Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Archive for the ‘Writer’s Zen’ Category

IWSG – Making the Plan Isn’t the Problem

Today I’m writing for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s blog hop. The first Wednesday of each month, we write in inspiration to a question posed by the group’s administrators. If we want to. We don’t need to write in response to the question posed, but I like to use their query as the springboard for the monthly post.

This month we were asked, ‘What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?’

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Making the Plan Isn’t the Problem

Making a plan for my writing and publishing isn’t the problem. I’m a great planner. No – I’m a terrific planner. A planner like no other. I make plans for my plans. (Not really, but I think you know what I mean.) Making the plans isn’t what gives me any trouble.

The problems lie in implementing the plans!

Since I started freelancing in 2015, I’ve made a plan for what books to write, when to publish them, what blogs to write, what short stories to write, etc. I made my 2018 plans at the beginning of December. I planned which books to write, when I’ll publish, what classes I’m working on, what Vintage Daze Short Stories I’ll complete and publish, etc. I even made plans for what books will go on sale each month.

By the time we got to the first day of this brand new year, I’d already changed the 2018 plan…twice.

Plan B

And, in all truthfulness, a great deal of the plan for the New Year was already in place. It’s simply the tasks and milestones left over from 2017 that I didn’t make. And I think several of those items probably got pushed down the list from 2016.

Part of the difficulty I know is because when I’m sitting down planning where I want to go, I make very ambitious plans. And then with a part-time day job that becomes very needy with my time and energy at all the major holidays, I find that I don’t have the necessary resources to continue on as scheduled. And once I get behind…it’s downhill from there on.

Coupled with this is another malady I often fall victim to. The ‘Bright Shiny Object’ (BSO) Syndrome. Too often I find myself rushing about working on a brand new project – one that didn’t exist when the plan was made earlier in the year – but…it’s so fascinating.

I already added one BSO to 2018. That was the first change. The second was when I realized that I’d planned on spending most of December 2017 working on an old project from 2015, planning to release it in February. When I didn’t write a word to this old project, and it’s one that I need to spend some time with and get it right because there’s a corporate connection, I made the second change and pushed it off of 2018’s schedule and into 2019.

We’re on the third day of the New Year. And I haven’t made any other changes to the 2018 schedule. Now if I can just focus on completion for this year – and not adding anything new to the list – maybe I’ll make more progress towards what I actually plan. We’ll see. Update to come in 11 and a ½ months!

Check out more Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts here.

Plan Quote

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Writing Humor

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I’m not sure who to credit for this, other than SJS. Thank you for the laugh!

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Wordless Wednesday

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I’m Hiring Myself

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Today, I got a new freelance job. For myself. It’s on a trial basis, for nine weeks. At the end of July, I’ll have a performance evaluation and see if I was up to par.

No. I haven’t gone crazy. (Although some days I wonder.)

I’m posting about this experimental hiring of myself for accountability. I’ll update occasionally throughout this testing period.

My checkbook prompted this new regimen. Or, should I say the diminishing numbers in the checkbook. I’ve been a full time freelancer for a little over a year now. I’ve made it through this far. Barely. But, between royalty checks being far less than I’d like, and a few assignments falling through, it seems that each month gets just a bit further behind. I didn’t have the money for a new tire last month. I’ve realized that it’s been a year since I made a trip to see my grandkids that are growing up far too quickly. And, I’m looking ahead and wondering how I’ll get to California in November for my mom’s eightieth birthday.

Looking at the financial aspects jockeying for attention, I decided to apply at local libraries for a part time summer position. I applied for four positions. All were from fourteen to nineteen hours a week. It would cut into my writing time, but the supplemental paychecks would add a few (very few) figures on my bank balance.

Except…the positions begin next week…and no one has even called me for an interview.

I should have been perfect for them. I’ve worked in a library before. I’m a mother and grandmother – I know about dealing with children. And…I’m a writer.

Evidently they didn’t think I was as good of a fit as I thought I was.

