The past few weeks I've been talking about writing and tips to help other writers and today I am tackling one of the most important tips that I have: finding a great editor. Now that self publishing has become easier for authors and does not have the stigma that it once had, I have been asked a lot if authors really need an editor or if they can just self edit to the best of their ability and be done. My answer? Yes you absolutely need to find an editor and a good editor at that. (If you are ever looking for one, ask me and I can send you an introduction to my editor Leona Bushman and we can see if she is taking new clients at that time.)
So why do you need an editor? Because they will see your story from a whole new light. They will see plot holes and story lines that need to be fixed. They will find the typos and wrong words that your eyes miss because you know what you meant to right and that is what you read when you are editing. Most likely your editor will be better at grammar and punctuation than you are and even if you are a wiz at such things, it's nice to have someone else check you work.
The goal when putting out a book, well through a traditional publisher or self publishing, is to put out the best possible product that you can. That is why I recommend an experienced editor to help you along the way. You want to look professional and that often means hiring other professionals to help you.
That's just my two cents. Of course if you want to forgo an editor you can, but I at least recommend that you get as many beta readers as you can to provide feedback and at least try to get a proofreader to check for typos and such. Writing is an art, but it is also a business and you should treat it as such.
Sometimes life gets rough and throws a lot of things your way. This is just part of life. Recently someone asked me how I keep writing even when health and life issues keep getting in my way. The answer? The same way that I do everything else, like go to the day job or keep my house (sort of) clean. Writing is just a part of my life. I plan in as part of my day, just like my day job. As a matter of fact I treat it as my second job.
I work mornings at the day job and get off in early afternoon. I come home, eat lunch, get some exercise in and then aim for at least two to three hours of writing and writing related work (like this blog) each week day. It's just part of my schedule and I try to stick to it no matter what life has thrown at me. I also tend to take the weekends off mostly from writing, giving me time for my spouse, family and friends. It gives me a better work/life balance that way.
This is not to say that I can always keep to this nice schedule. This past week for instance I have family visiting and while I could not get time off from the day job, I have cut back most of my writing time for the week. This means I will have some catching up to do, but I can do it. Also when my spouse is away for work, I tend to work longer hours writing, so it is all a balance. Part of that balance is making writing a priority and scheduling time to write into my week. The other part is knowing when I can cut back and when I can write more. I am always striving for that balance and it really is a work in progress each and every day. Still, I am getting words down so I must be doing something right.
As an author one of the most commons questions that I get asked is "Where do you get your ideas from?" The answer? From anywhere and everywhere. Literally anything can help spawn an idea for a story or a book. Don't believe me? Let me tell you about the inspiration behind a few of my current projects.
The Port Stone fantasy novella series that I am working on (book 2 is in edits as we speak and I am about to start book 3) came from a small Dungeons and Dragons games that my spouse and I played just between each other. So this one was inspired by a game.
Not So Bleak Winter, a Christmas novella that I am currently working on, came from the desire to write another Christmas story (they are fun to write) and wanting to keep with the shifter/paranormal theme that my previous Christmas stories had. One friend said something about deer shifters and viola, an idea was born!
It All Comes Back to Paris is a contemporary romance that I am working on as well and it incorporates some of my own experiences from when I lived in Paris along with characters that just popped into my mind, so Paris itself was the real catalyst of this story.
I am also (when I have time) working on another yet to be title contemporary romance that came from hearing people upset that actress Kate Beckinsale was dating a younger man, so this one had a woman in her 40s dating a man in his 20s. So even celebrity gossip can be an inspiration.
So my suggestion if you are a new author looking for ideas? Just be open to anything that comes your way. A piece of a conversation, a picture in a magazine, a memory, anything can become a great story idea.
