Saturday, March 31, 2012

Before [and After]

I remembered another good question, and answer, from the Writing Show the other night -

See previous post. Especially for the links. No time to do them all here again.

Among the questions in the Question and Answer part of the Show -

which is another good reason to come to the Writing Shows, you get to ask questions, in the time always set aside for Q & A, and there’s also plenty of opportunity to talk with panelists at break or after the Show as well.

So I don’t remember the exact question, which might be why I forgot to post it in previous summary, but I do remember the answer.

An audience member was discouraged because the writing they wanted to do was in an area that was over-saturated.

The answer was - there were search engines before Google.

Yes, we were all a little puzzled - until it was explained, just like google, you have to be better.

Good advice anyway really. Do the best you can.

But if you are working in busy crowded market, you have to figure out what makes you / your writing unique, and do it better than what’s out there.

It obviously can be done.

So Do it.

I’ll be here to encourage you.

Or ‘egg you on’

There’s a difference?


Writing Show Info’ [and Marina]

So, if you weren’t at last night’s James River Writers Writing Show, you really missed a good one.

But for those that were not able to make it, I will try to decipher my notes

[note to self: my favorite pen NEEDS a new refill!]

but I think I’ve been able to decipher my ink scrawls and skips.

It was a surprising but incredibly interesting panel:

Noah Scalin, Dr. Keyhill Sheorn, Michael J. Sullivan

Dr. Rashida Gray did a great job as moderator.

Some of the tidbits of wisdom from last night’s Writing Show include:

Have fun with your writing.

Find the right audience for your writing.

Let go of preciousness.

Don’t get caught up on everything being perfect. Or having to be perfect.

Figure out how to transform jealously at others accomplishments / success / having what you want, into incentive for something you can do to get what they have. Put it out there. Encourage it to happen for you.

Get help and support.

How to determine you are successful - depends on where you are.

[And my note to this - since this is my blog and I can, it also depends an awful lot on what you consider success / successful.]

Michael Sullivan talked about discovering Scrivener software and really liking it for organizing his writing.

[I’ve used Scrivener software for quite a while and I am Crazy about it! It’s Great writing software. It’s Great organizing software, for organizing Anything, and Everything! It is a Great software package.]

Readers are more forgiving with books / writing - writers tear it apart.

If you want to fix your writing, ask a writer. If you want to know if your writing is any good, ask a reader.

Michael Sullivan said there’s a lot more pressure on you when you’re published.

If you are stuck / blocked, there were several suggestions - one was to write with opposite hand, type with your eyes closed. It was noted you’ll probably get interesting typos. Get out from where you are and go somewhere different. Michael Sullivan goes for walks - by himself, since he not only talks to himself, he asks himself questions, and answers them.

Get your needs met.

[My extra note here, I’ve done blog post/posts on this before, Put the oxygen mask on Yourself first before you try to help others.]

Take care of yourself.

Write down your dreams. It can be very helpful. Dr. Sheorn says she dreams her art complete and then she figures out what she needs to complete it.

Trust that Random things mean something.

An interesting observation, when Noah was talking about his book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal

Being creative / doing something creative Every day, he talked about sometimes they were good, sometimes they were okay, sometimes they were just done.

I noticed he never said what most people would have said - some were bad, or terrible. An interesting thought on how to think of yourself and your work, huh.

One thing I’ve learned from hearing best-selling authors talk, from last night’s Writing Show panelist Michael J. Sullivan to JRW friend and author Steve Berry, it Really helps to have a smart wife.

Since I don’t have a smart wife, luckily I do have a smart husband. From hanging around with writers for so long he’s been infected…er,…he’s caught….he’s come up with some story ideas that he is exploring and researching and writing on. This is one of the great sites he’s come across. And it really answers the question that was asked by Marina [one of JRWs great and lovely writers / supporters] at the February Writing Show.

So Marina this is for you.

And for those writing historical fiction [or perhaps non-fiction even], since I was lucky enough to moderate a couple of panels at last year’s JRW Conference, I got to post some great resources from some great authors. See my prev. Blog posts.

See this one and ones around it:

This one on Blogspot or on LiveJournal

Another thing I’ve learned and was mentioned briefly last night - it’s all subjective. Depends on what kind of mood you catch people in sometimes.

Which, think about it, as a reader most people I know choose a book to read based on their mood at the time.

And some people, like me, have a couple, or more, books going at the same time, dipping into as the mood dictates.

Agents, publishers, etc… are just people too.

So the main thing is to keep at it.

As I’ve heard advice from some other writers, at other times, if you can do something else, do it. Writing is not for the faint of heart. Or for people that have a choice of whether they write or not.

