eyes, age, etc.), the name I come up with doesn’t end up matching who the character evolves to be. When I have the character age firm as well, I’ll do the dreaded math to figure out what year the character was born in, then I look at the popular names from that year, for authenticity purposes. This is important to me because I wouldn’t want to see a name like Blue Ivy or North on a 50+ year old heroine/hero. Those names weren’t really thought of that many years ago and in keeping with the quality of the story, and to show that I did do some research LOL, it’s important to me and wouldn’t be authentic.

Also, one thing I do regularly when the name sticks, is research the name to get the origin of it, and variants of spelling. It’s nice to play a bit with the names, change spellings and such, and liven things up a bit. Most readers probably don’t notice names that much, spellings or even guess the origins, but as an author of the work, it is those little things (which are big to me) that matter. It’s part of my creativity process and putting 10,000% into every story. There is the odd time, I will just do something fun and not obsess too much about the name, but it depends on the story. For example, with Payback’s A Bitch, which is probably my fave story that was the most fun to write, Lark seemed to fit into the breeziness of the heroine and who she is. Not much weighed Lark down and she was all about living life to the fullest. I’m not even sure where I heard the name Lark but it seemed to work so well for her and the story.

Every author has his/her quirks and the naming of characters is one of mine. And no, I don’t figure out the ages of the characters in books I read, then look up that year, and get peeved if the author gave a name that wasn’t even thought of in that year. I’m not quite that bad. However, as the writer, I can be as anal about things as I wish to be. Authors all have those certain habits and rules they abide by that aren’t broken often.

But it is important to do some research and at least give characters names from at least around the decade of their age. Makes things a bit more believable.

That’s it for me this week. Another crazy quirk coming from the desk of Kacey. *g*

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey (2)

 

 

A Quick Drive By… #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

 

Good morning all. Happy Saturday. It is Kacey again, but this week is only a quick drive by.

We’ve been without internet for a couple days and I am only able to type away on my phone using data (sorry no images this week for that reason). But I wanted to fulfill my weekly post regardless and simply wish you all HAPPY WRITING vibes. I hope you are all got mega amounts of words in this past week, and for the week ahead.

I have been very lucky and managed about 15000 in my WIP. It is steadily growing and over 31000. I am super happy about that.

So, I hope you are writing up a storm and loving your job! I am rootin’ for all of you!

You know, this no internet thing is a blessing as well. I feel great, less distractions and social media negatives not bringing me down.

Perhaps there is something to going without internet…

Hmmm, something to ponder.

 

Until next week,

Happy writing!!!

 

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Writing the First Book in a Series #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

 

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Good morning and Happy Saturday. Already the 2nd weekend in February. And it is not any warmer than it was last week. If anything, this week has been one of the worst this season. Freezing rain all day Tuesday, snow overnight last night, and expected again on Sunday. I will be glad to see winter end. I know, I’m a Canadian girl and I should be used to it by now, but the older I get (I’m a young 42), the harder the winters seem to be. However, it makes for some writing hours! *g* The silver lining, right?

Which brings me to this week’s post…writing that first book in a series. I have many series on the go. I LOVE to read them, think that Harlequin/Silhouette got me hooked many years ago (at the age of 14) when I found Nora Roberts, Joan Johnston and Debbie Macomber. I have 7 series on the go. Yes, 7, and none of them are fully complete. Now, in my defense – and the writer brain working as it does – after I write a story set in one world/series, I have to move away from those characters/the world, and move on to something else. As a reader, I don’t mind the wait for the next book in an author’s series, as I understand the writer’s mind has …well, a mind of its own. As much as I know readers would prefer I finish up one series before moving on to the next – and I know many authors who CAN do it this way – I can’t. I have to give myself a break from those characters and the angst, adrenaline of each story, the energy of it all. I’m unsure why exactly, it’s how it works best for me.

I am sure it hurts my sales, and I do dislike that believe me, but if I push myself too far and go against the norm of things, then I’ll be hurting myself as well as doing an injustice to the characters/story. Should the time ever arise that I can immediately move onto the next in a series, then trust me, I’ll be all over it. I WISH it happened for me like that. But all isn’t lost, as I will come back to those characters/the world…in due time. And when they want to.

But what goes into a series – that first book? A well-rounded posse of characters. To me that is first and foremost. I start with the characters and then build the world from there. For me it makes sense, I can’t build a world without knowing who the characters are – what they do, the baggage/wounds they carry, what drives them, what they want out of life, who they are as lovers, partners, best friends, children, parents and/or siblings.

