Category Archives: Issues

Surreal

I’m sitting at my desk, staring at a print copy of my first published novel, and it somehow just does not feel real. I’m holding it in my hands, and I keep waiting to wake up and realize that I still haven’t accomplished anything with my writing. Frost is out in the world. People are buying copies, and I’m tracking sales and downloads on a daily basis. For some crazy reason, though, I keep waking up and wondering if this is real, or if I just dreamed it all and I’m still a failure as a writer. I’m not really sure how to shake this feeling of things being surreal.

Will it feel more real when I get my first royalty check? Will it feel more real when I start signing copies for friends and family? Would it feel more real if I had a launch party? Any thoughts or advice are welcome.


Quote of the Day – 2/27/16

“Nobody’s perfect. We’re all just one step up from the beasts and one step down from the angels.” -Jeannette Walls

You probably noticed that I missed a day. Most of you probably expected it to happen sooner or later. I can hear the bitter grumbles in the back of my mind now.

“Liar. Fraud. You said you were turning over a new leaf. You told me you were committing to writing, at least, one post a day every day, if not two. You let us all down, and you’re a failure. Whoever told you that you have no follow through was right. You will never be a successful writer. You don’t have any real commitment. No wonder you’ve been working on one book for ten years, and you’re still not finished. You know you’re a fraud and a failure. Stop wasting everyone’s time and just give up.”

Okay, so y’all might not be saying those things, but those are the voices I hear in my head after missing a day of writing. I should have posted yesterday, but I got called to substitute teach at the last minute. It was unexpected and the school system I work for has blocked WordPress. I could not access my content editor.

I also had to study for and take a skeletal anatomy unit test. It was challenging and exhausting, but I put in the effort and made 100%. I had an imperfect day and I did my best to work around it. I didn’t get around to my writing for the day and that’s ok. You will occasionally find things that trump your calling, like working toward contributing more to your marriage.

I am human. I make mistakes. I drop the ball. Sometimes my commitment to my writing slips a little. All of these things are ok and they will happen because I’m human. As long as I pick myself up, recommit to my calling, and keep moving forward, slipping for one day isn’t going to destroy the grand scheme of things.


Quote of the Day – 2/21/16

“Sing praise to the LORD, you holy ones of His. Give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment. His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. As for me, I said in my prosperity, ‘I shall never be moved.'” -Psalm 30:4-6 (www.dailybible.co)

You may have noticed that this is the first time my “Quote of the Day” has been a quotation from the Bible. In the past, I have been reluctant to intermingle my career as a writer with my personal faith. I feared that doing so might push some of my potential readers away. I have also had a lifelong struggle with my faith, which I will explain some other time. In any case, I am a Christian, and my faith is a surprisingly integral part of who I am. So, from now on, my “Quote of the Day” each Sunday will be a quote from the Bible, courtesy of the Daily Bible Inspirations app.

I do not claim to have any sort of divine insight regarding this passage, but I can tell you what it means to me, personally, as a writer and Christian. The message I get from this Biblical quote, in regards to my writing practice, is that I should not be easily discouraged. If I keep the faith and remain dedicated to my writing practice, God will bless me with the resolve and imagination I need to continue pursuing my calling as a writer.

I truly believe that if I prayerfully approach my calling as a writer, that God will lead me in the right direction. I believe that God will lead me and my work on the correct path, and open the right doors for me.

In the past, I have struggled with an obsession with what I perceive as fair, and that has often clashed with my faith. I have been fixated on fairness for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories involve me, fraught with indignant outrage over how unfair things often were, socially, at school. Both my grandmothers, women of incredible and unshakeable faith, told me the same thing over and over. “Life isn’t fair, but God is.” Whenever they told me that, it only succeeded in infuriating me even more because I didn’t have the capacity to understand what it meant.

It’s taken me almost 27 years to come to grips with both my faith and my desire to be treated fairly. It has taken me my entire life up until this point–years of lost, frustrated heartache–to finally understand what they meant. It has taken me almost 27 years to finally accept the fact that God knows better than I do what is best for my life. It has taken my whole life for me to finally understand that God’s plan and my plans may not always be one and the same. It has taken me the entirety of my life to understand that God knows better than I do what is best for me, and what path I need to follow to fulfill my life’s purpose.

I believe that’s what has made it so difficult for me to complete Frost in a timely manner. I didn’t want Frost to be Christian fiction because I was afraid it would limit me by excluding non-Christian readers. Frost began as an exploration of my personal struggles with the idea that “Life isn’t fair, but God is,” and that is the way I intend to finish it. If that means that Frost ends up being Christian fiction, then I’m going to stand by it. I feel called to share that struggle. I feel compelled to tell Frost the way it initially struck me.

