Say what now? #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, and for some the precursor to a long weekend. Here in Canada we get Victoria Day on Monday, A celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday, who at the time of our (aka: Canada’s) Confederation and establishment of dominion in 1867, was the reigning Canadian monarch. Say that five times fast. Which was, if you’re doing the math, 150 years ago – that’s right, it’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Another name for the weekend, quite obviously, is the May Long Weekend. The official demarcation between winter and spring, or the point at which it is now *cough* “safe” *cough* to start dethatching the grass, planting the crops, etc., and for the truly die hard, dedicated lunatics out there – the first camping trip of the year. For those of us who are authors, and not lunatics of the camping variety, we’ll be writing. Which in an extremely roundabout way segues into my post for today.

WRITING IS NOT A REAL JOB

Yup, you read that right. And sadly there are people out there who actually believe this type of malarkey. What I’m hoping to do, if I should manage to avoid a full blown rant, is to dispel this rumor once and for all. But let’s start at the top and work our way down shall we?

JOB: 1. an assignment at which one regularly works for pay (Related Words: business, employ, employment, occupation, profession, career, livelihood, living, etc.); 2. a piece of work that needs to be done regularly (Related Words:  endeavor, enterprise, undertaking, responsibility, etc.); 3. a specific task with which a person or group are charged; 4. the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists (Related Words:  niche, calling, occupation, pursuit, vocation, duty, mission, etc.); etc… taken from Merriam-Webster online thesaurus and abbreviated as needed for this posting.

We as authors endeavor to undertake the profession of writing. Do we hope to make it a career? Abso-fucking-lutely. For the majority of us though this isn’t going to happen. But it’s a calling, a pursuit that we have to take part in, a vocation and a calling that speaks to our very souls. It is our duty, not only to ourselves but our very spirit, to take on the mission we were always destined to pursue. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s take it from the word go. Like anyone our day begins by getting out of bed.

From there it’s a variety of the following, but in the end we have as much (sometimes less, sometimes more) to do as the average non-writer type person to get done in a day. And then we still have to get in our time/word counts.

  1. Rise & Shine – or the variant of Groan & Grumble, Moan & Creak, Bitch & Bargain, etc.
  2. Freshen Up – otherwise known as beating down the bedhead, de-furring the tongue, and so forth
  3. Fuel For The Day – usually trying to slurp down a too hot coffee/tea too fast, burn the tongue/roof of mouth, and curse mornings; occasionally there might be a spare 2 seconds for something to eat
  4. Out The Door – this could involve kids, or just yourself and/or significant other, usually in a rush because despite all best laid plans you’re somehow behind schedule, not for the first time that year naturally
  5. Day Job – most authors have this beast of burden to contend with in one form or another unless they are lucky, or have sold extremely well to support themselves
  6. After Job/School Activities – folks with kids know there’s sometimes too many things to try to cram into one afternoon/evening, and yet somehow everything is always planned for the same night (sports games/finals, dance class/recitals, band practice/recitals, etc)
  7. Evening Relaxation – ensuring kids get watered and fed, usually a meal is crammed in there, homework (theirs or yours), etc
  8. Writing – now, unlike those who are lucky to have the daylight hours to write in while the house is partly or fully empty of small demanding beings, those of us with the Day Job get only a set number of minutes to hours to write in a night
  9. Inevitable Crash – bedtime, aka: when the muse really starts coming up with ideas but you’re too exhausted to care/write them down because you’ll remember in the morning, even though you won’t/don’t

Now, as mentioned there are variations on this, but the above is the gist of things of the “average” day for an author. Not only do we contend with everything non-writers do, we still have our actual career, our writing, to try and get time for in every single day. But it’s not JUST writing. For newbies and those who haven’t hit it “big”, we also have all the stuff some lucky authors have assistants for. Things like marketing, research, arranging for trips, conventions, etc. Which is 100% separate for the hundreds of daily tasks we still see to by ourselves, or at least oversee (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, bill paying, household fixes, etc, etc, etc.)