So if you have to do it, just keep at it, keep learning and keep getting better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reasons to Be

A Writer? A Good person? An organized on-the-ball dynamo?

Those are things you have to answer for yourself

But some things we can help you with:

Rejections & Resilience – Fueling Creativity on an Empty Tank

That’s what’s going to be talked about tomorrow night at James River Writers Writing Show.

You can sign up in advance and get a bit of a break on the money.

If you want to know what the Writing Show is about you can check out the great illustrator / writer Troy Howell’s sketches and recap of February’s Writing Show here.

You might also want to check out the recap of the Writing Show on Get Your Word On, JRW’s e-newsletter.

What? You don’t get that! Well, you can go right over to the website and sign up for it. While you are there check out the NEW website. It’s always going to be changing so you’ll have to come back to look often. So be sure to check it out.

And you can come to Writers Wednesday each month for free and hang out with us cool people.

We can help with with all the above, with or without a drink.

If you do come to Writers Wednesday come to the Writing Show tomorrow night and let others see you and talk to you. That way they know someone when they come to the next Writers Wednesday.

So all you Writers Wednesday-ers come to the Writing Show tomorrow night and stand up and be counted.

Okay, so we aren’t really going to count you, but we are going to recognize you for showing up at Writers Wednesday and encouraging us all. Thanks.

So you All have a reason to be at the Writing Show tomorrow night.

If you want another reason, there’s a donut shop just down the street aways, so you can go after the Writing Show and get a HOT donut right off the line!

They’ll even let you get more than one!

And that should be enough of a reason right there! Just saying’ ….. Good talk. Hot Donuts. Will get you through the end of the week nicely.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Social Media and Platforms

Yes, those strikes of terror into the psyches of writers everywhere.

Since, like Scarlet O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow, I only have vague queasiness now. Although when it does cross my mind — I almost put minds, since like most writers I seem to have more than one, helpful when there’s something boring going on you have to sort of pay attention to and other mind can be plotting character demise. Nothing to do with who you are listening to I am sure. Right?

But if I really let the social media and platform things come into view, terror is lurking at their elbow with an evil grin on their black formless faces.

Yes, I have a twitter and…. Oh, come on, I don’t even get here to update this blog as much as I ‘should,’ you think I’m over frolicking on twitter or something?

Not to mention it’s Spring. In Virginia. Did you not read my previous post - I’m not frolicking anywhere. Until all the pollen goes away anyway. Okay so according to the allergist mine never goes away, just sorrtta bad and worse. So I don’t really frolic. Sounds like I should though doesn’t it. Maybe we should all frolic. Let’s talk.

Yes, the other thing about having writer minds, they go off in different directions, a lot.

So back to social media and platforms.

If you are thinking about it - freaking out or not, you might want to check this post out for quick synopsis and talk about the different venues and tips and such.

But he doesn't cut anyone any slack on well being a slack-off really - in my case, the allergy and terror thing -- most of us disguise it with 'have no time to do it' ploy. And no, he doesn't buy it, and holds up his busy life as example. Don't you hate it when people 1 up you? Or have such worse busy lives? It's really hateful when it forces you to take stock of things before you are 'ready.' Sigh. Oh, well, other things call right now that need doing Now, so I'll just have to be 'Scarlett' again. Tomorrow is another day. And I'll figure it all out then.

And for certain friends of mine that will get this - You will Like the title of the blog -


Even tho' it's not in same context it still made me ******Grin************

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Breathing and Black Holes

So…..I’ve almost been sucked into a black hole. Sortta.

….Actually that would explain a lot.

I’ve had to really scramble to escape it. Catching fingernails on the edge and slipping and climbing and…..

….. you buying that?

Okay, but breathing….well, Spring has come to Virginia, Early, Way early, so that has meant being in the springtime allergy fog a lot, already. Even when it was still technically winter! What’s with that!

But at least it’s finally Spring on the calendar. Except the weather is now summer not spring.

So another time warp has ensued.

Then there’s been the excavation digs into the storage containers for clothing to wear in the sudden unexpected heat. My husband wasn’t impressed by my archeological prowess. He insists it was just creating a mess. Course he’s the one with the clothes already in the prime spots. Snap, snap, his clothing exchange done.

So in addition to just ‘regular’ stuff there’s the spring cleaning and all that on top of it.

What to do but take a break with a cup of tea and try to breathe.

And take a look at a friend’s blog, where she talks about doing more by doing less, and being reminded to breath.

Got my attention. Yours?

Especially about taking 18 minutes and staying focused.

