It’s been ages since I last posted a regular old blog entry! So here’s a little update on what’s new with me in writing land.
Everything is pretty much set for the June 16 release of Darkness Reigns, book 2 of the Darkness Trilogy. I’ve been dividing my time between writing book 3, Embrace the Darkness, and another YA fantasy novel of a new trilogy.
Book 3 of the Darkness Trilogy is about 5 months behind schedule, which is significant considering it takes me 8 or 9 months to write the first draft of a novel. Here’s my confession: I came really close to giving up on writing, not just on writing book 3, but on writing altogether. I expect the odd bad rating/review, but for some reason there was a rash of them all at once. I decided to stop looking at the ratings, which has definitely helped save my sanity. The worst thing though was all the negative stuff I was hearing from people I know – to my face! They’d lend my book to someone and then tell me later, “They thought it was so-so,” or “They didn’t like this part,” and “They found this part confusing,” etc. It wasn’t constructive and it just made me feel bad. What almost became the final nail in my author coffin was the feedback from one of my beta readers. They pretty much hated everything about book 2 and weren’t sure they could stand to finish reading it. After all the other negative comments, that almost did me in. But two of my other beta readers said they liked book 2 even more than book 1, and initial feedback from the bloggers reviewing my book has been really excellent. So I picked the little pieces of my self-confidence off the floor and started writing again.
This brings me to my “secret project,” which even has its own progress meter at the side of my web page. My husband suggested I try writing something completely different, to get me back in the swing of things. I have tons of ideas floating around in my head, so I wrote the first two chapters of a new fantasy series. The initial reaction to my new stuff has been incredibly positive, so I’ve decided to continue with it. I’ll be dividing my time between the two projects and hopefully maintain my current writing momentum!
Let me say right off the bat, these tips aren’t meant to help overcome writer’s block, although maybe they could be helpful in that respect. I’ve never had writer’s block, so I wouldn’t know. These tips are meant to help you out if you’re at that stage in the writing process where your self-confidence has hit rock bottom and you’re wondering if it’s worth writing at all anymore.
If you’re like me, you’re driven to write. Sneaking off for a few moments of peace to do some creative writing is the BEST. However, as I’ve discovered over the last year, polishing and perfecting your work so it doesn’t suck can be less enjoyable. Like, WAY less enjoyable. Then there’s trying to get your work out into the world and discovered by the masses. Welcome to having-your-confidence-stomped-all-over-and-ground-into-the-dirt.
Recently, I reached an all-time low, to the point where my feelings of rejection and disappointment with my writing had seeped into my everyday life. For example, instead of leaping to the rescue when my son slammed his finger in the car door, I melted into a sad puddle on the floor. The good news is: I figured out how to get my writing mojo back, and I hope you can use what I learned to overcome your own slump. So without further ado, here are:
6 Tips to Help You Get Your Writing Mojo Back:
- Take a break from all things writing related, including actual writing, editing and revising, reviewing anyone else’s writing, blogging, researching and querying agents, etc. Make the break long enough you feel like you’ve really enjoyed some well-earned time off, but not so long you get completely out of your writing routine. My self-imposed break was 2 weeks long.
- Carve out some “me” time on a regular basis to enjoy non-writing-related pastimes, like reading. Seriously, what writer doesn’t enjoy reading? What other interests do you have? Watching TV/movies, music, cooking, and so on. The best one: exercise! 99% of the time, I feel like a million bucks after going for a run.
- Be inspired by your past accomplishments to boost your confidence about future ones. Here’s the perfect example: if you’ve been querying a book to agents, and so far all you’ve received are rejections, hey, at least you wrote a whole book from start to finish! How many other people do you know personally who have written a book from start to finish? I bet it’s not too many. You should be proud of yourself and know that you’ll probably continue to write (and finish) more books.
- Don’t take criticism too hard because writing is a very subjective business. If the criticism is constructive, use it to improve your work. If it’s not constructive, remember everyone has a right to their own opinion (and poo poo on them anyway). If someone doesn’t like your stuff, think about this: look up Amazon reviews for your favorite book of all time – I guarantee there are 1 star reviews from people who hated it. No really, go do it now, and marvel at all the crazy people who hated your favorite book.
- Try to put a positive spin on things, even if that seems impossible. For example, say you get a very short rejection letter, but you can tell it’s personalized (versus the standard form rejection). Pay really close attention to every word because I bet there’s a gem in there indicating what you need to do to improve your query and/or sample pages.
- Find a good support system. Hopefully you’ve got someone close who supports you and your writing, but sometimes you need to surround yourself with other writers; people that truly “get” you and understand the ups and downs of the writing process. If you don’t know where to find these people, take a writing course, join a writer’s group, or join a forum online (there’s plenty for every genre of writing on Goodreads.com).
It’s frustrating when mediocre (in my opinion) books like Fifty Shades of Grey make gazillions of dollars, but a big part of being successful in the writing world is dumb luck, so best of luck to you in your writing endeavours. If you’re feeling really adventurous, leave a comment on this blog post – I’d love to hear what you have to say! Unless of course it’s non-constructive criticism . . . in that case, sorry, but poo poo on you.