So, to those out there that say that writing isn’t a job or a career, that it’s a “cute hobby”, I say unto you – PFFT! I challenge you to step into the shoes of the average author and take our lives for a spin. Like anything out there until you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of the one you are belittling, zip it. You have no more right than anyone else to judge, just like we have no right to judge you in whatever you do. Mutual consideration, understanding, and compassion people. Get over yourself and realize that the first step to a better world is to stop judging that which you have never done and therefore do not know.

Rip the blinders off #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome to another Friday post folks. Gotta say, this week was better than last. My back, and hip are doing much better which makes me a much happier camper. The fact I can sit for more than ten minutes at a go makes everything easier – including writing. Today’s post is going to be some realities that, while covered before in various posts, need to be covered again. After all, no one considering becoming a published author should go into things blind. And many authors need a reminder. That being said, everything below is my personal view point, and/or opinion and no one else has had say in what I’ve posted.

Writing a book is easy. It damn well shouldn’t be. Yes, some stories come easier than others, but this is something that will be representing you for decades to come. Do you really want something out there you whipped up in an hour?

Every good idea’s already been done to death. Not by you it hasn’t. Every author in the world could write every fairy tale (for example) and not one of them would be the same as the others. Because not one author is the same as any other author. We all have our own views, our own thoughts, our own perceptions that make our fairy tale unique.

Being a full time author is the only way to go. If you can feasibly manage it, absolutely but most new authors (and even some long time authors) can’t. You need to be realistic, and do the math because you will NOT be making any money to live off of in the first year. Buy a cup of coffee, or get a decent meal – sure, live off, not even if you hit the NYT best sellers list. That first year sees more money going out than staying in your pocket. Which leads into a huge myth….

It’s an easy way to make tons of money. Stop right there. If you are in this only to make money then you need to reevaluate immediately. An author is an artist. Their art, the words they use to tell their vision, is a development that takes time, thought, and refinement. Pumping out works just to make money is what has caused a flooded market, and takes money away from those of us who are putting our hearts, and souls into every book we create.

There’s always ways to make it to the #1 spot. There are. Moral, and immoral ways. Moral ways are doing the work, putting out the best product possible, and advertising until your fingers fall off – all to gain the purchases that push you to the top. Immoral ways include “gaming the system”. This involves things like key word titles, specific tags that pull your book into nearly every genre on a site, and several other scummy tricks that take thousands of dollars away from hard working, honest authors. Don’t take the easy way out, in the end it hurts us all, but it will give you a black mark you’ll never get rid of.

Using pieces of other authors works. This is called, say it with me, PLAGIARISM. Or if that’s too tough for you to say, try THEFT or PIRACY. Yup, you got it. While you may “love” how an author wrote a particular section, use it for inspiration to make your own work better, don’t go and steal it in part or whole. For one thing, readers always can tell when they’ve read something previously even if it’s in an entirely different context. Particular words, turns of phrases are an entirely different beast – every author picks up something from their favorite reads and incorporates it into their write. But decent, law abiding authors do not EVER steal copyrighted material from another author. Can you say LAWSUIT? You will if you ever do this, and it could well cost you more than you have. Trust me, there have been several cases where a reader outed an author for their devious theft of materials. And they will never, ever write or earn a living again because of it.

Pseudonyms are good/bad. Many authors write under their own names. Authors, like myself for example, write under a pseudonym. I personally do it because of my day job work environment, and the requirement to keep my writing very separate from my real life existence. Other authors use a pseudonym because of family issues, privacy issues, or just because that’s what they’ve decided to do. The choice is entirely yours, and not something anyone else can decide for you. If you are comfortable with everyone you’ve ever known from diapers to today knowing you write whatever genre you’re going to be writing, use your own name. But whichever way you go, always keep your real life social media 100% separate from your author social media if you have young children. I say this only as a safety measure, and the fact authors can attract some weird (Misery by Stephen King anyone?) followers.

Publisher vs. going Indie. Again, this is something that only you can decide on. Each has their pros and their cons. See Jules Dixon’s post from Monday this week for some info on that, but do your own research. Some people, like myself, don’t have the time in the day to be an Indie author – you are literally responsible for everything. Others have the multi tasking gene to the extreme and thrive in such an environment. To each their own.

