Things I Learned at the RT Convention

  1. Stuart Reardon is the sweet and most attractive man ever. (Also, he hugged me).  
  2. I can stretch out of my autistic comfort zone.
  3. People REALLY like free shit.
  4. The authors and staff at my publisher (Hot Tree) are all adorably sweet people who went out of their way to ensure I felt as comfortable as I could be.  I heart them.
  5. Steak and ale pie is brilliant.
  6. Authors fangirl as much as readers do, because at our core–we can’t be great authors if we don’t also love to read.
  7. Five days is enough to exhaust me completely and utterly.
  8. Volunteers work incredibly hard and rarely get noticed.
  9. The tribe of book lovers is an awesome one. I’m proud to be part of it. 
  10. Play time is over. Time to get to writing.

Did you attend the RT Convention in Atlanta last week? If so, what was your favourite part?

Five Things I learned This Weekend.

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I had plans this weekend. Plans to make at least 8k in progress on The Wanderer. How much did I get written this weekend? Not even 1k.

So here’s what I learned this weekend:

  1. My muse/brain has limits I should respect.
  2. Taking time to rest is a necessary evil.
  3. Forced writing doesn’t work for me.
  4. My muse is a toddler who requires occasional naps.
  5. I can binge-watch Downton Abbey with an impressive amount of dedication. =)

The good news? After a word drought for several days, I picked up a pen last night and managed to eek out several hundred words. So not writer’s block, just writer’s exhaustion after rushing through finishing two 30k novellas.

Do you remember to take breaks to rest yourself as a writer?

 

Things I Love to Hear from Readers.

The word inspiration written on a vintage typewriter

Writing can at times be a rather dreary business.  We scale mountain tops of brilliance and sink into valleys of muse-less weariness.   Messages from readers are often the one thing that puts a little energy into our exhausted batteries.

Here are a few of the best things I’ve ever heard from a reader—some are paraphrased:

  1. “You made me laugh.” “You made my cry.” Evoking emotion in a reader is always an amazing feeling for an author.
  2. “I adored ‘insert character name’ so much!” My characters are my babies so anytime they become a reader’s favourite makes my day.
  3. I can’t wait to read your next book.” Self-explanatory really, nothing more encouraging than hearing someone wants to see more from you.
  4. “I’ve been in a similar situation to your character and the story made me feel less alone.” With After the Scrum in particular, I’ve heard this from readers who struggled with similar issues of anxiety, panic attacks, or acceptance from their family. As an autistic, I’ve had moments when it seemed as if I were the only person in the world going through it so I understand the importance of not feeling alone.

I hope readers understand how powerful their support can be for writers.

And thank you.

 

Five Things about Reviews.

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It’s inevitable when you have a new release, reviews are going to come in–the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It’s hard as an author.  You’ve nurtured your novel.  It’s your baby.  You’ve cried, bled, and eaten gobs of ice cream in the making of it.  You’ve drunk enough caffeine to flood all of London while banging your head against your desk.

So here are five things I’m reminding myself of at the moment:

  1. All creative endeavours are subjective.  Not everyone will love the same thing.  Excepting that will help keep your blood pressure down.
  2. Bad reviews will happen.  Don’t comment. Don’t.  They have a right to their opinion, and you gain nothing by responding.
  3. Seriously. Don’t respond to bad reviews.  Ever.
  4. Enjoy the good reviews.  Say thank you if you feel the urge.
  5. Write your novel for yourself, not others.  So at the end of the day, all of your enjoyment won’t be wound up in whether or not others appreciate it as much as you will.

Bonus:

Keep lots of ice cream, alcohol and chocolate on hand.  It might help keep you sane.

How do you handle reviews?

Five Writing Things for the New Year

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1. Writing is hard.

2. Writing is also easy.

3. A writer cannot live on donuts alone–tea is also required.

4. It doesn’t matter what you used to write as long as you get the words out.

5. Don’t waste your time dreaming about being the next big thing, it’s possible to dream so much about the future, you never get around to doing the work to help you achieve them.

and a bonus round.

6. Even if you are a panster, you should take the time to write down names, dates, locations and ages somewhere you can easily reference.  I speak from experience when I say it goes a long way to helping keep things on track.  And helps keep from calling the same character by five different names because you can’t remember.

Not that I know anything about that.

*shifty eyes*

*photograph used by permission from Jar o’ Marbles

The Best Laid Plans

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Let’s face it, we’re not all that author who can take a year off to ‘find themselves.’  Or the author who can write and drink themselves into oblivion and publishing infamy at the same time.  Hemingway anyone? In fact, for many of us, our true passion in life ends up taking a backseat to little things like bills, rent, food, you know all those insignificant little details.

In a perfect world, we’d all have our dream writing space where we spend hours upon hours each day etching our manuscripts into the ether.

The reality is more like we’re scribbling on napkins on the way to our day jobs, or praying we don’t forget that perfect line which popped into our heads in the shower.

My best laid plans for getting a chapter day came crashing down on Friday and never recovered on the weekend.  Three hours of sleep a night will do that to a person.  I was too tired to watch the telly, let alone attempt to form a coherent sentence or paragraph.

In the end, I’ve decided to take a deep breath and start again.  Maybe I won’t accomplish a chapter a day, but if I manage to write something each day until the end of the month, I’ll be ecstatic.