Writing contests… What compels me to set myself up repeatedly for an emotional one-two punch? That is my initial reaction anyway, after the rejection comes, or the silence when my beloved story is knocked senseless to the mat after all the arduous work.
Eventually, after much moaning… ahem… soul searching, reason returns, and I take away the valuable lessons and start my next story.
How about you? Do you submit to writing contests to hone your skills? Are you a writer who thrives in that environment or shuns it? Share your highlights, successes, and best lessons in the comments.
What a surprise this November is turning out to be. The best laid plans… as they say. But I have never been one to stick with plans if something tells me I need to mix it up and to go a different direction.
For NaNoWriMo this year, my Pod People (aka characters seeded in my brain by aliens) spun me around blindfolded under a pinata and after bashing away, I’ve made all sorts of turns and transitions in my writing career.
And I’m totally thrilled and surprised by the results.
In the first week, I changed my project three times. Then, I had an epiphany. I needed to unpublish my novels. Books One and Two in The Starlight Chronicles were languishing, loveless in the nether regions of the Kindle Universe. I’m still working on the conclusion and thought at one point that would be my focus for November.
But the pressure of completing my series has been weighing on me. I decided that getting them off the market, using the time to finish and polish them, finding a book cover artist for a cohesive professional look, and launching them with a fresh marketing campaign might be exactly what they, and I need.
An exhilarating freedom resulted. I’ve been infused with new energy. There are three other novels in the works that are getting the attention they deserve. I made one of them my focus for November but decided not to worry about hitting my goal if I want to write on other projects. What a relief that has been, and I’ve made progress with them all.
I have also allowed myself to participate in various flash fiction and short story competitions, which have been more enjoyable without the pressure of getting that third installment done.
Other factors played a huge role in my rejuvenation. I belong to a writer’s alliance and the support I got for this crucial decision was phenomenal. A Twitter post by a member of the Writing Community about deciding to unpublish was ever so timely. And advice on holding onto the joy of writing while letting go of the drudgery of marketing sealed the deal. You can join that discussion in my recent interview with Sci-Fi author, Kent Wayne.
The month is not over folks… I wonder what other surprises might be in store. And please. Tell me how your November is shaping up.
The Death’s Head Omen is a recent micro fiction story I entered in a contest. Results in January.
So much of my focus and efforts go into creating my characters (aka my Pod People) and bringing them to life through the written word, that I lose sight of the fact that once they are out there, they might live in the world of mankind forever… or as long as mankind exists, and the digital content or printed copies stay intact and available… But I, as their creator, don’t even have the potential to last too many more decades, maybe not even too many more years… weeks, or days…? I’m at that age after all.
It makes me wonder if that is why I create them.
What do you think about that? Do you write stories so that a piece of yourself will always exist, so long as there are humans out there who might read them? I know we write for many reasons, but I think I will have to admit this is one of mine.
When I think about that idea more, it makes me realize my Pod People have the upper hand. I mistakingly believed it was me who had the power over them, but it’s the other way around. That’s okay, so long as they do their job and stick in the minds of my readers.
I have been writing nearly every day for a year and a half. But I once enjoyed other crafts before the written word and my pod people took possession of me.
This year started with compiling a chart and goals to log my cross stitching as I’ve done for the last several years, and to go for some finishes of my many WIPs. Sadly, my beautiful stitching projects have languished in their beautiful project bags for most of the year. But this weekend it was movie marathons with the hubby, and because I can never just sit and watch movies without keeping my hands busy with some craft or other, I made some great progress.
My pod people were not necessarily silent the entire weekend, but they seemed to understand and made sure to mill around in my head and keep the ideas flowing, and I did manage to work on a book cover, one of my newest favorite pod people refusing to stay completely in the background… but she still let me spend lots of time stitching…
So, that is all this blog is about. Doing something other than writing for a change. Here’s my stitching progress, just in case you were curious.
Book Three, Tigris Vetus, in my series has also been calling to me. And with my mind freed from the pressures of writing, I came up with some great stuff I’m anxious to get to… all in good time… My friend Lucky has been encouraging me to work on balance, which is a thing he strives for, and this weekend’s activities reminded me how important mindful activities are to maintain balance.
What are your favorite mindful activities to keep you balanced in life? Share with me in the comments. Hope you had a great weekend, too!
So long as they’re giving me something and not taking… Hmmm. Or are they? Well, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.
Meanwhile, characters, aka my Pod People, are bursting out of me and burgeoning all over the pages, and I now have two amazing Works in Progress, which I’m having a hard time putting down and seem to want to work on simultaneously. Anyone else getting some great new ideas for stories this summer? Let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, enjoy some quirky and intriguing alien artwork by William Louis McDonald
Since I’ve been reading, watching and writing stories in the fantasy genre, I’ve enjoyed a common theme. No politics. Sure, there are good versus evil forces trying to whack each other into oblivion. Even The Umbrella Acadamy now has the Sparrow Acadamy to battle for their place in the world, as if going back in time and saving it wasn’t enough. But there’s an honesty to good versus evil in our entertainment that our current real world lacks, like the stout-hearted Hobbit facing the fiery maw of Mount Doom in the land Mordor. I kind of hope it won’t take us thousands of years to find our Frodo.
It used to be the other way around.
I used to think politics were reasonable. You had two sides of an issue. Your representatives debated the two sides using logic, conviction and maybe even passion. Granted some issues would be controversial and the debates would get heated, but reason would prevail in the end. You could feel good about living in a world like that, put entertainment and it’s battles in their place, freely enjoying the question of Alien versus Predator because when you inevitably didn’t get a definitive answer and the threat still waited around the corner for the hapless protagonist, you could walk out of the theater, and return to a world that made sense.
Now, it’s the real world where all the lines are blurred beyond recognition. People are walking around in utter confusion about who is bad and who is good, and there’s no one left to shine the light on reason. Lies become truth that’s wielded in the guise of helping the masses, when it’s all designed to further one man’s ambitions. A mere human who has the ridiculous notion he can take it all with him. Where? Is there a spacecraft waiting to transport him and his gold to a planet containing the fountain of youth? Will his minions follow him there, so he has someone to fire every other second? Well, at least they will believe him if he says it’s so.
My pod people don’t care about any of that. They’re too busy fighting battles they can understand even if the enemy is a mystery, because it’s me who gets to orchestrate the fates of my pod people. I can set them on a clear course that, when it’s achieved, will leave the sensible ones standing and the evil ones pounded to dust. Maybe my pod people will find love and friendship along the way, a fellowship of supporters who can pick a clear side and stick by it, confident they’re all in it together and have each others’ backs.
You can find my brand of entertaining chaos on My Books page for a nice escape from the blurry lines of reason.