Social media options. There are many, and again this will be your personal preference what you do and do not get involved with. Facebook is a good start, and gives you the options of Pages. Twitter has it’s pros and cons, just like everything else out there. Do some research, talk to other authors in your position (publisher or Indie), and figure out works best for you. You can always get rid of, or take on more as you go along and discover what’s benefiting your career.

And last, but not least, one last myth that needs to be dispelled.

Making it to the New York Times (NYT) best seller list. For 99.5% of authors this is a fantasy. Do we all wish we could see our names on their list? Abso-fucking-lutely! It’s a huge coup for an author. But the reality is that in an over saturated market it is harder now than it was twenty years ago to get there. The other harsh reality you need to swallow is that you likely need to have an agent, be with a traditional (aka: paperback/hard cover print first) publisher, and have your editor on call at all hours to even get close. E-publishers aren’t in the same hemisphere as the traditional publishers. It’s much easier to get your book published through an e-publisher, like Evernight, but becoming a best seller is a lot harder. And being an Indie is even tougher. But nothing is impossible, and it’s always good to hold onto at least one dream no matter what it might be. It’s what keeps us motivated, writing, and creating new and fantastic stories each and every day.

Best piece of advise I have ever been given – never stop writing. Pretty simple, and yet some day’s it’s the most challenging thing ever.

Dreamers Wanted #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

OPENINGS AVAILABLE:

For individuals who can let loose the tight coils of reality, to fly beyond the mundane into the wildly fantastical, and who are not afraid to stretch beyond what they know. Experience is not required as everyday is a new learning experience. Bettering oneself is encouraged. Strength of self, and a sense of humor a must. Apply today!

Welcome to Friday one and all. Hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. Personally I cannot wait for the weekend to kick in. Like our fellow Quiller Raven I’ve had a rather painful week, it (quite literally) has been a pain in my ass. Sitting, laying down, walking, and several other movements that I normally do in my everyday subconsciously have had me gritting my teeth. Raven, oh dear sweet Raven, I feel your pain – PS: Feel better soon!

But enough of that yeah? Onto the post!

While the ad at the top of this post isn’t real, it should be. Especially in this day and age. We live in a world that is too serious, too focused on being offended by every breath some stranger never before met takes, and that seems to have a giant stick up it’s rump.

Authors are part of a unique breed. We were either born as, or encouraged as we grew to be dreamers. While many might accuse us that we live with our heads in the clouds, and in some cases this could possibly be true, it’s not that way for everyone. In the heat of the story – sure, absolutely, definitely we’re all wrapped up in what’s happening. But we’re also pretty damn fine multitaskers. After all we have to keep names, places, dates, etc. all straight in our heads while writing, but we can also script notes in our heads while we attend to everyday business. For example many authors have families which means schedules that are insane on a daily basis, they find time for everyone in their lives, and yet still get their writing done. Not that we can’t get days, items, names confused – cause we can.

But authors are a breed, or at least were once upon a time, who didn’t sweat the little things. Unfortunately there seems to be too many cutthroats, too many overly pompous windbags, too many shysters, and too many self-proclaimed best authors flooding the market. People these days seem to view publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme instead of what it is. An expression of the imagination put into words to be shared with family, friends, and strangers near and far.

While I have absolutely nothing against an author making money off their works, we all dream of the day we can do it full time after all, those who are pumping out works faster then I can sneeze three times in a row make me highly suspicious. We need to bring back the dreamers. Bring back the love of the art that is writing a well told, well woven tale that helps the reader escape the harsh realities of our current world. We need to reinvest ourselves, and help others to find the path that is fiction at it’s finest – whatever the genre. Not only is it a relaxing pastime (when things are going great), but it’s also a beneficial one to not just the readers.

An author is an individual who has found a way to zen out in a highly constructive manner. Slipping into another reality for minutes or hours at a go. Pouring out the stresses of the day onto the page, and coming away with something fantastic in the end. And often times a weird twinge, crick or ache from all the strange positions we contort into during the process.

