Outline or no outline?

Here is the age old question, and you will seriously find strong opinions on both sides of this spectrum.

You have to outline or your book reads like you don’t. You go off on wild tangents. Or you have to let it free flow or it reads like an instruction manual. I think I’ve about read every article that lists pros and cons to both.

I’ve tried to be an outliner. Planning my story down, and I find shortly into it I give up. I’m finished with the book before I’ve even gotten started. My brain whirls, and I hate the whole process. I’ve thrown more books away by trying to plan them out, than I can imagine.

I also have friends that plan down to the tiniest details before they’re ready to go. Which works amazing for them. They are able to kick out books at their own rate once they know everything.

After all of this I’ve come to the conclusion like everything else that comes with following your creative flow this too is one of them. It’s no different than what time of day you’re the most creative, and can work. There are no set rules for any bit of it. There have been great successes and failures on both sides of the spectrum. I say lets all work the way we do, and what works for you might not work for your friends.

I’m not a horribly organized person, but I tend to jot down a overview plot line. That’s great enough for me. My friend details out every tiny bit until they are sure they know every nuance of their story, and that works great for them.

This all feeds back to the saying, ‘There are rules to writing, only nobody knows them’. Like all creative lifestyles it’s a matter of what works for you. Invent your own personal rules, and follow them, but don’t forget. Your rules work for you, not necessarily your friends. So in light of it all just remember everyone has opinions, and to quote my father, ‘Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, and some stink’.

Follow your own methods to writing that novel, and remember…..

L.O.L. (Live It, Own It, and Love it!)

Until next time.

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Lovely Ladies

Hello, my amazing readers. Today, I wanted to simply give mad props to a group of lovely ladies that I’m so fortunate to have in my life. They are the type of friends, while yes all of them virtual friends on social media, they are still always there. I feel blessed to have them in my life. They are the type of friends that build you up.

Even though we are all on the writing path, they don’t rip you apart. Instead, they help me, and I help them. To me that makes them some of the strongest women I know.

I recently have pulled down my first book to start going through to polish it. You have no idea how much you learn in a few years until you read your first novel. Yikes, icky, and a few other choice words pop into my head as I work on my first novel. I’ve felt stuck, uninspired, and have already packed the book away ready to move on.

Problem is I promised a series out of the book, and regardless of how awful (yes, I’m my own worst critic) I think it is the book has gained quite the readership. Who am I to deny my readers the rest of the story? So while I’m awaiting publishing news on another book (seriously, the hardest wait for a writer) I figured I’d give another crack at it.

Why do I mention this? Because I cleaned up the first chapter. One of my lovely friends offered to critique it for me. I sent it off to her, and bam. She not only sends me back a compliment, but she also sends me back a real critique. One where the chapter is dissected into bits, and she has found things I have never realized with the book.

I know I got done saying I knew it was bad, but I never realized some of these little holes. Oh, no worries I’ll plug them, and get them smoothed out. It’s what I do. It helps so much to have someone willing to say hey, got confused here. You contradict yourself here.

I don’t find it discouraging, but rather invigorating. All of my work will pay off in the end, and the book will be so much better for it in the end. I need the critique partners to finish off this endeavor. It goes like this, after you’ve read through the same book so many times you can’t count the only critical thing you can bring to the table is the lighter to set the book on fire.

So, instead of doing that I’ve got lovely friends that are willing to help out when I need it, and I will return the favor always. We have a you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours mode of operation going. It isn’t something we’ve ever voiced, it’s just the way we work. All of us genuinely want to see the other succeed.

Now that is friendship. I leave you now my readers as I scurry off to dive into the WIP. I have a renewed sense of confidence, determination, and a long rocky road ahead of me, but we will get there.

Thank you to all my amazing friends, readers, and the Trysters in my life.

L.O.L (Live it – Own it – Love it) I know I’m going to.

Inner Voice

Hello once again, my amazing readers.

This weekend was sort of a bust on the writing front. That’s alright though. I’m still sitting at a good number for the start of the week, 14k. I’ll take that, and I’ll increase it by this coming weekend by quite a bit more.

I’m also sitting at that point where I start to second guess my project. Ah, that glorious voice has awaken, whispering my ear.

This is crap. Your characters aren’t strong enough. The story line is weak. You should junk it. This isn’t needed, it’ll just turn out like all your other endeavors.

I’m sure many of you creative types have been through it. This is the exact spot where you stand, and ponder. Do you gear up, and continue the battle? Or do you turn tail and quit? We all face this spot from time to time. It’s the point where the story is no longer fun, or a toy. It also tends to be where the plot thickens, where the characters face challenges, just as you are.