I have faith that I am now telling the story as God intended me to tell it, and I sincerely hope that this story will still be an irresistibly fantastic adventure when I’m through telling it the way it was supposed to be told.

 


Work It #13 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #13 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 13: Stretch Your Skills

  1. After you’ve strectched, answer each of these questions.
    • What’s your preferred form or genre to write in; i.e., the one you feel most comfortable in? Prose fiction, usually with strong genre influences, if not a clear genre. And my blog…I LOVE my blog.
    • What’s your next favorite? Short stories, but I don’t feel like my short stories have as much meaning or potential as my longer, more complex ideas. 
    • What’s the form or genre you’ve always been curious to experiment with but haven’t yet? Maybe memoir? I’ve always thought it might be cool, but I’ve never really studied memoirs or given any real thought to what I would include in one if I wrote one.
    • Which form or genre seems incredibly different or hard to you? I used to write poetry, but I don’t anymore. I don’t feel like I have the energy for it. If I had to choose a fiction genre that’s particularly hard for me, I’d have to say horror because I have an intense dislike for being frightened. I’m also not very into writing historicals. I love reading them, but I feel like it would require too much research to actually get one published. 

Can you guess where this is going? Give one of these new, scarier forms a try. I recommend you really stretch and go with the fourth entry in your list, but any will do.

2.  Try your hand at a short essay. Write a fictional account of a true event. Turn a bad day into a horror story. Take a warm moment and channel it into a poem. But please pick the one that feels a little bit challenging so you leave your comfort zone.

Oh, boy. I really don’t know what to do or what to pick. I’m instantaneously repulsed by the idea of turning a bad day into a horror story. Maybe I’ll pick that one. It’s just going to be a short fragment of stomething that could be expanded upon later. I’m going to combine writing a fictional account of a true event and turning a bad day into a horror story. 

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night. 

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop. 

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?” 

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #13 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #13 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 13: Stretch Your Skills

  1. After you’ve strectched, answer each of these questions.
    • What’s your preferred form or genre to write in; i.e., the one you feel most comfortable in? Prose fiction, usually with strong genre influences, if not a clear genre. And my blog…I LOVE my blog.
    • What’s your next favorite? Short stories, but I don’t feel like my short stories have as much meaning or potential as my longer, more complex ideas. 
    • What’s the form or genre you’ve always been curious to experiment with but haven’t yet? Maybe memoir? I’ve always thought it might be cool, but I’ve never really studied memoirs or given any real thought to what I would include in one if I wrote one.
    • Which form or genre seems incredibly different or hard to you? I used to write poetry, but I don’t anymore. I don’t feel like I have the energy for it. If I had to choose a fiction genre that’s particularly hard for me, I’d have to say horror because I have an intense dislike for being frightened. I’m also not very into writing historicals. I love reading them, but I feel like it would require too much research to actually get one published. 

Can you guess where this is going? Give one of these new, scarier forms a try. I recommend you really stretch and go with the fourth entry in your list, but any will do.

2.  Try your hand at a short essay. Write a fictional account of a true event. Turn a bad day into a horror story. Take a warm moment and channel it into a poem. But please pick the one that feels a little bit challenging so you leave your comfort zone.

Oh, boy. I really don’t know what to do or what to pick. I’m instantaneously repulsed by the idea of turning a bad day into a horror story. Maybe I’ll pick that one. It’s just going to be a short fragment of stomething that could be expanded upon later. I’m going to combine writing a fictional account of a true event and turning a bad day into a horror story. 

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night. 

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop. 

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?” 

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #11 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work it #11 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 11: Be Bold, Write Bravely

Okay, it’s time to determine your level of boldness with a set of questions. When you determine what your comfort levels are, you know what “boldness” means to you. Boldness is taking steps outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to take huge, risky steps; you can start with small ones (and we’ll talk more about those in chapter thirteen, “Stretch Your Skills,”), but first we start with identifying your current comfort zone.

Answer the following questions with a yes or no. Are you comfortable…

  • revealing personal feelings in your writing? NO
  • showing your failings or humanity? NO
  • publicly sharing your mistakes? NO
  • using strong language? YES
  • writing about taboo subjects? NO
  • writing about people you know? YES
  • showing people your work? YES
  • reading in front of others? NO
  • telling people you are a writer? YES
  • answering the question, “What have you published?” YES
  • answering the question,d “Do you get paid for it?” NO

The number of times you answered yes or no will give you a snapshot of your comfort with “boldness.” It’s not a road map yat–that’s coming in chapter thirteen. But it’s a first step, a personal inventory that you’ll work with.


