Category Archives: writing

PitMad!

PitMad is next Thursday. I’m trying to get Canary in shape for it. But it’s such a slog. And I’ve been in a funk and blah blah blah.

It’s fun and it’s hard and it’s scary trying to get it ready by then. I don’t get many external deadlines in my little writing world. There’s no one saying, “Do this now!” I was the worst procrastinator in high school and college. The fact I even managed to graduate from either is kind of shocking sometimes. Like, how’d I squeak through?

So I’m working and the inevitable this is hard. Do something else. You still have a week to finish is clambering all over my head and face.

But. I know I can do this. I know I want to do this. And if I want my dreams to stop being dreams and starting being goals, well, dammit. It’s time.

(and I don’t know how many times I have to say, “It’s time to stop being scared” but it looks like I need to say it another time or two)

Any other PitMad preparations going on?

Learning Hurts Sometimes

Over the past year, with my writing group, I have learned so much. My writing buddies have discovered I have a hankering for terrible books and every time they run across one, they’ll tell me about it and I’ll read them. Or, at least the first third when I’ve had my fill and have to set it down shaking my head. I’ve run across some doozies.

The upside of this, I have recognized so many problems in my own writing because of it. I’m revamping my Upcoming Titles page. Those titles I just swooped off the page were pretty terrible and not just Impostor Syndrome terrible. Legit garbage.

In any case, I might have a stack of eighteen manuscripts, but most of those deserve to stay there. I wouldn’t say it hurts, quite, to scuttle them. I’ve been KonMari-ing my house and it feels so good to clean out a junk pile. It feels good to put those manuscripts aside and know they’re done. I might rewrite them someday because I still love their characters, but that’s that.

From that stack, I think six are good enough to revise. Some of that might be my Impostor Syndrome, and some of that might be “Oh, I think I read something like that in one of those terrible books my friends throw at me.”

In any case, I’ll be updating titles and teasers. I’m curious to see where my writing career is going, but until I get to it and start working at it like work, well, it’s just going to stay right here.

I’m glad you’re on this journey with me.

Doing the Hard Part

I have a feeling I’m going to go indie. The market for romance has such a big indie component that it would make sense just to stay there.

So. I’ve started working toward it. My RWA chapter had a presentation on setting up newsletters. I’ve got a PO Box. I’ve got my url here. I’ve been doing all this backend stuff. BUT now I need to implement it. I need to use all these cool tools I’ve been collecting and actually do it.

I just sent up my Patreon. So many people have been telling me to do it for so long. And now, there it is. I can’t decide if I’m more terrified no one supports me or if people actually think I’m worth backing. Either way, it’s a scary proposition.

And if I want to do this, I actually have to do it. I can’t just write. I can’t just do this backend stuff. I need to do all of it. Even the hard parts. The “putting my work out there and having other people read it” parts.

But…

I’m finally doing it. I’m going to tackle the hard part. Rafiki is right. It is time.

Little Kid me Would be so Jealous Right Now

When I was a kid, I devoured books. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved getting into an author’s head and universe and having an adventure.

I’ve been critiquing a friend’s novel and I think the younger me would have just shit her pants at the privilege. Playing in another author’s world and pointing out flaws or the raddest shit ever and actively helping make a book better? It’s just amazing. I am transported to being a kid and reading Stephen King for the first time. It’s that level of amazement I feel sometimes as I’m critiquing. It’s seeing the world a new way. It’s fun and delightful.

I tend to be a very curious person and ask so many questions. My kid hates it when we’re at the zoo and the keepers are out because I just love to learn so much. “Mom, c’mon!” *hand tug, hand tug* 😀 But being in a dialogue with authors is so much fun. Every question I have, everything that doesn’t make sense, I ask my questions and find out. I like my certainty. And even if something is ambiguous in the story, I’ll ask my little questions and find out.

Anyway. I was making a cup of chai before getting back to my writing session and I realized how rad this all was. I hope your day is just as rad.