Book 1 should introduce everyone essential to the series – unless a character pops up in a later book that comes from nowhere and matches one of the primary characters, of course. And when I say introduce, I don’t mean pages of pages of history for each individual, work all that in through the story a bit, but leave a lot of the secondary characters information until their own books. Book 1 should introduce the friends, etc., but book 1 should be all about the hero/heroine of that story. Weave their information through the story as well, build the first book around who they are, and bring those secondary characters into it as need be. They’ll show up, trust me. *g*

Through book 1, reveal the series arc that will be sustained through however many books you perceive the series to be.  When it comes to a series, outlining is quite important. I use spreadsheets with all the information – character name, occupation, physical traits, what happens to them in each book, who they are to everyone within the story, etc, etc. I suggest every author use one for a series, that way you will have the information throughout the series readily available to look back at without having to re-read every single book each time. Even though, that too is a great idea. I have done that with every book as I sit to write a new one. But the spreadsheets are easily accessed as I write every book. Saves time as well, when I’m on a writing sprint that is going well and I can glance at the printed copy of the spreadsheet and the info is there.

With the first book of a series, it’s so important that an author make it shine. Even more brilliantly than ever imagined, and take extra time with it. Readers will find that first book, and authors of course want the readers coming back for every single book in the series, so it needs to sparkle like bright lights in a big city. It has to be spectacular. While writing it, even going back to do your self-edits and draft after draft, learn who each individual is as much as possible. You’ll be hanging out with them a lot – most series are 3 books or more – and it’s so, so important to know them as well as you know yourself or your own family. Setting the world for the series needs vivid detail, the deep connections and internal “click” surrounding the characters who are powerful and engaging to the readers. We love series that involve characters who we can identify with, wish were our brothers, sisters, BFFs, etc.  While I am nowhere near JD Robb/Nora Roberts’ standard in writing, though I wish to be one day!, she certainly hit it out of the park with series like – In Death, MacGregors, McKade Brothers, Chesapeake Blue, and I could go on and on.

And when in doubt when a series comes to mind, read!! Read other author’s works that have series. Take that first book from each series and learn from it. See how other authors set up their worlds, the way they introduce characters and how things unfold seamlessly through it. An author’s best learning tool is other authors who have done well with their craft. Of course, don’t steal works but learn the tools of the trade to interweave the valuable info through every sentence and chapter, with every character.

 

Until next week,

Happy reading!! xoxo

Kacey (2)

Edit or Regret It! #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone! Kacey here again. Happy Saturday! I hope your week was amazing and easy. Hectic schedule here but overall, not too shabby of a week. I even had time to get some writing in, which is a blessing, and daily words have increased my WIP nicely.

In one capacity or another I’ve worked with publishers for over a decade. Many roles, many responsibilities and have a decent amount of insight to various practices that each publisher adheres to. With that knowledge, and discussions with other author friends, I’ve come to know which areas need the most author attention with every release.

The short answer of course, is everything. All details must be maintained and all authors should pay attention to every single minute detail. Editing is one that is the biggest *must* for all releases. The top important thing that has to be given every amount of attention and many passes should be given to every MS. Most authors go through 2-3 rounds of edits. I know there are some that only get 1, and that’s fine and dandy, but I personally think all manuscripts have to have at least 2 rounds of edits, then a thorough Line Edit done by the author.

This is my routine anyway. And I am aware that many publishers do have proofreaders/line editors, HOWEVER, I am a firm believer that it is my duty and responsibility to give every story the quality of my time to make it the best ever. Some publishers SAY they have proofers/line editors, but in my experience I have found for some publishers that isn’t always correct. So after completing edits, some places do NOT send it off to any other individuals for their fresh eyes and to perfect the nitpicks that slip through. Editors and authors are human, we all make mistakes and things slip through the cracks.

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But as I said, I feel it falls more at my feet than anywhere to ensure a story shines. After 2 rounds of edits, I have even asked for a 3rd if there is something I am still struggling with, I do my own line edits. I trust my publishers, but I would rather do everything on my end, without having to rely on anyone else. I will clear all comments/track changes from the MS and make a PDF copy of that “final” copy from the last round of edits. I’ll load that PDF onto my tablet and go through every single sentence – checking punctuation, consistencies, plot points and flow – everything that an author is responsible for with his/her story. Whether it is a 5k story or a 90k story, every sentence is scrutinized and polished. And believe it or not, though I have spent hours in front of my desktop working on 2-3 rounds of edits, I find that I see mistakes a lot clearer if I don’t have the pressure of editor notes and seeing anything other than a clean copy. Reading it as if I am seeing it for the first time, going in with that mentality, helps so much. I’ve even come away with 7-8 pages of errors to fix after the line edit. It can take a while, but like with anything someone has pride in, the MS starts with me. The editing and polish of each story has to be done, and start with me. That quote “the buck stops here”, is how I see things when it comes to my stories and what process they must go through. As much as I love my publisher(s), I believe that I must take matters into my own hands in case something falls through on their end. I’m sure it doesn’t happen but “better safe than sorry”. Besides, an author should never expect their editors to make the stories shine, doing all the work for the author. No way.

