Publication’s Bumpy, Winding Road.
September 1, 2011

Detours? Just another way to get to your destination. By nature, detours are unavoidable twists in the road, and whether you’re querying, out on sub, or working on a WIP, detours may lead to a better destination than the one you originally envisioned.

Truth is, the only thing in a writer’s control is the writing. And the only way to survive the road to publication is to keep the writing front and center. There will be plenty of detours along the way for most of us, which will keep the journey interesting.

Just be sure to hold onto the writing — your love of words and stories — above all else.

Fairy Dust or Hard Work?
May 27, 2011

Ernest Hemingway's desk in his house in Key West.

So the writer can only do his or her part to the best of his ability and place himself in the best position for the next steps. There are ways to get noticed, but still no guarantees.

Editor Beth Hill    Click here: Editor’s Blog  

Exactly.

I’m of the camp that believes a writer can make their own luck through hard, hard work. In a sense, the first part of an author’s career is an apprenticeship to Writing. To experiment, practice, (and above all), write. Again, dare to suck. The only way to write amazing, get-noticed material is through writing dull stuff, wrong stuff, first drafts, embarassing ideas, the grocery list, if necessary, as long as you keep the pen (or keyboard) moving.

When we write, we train our brains to write. To think. To create. It’s no different than anything else we do, from drawing, knitting, riding, *fill in the blank*. We don’t draw perfect people, knit perfect sweaters, gallop and sidestep right out of the gate. First, we learn. We practice, put in the hours. Study what those further ahead of us know. Be willing to fail. But, also be willing to get back up, get back to the page.

Neither magical thinking  nor daydreams of ones books on the shelves will make it happen over the long haul. The best tool a writer has is hard work — to keep writing — to persevere.

Every day is a new page.

Dare To Suck. That’s right, Writers.
April 22, 2011

It’s Friday, I’m happily pounding the keys as I work on revisions (very exciting!) and a light beer is beckoning, not to mention ranch chores, so let me make this short and sweet.

Dare to suck. Doooo it.

Daring to suck means you’re thinking, writing, practicing, evolving. There’re no edits, no rewrites, no revisions, no polishing — no words — if you don’t first dare to suck.

And you just might find, as you read your words back, that they’re not so bad, after all.

Good writing, everyone.

Creative Courage.
April 12, 2011

The thing about publishing is that it’s like a reallllly long ladder with neverending rungs. Just when one rung is reached, the next comes into view, then the next. Just like a poem or a novel, it seems we’re never finished.

Sometimes the writer’s journey hurts so much it aches — a physical sensation I’d liken to a punch in the gut, and which, from time to time, can extract a low groan which causes dogs’ heads to turn and husbands to pause the television to inquire.

Some days there is over-confidence, not necessarily because a writer thinks they’re oh-so-great, but as a stop-gap measure against the waves of doubt that threaten to drown the hope, occurring mostly on the days we feel especially discouraged, stressed or unsure.

Other days we can lose all confidence because it’s easier to give up for a day (or month or week) than to continue to remain confident (takes much more energy) and withstand the aching assault on our writing hopes and dreams.

That’s where creative courage comes in.

It takes courage to create art, and not only to create it, but to risk the criticism and exposure that accompany the act of putting our work (our heart) out there.

Courage will falter from time to time. That’s normal. Those are the times it behooves us to follow our dreams back to their roots, to the childlike magic that precedes our words, brushstrokes, camera flashes, musical notes, pirouettes …

At it’s heart-shaped core, the act of art is an act of bravejoy. If an artist can reconnect to the joy, the doubt subsides and the hope and fortitude return.   

Writing is tough, getting agented is tough, going out on sub is tough — creative courage is tough, but if you’re creating art, if you’re putting yourself out there, if you’re picking yourself back up after a rejectional fall, please consider this post a candle in the window, pages and pages of belief in you, a full-out sentence parade with a marching band, flashy floats and paragraphs and paragraphs of confetti in your honor.

More and more, I admire the artists of the world. I believe artists change the world, both within and without. 

So thank you, artists who come before us, for your creative courage. Thank you for lighting our candles with yours. We hope and dream and leave the belief-light on in the jules (and jewels) of your example.

Tomorow is a new day of words.

Tomorrow is art waiting to happen.

The Patron Saint of Beans
March 29, 2011

The Patron Saint of Beans

The storyline for this YA novel was inspired by a news story on parental kidnapping/alienation.

Violin prodigy Carey Benskin spent the majority of her fifteen years hidden away in the Obed Scenic and Wild River National Park, with her mute little sister, Jenessa, and their bipolar mother, Joelle. She didn’t expect Mama to go into town for supplies and vanish off the face of Tennessee, leaving the girls no choice but to return to the father who abandoned them long ago … or did he?

~*~

Usually, I would now include the first five pages, Kindle-sample-style. But, as an agented writer, I’m unsure about the protocol when it comes to first rights and manuscript excerpts.

I’ll find out and be back to post the pages if given the green light.

In the meantime, this novel is now in my agent’s hands.

UPDATE: I’ll be doing further revisions, but the manuscript has been accepted as my next novel!

 Not all of a writer’s manuscripts are guaranteed representation, even by a writer’s own agent. Scary, if you’ve never thought that far ahead. Yet, on the other hand, if a manuscript is a clunker, your agent is protecting your name and brand by refusing it.

Unless the writer disagrees …

You can read more about that particular twist in the road at agent Jennifer Laughran’s blog:

 Jennifer Represents…: When Your Agent Isn’t Feeling the Love

Thank goodness my agent felt the love!

I’ve loved books my entire life. As a writer with a manuscript on submission to editors, I appreciate books (especially their brave, hard-working authors!) that much more.