Work It #11 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work it #11 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 11: Be Bold, Write Bravely

Okay, it’s time to determine your level of boldness with a set of questions. When you determine what your comfort levels are, you know what “boldness” means to you. Boldness is taking steps outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to take huge, risky steps; you can start with small ones (and we’ll talk more about those in chapter thirteen, “Stretch Your Skills,”), but first we start with identifying your current comfort zone.

Answer the following questions with a yes or no. Are you comfortable…

  • revealing personal feelings in your writing? NO
  • showing your failings or humanity? NO
  • publicly sharing your mistakes? NO
  • using strong language? YES
  • writing about taboo subjects? NO
  • writing about people you know? YES
  • showing people your work? YES
  • reading in front of others? NO
  • telling people you are a writer? YES
  • answering the question, “What have you published?” YES
  • answering the question,d “Do you get paid for it?” NO

The number of times you answered yes or no will give you a snapshot of your comfort with “boldness.” It’s not a road map yat–that’s coming in chapter thirteen. But it’s a first step, a personal inventory that you’ll work with.


Work It #10 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #10 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 10: Break the Blocks to Creative Flow

For this chapter on breaking the blocks to creative flow, I’m giving you three different tasks, because your reason for block may not be the same each time, and also because sometimes it takes more than one method to slip inertia’s grip.

  1. MENTAL: Quickly take a look at the work you’re stuck on, or simply hold in mind the project you can’t start. Or if you have research materials or other info about the project, put it in front of you. Give yourself the goal of writing one sentence. That’s it, just one sentence. Now get up and do the physical activity in exercise two. Then come back. See if you can’t write just one more sentence. Then get up and do a physical activity. Come back. Write one more.

  2. PHYSICAL: A study done by cognitive psychologist Professor Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University in The Netherlands revealed that people who exercised four times a week were “able to think more creatively than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.” But you don’t have to run marathons or even leave your house in order to engage in a creativity-stimulating form of exercise. Did you know that simply flapping your arms as though to simulate flying, which also gets your heart rate up, is enough to do the trick? If you can make yourself laugh in the process, even better.

    Make sure no one’s around, so you won’t do this halfheartedly. Pretend you’re a bird. Try to take flight. Even squawk. Maybe you’re a chicken. By now, you’re either laughing or flapping, and your heart rate is up. Your subconscious creative trapdoor just swung open without you even realizing it. Return to your desk and write one more sentence.

  3. EMOTIONAL: You may have heard about a somewhat dubious-sounding theraputic technique introduced in the seventies called primal scream therapy. This therapy emerged from the idea that sometimes all a person needs to do to shed emotional baggage is to have a good primal yawp at the top of his lungs. This couls also include pillow punching, phonebook ripping, and other feats of brute strength. Don’t worry–I’m not going to ask you to do this! I am, however, going to ask you to do a written version of it. Set a timer for fifteen minutes minimum, with no maximum. Whatever works for you. At the top of the page, write what you’re facing, whether it’s inertia or creative block, in as derogatory language as you can muster. “I can’t make progress on my stupid novel.”

    Below that, start a list called “Reasons I won’t/shouldn’t/can’t make progress with this project.” In psychoanalysis, this is called the “pro-symptom” approach. Rather than trying to talk yourself into something you don’t want to do, you sympathize with and embrace the discomfort, the part of you throwing its personal tantrum. See how long you can actually go on with this negative sympathy.

    When you run out of things to write, start a new list: “Reasons why I should/must/will finish this project.” Always try to end an exercise on a positive note.

For some reason, this Work It exercise feels more difficult than the others have been for me. I’m also incredibly distracted because my puppy is determined to interrupt me this morning, it seems. It’s like he’s perfectly happy to entertain himself until I sit down to write, and then he becomes the neediest puppy on the planet out  of nowhere. In any case, it’s time for me to turn my attention to the actual work of this Work It exercise.

I’ve been stuck on my novel, Frost, for quite some time now. I’m supposed to focus on writing just ONE sentence of this work. I have an outline sentence for the next scene I’m supposed to be working on. “Lauren, Tamara, and a bunch of volunteers take to the caverns because Adele doesn’t know about them, and they make the Linothorax in secret.”

So…one sentence in this scene. Let me see. Maybe “As Mack led me into the caverns, I was flabbergasted by the sheer number of volunteers waiting to help make the Linothorax.” It’s not profound, but it is the first sentence I’ve written on this project in about four months, now! That’s pretty freeing.

I’m having a momentary freakout because there’s a spider in my room, and I PROMISE you  I just did PLENTY of flailing and other hear-rate raising movements trying to get away from it. I hate hate HATE spiders, and I am 100% terrified of them, and I wish they didn’t exist. It did, however, serve the purpose of getting my heart rate up. On to the next sentence, then. “There were men, women, children, and elders all waiting to do their part to defend each other.”

