Category Archives: writing

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

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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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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Filed under BLOG, dreaming, writer's life, writing, Writing

WHO,WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY

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The five w’s are important when it comes to story writing. Who is your story about? What is your story about? When does the story take place? Why is this story important?

Below is a list to help your story building. Ask yourself some of these questions, if you have answers to most of them then chances are you are headed in the right direction.

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Who is your main character?
What does he/she look like?
When is your main character’s birthday?
Where is he/she from?
Why are you writing about this character?

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Who are some of the other characters in your story?
What connections do they have with your main character?
When do they enter the story?
Where would your character be with or without them? Is their presence needed?
Why are they important to the story?

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Who will your story connect with?
What genre are you writing?
Where does your story take place?
Why did you choose to write this story?

This simple exercise will force you to look at your story a little deeper. Were you able to answer most of the questions easily or did you have to think?

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Three for One – T U V

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I’m not ready to throw in the towel. Yes, I missed the last three days of the a to z writing challenge, but I refuse to give up. If I was smart (like a lot of a to z bloggers) I would have pre planned my posts, but I wasn’t and because of my lack of planning I had no choice but to let three days go by without posting anything new. I wasn’t being lazy or uninspired (although I have found that trying to think of writing related topics every day without repeating something previously written is challenging) I was suffering from an extreme lack of time. After three days and seven softball/baseball games, a night of cupcake making for a special girl’s birthday, work, housework and sleep somewhere in between I’m just now finding time to sit down.

Forgive me for wrapping all three posts into one but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

T is for TIME MANAGEMENT – As I explained, my time has been consumed with just about everything other than writing. This happens from time to time. Usually I make it a point to write everyday but once in a while my other responsibilities must take precedent. What tips do you have to offer to me? I’m somewhat of a scattered brain, organized in a disorganized way, self-admitted procrastinator whose dream of finding success is just as big as anyone’s. What are your rituals?

U is for Unwritten– There are so many ideas written down in my journals, prancing around in my mind, showing themselves in my dreams that beg to be written. I’m not an anxious person, but whenever I think about all of the stories I want to write and the little time I have to dedicate to writing them I feel my pulse race, my heart beat faster and my soul panic. All I want to do (professionally) is write stories for a living, but unless writing is my actual job, I may never get the chance to write down all of the stories I dream of writing.
I want to stare at a blank page every morning and a page filled of words every night!

V is for Vacation– After this month of blogging I may take a mini-vacation from posting to focus more on the edits of my current YA novel. As much as I loved doing this challenge, I have found that the extra time I normally would have spent doing edits or critiques was spent writing posts. I want my blog topics to be fresh so I will let my mind rest in hopes that new ideas surface. How often do you blog? Did you face any challenges with your other writing this month?

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Filed under A to Z, writers, writing, Writing