“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
~ Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book)
- We Who Make Stories … (laneymcmann.com)
March 29, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: American Gods, Arts, books, Coraline, Graveyard Book, laney mcmann, Literature, Neil Gaiman, Quotes, Writing Advice | Leave a comment
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
~Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol: 5, A Game Of You
There is a moment now and then when writers may catch themselves and think … wait, should I write that?
I think her words are both honest and true. There is a fine line writers walk between fiction and fact. Fantasy and reality. So much of who we are is embedded in our stories. Our words, our voices, our hearts … our sometimes crazed imaginations. Elena writes, “Just because you write about an axe murderer, doesn’t mean you are slightly unhinged and could lose it and carry out your protagonists actions in the middle of the night – just because you think it, doesn’t mean you would do it.”
People judge you as a person when you put your stories out there. And we can judge ourselves as words fly from our fingertips in a flurry of ideas. Whether you write horror or paranormal romance, people will either love your work and sing your praises, or wonder if you are indeed unhinged.
Does it matter? As a writer who has chosen to share their work with the world–it probably shouldn’t. It’s the risk you take when you decide to go public. It’s the reason every writer hears those few words of caution, “Grow a thick skin. You’re going to need it.”
Not everyone will praise or even like your work. Some people may hate your genre, your ideas–your imagination. And they will judge you. But we can’t please everyone and we can only write what moves us and hope our words resonate with readers.
So I leave you with this to ponder:
“Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow
So the question is, Are you willing to put yourself out there? It’s the risk all writers have to take. The difference between owning what you love and hiding it. The difference between being public or private. Published or tucked away in a drawer.
SO WRITE ON WRITERS. Take your best shot. 😉
*** Re-posted from April 2012 ***
February 1, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Thoughts, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: art, Fiction, laney mcmann, novel writing, The Fire Born Novels, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 15 Comments
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”
January 16, 2013 | Categories: Inspiration, Novel Writing, Quotes, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Blog, Education, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Richard Rhodes, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Exercises | Leave a comment
We make so many promises as writers with a hope we can fulfill them all.
**As I sit finishing my final blurb for TIED, I’m reminded of this fact. Thought I’d share it.
January 13, 2013 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, J Taylor Publishing, Novel Writing, Quotes, Thoughts | Tags: blurbs, Book, excerpts, J. Taylor Publishing, laney mcmann, teens, The Fire Born Novels, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED by Laney McMann, YA Fiction | Leave a comment
Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.
Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.
“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”
Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?
Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?
If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.
December 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Arts, Author, Author of The Fire Born Novels, Chats and Forums, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Goal setting, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, Publishing, Word count, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 6 Comments
“You must be prepared to work always without applause.”
December 5, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Quotes | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Ernest Hemingway, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Quotes, Writing process | Leave a comment
Yep, I said that.
Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.
It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.
From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.
But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. 😉
December 4, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing To Deadlines, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Publishing, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Contract, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Facebook, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel creation, published author, Publishing, Publishing contract, Publishing contracts, Technology, Writers Resources, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
November 28, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Author, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, J.K Rowling, laney mcmann, Writer Resources, YA Fiction | Leave a comment
Like many writers, I have spent the last few years trying to ‘do it all.’ Whether I’m drafting another blog post, tinkering with Twitter, shouting out to writers on Triberr, checking my Facebook profile, posting on my Facebook author page, pinning on Pinterest, reading the dozens of emails I receive daily, or finishing my novel revisions, everyday is filled to the rim. In my mind, the most important of these is my novel. It’s the reason for everything else. Yet everything else seems to overwhelm it most of the time.
I read all day long, in one form or another. In order to write well, you must read. A lot. Preferably in your genre, although reading in general is the point. I try to stay current with the latest books, all the advice on book marketing, social media reach, blog hits, and on and on. It’s endless.
Yesterday I read an article that stated people aren’t reading less in the digital age, instead people are actually reading more. Wanting more. More to download. More, more, more. Readers want books NOW. How are they reading them all? Who knows.
What it means for writers is what concerns me. Many authors are now attempting to hammer out three….four, five books a year to stay in the game.
The industry standard has forever been…one book per year.
But with the introduction, and popularity, of ereaders the standard is changing. Rapidly.
For me, and many others, that’s an issue. Besides the fact that I write at turtle speed, and revise at snail, I’ve worked myself to near exhaustion trying to do everything, and be everywhere. How are we supposed to do it all? We can’t. And we shouldn’t try to either.
Balance is the key.
I’ve talked about balance a lot in prior posts, but I didn’t know how to attain it. I’ve had to force myself to step back, and breathe. Step back and realize that NO ONE can do it all, and do it well. Not going to happen. Not for long anyway. I still believe that through all the chatter and advice, all the constant information flying everywhere, that our main goal as writers should be creating good content.
We can market until we are blue in the face and crawling. Put our names out everywhere and brand until everyone knows it. But none of that will matter if our books suck. Writing is hard enough without trying to master social media.
I know we as writers are a helpful and supportive group. We want to help each other succeed. We want to feel like someone else gets it, and we aren’t wandering around alone searching for answers in the dark. So we read everything, follow a hundred blogs, and basically overwhelm ourselves with information. Not the best mindset to have when we are trying to write an 80,000 word novel.
Slow down. Really.
I don’t have this thing figured out either, but it occurs to me that a few things are obvious.
**Write your books and write them well. No good book—no reason for social media.
**Write your blog posts, tweet your shout outs, engage. But put a time limit on it.
**Back to writing.
Remember the reason why you are doing all of this. Is it to write stories? To get lost in those worlds? Yeah? Go get lost then, and create the best worlds you can.
The other stuff at the end of the day is secondary. Important, yes, but still secondary.
So tell me, what part of this industry have you found the most difficult?
**first posted in May 2012 before I landed the book contract, so let’s add that once thrown into the mix, things got busier. The difference? Now, I feel like everything else finally matters. 😉
November 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Blogging, Editing, Inspiration, Publishing, Social Media, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Blog, bloggers, Book, book marketing, E-book, editing, exhaustion, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Pinterest, Reading, Revisions, Social media, Triberr, Twitter, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing process, Writing Tips | 12 Comments
“You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream while you are awake, intentionally.”
November 24, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writing | Tags: Author, Book Writing, Dream, Dream Sharing, Haruki Murakami, Inspiration, Interpretation, Japan, laney mcmann, novel writing, Psychology, Social Sciences, Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Writer | Leave a comment
I am thankful for the gift of words, the gift of insight and imagination. For my love of books and the ability to spend hours reading them.
For friends who stand by me, even when they think I’ve lost my mind, or disagree with every decision I make. You keep me upright.
For my family and their unyielding encouragement throughout my life. I would be lost without you.
For my health and sanity.
My ability to run again after my second round of physical therapy.
For music that vibrates my core and spills through me with every beat.
For my cherished memories of times and people past. I miss you.
For the chill of Autumns approach and the fall of red bruised leaves.
For all the gifts I cherish and hold dear in my life, I am truly grateful.
And of course for all of you who read, listen, like, comment and care about what I have to say, even when it’s utter nonsense. Thank You for listening.
November 21, 2012 | Categories: Inspiration, Life, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Autumn, Fall, Gratitude, Health, Holidays, Inspiration, laney mcmann, november, Shopping, thank you, thankful for, Thanksgiving | 2 Comments
“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
November 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes | Tags: Author, Children's literature, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, Inspiration, JK Rowling, laney mcmann, Literature, Novel, Tales of Beedle the Bard, Writers Resources, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”
November 16, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Joseph Campbell, laney mcmann, Literature, Mythologists, Mythology, myths, Myths and Folktales, Power of Myth, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment
It’s every new writers nightmare. The reason so many hide their stories away.
What if no one likes my book? What if I only think I can write…but really, I can’t!
Oh, god, people are going to judge me.
A quote by Bruce Patrick
WRITE ON, WRITERS.
October 22, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, facing fear, fantasy author, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Judgement, laney mcmann, WIP, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
October 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Canada, Dalloway, Inspiration, laney mcmann, London, New Brunswick, Virginia, Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, Writing Tips | Leave a comment
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Virginia Dare
~Michael Scott — The Warlock
October 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Author, Creativity, Destination Imagination, Fiction, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Michael Scott, Psychology, Quotes, Virginia Dare, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction | 1 Comment
Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.
September 29, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: 20th Century, American, art, Author, breakfast at tiffany, Capote, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Literature, Quotes, Truman Capote, World Literature, Writer, Writers Resources | Leave a comment
A few days ago I received an email. A request for my manuscript in full to be sent to a publishing house I queried. And then I received another one.
Am I thrilled? Absolutely.
Do I feel terrified and on the verge of throwing up? Definitely.
I remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt when I completed TIED. Edits, beta readers, and all. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. For about an hour. Maybe.
A few weeks later, I queried my first publisher with shaking hands, and terror replaced accomplishment. Still, I sent it anyway. I had to. All of us writers have to. This whole process is well…part of the process. I think we need to go through it. It makes us a little stronger.
Now, after sending off my baby that I’ve loved and coddled for two years, I have a different sense of accomplishment. One that is mixed with the discomfort of judgement. The word all writers hate. But you know what? It’s a great feeling. It is. Because whether or not they decide to take my book on, they believed enough — and saw enough — to give it further than a glance. And although this could be the only elation I feel in a long run of disappointments — I plan to appreciate it for what it is — THE BEST FEELING I’ve had since I jumped on this roller coaster ride of writing.
I love what I do. And I’m thankful to be doing it. Even more thankful, too, that my betas also love my stories and I’ve been given a small pat on the back by yet another interested party. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Wish me luck. 😉
September 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Editing and Proofreading, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Publish, querying process, Writer Resources, Writing process, YA paranormal romance author | 6 Comments
“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.”
September 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Boston University, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Isaac Asimov, laney mcmann, novel writing, Russian American, Science Fiction, Short story, Writing Tips | 4 Comments
There is no such thing as too much description. Okay, maybe later on when you’re a few drafts in some details will need to be scaled down. But in the beginning when you are just writing, just write. Tell your story and every little detail that you see in your mind. First drafts need to be loaded with details. There will be too many but come draft two and three you can pick and choose what’s important enough to stay and what needs to go. And through those changes your story will start to become alive.
Every character in your story needs a voice and I don’t only mean the ones who can talk. I mean EVERY character. The buildings, the car, the woods, the town. The world you’ve created needs to breathe. It needs life. Life in writing is created through details. The edge in someones voice, the creak of a clock tower, the feel of a touch, the sweetness of a flower. The ripped, faded jeans. The wickedly flirtatious smile. The racing blood. The charred forest. The reader needs to see it, taste it, feel it, hear it and know it. They want to walk in the world you create, to feel what the characters feel.
I think we all can get caught up in writing dialogue. It is no doubt, extremely important but at the end of the day, if all you have is dialogue, where’s the setting? Why does the reader care if he can’t see your characters sitting on the hillside, or fighting in the alley? The only way to create your world is to give it a personality of its own. Give it an identity and make it come alive in the minds of all who read it.
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
September 18, 2012 | Categories: Inspiration, Publishing, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Editing and Proofreading, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, novel creation, Publishing, Short story, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, Writing Exercises, Writing process, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments
What shall we listen to today? How about this….
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
September 11, 2012 | Categories: Author, Craft, Inspiration, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Neil Gaiman, Organizations, Sandman, Writers Resources, Writing, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments
“At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don’t really expect it. It’s like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it’s not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.”
August 31, 2012 | Categories: Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Arts, Astronomy, Blue moon, Earth, Fairy tale, Farmers Almanac, Full moon, Krakatoa, laney mcmann, Meredith Grey, Moon, Neil Armstrong, Quotes, Sky & Telescope, Solar System | Leave a comment