On to the next part…the emotional primal scream thing. Right now, the thing I most want to scream about is that there’s a freaking spider in my room, and I wasn’t fast enough to kill it, and now I don’t know where it is and I want it DEAD. I can feel things crawling on me. I know it’s just psychosomatic, but UGH.

Anyway…here goes.

I seem to be incapable of making progress on this worthless, idiotic novel of mine.

Reasons I won’t/shouldn’t/can’t make progress with this project:

  • It’s changed so much over the past 10 years that I’ve been working on it that I just feel like I’m beating a dead horse into an unnecessary grease stain in the annals of history.
  • I should be working on my MTE school work instead. I should be prioritizing the moneymaking career over my writing. It’s stupid not to.
  • I should be cleaning the house.
  • I should be focused on making all the people who are important to me happy before I focus on myself. Me focusing on my writing is selfish and irresponsible.
  • I have no followthrough. Everyone knows it. I’ve been working on this stupid project for 10 years, and I’ve gotten nowhere. I don’t even know why I insist on trying to finish it.
  • I didn’t want this book to be Christian fiction because I was afraid that would limit its scope and marketability, but the story disagrees with me.
  • I need to make so many changes to it that I’m never going to finish.
  • I suck at writing “As If” and “SFDs” because I’m a perfectionist who’s completely unwilling to relinquish control of my brainchild. Everything should be perfect and fixed before I move on to the next thing.
  • It’s a lousy, stupid idea that nobody but me actually cares about. What’s the point of even putting it out there? It’s completely lame.
  • I hate myself for wasting so much time on a story that’s never really going to be successful. I don’t know why I can’t let it go and try to move on. The lives of everyone around me would probably be better if I just let the story die and learn to be a grownup with a real job and steady income.
  • If I were any good as a writer, I would already have cranked this book out, along with the two sequels planned for it, rather than letting them stagnate in my head.
  • It’s changed and evolved so much that I don’t know how to categorize it anymore.
  • I haven’t finished my research, which I need in this next scene. What’s the point of moving forward right now without it?
  • I feel like the cathartic value of this novel is gone for me. What’s the point? I’m just wasting everyone’s time.

Reasons why I should/must/will finish this project:

  • It has lived in my head longer than any of my other ideas. Ten years is far too much time for a story to be taking up mental real estate instead of living on bookshelves, where it belongs.
  • If I finish it and get it out there, that would make the people who invested in Frost very happy.
  • I know that there’s an important message in this story for people who share my feelings.
  • God wouldn’t have let me spend ten years on a story if I weren’t supposed to complete it and share it with the world.
  • There are plenty of people out there who have shown interest in Frost, even in its rough, original state. It’s incomplete and it still has over 4,000 +Votes on JukePop.
  • There is a message I’m meant to share in this book, and my soul won’t let me rest until I get it out there.
  • I love writing in the same way my husband loves fishing and drag racing. Why should I deny myself something that I enjoy so deeply, and that means so much to me?

 


Work It #10 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #10 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 10: Break the Blocks to Creative Flow

For this chapter on breaking the blocks to creative flow, I’m giving you three different tasks, because your reason for block may not be the same each time, and also because sometimes it takes more than one method to slip inertia’s grip.

  1. MENTAL: Quickly take a look at the work you’re stuck on, or simply hold in mind the project you can’t start. Or if you have research materials or other info about the project, put it in front of you. Give yourself the goal of writing one sentence. That’s it, just one sentence. Now get up and do the physical activity in exercise two. Then come back. See if you can’t write just one more sentence. Then get up and do a physical activity. Come back. Write one more.

  2. PHYSICAL: A study done by cognitive psychologist Professor Lorenza Colzato of Leiden University in The Netherlands revealed that people who exercised four times a week were “able to think more creatively than those with a more sedentary lifestyle.” But you don’t have to run marathons or even leave your house in order to engage in a creativity-stimulating form of exercise. Did you know that simply flapping your arms as though to simulate flying, which also gets your heart rate up, is enough to do the trick? If you can make yourself laugh in the process, even better.

    Make sure no one’s around, so you won’t do this halfheartedly. Pretend you’re a bird. Try to take flight. Even squawk. Maybe you’re a chicken. By now, you’re either laughing or flapping, and your heart rate is up. Your subconscious creative trapdoor just swung open without you even realizing it. Return to your desk and write one more sentence.

