Category Archives: writers

HAPPY BOOK LOVER’S DAY

Today is National Book Lover’s Day. Treat yourself to a new book. I look forward to the day where one of my book’s will be available to purchase. Until that moment, I will continue to get lost in the worlds other authors create.

What Books have you been reading? Here is a few that I read in the past year.

 

I am looking forward to reading many more.  My current To Be Read list looks like this.

I showed you mine, now show me yours. What books have you read recently and what books are you looking forward to reading?

 

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I FEAR SUCCESS

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I don’t fear rejection, I’m used to rejection. I’m familiar with the sensation that rejection brings. The stomach sinking, tears in your eyes, fists in the air type of feeling that I’ve experienced too many times to count. I’m an expert when it comes to rejection. I expect rejection.

I fear success.

I dream of success but the thought of it actually happening terrifies me. I have grown so accustomed to living life in a little corner of the universe that the idea of stepping out from the shadows to share with the world my imagination makes my heart pound faster than normal. What if my dream came true? Could I handle it?

I’ve never been on a plane. What if I did make it, would I be able to jet off to another state to promote my book or do author signings? Could I face that fear?

I have feared success most of my life. It’s a weird fear to have because there is no guarantee that it can be faced.

My fear of boarding a plane can be conquered. I can book a flight today to face this fear. But, there is no guarantee that one will become successful. Being successful means different things to everyone. For me, success would be becoming a well-known author with many published books. This may never happen and if it doesn’t, I can never face the fear.

Yes, I fear success. The thought of it makes my stomach turn and causes my palms to sweat, but the fear of never finding success may be worse.

Do you fear success?

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Filed under BLOG, dreaming, emotions, rejections, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

WHY I NEED PITCH WARS

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Writers know what it means to struggle. We struggle with words. We struggle with plots. We struggle with characters and their development. We struggle with word counts and then we struggle with trying to get our work published.

At the beginning of my journey, everything felt somewhat easy. I was only writing a few months, when a poem of mine placed runner-up in a contest held by the SCBWI. It didn’t take me long to get published in a few children’s magazines. I was over the moon, when a short story of mine was bought by ABC studios for a pilot series they were about to launch. I gained more confidence when another story was published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

I was receiving many requests for my middle-grade story which my instructor at the Institute of Children’s Literature said he didn’t think would take long for an agent to snatch. I was hopeful. But all those requests turned into rejections. I received many personalized rejections, but they were rejections nevertheless.

I did what a lot of writers do. I tucked my manuscript away and started writing a new one. It was my first attempt at writing YA. The idea came from a dream. Yes, you’ve heard that one before, but honest to God, it did. The dream occurred about a week prior to NanoWrimo (lucky me). I thought, Why Not? I had nothing to lose and some time to spare.

I can’t remember if I completed the ms within the month, but it was certainly on its way to becoming my second completed manuscript.

After many critique sessions and hours and hours of edits, I had a shiny new manuscript. After some encouragement and great feedback, I was ready to bring this new manuscript to a writer’s conference.

I submitted my first pages to a well-known author and a few agents prior to the conference and counted the days until I’d be in their presence hearing their thoughts.

I became giddy when during the one-on-one with the author, she told me that mine was her favorite and she even put stars all along the top to remind her when I came up to her table to receive my feedback. She said she saw this book as a movie and she, like my instructor at the ICL said she didn’t think it would be long for me to snatch an agent.

I also met with an agent one-on-one that day, who also seemed equally excited. She gave me ideas and said to forward her the whole manuscript when I returned home. She explained that she didn’t care if the writing was still raw and the story was still developing, she would help me hash it out.
I was there. I was close to achieving my goal. I imagined my book cover. I dreamed of going on author signings and now it felt like those dreams may come true.

But then, nothing happened. Nothing. The agent and I spoke via e-mail a few times and then she left her agency. My writing partner decided that she wasn’t going to write anymore. Hope turned to despair and I convinced myself that it was only a pipe dream. A silly dream that was never going to come true.

I sulked, I cried, I gave up. But, then I came back. I started again. I was not going to quit dreaming. I was not going to quit writing.

My journey began again. I started sending out queries. Once again, I started receiving requests. But, those requests turned into rejections and the new-found hope was once again starting to diminish. Self-doubt returned.

What I learned through the querying process for both manuscripts is that both have something that catches the agent’s attention enough for them to request, but there must be something lacking that makes them decide not to offer representation.

I need Pitch Wars because maybe the mentors can help me see what is missing. I’m not afraid of hard work. I will do what needs to be done.

Everyone entering Pitch Wars needs it for a reason, what is your reason?

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Filed under authors, pitch wars, rejections, Uncategorized, writing, Writing

Pitch Wars, Here I Come

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I have a completed mg manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I have a completed YA manuscript that generated many requests but in the end no cigar!

