April 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 29

This week has been dedicated to cleaning and organizing my office. When we moved into this older, cottage style house nearly three years ago, the room I chose to be my office had a teeny, tiny closet. (How in the world was it EVER used for clothes storage?) I had deadlines to meet during that move, and after, so I shoved things into the closet until such time I had the nerve to tackle it.  At this moment, my neat little office isn’t so neat.

I’ve found so much old stuff. Old ideas jotted in old notebooks or on old scraps of paper, old short stories (some completed, some left undone for a good reason). A file folder bulging with carbon copies (yes, carbon copies) of query letters. Oh, my, I wish someone would have taught me how to write one back then. They are truly awful, but I’ll keep them to show new writers I made the same mistakes they make now. Maybe they’ll derive some comfort and hope. I have also unearthed enough writing tips to fill a book, discovered several packages of manilla envelopes, new and used file folders, and plenty of dust.

Then there are all those early book manuscripts. The ones where I was just beginning to crawl as a writer. The ones where I was finally able to walk as a writer were marginally better. By books five and six, I more or less knew what I was doing but still needed a lot of work and practice before I could even consider of entering any marathons.

I’m not finished with this cleaning/organizing task, but I know one thing for sure. Never, ever throw away book or story manuscripts. They might be old and dusty, yellowed with age, but they hold a lot of gold. Some of it can be mined. The first April Grace book, In Front of God and Everybody, proves that. It was an old book, chucked away for years.

I have a book coming out soon that was written nearly twenty years ago. It’s been polished and revised, brought up to date, but still, it’s a story salvaged from my desk drawer. Dare I say, it’s really good. I think so, anyway. I hope so.

April 11, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

For the last two days, I’ve been working on Upside Down and Whopperjawed, the fifth book in the “Confessions of April Grace” series. Just when I thought I had a cool first chapter, I decided it was too serious and dark for an opening. So I rewrote it. Then I decided that chapter was too dull. So I went back to the first idea and added to it. I like it, but I don’t know …

I’m going through one of those phases we writers often enter. It’s a perilous place to inhabit, and I intend to leave as soon as possible. It’s the land of I-CAN’T-WRITE-WORTH-A-HOOT-SO-MAYBE-I’M-ALL-WASHED-UP.  In other words, self-doubt. I figure this is brought on by a combination of exhaustion, caffeine withdrawal, sugar reduction, and too much to do but not enough time to do it all. This feeling is not unique to writers. I think we humans are prone to it. Often. That said, the best way to exit this country before it becomes the Land of No Return, is to take some time away and re-evaluate priorities. I’ll do that today. Maybe a nap will help.

Top Ten Ways to Stay Off the Bestseller List

There are many more ways than this list of ten. Any one of these will insure that you never reach any writing goal, let alone bestseller status. If you think of more, please add them in your comments. I’m interested in your thoughts!

Top Ten Ways to Stay Off the Bestseller List

  1. Never start writing, only talk about it
  2. Spend all your time trolling Facebook, Twitter, and other such places.
  3. Wait for inspiration.
  4. Bounce from one story idea to another without choosing one.
  5. Reach a tough place in your book, stop, and start a new story.
  6. Never finish anything you start.
  7. Believe you know it all and there’s nothing to learn.
  8. Defend your book to anyone who tries to help.
  9. Never promote.
  10. Receive one rejection and give up.