Trust your publishers, of course. But always remember that you – the author – are the director of your own story and business.

What final product do you wish to have in the readers’ hands?

 

Until next week,

Happy writing! xo

Kacey (2)

There Are No Comparisons #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone! Kacey here again. Another week has come and gone, it’s now the weekend and winter is hanging on by every cold icicle and flake of snow in my part of the world. But I survived another week of winter and with that, I can say, I accomplished something! *g*

I didn’t accomplish as many new words as I’d hoped I would but I ended the week learning something very important…I am an author who writes for herself. My husband and I have had many conversations on increasing sales, it’s an author’s goal to make decent money doing this job – no harm in wanting to do so. Hubby’s usual advice, “find the next trend and/or write the first of its kind that will start a new trend”. Non writers make it sound so easy. I’ve never been a writer who likes being “trendy” or doing what others are doing. The stories I write come to me at the oddest times and weirdest ways, sometimes in dreams, while driving, and Jesus… *blush* … even when cleaning the bathroom! LOL I wasn’t cleaning the commode thankfully, only the mirror and a story sprang to mind. I haven’t finished that particular one just yet but story ideas arrive when we least expect them.

I’ve learned this week not to compare myself to others. All writers have their doubtful moments, think they write a better story than this bestseller or that one, and it could be true. But we have to learn to not compare ourselves to those who might be doing better than we perceive ourselves to me. When these moments happen, think to yourself…

Is the writer happy with what s/he has written? (Sometimes they aren’t but as “bigger” sellers, they have to get that next story out. They MUST produce something in order to remain “at the top”.)

Is it the same old same old thing – different character names and everything else is the same? (Boring! So very boring.}

Is the quality of the written words there, or are we looking at quality for the sake of, again, being “at the top”?

Did writer A, B or C, research the hell out of the locale for the story? Did they put in those minute details of depiction that put a reader directly and firmly in the place (example: Rome), and have no trouble imagining sitting in a café somewhere?

Did they edit that first draft to an inch of its life toward perfection?

Again, and most importantly, is the writer happy?

All these questions should skip through your mind as you sit and compare yourself to another writer. We’re all different in every way possible. The process for every author is vastly different and the big things to some mean little to others. Some authors, truthfully, don’t care about quantity over quality, nor do some care about the context of their erotic romances and abide the no pedophilia, no bestiality, no rape … etcetera etcetera.

YOU can only be YOU. There is only ONE YOU who can tell YOUR stories. Only YOU!

And there is only ONE ME! (Thank goodness lol) The soul that I write with is all mine. Unique to me.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I get caught up in the low sales some quarters, the lists that I don’t make and the lack of productivity I sometimes don’t have on the days that words aren’t flowing. I have to cut myself some slack once in a while, and so do you.

We’ve all said it a time or two on this blog – write for you and you alone. Don’t let the pressures of needing to feel validated by hitting some bestseller list, no matter how nice that is. Or the pressure of pleasing a publisher with more stories to reach some imaginary quota. Don’t push yourself into a corner so much that your writing is stifled.

So, stop comparing yourself to others writers. We’re all different with different goals, aspirations, and our talent for writing great stories is unique to all of us.

Do you. Write for you. And simply be happy. Enjoy the occupation of being an author who has a gift to share.

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Until next week,

Happy Writing. xoxo

Kacey (2)

 

Just Keep Swimming #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

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Good morning everyone. Happy Saturday. Kacey here, not really bright eye and busy tailed — ever wonder who came up with this quote, because aren’t bunnies the only ones with busy tails? — anyway, that’s a post for another day.

What a satisfying week I had, but it didn’t begin that way.

