Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time Constraints, Frustration, and Writing

Here lately I’ve been feeling the frustration of time constraints. For every aspect of my life, there is a to-do list being neglected. I’ve been doing my best to work slowly but surely from each list and the list from the ‘writer’ aspect of life has (thankfully) not been completely neglected. However, looking at it got me thinking, there is an insane amount of ‘things’ a writer has to do if they are serious about getting published. I mean, insane. Especially when you take in the consideration that most writers have a day job to do along side of writing and on the rare occasion, a life outside of that. Just reading a few advice articles on getting published will send you’re head spinning. Staying up to date on the market, learn how to write a query letter, maitain a blog, read books, and attend conferences are just a few of the necessities. And of course there is the most important thing….writing! Some days the list can get so overwhelming it makes you feel like you don’t have what it takes but (and that’s a big but) it is very much possible. People do it every day. Here are a few tips I use myself to help simplify my writing life without sacrificing the necessities:

1.    Simplify staying up to date.
Blogs are great for staying up to date. They are frequently updated and the most recent information is always posted on the face of it. However, keeping a long list to stay updated on will become overwhelming on its own. Staying regular with a few that offer the richest morsels of info and check the rest when you feel like it. A few I like to check once a week are:


 JA Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. This blog is great for anyone who is in or is considering self-publishing. Everything I know about the self-pub industry I leaned here - both the good and bad.


Query Shark. This blog is good for anyone who is or will be querying agents. The agent who operates this blog evaluates real query letters sent to her and post them on Query Shark so you don't make the same mistakes.


DeniseTompkins’s Blog. A wealth of general information for writers of any genre and fantasy readers. Very well written.

2. Simplify reading
I have a rule for staying inspired. It’s maintaining a good input/output ratio, e.g. I like to spend a percentage of my time reading for the time I spend writing. However, writing is most important and when I get the opportunity for a few moments of solidarity with my computer I have to take it. So, reading tends to take a back seat. My remedy for this is books on tape. Reading hands free. In the car, or while cleaning house. It's also something you can do instead of watching TV. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Simplify finding time to write and ditch the TV.
Ah, if there was ever such thing as a time wasting machine. I'm not sure if I know of a more frequently given line of advice amongst writers that get rid of cable. I’d like to follow this advice, but if I got rid of the television I might lose my husband as well. I want to stay married so the TV stays but I set some rules for myself that I pass on to you, Danielson. Only watch the shows that are your favorites and make sure they aren't brain wasters. A documentary on drug smuggling could prove to be great inspiration for a thriller. I also like shows that inspire me. Hell on Wheels, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy all tend to get my gears turning. And if I need a little mindless relaxation to reboot I like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League. I watch them while feeding my daughter or in the hour I spend winding down after the computer goes off and before the nightlight comes on. (Yes I sleep with a nightlight. Wouldn't you if you wrote about scary people all day?) Just remember to keep the TV habit in check.

4. Simplify finding time to write and learn to write on the go
While you’re standing in line at the grocery store, instead of checking your email hit compose and write the next few lines to the next NY Times bestseller. It's exactly how this blog was written. It will also train your brain to write when surrounded by distractions and to recover from interruptions more easily thus help you get more out of the few hours a week you do get of uninterrupted time.

5. Simplify find time to write and just do it.
Sometimes the best way to simplify (and occasionally the only way) is to say to hell with it, glue your butt to the chair, your fingers to the keyboard, and write. There are a million reasons why you can't write they are far too easy to come by. But not writing is the only thing you can do that will guarantee to kill your dream of typing those words, "the end.” The reason I shouldn't have wrote this blog is because I have dishes to prepare for Thanksgiving, I need to get a head start on Christmas decorating, and my sweet little Em is moody and I've held her for 60% of the time it took to write this on my cell phone. The reason I am writing is because it feels so damn good to write the words, "The End."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless Smartphone

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Risking Your @$$ and Tim Tebow

I didn’t plan to return to Fiction Dish this week, but guess what? It’s happening.


That’s right crack open a can of Tecate and fire your pistol into the air, no one’s favorite blog is back.


I took a little hiatus but for very good reasons. As promised there are more pages, some helpful links that will be updated, as well as a brief description of the novel I’ve finished and begun submitting to agents.


I’ve heard all along at what a scary, disheartening process submitting to agents is to writers and although my chin is still up it’s not too early to say I know what they mean. I know exactly what it’s like spending months hunched over a key board, writing until you feel like you’re fingers could bleed, just so you can reach that moment that you’ve fantasized about forever – typing, “The End”. I’ve finally reached that moment and finally know what it’s like. It truly is amazing but I knew before I reached that moment that if you plan on publishing your work it doesn’t last long.


This is the reason why my manuscript sat in a drawer, untouched for months. I’d finished it. I’d written an entire 72,000 word novel that I was very happy with which was my only goal as far as writing was concerned. I’ve met a lot of people who have far more experience than me writing and publishing and I knew the road ahead of me. I knew it would be several more grueling months of hard work before I ever began to see the fruits of my labor if I decided to publish. It wasn’t laziness. I was just satisfied.


Finally, the newness of having completed my story wore off and I decided to look in to getting it published. I started sending letters out last Saturday. I got my first rejection today and believe it or not it was exciting! Even the best writers sometimes get hundreds of rejection letters before they get a bite, so I was just excited to feel like the process had officially begun.


It has been a little taxing. There is a lot of work involved which I will detail in another blog and there are a lot of disheartening moments. (Last week I submitted my work to an agency whose query email address was It isn’t easy putting yourself out there but I guess until someone calls me terrible, I’ll still be doing better than Tim Tebow.