Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PROGRESS REPORT

Today was one of my very bad days. Things at work were just stressful and horrible. I nearly quit but I reminded myself that I needed the income.

My editing is going very slow. I have about 200 pages left to edit. That is without the changes my friend had suggested. But so far I am happy with my novel. But when I am done editing I will give it to my oldest sister to proofread. She loves her romance novels and she is very honest and extremely critical of any new writers in that category. She will definitely tell me if it is crap. She has been reading every type of romance novel available for the past 32 years. So I think her opinion, from a readers perspective, will be very valuable.

Made a list of possible agents I want to query, today. I am still doing my research regarding the various agents. I am working on my query letter and synopsis in the mean time as well.

Slowly but surely I am making progress.

ANOTHER AUTHOR TO ADD TO MY FAVORITE LIST

I discovered a new author (for me at least) last week, courtesy of my sisters varying taste in romance novels. You might already know and love her but I read her one book "Darkest Night'' and I just fell in love with Gena Showalter's style of writing as well as each and everyone of the Lords of the underworld.

So now I am reading as much of her novels as possible. The Lords of the Underworld series is exquisite. I just love it. Love it. Love it. I can't seem to get enough.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SUGAR

I have recently discovered my calming agent. That one thing that pulls me through one of those tough times, that makes me forget about all my troubles. Sugar.

Honestly. Whether it be a simple thing like a glass of coke, a bite of a chocolate bar or (pause for effect) A cupcake! Even frozen yogurt does the trick. I don't know how, I don't know why but it completely turns my mood right around.

Though I don't think eating to calm your nerves is the best thing to do. I am working on breathing techniques at the moment to deal with the stress, but if I want a quick fix, I just need to eat a sweet and I am relaxed.

Weird, I know. After my friends criticism of my novel I finally indulged on cupcakes and I felt better. And soon after that I convinced myself to accept the criticism and write it off as a way to develop a thicker skin. Because apparently you need one if you are even considering submitting your work to anyone.

But yeah, sugar. It is my friend and yet it is also my enemy. My brother always tells me ''A moment on the lips but forever on the hips''. Sad...But true.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BRING IT ON!

I am officially done sulking and pouting. I have made peace with the fact that my novel will need work and I am ready to make the changes.

Most importantly, I changed my attitude about the way how I view my novel and even though I don't welcome criticism, I am ready for it and require it.

So bring it on!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

DISGRUNTLED

I am just going to come out and say it. I am a hypocrite!

I have told many writers to keep at their craft and to believe in their novels and their ideas but when I got some serious criticism myself I wasn't feeling so positive anymore. I am pretty upset but I am not thinking of quiting writing or anything. I am just pondering whether or not I should make the suggested changes to my novel.

Yet it is a whole different story when someone criticizes your book like that. I would like to apologize to all my fellow writers that I had given comments to. I now understand what you went through and I apologize for any obnoxious comments I might have made.

I am still in a state of shock though. Here I was worrying about spelling mistakes and overuse of commas and then Bam! Someone drops a bomb on you and suggests rewriting.

I was so upset that I finally ate that damn cupcake I have been craving for ages and it was fantastic! So I had another one. OOPS!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

WRITING AND LIFE

As I was sitting at my work desk pondering the complexities of life (yeah right) I thought about the life of an aspiring writer. Not exactly how our lives unfold thanks to our writing aspirations but the actual way we live our lives. How much of our life is dedicated to writing and how much of our life is dedicated to everything else?

I use to play guitar, but I never play anymore. If I'm not working I write or edit. I don't really make time for anything else anymore but I suppose that I should. I have a little obsession with reading writer Biographies and I noticed that some writers like Christine Feehan have a lot going on in their lives besides writing. Now for those of you who know about Christine Feehan knows that she has published over 40 books in the last 11 years while taking care of her family of 12 and still obtaining her black belt in martial arts.

I know that a lot of us say that being a writer is who we are, I am one of them. But does that mean we shouldn't do other things with our lives too? Or does it mean for us to find a balance between everything? That writing is just another dimension to our life?