No one said writing couldn’t be a dangerous gig, and if they did – THEY LIED! LOL!

So let’s bring back the dreamers, the visionaries, and all those who can take anything dumped their way with a grain of salt. We need more calming influences in the world, and definitely more wondrous escapes from reality. We only get one shot at this thing called life, why not live it in a fun, amazing, and imaginative manner?

Say what now? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Welcome back everyone to another #SensualSunday post. I thought this week I would do up a post with some of the most common abbreviations and words you may come across in your writing career. This list is definitely not the total of it all, there are more than I can remember, and ones that I come across each day that I end up have to look up to figure out what the ever loving heck someone is talking about/referring to. But it’ll get you started. I should also mention that I’ve avoided putting in all the Texting slang although it was a close thing because it’s amazing how many editors I’ve had that have used the slang in their comments.

Endings:

  • HEA – Happily Ever After
  • HFN – Happy For Now (often used in serials)

Sexual Partners:

  • FF – Female Female, lesbian relationship
  • MF – Male Female, heterosexual relationship
  • MM – Male Male, gay relationship
  • MFM, MMF, MMFM, MFMM, FFM, FMF – Multiple partner relationship (can vary, and be mixed up many ways), also often referred to as Ménage
    • MFM – Both males are sexually active with the female, but do not touch one another
    • MMF – Both males are sexually active with one another, but also include a female partner
    • etcetera…

Other:

  • ARC – Advanced Reader Copy, also Advanced Review Copy
  • BDSM – an overlapping abbreviation meaning: Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM)
  • Erotic* – A work that leans toward the story more than the mechanics of sex, or the characters sexual antics; Still has plenty of sex
  • Erotica* – A work that leans more to the sexual heat, hungers, desires, actions of the characters than the story of how they met, their interests, etc.; Mostly sex less getting to know one another
  • Mainstream – Stories with no, or little sexual heat/activities; They can appeal to a wider audience unlike some other genres
  • MC – Main Character (not to be confused with MC Romance, or Motorcycle Club Romance)
  • MS – Manuscript
  • NA** – New Adult, a term for stories that usually are focused on the 18-30 age group, some publishers may refer to it as “Mainstream”
  • POV – Point Of View
  • PRN – Paranormal
  • R&R – Review & Rewrite, meaning your work requires some tweaks/fixes prior to resubmitting and possible acceptance, this is NOT a refussal to publish the work
  • Serial – A single story broken down into pieces/individual books
  • Series – Each book is a completed work, but the same characters carry through the other books
  • SFF – Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • TBC – To Be Continued
  • TBD – To Be Decided
  • TSTL – Too Stupid To Live, usually (like 99.99999999999% of the time) refers to the story’s heroine we all want to see fall down an elevator shaft while strapped to a C-4 packet on a short fuse
  • WIP – Work In Progress, the story you’re currently working on
  • YA** – Young Adult, a term for stories that usually are focused on the12-18 age group

* The distinction is very fine between Erotic and Erotica. Each publisher, and third party site selling your books has it’s own definition. For example Amazon® changed their definition between the two roughly a year or so ago putting a lot of us Erotic Romance authors into the Erotica category on their site, and thus hiding our Adult content safely away from the masses. We’re still pissed about this one FYI, but it’s the almighty Zon and therefore we authors have zero say in the matter. Or anything else they do on the site.

** Both the NA and the YA may have different guidelines governing them depending on your publisher. If you are an Indie, do your research into the genre you’re working in to ensure you don’t overstep any boundaries where it ends up with a classification you didn’t want. Some YA works fall into the category due to the lack of sexual content, and the same can be said for the NA. From what I’ve found (to date), these categories are usually based on the subject matter within the story. Things like loss, coming of age, those first steps into adulthood, etc.

While there are many more, and likely even more to come in the years ahead, this is a damn fine start to help you out. If you have another term you’ve used/had used in reference to your works please feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll update the list to keep it current. We can all use this list from time to time I’m sure.

