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I Kept Writing, and Got Rid of the Scary Red Text!

Last night, I skimmed through the 500 page word document of my novel manuscript, and stopped every time I encountered a block of red text. Those sections were notes I left myself about missing scenes in the narrative, and with dedication, I knocked each one out of the park! All my missing scenes are now written, and I officially have a finished, readable story from start to finish.

Woo hoo!

Those red sections were like scary warning signs before – telling me my novel isn’t complete, and darkly hinting that it may never get there. But I did it! I got there! I beat that red text.

I feel so much better about it now, too, because it’s turned into a great story! I know that when I enjoy reading my book, I’ve made a good product. It might have a few problems, or not be entirely, one-hundred percent perfect, but then, nothing ever is! It’s a good book, a good story, and I can say that with confidence. And soon, it will be published and able to be enjoyed by others!

I can’t wait!

Have you signed up yet to read it for free? Really, it’s totally free, no strings attached. Well, OK, unless you call giveaways, videos, and author interviews strings. Because that’s what you get if you sign up to read it BEFORE it hits bookstores!

If you’re not sure whether you want to read it, check out the first chapter, and see if you like it!

Also, if you could help me out – what was your favorite author giveaway or promotion you’ve ever been a part of? What did they do? I’m totally open to new ideas!

And… share the link! Got friends who love to read? Send it to them – they get to read for free! Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

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Freaking out about Publishing

I had a total freak out moment yesterday! I all of a sudden got very terrified – not just about publishing my book, which is scary enough on its own – but about being a writer at all. I’ve heard about writers feeling like frauds, and for the first time, I really felt that!

My mom talked me down from the emotional ledge, thankfully. She reminded me of the big picture: of the fact that I am a good writer and am always trying to be better, and that it’s ok to not be an overnight success. “They say it takes three books,” she reminded me, “before you really get noticed.”

I sighed in relief – this is only my second novel, and already, I know it will do better than my first. This is a process! I’m taking actionable steps, and I know success is down the road – I just need to be patient about getting there.

“Wish I could turn back time

To the good old days

When the mama sang

Us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out!”

Have you been there? How did you get past the overwhelming terror?

If you want to find out what I’m freaking out about, you can read the first chapter of my newest novel, and let me know what you think. If you enjoy it, sign up to receive the whole thing for free! I won’t send you junk mail – only my book and a weekly newsletter.

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NaNoWriMo – My Failed Week – And Why I Don’t See it as a Failure

NANOWRIMO Fail

Hey everyone, it’s been almost a week since you’ve heard from me, and I wanted to be honest about why that is, and why I haven’t been keeping up with my NaNoWriMo Challenge.

As you may know, I chose not to pursue writing a novel this year – although I’ve done it the past two years. I just finished a novel, and wanted to pour my energies into editing and preparing it for publishing. So I chose to do a poetry challenge instead – see if I could learn proper metre  the same way I might learn a new language. To pursue this goal, I started reading The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry, and I completed about 6 challenges – less than one total week of NaNoWriMo.

Then I fell off the grid. For a complete week, I did no poetry, and posted nothing related to NaNoWriMo.

Do I feel guilty? Yes. Should I? No.

NANOWRIMO Win

Here’s the thing. In those 6 days that I actually participated in the challenge, I learned more about poetry than I did in 4 years of classical high school, and another 4 years pursuing a Liberal Arts degree.

In no way is that a loss!

Why I Failed

Life just got in the way, you know? It does for all of us, and each of our problems are unique. Personally, I’m plagued by Myalgic Encephalitis, and am constantly confined to bed with migraines, near paralysis, and brain fog. That makes writing near impossible at times, and last week was particularly bad.

But other problems are just as legitimate. Sometimes a kid gets sick, a pet dies, our spouse struggles and needs all our attention. Sometimes a friend needs us more than our writing.

We could beat ourselves up over this and say these are just excuses – we could say we should be able to write despite all that. And lots of times, that’s true! It’s important to pursue our writing whenever possible, and make time in our day for it. But when we have done all we could, and life still had thrown a wrench in our perfect plans, then regretting what we could not control, and beating ourselves up for it, helps nothing.

Changing Our Outlook

We need to embrace our weaknesses and distractions, and appreciate the work we did anyway! Despite my erratic illness, I learned iambic pentameter! AND, my love and appreciation of poetry had vastly increased! I was inspired to listen to all of Twelfth Night the other day just because I was so newly excited about poetry. That’s a win, if you ask me!

Any work you got done on NaNoWriMo this year is a plus. It has reintroduced you to writing, or reminded you how much you could write in a day. It has connected you with other writers, or re-ignited your passion. Any of those results makes this month of November a win!

We should never let the chance of failing keep us from benefiting from the journey. So please join me this week in celebrating the failures that lead to success!

What did you accomplish this month so far? In what way has it helped you? I want to hear your wins — no matter how different they might be than what you expected! Share your failures and wins on instagram and twitter with the handle #Nanofailtowin, and let’s support each other in life and in this final stretch of writing!

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The Terror and Thrill of Reviewing My Novel

Now that I have enough of Trinian, An Epic Fantasy put together to send into the world for review, I’m getting germinal feedback. I love it! But it’s also terrifying.

My sisters, who are geniuses with artwork, have already taken a stab at illustrating a couple characters, and my best friend Sophia has started marking up my first chapter. She says she’s being harsh, and I’m so grateful to her for that! I want the feedback as truthful as possible, so I can turn out a final product that will please my readers! And, of course, help me to achieve the highest level of writing ability that I can!

I’m thrilled and nervous all at once, and the emotions flow together inside me to create general excitement! Whether the manuscript is terrible or wonderful, it’s going out into the world, and that something!