Since January of this year I have been working out on a consistent basis. I started out slowly and have been building and getting in better shape each and every week. Not only am I starting to see some health benefits to all of this exercise, but I am seeing improvement in my writing life as well. I now come home from the day job, exercise, and then get down to the writing part of my life. And you know what? Now that I am exercising before I write I am feeling more creative when I sit down in front of the computer. I am writing more words, in fact this month is the best month of writing that I have had in over a year. Each month this year I am writing more words than the month before and it is feeling good! Who knew that taking care of my physical self would help with my writing so much? I think that things in my life are finally starting to fall into place.
Well I looked back on 2018, so now it's time to look forward towards 2019. I am looking to make 2019 a great year, so I will be splitting this into two posts. This one about writing and the next one about everything else!
So as I said in my look back at 2018, this has been a year where I struggled with writing. Well I am looking to take care of that problem in 2019. Now that I have a set day job schedule and I have gotten used to it I think that I can schedule my writing work much better. I want to become more organized with my writing and make sure that I have enough time to write new material. This means I am going to schedule certain times for marketing and blogging, and leave the rest of my time for editing and new writing. That means that I am going to likely cut blogging back to two days a week most of the time, Mondays and Thursdays. I will still be active but will free up some time for fiction writing. And hey hopefully that will mean better blog content for you to read!
Now as for writing projects for 2019, well I have a long list! First I am proud to say that I already know of one flash fiction piece that will be printed in an anthology next year! And I have two other short stories out on submission as we speak, so fingers crossed. I hope to write at least 6-12 more short stories for anthologies in 2019. I really do enjoy writing short fiction and it allows me to explore different genres which I love. I also want to get back to writing and publishing more shorts of my Gods Behaving Badly series. I hope to get at least two novellas out this coming year. As for the rest of my writing, I want to focus on some longer works. I have plans to write a long novella/short novel romance focusing on a character with multiple sclerosis. I plan on finishing the sequel to my romantic fantasy Quest for Redemption, Quest for Self. I also have a time travel novel, Rivals Out of Time, that I hope to finish in 2019. And if not all of that is enough, I have a four book series about dragons and dragonbornes that I want to write and get at least the first two books out if possible in 2019. That is a lot I know, but you got dream big and push yourself if you want to grow and succeed.
The end of 2018 is already upon us! This year went by super fast for me. So much has happened both in my personal life and in my writing and art life. This is the time of year I like to look back at the year that was so that I can look forward to the year to come.
In my personal life I have started a new day job, working in accounting and now working five days a week. The schedule is working for me though and I am now using the stable schedule to become more organized. We moved this year. Talk about stressful. What made the move even more stressful was the reason for a quick move, my beloved little dog Eowyn was attacked by an aggressive dog with equally aggressive owners. Losing my sweet dog still weighs on my. I miss her so much and that is the low point for my year. I will never forget her or stop missing her. She was more than a dog to me, she was my baby and had been with me through so much. I hope she is eating all the food in doggie heaven.
On the art front, I am happy to say that I have taken part in three different group art shows this past year. That was a big challenge for me. I am unsure of showing my art and it took a lot of courage for me to actually submit to some shows. I am growing in my confidence and in my artistic voice. And hey, I even had a couple art sales this year!
Last but certainly not least, this has been an up and down year for writing for me. I am so proud to say that I released three solo books this year, A Whole New Life, The Discovery of A Lifetime, and Very Friendly Beasts! I am also thrilled to have had three horror short stories published in anthologies this year, It's Behind You, Doomsday, and I have a story in a new release scheduled for New Years Day, Evil Lurks. Not a bad year! Especially when I take into account that I have had a rough year actually sitting down and writing. My word count is no where near what it usually is, but I still kept writing or at least trying to write. I learned that I really love writing flash fiction and short stories. I am writing more horror and science fiction and that feels great! I got some stories not only written, but published, that I thought I would never finish. I managed to keep writing this blog pretty darn consistently. Overall I am pretty darn proud of the writing year that I had!
What will 2019 have in store? We shall see!