For some other fun new author acronyms, check out Steve Laube’s post. Both funny, and useful.

XO Moira Callahan

Woman pretends to kiss man

From the chaos we must rise #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday posting. First off, I’m sicker than a dog this week – we had some “plague” (doubt it’s an actual plague) sweep through the day job this week taking out about 60% of us – so if this post meanders a little off track I shall state here and now, sorry! I’ll survive this, my nose may not from all the blowing, but it’s already starting to clear so my pre-first sniffle care obviously helped get me through this quicker. But you’re not here to read about the icky illness I’ve contracted, so on to the actual post.

Let me straight with you – the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and there’s no one at the helm. I’m sorry, but that is my personal take on things. This makes me all the more desperate to bury myself in the various worlds my crazed mind has cooked up, and escape the insanity. But it still intrudes. Sometimes too close for comfort.

But that’s beyond today’s point. In our overly media saturated world with news, information, advertisements, peoples opinions, etc. streaming at us 24/7 from all around mediathe globe constantly bombarding us with truth, half-truth, and pure bullshit they scraped up from who knows where, we the authors need to remember our primary reason for having this gift to write.

We are the ones to give sanctuary and refuge to weary minds. To provide a place of respite, however brief, for our readers. We are the creative minds behind re-imagined, and imaginary worlds near and far with everything from humans to aliens inhabiting them. We have the skill set necessary to take something simple, transform it, and make it into a magical realm yet unseen by anyone before.

This may seem too great a burden for some, but really, is it? We are authors for a reason. We have a vision of a (sometimes) better world that we want to share with everyone we can. To give hope, to provide solace, and to encourage some mild escapism from the realities that are our current times. It is a great responsibility to be sure, but never think it to be a burden. It’s a gift, not a chore. And if it ever becomes either a burden, or a chore, then I’d advise you to rethink why you are writing.

We’ve all had times where it seems to be too much, don’t ever think you are alone in that. Each of us has hit a rough point, or three through the years. It’s like anything that challenges, and stretches you to be more, it’s fucking hard work. But we all feel the pure joy, and love in what we’ve created and that, that right there is why we keep moving forward. No matter what the world throws your way, no matter what insanity might next pop up in your news feeds, remember the love you have for creating your worlds, your characters, and your stories. Let it flow through you, onto the page, and out into the world. We all need it now more than ever before. So chin up, shoulders back, and know that you’ve got this.

XO Moira Callahan

bearded macho man with roses

 

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way #SatisfactionSaturday #Writing (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Good morning everyone, Kacey here to wish you a Happy Saturday and Happy October 1st! Boy, the year is flying by isn’t it?! Leaves are changing color, the mornings are chilly and the country is gorgeous dressed in fall and/or Halloween decorations.

I believe I’ve posted in the past about never giving up on your writing. Never giving up on YOU, the author. It is something that always needs reiterating in my opinion. It’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole of writing woes.  Writing woes such as not being inspired, not never-give-up-quotes-6writing a word fora  week or month, having no characters battling for your attention. I’ve had a year of that. Health wise and struggling with two works in progress that stalled more than once and made me question everything. Now, some authors will say “there’s no excuse for not writing” or “if you want to write you will make time”. I get what they are saying and for the most part I agree, but what the hell does an author do when nothing is clicking, health is poor, family matter (which take precedent) drain you to the point you have nothing left to give your writing…

You do what is best for YOU. And you write 10 words a day, which the next may lead to 20, etc., and by the end of the week, you could be up to 200 a day. Don’t be disappointed with yourself!! Those are still words. They may not be the masterpieces you think they should be but they are still words. Keep focused and give yourself time to clear you head, write some poetry, write a blog post, write a terrible short story that a publisher will never see.