Question is are you going to see them through the turmoil, or are you going to cave?

I have countless half finished projects that usually face the ‘not right now’ pile of finishing. They range from about 15k to 25k. That tends to be my rough spot, and where the inner voice kicks in. There have been many a time that I’ve listened to the voice and thrown them into that file folder.

I lick my wounds with a I’m not ready to write that one. I don’t know enough to finish this one yet, but I’ll come back to it. Or I’m saving myself from wasting my own time.

Oh yes, I’ve used about every comforting crap thought I could. The fact is…I chickened out. I’m great at starting projects, I struggle to finish them. I’d rather face a thousand editing pieces, that muddle through the center of a book….

Ah…yes, it took me years to find that little quirk or fault in myself. Now I have my eye on it I will be pushing through. It’s time to change some habits and finish what I start.

Here’s to telling that Inner voice to bug off, and completing work. We’re getting into the sticky of the plot. Now it’s time to settle into work.

Remember L.O.L. my friends. (Live it – Own it – Love it).

When Things Don’t Pan Out

Hello, my glorious readers. I’m going to start this off by telling you a personal story.

Recently, my husband and I have been trying to get a car. Nothing is panning out in our favor. We’re hearing no, or being ignored by various factors. It’s been devastating. The Hubby Man is starting to slip into a bout of depression from it all. I have found happiness among the factor. Sound odd? Sadistic, maybe?

Not really, let me explain. 

Nothing has changed in my life. It’s not that I’m afraid of change…well mostly. I’ve just come to the realization that we’re not worse off for being told no or ignored. We have survived years without a car. It isn’t like we lost anything. Yes, a car would make life easier, but it isn’t a requirement. We are still in the same financial situations. We still have three beautiful children, and two furbabies that love us. Nothing devastating has happened. What did happen was that we placed so much value into having a car that we felt like we as humans, as caretakers of our family had less value because we did not have a car. 

It’s not true, not in the slightest. Our value as human beings did not change because we were told no, or do not have a car. We will continue to live, and thrive as participating people of the human race.

Now you may ask, how in the world does this apply to the writing world? I’m getting to that.

Yesterday I talked about having a submission waiting for a response. I’ve also blogged many times over the course of years about struggling to write. It has taken me until recently to reflect, and discover all of the key elements I needed to click. You know, those little ah-ha moments we all experience rather creative or not.

What clicked for me? It was easy once I took a step back, and quit fighting myself. 

Much like the car experience, I have done the same thing with my writing. I have put so much value on having a book accepted by a publisher, or being the next big name that I’ve lost the love, and passion for writing. It was suffocating, for me, and for my creativity. I was ready to give up. To accept writing as a hobby that was better left to something I did in free time.

Now I’m not saying I don’t want to have published books. That isn’t the message at all. I’d love to be a published author, or the next huge name. The thing is…it doesn’t change my value as a person. Sure, it’ll make ‘life easier’. See how that keeps popping up? 

It would be a glorious thing to have happen, and I’d be eternally grateful for every second of it, BUT it will not change the value of who I am. Not to me, and that is what matters. 

I have spent so much time placing pressure on myself to write the next big hit. That breakout novel that will set the world in a spin over the epicness of its words. That’s a lot of pressure to apply to ones self. So much so that you will find you are terrified to write. That every time you sit down to write you will throw out more partials to a novel, or have an over abundance of uncompleted work because it’s all crap. 

I sat myself down and I released that pressure. I might not write the next big hit. Not everyone will think my novels are filled with the wordsmith genius of so many other great authors. That’s okay. It doesn’t change my value to myself. It won’t stop me from writing.

Being an author is who I am. Telling stories is what I do. Nothing has changed, will change, or devalued me. That is, nothing but me. I put the reduced price on myself, because I didn’t think I was good enough. I put so much value on being a huge name that I felt unworthy – that I felt devalued without it. 

That all is changing. No matter what the outcome of the submission is I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep submitting. But most importantly – I’ll keep being ME, and nobody can be a better me than myself.

Keep creating. Keep dreaming, and most importantly take pride in the value of being yourself. You’d be surprised what all that positive energy can do for you.

L.O.L. (Live it – Own it – Love it), my readers.

Anxiety Disorder Awareness

Hello my avid readers. I will admit to struggling as of late. Not with ideas or even writing, but another struggle that effects it all – space.

Last Friday we had our entire apartment sprayed down for bugs. Which was a good thing, but it has spawned a tidal wave of changes within my own house.

I’ve lost what little personal space I had in the apartment. It has been consumed for the greater good of the family, but alas it doesn’t stop the fact that the tidal wave of changes going on bothers me. It isn’t so much that the change in itself bothers me, but rather the lack of my own space.

