Writer Wednesday – Finding Balance

It happens to every writer,  a life event of some form or another.   Some are joyous like weddings, babies, new puppy, new home, etc.   And of course, there are those that are not; death, illness, injury and job loss.

There are also Life Events that don’t fit into either category but cause chaos.  I’ll give you an example.

In 2014 I was part of a team that helped implement a new software throughout my company.  It involved training, travel and late nights.   This proved to be a wreckage on my writing habits, which were modest at best, and I can’t say I’ve fully recovered.

About this time my family dynamic had changed as well.  I went from a mom of two at my peak of productivity to an empty nester.

I thought both events would be advantageous to my writing.  I’d have all this time alone while traveling for my job to write.   I didn’t factor in the pure exhaustion I would feel when I hit the hotel room and how appealing a bed would be.

I thought once my children moved away I would have the weekends and really add to my productivity.  I didn’t factor in how much I would miss them or how their homework and sleep habits played into my writing time.

Life events have an impact on our writing because they affect us either emotionally, physically or both.   And often create a rather large writing block for us.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are suffering from a mental illness or trauma, please seek professional help.  As someone who has loved ones with SAD and PTSD, these life-altering events should not be taken lightly.  They require sensitivity and care, and left untreated they can have devastating effects.

Because of my experience, I look for ways to achieve work/write/life balance.  I do this by setting goals.  Not just around writing but around my life too.   Granted I make more allowances for life because its mine and I can. 🙂

Here are some:

  1. Writing – Minimum writing of 200 words a day.   Mostly because I find once I start writing I usually go to 500 or 1000.   But at a minimum, I do 200.  This is 200 on anything including this blog. 🙂
  2. Sleeping – Sleep at least 8 hours a night.  Sometimes this means going to bed early, or sleeping in on the weekends, but I try and stick to this as a goal.  I find I’m well rested and generally feel better.
  3.  Bum Day – Because I have a day job still, I find Sundays the best day to do this.  I stay in sweats all day and generally watch movies or read.  Then I feel more like I had time off.
  4. Date Night –  My husband and I try and go out one night a week.  Middle of the week works best, but last week we did a play on Saturday, so that was nice. It’s not always so formal.  Sometimes its Pizza and TV or a campfire and s’mores.   Sometimes we count breakfast after a trip to the Gym, mostly to sit and talk.  Reconnect in a way that is important to us.
  5. Reading – I actually still read romance fiction.   I think reading is like filling the creative well, and generally, I prefer a good book over a good TV show.   I’ve just started Books on Tape for my commute and I really love that.
  6. Learn new things – I’ve got a passion to sew my own clothes though I haven’t done it in years, so I bought a book to relearn the skill.

These are just a few suggestions and what works for me right now in my current life.   If I have a life event that changes things, I’ll reevaluate what will work then.

 

 

 

 

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AuThursday – Jennifer Field

IMG_1294 (002)Tell is a little about yourself and your background?

Little about myself.. Hmmmm, well my name is Jennifer Field, I’m an only child raised by a strong single mom in the 70’s (go ahead do the math). When I was in school I had trouble reading and spelling and I’m sure if I had grown up today I’d be labeled as having some sort of dyslexia. But lucky for me I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (I still can’t spell to save my life), but I can write one heck of a story.

I’ve always written, sometimes it was short stories, sometime poetry but always just for me. Then a few years ago I had read 100+ books in 1year and at some point said, “I think I can do that.”. But seriously how many people say they are going to write a book someday. So… I had this bizarre dream, thought it would make a great story, so I started writing. It morphed and changed into my first novel Twice Lost which came out in 2014.

How do you make time to write?

This is always hard but what I have found that carrying a journal ( or two or three ) with me at all times gives me time to write whenever and wherever I am. Now finding time to type it all out… that’s an entirely different question. It seems to me the more authors I get to know the more I seem to realize we all seem to have this “late night” writing thing going on.

Do you believe in writers block?

Oh you bet and it can happen at any time. You think your just whizzing along with a story then BAM, none of your characters want to speak to you. I usually have a couple of story lines going on (hence the 2 or 3 journals I carry around) and I have found that if I start to write something else, they come back.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it?

I mainly write Paranormal Romance but I have also dabbled in Sci-fi, contemporary romance and straight up erotica.

But my favorite is always going to be Paranormal because I can make a world that before I put it down in writing never existed. I pull from a variety of mythology when writing and I always have some hidden gems in ALL my stories. For instance in the Harbinger Series if a character has a last name it will give the reader insight into who they are, Jenna Thanatos in Twice Lost… Thanatos is Greek for death.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? ( *e.g. Indie, traditional or both )

Currently I am under contract with Forever Red Publishing for the Harbinger Series. They are a small publishing company and really … because they gave me a chance.

Are you and introvert or extravert? How does this affect your work?

Both I guess. I think I’m an introvert until you get to know me then I’m an extravert. As an introvert it makes me the worst self-marketer ever.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Just be the best you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, even when you think everything you’ve typed is complete crap. We all read our own writing and think… “WOW, this is pure genius.” And five minutes later while reading the same thing we think “Who wrote this crap, oh right… I did.”

Oh… and BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Twice Lost got its name because of 2 separate and total hard drive failures. So now every few chapters not only do I back up to the cloud but I email them to myself… just in case.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is www.JenniferField-Author.com  (sadly it is in desperate need of an update like yesterday)

You can also follow me on Twitter @sexyharbinger

And on FB Jennifer Field Author  https://m.facebook.com//JfieldHarbingerSeries

Instagram: Jennifer_field_author

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Jennifer’s First Book in her Harbinger Series. ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

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WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

AuThursday – Izzy Szyn

IS author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Worked in customer service jobs most of my life, currently work in a call center for ATT in iphone tech.

