Monday, July 11, 2011

Fantastical Mystery Tour

Wow, it's been a long time since I've written on my blog. To be honest, it's been a long time since I've written anything at all. I think I've figured out why after about a week of taking a break from doing anything.

I recently went on vacation to the beach. For one full week, I didn't have any chores to do, or any work at all. It was a lot of fun, but instead of feeling like reading or writing, I just wanted to relax and play some video games. I haven't "felt it" when it comes to my writing lately. Directly after the beach trip, I discovered why.

I went to an event at a local Barnes and Noble called, "The Fantastical Mystery Tour." Several local fantasy authors (local to the Southeast, at least), Kaylana Price, Faith Hunter, Rachel Aaron, Misty Massey, and John Hartness, were there to sign their novels and discuss writing. I truthfully haven't read any of their books yet, but I want to. They sound like very good books, and are right up my ally, so I bought nearly one of each and you can expect reviews of those books in the future. Most of them are urban or high fantasy. I was amused to find I did have some things in common with the writers already, at least personality wise. Rachel Aaron told the group that she thinks of her characters in anime form, which secretly is something I also do. (Not much of a secret since I just put it on the blog...don't judge me!)

Ahem, anyway, it was a very useful discussion panel. They told us tactics for writing (planning an outline verses going by the seat of your pants), some etiquette when it comes to working with an agent, and the differences between getting an agent and working with publishers in New York, and being successful in the self publishing market.

As I listened, and learned more than I had previously, it rekindled something that had been slowly dying in my mind for the past year or so...ambition. It reminded me why I wanted to be an author, and it reminded me that I enjoy writing and want to make a living doing it. That has been my dream for a very long time, but I've found myself lately thinking that my dream won't come true. I had been giving up with out even realizing it.

I can't say that I didn't have good reasons for my temporary apathy towards writing, especially after the last few months. A death in the family has you re-evaluating the things that are important to you. Even though I love to write and would love to make a career out of it, I still find God, family, and friends more important. I hope that I never feel any differently. Still, that doesn't mean that I should give up on a dream that's important to me, or that I should stop doing something I feel passionate about and enjoy. Now that I realize that I was giving up, I refuse to do so anymore.

Long story short, when I watched those authors speaking, I wanted to be one of them. They were all very down to earth and nice, and they had done what I one day would like to do myself. It made me realize that I have deep down gotten discouraged because of all of my rejections. Thus, I haven't sent out any more agent letters because I'm being so self-critical that I don't think my work is worth sending in. I didn't even realize that I felt that way. Now that I know this is a problem, I can take steps to get over it.

First of all, my husband says he'll edit my "Everburn" book for content. (The authors said that everyone needs an editor that will tell you what makes a winning book, and for me that editor is my husband. He tells me what he does and doesn't like about my books, sometimes almost too harshly, so thankfully I already have my editor.) Once he works on "Everburn," I can go ahead and start sending it to more publishing companies and agents.

Also, I'm going to go through "The Writer's Market" to look for more agents to submit my work to. Also, I've been informed that I need to remove any writing samples from novels that I want to get published that I have on this blog, so please enjoy those snippets while they last--I'll be taking them down probably next week. If I'm serious about wanting my work published, I need to start acting it.

And, finally, I need to get back to writing again. Whether I "feel it" or not, I'm going to set aside time everyday to do some writing and I'm just going to sit down and do it. (This was Faith Hunter's advice, and it's very good advice indeed, sit down and write.) All of the authors agreed that there was no such thing as writer's block. Usually, when you have writer's block it's your brain telling you there is something wrong with your story and you need to take a step back, re-read it and then when you know what the problem is, write on it again. I'm also going to check out Rachel Aaron's blog to see her advice on doubling your word count. Since I have other responsibilities in my home other than writing, I need to make the time I have more productive.

As for what I'm going to write this week, I don't know. I'm going to go through my works in progress and pick the one I am feeling most excited about. Even though I was working on "The Guildsmen," I am no longer excited about it, and I need to be excited about the plot of a novel to write well. If you aren't passionate about your own work, no one else will be either. Maybe I'll start a new one, but either way, writing will get done, and I'll feel more confident and complete again.

To anyone reading this, please check out the blogs of all of the writer's I listed and look at their work. They were an inspiration to me, and I'm sure they will be to you as well. I owe them a great deal of thanks for getting me back on track and making me realize what was missing. Thank you all, if you get to see this. I appreciate your time and advice.

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