Posts tagged: Get a Life!

Eleven Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress

By , August 29, 2011 12:00 am

 

I try to remain very cooled headed when it comes to querying and waiting for a response.  I expect nothing but the fact that I did my best, that I will always try to improve, and that an agent’s/assistant’s having to read thousands of unsolicited queries is a terrible experience.

 

"Indie Naivete" by MMRule

"Indie Naivete" by MMRule

Fighting the Vortex of Insanity

Designing a literary cupcake after Bransford’s book, however, gave me some jitters.  Bransford is active on Twitter, Facebook, his blog, etc.  Unlike when I write about Stephen King or send out a query letter, I heard Disneyesque birds singing all around me that the person whose opinion matters most very well could see my work and like it.  (For the record he did!)

 

Life Must Continue

The experience made me wonder what would happen if I were able to sit in front of a computer all day with my imagination fueling me.  Fortunately I don’t own a smart phone and have errands and work related responsibilities to complete every day, so it was easy for me to continue living my life while I waited to see if Bransford would notice my post.  But my mind still went to dark places that day.  So many places, in fact, that I surpassed a “top 10″ list!

 

The Exception to the Rule presents Eleven Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress.  I’ll let you guess if I’m guilty of any of them!  I admit to nothing and I do not believe that it takes one to know one!  Seriously.

 

11 Signs That You Don’t Spend Enough Time on Your Work in Progress

11.  You read that form rejection letter so many times that you convince yourself that it really was personalized in some way.

 

10.  You bought a smart phone so you can access your email 24/7—just in case an agent asks for a partial.

 

9.  You follow agents on Twitter and keep @mentioning them so they will notice you and realize that you should be represented!

 

8.  You think that having common interests with an agent means that he/she will definitely want to represent you.  (Yes, Stacia Decker, I agree that people should take care of their teeth! I can tell you’ll love my novel!)

 

7.  You dream daily about the movie version of your book and pay no attention to the fact that Dakota Fanning has aged five very formative years since you realized that she is the perfect embodiment of your protagonist.

 

6.  You think you’re friends with your dream agent’s assistant because his/her name appears on your gchat sidebar ever since you received that emailed rejection.  You don’t care that you two have never chatted!

 

5.  You keep track of when agents tweet so you have insight into their work ethic and can guess when they might respond to your query.

 

4.  You have a tab open in your web browser that shows a clock for every time zone where you are querying.  (Come on.  What will that accomplish?)

 

3.  You believe that there is a need for a site that provides more information than querytracker.net

 

2.  You founded querytracker.net (Sorry, Patrick McDonald!)

 

1.  You are only interested in learning about agents, querying response rates, etc. because you have that writing thing DOWN!

 

Now it’s time for your thoughts!

Comment by adding your additions to the list. 

Or reveal which numbers on the list sound a little too much like you!

#TeamFollowBack and the Curse of Low Self-Esteem

By , August 15, 2011 12:00 am

 

I follow back!  Like me and I’ll like you!  Buy my e-book and I’ll buy yours!

 

If you interact with any writers on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., then you see messages like these on most days.  When I first joined Twitter, I ignored them because I was too busy creating my content to worry about people’s caring that I exist.  Once I started blogging and had a FB fan page, however, I suddenly felt the sweaty palms and clammy skin of writer’s panic.

“Indie Hate” by MMRule

What to Do?

 

I wondered what I would do if no one liked me.  And as every second of my despair continued, I kept getting those messages from my peers saying, “Like me and I’ll like you!”

 

Stand Proud!

 

An online presence should exude confidence and professionalism.  Twitter, FB, blogging, etc. are social, yes.  But for us writers it is more than that.  It is our chance to create a public image.  Are we the sniveling new kid with too short pants who tries to sit at the cool lunch table?  Or are we the one person at the party who can look cool wearing sunglasses after dusk?

 

Give Back on Your Terms

 

I want to give back.  I really do.  But I don’t want to contribute a series of meaningless gestures.  I prefer to give my thoughts, creativity, and sweat to the online writing world.  Likewise, when I share a blog or recommend an author, I want people to know that my opinion is worthwhile.  Because I don’t like everything!

 

Automatic liking back and following shows a lack of confidence in yourself and will only give you an artificial sense of your success.  Rejoice in those who love what you are doing, and continue to create a product that will draw in an audience.  If no one cares about what you do, try delivering something new!

 

Are you part of #TeamFollowBack and hate when you don’t see others doing for you what you do for them?  Or if you don’t follow back, what methods do you use to inspire people to like you?  Start the discussion under the comments for this post!

Writing One Dimensional Characters? Try Getting a Life!

By , August 8, 2011 12:00 am

 

Birthing a novel creates a new dimension of life challenges for aspiring authors.  Balancing family, friends, work, errands, and the occasional clogged garbage disposal means that free time is really writing/editing time.  But that’s okay for us.  I’m not ashamed to admit that my ideal “me time” consists of sitting in my recliner for hours straight with my laptop and a box of Cheerios.  (Total darkness is also my preference.)

 

"An Indie Life" by MMRule

"An Indie Life" by MMRule

 

Unfortunately, finding the time to write forces authors into a realm of other difficulties.  Sometimes the sacrifices we make to construct our work in progress leave us too caught up in our heads and not in the world where we and our characters exist.

 

As the result, the characters that we thought were so thrilling and titillating end up falling into clichés that we didn’t recognize until we wrote them.  They just look through their windshield and think for an entire chapter.  They have complicated dreams that are just like real life, except they’re not.  And worst of all, they sit around and stare in the mirror, realizing for the first time that they have brown hair.

 

You may wonder what is wrong with writing those scenes.  Yes, dreams are often exciting and symbolic.  And who doesn’t look in a mirror and study their old acne scars while reminiscing about past lovers?  The problem is that these moments of deep thought and self discovery aren’t interesting to read!  At the very best they don’t further the plot of a book, and at the worst they bore the reader and damage the author’s relationship with him or her.

 

If writers want to create interesting and thought provoking characters, they need to break away from their computers and remind themselves of what it means to live a life beyond feeding their kids or typing a memo about synergy before returning to their novel.  They should try their darndest to engage in some of the activities that even non-writers love, like volunteering, going to the zoo, and getting some exercise!

 

Taking a break to do some living will help a work in progress in wonderful ways.  You will remember to let your characters move away from their thoughts and into an interesting world where they can define themselves through their actions!  So, get a life and reap the richness that your experiences will bring your story.

 

How do you keep your characters fresh and active?  Share your method for writing interesting characters under the comments section for this post!

 

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