#writerslifeapparel

You may have noticed a new page recently showed up on my main page. If you didn’t, you can check it out: here.

If you want to save yourself a click, here’s the summary of it all: I’ve started a new business.

A line of shirts, to be exact. Well, and stickers. But that’s where it ends for now.

The other day I read an article about how important it was to set aside time for writing. To designate those hours as working hours, and to have something to wear, look out, or even eat that would help you focus on what you were there to do.

What is that?

WRITE.

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So I started to search. I searched, and searched, and searched– and I found nothing.

I found no shirts, or sweatshirts, or coffee mugs that really made me want them.

There are some out there. The cheesy shirts that say, “Watch out or you’ll end up in my novel,” or the mugs that say, “Editing Day.” All cute ideas, of course, but none of them were what I was looking for.

I decided, then, to create my own.

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After weeks of working on some designs, a logo, and recruiting some amazing people to help me out– #writerslifeapparel is ready to go.

You can find it on Twitter, Instagram, and TeeSpring.

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Please share your thoughts! Always looking for feedback to make the designs more geared towards YOU.

 

balancing writing, editing, querying, & writing some more

balancing writing editing querying writing moreI’m in a precarious spot with my writing life right now. I am currently on my first round of submissions to editors, I’m anticipating the possibility of edits, and all the while, I’m trying to write my new work-in-progress.

It’s exciting and nerve-racking, alternating between the two each nanosecond.

This isn’t much different than when you’re querying agents, deciding whether you should keep chipping away at the book you’re seeking representation for, or start a new book as you wait. You pace, debate, decide, change your mind…and change it again.

Where is the balance? How do you function with so many things happening at the same time?

Never fear, my advice is here! (Just remember I’m still learning, too.)

STAY CALM

No matter what you’re doing, your nerves won’t help you. Sit down and organize what you have happening so that you can see it on paper. And I do mean paper. WRITE IT OUT. There is something about actually forming the words yourself, not just typing them, that helps clear your mind and settle the nerves. Once you have everything on paper, it’ll help you prioritize what you should attack first and breathe while doing it.

GO IN ORDER

Edit BEFORE you query. Not during or after. BEFORE.

While you’re querying, have a new project to work on. Even if it’s not a new book—have something to keep you from going back and second-guessing the book you’ve released into the wild.

HAVE PATIENCE

Hardest. Thing. Ever.

I say this half-heartedly because I’m awful at following it myself. If you’re querying agents, be patient and know you’ll hear back, and eventually you might stop jumping when your email goes off. Same thing applies if you’re on submission with publishers.

But let’s be real, those heart palpitations when you see an email from an/your agent will probably never go away. I know mine haven’t. But having a new project to work on while this is happening will keep you focused as a writer and invested in something new.

DON’T STOP WRITING

Much like anything else with writing, it’s good to have something to distract you: a new project, a craft, an event—anything to keep your mind off your email and your submitted book.

But don’t let querying or being on submission be an excuse to stop writing. A writer has to write, and if you stop just because your nerves are racing, you’re going to lose some of your momentum, and you could be withholding potential for your next great idea.

A break is needed from time to time, but don’t let yourself get out of the habit of writing. Ever.

Once you hit submit, have the confidence that your words speak for themselves.

And then get back to writing some more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

working your way over, under, & around writer’s block

writers blockI’ve been suffering from writer’s block as of late. As in I don’t know what to write about. As in I’m stuck. As in my brain is glitching. As in I have nothing to write about.

As in I haven’t been writing.

Every writer in the history of, well, ever, has suffered from writer’s block. Although writing is a passion, a need, a calling, sometimes those words are blocked from the flowing circuits of your brain and you just don’t know what to do. You are left staring at a blank screen as the blinking cursor mocks you.

You can’t always push through, so to speak. You can’t always push and punch that block until it crumbles. So what other options do you have?

 

GO AROUND IT

Although that block may seem like the Great Wall of China, you do have the option to go around it. Step away and do something else. Get outside, play in the dirt, do something crafty, bake some cookies, dance to music—do something that is a good distraction but something that will keep the wheels turning. You’re not giving up. You’re giving your mind a much-needed break as you reassess, re-strategize, and attack again.