  3. EMOTIONAL: You may have heard about a somewhat dubious-sounding theraputic technique introduced in the seventies called primal scream therapy. This therapy emerged from the idea that sometimes all a person needs to do to shed emotional baggage is to have a good primal yawp at the top of his lungs. This couls also include pillow punching, phonebook ripping, and other feats of brute strength. Don’t worry–I’m not going to ask you to do this! I am, however, going to ask you to do a written version of it. Set a timer for fifteen minutes minimum, with no maximum. Whatever works for you. At the top of the page, write what you’re facing, whether it’s inertia or creative block, in as derogatory language as you can muster. “I can’t make progress on my stupid novel.”

    Below that, start a list called “Reasons I won’t/shouldn’t/can’t make progress with this project.” In psychoanalysis, this is called the “pro-symptom” approach. Rather than trying to talk yourself into something you don’t want to do, you sympathize with and embrace the discomfort, the part of you throwing its personal tantrum. See how long you can actually go on with this negative sympathy.

    When you run out of things to write, start a new list: “Reasons why I should/must/will finish this project.” Always try to end an exercise on a positive note.

For some reason, this Work It exercise feels more difficult than the others have been for me. I’m also incredibly distracted because my puppy is determined to interrupt me this morning, it seems. It’s like he’s perfectly happy to entertain himself until I sit down to write, and then he becomes the neediest puppy on the planet out  of nowhere. In any case, it’s time for me to turn my attention to the actual work of this Work It exercise.

I’ve been stuck on my novel, Frost, for quite some time now. I’m supposed to focus on writing just ONE sentence of this work. I have an outline sentence for the next scene I’m supposed to be working on. “Lauren, Tamara, and a bunch of volunteers take to the caverns because Adele doesn’t know about them, and they make the Linothorax in secret.”

So…one sentence in this scene. Let me see. Maybe “As Mack led me into the caverns, I was flabbergasted by the sheer number of volunteers waiting to help make the Linothorax.” It’s not profound, but it is the first sentence I’ve written on this project in about four months, now! That’s pretty freeing.

I’m having a momentary freakout because there’s a spider in my room, and I PROMISE you  I just did PLENTY of flailing and other hear-rate raising movements trying to get away from it. I hate hate HATE spiders, and I am 100% terrified of them, and I wish they didn’t exist. It did, however, serve the purpose of getting my heart rate up. On to the next sentence, then. “There were men, women, children, and elders all waiting to do their part to defend each other.”

On to the next part…the emotional primal scream thing. Right now, the thing I most want to scream about is that there’s a freaking spider in my room, and I wasn’t fast enough to kill it, and now I don’t know where it is and I want it DEAD. I can feel things crawling on me. I know it’s just psychosomatic, but UGH.

Anyway…here goes.

I seem to be incapable of making progress on this worthless, idiotic novel of mine.

Reasons I won’t/shouldn’t/can’t make progress with this project:

  • It’s changed so much over the past 10 years that I’ve been working on it that I just feel like I’m beating a dead horse into an unnecessary grease stain in the annals of history.
  • I should be working on my MTE school work instead. I should be prioritizing the moneymaking career over my writing. It’s stupid not to.
  • I should be cleaning the house.
  • I should be focused on making all the people who are important to me happy before I focus on myself. Me focusing on my writing is selfish and irresponsible.
  • I have no followthrough. Everyone knows it. I’ve been working on this stupid project for 10 years, and I’ve gotten nowhere. I don’t even know why I insist on trying to finish it.
  • I didn’t want this book to be Christian fiction because I was afraid that would limit its scope and marketability, but the story disagrees with me.
  • I need to make so many changes to it that I’m never going to finish.
  • I suck at writing “As If” and “SFDs” because I’m a perfectionist who’s completely unwilling to relinquish control of my brainchild. Everything should be perfect and fixed before I move on to the next thing.
  • It’s a lousy, stupid idea that nobody but me actually cares about. What’s the point of even putting it out there? It’s completely lame.
  • I hate myself for wasting so much time on a story that’s never really going to be successful. I don’t know why I can’t let it go and try to move on. The lives of everyone around me would probably be better if I just let the story die and learn to be a grownup with a real job and steady income.
  • If I were any good as a writer, I would already have cranked this book out, along with the two sequels planned for it, rather than letting them stagnate in my head.
  • It’s changed and evolved so much that I don’t know how to categorize it anymore.
  • I haven’t finished my research, which I need in this next scene. What’s the point of moving forward right now without it?
  • I feel like the cathartic value of this novel is gone for me. What’s the point? I’m just wasting everyone’s time.

