Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing Courses

I wanted to share a little writing gem with you.  I recently went searching for some sort of writing course that I could use to help develop my writing. I am a bit limited though.  I don't have tons of money to spend, I work 40-50 hours a week and have a family.  I can't be jet setting to thousand dollar week long writing retreats or something like that.

Good news! I found a podcast on Writing Excuses (check them out if you haven't already!) with guest speaker David Farland.  He is a teacher and author who has an extensive biography that includes about a million bits of relevant experience, including best selling author, teaching at the college level, and work in Hollywood as a "story doctor," for screenplays, among other things. He mentioned his online courses at My Story Doctor and I had to check it out.

I was happy to find a beginner course that sounded like it would be a good fit for me. It was pricey (by my admittedly cheap standards :) but I've found it really worth the money.  The courses are online.  You read/listen/watch material at your own pace, and there are several on-line meetings each week that you can join as you have time.  I love that you get to talk to Dave personally and ask him any question that pops into your head.  In addition, he gives you assignments throughout, which he then provides personal feedback on.

For me this has been a great way to fit a class into my busy schedule and still get to actually interact on a personal basis with a professional writer and teacher.  I highly recommend his courses.   Take a peek. Happy writing!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Don't Write Every Day. Break Some Rules.

The question I've continued to struggle with lately has changed from how in the world to keep... slogging... forward...

... but then it occurs to me, this shouldn't feel like slogging at all! Writing is my dream.  It should feel good.  Even when it's awful, it should feel GOOD.  Like running, or losing weight, or really rough sex...

It seems like when you are a writer, one of the biggest pieces of advice that gets drilled into your poor, overwhelmed, overworked brain is WRITE EVERY DAY. You must do this, no matter what.  It is the only way to get anywhere, the only way to improve. The only way to eventually be someone.

I have a problem with this, and I've been beating myself up over it for a long time now.  (Cough, years, cough).

Writing shouldn't be this painful.  It never used to be.  It was easy to try my best to write every day.  When I was working 30 hours a week and my kid still occasionally took naps.  Then I got a better paying job, complete with lots more overtime, my daughter started school... in short, life. I'm so exhausted that I have to write in spurts, whenever it occurs to me and I have a spare 5 min. Sometimes I go a whole WEEK without writing! Gasp.

And you know what? That is absolutely OKAY!

Say it with me.  Not writing every day is okay!

You aren't worthless.  You aren't a failure.  You aren't weak willed.

You are human.

What's important is that you do keep writing.  On whatever schedule you can.  Chasing your dreams at the expense of your health, your family, your job (you know, the one that pays the bills, provides you with food and shelter) would just be stupid. Romantic, but stupid.

I don't get to write every day.  Hell, I don't get to write on a consistent basis for any set amount of time in a day, week, month, year... but I still somehow get stuff done.  I complete novels.  Granted, it's slower going these days, but you know what? How many people in my personal circle of friends can say they did something like complete a novel (or two, or three) in the course of a lifetime- let alone a year? None. Zero. Zip. Zilch.  So, how can I not be proud of that?

We are so good at crapping on ourselves.  I say STOP it.  Give yourself some credit.  You earned it.  Wrote a chapter this month? Good for you. A paragraph? Great.  One measly freaking sentence? Fuck yes! Good job! Cause you know what? It's still more than nothing.

All those people who are lucky enough to be blessed with unlimited stores of energy, free time, and no worries outside spending 2, 4, 20 hours a day writing? Fuck 'em.

They don't matter.

All that matters is your story. Your happiness. Go forth and conquer!  One letter at a time, if need be!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Free E-books This Weekend

I have two freebies this weekend:

Pooka- Fantasy romance short story featuring everyone's favorite shape-shifting goblin.
Survivor- Paranormal romance featuring a heroine with a disability.

Take a minute to pick these up for free and give me some feedback! Happy reading :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Your New Writing Goal- 750 words

It's been a long time since I've found time (and energy!) to blog.  But I had to share this link!!

This website, 750 words, is a place where you can log personal writing and you are rewarded with a point system.  Now, the creator uses it more like journaling to clear his mind, but I am finding it to be a useful tool for word count.
I recently read a post about tips for writers who complain of not having time to write (ie: me when I work 50 hours at a draining job, have a 5 year old child, and other miscellaneous crap to do).  One tip was setting a very small, achievable goal for every day. For example, writing for 10 min. a day.  Or writing 750 words.  It's totally do-able, and 750 words every day would mean you could finish 3 NOVELS in a year's time!

So think about trying this website and let me know what you think. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Weekend Giveaway

Check out Survivor free on Amazon this weekend!

Five years ago, a car accident left Melody with a traumatic brain injury. For years, the wheelchair-bound, cognitively impaired woman has struggled to accept her new life and to let go of the dreams she once had. During a chance encounter on the subway, Melody meets the handsome and eccentric Peter and assists him to escape a group of men who are pursuing him. Melody falls in love with Peter, however their relationship is doomed by the insurmountable obstacle of her disability- and his immortality.
Death is only the beginning for Melody- and vampire blood is no quick fix. Peter’s powers can heal physical wounds, but cannot touch the recesses of her damaged mind. The brain injured immortal finds herself struggling for her sanity, as she fights to once again accept her role as a survivor, and her weaknesses as strengths. As their relationship grows, Peter shows Melody that even if your life isn’t what you would consider “normal,” you must do something meaningful with the time you’ve been given. SURVIVOR is vampire romance with a sweet side.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Critters Romance Workshop

Critters is a wonderful place to critique and have your work critiqued in just about any genre you can imagine (including art, etc.)  Reading other author's works and getting exposure to a wide variety of readers and opinions can be very valuable.
I am part of the Romance section of critters.  I've noticed that there aren't many submissions lately and thought  I would pass along an invite.  Membership on the critters website is easy, free, and can be terminated or placed on hold whenever you please.  You critique as much and as often as you feel like it.  If you submit a piece you have to have a certain ratio before it goes up (I think 70%?) but it is usually easy to achieve by just looking at a few pieces when you submit one of your own. 
The best part here is, since there haven't been many submissions on the Romance section, when you put something up, you don't have to wait the typical couple of weeks before it goes up.  It's almost instantaneous. 
Come join us! Comment here if you join and post and I'll make sure to look at your piece! 

Happy writing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"A Jug Fills Drop By Drop"

In a previous post, I set some goals for myself for 90 days.  I'm about 30 days in and it's been a struggle.  I'm struggling with writing, I'm struggling at work.... I'm just plain struggling with everything. And I don't have much fight left in me!  I feel like I am not making any progress on my WIP.  Of course, I AM making progress.  It's just that it's very SLOW progress. I'm working more hours at a more stressful job and I feel like it's taking everything I've got. 

I've narrowed much of the problem down to one thing.  When I feel stressed/pressured/unhappy, I immediately stop taking care of myself.  Which is the worst possible thing I could do, right?  But that's what I do.  Because time spent meditating, sleeping, and exercising is time that I won't have for writing or family. And of course then I don't do any of those things, and I'm a tired, stressed, unhealthy mess and can't write or be a good mom/wife.  It's a vicious cycle. And one I'm having a lot of trouble breaking.

I'm sure we all struggle with this.  How do you find balance in your life without feeling bitter and cheated (ie: my damned day job is stealing my life!) ?