Monthly Challenge!

If you are a writer, you will have heard these 3 phrases at least once in your life:

“If you aren’t writing, you should be reading.”

“You can’t be a great writer without reading.”

“ If you don’t have time to read, then you don’t have time write.”

These phrases probably ring a bell. And I hope they do! Because I am challenging everyone who sees this post to a reading challenge. As readers, and writers too, we tend to stick with what we like when it comes to genres. Let’s face it, we find a genre we love and once we do it’s hard to pry yourself away. We become secluded in this little bubble, missing out on so many other great things. So not only am I challenging myself to read four books a month but I am also challenging myself to read four different genres. It’s my hope to become familiar with new genres and to better myself as a writer.  I’ll post the titles of the books I’ve read each month and would love to hear back from those who are doing the same. If you want to take the challenge, post your very own list of books you plan to read within a month and hashtag #FourBooksFourWeeks. Below you’ll find my list from April. I’m a slow reader with a full time job and a book a week is totally doable… and still gives leaves me with time to write. The way I see it, reading is the “weight lifting” for writers. It only makes us stronger. I hope you take the challenge!

ON WRITING by Stephen King

SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

A DISCOVERY OF WITHES by Deborah Harkness

#Amwriting #Amreading

Monday Motivation: The Start to Every Story

Everything begins with an idea.

When I think about that, I become overwhelmed. No matter what we are looking to create: a business, a design, a novel, everything begins with a simple idea. For me, that is the most exciting part of writing a novel or short story. I love the time before taking pen to paper and having this idea that lives and breathes within my mind, where it’s only a little seed needing so much to grow into what I hope it to be. Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s ineffective. But maybe it’s not.

Recently I finished working on my first novel. I began this project several months ago, yet today I am literally still finding crumbled up pieces of scribbled on paper in my coat pockets. A lot of the time I would get an idea and quickly jot it down, then stuff it into a pocket to later expand upon. It is crazy to look back and see these tiny notes now turned into something much bigger… a story. Which was, at one point, just an idea I thought of. The characters that live in this newly constructed world were once just ideas, names, and ink on paper thrown into a pocket. Don’t worry, I’ve since gotten a notebook. RIP finding notes in my pocket.

Here’s a little Monday inspiration for you. Nothing can happen without an idea, so if you have one, water that seed and then let it grow into whatever it is meant to be.

Happy Monday!

A Writer’s New Years Eve Countdown

Dear Diary/The Internet/Anyone that accidentally stumbled onto my page,

So 2014 is coming to an end and here I am going through my final read through of my manuscript telling myself I swear this will be the LAST time!  One thing I have found is the time never feels right. It seems like there is always something to change, re-write, add, take out, etc. Is this a normal feeling for a first time writer or a huge red flag that my manuscript is simply not ready? I will admit, as anxious as I am to take next step, I’m also a little nervous to put myself on display. I feel like my manuscript is strong (doesn’t everyone?) but the closer I get to submitting the more reasons I find to wait.

Along with shining up my manuscript, I’ve always been trying to perfect my query letter. Recently, I discovered the Query Shark. Now not only am I now questioning my manuscript, I am now pouring over my query letter as well! At this rate, I feel like my precious little caterpillar of a manuscript will never have a chance to find it’s wings… Maybe I’m stressing out for no reason or maybe these are all signs that my work is not ready for the next step. I guess we’ll find out…

Back to the Query Shark for a quick second. That site is awesome, like I mentioned above, I’ve spent the last few days working on my letter. What I find helpful is to check out the archives on the query shark’s site and before reading her corrections, make an opinion of your own and see how that matches up with hers. I think this will help recognizing what agents are looking for, what makes a letter catch you, and what absolutely should be left out.

With the new year around the corner I know it is a long road to get published but as Barney puts it…

challenge accepted

Sincerely,

First time mother overly possessive of her precious baby…  I mean first completed novel…


I would love to hear from you. How did you feel well you finally completed a novel? Have you ever hear/tried Query Shark before? What steps did you take before sending it out to agents?

5 Tips I’ve Discovered Writing My First Novel

Fine tuning my work? More like, chiseling away at this mountain of a manuscript.

Keep in mind, I’m no expert. Simply someone that has been sitting on a 200 page manuscript for the last several weeks, hoping to pass a long some tips for others in the same boat! During my process, I’ve found a few things that have worked for me.

Trust your previous writing – These have become words to live by. In order to move forward in a chapter you must trust your previous writing. At times, I found myself dwelling on certain things, questioning whether or not I touched on something too much or too little. But the only way to move forward in a story is to trust your previous writing and to be confident that your message is clear.

Silence the negative thoughts – To me, the only negative criticisms are the ones that you create yourself. There have been times where I am writing and suddenly I am my biggest enemy. That tiny voice in my head becomes more of a deafening scream. There have been times where I wanted to torch my novel, get rid of the idea, and start something new. But the second guessing has to stop. If you have a story you believe in, you are the only person that can tell it. Keep working through it, keep the doubt away, and replace those reasons of why it WON’T work with all of the reasons why it WILL.

Share, share, share! – This is a big one. For me, sharing my work has been pretty comparable to stage freight. For so long I have kept my work private and to myself. But with that, I have limited myself to only hearing one opinion… my own! Sharing your work allows you to explore the minds of different people. Where does your story take them? What do they think will happen next? It’s impossible for you to “wonder” where a story is going when you wrote it yourself. Reviewing your own work is like studying for a test you already have the answers to. You must share, good or bad! Which leads me to my next tip…

No feedback is bad feedback – There is nothing worse than sharing a novel, short story, or poem with a peer and having them hate it. Truthfully, not everyone is going to love what you write. The way I see it, some people like romance, some people like science fiction. Feedback is feedback, a necessary tool to move you forward in any form of writing.

Don’t force – As silly as it sounds, this tip has been one to move me a long when I’ve felt trapped in a 6-foot hole filled with writers block. I’ve tried all of the necessary suggestions to mend WB; bashing my head against the table, twirling in my chair, jumping jacks, coffee, etc. For me, the best way is to take a break and walk away. Not just from the computer you’re hovered over but from the story itself! Sometimes a great idea will come to you when you’re away from your desk, detached from your work, in the shower, out with friends, etc.