Reasons why I should/must/will finish this project:

  • It has lived in my head longer than any of my other ideas. Ten years is far too much time for a story to be taking up mental real estate instead of living on bookshelves, where it belongs.
  • If I finish it and get it out there, that would make the people who invested in Frost very happy.
  • I know that there’s an important message in this story for people who share my feelings.
  • God wouldn’t have let me spend ten years on a story if I weren’t supposed to complete it and share it with the world.
  • There are plenty of people out there who have shown interest in Frost, even in its rough, original state. It’s incomplete and it still has over 4,000 +Votes on JukePop.
  • There is a message I’m meant to share in this book, and my soul won’t let me rest until I get it out there.
  • I love writing in the same way my husband loves fishing and drag racing. Why should I deny myself something that I enjoy so deeply, and that means so much to me?

 


Guest Posts Wanted!

I would love to feature guest posts from other writers, big and small, concerning the struggles we all face, and the passion that gives us the perseverance to continue pursuing our writing dreams. If you have something to share in this vein, please submit it via email to chelsealclemmons.author@gmail.com.

If you submit a guest post, please include a link to your blog and the name of one work/project of yours (as well as a link to it if it is available for sale, etc.) so that I can promote you to my followers.

Once your guest post has gone live, feel free to share a link to it on your blog, social media, etc. I will share it with mine, plus the Author Promotion Network (@AuthorPromoNet) Twitter accounts that I run. If your book or project falls into a particular genre, let me know so I can promote it for you on the correct branch account(s) as well!

In other news, I am actively seeking books to review. If you have a book or story you’d like me to review, please attach it as a PDF or EPUB file and I will post a review within 40 days of receiving the file.


Work It #9 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #9 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 9: Push Through Perfectionism

Choose the fear that resonates most strongly with you at the time of your writing. (You can also repeat this exercise for any other fear.) Make it the title or subject of a freewrite. For example, perhaps the fear of being a fraud is your chosen subject. Set a timer for a minimum of ten minutes and write a short story, a poem, or an essay without stopping to correct a thing. Just let it flow; don’t stop to correct anything. Don’t use quotation marks or punctuation, and don’t cross anything out. Just start a new “sentence” when you feel stuck. This exercise helps transmute a negative feeling into a positive outcome–it’s a mental version of the “Move It” exercises.

I’m going to do this exercise with the support of the 5,000 Words Per Hour app created by Chris Fox. I love that app, and I’ve been using his techniques and doing all my recent blog posts as writing sprints. I’m also using SelfControl to keep me off distracting websites while I do my writing sprints. I know that I have problems focusing, so I’m doing what I can to fix that. In any case, when I reach the end of this Work It exercise, I’ll be posting my WPH stats at the end of this post.

Which fear resonates most strongly with me right now?

Fear of Failure

I struggle every single day with the fear that I’m never going to succeed as a writer. I’m never going to find the time or the willpower to finish my novel. I’m going to inconvenience everyone around me so much that my writing career just won’t be worth it anymore, and I will give up. I mean, what gives me the right to be a writer anyway? Who the hell am I to do this? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said a million times? Why does my voice even matter?

Does it? Does my voice matter at all? Does my writing mean anything to anybody besides me? What if it doesn’t mean anything to anybody besides me? What then? What am I even writing for? Why does this matter so much to me? Why does it hurt me so deeply and badly when people don’t understand this need that I have to write?

I just went three days without writing because I didn’t want to inconvenience my husband, my cousin Shelby, and her boyfriend James while we were spending Valentine’s Day weekend together at the beach. It was a really nice respite, yes, but did anybody stop to think that I was sacrificing something vital to me for their sake? Did anyone stop to think that I was sacrificing consistency because I didn’t want to be rude? Does anybody understand why this matters so much to me? Does anyone care?

I’ve been what I would call a struggling writer for my entire life. Does anyone else out there get that struggle? Does anyone else out there wake up with this burning need to pour words out on the page? Does anyone else wake up every morning and feel the overwhelming urge to reach out through words and touch someone else’s soul?

I just want to matter. I want the things I love to matter to the people I love. Does that ever really happen? Or are all writers doomed to bear the cross of an overwhelming, burning desire that no one else but other writers will ever understand? Are we all doomed to be the only ones who really care about our writing?

Is there always going to be a struggle between the people who mean the most to us and the one thing we do that means the most to us? Can there ever be harmony? Will I ever win the approval of those close to me? I know I shouldn’t worry about trying to gain others’ approval and I should just focus on my writing practice and getting my message out there. I just wonder why things are the way they are.

Why am I such an asshole to the people who mean the most to me when I feel that they’re threatening my writing practice or my writing life? Why can’t I find some kind of balance between the people I love and the thing I love to do? There has to be some way where everyone ends up happy. How the hell do I get there? How do I reach that balance where everything that matters to me is in a good place, both my people and my writing practice?

Does that exist? Am I going to constantly sacrifice one thing to another? Why can’t I have both? Why can’t I have a good relationship with the people I love and also be dedicated and consistent in my writing practice? Why can’t those two things coexist? Do any other writers out there struggle with this? If so, I would love to hear from you.

