Friday, January 29, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The first one he rejected is the one that is the subject of this piece.
January is the time of year we pressure ourselves to make changes. So, when I finished reading The War of Art I was in the right frame of mind to take on the premise that Steven Pressfield eloquently presents.
With due diligence, I set my goals and leapt into the new year (which also happens to be a Leap Year but no pun intended there) with renewed determination. Pressfield’s major premise is that we are at war with ourselves in the form of resistance to our creative goals.
I think we can all raise our hands when we’re honest about how easily we slip into some self-defeating behaviors.
Chief among my self-sabotaging activity is Procrastination. I have another name for it: Displacement Activity. I use those two words as a Category on one of my blogs to disguise the truth behind them. There are ways and ways to NOT write. Blogging is just one. Some call it a necessary marketing/promoting/branding effort. As may be, but it is also a substitute for “real writing”. While I’m blogging, I am satisfying that niggling drive to put words together.
Another of my “resistance” efforts is to Prioritize. This always sounds as though I’m truly setting forth on a planned mission but the items on the list of Things To Do aren’t always about what is necessary to do for my work: writing. I prioritize interesting activities that I can excuse as creative or enhancing my creative drive, freeing my creative brain cells, structuring my creative efforts to be more efficient.
And there is always Planning which brings me to the second book of the Secret Book Elf tome I have read over the past few days, K M Weiland’s outling your NOVEL: Map Your Way to Success. In all my writing life, I have never “planned” a book. I’m one of those: “put some words on the page and see what happens next” writers. But I see Weiland’s point and questioned myself about my “process” (another P but not as daunting). The other P word that is used for those of us who “see what happens” is Pantsers – flying by the seat of your pants – I prefer the O word that Ian McEwan calls his “process”: Organic.
I attended many business seminars in another life. We said it this way: Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. We also had a different set of daunting Ps but the messages are the same: Get to Work and Don’t Give Up.
Monday, January 25, 2016
It’s amazing how dependent we’ve become on those things that make our lives easy—things like electricity, hot and cold running water and a dwelling that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We take those things for granted until there is a day when we don’t have them.
I remember thinking after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 there were people throughout the world who had to live day-in and day-out without the things that we were having to live without temporarily. After the storm, areas of the coastline from New Orleans to Mobile looked like a third-world country. Thousands of families lost their houses. My husband and I and the cat lived on our boat for seven weeks until the low winter tide prevented me from climbing onto the pier. We then moved into a borrowed RV and then a Fema trailer. We finally purchase an RV that became our home for the next year.
necessary. We got closer to our neighbors who today are like extended families, and we learned to appreciate each thing that was restored to our lives. We worked through the months of rebuilding
homes and furnishing them and we celebrated with each homeowner who put parts of their lives back together.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
What's in a name?
More than titles, or what comes next in the plot, what most authors agonize over is choosing the perfect names for their characters. A name is so much more than a rose that smells sweet (my apologies to Shakespeare.) Each name helps us create a personality, a past, flaws and foibles, and even a time period.
We all have our share of baby name books, lists of most popular names for any given year, astrological charts, and assorted psychological profiles we've accumulated to create those characters that will resonate with our readers.
I have another method. I use...(what else?)...a book.
THE SECRET UNIVERSE OF NAMES by Roy Feinson is a treasure trove of information on personalities, based on the syllables on any given name. The descriptions include what each personality would be like as a child, as an adult, in love, in career, and as a parent. There's also a famous person linked to each set of syllables who embodies the aspects described.
For example, in my current WIP, my hero's name is Wyatt, or as the book calls him "The Laughing WT." He's warm, multi-talented and driven, but also impatient, stubborn, and judgmental. He's a born leader, with unlimited potential, particularly in creative fields. As a mate, he's loyal, with a wicked sense of humor, and a down-to-earth parent dedicated to his children's well-being. The famous WT? Walt Disney! Makes sense, doesn't it?
My heroine is Leah, "The Demonstrative LH," nurturing and understanding, but apprehensive around strangers and a homebody at heart. She's feminine and loves to cuddle. Considering my Leah runs the local animal shelter, I think I've made the right choice.
Whether you're a writer, a parent-to-be, or someone just fascinated with the science behind names and personalities, this is a great book to add to your collection.
Gina Ardito is the award-winning international author of more
than twenty romances, a legendary singer in confined spaces (her car, the
shower, her office cubicle), and a killer of houseplants. She
hosts fun, informative workshops for writers around the country. In 2012, Gina
was named a Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s
Leadership Association, but to her friends, she’s still just a shenanigator. A
native of Long Island, New York, she lives with her husband, two children, a
bionic dog, and their two cat overlords. For more info on Gina and her books,
you can visit her website at ginaardito.com, follow Gina on Facebook
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Author Nalini Singh (who writes absolutely wonderful paranormal romances) urged everyone to “Protect the joy in your writing.” Plenty of negative forces wait for you whether you’re published or not. Rejections, bad reviews, naysayers, poor sales, etc. All of it can get you down and take away the pleasure from your writing.
She didn’t offer too many concrete ways to accomplish this, and I understand. The means and method will be different for each person.
On the personal level, I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what that means for me. It certainly hit home, because I haven’t been as productive the last few years. Part of the reason is the demands of family and job on my time. But another part, and maybe even the bigger part, is that I’ve misplaced some of that joy. It got buried beneath keeping up with the day job and family, meeting deadlines, the need to promote relentlessly, and mounting worries about some of my publishers.
I’m trying to find the joy again.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do set goals to strive for. So this year my aim is simple: write more, spend less time on everything else (except family). In practice that means, I’m cutting back on my day job work. I run a web business and I’m starting to shut it down. I’ll continue to work with my existing clients, but I’m taking on very few new ones. That way I won’t have the worry of backed-up work hanging over my mind while I’m trying to write.
I plan to worry less about promoting. I’ll continue to blog here and on my own blog, plus occasional guest blogs. I refuse to get hung up in trying to be a huge presence on social media. It’s not my thing and I don’t know how to do it. Instead, I’ll spend that time writing and trying to put out the best stories I can.
I don’t have any current deadlines and I’m going to try to avoid getting into that trap again. I won’t stop submitting to publishers but I want to try to keep it to a book at a time or series that I already have planned out.
I’ll spend less time on the whole business end of the job. I’m designating a time (an hour a week) for handling that.
I’ve already gotten to the point where I can cope with rejections and bad reviews without too much stress and recognize that it’s part of the rough business I’m in. I’m not opposed to self-publishing books that won’t work for my publishers, but I’ll hire out most of the formatting work.
Mostly I just plan to write. Not with any particular publisher or market in mind. I will write what I need to write and hope that I’ll find the joy in it again along the way.
What do you do to protect the joy in your writing? Or if you've lost it, how have you found it again?
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Monday, January 4, 2016
Friday, January 1, 2016
|The She-She-Shed in all its hideousness!|