This year I did all the above with two stories and I’m happy to say they’re both done, and one has just recently been accepted by a publisher! (can’t say more than that because the paperwork hasn’t been signed yet). When one book stalled, it took me a while to realize I was spending too much time and angst on it before I started another story. I have never worked on 2 stories at once before. It was something I never understood other authors liondoing. Too many voices, too many antagonists, too much to deal with. However, doing so pushed me through some hard times and big hurdles to jump over. I will be forever grateful to my hubs for talking me off the ledge and convincing me that sitting on one story for months and not writing a word, wasn’t getting anything accomplished. He convinced me to ditch my preconceived notions of not writing two stories at once and … well, he was right. But don’t ever tell him that!! LOL

Now with two stories done, the 2nd near ready to be sent to a publisher, I’m reminded that I’m the maker of my career and the only one to control how things progress. I wanted to give up so many times. I’ll be honest, there were more tears over not writing than what I shed a couple days ago when I received the yes from the publisher. Only writers will understand this, but my soul ached not succeeding in daily word counts, how long it took to write 2 stories. I felt like a failure, that I shouldn’t be writing, and that it was a career that I’d run my course with already.

My father always said “Where there’s a will there’s a way” (and it wasn’t because “will” and “way” were family names either! LOL). He always told me that determination and pushing through every obstacle is the only way to make it in life. But one never, ever gives up. And he was right. No matter what stands in our way, we have to break through it, stomp on it, set it on fire and move on. We can never give up. Not on ourselves or our characters.

I know there are many aspiring authors, and seasoned vets, who are struggling with a story, a world they’re building or feeling defeated if they receive a rejection from a publisher. But do not give up. I’ve said it before in posts but it needs to be said again so other writers who stumble upon Naughty Quills can read that where there’s a will there’s a way. Never give up and never succumb to the despair or hopelessness you may feel. If you want something bad enough then fight for it. But remember to take the time for yourself while you’re struggling. Clear the mind and soul, then continue to fight like hell for that story. Never give up on it.

roads

 

Until next week, always keep writing!

Kacey (2)

Walk Out With Head High #BookSignings #SatisfactionSaturday (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Good morning all. Kacey here once again. Hope you’ve all had a phenomenal week.  This past week was a recovery from last weekend when I was away at the Ignite Your Soul Book Signing in London, Ontario. I had such a fabulous time, met a lot of new authors and readers and revisited with old ones. The event was awesome and I can’t boast about it enough.

One thing I wanted to cover this week was about book signings. They are incredible, a lot of preparation and a wild ride. For a lot of authors, they enter a book signing determined to sell ALL of their print copies, get rid of all their swag and walk out with a fistful of dollars.

Not to burst anyone’s bubble – and having sold out a couple times myself – that is NOT the attitude to walk into a book signing with. It really isn’t.

Stop scratching your head and frowning at the screen. You heard right.

The main focus of a book signing SHOULD always be … MEETING YOUR READERS (first and foremost, hence the capitals), networking with reviewers and collaborating with like-minded writers like yourself.

Sure it would be amazing to sell all those print copies and head home with that fistful of dollars, but it doesn’t always work out that way for every author, nor is it the goal. There’s nothing – NOTHING – like meeting your fans/readers in person. Especially for the first time. Talking to those people who love your stories as much as you love them is the most amazing feeling; I can’t even gather the right words to express it. Trust me, when you do book signings (the first or fiftieth time), it’s a heartwarming and humbling experience. For those readers to come see you, talk to you, be interested in your stories/you, it can open an author’s eyes to what is truly important.

Some authors have walked out of book signings with a defeated attitude. I’ve witnessed it and my heart goes out to them. But knowing from the beginning what the book signings are all about and what you really want to walk away with, makes the experience 100 times better.

amazing2

 

When you have the chance to do a book signing, understand that it’s a chance to meet readers, not all about the money. Going into a book signing with only money in mind is setting yourself up for failure nine times out of ten.

Enjoy the moments, love the readers and be ready to smile for photos. Then take that experience home, those awe-inspiring moments when the readers beg you for the next story to a series or pick your story up for the first time, and write like the wind! Be inspired after a book signing and write your next fan-favorite!

 

Until next week, happy writing!!