On Vulnerability

My friend in my writing group was asking for blog topics the other day and I said, “how about on being brave?”

He wrote a great blog post I totally needed because he’s reading one of my pieces now. (An aside, Bryan Young is crazy talented and you should read his books. Seriously, go do it. Here. Let me help you)

I’m not so sure my main issue is bravery now that I’m thinking about it. I tend to the prickly side. I like to put on my makeup face, wear my armor, and look unapproachable. I skew hedgehog. My spikes? Look how fucking rad they are! But my little pink belly? Fat chance.

It’s vulnerability that scares the bejesus out of me. And that’s the hard part. And it’s been an underlying reason I’ve been hesitant to revise. Because when I revise, I’m one step closer to actually showing people my work. And then they’re one step closer to seeing my novels are poorly executed weird ideas. My jerkbrain tells me this enough already. I don’t need it externally as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched this, but it’s good to post:

Friends who love you and tell you how much they love your stuff are important. But so are friends who post 38 comments on your google doc, then message you with, “So, I finished the first chapter. Tell me what you think. Do they help?”

It’s hard and it’s scary, but, it’s a first step. That first step might be a doozy, but I think I survived it.

Truth Bombs

Recently, I told a friend to pull a title from Amazon. I read their book and was a little o_0 over it. The title was pulled and I was both relieved and felt terrible.

My critique partner and I were talking over breakfast the other morning and LuLo came up. It was my first real effort at a novel worth publishing and it did not go through a very stringent vetting process. The ladies in my moms group, who I love and adore, were much too nice about my book and well, it sucked. Like a lot. So, I pulled it. There are so many reasons why it sucked, which I can go into at length, if you’d like, but… Anyway. My critique partner was still much too kind about it and didn’t come out and say it, but I kind of wish she would have.

It’s nice to hear your story is fun. It’s nice to hear it’s well written. But if that’s not true, you are doing the writer a disservice. High five for the cold, hard truth.

The more writing I’m doing, the more work I’m putting into it, the more I want to hear honest critiques. I don’t want to hear it’s good if it’s dog shit. I think I’m coming to a new place in my writing, where I’m feeling brave. Where I can send out queries. Where I can get the feedback I need. I’ve been doing more research on the Dunning-Kruger effect. I think I’m getting better at this and I can judge my own abilities better. Or maybe I’m still as hopelessly hopeless as I was before ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We report. You decide. heh. or something.

In any case, I feel like I’m taking steps forward. I don’t feel as scared. I’ve written some really terrible stories. And that was that. Nothing bad happened. As far as I know. But, I don’t feel so frightened of sending my books out into the world. I’ve been working through my revision block. And now, this. Things are moving forward and I’m feeling like a new, stronger, braver person.

Writers and Other Solitary Critters

My favorite part of this past NaNoWriMo was the group I fell into. My local region runs an IRC chatroom and we kept showing up into December.

I’ve been home with the Entropy Machine since she was born. I’ve missed having co-workers. I mean, I know I’m doing important work and blah blah blah, but damn, I miss having grownups to talk to. (I could write another article on women’s work here, too. I probably should)

Anyway. We’ve formed a little group, encouraging each other, using a group spreadsheet to track our word counts (compliments of yours truly and my mad spreadsheet skills) and goals for the year.

It’s weird to have a group like this when it comes to writing. I’ve been flying solo for so long with my words that having a group like this is a huge privilege. They’re keeping me on track and one more reminder in the morning to get up. I set the coffee maker to go off at 5 and I know someone else is going to be in our chatroom too. Helps me to stay motivated and the word wars are just great.

That said, it’s hard to find a community of writers. It’s hard to find your place and who you need. I joined the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America and I love them. But, I need to have something a little more. The daily group has been the answer I’ve been looking for.

I wish I had some advice for finding a writing group. I suppose finding groupings of writers and spending time with them is the first step. 😂

That said, what advice do you have to find your tribe?