 

GO OVER IT

Stuck on a paper or a part of the plot? Skip ahead. Go over the tricky part and write something you know will happen later. Sure, once you go back to that tricky part it may change, but it keeps you writing and makes you feel like you still got something done during your writing time. Also, going ahead may help you figure out why that block was there in the first place.

 

DIG

This is more than going under. This is digging deep. Write like your life depends on it, and see what happens. You may not get the words you need out on paper, but you’ll get something there. It may be a new project is clouding your brain, or something in your personal life is in the way, or what you’re writing is too personal—but you have to dig in and follow that tunnel to find the light at the end.

Keep writing.

If you know nothing else is going to help, then Type. Scribble. Scratch. Delete. Type More. Soon enough, that block will fall through, and you’ll be on the other side waving at it as you keep going.

 

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

writing through the distractions

I am the worst at taking my own advice.

Here I am trying to write a piece about writing through the distractions–and I’m distracted. A load of laundry that needs to be put in the dryer, an appointment that needs to be changed, activities that need to be planned, books that need to be researched…

See what I mean?

Distractions.

writing through the distractions

We always have to-do lists, let’s be real. Even if you don’t write yours down or you’re REALLY good at not thinking about the things you need to get done, they’re there, lurking in the shadows of your brain.

And that’s just part of it.

Nowadays, there are more distractions than the things you need, or even want, to do. There’s Facebook and snapchat and Twitter and Instagram and, well, Google. The world is at your fingertips on your phone, computer, watch…you get it. There’s no escaping the distractions.

So how do we sit down and clear our mind to let words find form on pages so that we may follow through with our passion, our work, dare I say–our calling?

KNOW YOUR BEST TIME OF DAY

Don’t plan to write in the morning if you know you’ll be distracted by the to-dos, the planning, the emptiness of the day before you. Don’t plan to write at night if you know you’ll be too tired.

Plan to write (yes, plan) when you know you’re at your best. While creativity can strike at times we don’t expect, and in those cases we have to go with it, still have a time PLANNED in case other things cloud your day.

CLEAR YOUR MIND

Totally easier said than done. When that time you’ve planned finally comes, find a way to zone out. Whether it’s playing some music or baking before you write–do something to clear your mind and make way for those words. I usually make a list of what I still need to do and then bake while listening to classical music.

Yeah, I do it all, just to make sure I’m in the zone.

ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE

There’s no escaping the world. If you don’t turn off your phone, someone may call or text. If you have kids, one may bust in and throw off your groove. If you have roommates, they can be noisy or bug you. That’s just how it is. The important thing is to set aside that time, and if it gets interrupted, get back to it as quickly and the best as you can.

Writing is work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Writing, revising, editing—it’s a cycle that we must go through, but you get something at the end.

You get to say:

“I wrote a book.”

And even better, someone else will get to read it someday. It’s a constant fight to get your words into the hands of your readers, but they will be so glad you did.

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

the dating pool of critique partners and writing buddies

imageThe first time I tried to write a full-out novel was in high school. One night my best friend was sleeping over and all of a sudden we had this amazing idea. We started bouncing plot lines off each other and names and characters and backstory.

Before you knew it, we were starting the book.

We planned out research and had a floppy-disk (oh, yeah, way back when) and binder dedicated to all the amazing things we did and found. It was amazing.

And that’s how our friendship died.

Ok, not really, but pretty close.

You see, writing a book is so personal that as we grew and wrote together, we drifted apart with little more to talk about than the amazing novel we were putting together.

And that creates problems.

We were less and less friends/writing buddies, and more and more business partners, because coauthoring a book doesn’t always work, but that’s a different tale.

The point is, it IS important to find a writing buddy and critique partner, but you have to have a person that is either close enough that you can encourage and push, but you respect enough so you can withstand criticism and suggestions.

How do you find this mysterious balance?