I’ve been a bookaholic since I was ten. I’ve been involved online with writers ever since I first came online. At the time, I had web tv and the first thing I did was search for Jayne Ann Krentz and Diana Palmer.

I’ve been a reviewer, book promoter and author stalker, known for locking authors in a closet so they can write faster.

Started writing three years ago, while in a chat I was dared by a friend to write. You can either thank her or ask her what was she thinking. LOL Email me and I will tell you who.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m an Introvert until you get to know me. Then I’m a bit of a smart ass. I think some of it comes through in my writing.

How do you make time to write? 

I make time. I work full-time, so I write in between phone calls, during breaks and lunches and after I get home from work.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I couldn’t work to an outline to save my life. I just let the characters tell me their story.

How did you come up with the idea for your book, BELLA AND THE BEAST?

I had just finished Wendi and Tink when Beauty and the Beast was coming out. I thought what if?

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

I’ve done a few boxed sets.

I see you write Gay and Lesbian fiction.  What do you think is the greatest misconception about LGBT Romance?

That it’s all erotica. It’s simply two or more people that find their way to each other.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. I wish I could have started earlier.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyszynhome/

Twitter: @izzyszyn

Instagram and Google Plus J

Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Izzy’s book, BELLA AND THE BEAST. ~Tina

White Reviews by Crystal button

AuThursday – JC Hannigan

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a twenty-eight year old mother and wife of two boys. We have a black lab and live in Southern Ontario. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to write books. I would write books, on lined paper with crayon coloured “covers”.

I see you’ve written a lot of series, including COLLIDE, DAMAGED and REBEL. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love reading series, following as characters grow and change. For the Collide series, I wasn’t quite done with Harlow Jones after the first book…or the second book. So I wrote a third, and I feel like that story is definitely one that couldn’t be condensed and told the same way. I encountered the same problem with the Damaged Series; I knew that Everly and Grayson’s story couldn’t be condensed to just one book.

But for the Rebel Series, I did try something different…while it is a series, each book can be read as a standalone as each book focuses on one of the three Miller siblings; Brock, Becky, and Braden. The first book–Rebel Soul, is Brock and Tessa’s story. Rebel Heart is Braden and Elle’s story, and Rebel Song is Travis and Becky’s story. I had a blast writing this series, and I think I’ll do more in the future because it appeals to both series lovers and those who prefer standalones.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

A LOT, I owe them a lot! Everyone around me has influenced or inspired aspects and personality traits in my characters. For example, Bill Armstrong (from the Rebel Series) is a lot like my father–traditional, productive, stubborn, hard-working, a man of few words. Everly Daniels (the Damaged Series) has my naive nature and wears her heart on her sleeve.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Nailing their emotional response to things! I always have to hit up my husband for advice with my male characters.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I have tried the hybrid publishing house method, and that didn’t end well. The publishing company went under, and that kind of stress and uncertainty didn’t jive well with me, so I really like the control I have with independant publishing. But I can only really speak from my experiences thus far. I’m not against traditional publishing, or closed off to the idea, and who knows what the future will bring.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I’m not really good at letting things stew, so I edit right away. But I usually do several cycles of editing, revising, and tweaking before sending it to the editor and beta team. In between those edits and revisions, I work on other projects.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

MUSIC! I need music!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, writer’s block is definitely a thing. I like to refer to it as “word constipation”.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing 🙂

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author Website – http://jchannigan.com
Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/2bvioNg
Twitter – http://twitter.com/jcahannigan
Facebook – http://facebook.com/jcahannigan
Google Plus – http://tinyurl.com/qaqex3f
Instagram – http://instagram.com/jcahannigan
Personal blog – http://sarcastica.ca
FANnigans – https://www.facebook.com/groups/FANnigans/
Do you have a sexy teaser you’d like to share with us?

Sure do! This is a teaser from my new release, REBEL SONG. Available in KU September 18th!

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Join me next Thursday when Izzy Syn joins us.  ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Request

Last week, right after I posted my rejection post.   I received a request for an additional 50 pages from another Agent.   The Universe must have a plan.  

I had met this agent at an RWA conference a couple of years ago when the manuscript was just getting started in my head and on paper.    She had given a talk on agents and how they help you in the business.  That talk made me look at querying agents for this book that was an idea in my head.     Especially since what I had written was such a bit of a departure from my current work.   

I will still have to wait a few more weeks before I hear back, but this is exciting news.  I remember listening to her talk, and getting a good vibe.  

As you read this, I’m heading to the airport to go on my annual retreat with the WZG Founders.   And plotting my next book.   More on that next Wednesday. 

~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Rejection

I got my first rejection from an agent last week.  Less than 24 hours after I sent my query.

Was I surprised?  Yes and No.   Yes that it was so quick, and No that it happened.   It was a form letter and I likely received for one of two reasons:

  1. The agent is not  acquiring new authors
  2.  My packet wasn’t proper.   And my packet was incomplete…I noticed after I hit send.

I can not stress the importance of following the rules when agents and publishers lay them out for you.   In my case the agency wanted the first 5 pages and I misread it to be query letter only.    Now was I rejected for not following the rules, possibly.  I’ll never truly know, but I guarantee I always wonder.

Some of you may think this is nitpicky on the publisher’s or agency’s part, and maybe it appears that way.  But the rules are an indicator of what will maximize an agent or editors time.   And truthfully if my query sang all on its own, perhaps I would’ve received a gentle reminder about the missing pages.  Or I stated my query well enough that they knew a Stempunk Romance was not on their #MSWL.

Unfortunately for me, at this agency, a rejection from one agent is a rejection from all.  It is too bad, as the agency represented many authors I love and respect.  Sigh.

There are more agents ahead, and I assure you I will be diliegent in following the rules going forward.   🙂

~Tina