4/27/2015 2 Comments
Book two of my Upper Crust Series - Any Way You Dream It is now with the editor. Yes, I know, those of you who actually read my blog and read my books know it should have happened a while ago, but it has finally gone.
"Why the delay?" I hear you cry.
"Good question." I reply.
The truth is apparently I am really bad at writing BOOK TWO in a series. Book one is fine and book three is fine. I've written two series now (one under a pen name) and I've experienced the same issue with both. The whole series has stalled because of Book 2.
I don't exactly know why that is. Well, I do, I think in my effort to make the main character in that book different from the main character in the first book in the series I tie myself in knots.
Additionally, I think book two brings about fear of success (what if everyone loves it?) and fear of failure (what if everyone hates it?) into play in a strange and disturbing way. By the third book I seem to have pushed through it and the interplay between the characters carries me through. By then I'm one of the gang (I'm probably Thelma not Daphne but I'm in the gang) and there is a gang, a group of characters I know well and enjoy spending time with.
At least now we know. In the Upper Crust Series the good news Any Way You Fight It, Book 3 is done and will be released quickly after the second. Books four and five are also nearly done.
I really love Chase, the hero in Any Way You Dream It and Lucy is a girl who deserves a happily ever after (HEA) so I think you'll love the book like I do. (And Six books in the series will have been released by the end of this year, so I really hope you do).
Now let's turn up the music because it is Monday.
I love this song and have since I heard it back in the olden days...it's a great love song and it features in my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels...my first book baby.
I do love a challenge
It is a strange thing because I'm basically not a very competitive person. I compete with myself but not with others.
So if you want to beat me there's every chance I'm going to let you. I hate team sports because the competition makes anxious. I don't even like to watch team sports because I feel like the worst player on the team is beating themself up and feeling embarassed.
As the parent of a child who quite enjoys sports I have come to learn that the worst player on the team often believes themselves to be a star. I've watched children who can barely catch correct the play of other children on the netball court,
In fact I would go so far as to say this has been one of my great failings in life. If you say "I'm better at this than you", I will probably believe you. I will bow out of the race and let you have it. I have some wonderful examples I could share but on the off-chance I offend someone I shall refrain.
However, if I set myself a challenge, I will usually embrace it.
It's why being self-employed works for me. It's why I enjoy #NaNoWriMo and it's why the #1000wordsaday challenge I started this year is a good one for me. I'm doing it with others but I'm running my own race.
So today I did a little happy dance when I crossed that milestone.
Meanwhile Book 2 in the UpperCrust series came back from the last reader before it goes to the editor this week. She suggested some changes which I'll be making in the next few days. Which means a mid-May release!
Book 3 is out with the BETA readers and I'm hoping to start the re-write on it next week.
And as part of the #1000wordsaday challenge I'm working on Books 4 and 5. Lots to do.
And finally for Musical Monday here is a song by Vance Joy with reminds me of Chloe and Tom on Book 5 (which has no name yet).
In fact it is these lines that remind me of these two. "I could easily lose my mind, the way you kiss me will work each time".
WHY ANNOUNCING HOW BUSY YOU ARE IS REDUNDANT
I started this blog post and I was going to write about the ways in which routine, especially for a writer, can help counter all the busy in our lives but then my mind wandered off.
I know we all spend a lot of time these days telling each other how busy we are.
In fact, if I one more person tells me how busy they are I may scream. Not because they're not busy but because the truth is most people are busy. (I might even be busy...maybe, probably not, but maybe...)
If you have a job, elderly parents, kids, a partner, friends, you volunteer, you play a sport, you cook, you go the the gym, you have a hobby, you're in a bookclub or any combination of those things you are more than likely busy. So I think that pretty much covers most people. We're all busy.
(There are also different types of busy - good, happy, I'm planning to climb Everest busy is not the same as bad, scary, I think I'm losing my job and my kid is sick busy. The first is exciting and invigorating and really you shouldn't complain. The second type is not what I'm talking about here AT ALL. The first is made up of adrenalin and interesting choices and the second is a hard slog where you need to reach out for support because you need some of the other busy people to make some time and help you even if they have to skip bookclub or a yoga class.)
There are definitely times some people are more busy than others - five kids under five and you are busy, finding elder care for parents and you're busy, a major work event the week before Christmas and you are busy - all those things at once and well, you're crazy busy.
