This Writer's Life · Up Close & Personal

Writing: Finding Your Motivation.

Recently I had gone back to do some office work on a casual basis.  The work was tediously dull, but the hours were flexible and my colleagues were fun to be around. Yet, lurking within the background was the ever present spectre of office politics.  My motivation to be there was of-course the extra income, but at the same time, it made me question my motivation to write.

I once heard the saying ‘you don’t choose your profession, it chooses you’, and when it comes to being a writer (or anyone else of the creative persuasion), I think this saying is pretty much spot on.  It’s what we choose to do with those stories we create that makes all the difference.

Here’s what motivates me to write:-

  • Those tiny little voices and story plotlines inside my head would drive me insane if I didn’t write them down.  Their stories need to be told – I have something to say.
  • The satisfaction of earning an income from an awful lot of hard work and determination off my own back, rather than working in an office for somebody else (I’m a bit of an independent spirit).
  • My husband supports me 100% in my writing – I owe to him to get published.
  • I want to be a mother my children can be proud of (rather than think I just stuff around on the computer all day).
  • To tell all those nay-sayers ‘I told you so’ – success after all is the best revenge.

I know that working in an office is definitely not my chosen profession; instead it has given me the incentive to keep writing.

What motivates you to write?  What keeps you going through the tough times?

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Books

Controversial Issues in YA Novels.

There has been a fair amount of controversy within recent times regarding the subject matter in young adult novels.  Being both a writer and a reader of young adult fiction, I tend to find myself giving it quite a bit of thought.

I was probably about eleven when I read the controversial book Go Ask Alice.  Of-course at that age, I had no idea that it was controversial, but I remember it to this day.  Did I want to go out and try drugs after reading the book?  No.  In high school I was fortunate to be with a group of friends that never did drugs and in all honesty, we weren’t interested.  Did reading the book help prevent me from doing drugs?  I can’t be certain, but after having read the book twice, it certainly stuck in my eleven year old mind to stay away from them.  Mind you, my parents were completely unaware that I was reading this book, after having sneaked it out of my older sisters’ bedroom!  Lucky for them, I’d like to think that I had my head screwed on.

Recently I read Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Yes, I found it disturbing, but at the same time I felt for Lia, as in my teenage years I was slowly working my own way towards anorexia.  The author evokes the reader’s sympathy; we don’t want Lia to slowly kill herself, nor does the young reader have to endure such pain themselves.  Without preaching, books can do what they do best – educate and entertain.

Way back in June, I read one of Lisa Mcmann’s posts regarding this issue and I completely agree with her.  Having two children of my own, it’s only natural I want to protect them, yet there comes a time when a parent has to learn to let their children find their own way in life.  It’s one of the hardest things a parent has to do, but it is necessary in order for their children to learn and experience the world around them.  Personally, I would much rather have my children deal with some of the realities of what life has to offer them through the world of books than face the alternatives.

What are your thoughts regarding young adult novels lately?  Have you ever read a controversial book that helped you make certain decisions?

Writing

My Sweet Imago – 2nd Campaigner Challenge.

Throughout the Platform Building Campaign, Rachael is holding a couple of challenges.  I didn’t partake in the first challenge, so I thought I’d try my hand at the second challenge.  And what a doozy it is!

Here are the rules:-

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title.  It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc.  The blog post should:

  • include the word ‘imago‘ in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: ‘miasma‘, ‘lacuna‘, ‘oscitate‘, ‘synchronicity

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.  For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

So after searching frantically in the dictionary, I came up with something using all the requirements in the challenge.  Here’s my entry:-

MY SWEET IMAGO

I struggle not to oscitate as I watch another one being wheeled in.  It has been a long night; this will be the last.

I gaze upon the face of the man in front of me and my hands become clammy.  The miasma emanating from his body fills my nostrils.  His mouth is open; a dark lacuna releasing its final scream.  That mouth had kissed me longingly; hungrily, the touch of his hands a sweet caress.

Childhood memories flitter through my mind of lazy summer days and melted ice-creams, of promises to be together forever, always.  Recent memories of drug abuse and alcohol induced stupors; promises that they would never happen again.  Tears do not form behind my eyes and cloud my better judgement.  They did not a few months ago when I last said goodbye.  They will not fail me now.

A slow smile creeps upon me; he would have loved the synchronicity of this moment.  It’s like holding up a mirror; only his choice of drug was different to mine.  Were they really the cause of all his lies, deceit and ultimate betrayal?

I take a firm grip upon the scalpel and begin to cut.

* * *

Winners of this challenge will be determined solely on the basis of your votes.  If you like my entry you can vote for it here, (I’m No.102), where you can also check out others.  Best of luck everyone!

Writing

A Breath of Spring Air.


It’s my favourite time of the year once again!  Spring is in the air, and there is a definite bounce in my step.

The season has gone off with a terrific start.  Signing up for the Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign has proved rather hectic with all the groups I have signed up for, but it has been fun meeting a whole bunch of wonderful writers I would never have met otherwise.  Thank you to all my fellow campaigners who have stopped by here to introduce themselves and/or subscribed to my blog.  Throughout the campaign, I aim to visit each and everyone of you, comment (although I find this difficult with some blogs I visit), and subscribe.  I would have to admit, visiting some of these other blogs has made me feel a bit of an amateur!  Because of the season and the inspiration I am getting from other campaigners, I’ve even changed the look of my blog/website.

