The Journey to Publication, Writing

DIY Tiara, or Just a Confidence Boost?

It can be easy as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, to get down, get discouraged, and generally Eeyore like. Yesterday, I wondered if wearing a tiara while preparing breakfast and getting things packed for the day, improved my outlook. I was dressed as a princess (for preschool story time, I swear!), but did I feel all that entitled or more pleased?

Then later on, I realized what it was I really needed. I needed to feel like I wasn’t completely inept and clueless. 🙂

So here’s the deal: we spend a lot of time alone, with our writing, typing away at a keyboard. And when we send out work out into the world (as we must if we want anyone else to ever see it), it’s inevitable we’re going to get rejections. Some will hurt a lot, others will be relatively kind. And yes, we know that not everyone will like our work, that the business is subjective. We have to. Still, there’s something dauntingly depressing as all those rejections start to add up. We can start to mistake the fact that our work just isn’t ready, or that it wasn’t the right match for that particular publisher / agent / reader with the notion that either we or our writing are hopeless, worthless, or crap.

Sometimes, all we need is just a little affirmation that we’re not clueless, and that maybe, as we crawl blindly along a path we understand but can’t see, we ARE traveling the right path, we are doing the right things, making the right decisions. And when the path seems especially dark or hopeless, we need to find small affirmations for ourselves that suddenly seem to light everything up.

For me, it was realizing not only do I know what a career trajectory is, I actually have one! 😉

Sometimes, it’s an encouraging note added by an agent or an editor. Or the words of your critique partners or beta readers who see something worthy in your writing, especially on the days you can’t. It can be the lightening rod when you figure out that story you love and see it all plotted and laid out in your mind. And sometimes, it’s just going out and having a bit of fun, because seriously, without fun, life kind of sucks. 😉

Take heart, move forward, and if you need to, wear that plastic tiara proudly if that’s what makes you feel better. Because you will get to where you want to go, you will achieve your goals if you keep pushing, keep improving, and never, EVER give up. 🙂

Your turn: what helps pulls you back from the darkness and gives you that boost and cheer?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. And Happy Halloween out there, whether you wear tiaras, fangs, or anything in between. 🙂


Thematic Centering

As I’ve probably whined about mentioned, I’ve been working on a thorough revision of the beastly book I swore I’d never rewrite again (I call this draft 8 because actually knowing how many drafts it’s been might make my brain explode.) 😉

Anyway, in this current rewrite I’ve been centering all revision based on a clearer and more definite theme / stated purpose.

Nope, I haven’t invested in a soapbox to preach about all the things you can shout at people about. Instead, for this theme, as I considered my revision, I asked myself a series of questions. The last of these, which found the answer I searched for, was:

“What do you want this book to be? What kind of feeling do you want to leave with your reader?”

And I started off all right with the wanting to leave the happy ending, a good feeling, hopeful, etc. THEN I hit what I was really looking for. It was only in reviewing what I wrote that I found the phrase, and highlighted it. I wrote:

“…find just that one person who understands you, who loves you for exactly who you are despite all your flaws, makes the world complete and creates light in the darkness.”

No, it isn’t as neat or pretty as one might wish a theme to be, like “acceptance” (which was what I thought the theme was originally). But instead, this is the phrase that defines what I want out of the entire relationship between my two protagonists, and which defines their romantic journey. For this book more than others, this is what helps center the story.

And, as it turns out: Me.

As I’ve been revising, with much teeth-gnashing and general whines (internal and external), whenever I’ve gotten lost in the tangle of plot-lines, or lost my way in what it was I wanted to change, and what it was I have to change, and where the two intersect, I look at this phrase. And I remember what it means, and how each scene has to reflect this. Accordingly, I also know what I have to write next.

Which made me curious, and I pose the question to you out there: do you write to a theme / guiding principle of the story? Can you draft to that theme, or do you only highlight things once you get to revision? Come on, share. Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and happy writing out there!


Too Busy for Anything?

Busy, busy. Market in Mexico. My photo.
Busy, busy. Market in Mexico. My photo.

So since September has started, generally my life has turned upside-down-crazy-town. This particular crazy-town is relatively friendly, and I’m fairly sure that I’m the resident lunatic, since part of the reason things are so busy is that I keep volunteering to do more.

And while I’ve been so busy, I’ve been considering if I’m actually accomplishing anything.

Now, this isn’t the case where I’m going to tell you not to multi-task, since you’ve probably made up your mind about that already, haven’t you? No, instead I’m musing about the fact that sometimes you can be too busy for anything, which leaves you wondering: so what the heck am I doing anyway?

My answer has been to examine what’s frustrating me (ie: not getting as much time writing as I’d like and I’m used to) and balancing this with first, what needs to be done, and second, what I’ll regret if it doesn’t get done.

The result, for someone who thrives on counting how many new words I’ve added and loves checking off things on a to-do list, is that I’m checking off less items, and writing less words … but I think what I may be doing is more important.

I’m making sure that the time I spend with the kidlet, since there’s not as much just-us-alone time with her in playschool, is sacred time. And sincere time. I try not to work on the computer or something else (unless it’s in front of the tv), and instead, we’ve painted pictures together, played with playdough and made endless “peas.” And she’s happier and more placable. And I appreciate and love my little miss all that much more.

I’ve also tried making a bit more time for me, which means I’ve started to go to the gym (and we’re way to early for the feel-good stage – I’m only at the “ow, it hurts” stage). I’ve also been reading more, things that are fun and just bring me pleasure. Anything dark gets the boot about now.

So what have I accomplished? I’m starting to get past the panicked feeling of running out of time and behind everyone else. And I’m starting to feel maybe, that there are things more important than those to-do lists and productivity lists (though who can resist the list or two? They’re so adorable!).

And such ends my round-about-apology for not posting last week. I’ve been too busy for anything. But I’m working on that, and making sure that instead, I’m busy, but focused on what’s really important.

What about you? Has back to fall meant back to craziness? Ever have that feeling you’ll never catch up? Love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving from here in Canada, and have a great week. 🙂