Some people however are always busy and often so busy telling you that, they barely have time to stop and ask you about your life.
So when I say "please don't tell me you're bus"y I mean the day to day life stuff that we all have it's just life. It's the life you've chosen to have.
When you tell someone "I'm so busy" you're really saying. "I'm very important."
Or when you say "I'm too busy to volunteer/read a book/join a gym" , which no doubt your companion has just announced that they do, well, what you are really saying is either:
a) I'm busy doing things that are important to me and that thing you do has little or no value to me (or less value than the things I choose to do). (And that is actually fine...I would rather read than go to a gym any day...busy or not...and I know loads of people who are the opposite.)
b) I really feel bad I'm not doing that thing, I would kind of like to, so I'll put the fact that you are doing it down.
"I'm so busy" as an excuse every time you see someone makes them feel like they should thank you for finding time for them. It also seems to impy you think they aren't busy. They may in fact just juggle things better, or not tell you about the many things on their plate because you're too busy to listen, return a phone call or heck even meet up.
You know that expression "If you want something done give it to a busy person?" Chances are someone with far more on their plate than you has the time to do that thing you can't. Just don't tell them how busy you are as the reason you can't do it.
My post on the power of routine will appear later in the week.
We all have the image of the starving writer, sitting in an attic on the Left Bank of Paris, wearing a beret and living on coffee and red wine.
The truth is most writers would be starving if they only write for a living and most can't afford to get to Paris so they're living on mac and cheese or Vegemite toast (and coffee and red-wine) in their country of origin. That image is correct in as much as writing is a lonely and generally solitary existence and people who talk to the characters in their head for fun can get a little bit nuts.
Lucky for us in the 21st century there are lots of ways to write and curb the loneliness are isolation.
Here are five suggestions for anyone starting out or anyone just sitting at home pulling out their hair strand-by-strand.
1. Join a writers' group
The truth is a writers group is the very best way to connect with other writers. It seems like a really scary thing to do and it takes courage to leave your home with your precious novel, poem or play and go share it with complete strangers and it is. On the other hand these are people who love writing, love reading and know exactly what you are going through.
So how do you find a writer's group in your area?
In Australia every state has a Writers Center and there are also several regional centers. They host writer's groups and they have lists of groups you can join and get in touch with. (Check out my Writing Resources page for a few of them).
There are also wonderful writing organisations that offer writing groups and critique partners such as The Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of Australia. Find a group and take a chance.
Not every group is a good fit for you, but don't be put off if the first one you try isn't right. Your people are out there.
2. Attend a writers' conference and oragnisation
The first time you attend a writers conference is terrifying but the opportunities you gain far out-weight the vomit-inducing fear. Every weekend all over the world there are writers conferences taking place. Some are genre specific, which is perfect for many, but lots are not and there really is a conference for everyone.
Not only will a conference help you feel less alone because you will be surrounded by writers you will learn new skills, hone your craft and make friends. Of course you won't make friends if you hide in your room mainlining coffee so go mainline coffee in the breakout rooms.
I know lots of people who have met their best friends, writing partners and literary soul mates at writing conferences. You could too.
Even if you don't do a conference first off most writing organisations offer great workshops, newsletters, online resources and other opportunities for you to work on your craft and be in contact with others.
3. National Novel Writing Month
This is an event that takes place every November where like-minded people across the globe all endeavour to write a 50,000 word novel.
There is a vibrant online community you can join who will help encourage you, plug plot holes and answer your research questions. More than that they hold local events such as write-ins, overnight parties and other gatherings. You can meet writers in your genre and in your hometown. That's got to be a good thing.
4. Facebook Groups
Social media is supposed to be social. Those cat and dinner photos are fantastic but that's not really the idea. There are thousands of Facebook groups just for writers and they're a great way to connect with others. Whether you write chicklit, speculative fiction, historical romance or thrillers your tribe is out there on Facebook wanting to help you. Do a search and you'll be surprised who you find.
NB. Some groups can be full of trolls (though that hasn't been my experience) so just read for a few days before diving in if that is a concern for you.
Do you love a #hashtag? Well, then your people may well be on twitter. There are lots of very popular hashtags where you can connect with others. #amwriting, #amreading, #amblogging for example. Most writing groups have their own as well. If you're twitter savvy you'll have no trouble finding a hastag where you can connect with people.
These are just five very easy ways. If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them.