Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Deadlines: Why Do Some Motivate & Others Don't?

I'm a horrible blogger. At least at this blog. It's kind of my red-headed stepchild that is the first thing that I let slide when real life gets busy or my writing stops.
And lately that's been the main issue. I haven't been writing for the past 3 weeks because we have company coming to stay with us and suddenly we thought that was a great way to get all our little DIY projects around the house done. Like a countdown clock would inspire us to get the house finished.
And in truth? It's totally working. I'm amazed at what we've accomplished in 3 weeks. I know I said "little" projects, but some of them are rather large. Like rip out carpeting, paint ceilings, tile floors large. And we've been DIY rock stars!
But the writing...what writing. It's been on total hold. And that left me thinking lately...
Why doesn't setting a deadline for my WIP have as great an impact on my production as this deadline for our house repairs has? Why is this taking precedent over my world and home when my writing never seems to even when I set very hard deadlines and the hubby agrees to support me?
I'm a visual person, so I thought maybe at first it was because the house projects I can see and admire everyday and that's added incentive to keep going. But isn't seeing my page count go up the same thing. I look at that count and record it every time I write. So why isn't see the "progress" there propelling me to write faster, longer, etc?
I'm just starting to swirl this around in my noggin, and I'll post again when I figure out exactly what it is, but what do you think?
Is it because the hubby and I do it together and there's a 3rd party that will be witness to it? It is the visual cues of projects getting done? Maybe it's that I'm blocked in my story and this is an excuse to step away for a bit? Or could it be all of the above?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Going to Nationals?

If you're like me and not able to make it to Nationals this year (for those of you who don't know what Nationals is, it's the Romance Writers of America's Yearly National Conference) you're probably feeling pretty down about it. I know I am. :(
One thing I've done for years that I've found very helpful is to head over to the site and check out the workshops section of the conference. In an amazing show of support and sharing with authors who can't attend, many workshop presenters have their workshop handouts available for download online.
Now, some of these handouts don't make much sense without hearing the session that goes with them (which you can order the recording of after the conference) but most of them are actually extremely helpful!
You can get some of the benefit of the conference workshops without actually being there.
So, head over to this page and see what workshops you are interested in that offer their handouts already. I'll think you'l find at least a few that will give you some new insight into your writing or writing career. (Make sure to check out that updated SHOW ME THE MONEY handout for a real look at authors make on books at some publishing houses)
Are you one of the lucky few heading to Nationals? If so, what workshops are you most excited about? Or if workshops aren't your thing, what are you most looking forward to. If you aren't going then are you doing anything special to pump up your writing during that time?
Make sure to take advantage of writing during the time everyone else is at conference . You'll feel better about not being there and it may even inspire you to push yourself.
Now Go Write The Damn Book!
Sabrina Shields

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Educate Yourself: Know Your Target Publishers & Editors

Yesterday's Word Count: 501

As an aspiring author, I've heard time and time again from industry professionals that newbies should not only just “write the damn book” but that I should also keep up with what's happening in the industry and research and know as much as possible about the publishing house I'm targeting.

Now, I know for a fact from all the blogs, forums and tweets that there are TONS of writers out there writing away with no thought whatsoever as to which publisher they are targeting. It's almost like it's an afterthought and that they'll just sent out masses of queries without regard to if they are even targeting the right house for their work.

There are so many things wrong with this haphazard Russian roulette way of kicking off your writing career.

Although I think a writer should be true to their story, shouldn't they have at least a passing idea of if their idea has an audience and if so, what publisher is the best one to present it to that audience.

Most people wouldn't accept a job with a company without trying to get a feel for what the job entailed, who your boss would be, what the expectations are and finally, do you meet the qualifications of the job?

I know there are so many out there saying, “But you must write the book of your heart without caring about audience and who you are pitching.” This isn't the post to get into that whole book of your heart convo, but I wanted to point out that you CAN do both. There's no reason why knowing you want to sell to Harlequin Blaze and that they want stories at 55k words has anything to do with if the story you write is an emotional one for you.

Please authors, educate yourself! Treat this like the business it should be to you if you want to make a go at this being a full time career for you.

Follow any and all romance editors on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. You'll see them write about books they love, what they've acquired or are editing and you'll get an idea of what type of stories they are looking for. It's an easy way to get an idea of who might be your ideal target.

Oh and for goodness sake go to the websites of the publishers and look at their submission guidelines! I don't know of a single publisher that doesn't list them plainly online. I can't tell you how irritating it is to sit in on an editor chat and have question after question be about what the margins should be or if they take e-submissions. Do your homework!

Present your best face to an editor by knowing your business – the writing business!

Now get out there and learn all you can so you can make sure you have the best chance at not only finding the right editor and publisher, but also the one that will help you be the most successful.

OTF - (Off to Write)
Sabrina Shields

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Words But Still Productive!

So no words written on the WIP this weekend. But I do have my reasons, although some might call them excuses, I'm giving myself a pass.

