I pay an editor handsomely to read, re-read and clean up my books. I've done this since the beginning and am grateful every single day that I have. First of all, it's very difficult to look at one's work objectively but also - it's difficult to pick out even the most glaring phlub. No phlub is not the correct spelling of flub - which indicates my point.
I went through my entire life calling myself a spelling stickler. I was the person who was shocked and appalled to find mistakes in author's published books and immediately emailed them to point out those mistakes. I judged and thought I was better than.
Years later, I finally understand! Now I am the one who makes those mistakes. And not because I'm lazy or don't know how to spell correctly. It goes far beyond that. When I'm tired or in a hurry and just want to get it done I make mistakes. When I've written, and then edited and re-read the same book over and over my eye stops catching mistakes, it sails right over them.
The other day I sent out my newsletter with the wrong book number. I said book 5 was releasing next week when it's actually book 4 - there is no book 5 in this series. Last month I mispelled a crucial word in the title of my newsletter. And just now - alas the reason for this particular post - I made a huge error when updating my subtitle on Amazon! It read - An Edgy Paranormal.... and I thought - crap, they all say the same thing, I should mix it up. The main character in book 1 is snarky so I'll change edgy to snarky. Great - except that I didn't change the word "An" so now it reads - An Snarky.... AHHHH - this truly is my worst nightmare! Because not only am I a spelling stickler, I'm a grammar stickler as well.
But - even those of us who think we know it all - make mistakes. And that mistake humbles me. I don't know it all. I never will know it all. And that's OK. It's also okay to flub because that's how I learn. I'm sure this won't be my last spelling or grammatical error. I wish I could emphatically claim it will be - but I'm just another human who blunders about like everyone else.
I would love to hear about your morning rituals. That subject has always fascinated me though I'm not sure why.
On one of my favorite podcasts - The Petal to the Metal with Rachael Herron and J. Thorn had an episode about this very thing once - Episode 8. I highly recommend a listen.
My personal morning routine/ritual - whatever you wanna call it - changes depending on the day of the week. I kind of wish it was the same - that is, the way it is when I get to write for most of the day.
My ideal morning ritual/routine which happens when I get to stay at home and write and do not have a looming deadline: Drink a glass of water and take my vitamins (I'm a supplement junkie), drink a gourd of yerba mate tea. Journal, say some affirmations. Drink more yerba mate. Write my 2500 words on whatever WIP I'm working on interspersed with practicing handstands. Drink more yerba mate. That is my "perfect morning".
I also love to add in - walking/hiking with the canine for 30 minutes to an hour.
When I'm rushed, have to work out first thing (like tomorrow) or have to go to my day job - my morning routine consists of: water, supplements and yerba mate. Making and packing up all of my food and drinks (mostly tea) for the entire day - this takes 1 hour during which time I listen to books on audible or podcasts. Shower, put on make-up (sunscreen only on workout days) and leave.
I'm trying to have more of my ideal mornings :) That's my goal!
Before my nightmare upstairs neighbor moved in I was able to go to sleep early on a regular basis and wake up very early - this WILL happen again - at some point - I hope...
Right now I have a nightmare upstairs neighbor. The kind that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. She's up all night and sleeps all day, which would be fine if she were quiet about it but unfortunately she's done so many drugs that she's permanently out to lunch. With that brings loud crashing, banging, thrashing and screaming. Some nights this goes on until 3am which doesn't bode well for people who like to rise early and actually have day jobs = me and the rest of my neighbors!
The girl upstairs doesn't have a job. She doesn't have to. Her mother supports her and she's almost 40 years old. At first one would be tempted to think - wouldn't that be nice? I wish I could stay home all day, never have to work, have pizza and alcohol delivered regularly and.... what? Because for me, that's where the fantasy comes to a screeching halt.
You see, I'm a do-er. I've always been a do-er, often times with several items/ideas/businesses on my plate. The other day I heard someone in a group setting say that he's been staying in bed all day watching TV, for weeks on end. A friend of mine turned to me and said "have you ever done that?" and I said "hell no, you?" And she replied "no way, who has time?"
Now I'm not saying that people don't get depressed and stay in bed because that's a horrible thing. I'm talking about people who have choices and choose to do nothing. And that's fine, for them. It totally sounds like I'm judging but I'm not, I may even be a tad envious because that is NOT me. I go, go, go and then I go some more. And I LOVE it!!