Kacey (2)

Story Comes First. Always. #SatisfactionSaturday #AspiringAuthors (@KaceyHammell)

saturday

Kacey here wishing you a good morning and Happy Saturday!  Another week has flown by and boy did it fly by. It’s amazing where the time goes isn’t it? I’ve been steadily working on my WIP this week and happy to say I’m just about ready to cross the finish line. This book will be done!

But that’s neither here nor there, today isn’t about that, but actually in a way, a family member who has had the urge to write! I’m thrilled to hear this and am eager to read a finished story by her! And incidentally enough, we had a long conversation via text last evening with a bunch of questions. It made me think of this blog and aspiring authors. So I wanted to share a bit with you some of that conversation, things I told her about the crazy writing life, how to begin and what to strive for first. Then focus on that.

And first and foremost what to strive for, is writing the story. That has to be the priority. Worry about all the other stuff that comes later after the story(ies) is complete.

Many think, at least some aspiring authors, assume that it’s as easy as just sitting down and writing a book. Unfortunately, it really isn’t. There are many areas that a writer usually needs to pursue/look into that will enhance their writing. Not only are that hundreds of great articles/information sites for writing online but there are also dictionaries, thesaurus’, grammar texts etc., that I would encourage new writers to read through/learn about before dropping in the chair to magically see words appear from their fingertips.

I have been asked many times to read a new author’s manuscripts and I wish I had time to read them all. I will read some but unfortunately there isn’t always time but I encourage writers to look for critique partners, which I have stated in past posts, and alpha/beta readers to help them learn and grow. I don’t care who might agree with me and if no one else does that is fine, but IMO there is no author that goes into writing knowing everything there is to know about the profession. It takes skill, continual building of the author’s craft and years under their belts to hone that craft.  I also suggest doing some writer workshops online or at conferences. There are many workshops that pertain to individual genres. Each author has to learn what genre they are best suited for, or if they plan to cover multiple ones, but they still need to build what they know and hone their expertise. No author, again my opinion, is perfect. It’s always a profession where an author will learn new things, understand new view points and how to take their writing to the highest level imaginable. One that will probably exceed anything they ever dreamed of before. Start with a synopsis of what your story looks like in your mind, how you see every aspect progresses, every conflict and resolution, and the little (yet big) things in between all of that. Lay it out on paper or on screen how you see your characters, what makes them tick and all their traits that you see in your mind. While I’ve flown by the seat of my pants a time or two (which means I’m a pantser), there are times as well when I am a planner who outlines and writes out the synopsis first, then writes. It works both ways for me, depends on the story, but as I learn and discover new things about my writing and my creativity, outlining has been working best in the last year. Every writer has to figure out what works best for them. And it’s okay if your process changes with every book you write, as you grow into a better writer.

love-of-writing

Writing has to come from within the writer. The drive and determination to be successful sometimes takes a back seat to the need and passion to put those words on paper. Stoke that passion, build on it and CREATE! There is nothing better (for me as a reader) to feel an author’s love of writing from their words and the world they built. As new authors, it is important to really sink your teeth into the kind of writer you want to be, what the story needs and pushing the characters to the very limits within their story. As I told my cousin, it sometimes takes more than one story/manuscript to realize the full potential of one’s mind and their passion for writing. The author must always push themselves to be better, do better and be the best they can be. It is what drives me 9 times out of 10, and authors are their own biggest critics and nemesis. Sorry for sounding like I’m recruiting for the Army, I am not LOL, but the same logic applies … no one wants to do anything that isn’t their very best.

So while new authors are searching for an agent, the biggest editor and that “big 6” publisher, just sit down and write a story or two – sometimes multiple times until you’re satisfied it can be seen by others – and learn your craft. Learn what it takes to go into writing a full and complete story. From world building, to character depth/development to researching the minute and sometimes substantial details in your story, to even adding a title to your book, they are crucial. Each of those aspects is facets in and of themselves that have to be worked on in any and all stories. I could go on for pages and pages to cover each and every single one, but those might be posts for future posts.

And new authors need to read as much as possible. Don’t just read the genre you think you’ll write in, at least not all the time, but branch out and read authors / genres you never though you would. But read the best books out there by the best authors. Learn from the best, that’s something you can’t really go wrong with. It’s rare that an author reaches instant success overnight, and everyone has their own idea of what success is.