Has anyone found that balance between the people you love and your writing practice? If so, I could really use some advice on how to get to that point. I crave that balance. I desperately need love and for those that I care about to be happy, but I also MUST write. I can’t ignore this need I have to write, but I also can’t sacrifice everyone I love on the altar of my writing. I need balance. I need help.

I need the people I love and I need to write. I need both. How do I get there? How do I get to that point? How do I find that balance and avoid hurting the people I love while also achieving consistency in my writing practice? If anybody out there has answers, I’d really love to hear them.

Please send help.

WPH: 1,980


Work It #9 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #9 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 9: Push Through Perfectionism

Choose the fear that resonates most strongly with you at the time of your writing. (You can also repeat this exercise for any other fear.) Make it the title or subject of a freewrite. For example, perhaps the fear of being a fraud is your chosen subject. Set a timer for a minimum of ten minutes and write a short story, a poem, or an essay without stopping to correct a thing. Just let it flow; don’t stop to correct anything. Don’t use quotation marks or punctuation, and don’t cross anything out. Just start a new “sentence” when you feel stuck. This exercise helps transmute a negative feeling into a positive outcome–it’s a mental version of the “Move It” exercises.

I’m going to do this exercise with the support of the 5,000 Words Per Hour app created by Chris Fox. I love that app, and I’ve been using his techniques and doing all my recent blog posts as writing sprints. I’m also using SelfControl to keep me off distracting websites while I do my writing sprints. I know that I have problems focusing, so I’m doing what I can to fix that. In any case, when I reach the end of this Work It exercise, I’ll be posting my WPH stats at the end of this post.

Which fear resonates most strongly with me right now?

Fear of Failure

I struggle every single day with the fear that I’m never going to succeed as a writer. I’m never going to find the time or the willpower to finish my novel. I’m going to inconvenience everyone around me so much that my writing career just won’t be worth it anymore, and I will give up. I mean, what gives me the right to be a writer anyway? Who the hell am I to do this? What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said a million times? Why does my voice even matter?

Does it? Does my voice matter at all? Does my writing mean anything to anybody besides me? What if it doesn’t mean anything to anybody besides me? What then? What am I even writing for? Why does this matter so much to me? Why does it hurt me so deeply and badly when people don’t understand this need that I have to write?

I just went three days without writing because I didn’t want to inconvenience my husband, my cousin Shelby, and her boyfriend James while we were spending Valentine’s Day weekend together at the beach. It was a really nice respite, yes, but did anybody stop to think that I was sacrificing something vital to me for their sake? Did anyone stop to think that I was sacrificing consistency because I didn’t want to be rude? Does anybody understand why this matters so much to me? Does anyone care?

I’ve been what I would call a struggling writer for my entire life. Does anyone else out there get that struggle? Does anyone else out there wake up with this burning need to pour words out on the page? Does anyone else wake up every morning and feel the overwhelming urge to reach out through words and touch someone else’s soul?

I just want to matter. I want the things I love to matter to the people I love. Does that ever really happen? Or are all writers doomed to bear the cross of an overwhelming, burning desire that no one else but other writers will ever understand? Are we all doomed to be the only ones who really care about our writing?

Is there always going to be a struggle between the people who mean the most to us and the one thing we do that means the most to us? Can there ever be harmony? Will I ever win the approval of those close to me? I know I shouldn’t worry about trying to gain others’ approval and I should just focus on my writing practice and getting my message out there. I just wonder why things are the way they are.

Why am I such an asshole to the people who mean the most to me when I feel that they’re threatening my writing practice or my writing life? Why can’t I find some kind of balance between the people I love and the thing I love to do? There has to be some way where everyone ends up happy. How the hell do I get there? How do I reach that balance where everything that matters to me is in a good place, both my people and my writing practice?

Does that exist? Am I going to constantly sacrifice one thing to another? Why can’t I have both? Why can’t I have a good relationship with the people I love and also be dedicated and consistent in my writing practice? Why can’t those two things coexist? Do any other writers out there struggle with this? If so, I would love to hear from you.

Has anyone found that balance between the people you love and your writing practice? If so, I could really use some advice on how to get to that point. I crave that balance. I desperately need love and for those that I care about to be happy, but I also MUST write. I can’t ignore this need I have to write, but I also can’t sacrifice everyone I love on the altar of my writing. I need balance. I need help.

I need the people I love and I need to write. I need both. How do I get there? How do I get to that point? How do I find that balance and avoid hurting the people I love while also achieving consistency in my writing practice? If anybody out there has answers, I’d really love to hear them.

Please send help.