When I stopped into the dollar store last week for some laundry soap, I noticed a ‘Help Wanted’ poster in the window. I debated about filling out an application, hoping for a ten to twelve hours a week job. At home I pulled up their website and was checking out the employee benefits page before I got a reality check.

For a rough guesstimate, ten hours a week at nine dollars an hour is three hundred and ninety dollars a month. Minus gas. Minus taxes. That brings me down to about three hundred dollars a month.

If I add in a half hour drive each way, probably twice a week, now I’m looking at twelve hours invested to get three hundred dollars. Surely, I thought, if I productively queried for twelve hours a week I could generate at least that much, if not far more.

I’m talking working for that whole time. Not blogging. Not connecting on social media. Not researching. Not adding to a novel that’s still far from complete. Not outlining a new book that tempts me from the netherlands.

Twelve hours a week of queries. Or, writing on said anticipated assignments.

I decided to run a trial period. Nine weeks. The period the library jobs would have run. I made myself a time card. I’m going to log in and out. I’m going to track my time. I’m committing to an aggressive twelve hours a week.

I looked back at the past four months. Three queries one month. Nine another. Four another. No wonder the acceptances aren’t rolling in. Three and four queries a month is pitiful. Did the 30 Days/30 Queries class I took from Mridu Khullar Relph last year not sink in? Did I learn nothing?

If I’m going to thrive in this career and make some good money, not muddling through at just over broke, then I’d better buckle down and treat it with the same respect and hard work that I’d give any other employer.

So I’m hiring myself and will track my progress, much as I’d have to prove to a boss that I’d accomplished the tasks they set forth for me.

Now I’m motivated. There’s nothing like a little challenge to bring out the contestant qualities lurking under my skin. I’ve got something to prove. I’m out to prove that investing the time in myself and my own career will be better financially than any other punch-the-timeclock job.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Writing from a Different Gender Perspective

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Writing from a Different Gender Perspective

I have to admit it, my easiest characters are women, usually in the thirty to fifty year age range. Writing POV from a male perspective? That becomes difficult. (And they usually end up being too close to my ex for comfort.)

I was excited to see this post, Gender Bending: Writing a Different Gender Than Your Own, by Janice Hardy. She has some excellent advice about writing rich, dimensional characters of the other gender. Here’s two of her tips. Go check out Jane Hardy’s Fiction University for the full article.

Focus on the character, not the gender.

If you try to “write a woman who…” you might get stuck trying to be “a woman.” But write about “a character who…” and you’ll find yourself thinking more about what that character will do and how they’ll act in ways that fit the story and the situation. They’re a person first, a gender second.
Remember no two people are alike, regardless of gender.

“Men are like X” or “women always Y” don’t apply. My husband breaks all kinds of those rules, and I’m not your typical gal. Avoid the stereotypes and even have fun with them a little. Have men that love shoes, women who are rabid for sports. Let your men (or women) be as different from each other as they are from the opposite sex. A group of men won’t all have the same feelings about things, same as a group of anything won’t have the same feelings.

How is it for you? Can you write from the opposite gender’s perspective?

Z: Zen in Writing (Affirmations)

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Z: Zen

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  • Peace infuses me as I write.
  • The words flow easily from my fingertips.
  • I am one with my writing.
  • I am connected to the energy around me. This is reflected in my prose.
  • Like ripples in the water – my writing radiates outward to the people that need to see it.
  • Contemplation and meditation focuses my insight and brings clarity to my writing.
  • My intuition strengthens and my writing improves.
  • I am mindful. I focus on my words and story.
  • I focus on today. One step, one word, one day at a time.
  • I write. I pursue goals and dreams. I put forth my best effort. I am at peace with the outcome.
  • I, and my writing, are where I need to be.

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Y: Young Adult

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Y: Young Adult

Here’s a few affirmations for those that write in the Young Adult genre.

  • Memorable characters abound in my Young Adult writing.
  • The details I add bring my Young Adult novel to life.
  • My Young Adult voices are realistic.
  • My Young Adult books tell meaningful stories.
  • My Young Adult characters are well-developed and believable.
  • My Young Adult stories are diverse, imaginative, and unique.

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