Am I the only pinless writer out there?

I heard about Pinterest a couple of months ago. Just as I got ready to create an account, I read some discussion about the Pinterest terms of service—specifically, the part that says it’s your responsibility to pin only content that you own the copyright to or have obtained permission to use. I decided not to sign-up.

So, yeah. Have you been to Pinterest? Is anyone abiding by that copyright rule? Practically everyone I know is pinning like crazy and I’m not. Does it matter? I don’t think droves of people would flock to my board and go into a repin frenzy, but is it something I’d like to have for myself? Could I create boards for my writing projects and pin inspirational photos like so many other writers do?

What do you think? Do you Pin?

Bluegrass, Super Secret, and Select

I’m happy to report that I haven’t posted since Thursday because I’ve been writing fiction. If you follow my Facebook Author Page you know that I was working on one of my “down home” stories, with a bluegrass accompaniment to set the mood.

I’m happy to report that I haven’t posted since Thursday because I’ve been writing fiction. If you follow my Facebook Author Page you know that I was working on one of my “down home” stories, with a bluegrass accompaniment to set the mood.

That story is one I’ll include in my story collection (yes, that project is back on the table) and eventually will be part of a larger work, probably a novel in the form of connected stories. The house pictured here inspired the concept. My great-great-grandfather, or maybe his father, built that house. It grew from the original settlement, a log cabin in a little holler beside a crick. I’m imagining the stories of some of the people who called that place home.

A couple of other writing-related projects occupied me. One is Super Secret … and Super Cool. Yes, I know that’s a tease. 🙂 You’ll hear all about it in time, but I’ll give you a hint: it involves a new face … of a sort.

The third writing-related project was researching the KDP Select program recently implemented by Amazon. In short, authors can enroll one, some, or all of their e-books in the program to have them included in the Amazon lending program. In that program, Prime Members can borrow the book to read on their Kindle. Also, through the KDP Select program, the author can mark a book FREE for a limited time.

I think the real benefit of that option is potential sales of an author’s other books after someone downloads their free book and likes it. Since I have only one book published, this program would not benefit me now, but I’m watching how it’s working for others. So far, I’m definitely undecided whether I should take part in the future.

The downside to the program is exclusivity. While your e-book is enrolled in KDP Select, it can’t be available anywhere else—not for sale, not for free. (This refers to e-book only.) So, each author has to consider how this might affect their sales. In my case, so far, 85% of my e-book sales have come through Amazon. Since the free Kindle app is available for PC, Mac, most Smartphones, and the iPad, the KDP Select exclusivity eliminates mostly those who own the Nook reader.

So there you go, my essay on how I spent the last five days. What have you been up to?

A lack of ideas is not the problem

Last night, during a phone conversation with my youngest sister, she asked what I’m writing now. My answer was, “Nothing.” Her response, “Do you want me to give you some ideas?” You can probably guess my answer.

Last night, during a phone conversation with my youngest sister, she asked what I’m writing now. My answer was, “Nothing.” Her response, “Do you want me to give you some ideas?” You can probably guess my answer.

I don’t have a lack of ideas. I have a file full of story ideas, some with opening lines or paragraphs, and maybe the ending. Unlike for many of you, it’s not even a lack of time that keeps me from developing those ideas. I have plenty of that.

It’s also not a lack of motivation keeping those stories unwritten. To be a successful self-published author, you need to put out good work often, at least until you’ve built up a reasonably sized back catalogue. That’s serious motivation.

I’m just waiting on that spark of inspiration. Wait! Don’t roll your eyes. I know the only way to write is to write. I know writing is work. Hard work. I know you have to get your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. But for me, a lot has to happen before I get to that point.

Yes, I could review the notes I’ve made on one of these ideas and just start typing. I might get something solid—a paragraph of narrative, a bit of dialogue—but I’d also get a lot of garbage. I get impatient—overwhelmed—by garbage. I’m lazy. For me, it’s too much work to cull the few salvable bits from the reams of dross. That’s why I can’t participate in NaNoWriMo.

I think one of the hardest things for me as a beginning writers was to discover what method to use. Some authors write longhand on paper. Some write, then rewrite starting from scratch. Others plan out their entire story in detail before they write the first word. Still others, keep writing to the end of a draft without even a glance back at what they’ve previously written. It took me awhile to discover none of those worked best for me.

As I began writing this post, I had a particular short story niggling at my brain. I’ve been stuck writing it because I need to make a decision about the villain. However, halfway through writing this post, another story came to mind. It’s one I wrote almost seven years ago, but never felt satisfied with. I don’t know why it resurfaced now, but suddenly I have an idea how to revise it. I’m excited to get to work. My Muse will sort out that villain another day.

Be ready. You never know when inspiration will inspire strike.

A little something to feed your soul

I am most often awed by nature, so it’s no surprise that since I saw this video on Google+ I’ve not been able to forget it. I hope you’ll enjoy this majestic “ballet”. Fly free!

I am most often awed by nature, so it’s no surprise that since I saw this video on Google+ I’ve not been able to forget it. I hope you’ll enjoy this majestic “ballet”. Fly free!

Bloggers who inspire and help keep me sane

I’m astounded when I think how many people have come into my life the last three years through blogging. Only twice, since my school days, have I had a “social circle”. The first developed when I joined a church. That lasted twelve years. For several years after that, I retained a couple of church friends, and then we drifted apart.

I’m astounded when I think how many people have come into my life the last three years through blogging. Only twice, since my school days, have I had a “social circle”. The first developed when I joined a church. That lasted twelve years. For several years after that, I retained a couple of church friends, and then we drifted apart.

A circle of virtual friends

In 1988, I moved 2,000 miles away from my birthplace to California. I knew no one here, and since I didn’t work outside the home, I met very few people. My growing family sufficed as a social circle. Fast-forward twenty years. I decided to take fiction writing seriously, and soon realized I needed the company of other writers.

That was the beginning of a new social circle, though for the most part, it’s become a virtual circle. I started this blog five months after I started my new life as a writer. I’ve met many wonderful people, mostly writers and poets, through blogging. I can’t imagine making it this far without them.

If you scroll down, over there on the right side of this page you’ll find links to some of the bloggers who’ve entertained, inspired, and taught me. At various times, most of them have kept me company on this blog. Some have helped me through numerous private emails. A few are writers I’ve met in real life. You would do well to visit their blogs.

I said in my last post that I would mention a few who recently lifted me from my despair and inspired me to come clean about why I self-published. So here goes:

  • Michelle Davidson Argyle is open and honest about her struggles as a writer in both her public and private blogs. Many times, I’ve read her posts and marveled that her thoughts and feelings mirrored mine. With her post on failure, she inspired me to change my attitude about my self-publishing venture.
  • Cristina Trapani Scott has inspired me many times, but recently she wrote a post about words as food that woke me up to how malnourished I’d become. Recalling the days when writing sustained my soul, I felt starved. Her post pointed out not so much a needed change in attitude, but a change in focus.
  • Jessica Luton is new to blogging, but she’s long been an inspiration on Twitter and Facebook. Recently she wrote a post about opening ourselves to abundance. It was another reminder that my attitude needed changing.
  • Chris King wrote a post about aging and how to find more joy and energy. Since all the stress in my life had certainly made me feel I’d aged rapidly, I appreciated her post. Again, it pointed out the need for a change in attitude.

These are not the only bloggers or posts that inspired me this year. I hesitated to make this list, knowing I would leave out important ones, so know that these are only a few of those most crucial to my renaissance. I hope you enjoy them.


Photo credit: showbizsuperstar