Friday, July 29, 2011

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

You see that little blurb in the "About Me" section? A writer struggling to find her self-confidence? Yup, that was me six months ago. But that butterfly is now spreading her wings wider each day and soon she'll be able to fly. It didn't take an agent noticing me to give me confidence or a big book deal. It took writing friends, in particular, people I've beta'd for. In a past blog entry I put out an invititation to help others by beta reading for them. You can read about that here. Since then, I've beta'd for quite a few projects and am now being referred to other writers. Do you know what a good feeling that is? I'm glowing over here. In fact, I've turned into a nerd and saved all my emails that pump up my writing ego with quotes like:

"You're my favorite beta reader ever!"

"I'm thrilled to have found you."

And most recently, "You're a freakin genius."

Yes, if you saw me right now, I'd be puffing out my chest like a penguin. I'm actually beginning to believe in myself and my writing abilities and I owe it all to my fellow betas. I love you guys! And just like the title says - flattery will get you everywhere. Tee hee. And I like care packages too. :)

Have you saved any special emails that pump up your ego in order to look at later when you're feeling down? Do you have a favorite compliment to share?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Role of Social Media

It's been a while since I blogged. Sorry about that. It seems like once you fall out of a groove it's easy to get used to it. But it's not like I've been just sitting around sipping lemonade. I've been writing and beta reading...while sipping lemonade. ;) Today, I was thinking about my blog and all the areas of communication it seems we, as writers, need to keep up in order to be present and accounted for in the writing community.

Personal Blog
Blog comments
Writer Forums (Absolute Write)
Gtalk (AIM)

This takes a lot of time and effort! And it also comes with a lot of pressure to "perform" or put on your "writer face." For me, because social media networking is practically a pre-requisite for being a published author, it's taken the fun out of it, making it more work than enjoyment. It's not like it used to be when I kept a good ol' fashioned mommy blog where I could be myself, write about kid stuff, and not worry about the possiblity of future agents and publishers reading it.

What complicates things even more is that some social media is not only used for writing relationships, but friends and family as well. A good example: Facebook. I leave my writing off Facebook altogether. I have only two writer friends and the rest are. H.S. buddies and current family and friends. And there's no way I'm talking about writing with them! That would just bring on the ignorant comments no writer needs to see fill up their inbox. However, I do see some writers that use Facebook to network with other writers. Is it possible they maintain two separate accounts? Sure, but to me that's just adding another social media outlet I'd feel required to make an appearance on.

So how do you separate family and friends from writer friends? Do you not use Facebook for writing relationships? Or maybe you don't accept friend requests from the cute boys you had a crushes on in H.S.? Of course, if you're married, you probably shouldn't anyway. No matter how hard you try, those feelings just don't go away. I think I'll forever be a teenager inside. :)

What are your thoughts on the role of social media in an author's life? Is the time spent on self-promotion tipping the scales over the time spent writing? I'm curious to know how much time you guys spend on blogging, tweeting, and emailing vs. working on your MS. For me, I'd say it's about 1/4 social media and 3/4 writing and that seems to be a good blend for me. Although that could also be why I only have 6 followers. ;)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Like Pulling Teeth...

Everyone's heard of the phrase, "It's like pulling teeth." I use this most when I'm referring to the homework wars I have to endure every night with my ADHD son. But lately, my writing has earned this phrase as well. It takes me two hours to write half a page. Part of the reason for this is I'm laboring over each and every word. My sentences just don't read right. It's truly like pulling teeth. I think I've gone over my first three chapters twenty times now. But you know what? This last time through, it read like silk. I'm very pleased with it...finally!

One thing I've noticed is that when writing becomes labored is when you do your best work. I remember my writing partner sending me something with the disclaimer, "I had a tough time with this section. It took me forever." And when I read it, it was the best I've ever seen her write. Another friend of mine recently told me she's having a difficult time making progress on her book, but when I read her latest excerpt, I was truly blown away.

So I wonder then, although painful to go through, perhaps writer's block is not so bad after all. My advice is this. When you feel like you're pulling teeth with your manuscript, keep pulling. Put your feet up on the chair for leverage if you have to! But don't give up. Because when you finally get that tooth out, it's going to be all shiny and smooth.

Do you find that your writing quality is better when your muse is in overdrive and your fingers are flying on the keyboard or when it's on strike, and it takes you longer than normal to get down a scene?