Sometimes I just feel suffocated. Mind you I have an anxiety disorder that prevents me from doing a lot of things. Even on my good days I need small breaks from my own family as the noise levels in the house raises that anxiety to panic attack levels. I used to have a small space that I could retreat into for a break, but now with all these changes I have lost that.

Does this mean I don’t want my family around? No, it just means that I have an invisible disorder like so many that effects the way I interact with people. Most of my family doesn’t actually understand this disorder at all.

Letting the maintenance men into my home to spray the house or fix things is a major struggle for me. It means I’m letting someone I don’t know into my personal space. Yes, I realize it is a fact of life. I cope with it. Albeit, not always so graciously, but I get through it. The panic attacks that ensue up to the point they enter to my house, and after they leave is no easy thing to deal with.

Now you add in the fact I’ve lost my own private haven to catch breathers and I’m developing a nervous twitch. I try to take my breathers outside, which is hard for me. We live in a very busy apartment complex, so often times not even outside is private or peaceful, only adding to it further.

Where does that leave me? It leaves me more lost than I was previously. I suffer from a lack of focus, and find my sleeping schedule changing to where I’m awake more at night after the family, and apartment complex has gone to sleep.

This isn’t something I consciously do, nor does it mean I lack the want to be around my family. It isn’t even something that can be controlled without medications. It just is a fact of my life. I don’t like it any more than anyone else, and I’ve grown tired of hearing you need to calm down before you give yourself a heart attack, or chill, or any of the various other things. If you have never dealt with anxiety to the point of where it attacks frequently, nor the debilitating fear it can bring with it, then you honestly have no grounds to speak up.

I realize this post came out more like a rant than I meant it to. It was supposed to be more of an awareness thing, but I’ll take what I have right now. Anxiety Disorder does exist. It is a silent torment that can take over many aspects of our lives, and it is an unseen abuser.

Until next time, my readers. I shall bring back my positive posts.

Getting Back on That Horse.

I took a few days off from blogging. Not due to anything serious. In fact quite the opposite is true. Sunday I spent most of the morning on a shopping trip with a good friend. As we are thousands of miles apart, we made the most of it and went online shopping. It was a lot of fun. Yesterday, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around a blog post. I tried to think up something to talk to all of you readers about, but nothing came to mind.

Today, it’s a different story. As for writers or any creative type we are faced with some pretty nasty things, rather it is reviews of our work or rejections of our babies. You will have to grow a thick skin if you hope to survive in the world. Criticism is quick to be flung in all directions, and sometimes you find yourself the target of such.

Still, it is the rejections that I wish to talk about today. I, just like any other author that has tried for submission calls, or sent their work into publishers have faced rejection. It is a hard pill to swallow when that message comes back. The words small slaps in the face as you read, and maybe even reread them. 

I kept my first rejection letter. Yeah, sounds crazy, right? I kept it because it meant something to me. Not that I was a world class crappy author, but that I was starting to pave my path as an author. We’re all going to get them, not even famous authors today avoided the dreaded rejection letter. 

The thing is, and it’s one of the most important things. You have to keep trying. Do not let that letter destroy your dream. You keep putting your work out there. Have critique partners, beta readers, or even an editor go over your work if the rejection letter actually contains critiques within it, though don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t. Most rejection letters now come in the form of a pre-written document where they just slap your name on it. 

Once it’s cleaned up, put it back out in the world. Submit to other publishers, don’t give up. You never know, your story could be just what one publisher is looking for. Always, ALWAYS make sure your work is edited. I know you think you can edit your own work, and save you some money, but trust me from experience. You cannot. It is one of the singly best investments you can do for your ‘precious baby’ once it’s written, and revised.

Now, with all of that being said, the reason I chose the subject of rejection. Last year I’d submitted to a horror anthology. I was rejected. Me? I felt defeated, and I let that stew in my brain. I was already feeling pretty awful about my writing, but that blow about had me packing my bags.

I’d started to give up on my writing. I figured nothing was selling, I couldn’t even make it in my own genre so why bother. I was going to give up the dream.

DO NOT DO THAT! If you need to give yourself a few days to brood, but only a few days. Pick yourself up off that floor, and try again. That is the most important aspect. Keep trying, don’t ever stop. Get back on that horse, and try again.

Don’t allow excuses, rejections, and criticism to take seed in your brain. It will destroy you, and spin you into a world of negative thought. 

Time for me to get to work on a few different genre submissions that have come into my life yesterday. Keep reaching for the stars.

Dream on, and Dream big.