There are so many ideas that need to be written or recorded and then acted upon. Creating is so much fun! And during the down time there is reading or watching Game of Thrones, of course! But not all day, every day. It's fascinating that some people's happy place (laying in bed watching TV all day) is another person's nightmare. I'm sure that my life - go, go, go - do, do, do - would be someone else's nightmare. I'm sharing this because I think the most important thing is to do what makes you happy - or as my friend Ted says - do what lights you up (and I'll add - as long as you're not hurting anyone else in the process). You see, the girl upstairs IS hurting other people. She hurts me and all my neighbors - they can hear her partying and screaming obscenities an entire block away until after 3am.
There are so many differences between all of us and we're trying to survive this insane ride together. To make some kind of sense about the craziness of it all. The one thing I like to remind myself if that no one, no matter how intelligent or spiritual they are, has all the answers for everyone. It's up to each one of us to make our own way, the best we can. And who am I to say or think that the nightmare neighbor upstairs is living a wasted life? I know it's one I don't want to live myself and I don't have to. I wish she would keep her noise to a minimum but I can't control her. All I can do is keep calling the cops on her and hope that some day things will change, which is a sure bet because the only constant in life is that everything changes eventually. I also hope that she doesn't kill herself (or anyone else) in the meantime.
As a workaholic I recognize that's not always a good thing. There needs to be down time. For me this mainly consists of working out (doing circus), hiking, watching TV shows, movies and reading.
I'm almost done with American Gods and though I loved the book, and books are always so much better, the TV show does not disappoint. Ricky Whittle - WOW, just WOW! Handsome as F, amazing actor and not just another white guy. YES on all counts! The actors on the show are all fantastic! Wonderful execution - and this comes from a die hard Neil Gaiman fan!
I just finished watching Ghost in the Shell and I loved it. Why did it get less than 50% on rotten tomatoes? I also watched and loved the first anime movie back in 1995 and it's times like these I'm happy my memory is not so great when it comes to movies because watching the new version was like Major's memory. Very fuzzy! I love Scarlett Johansson in everything and was super happy to see her in this, however I do believe they should have gotten a Japanese actress - again there really are too many white people in Hollywood. And yes of course it was originally a manga and more complex and all that blah blah but dang did it LOOK GOOD as a movie! I don't need to dissect every little thing anymore and I have a degree in film so if I wanted to, I could.
But now I get to just watch something, enjoy it for what it is, be entertained, turn off my brain for a bit - and then go back to writing.
Tomorrow I will turn my brain off by going out in nature where imagination truly reigns supreme.
I say this in my newsletters but here it is - in permanent blog form.
Yes writer's write because - most can't "not" write - ie: they've got characters and stories bashing the insides of their brains, demanding to come out. Some are hoping to hit it big and make $. A very few may be delusional (though we are ALL delusional in some way) and looking for fame or an ego boost. But what keeps us going and the true fuel that guides us is YOU - the reader!!!
Why write something no one will ever read or love? Why spend day after day, hour after hour pulling these characters and stories from the darkest places of our hearts to shine the light on them?
Why share our fears, hates, loves and dreams with strangers?
I realize now, half way through this silly blog post that I can only answer for myself. I started because my characters were driving me insane with their incessant ramblings. But I continue because of the feedback I get from YOU - the readers.
Whenever someone posts that they love this series or they love the character/s or they love Distant Edge - my heart literally somersaults out of my chest, flips several times in the air and usually remains in the ether for some days. It's the jolt I need to keep going. The electricity to Dr. Frankenstein's monster. It fills my veins. Charges me up. And marches me onward.
I say it over and over because it's true - I am GRATEFUL FOR YOU! Each and every one of you! Without readers, an author is truly nothing. I'm not doing this to bang my head repeatedly against a wall. Writing is a solitary craft, so when YOU choose to interact, say hi or say you love the characters and the series - you are totally making my week <3
Thank you for taking this crazy journey with me!
I love my day job, I really do...but...I'd rather be writing.
Going to school for five years plus interning, garnered me some really cool letters after my name that make me an expert in something. And it's that something that I spend some days every week doing. It's the giving profession. Not the one that keeps on giving. The one you give to others. Also known as a helping profession. And a healing profession.
I love helping, giving and healing. More than that though is when people help themselves, that's where I get all squishy. My tag line is "enable people to heal themselves" or one of my taglines anyway. I've got a briefcase full of 'em and the one I don depends on my mood.
I've always had a 1 year plan, a 5 year plan and a 10 year plan. I still do. My 1 year is to work even less at my day job and my 5 year is to wrap it up and write full time. Hell if I didn't live in the most expensive place in the world, I could make like a tumbleweed and write full time now.
The thing about dreams is that they really do come true. First you gotta dream 'em. That's what it starts with - the spark - the thought. Then the word - spoken and/or written. Then comes the doing. It's called magic my friend, or positive thinking, or Abraham-Hicks, or affirmations, or a myriad of other things.