I know I have complained about my job a lot but maybe it is a good thing that I have two different lives entirely. Because at what part of my life do I say this is the writer part of me and this is who I really am when I am not writing? To walk around with a writers mentality 24/7 can be overwhelming and exhausting.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTIONS

I actually did a lot of editing tonight and during the editing process I realised what an emotional drama queen I am. Just a few days ago I was complaining about how bad my editing was going and today I found it a lot easier to do.

I don't know about my fellow writers but I think this whole writing journey feels like one big emotional roller coaster. Some days I feel as if everything is going well for me and other days I feel as if the universe is against me. My emotional state constantly varying.

What ever mood I am in determines how my story progresses. Which at times provides me with very interesting twists and turns. So all in all my crazy roller coaster of emotions comes in handy every so often.

Only setback is that sometimes your creative turmoil starts to show in your work. I had a few chapters where I could immediately pick up where my writing was more sloppy then the previous chapters. I knew when I wrote it I wasn't feeling very happy but I didn't think it would have an effect on my writing, until it came to the editing phase. Now I can see how I felt on which day because it is definitely showing in my book. But most of it is fixed now. Thank goodness.

I am off to bed to get a good nights rest. Happy writing everybody!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I HATE YOU, BUT I ALSO LOVE YOU!

I have reached the stage in the editing process where I feel as if I want to burn my own novel to a cinder. I am at my editing breaking point.

I know it is just a necessary phase in the whole editing process but I am going crazy. Every time I read through my novel I find yet another mistake that I didn't get the first time. There is always something to fix. Will I ever get to the point where I will be satisfied? I damn well hope so!

Now on another note, I also love my novel. I think it is a good piece of work. Then again all writers think their work is good, until someone else rips it to shreds. I guess that's why I am forcing myself to make the novel perfect because I love it so much.

In one of my previous posts about my editing I told you about how, for some strange reason I can't seem to fathom at the moment, I put unnecessary commas through out my entire novel. Don't ask me why I did, because I really don't know myself. Anyway, after I edited my novel for the third time I thought I got them all. But today I wanted to check up on an already edited chapter and what do I find? More Unnecessary commas! I don't know how I had missed it. But somehow I did. Now I have to do a fourth edit which is more like my final read through before I have it proofread.

It just feels like editing is turning out to be the never ending battle. Believe me, I am tired of my own whining too.

Good news is that I still love my characters and I still believe in my book. I at least know why I am doing this. To be a published writer someday for those who don't know. Which is strange because I never wanted to be published. I just wanted to write for myself. But lately I have this sudden drive to get published. And no it is not for the money. I just love writing and to see my end product on a shelf somewhere would be great. To get paid to do what you love wouldn't be so bad either, but it is not essential. I have survived on minimum wages this far.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WORKING FULL TIME AND FINDING TIME TO WRITE

This might sound like a mediocre problem but I assure you it is a very serious problem and it has been a great source of frustration for me the past few months. I feel drawn to one field of interest while I am forced to do another. And let's face it, we as writers need to work even if we wish we could write full time.

So I have compiled a list of things that I try to keep in mind when having a panic attack:

Give yourself some time to adjust to your work schedule. It took me a month to get into the groove of things and sometimes I am still too tired to write.

Take it slow and just remember not to worry about things beyond your control.

Don't try to force the inspiration when it is lacking.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is taking a break from writing. That is truly the quickest way for me to get back into things full swing.

When you need that break, take it. I found it hard walking away from a project for a few days but when I came back I was more eager to finish it then I was before.

Work out a writing schedule. I know many writers don't like this approach but just allocate some time for writing and stick to it. I tell myself that on weekdays from 20:00 PM-21:00 PM is my writing time, whether I use it for blogging, editing or writing, that is my allocated writing time. On weekends I edit every minute of my spare time. Some days it is 5-6 hours other days it is 3-4 hours.

Keep a pen and paper handy to write down ideas. Whether you are in a meeting and an idea for a brilliant scene pops in your head, write it down. I write my ideas in an email and mail it home.

Get enough sleep. I know that there is just not enough time for everything in one day but being overly tired only messes with your sleeping pattern and on the long term it is counter productive because the worst thing you can do, is over exercise your brain. And I know it sounds stupid but get enough sleep.

Try not to get ahead of yourself. I am guilty of this myself. The writing and editing process is not a race. If it takes months to edit then deal with it. Don't worry about the submissions of your manuscript until it is time to worry about them. Just focus on the actual writing or editing of your manuscript.

