Category Archives: Writing

Follow the journey of a hopeful writer

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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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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How’s Your Writing Going?

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April fried my blog writing brain. I took a month or so off from posting but I’m back. When it comes to blog writing, I like to be inspired. The thirty day challenge used up a lot of the ideas I had stored away in the blog post bank. So, I allowed my mind to chill and waited for my next post to surface.

Here in the writing world, it’s easy to share our accomplishments, rejections, ideas and everything else writing related. We get each other! But, sometimes it’s the people outside of the writing world that impact our thoughts and push us to become the person they believe we will be.

My family, circle of friends, co-workers and many acquaintances know by now that I’m a writer with a dream. Everyone is encouraging and supportive. They keep me in check and won’t allow me to give up (not that I ever plan on giving up).

Today, a co-worker asked me a question that she asks often, “How’s your writing going?” I know by now what she’s really asking is, Are you working hard to make your dream a reality?
There were times in the past that I would answer this question by saying, “This week has been busy.” Each time I’d give her this response, her eyebrow would raise and she’d give me this look that summed up her thoughts. I’m pretty sure she was thinking, Excuses won’t get you to the top. (Or something similar)

I’ve shared my dream with others. I’ve allowed them to read my work. They’ve crossed their fingers for me when I told them I got requests. They wrapped their arms around me when I became discouraged, but never once did they stop believing that I have the ability to become successful. There’s something that happens when you know someone else believes in you. You start believing in yourself. You begin fighting harder and when you feel knocked down you get up because you want to be able to respond with “I’m fighting hard,” when they ask you “How’s your writing going?
I’m a dreamer but with a little help and encouragement from my friends I’m determined to be the one telling others Yes, dreams do come true.

How’s your writing going?

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Zzz’s Let Your Mind Rest

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Today is the last day of the April A to Z writing challenge. I made it! Woo! Woo! Woo!
This month has been fun and challenging. I’m ready to give my mind a few days to rest and then jump back into my works in progress. If you haven’t already commented on my “I” post –Interview with Divinity author Derek Miller you still have time. I will select a random commenter next week to win a special prize.

I have to be honest, my mind feels scrambled. I’m searching for the right words but none seem to want to appear. I’m waiting to become inspired but something tells me inspiration has checked out for the day. I’m trying to collect my thoughts but I’m finding myself staring off into space. My thoughts are silent or at least very quiet.

Sometimes this happens and when it does the best thing to do is go with it. Great ideas aren’t always going to be roaming through our minds.

What are some ways that you rest your mind? Do you believe inspiration hits stronger after you allow yourself to take some time off from thinking?

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Here are a few techniques that may help bring back inspiration.

1. Doodle- This act of unconscious drawing keeps your brain working while your thoughts are resting. I’ve always been a doodler. My journals are filled with doodles. I’m often fascinated by the scribbles that sometimes turn into pictures.

2. Meditate- There is several different ways one can meditate. You can choose one object and focus on it and only it or you can focus on your breathing. The act of meditation is said to improve your mind’s focus when not meditating. If you want, come up with a mantra and repeat it over and over to induce a meditative state.

3. Go outside- Breathe in the fresh air. Take in the scenery and allow yourself to become one with the earth.

4. Choose to Experience Something New- New experiences free up clutter in our minds and helps restore inspiration. The next time someone asks you to do something you haven’t done before say yes.

5. Take a Nap- I’m a huge fan of naps. Naps help rejuvenate you and if you are lucky enough to dream during your nap you may wake up inspired by the story told to you while you lay sleeping.

I had a blast this month. Thanks again for visiting my blog. I’m inspired by all of you.
Now it’s time to catch a few Zzzzz’s.

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Filed under A to Z, dreaming, writers, Writing