Well November is over and December is here! I really can't believe how fast this year has went. As many of you know, last month was National Write a Novel Month. A month where people write like crazy and try to get a 50K novel written. Now as I have talked about here on this blog before, I have been struggling with words this year. Like really struggling. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I did not hit 50K. Not even close. However that does not mean that I am seeing November as a failure. No! Far from it! I got a lot of writing done for me. I more than doubled my word count from October in November. I got all three rounds of edits for my Christmas novella Very Friendly Beasts done. I managed to get Very Friendly Beasts up for preorder. I managed to keep this blog active with three blogs a week. I worked some on this website and marketed my work. I also wrote and submitted three short stories for some upcoming anthologies, so look for some announcements coming soon on those! And I also got a good start on a novel that I have been wanting to write for a long time. So did I hit the NaNo goal? No. Did I make personal strides to getting back in the writing groove? You bet I did and I am counting that as a huge win!
So this is a new month, what are my writing goals now that NaNo is done? I want to write two more short stories for anthologies. I just love short fiction and love being part of anthologies, enough so that I made a separate book page to share all the anthologies that I have been lucky enough to be a part of here on this website. I also want to continue work on my romantic fantasy Quest for Self and my NaNo novel Rivals Out of Time.
Well it's a new month and I have new goals as well as many of the same goals that I always have. One of those is my continued quest to find balance and stability in my life and work. I am inching closer to this ongoing goal. My day job is one place where I feel I am succeeding. I have a normal Monday-Friday schedule that is letting me structure my week and days in a way that allows for more writing and art time. I go to work, do my job, then go home. No one calls me at home, I can leave work at work and that is such a relief. This structure is starting to carry over into my writing life. I am writing every day after work, or working on writing related work like my website or marketing. Surprisingly having consistency is what I think I was missing. I am writing more now that I have actual hours blocked out for writing. I am still not where I would like to be in my writing work/production, but I am moving in the right direction. I am treating my writing like part of my job, something that I have time to do each and every day. I am feeling more professional in my approach at last and am going to continue learn and grow in my writing career and in my life. I want to put out not only more work, but better work. I have not found the balance that I seek yet, but changes in the day job situation was a major step in getting there. Making scary and sometimes hard decisions is the best way to grow and change your life sometimes.
Now back to writing for it is NaNoWriMo and I am hoping to actually write 50,000 words this month! That's more than I have written in the last 4-5 month combined, but I am optimistic that I now have the schedule that I need to write like mad once more.
The month is over half over and I am proud to say that I am slowly getting back into a writing routine that is working for me. I recently started a new job that means I work a normal schedule and have time to write in the later afternoons and some on the weekends. I had to make some tough decisions, but I have found a schedule that I think will really work for me for the long term. This means that I am finally upping my productivity a little. I am proud that I have finished the final edits for The Discovery of a Lifetime and it will be released as scheduled next week! I also finally got my Christmas shifter novella into my editor, we are going to work hard to get it out by the end of November or early December at the latest. I also wrote a short children's story for a friend's blog. I am on the sequel for Quest for Redemption, titled Quest for Self. I am also working on notes for my NaNoWriMo fantasy novel. Life is busy but I am feeling more like myself at last.
Earlier this month I talked a little about writing and organization and I am now figuring out what I can personally change to get my own writing more organized. First off I have developed a spreadsheet to help me track my daily and monthly writing and words. This way I can see concrete proof of what I do each month, the progress that I am making. I am going to have a spot for my blogs, am going to count the words in each project I am working, see what kind of work that I am actually doing.
I am also going to attempt to outline a little more on each of my upcoming projects. Maybe not in depth outlines, but I want to have some general scenes already worked out as I begin writing. I want to see if this helps me write more and faster. I have a day job, health issues to worry about, a husband and extended family, art, basically a busy life and I want to learn to optimize my writing time since I have so many stories that I want to get out into the world.
I am also starting to track my social media work, which is something that is indie authors need to do in order for people to discover our work. I am working on marketing more. I am trying to build towards more success. Revamping my writing and marketing processes are just one more step in bettering my life, which is my main focus for the rest of this year and beyond.
Author, artist, jewelry maker and all around creative person. I write in many genres and have a lot of fun doing so. Please take a look around and enjoy!