Looking Forward … and Upward!

Last year, my life hit a high and a low. I hope never to repeat the low, but I hope to repeat the high often. The high came from seeing High Tea & Flip-Flops be bought or borrowed by almost 4,000 readers in only four months! That may be nothing to some of you writers, but it was HUGE to me. That the high came from a most unlikely book, for me, only adds to my surprised delight.

Forever_postSo what’s in store for my career this year? I’m perpetually dizzy from all the ideas spinning around in my head. I do know one thing for sure—I have a new publishing contract with Kindle Press for my supernatural suspense novel Forever. YAY! My initial excitement about that resulted in a crushing headache, but it was worth it. This will be another new book genre for me, so I’ll need to find out how to connect with readers of that genre. Of course, Amazon already knows how—and boy do they do it!

I’ll have some final work to do concerning Forever in the next few weeks, but I still hope to complete the first draft of my next novel by the end of March. That one (shown as Fish in the bar graph in the side bar) is a beautiful story of love and heartbreak and second chances. I’ll be editing and revising that manuscript through spring and summer. It will definitely be published, but I don’t know how or when. I’m excited to get back to work on it because I believe it’s going to be my best book yet.

Also, I’m thinking about changing all the book covers on my first three novels. I want to develop distinctive “brands” to visually differentiate the genres of my books. And I have several stories in those genres that I need to do something with. Maybe I’ll submit them to journals, maybe I’ll publish them as singles or in a collection, maybe gift some to my devoted fans.

Speaking of devoted fans, watch this place for an announcement about something new I’m going to start—a Facebook group for those who enjoy my books and want to show their support. I’m on Facebook every day. It’s the only place I regularly “speak.” I have a Facebook author page, but unless I pay to boost my posts, which I can’t afford to do, most of those who follow that page never see what I say there. But every member should see whatever I post or comment on in my fan group—whether serious or silly.

Okay. Ready, set, go!

Linda

Chill, Lady, Chill

When we make resolutions at the start of a new year, it seems most of us focus on the negative, punishing ourselves for the mistakes and faults of the previous year. Kristan Higgins, a fave author whose blog I follow, recently posted more realistic and generous resolves for herself. I like that idea.

Victorian tea setAs much as I try to fight it, I tend toward negative thinking, so my overarching resolution is to have a more positive outlook. This year I want to celebrate every stage writing/publishing progress instead of berating myself for not doing more and doing it faster. This is going to be a busy year for me. I’ll have to chill or suffer the consequences.

I want to treat myself to a long, hot bath more often. Since I often view showers as a sacrifice of too much time, a relaxing soak will be a big change for me. Freak-out: as I wrote that last sentence, two notifications pinged on my phone. One was from Google about resolutions and the other from Facebook about bubble baths! Isn’t life in the digital age a trip?

Treating my inner body better is another goal. I’m not only a lazy cook most of the time, but I love junk food. So I’m accepting the challenge of cooking more from scratch and with more organically-grown ingredients. I figure if I fill up on those foods, there will be less room for junk. Learning to eat healthier is hard for someone raised to plan every meal around meat—especially when I can’t remember a green salad ever being served by my Norwegian/German mother until years after I moved out.

Pictured above is the beautiful tea set for one that a sister-in-law sent me during my recovery from surgery last year. This year, I want to make it a habit to sit quietly once a day and sip delicious tea from that cup as I daydream amazing stories to write.

How will you treat yourself this year?

Linda

The Words Pile Up

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s August already. It seems a cruel trick that the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. I have so many projects brewing, but they all have to wait, now. As you can see on the progress meter in the sidebar, I’ve reached the 75% mark in writing the first draft of my next novel. It’s time to hunker down and finish.

If you’ve wondered why I never refer to my WIP by title, it’s because I don’t have one. I did. I felt it was perfect, and then I thought to check how many other books have the same title. Too many, I’m afraid. Now, as I write, the title question is always in the back of my mind. And whether my new title will work with the cover image I’d already chosen.

But now, all that really matters is writing. Writing. And writing.

I’m trying not to think of what comes next—editing. I love that process, but I anticipate more of it on this book than I had on The Brevity of Roses, simply because I worked differently this time. I got the idea for this novel while I was still writing Brevity, but it was not the next novel I started. This story idea marinated for a year and a half, during which I would occasionally pull it out and turn it over.