Do more by doing less, and staying focused and accomplishing your goals in 18 minutes. Yeah.

So yeah, it’s not quite that simple. But was some great things to think of and consider. And consider doing.

Here’s Cynthia’s blog to check it out for yourself.

And here’s they guy she talks about. Well, his site anyway.

Along with some other great points and things suggested there were these two questions to ask yourself.

Good ones to ask yourself, huh.

If I didn’t avoid needles as much as possible I’d want them tattooed somewhere. Where I could see it. Guess I’ll have to make do with putting them here.

Feel free to make your own decisions about making them a tattoo.

Key Questions:

Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

Am I being who I most want to be right now?

Friday, March 9, 2012


Am I the only one that has partially finished manuscripts and stories languishing around in notebooks and bits of paper.

How do you determine if they still have life in them somewhere or they are dead, really dead, really door-know dead-dead?

I came across something recently that was talking about how to resurrect a stalled manuscript.

There were some interesting ideas, like doing research, if you are stalled. Take a bit of time to do research on your characters and find out more details that might give you a better grip on your characters, and thus your story.

It also talked about the conflicts in the story. Whether large or smaller. Taking a look at the conflicts, it suggested playing ‘What If’ with the characters and situations. That question alone can send most writers I know in so many different directions, that they won’t have to worry about jumper-cable-ing their story again.

Going along with previous post I did where I mentioned some writers keep their readers / critiques groups to their genre, one of these suggestions about if you are stuck, is to try writing in another genre.

I already write a bit of all over the place, so that’s not something I think about a lot. As to my writing anyway. I think about it in terms of marketing, but not with me as a writer.

A lot of other writers seem to stick to a particular genre, and type of story, and don’t understand my ‘eclectic’ needs to tell a story differently. But I’m okay with that. And now I found out that it can be a way to paddle-shock a dead or stalled story. Cool.

So what about you? Would you, have you, thought about writing something other than what you have / are used to?

Have suggestions for stalled or dead writing? And how to determine which is on the certificate - Revive, or Pull the Plug?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to Come Back from the Edge?

When you are on the edge of throwing up your hands and giving in to your doubt of ‘is this worth it’ - how do you come back from that?

Or do you?

Whether it’s a manuscript or writing languishing dusty in hidden drawers, or just being tired of the struggle and self-doubts, how do you pick it up and keep going? Or do you?

For those of us that don’t have the ‘love of writing’ but have the whatever it is that compels us to write, is it even a choice really?

How do you keep believing in yourself and your writing, when it is often easier to do the opposite?

And why is it easier to believe the negative things about yourself and thus your writing, than it is the positive?

Which is why our choice of readers is so very important. Yes, we need Honest readers. But we need honesty as pertains to genuinely caring about both the person and the writing, not petty ….well, whatever it is that causes people to say horrible things to people about their writing. And yes, I’ve seen first-hand the damage that causes. Especially when writing, like any kind of artistic endeavor is just a matter of personal opinion. Even as readers we don’t all like the same things. [Thank goodness, would make books I want to read even harder to get hold of from library now wouldn’t it. ]

So it makes sense we all wouldn’t like the same writing. Or do the same writing. Horrors!

That doesn’t mean I’m saying that you have to only have readers that write the same as you, or only read the same things you do. I know some people do believe that, and that’s fine with me. It’s all a learning experience, some good, and some….well, I’ve already done a blog post about critique group difficulties.

So how do you keep believing in yourself as a writer?

The next post I will do - hopefully tomorrow… yes, yes, I know, lagging….a Lot… I will Try to post more often… like tomorrow I plan to post on Raising writing or a manuscript from the dead.

But if you are feeling empty, especially with your writing, then you’ll want to put Thursday, March 29, 2012 on your calendar for the James River Writers Writing Show -

Rejections & Resilience:
Fueling Creativity on an Empty Tank

If you’ve missed the Writing Shows, well, you’ve Really been missing great advice and information. [Not to mention mingling with other writers that probably understand a whole lot more than you think and might even have some helpful suggestions. Or at least commiserations. Chocolate might be involved. All I’m saying.

If you need something stronger than chocolate with writer commiseration, then don’t forget JRWs Writers Wednesdays at Capitol Ale House, Innsbrook Wednesday, March14, 2012. If you still want chocolate, try the chocolate ale. Uh, I Heard it was really good. ;) …all I'm sayin' ]

January’s Writing Show had great advice on how to be the best author for Bookstores.

I’ve been meaning to, and will try to get my notes transcribed soon on the Writing Shows, if you want. But since they are my notes, of what spoke to me, it’s really better if you come and take your own you know.