Blog Part Two

March 12, 2015 | Writing

The Super Bowl is over. Did your team win or were you on the floor during the last play sobbing? The Australian Open is over (thank goodness the sixteen hour time difference disrupted my sleep). Groundhog Day is over, six more weeks of winter I sympathize with the groundhog nipping the Wisconsin mayor’s ear. Valentine’s Day over – not enough chocolate. It is cold everywhere and people are tired of snow, below zero temperatures, ice, and more cold. There’s been a break in the weather and Spring is less than two weeks away – we hope.

My final questions posed to writers dealt with social media, advice given to them, and what is their biggest fear? Issues all of us face whether our book is in manuscript form on our computer, self-published, traditionally published, or eBook.

The first question was about social media and the part it plays in their writing. Since it’s been so cold and lots of snow, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, et al. have become addictive and easy ways for people to stay in touch, commiserate about like conditions, and ask why Katrina was still on Sleepy Hollow. It’s also a tool writers can use to meet like writers, reach out to agents, publishers, the market, and find resources. LeAnne did just that. She found her agent on social media, made friends and discovered writing resources. Shaila said “Some use it simply to advertise and I think they’re missing the point. It’s social – it’s meant to help you connect with your readers, fans, potential readers, etc.” She also called it a time suck. Something I agree with and several other writers also agreed. Tina is stingy with her writing time and doesn’t use social media. She does have a Facebook author’s page and agrees it’s a great way to promote friends. Edwina is a self -professed tech luddite with no social media accounts. Ane Ryan uses Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to promote and keep up with others. Renita mentioned the book ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W. Chan Chankim and Renee Mauborne. She says the book has helped her learn about creating new market space in an ever increasing market competing for our attention. Leigh agrees with Shaila that it can be time consuming. She has Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter accounts for her pen name. Tracey found NaNo and Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com, as a valuable resource sites. She uses Facebook to brainstorm and chat with writers.

Advice is given and received, both whether we ask for it or not. I asked what was the best and worst advice they have received. LeAnne said her husband tired of her talking about wanting to be a writer and told her to just do it. The best advice Shaila received was to enjoy the words. The worst advice was that any critique group would do. Advice I think we should consider. We want to be among ‘like’ writers who understand our genre and have experience reading romance.The best advice Edwina received was to join RWA and find her local chapter. The worse advice was someone told her she was a good writer but wouldn’t be published. I wonder if anyone ever said that to Nora Roberts? Ane Ryan thinks her best advice was to turn the Internet off when she writes and never write without knowing where you need to go in your story. As for bad advice she says she hasn’t received any so far. Tina was also advised to join RWA and a local chapter. Worse advice Tina heard was to stop writing Sweet Romance because it’s not selling. Tina continues to write writing Sweet Romance. There is an audience for this and she’ll find it. Renita’s husband gave her really good advice. He told her not to fall in love with the first book she wrote. He advised using it a practice to perfect her craft. Worse advice for Renita came from contest entries. She’d receive conflicting feedback and now keeps a Q-Tip on her desk (Quit Taking it Personally). I’m thinking of framing a Q-Tip on my desk. Leigh’s best advice is the worst thing you’ve written is better than what you didn’t write.

Procrastination should be an art form. Like Twitter or Facebook, when faced with such ‘shiny’ what’s a writer to do? Are there writers who don’t suffer from procrastination? Edwina uses a kitchen timer set for fifteen minutes. When it dings she sets it for another fifteen because she finds she’s in the writing zone. She learned this useful tidbit from RWR. LeAnne finds wasting time on Facebook a form of procrastinating. If she’s suffering a real slump she takes break, read or watch TV. She’ll even make a deal with her self, one thousand words and then she can check Facebook. Shaila reads when she finds herself procrastinating. Assuages her guilt. She feels there’s no need in beating yourself up if you’re not in the mood. After a break she’s anxious to get back to her characters and wip. Leigh says she’s in a bit of slump right now, winter blues, and hope the upcoming seasonal change helps. She’s changing up her routine, setting aside her current project, do something different and start plotting another book. Ane Ryan feels like she’s dying if she misses three days of not writing. Tina also makes a deal with herself. Thirty minutes in the morning and thirty in the evening. Because she has several manuscripts in various stages she can move from one to the other and avoid a serious slump. Renaita allows herself no more than a week away from writing. If it is longer she’ll read Jodi Picoult. Her backup inspiration is her husband. If she’s watching TV he’ll ask when was the last time she wrote. Tracey tricks herself by writing a few ideas of just finishing a chapter. This works in getting her to continue writing.

We are now into the third month of 2015. I asked writers what was their BIG goal for 2015 in the first post. This time I asked how they planned to implement it. Leigh is working toward submitting her first manuscript and working on the second one, which is connected to her first. Tina has an older manuscript she’s given time to mellow and now editing. She plans to pitch at RWA in New York. Renita intends to find a critique partner or a group with no more than three members. She’s also working on twenty minute writing sprints. Focus is her mantra for 2015.Rechecking her short stories for passive voice and using the emotional thesaurus suggested by LeAnne is Tracey’s plan. Edwina is going to learn more about social media and join Facebook. LeAnne has already accomplished one of her goals, to finish her manuscript and send to her agent. She set up a writing schedule and plans to write two thousand words per week which means her second manuscript will be finished by summer. Shaila, shop book one and consider self-publishing it, and build a website are her goals. She’s made a ‘how to’ list for each goal and is considering attending conferences to pitch in person. Ane Ryan should have returned from her cruise by now with her husband. So now she’s working on three new covers for her books and two manuscripts out for edits. These writers have big goals and are working toward making them reality.

My final question was what is their biggest fear. Writers fear a lot of things. These writers voiced the biggest ones we share. Ane Ryan’s is no one will buy her book, or she won’t have repeat success. Tina has no fears. She wants people to read her work and be honest. She may not agree with one opinion but if repeated by several readers it’s telling her something. Renita fears she’s do all this work writing and no one will like it. Her family would stroke her ego but if she wants honesty she’d give it to another writer. Rejection is Tracey’s fear. She says no one can avoid it. She says everyone has their own style of writing and readers enjoy different genres so what she writes probably won’t appeal to everyone. If she is hit with rejection she takes a few days off to process. Edwina is afraid of disappointing her readers. LeAnne fears being unable to fulfill a contract or rushing to finish a manuscript and submitting it before it’s ready. Once published, Shaila fears her book won’t be noticed and it will be lost in a sea of other books.

I’ve had a great time with these writers. They opened their minds and hearts and took the time to answer questions that jumped out of my head. Writing is a journey, one word at a time.


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  1. You did an excellent job. Thanks again for including in this. Happy wordage 😉


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