Then, last June, I felt ready to begin the writing. I started fine with notes, a basic outline, an opening scene. By August, I’d the first three chapters and some disjointed scenes based on the outline. Then, for several months, illness limited my writing time. I made brutally slow progress. Yadda, yadda, yadda, and now I’m nearing the finish.

What have I learned this last year? First, “the best laid plans of mice and men” applies. Second, the process of writing a novel is somewhat different each time—or maybe I haven’t perfected a system yet. Three, if you don’t give up, even if you can write no more than a sentence or two some days, the words pile up and you write a novel.

Now, it’s back to writing for me. What are you up to?

This writer is looking forward

Looking back at my life during the past year, I can see losses and gains, but I can’t yet judge the long-term effects. Every year at this time, psychics make predictions for the coming year. I have no such gift. I can only make resolutions, affirming to myself and all, my intent for the future.

Looking back at my life during the past year, I can see losses and gains, but I can’t yet judge the long-term effects. Every year at this time, psychics make predictions for the coming year. I have no such gift. I can only make resolutions, affirming to myself and all, my intent for the future.

New beginnings are hopeful. This year I’m excited about opportunities to advance in my writing and publishing career. One change I hope to make that will affect not only my writing, but my life in general is obtaining—and maintaining—a balance.

In 2011, I neglected not only the usual housework, but gardening as well. I don’t think my roses will survive another year of the same kind of neglect. In general, I spent too much time in my cave. Since my 2012 plans include publishing one book and writing another, it’s imperative that I improve my time management.

This doesn’t mean I’m creating spreadsheets, but it does mean I’ll be working to conquer my habit of letting doubt (fear) derail my writing. In 2011, I probably wasted a good 30% of my writing time hand-tied by indecision. I vow not to let that happen in this next year. I will boldly write what no woman has written before.

In her recent blog post When You Allow Others to Decide Your Dreams, Michelle Davidson Argyle said:

“Nobody’s goals and rules are ever going to match up to my own on the unique path I’m on. Even if I met all those goals I see floating around online on so many blogs and Facebook statuses and Twitter feeds, I still wouldn’t be happy because I would not have met the deepest desires of my own heart …”

And this:

“I think we authors often forget what we really want. I think we often delude ourselves into thinking we want what everyone else wants, and it’s creating this insane sense of urgency in our heads. We pump out our work faster and harder and less carefully than we would otherwise. We feel pressured, more than anything else, to meet certain criteria, follow the lists and rules and advice others post, and it hurts us deeply when we can’t meet that criteria at breakneck speed. For me, at least, this urgency transformed itself into an energy-sucking, emotionally-draining need.

Until I realized that for me it was an illusion and unnecessary.”

Michelle expressed my dilemma. My lack of self-confidence leads me to compare everything I do to what other writers do, seeking a stamp of approval. At best, that works only temporarily. Sooner or later, doing what others did leads to frustration, doubt, fear because their plan, their path, their dream doesn’t “fit” me.

Let me toast to the New Year. New beginnings. New opportunities. Another chance to get it right.

In 2012, I vow to follow MY dreams. What about you?

I’m back … sort of

Just dropping in from the longest break I’ve ever taken to let you know I haven’t given up blogging. I didn’t plan to leave the same post up for ten days. I just couldn’t find enough quiet moments to sit down and write something new. I’m rushing now to get this written and take a shower before the crowd returns again.

Just dropping in from the longest break I’ve ever taken to let you know I haven’t given up blogging. I didn’t plan to leave the same post up for ten days. I just couldn’t find enough quiet moments to sit down and write something new. I’m rushing now to get this written and take a shower before the crowd returns again.

I hope your year is wrapping up well. This year was certainly the worst of times and best of times for me. This time last year, I was struggling with a choice between continuing to seek a traditional publishing career and going the self-publishing route. I chose the latter, of course.

Because I only have one book out there, it’s too soon to tell if I made the right choice. It’s certainly been a learning experience though, and that’s never a bad thing. Now, I’m reevaluating everything concerned with writing, so I can make better progress in 2012.

Right now, 2012 is set to start on a positive note concerning my work, so I’ll claim that as a good sign. I guess I should start working on something for February. Goal setting has never been my strength, but I’m determined to “hit the gym” on that this next year.

Your turn: Let’s end on a positive note. How was 2011 a good year for you?