And with whatever your definition is of success, remember … success really simply is never giving up, never saying I quit, never throwing in the towel. I was a new author once many years ago, and though I set it aside to deal with a personal loss in my life, I am glad I finally picked up that pen again. There are days that you’ll want to throw it all out the window and yell I can’t but those are the days to take a breather then open the story the next day and remember what it is that you love about your it and why you love writing.

 

Until next week. Happy writing!

Kacey (2)

 


 

Write. Learn. Repeat. (@KaceyHammell) #SatisfactionSaturday

saturday

I had a friend recently ask me – “If you knew then what writing/marketing/being an author would be like years ago when you started would you still have become a writer?” I stared at her for quite a few moments and thought about the years that had flown by since that first story I wrote in 2004. Would I change things?

Absolutely not.

But boy have I learned a long the way!

I’ve always had a passion for reading. Whether it be articles in a newspaper, nine hundred page encyclopedias, romance fiction, biographies, “True Story” articles or Reader’s Digest, I needed to read everything I could get my hands on.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that once that first story was done, I wanted to write another and another, and more voices started nattering in my head – incessantly – but that’s a great things too! *g*

But over the years I’ve learned many things, and remembered a time or two that I can’t please everyone, and not everything I write will be everyone’s “cup of tea”. I’ve adapted as much as possible to the publishing industries changes, the over saturation of some genres and learning to navigate through it all while still being true to who I am.

Some sage advice – after my post last week about the benefits of team work, this goes deeper into advice that might help you as each bump in the road presents itself, I can offer to remember as doubts come and go, and people try to hold you back.

Whether you’re an aspiring author or a seasoned author, things that I’m glad I’ve learned over the years…

  1. Develop a very thick skin. This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice given to me, and it’s something that has become my mantra. Like I said above, not everything I write will be every reader’s favorite story, and reviews can cut like a knife. Just remember it’s subjective and though it’s not always easy to do, continue to believe in yourself and learn to take the good with the bad.
  2. Have these materials near you every time you write – dictionary, thesaurus, “The Elements of Style” especially. They will all become your best friends.
  3. Read, read, read!! Read as much of the genre that you’ve chosen to write in. If you don’t do this, you will not have the accurate knowledge/tools to succeed at this genre. And kick it up a notch by simply reading everything you can get your hands on.
  4. Take the advice of other authors (critique partners), and your editors. If they are offering you advice on how to enhance and how to push your boundaries … take their advice! Or at least think very long and hard about it (and take their advice!!) but also be true to the writer you are. Don’t immediately close the door on those individual’s advice. Wrap your head around it, turn it this way and that, then put your spin on things. Their advice is just that, but YOU have to be the one to fix it. Fix it in the ways that suit you.
  5. Get that first draft written before you edit anything. There’s nothing worse than not knowing how a story will evolve if you’re continually going back to the beginning over and over again. Save the editing until the draft is done.
  6. You won’t succeed if you do not try. Don’t let the word “can’t” be a part of your vocabulary. Ignore any voices that use that word.
  7. Do not, please DO NOT, step on anyone that has helped you along the way. When you start seeing big sales, have an agent, start seeing success and obtaining whatever success you feel is your highest, do not forget those that helped you arrive there. Don’t step on people while climbing that ladder. It’s a business but you don’t have to be an ass along the way.
  8. Dig as deep as you can. Even if it hurts you, dig so deep that you’re typing through your tears. Surprise yourself on just how awesome each story will be. Don’t hold back. Take the pleasure and the agony that comes with each story…it will make every story thereafter even more remarkable.
  9. To write well, you must practice. Consistency is key. Write whenever you can. Invest in many notebooks/pads of paper/pens. Take them everywhere with you. Never leave home without one.
  10. Take pride in who you are and your stories! They are your blood, sweat and tears. Your words are YOUR truth. Only YOU can write it.

 

See you next week! Happy Reading.

Kacey (2)