Be positive and believe in yourself. I know this sounds phony but believe it or not it is important. At times I feel like I just want to cry out of frustration. I want so badly to just write but then I have to smile at work and pretend to be the happiest person in the world. It is easy to lose faith in yourself and in your dreams, but keep at it. When it gets hard keep pushing through. Wanting to be a published writer is not an easy thing. But if it is what you really want then you have to persevere.

So that is my list. I keep a printed copy of these suggestions with me at all times. When I am having a hissy fit I tell myself to shut up and read the list. And I struggle everyday to maintain a balance and to fit everything in. Of course there are other writers who don't struggle to find balance. I am happy for those writers but unfortunately I am not one of them.

So , back to work for me and happy writing to everybody else.

I FOUND A SOLUTION - I THINK

I think I have found a way for me to tap into my inspiration. The best way for me, to get back into my writing groove is to do anything but writing. I know that is very contradictory but it works for me. So when I am lacking inspiration I will just go to work and spend the rest of my time doing things I don’t like and before I know it, I am filled with ideas and inspiration.

The whole idea of ignoring the need to write seems to be the trigger or maybe it is the whole reverse psychology thing that gets the creative juices flowing but so far it has worked for me.
The only problem I have then is to find time to write down or document those ideas.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WHAT MAKES ME LOVE YOU?

While editing my novel I started wondering about the likability of characters. I couldn't help but think ‘’should my characters say that or shouldn't they?’’. And what really got me thinking is what is it about male characters that female readers really like? Let’s face it, if you want to write any book for the romance market, you are mostly going to be writing for female readers.

So what I am getting at is what is it about the male love interest that makes the female readers croon? What is it about him that makes your readers come back for more?

The reason I am asking is because the male love interest in my book possesses qualities that I myself would never even consider in a male partner. He is arrogant, selfish and rude. Yet he seems to poses some strange sense of charm that makes him likable. I hate him but I love him too.

Here are a few qualities I look at when creating my male love interests:

• A Strong personality (To compete with the strong personality of my female character)

• Masculinity (So that the female character's Independence doesn't seem overpowering)

• Assertiveness (Basically the Alpha male)

• A sense of Charm (But not a Casanova)

• An Off-beat, but yet likable demeanor (It makes him unique)

I suppose the list can go on and on, but those are the basics for me. Like in Life, I can’t have my female character date a guy that is more feminine then she is. He can't hide behind her when danger is near. He has to be worth liking. She should feel that when she is with him that she is safe and that nothing can hurt her. She has to instantly know that this guy is a good future prospect. Even though I know looks are very important too, I just don't really spend pages upon pages explaining how gorgeous he is. There's nothing wrong with it if you do.

I thought that I would be creating the perfect man for me and bring him to life in the pages of my novel but apparently not. At times I can't seem to stand the male character in my book.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Two worlds

I am currently at a weird stage of my life. I am in between worlds at the moment, if it is even possible. I am in the here and now while I might have the opportunity to live in the ''what could be''.

As you know my current position as a receptionist is only temporary-till they can find a permanent replacement for the one that retired. I of course applied for the job even though I hate it, which translates to limited writing and editing time.

However, if I don't get the job I will be unemployed yet again, but I will have all the time in the world to finish editing and possibly even finish writing my second book.

At least at the end of the month I will know if I have a job or not. The job applications closed on 3 September. So the next few weeks should be interesting.

I haven't edited any of my work since Sunday. I am losing my rhythm. I am becoming lazy! But there is honestly just not enough time in the day for everything. But what can I do? I have to work. Every time I think I am done with a certain chapter I decide to change the damn thing again. I suppose that is why I feel as if I am not making any progress. This is going to be my last edit and then I am going to let the chips fall where they may.

I miss blogging and reading all my favourite blogs. I miss writing in general. I feel like I did a few years ago. I feel lost. I could never have imagined that writing would provide balance in my life.

I am still struggling to stay sane, regarding the fact that I am forcing myself to be two different people. By day I am the receptionist and by night I am the writer. But such is life. And no, you can't use my crappy life as inspiration for a story. I might need to write a memoir myself someday. HA! HA! HA!