This week reminded me of the craziness of this business. The ups and downs, emotional roller coaster, the head spinning, never ending tumultuous nut-job that it sometimes is. Here’s a crazy look at the week in the life of an author. Mine, of course. It started off with doldrums and woe-is-me kind of day. I was looking at Amazon way too long because of new releases. Their algorithms are torture and the numbers don’t always move as fast as we’d like to show us that our releases are flying out the virtual doors. The new release, time freezes and a lot of it is spent staring at Amazon rankings when time is better spent writing. But it’s a curse, a sickness so to speak when an author has a new release. And like most authors, who do we confide in when we may not see the numbers decreasing quick – another author. I have many wonderful colleagues, friendships built for years who many I consider BFFs for life. My Monday confidant is an author whom I’ve known about six or seven years and we’ve gone through a lot together and we have that friendship that if she lived nearby, we’d spend a lot of time together. Anyway, she talked me off this ledge I didn’t know I was on, reminded me how this biz works and advice I didn’t really know I was searching for. I’ve been contemplating seeking out another publisher to add to my list, because it’s not the best idea to have all your “eggs in one basket”, and I know this. However, with the state of things in the last couple years, publishers closing, aRe’s screwy and deceitful closing, it’s kind of like walking on eggshells. An author has to tread carefully. We have to really dig deep to consider all the aspects/companies, and who the hell to put our trust in. It has become downright scary in many ways. I don’t trust easily and I’m battling with which publishers remain who I can place it in. My goal is to build my readership, and there are still some publishers who are doing things right and to the best levels they can, but I’m just unsure. My author pal gave me great advice, encouragement and guidance. She’s amazing. Her best advice at the end of the day, as I try to find my way and consider everything…

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And then surprisingly, I woke up the next day and slayed some words!! I had a fabulous writing day of 8000 words in one afternoon and the words flowed. I woke up reminded why I love writing and the most important thing I always need to remember … the writing is the most important thing. Get the stories written and the rest will fall in to place. I can’t allow myself to get bogged down in worry and the chaos that sometimes comes with being an author. I love my job, love the process and love the stories I write. The following day was a busy day with other things happening, so just a few words on Wednesday, under 1000 but Thursday was a great day with nearly 4000 words. My WIP is now at 20k! Woot! Which I find is sometimes the hardest number to get to because of the beginning, the intro and/or backstory that has to be there. The set up and, at least for me, the story pretty much takes off after that halfway point for me. I always let the stories tell me what the word count will be, I am an author who doesn’t set that word count ahead of time. I may have a bit of an idea, and if it’s a series title I will consider that the book will be at least as long as previous books, but I never set the word count. I find it allows for better writing. Yesterday was another hectic day and I got some words in my notebook while I was on the go, which sometimes happens, so I don’t know what my count was for yesterday but a couple pages worth. I’ll take it!

In this business we endure many ups and downs and sometimes need the reminders of the good things to carry of through when times are tough. We need to remember why we began writing and simply write because we love it. My week started off in doubt and low self-esteem but thanks to a pal, and to not giving up, the week ended on a serious high note. No one said this business was easy and hey, anything worth having is worth the struggles along with the happy times.

Never give up. Never surrender.

I need to get that on a t-shirt – seven shirts, so I can wear one every day and see the constant reminders. *g*

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey (2)

Be a Glass Half Full Writer #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Good morning everyone. Kacey here again. Happy Saturday. Another balmy and cold day in store for us here in my area of Ontario. Mother Nature is certainly keeping us on our toes with crazy weather. I think she likes playing with us, making each day interesting. I’ve been dreaming of warmer temps and Spring arriving sooner rather than later. I don’t think I’m getting my wish anytime soon.

But! That leads me to today’s post. The power of positivity and focusing on the good rather than the negative. Though I didn’t make any resolutions for this year, I have promised myself to focus on the positive and try to project more positivity to my peers and those around me. I’ve said it before; writing can be a very solitary business/world for a writer. We live so much in our heads with our characters and their stories, and when there are frustrations happening with them, we can get very down on ourselves, as writers. We can quite often lose ourselves in the process of a maddening plot that isn’t working, characters that perhaps we’re trying to fit together who do not work and there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders to produce that sparkling, riveting masterpiece, the negativity can result in depression, angst, and we can sometimes push those closest to us aside because they don’t completely understand what we are going through.

It’s happened to me a few times, and I hate that it does, so this year I promise myself to take a step back from the project I’m writing. I will remember that if I leave it alone for a day or two, concentrate on family, meet friends for lunch, take a long walk, etc., the story will still be there waiting when I take the break. And instead of focusing on the negatives of what I’m working on, the things not working, I’ll focus on everything that is working. If I’m struggling with the plot, then I’ll concentrate on the characters – who they are, the depth of them all and fleshing out all there is to know about them. If it’s the characters not working, then I’ll focus on the plot that is working. There are many aspects in writing that all authors need to cover that it is easy to get pulled under but we have to remember we are just as important as the story(ies). If we, the authors, don’t take care of our minds and bodies, then our work will show it.

Allow yourself time to be with family and friends and surround yourself with other positive and strong peers who only want what is best for you. Simply decide to be happy. Even when you’re struggling. Be happy that you have a gift of the written word that many people wish they possessed.  Take that difficulty in whatever it is, and turn it into strength, determination and perseverance. You might be surprised what you learn about yourself when you rise above the negativity.

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Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey (2)