For the past couple of weeks I have made some progress with the re-writes/edits of my first YA novel, Deception.  I was having difficulties with getting the voice right for one of my main protagonists, but with some tweaking, I think I’ve got it now.  I have managed to add about another 6,000 words during that time.  When I eventually finish with these re-writes, I hope to find some critique partners/beta readers.  If I recall, Rachael Harrie has mentioned something about this on her blog, so maybe I could be critiquing with some of you. 🙂

As always, with the arrival of spring, I go over my progress for the past twelve months and re-assess my goals.  I have plenty of ideas for novels and short stories (what’s writer’s block again?) and I have three complete novels to re-write/edit; my problem, as always is juggling my time.  I need to get my priorities right and make some sacrifices, but I’ll talk about that next week.

How has your writing been going lately – have you made good progress?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Writing

The Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.

Whilst trying out my new writing schedule of going onto social networks after I’ve finished my writing for the day, I recently came across Rachel Harrie’s Writer’s Platform-Building Campaign through Google+.

This is Rachel’s third time in running this campaign, where the aim is to connect other writers and help build their platforms.  I carefully considered joining this, as my main concern was – do I have the time to dedicate myself to it, even if it is only for a couple of months?  As I’m not studying during this semester, I didn’t hesitate too long.  I believe it is a great way to meet other writers through various social networks and via my blog.  I can read the blogs of other writers and they can read mine, so I won’t feel as if I’m talking to myself anymore! 😉

The campaign began on 22 August, 2011 and runs until 31 October, 2011.  If you want to join in and become a part of this great campaign, you don’t have much time left.  The list of campaigners will close on 31 August, 2011.  If you’re interested in joining me, you’ll find me under these categories:  Picture Books/Chapter Books/Early Readers/MG/YA, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense/Thrillers, Short Stories, Australian/New Zealand Writers.  Okay, granted, I went a little crazy, but I wanted to make sure I had all my bases covered, right?  A big thank you to those of you in the campaign who’ve already stopped by on my blog and introduced yourselves.  I intend to return the favour shortly – as you can see I have a lot to get through.

So, now I’m back to my original dilemma – trying to make sure that I don’t let these social networks interfere with my writing time!

Writing

Beginner Writers: Conquer Your Fears.

For the past few weeks I had been doing well with my writing.  I had finally found the ‘voice’ for one of my protagonists, yet after taking an unscheduled break, I found myself hitting a wall.  I had lost my ‘mojo’, and with it my confidence.

I had always believed that what prevented me from writing was fear, yet I could never actually put a finger on what exactly that fear was.  What actually prevents me from writing is a lack of confidence – a fear that has always been my life-long battle.  It is a difficult one to overcome because it can affect you physically as well as mentally.  It has prevented me from doing many things, yet writing and putting my work out there has always remained constant, therefore it is a battle I wish to overcome.

Here are some of the ways I’ve tried to avoid these problems:-

  • No-one is going to see what you’ve written first time around.  Don’t waste time on getting everything perfect straight away – the important thing is just to write it down.
  • Remind yourself that other people have been published.  If they can do it, so can you!
  • If you have been praised for some of your earlier efforts (preferably by strangers), hold on to that praise – use it to keep you motivated.
  • Read about other people’s efforts, whether they be novels, blogs, articles or on social networks.  Every writer had to start somewhere – use their successes to help fuel your inspiration.
  • Find some good writing quotes and keep them where you can see them – keep your thoughts positive.
  • You know as well as I do that there are some books out there that in hindsight could have been a whole lot better.  If these books can get published, so can yours.  You just need to make sure your work is the best it can be.
  • Work on various projects simultaneously – it stops you from going ‘stale’ and keeps you motivated.
  • Read books on writing or self-help books, like The Power of Positive Thinking.
  • Surround yourself with other writers; get some beta readers, an accountability buddy.  Talk about your feelings and your writing.  Other writers have been in the same position – listen to their advice.
  • Above all else – write!  The more you write, the more confident you will become.  The only way to get better at something is to keep practicing.

What are some of the ways in which you overcome your fears?

Writing

The Business Side of Writing.

For the past few months, my husband and I have had to deal with such a shoddy business, we wonder how they have remained in business for so long.  I won’t bore you with the details, but it made me think of the business side of writing.  I have read that writing should be treated like a business, rather than trying to win the lottery.  Treat writing more seriously, and you will be taken seriously.

This is what I have learnt about being in business, staying in business and how it can be applied to writing:-

  • Treat your customers with the respect they deserve; without them, you have no business.  It comes in handy before you start writing to know who your customers are and what they’re interested in.  You then know who and what to aim for.  You’ll understand their needs and will be placed in a better position on how best to serve them.
  • Be polite to your customers and keep them informed with what is happening.  Keep customers informed by websites, blogs and social networks and make sure they are updated regularly.  Do not let the customer have to chase you.  Present yourself in a friendly, helpful manner – this will help endear you to your readers.  By taking a blase attitude of ‘if you don’t like it, go somewhere else’, then chances are your readers will.
  • You are there to supply a service – customers expect it of you to provide that service.  There is no point in providing a service that you yourself are not interested in, nor can you possibly remain in business if you do not do your job properly, or even at all.  Nobody; readers and editors alike will want to bother with you.
  • Do not make promises you can not keep.  If you have trouble with something, it’s easier to be honest about it, rather than letting editors wonder what is going on or leaving your readers wonder when your next book is coming out.  If you can’t do something or deliver on time, say so and stop wasting people’s time.

By providing a top quality customer service, you’ll ensure an honest working relationship with editors and a loyal following with your readers.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net