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The Fear of Taking the Next Step

I’ve been particularly struck lately by the power of creativity. The impact you could have on a person’s life by simply being brave and open to self-expression.

I used to doubt that word: self-expression.

It seemed fabricated, as if people were trying to force something out of themselves that wasn’t there to begin with. Or else were closing in on themselves, self-focusing and thereby shutting out the world. And while that might be true sometimes, I think most of the time, self-expression never happens at all.

Fear is a very real thing, and keeps us bottled up inside. In fact, if it were not for personal handicaps that have kept me from pursuing other avenues in life, I’m not sure I ever would’ve allowed my own creativity to see the light of day. I had nothing to lose by pursuing my writing: I couldn’t hold a job, I couldn’t volunteer or give of my time to other causes, other things that I saw as more important at the time. But over the years, by devoting myself to creativity and self-expression, I have found that I have not shut out the world by being self-centered: it’s the exact opposite.

I am so much more open to experiences, emotions, and connections to other people than I have ever been before. And the more recognized I’ve become through my art, the more it terrifies me. For the first time, I’m scared to take the next step, because it might be noticed.

And if it’s noticed, I can’t go back.

But I don’t want to go back!

I want to keep going. I want to write for the rest of my life, and make an impact on the world. It’s just that I thought I had to do something more than my writing in order to do that. But I just need to do what comes naturally to me. I need to allow what is easily inside of me to come to the surface. And to be seen by the rest of the world.

So look out world. Here I come.

Don’t let your fear stop you, or you might close up. You might shut out the world. You might never truly experience it. We only have one life. And it’s never going to be perfect. So why self-sabotage?

It’s. Just. Not. Worth it.

Be creative. Express yourself. And do it for others. By doing it for yourself, it cannot stay with yourself. It must – and will -influence the world.

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Literacy: The Phenomenon that made us Culturally Inept

Just joined Medium.com, and this was my first post! You can read the entirety here.

We see illiteracy as a negative thing because without being able to read, we lack the ability to effectively communicate ideas. But, ironically, our reliance on literacy has actually led to a degradation in our confidence to communicate through the written word.

While any average person on the street can tell you how to pronounce the sounds of the alphabet, or how to spell “Kardashian,” they stumble over writing a basic business email. And most wouldn’t have the confidence to sit down before a room of kindergartners and tell them a ten-minute story about a cat and a ball of yarn.

Yet this is a very simple process, drawn upon everyday experience, with a very simple audience who, if you make the cat fall down or get twisted in the yarn, will be very forgiving of your mistakes. They just want to hear about how a cat responds to the yarn because it helps them understand life. The illiterate children relate to storytelling better than…continue reading

Stay Motivated when Writing…Write your WHOLE Novel in ONE NIGHT!

 

See Transcript Below:

This is how ALL authors write a great book:

They want to be a writer, always have, but they’ve never gotten their BIG BREAK. Suddenly, something dramatic happens in their lives, and it inspires the great story idea that’s always been just out of reach. In a moment of muse possession, they sit down and spit out the book…

…IN ONE NIGHT.

Forget hard-work, discipline, or road-blocks – all you need is a desire, deep feelings, and a dramatic experience.

….aaand, the pin drops. So that’s not really what happens – EVER.

But even though we all know that, we still feel like it should happen that way. It’d be nice if our life happened in a montage. Wouldn’t it be lovely if meeting the love of your life coincided with creating something fantastic? Everything in life comes together in one fell swoop!

Shawn Coyne, on the storygrid podcast said, and I’m paraphrasing: “When you come up against the ending, you start to get overwhelmed. The closer to the end, the more you psyche yourself out.”

We all get that way. We have our moment when the great “beast,” as Shawn called it, threatens to completely devour our creative genius.

How do we fight this beast and overcome him?

The answer is to just do what you’ve done before… DO WHAT YOU SET OUT TO DO. You had a direction for this story from the beginning, even if you didn’t write out the outline, so write until the characters naturally reach that conclusion. Tell yourself the story, and write it only for yourself.

Just write. Don’t worry too much about the structure of the story – concentrate on getting the story out. Once it’s out, you can rewrite it. But it’s never going to get anywhere if you don’t just write.

Not to mention that, when we are in darkness, it is the worst time to start rethinking and doubting what we had in mind in the first place. It’s like a weaver who has laid out a pattern, but then the lights go out. He can feel the pattern, he knows how to keep going, and it’ll turn out just fine in the end. But in that moment, he instead decides to blindly rethread the pattern. When the lights come on, it’s going to be a terrible product!

Why are you doing this to yourself? Stop!

Remind yourself that YOU CAN DO THIS and keep on going. Don’t let your doubts have a voice in your head. Shawn says, “Go back to the source material that inspired you to begin in the first place.” Plow through, and stop telling yourself you’re not good enough – BECAUSE YOU ARE.

YOU’VE GOTTEN THIS FAR, and you can see this race through to the end. Slay your beasts. It won’t be overnight, but as Shawn says, “you’ve got a sword, and you’re going to cut your way out of the stomach, and you’re going to cut that beast into little pieces, until you’ve solved your story.”

Go tell yourself the end of the story.

It’s Not ORIGINAL – How to Write an Organic Story

My new series on Writing! So excited for this debut video – I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile.

I’ll still be publishing the Disney series. One writing video a week, and one Disney Video every other week.

If you want to see when I publish new videos, you can subscribe to my channel, CinderellaReads. Please feel free to share if you enjoy the info, and to let me know if you have any critiques! I’m totally open to suggestions on how to improve!

Covered in this Video:

  • A reaction to Amazon Writers Review Groups
  • What does it mean to be original?
  • The basic elements of storytelling