This is how stories are born and why they are read.
This is a rhetorical question...
How much can I do is the only question I can answer and even that one's still open for debate. What am I doing right now? Writing wise? I just finished editing book 4 (Burgundy's Book - A Vampire's Wicked Hunger) - the final book in my Love On the Edge Series. I turned it into my editor today for her final line edits. That actually means that I still have 1 more edit on it myself but I'm waiting for my cover artist to fix one thing and then it'll go up for preorder and be released in 2 weeks.
I outlined the first book in my next series - little Iphigenia gets her own series!
I started outlining my first serial. Both Iphi's series and the serial will be RH books. Whoo Hoo!
I am editing my 1st short (almost 10K words) with my co-writer under another combined pen name.
Tomorrow I go to my day job and although I love what I do and I am my own boss, I'd still rather be writing :)
For fun I'm watching Chris Fox's videos and Joseph Michael's Learn Scrivener Fast videos - I finally bought his course - I was itching to buy it for the past year+ and yes I'm a scrivener fanatic!
And now that it's 9pm I'm going to finish watching episode 4 of American Gods and exercise at the same time because I love to exercise! Crazy huh?
And even crazier is that I read the book American Gods so many years ago that I can't remember it anymore, therefore it's brand new all over again :) BTW - if I was pressed to list my #1 favorite author it would be a 3 way tie between Neil Gaiman (yes I've read almost everything he's written), Karen Marie Moning and Jonathan Safran Foer. My favorite series of all time is Karen Marie Moning's the Fever Series and the best series that I've currently just finished (waiting on pins and needles for book 6) is Kresley Cole's the Arcana Chronicles. After I watch American Gods I'm going to read LA Kirk's The Heart of Five!
HAPPY READING TO YOU!!
When I began the Distant Edge romance series I didn't think it would be so sexy. That was not my intention, at all. Considering the subject matter, the entire theme of the book, the character and her ARC this makes almost zero sense but it's true.
Sadie, like all of my characters was born. I gave birth to her, her two roommates and the town of Distant Edge all in the same moment. Sadie, Burgundy and Jared were together from inception. There was no wondering who the supporting actors would be and no doubt that they would each get their own book - eventually.
My first series - which is still unpublished was very different. It started with the character and while she was adventuring in Europe she met her sidekick. I mention this because process fascinates me and it's ever changing, just like life. And also like life, the minute you think you understand it - BAM - a house drops on you.
So back to the sex then. My first series is a YA/NA and I had no plans on writing anything as sizzling hot as the DE series has become.
The characters demanded their own stories and I am merely their scribe. Thus I followed what they wanted, my fingers flying over the keyboard as they nursed it out of my subconscious.
Do I have any regrets? Nope. I'm a proud parent. I watched them grow up - albeit much quicker than a real child - and then I set them free, into the world. Hopefully into YOUR hands.
Yup, I'm making it up! I have no idea if there's a real name for this or not but we've ALL experienced it, I'm sure. It's probably just called procrastination - LOL.
When something is due that you don't want to do - instead of doing it, you do anything else - even clean the toilet!
That's how it is for me when it comes to editing and even more so for this book - #4 in the Distant Edge series - Burgundy's story. Hell I'm even writing a blog about my procrastination instead of editing right now and the book is due to my *very patient and understanding* editor in TWO days!
I've already cleaned the house, bathed the dog AND washed the towels. I created a really cool google spreadsheet, emailed and chatted with readers and other writers, edited my website and well --- just about everything else I could possibly do!
But I have also edited about 7 chapters today and corrected all the scenes on my spreadsheet outline. Can I justify the other "things" as breaks or are they truly procrastination?
When I was in school I would do anything to keep from studying, often leaving it until the night before - which doesn't bode well in a masters program - but I still got good grades and the MS.
What I don't do - or don't feel like I *can* do during the time I'm supposed to be working is: play video games, watch TV or a movie or read. I do all of those things afterwards though, as a REWARD.
What do you do to procrastinate and what causes you to procrastinate?
I remember many years ago when I wanted to be an actor. I acted through high school, won an award or two (not first place), went into theater in college and was miserable. The acting teachers were bitter and female. They taught because they couldn't make a living in the theater. And if you were young, pretty and female - watch out! Many tried tearing young girls, including myself, to shreds - which stemmed from their own insecurities. But there was one teacher and she was kind, helpful and caring. She held me up. It was there that I heard (and I'm paraphrasing on this one) --- Unless you're acting because you can't imagine doing anything else - why do it? Which meant - don't do it because you are seeking fame or fortune, or anything else. Do it because you can't NOT do it.