Personifying Insecurities

As with most of my peers (I assume?), writing is my biggest insecurity, writing and all things related to a career in that field. Sending out my MS out for beta read to five of my closest writing accomplices gave me heartburn for a week. Submitting a tweet that may or may not be viewed by anybody involves twenty minutes of proof-reading.  

My writing is the most important thing that I have control over and so of course I am highly sensitive to all things related to it. 

Recently, on a dark day that accompanies most writers as far as I know, as regular as low and high tide, I mumbled under my breath about being a shitty writer. 

 Sad Sloth says, "Please believe in me, Emily."

Sad Sloth says, "Please believe in me, Emily."

My husband, having heard me adorned his best, albeit unconvincing, angry face and said, “do we need to talk?” He had been woking at his desk along side me, but turned in his chair to face me full on. “Do you know what you just said? You just told your dream that you have no faith in it. This is what it looked like when your dream heard you.” His face contorted in to the most pitiful sad face I had ever seen. A few minutes later he sent me a picture of the sloth to the right. “Every time you don’t have your dream’s back*, this is how it feels.”

And that was it. As a highly empathetic person it struck me as silly not to think of my dream as its own separate entity, a creature with its own thoughts and feelings.  So now every time the familiar ache in my chest begins to creep up and my thoughts drift to the dark place, I will pull up pictures of sloths (which already happens to be a pleasant past time activity of mine) and imagine telling my dream, to its face that I don’t have faith it. 

No, I could never emotionally crush that adorable hairy creature of sin. So I must endure,  must speak in terms of positivity. I must tell that sloth that I have faith in it. 

Unless you have no soul, I highly recommend this activity. Just as you wouldn’t kick a puppy or tell your best friend to give up on their own dreams, nor should you be so damn hard on yourself. After all, with all the streams you are going to have to swim up, it would be nice if you had a little faith in yourself?

 "I'm happy, when you're happy." 

"I'm happy, when you're happy." 

Of course, because it is my biggest weakness, it is also the greatest source of happiness. As with anything that is meaningful, like my running, it feels the best when you bust your ass at it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current song: “Hero” by Family of the Year 
* This phrase was taken from a blog post by Jim Butcher that I found especially awesome. 

My First Alpha Review

AHH! I just hit send on the email that puts out my Urban Fantasy manuscript out to my crit group. I'm oddly thrilled by this step, even though my crit group has been reading my junk for years, this is the first time they will read it all at once and give that feedback. 

Anyway, I will let you know their overall feedback in March when we go over it. In the meantime, please enjoy this playlist I created in Spotify as the book's soundtrack: Madness 

Oh, 2015 the Questions You Bring...

I tried not to make any grandiose resolutions this new year; eat more veggies, get back into yoga, and as always, GET PUBLISHED.

2014 was great in many ways.  And yet I simultaneously feel closer than ever to being an author and much further away. All this priceless learning experience only emphasizes how much work lies ahead. I surround myself with amazing writers and the resources out there are infinite. My brain may explode from what I learned about writing and the industry last year alone. And yet ignorance is bliss. Remember when I first started out and I thought, okay I’ll just write this book, do a little magic, and poof I’ll be published. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought it would be easy, but I never thought it’d be so damn complicated.

My big concerns: What’s Next and Time Management

What’s next?

What are my priorities as a writer just starting out? When do I start reaching out to agents and publishers? When do I start going to writer conventions? When do I get business cards with my name/email/twitter/website on them and hand them out? When do I start sending out query letters? Do I need to fatten my portfolio with published short stories? What if my short stories are nothing like my novels, will a publisher still give a flying fig then? I have several MS drafts, which one do I focus on? How do I know when I’m ready for alpha and beta readers? Do I self-publish, or go the traditional route? Do I start by self-publishing and hope that leads to a traditional publisher? Is it more lucrative these days to go at it alone? And on and on and on.

Time Management 

It’s hard enough to find time for my writing career between my paying job, my husband and family, my active lifestyle, and my social life. Even only working thirty hours a week, I find myself struggling to know where I should focus my attention. The rest of the world keeps on turning, expecting me as I was, and yet I struggle to etch out as much time to work on writing. Good-golly, it’s exhausting. There’s writing and editing your own work, but there is also social media to get your name out there, blogging to stay relevant, journaling, writing contests, short story submissions, writing groups, critique groups, conventions, classes, podcasts, online tutorials and somehow I still need to find time to read.

Where do people trying to break into the business find the time? Where do people in the business find the time, because surely then they have even more on their plate with talks, tours and online presence?

Perhaps, I should have a more strict schedule. Allot certain amounts of time each day for my work and my work alone, no ifs, ands, or buts. Then figure the rest as it comes at me? I have no idea what I'm doing! Does anybody?

It’s crazy overwhelming. Why anybody would want to get into this business beats me.

Reminds me of this quote by Dorothy Parker, humorist, writer, birthday twin and all around badass, “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

Very few get into writing for fame or money, obviously, but it doesn’t make it any easier when your slugging through masses trying to make a name for yourself. The thing I heard on the “Writing Excuses” podcast that really put things in perspective for me was that even if I never got paid, even if my books never get selected, even if I gave up on a writing career, I’d still write. I couldn’t stop writing, especially not now. I love writing. I love thinking about my stories and my characters and that wouldn’t stop even if I gave up on trying to live off it.

But I don’t give up. I won’t give up. It’s hard as hell, but I guess I know that’s how it is worth it.

Listening to: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young

 

A Little Boost

Almost every day my husband asks me, “What have you done to get published today?” and most days I hastily distract him with my feminine wiles or mumble something about work/life being in the way. I'm not proud. But anybody in any creative industry knows the immense amount of information and competition out there. It's easy to get overwhelmed and decide to hide in the comfort of your office.  

But in the last week, I made a positive step in the right direction. I joined RWA, including the local chapter LERA, and went to my first meeting yesterday. I was blown away by the supportive atmosphere, it was like coming home to hot chocolate after being rained on non-stop for a year. (The last time I had this feeling on being on the right path was when I met the members of my critique group for the first time.) To say I was intimidated by a room full of published authors, would be a gross understatement. And yet not once did I feel out of place or unwelcome. While hearing their success hammered in how far I have to go, it reinforced that I made the right decision in joining.

 This is the awesome print Chris gave us,  you can buy it here!

This is the awesome print Chris gave us, you can buy it here!

Chris Baty, the accidental creator of  NaNoWriMo, gave a fantastic talk just in time for November, reminding us all that we each have our own story and it wants to be told.  I’m feeling refreshed and inspired. Hopefully, this move will push me in the direction of my goals. Worse case scenario, I will have met some talented and amazing writers.

Come on November, let's do this!