I BELIEVE in both of these manuscripts. I LOVE both of these manuscripts. I poured blood, sweat and tears into these manuscripts.

I want to understand what’s wrong with them. I want to understand how to make them better.

So, I have decided that I’m going to participate in Pitch Wars again this year. I’m still deciding which one of my babies (manuscript) to enter.

Wish me luck. If you are participating in Pitch Wars and want to swap pages or bounce ideas off of each other, leave a comment or find me on the Pitch Wars forums. I posted the first 250 words of both for review.

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Filed under BLOG, Fiction, middle grade fiction, pitch wars, Uncategorized, writers, writing, Writing, Young Adult

Renewal Giveaway

 

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UPDATE: Congratulations Barb, your name was chosen to win the bookmark. Thank you so much for commenting. I hope you like your bookmark as much as I like mine. If you send me your address to my email maribethpgraham at comcast.net I will forward your bookmark to you.

Somewhere along my travels of the mundane days of work, I got lost. I stopped dreaming. I stopped envisioning a life other than the one necessary to survive. I stopped trying. I stopped writing.

And when I did, I lost myself. I betrayed myself. I am a lot of things to a lot of people, daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, employee but in order to be good at any of those positions, I must first be true to myself.

I’m a writer. I’m eccentric at times. I have a weird sense of humor (and usually connect best with those who share it.) I’m a daydreamer. I’m an empathetic human who can see myself in everyone I meet. I can be an air head at times but also a force to be reckoned with. I’m silly but intense and will not apologize for my imagination. It is the gift I was given.

We all have a purpose. We all have struggles, self-doubt, moments of self-hate, but we all possess, beauty, talents and share collective thoughts. We need to inspire each other to become the best versions of ourselves. We need to help one another see the gifts within. When we start to do this, small parts of the world will change.

I may have taken breaks through my writing journey,but, I always seem to come back to the craft that makes my soul feel at home.

To celebrate my renewal of spirit and my newfound excitement to get back into what I so adore, I’m having a giveaway.

These hand-crafted book marks are made by Trades of Hope. These women have faced many struggles. They use their talents to help support their children and community.I’m in love with these bookmarks. I want to share one with you.

All you must do is comment on my blog a positive word. I’m old-school, the list of winners will be thrown in a hat and picked at random.

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Filed under BLOG, books, contests, Giveaway, Inspirational, life, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, Writing

THE THOUGHT OF A WRITER

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I want to get lost in my own mind. I want to walk through my thoughts and pluck out ideas that inspire me to write great stories. I want to daydream of different lives and different situations then piece them together to create characters and circumstances. I want to revisit childhood, experience emotions, appreciate nature and traipse through the minds of others.

I want to understand people and once I do, I want to share with the world how to understand people too.

 

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Filed under authors, BLOG, Uncategorized, WISHES, writer's life, writers, Writing

FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAM

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Something is happening to me. I feel more determined than I ever was. I have decided that I deserve to be published. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not arrogant. I’m not trying to say my work is the best work ever written but I know I’ve fought hard to write the best story I can. I’ve slaved over revisions. I’ve listened to everything my critique partners have suggested. I’ve cried over rejections and jumped for joy when I received requests, but up until now I don’t think I ever truly fought to get my work out there. I sent a query here or there. I waited months to receive a reply. I never looked at my writing as a business until now.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon an article (sorry I didn’t bookmark it so I can’t tell you what the name of the article is) that encouraged writers to look at their craft as a business. The author of the article stressed that the querying process should be approached with a business like sense. He (I do remember the author was a male) stressed that everyday a writer should devote an hour or two to querying. He stated that you should set a goal to send at least three to five queries out a day.

I’m sure there are various opinions on this subject but his suggestion sparked a fire within my soul. I realized that I wasn’t doing enough. I had this big dream but that’s all it was… a dream.

Instead of focusing on querying more, I allowed the rejections to bring me down.

I had to start reminding myself of the positive feedback I received along the way, the requests for more pages, the star a well-known author put on the top of my manuscript at a writers conference after reading it. The light in her eyes when she told me that it won’t be long before I’m an author with an agent.

I found my boxing gloves. I’m done with here and there. I’m ready to fight for my future. I believe in my future.

What have you done when you feel like you’ve been knocked out? How do you get yourself back into the ring?

Five Things to do when feeling discouraged.

1. Gather all of your positive feedback and put it into its own folder. Title it something like- Reasons Not to Give Up.
2. Read success stories.
3. Make a visualization board. Pinterest is great for this.
4. Read inspirational quotes. Sometimes one quote can change your way of thinking forever.
5. Write down your frustrations. If you allow them to walk around your mind they will invade your ability to think positively.

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