1. Test drive.

Not everyone is great for a writing buddy or critique partner. Some aren’t meant to be both. If you try to be someone’s CP and they can’t stand the way you do things, or vice versa, then you tried! Shake hands, and move on. You don’t want to feel obligated to stick with someone, which is why it’s important to be solely professional or have a friendship that can withstand the heat.

2. Balance is key.

You want to find someone that you can work with. Sometimes it takes give and take, and it ALWAYS takes feedback. Let each other know when and how you work best. Find someone you know will push you to write with encouragement and loving force, but not hold it against you if you’re in a slump and truly just CAN’T. If that’s what you need. We all work differently. But everyone needs the balance of love and encouragement with honesty and drive. If you have a CP or writing partner who never pushes or encourages you to keep going, then you’re probably in the market for a new one.

3. Keep the competition at bay.

While you want someone who knows your subject and enjoys it, you may not want someone who’s writing in your identical field. Why, you ask? Because it brings out the competitive nature of writing. You can be 100% supportive and still be bitter if someone gets a deal before you. It helps to soothe this green-eyed feeling with, “Well, we write different things. It will be my turn soon.”

4. Just keep swimming.

Even if you haven’t found that special person to encourage you or exchange manuscripts with, it doesn’t mean you should stop writing.

Keep going. Keep dreaming. Keep writing.

Eventually, you’re going to see that book in print. And if you do find that special someone to be part of your writing life, you’ll be just as proud when you see their book in print as well.

The picture is of me and my fabulous CP, Nikki Roberti.

 

This post was originally written and published on Stark Contrast Editing. Check out the amazing services Katelyn and staff have to offer (and for more pieces by yours truly).

finding the time to be a writer

I’ve been the worst at making time to write lately. (My life is a constant state of chaos.) So at the end of the day I try to justify it by reminding myself of everything I got done… and then promise I will write at least 500 words the next day.

finding time to be a writerBut the next day turns into the next day, and then the next day, and then the day after that, and so on and so forth until I can’t remember the last time I really sat down and WROTE.

The thing is, I have to stop telling myself I don’t have time today, and instead ask myself, “Is it a priority?”

The answer there should always be the same: YES.

If you’re a writer, writing is always a priority.

Yes, we usually have other lives. A daytime job, school, family, a social life to keep up with– but writing is still at the top of the list. If we keep putting off the words in our heads, soon enough we may find ourselves forgetting them.

And we don’t want that.

But how do we find the time we say we don’t have? How do we sacrifice something that sounds fun in the moment, for sitting down and very possibly having writers block? It’s not easy, but I have a few suggestions.

  1. Make the time.

This sounds silly, but it’s not. Pick a time of day where you know you’ll have an opening. Whether it means waking up a half hour early or cutting your Netflix time short, do it. Don’t just find the time—reserve it. Reserve that time to let the voices inside your head come alive and speak on those pages. You owe it to yourself, and to your future readers.

  1. Carry it with you.

Whether you have Google Docs on your phone, an ongoing note, an easily accessible laptop, or a good ‘ole pen and paper—have something with you to write on, always. There is a time in everyone’s day, or even in the middle of the night, where an idea strikes, and you don’t want to be panicking to find something to write it on. This helps enable your ability to write, always.

  1. Don’t feel guilty.

That one friend that you haven’t hung out with in forever is begging you to go out, but the wheels are turning and you haven’t had this much inspiration in, well, forever. Tell your friend you’re sorry and keep those keys clicking. If she’s not a writer, she may not understand—but she’ll get over it. Never feel guilty telling someone “no” because you’re writing. It is a part of who you are, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice that.

All in all, everything is easier said than done—but if you want to get that book finished, you have to make the time to do it. You can’t blame lack of time for not doing what you love, because really that only leaves one person you can blame.

Don’t be that person.

Be a writer.

 

 

Make sure to follow my Instagram for more writerly & bookish things. Giveaways are in the future, starting with the 100 followers mark!

This post was originally written and published on Stark Contrast Editing. Check out the amazing services Katelyn and staff have to offer (and for more pieces by yours truly).