Saturday was my 32nd birthday and I had a fantastic lunch at one of my favorite resturants. Amazing food and with the hubby there to offer his generally witty conversation topics it was a great time.

After lunch, we headed over to my appointment to get LASIK eye surgery. Yep. On my birthday. I didn't intentially plan it this way, it just so happened it was the best day for me to do it. Happy Birthday To Me!

What this meant though was that my vision wouldn't allow me to work on the computer or read. In fact, today is the first day I can spend anytime online. So you would think it was a total waste of a weekend for writing right?

No way! I totally let my imagination take over and walk me through the rest of the story I have to write, and I even brainstormed a little on a story idea I have for a novella. Somehow, I even managed to write down some notes on each but we'll see how readable those are later this week!

Do you brainstorm when you can't actually sit and do your writing? Is what you come up with useful later or do you find that you really needed to have your computer with you to really get down the right notes?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Staying Focused On The Goal

Yesterday's Word Count: 205 New Words
My writing friends will tell you that I get caught up in the organizing, planning and plotting of a book so much so that the damn book itself doesn't get written. This is 100% true. So I've been thinking lately on how to keep myself focused on the actual goal - putting words on paper. That's not to say that organizing, planning and plotting aren't about getting the book written. It would be stupid of me to remove those aspects of my personality from writing. I need the process, but I have to make sure the process doesn't take over.

So, the first step I'm taking is right here on this blog. I'm going to post my daily word count and any other writing efforts here every day for the previous day's activities. Check out my first report at the top of this blog post. Not only will I be tracking this for myself, but the feeling of publicly posting my progress should help me stay more focused on the actual words on paper. I mean you can't fix a blank page is a common (and sort of annoying) phrase for a reason.

Secondly, I've committed myself to an April Writing Madness Month. Again, I did this publicly with my fellow writers over at The Romance Writer's Revenge. See a pattern here? I know myself. Something about feeling like I owe it to other writers not to drop the ball on this thing really helps me focus. Yes, I know I'm not writing for them and shouldn't feel like I have to prove something to anyone, but I'm not stupid enough not to know that if something pyscological will work to push me along then I should totally use it! And it's not really about proving anything, but instead feeling like others are going through this same process with me.

Those are my first two steps toward hitting my goal of finishing this first book. You'll see more as the weeks go by, although I hope this book gets done and I can move forward with editing goals.

What about you? What do you do to stay focused on putting words on paper? Not just the process, but the actual butt in chair words on paper goal?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dirty Truth & Fighting Writing Fear

Last week on the Romance Writers Revenge, Author C.C. Hunter did an excellent blog post that brought up the idea of writer's dark secrets. You can find that blog post here and I do recommend it since it had some really insightful points. Most of all though, it made me think about my own down and dirty dark secret.

I can’t finish the damn book because I’m scared it will prove I don’t have the talent. If I never finish the 1st one I’m never letting myself down.

That's the really big enchilada right there folks. There are nights when I do have the time I could write and I'm actually even itching to do so, but that fear keeps making me second guess going in to write. I will push through this. I know I will, but it's just taking some personal pep talks and the constant reminder that a shitty first draft is what I'm doing. IT IS GOING TO BE SHITTY! It's my first freakin attempt at writing. I'm sure even my favorite authors didn't write a perfect book right out of the gate.

I'll keep telling myself these things and eventually, I'm going to hit that 60k words goal and there will be no looking back. If I can just write this first one I think I will totally move past this.

But, will I just fill that fear with something else? Given the fact that I constantly see writers talking about how they just HAVE to write or they would die, it makes me question am I really a writer at heart?

What does that really mean anyway? Must one feel like writing is the very air we breathe in order to ever be not just a good writer, but an exceptional one?

Maybe once I get past this first book I will feel this way too. I can say that creating stories in my mind are as much a part of me and breathing. Will that translate to the page as soon as I get more used to the actual writing process? I sure hope so.

Did you find it hard to finish that first book? What helped move you along? Do you think a REAL writer can't live without putting words on the page or is a trait that will come to you as you feel more comfortable with your process?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pimping My Friend's Debut Book! The Kraken's Mirror by Maureen O. Betita

Congrats to my very best writing buddy and awesome lady Maureen on the release of her debut book! I was honored to be a beta-reader for The Kraken's Mirror and think you'll really love it - it's a pirate-punk romance with an older hero/heroine I loved.

Here's the scoop:

Captain Alan Silvestri is a man haunted by a strange curse. Good luck is his to command, but it comes at the cost of any place to call home or people to reckon as family. Resigned to die and shunned by all, he is forced to sail every three days, until he begins to dream of a special woman.

Treated by our youth-oriented society as invisible and sexless, Emily Pawes is ready to move on with life. She attends a pirate festival, hoping to recapture the make-believe magic she knew as a young woman. Lucky to win an interesting bit of booty at a brick-a-brac stand, she finds herself transported by the Kraken’s mirror through a magical portal to a land of Hollywood piratitude, where swashbuckling heroes own iPods. With little choice, Emily embraces the madness. Playing pirate has to be safer than falling into the arms of handsome Captain Silvestri, right?