WPH: 1,980


A Little Lost

So…my last living grandparent passed away on Thursday, April 9, 2015, and I feel absolutely lost. It was very difficult for me to see such a strong woman go downhill so quickly. My Granny Clemmons was 92 years old, and she was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known in my life. I’ve been trying so hard to work on my writing, and I’m just too emotionally exhausted to function right now. All my creativity just seems to be gone. It’s like her death turned my soul into a sieve and my creativity seeped out. Everything is tired: mind, heart, body, and soul. It’s like my mind is in a stall pattern due to grief or something.

The odd thing about it is that I was more prepared for this death than I have been for any other in my life, but it still hurts. I’m glad that my Granny isn’t suffering anymore, but there’s a very big hole in my life now. I just feel lost. There’s no other way to say it. It’s like everything that makes me who I am as a writer is out to lunch. I really hope it decides to come back soon because I have several books to finish.


Writing Priorities

So, it’s pretty obvious that the daily writing entries on here aren’t at the top of my list of writing priorities. So, I figured I’d give you a look at my list of writing priorities just for kicks.

  1. Manage the Custom Romances group of authors and try to keep everyone on track in spite of the authors dealing with several family problems, etc.
  2. Write the next chapter of Frost.
  3. Check how far I’ve deviated from my plan for Frost and get it back on track.
  4. Find the genre I’d really like to write in for Harlequin Romance and write a proposal for it.
  5. Write the next chapter of Murphy’s Law of the Jungle.
  6. Write the next chapter of The Alexandria Chronicles.

Those are the top 6 priorities right now, but I feel like I’ve got about a billion others going on in there with it and, as a person with ADD, I’m struggling with keeping focused on my priorities.


So, I fell down on the job with my dailies…again.

I’m trying to get back into writing daily posts on here. Things have been insane lately. I’ve had a lot going on with my family, school, moving, and with promoting Frost’s investments campaign. I’ll get on my daily post for today in just a moment.

xoxo

Chels


Why Did I Go to College?

I am a substitute teacher. We do not get paid at all during the summer, and that can get stressful when you have bills coming in, but no way to pay them. So, I’ve applied for jobs everywhere that I can. (I can’t work in food service due to extremely severe food allergies, so that limits my options.) I’ve applied at every retail place that I can feasibly afford to drive to, should I get hired. Only two places have called me back, and both of those places told me that I am overqualified because I have an AS and a BS.

This is deeply frustrating because the point of going to college and getting degrees was supposed to be that it would make it easier for me to get a job when I was through. Apparently, this is no longer true. So, why did I go to college? At this point, I’m just praying someone will have mercy on me and at least give me the benefit of an interview.

In the meantime, I’m trying to pay the bills by doing something that I love: writing. Not only do I have Custom Romance campaigns on Indiegogo (whatever you contribute is kept and your novel & perks are guaranteed) and Kickstarter (you only pay and get your novel & perks if the campaign is successful), but I also have a much broader option on GoFundMe allowing for any genre of custom fiction, at any level from flash fiction to a trilogy of novels, depending on what you want to contribute.


Dropped the Ball

Since I am vacationing in Belize, I haven’t been on the internet much, and I feel that I’ve dropped the ball as a blogger. I’ve dropped the ball in other arenas of my life lately, too. I’m not sure why. I think I just hit a point of pure exhaustion a month or two ago and let everything fall by the wayside. It’s like I was juggling china, and kept adding piece after piece until I was too tired to care anymore and everything came crashing to the ground with a massive, embarrassing cacophony. I am, however, picking myself back up after a lovely vacation, and in the process of putting things back together.

I will be adding chapters to both my serials by week’s end. I have TONS to tell y’all about my vacation! There are more posts to come today, dear readers.

I also want you to know that I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read this post. Every view is special to me.

Love,

Chels


Bubblews and Me

As you know, I’m trying to make a career of being a writer. What many of you may not know is that I have ADD, so sitting down and completing long projects is sometimes difficult for me. (Hence my affinity for flash fiction, short stories, and short “articles,” like the ones that appear on Bubblews.)

I’ve heard that Bubblews is a great way to create revenue streams with writing, and it doesn’t take long to meet the article requirements; they only have to be 400 CHARACTERS long. Still, things have been slow going for me, so far. It’s also a social networking site, and people who like your articles will “connect” with you. I think reciprocity is a big thing, here, and I sometimes feel a little guilty because I stay away for days. Then, when I come back, it’s almost impossible for me to catch up on “liking” the articles of my connections. Since it’s summer, I’m going to try to go for at least one Bubblews post a day to see if that helps anything.

http://www.bubblews.com/?referral=53813e8da8e080.93221477


%d bloggers like this: