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
An interesting thing happens when you work with an editor. You are quickly reminded (or I am) that although you may be a good storyteller and okay grammatically, becoming a terrific storyteller and a grammatical whiz, is quite another animal. Patience reigns. Glad my editor has a lot of it. 😉
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
** The homonym police got me…. reins vs. reigns. See what I mean about editing? Thanks, Carol. 😉
October 26, 2012 | Categories: Editing, Publishing, Writing | Tags: Author, Editing and Proofreading, Grammar, laney mcmann, Language, Revisions, Structure editor, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
I scratched my cornea two days ago. Forgive any typos as I’m writing this with one eye.
As I am rounding out the last of my revisions and running to the final edits stretch of my novel, I’ve hit a speed bump. I have to cut three chapters. Ghaack! It’s about…7700 words. NOT that I’m a word counter. You can read why if you’d like here: Word Count Goals And The Pathway To Hell
But that’s another subject… When you’re a pantster, like I am, and when you write as slow as a turtle, like I do, you may find that what worked a few drafts ago simply doesn’t work in the final draft. That’s okay. Sometimes scenes no longer fit.
Yes, it creates headaches. But I am a firm believer that cutting makes your work stronger. It makes you look deeper, think harder, and search farther outside the box, which in fantasy, is very important. (Yeah, I write fantasy.)
As I’ve said before, if something doesn’t feel write, it’s because it isn’t. Follow your instincts, listen to your gut, and cut the scene (or at least rewrite it).
May 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: art, Editing and Proofreading, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Online Writing, Revisions, Word count, Writer Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Exercises, Writing process, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 4 Comments
“So jump,” he sneered up at me.
Apparently one of my characters sneers a lot. Who knew? My beta pointed out that unless I meant for him to be laughing at the MC with contempt, maybe I should reword it.
Ouch… Um, no, that was not my intent. At all.
Sometimes, it’s better to stick with said.
*related posts: ** What’s In A Beta Reader?
April 24, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, beta partner, Beta reader, Editing and Proofreading, laney mcmann, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, novel writing, Revisions, Writing, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 5 Comments
You know that feeling you get after you’ve logged in hours revising your novel, and then it dawns on you that you have to scrap chunks of it?
Yeah, I’m there.
I wanted to label it as a block. Pin it down to being “brain tired.” Chalk it up to, “I’ve been working on this piece too long, so now I’m just sick of it.”
That little voice in my head, the one that helps guide me down these cray writing roads I find myself on, that voice told me something was wrong. And it wasn’t because I was too tired, or blocked. It wasn’t because my story was too ingrained, or that I was sick of it. The voice stopped me in my revision tracks because something was wrong.
Scrap is a harsh word. Rewrite is a more appropriate one, and something I had not anticipated needing to do. But as I’ve said before, sometimes the story simply doesn’t work. Sometimes the ideas in your head don’t play out on paper in the grand scheme. Sometimes you need to rewrite a few chunks, so the rest of the chunks, work.
Listen to your voice. It doesn’t lie, and it won’t lead you astray. If something in your story doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t.
April 3, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Author, Book Writing, Editing and Proofreading, laney mcmann, novel writing, Revisions, Rewrites, WIP, Writing Advice, Writing and Editing, Writing Tips, writing voice, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
“Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
No matter how hard it gets, how overwhelmed you feel, keep going. You will get there.
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
March 29, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Editing and Proofreading, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel writing, Publishing, Revisions, Rewrites, Self-publishing, Stephen King, WIP, Writers Resources, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments
It took about four months before I mustered up the courage to let anyone read the first chapters of my current novel. That was back in August of 2010. I’d been writing since April of that year, and my book was nowhere–and I mean nowhere–near ready for viewing. Even if that viewer was my mom. Now, I realize that everyone says they let their mom read their book first because, of course, our mothers will go easy on us if it sucks. Not my mom. I’m not saying she flat-out told me it was awful, but she didn’t tell me what I was hoping to hear either.
I wanted my mom to read it first because I needed real feedback from an avid reader. My mom also happens to do a lot of editing. The first reviews weren’t good. Looking back, she was 100% correct. The book was a fledgling written by a poet and short story dabbler, not a seasoned novelist.
I tucked my tail between my legs, swallowed my pride, and listened to everything she had to say. And then I used it all. I studied and researched and let the ideas in my head germinate and flow. I wrote and I wrote until I was sick of it. Until I almost gave up.
It has been a year and a half since that time and my novel has gone through at least eight drafts. Easily. After I’d tweaked, edited, hated it, and loved it, I put it back in my moms possession. And cringed a little.
I have three beta readers now, all doing slightly different things, all slightly different viewpoints, coming from different genre preferences and widely different age groups. I think the wide scope is necessary for a real perspective. I was terrified to let my words, my characters–my world, go. Everything in those pages is me. Everything in all our books as writers, is us. Our imagination, our thoughts—our creation. What if my betas hated my story? What would that say about me? I let it go, despite my trepidation, and faced the fear.
If they did hate the story, if my characters were whack and my voice was worse–I kind of needed to know.
What’s in a Beta Reader? If you’re lucky, a trusted reader who will give it to you straight.
I waited a long time after the initial beta read back in 2010 to release my chapters again. I was afraid to hear the critiques–to hear I wasn’t any good after close to two years of sweat and tears. But how would I ever know, if I was too afraid to let go? And if I was awful at writing novels, well…there was only one way to change that— keep writing, keep learning, and keep putting myself out there.
What’s in a Beta Reader? Your audience. Who without, you have no readership. So ask yourself, who are you writing for? I can say with all my heart, I write for myself. But when you decide to go live, and publish your work, that changes a bit. I write because I love it. And somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to do more than write stories to myself. So, I would be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn’t also writing for my readers. And they, as well as I, deserve the best book I can put out. That’s where the Betas come in 😉
February 9, 2012 | Categories: Author, Books, Reading, Writing | Tags: Beta reader, critique, editing, Editing and Proofreading, laney mcmann, proofreading, Reading, Revisions, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 9 Comments
I’ve been revising my novel for a few weeks now, gearing up for its release. I’m nowhere near completion, but working on it every day gives me a sense of forward motion and accomplishment. Which is why after finishing Chapters 1-7 in their entirety, I found myself surprised to feel that old familiar pang. The stab in the side.
Burn Out. It happens. Sometimes when you least expect it.
A year and a half is a long time to dedicate to writing a novel in these technologically fast-moving times. Too long. Nonetheless, a year and a half it has been since I began. And throughout that time I have swung through emotions with the swift fluidity of a pendulum. One day in love with my words, the next, ready to chunk my laptop out the window.
I have tried editing or writing from the end of the story or somewhere in the middle for a fresh perspective. I’ve tried working on other stories in the toolbox of ideas I have amassed. But, always I come back to my current novel. It never shuts up. I both love and hate it. I picks me up and drops me again.
Today I received an email on my chap nine revisions. The chapter that I knew was still rough after all the edits and continued to need work. I was ready for the slashes of red across the text, the comments in the margins, ready for the question marks. I didn’t get them. At least not that many. Instead, I got the opposite. My editor said she liked the chapter, she said it had life in it.
Not sure I could receive a greater compliment than that. So today, novel, I love you again. You still need work, but you have life;)
January 22, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Novels, Online Writing, Pendulum, Publishing, Revisions, Writers Resources, Writing and Editing, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments
I have had an inspired week filled with edits and revisions. My MS has now been relinquished for the real edits to begin and what I am positive will be full-blown revisions to follow.
Instead of going into an extended state of anxiety awaiting judgement, I plan to focus all of my energy on finishing my second WIP. As my current novel has taken what feels like forever to finish, I have a new-found confidence that the second will be a much quicker process.
I am hoping to gain some insight on creating a new title (or sticking with the original) as mine has been found elsewhere. I have created a list of around twenty possibilities, half of which I have already shot down. With any luck my title will be released here on the blog soon. My cover has also been completed.
Good writing to you;)
I accomplished what I set out to do: I finished my novel. YAY ME!
Truly, I’m thrilled. On so many levels. There were several times I considered walking away, considered I was totally wasting my time, considered I wasn’t any good. I’ll say right now with full gumption, that it’s been a long time since I have been so proud of myself. I’m almost giddy. Even if it sucks–I love that I wrote it, love that I had the courage to finish it and love that I put myself out there.
I am so relieved to say and so I have to say it out loud, “I’M DONE!” Ok. I realize that once I’m brave enough to send it off for editing, I’ll be on pins and needles, likely vomiting from anxiety. And yes, I realize to that I will likely, no, I will most definitely, have a lot to fix and scrap. I also know that the story itself might suck.
BUT…! In spite of all of theses factors, I am thrilled that I completed what I started. An 80,000 word novel. A novel that, regardless of where it goes, or the response it receives, I am proud of.
What was many times a hair pulling, pacing and screaming affair, has in the end, been completely worth every doubt I had about whether to keep going or walk away. In the end, I was too ingrained to leave it.
So now, I have begun #2 in the series and will allow #1 to sit tucked away unseen and untouched to stew before facing judgement day. Then I shall bow it down to the editors feet and allow the fear and loathing phase to commence;)
July 13, 2011 | Categories: Publishing, Writing | Tags: Courage, editing, Fiction, Finished novel, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel writing, Revisions, Writer, YA Fiction | 8 Comments
Back to the grindstone. That’s code for editing. When in doubt about what you’re trying to write and banging your head against the wall doesn’t help anymore, edit a different work in progress!
Step 1. Reread, again.
Step 2. Cut and rewrite, again.
Step 3. Repeat, again.
Step 4. Question everything.
Step 5. Ditch it and create random blog entries.
Ding, Ding, Ding….I choose number 5.
Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!
…When it’s not procrastination. What the hell is it?
It’s something–something I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s a break. Maybe I need one. Maybe that’s all it is. I literally can not focus. For days, I can’t. Maybe its burn out. Maybe working on something else for a while would help. Suggestions? Been here before?
April 29, 2011 | Categories: Publishing, Writing | Tags: A Lot of Drafts!, Advice on writing a novel, Author, Book Writing, Editing and Proofreading, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, novel creation, Revisions, Rewrites, Writers Resources, Writing and Editing, Writing process | 4 Comments