When they meet, sparks fly, passion flares. He needs her to be free, but more than that, he needs her to be whole. Setting sail and uncertain of who actually controls the wheel, they seek ways to defeat his curse of good luck and discover the Kraken’s mirror has plans for them. Will Emily stay in this pirate haven to fight alongside him or will he lose her because of his curse?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Yep, I'm Still Working On Those Goals...

I posted my goals here on the blog a little over a week ago and since then have discovered I need to do a little more work on them. First off, I need to make them SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely.

One of my favorite Tweeters Bria Quinlan does a really in-depth hand-on workshop about setting goals and achieving them, but you should do it with a group you'll work with moving forward - say a critique group. I'm not there yet, but I've still always wanted to take her workshop.

Low and behold, Bria is doing an intro / abbreviated version of the workshop for free over the past week on her blog. You can join in at any time - just go to Day 1 of "Goaling to Success" and start there. We are still only up to Day 3 and I'm still working on my first set of goals list. Wish me luck and join in to help yourself set some personal or writing goals!

Bria's Website is here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Follow Me Back Tuesday!

If you are a new visitor coming from the blog hop welcome to "Write the Damn Book" a blog about trying to write my very first book. Besides writing, I'll also post on my pets, anything I happen to get a kick out of and books that I love. Oh - any anything else I'm feeling the need to chat about. :) I'll also be doing giveaways so you won't want to miss that!

If you are interested in writing, reading or having a few laughs I hope you'll follow my blog and check in and chat every so often! Nice to meet you!

Check out all the blogs in the hop here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Writing Festival - Join The Fun & Meet Your Writing Goals!

The awesome writers over at the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood launched a new writing festival today where you set your own goals from today Jan. 10th through the end of Feb. Each time you reach your daily goal, you get a point and there's some fun prizes to win!

Best of all, since you set your own goals this program is tailored just for you. Make it work for you and check out the entire details at the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood blog or the festival website.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Writing Goals - Getting Serious

I've been MIA from this blog for quite awhile and you'll see that it's part of my 2011 goals to make sure I'm posting here regularly. What better way to kick-off my first post of 2011 with a real look at both my short term and long term goals for my writing and hopefully my "writing career." These lists are not all-inclusive - I'll be updating and adding to them as I achieve goals and move forward. I've tried to keep them around 10 or so goals for now. Please let me know what you think and what are your goals for 2011?

2011 BIG Goals:

  1. Finish 1st draft of A Passion to Protect (30,000 words to go)
  2. Edit & then complete 2nd draft of A Passion to Protect
  3. Fully participate in new online critique group
  4. Submit A Passion to Protect to Harlequin Intrigue
  5. Begin writing 1st Book in new Urban Fantasy series idea (This one has been begging me to work on it)
  6. Consider writing a Novella for E-Pub (Determine if any current story ideas would work well with this)
  7. Join RWA & RWA local chapter
  8. Find 2-3 local writers to meet face to face at least 1x monthly
  9. Further develop my writing skills
  10. Build my writer's platform - Exp. Build up followers on Blog & Twitter, connect with other writers/readers & start building an audience before publishing 1st book
  11. Identify who really could be my writing Mentor and build that relationship

2011 small Goals to Reach the BIG Goals:

  1. Commit to writing at least 5 days per week. Any amount of words - just ass in chair.
  2. Work-up to writing at least 500 words a day on those 5 days per week. (at 2,500 words be week minimum, It should take NO LONGER THAN 12 weeks to finish A Passion to Protect - hopefully I can write more than that but let's work on AIC first)
  3. Sell boxed-up books (HUNDREDS of them) on Amazon to pay for RWA fees
  4. Continue putting writing samples out to the world for feedback
  5. Finish reading GMC by Debra Dixon (Thanks to my AWESOME secret Santa who gifted me at Christmas!)
  6. Commit to at least 2-3 Blog posts each week. At least 1 should focus on my writing progress & lessons learned that week.
  7. Commit to posting to online critique group 1x per week.
  8. Join local RWA chapter to find those 2-3 writers who would meet separately from that 1x per month.
  9. SUCK IT UP & find a way to connect with those big name authors who you KNOW live in your area. (yeah, I have a few that write what I want to write and I need to connect with them)
  10. Communicate more with those writers who could become mentors. Since I was slacking on the writing I didn't want to approach someone and not be ready, but I have a few authors who have reached out and I think would make great career mentors. I'd like to develop this and reach out and see who fits best and honestly how much they want to really help. Maybe it's more than 1 writer - one for different parts of my writing/career?

What do you think of these for a start? Have you created goals for your own writing? If so, what small goals or steps are you taking to insure you reach them or stay on track? Please share - I need all the tips and help I can get!