Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Muse has left the building

Oh, the pain! 

For the last few weeks I have been in a bit of a writing slump. It's not that I am having writer's block, because I have my story mapped out. The problem is I don’t have any motivation to sit down and write for hours on end.  

It’s weird because I do love to write. It’s fun. So why aren’t I doing it?

For the last few weeks I have sat in front of my computer and let my mind drift elsewhere. Not into my story as it should but drift to projects I want to get done around the house, books I want to read… etc. etc.

I have been in the middle of chapter five for weeks!

Finally, yesterday I decided that enough was enough. I needed to pinpoint what was wrong or I will never get this book finished. I have never experience this before so I wasn’t sure what was wrong now.

After a lot of self-reflection, I realized what was different now from when I have written books before. This is the first time I have seriously been looking for an agent/publisher. To be honest, this part of writing stinks. You have to have some extremely thick skin to handle the constant rejection. AND I don’t care who you are, or how great of an author you are; in this business you will be rejected left and right, whether it’s agents, publishers, or reviewers. If you don’t have a healthy dose of self-confidence cemented inside of your soul being a published author is not the right path for you.

It’s not really even the rejection that’s the problem; it’s the waiting to hear if I am rejected that is causing me difficulty. Its put me in kind of a funk.

What I need to do is compartmentalize, put my last book in a box in my mind and close it for a while so I can write. I need to stop checking my inbox for starters. This is hard when one of my goals is to send out a few submissions a week, so yes, I need to check my email.

Do you see the tough spot I am in? I want to be looking forward; yet, I have to look over my shoulder from time to time.

I am new to this. Before, I just wrote and bypassed the submission phase completely. That is no longer what I want. I feel ready to share what I have written. I need help. What do you suggest I do? Is it possible to write during the submission phase of another book? How do I get myself out of this slump?

My muse has gone on vacation and I miss her. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

To critique, or not to critique? That is the question.

I recently read an interesting conversation that was floating around on a Facebook group I am a member of.  The question asked was…

Do you write negative book reviews?  Do you give a book a bad review?

As writers we are in an interesting spot. We understand the blood, sweat, and tears that are put into a novel. We also understand how readers are bias depending on their own taste and experiences. Because of this I think we all hesitate to write something negative about someone else’s art. 

Several members who participated in this discussion mentioned that they never write a negative review. Most of those said they did not review books they didn’t like.

Others who do write negative reviews, (I found this interesting), said that a negative review gives validity to a book's reviews. They are more likely to read a book with a few bad reviews than one with only positive things to say. This shows the reader that people are reading the book, not just family and friends. fascinating!

As I thought about this, I found it true for myself. When I look at reviews and only see positive five stars, I naturally think that the reviews must not be authentic. 

I do read the negative reviews first. Looking for things that stand out that are a turn off for me as a reader, but also to see if this book is one I would be interested in. I do find more out about the book by negative reviews than the positive because in my experience they seem to be a bit more specific. For this reason, a negative review doesn’t necessarily turn my interest away.

As for whether or not I leave reviews, I usually don’t. My reasoning is a bit different. Writing is what I do. I spend hours a day critiquing… picking apart my own work. Because of this, reading another’s novel is not the same experience I had years ago. Now, more often than not, I don’t get lost in a novel. I usually find myself thinking about their word choice or their character’s development... or a hundred other things. For this reason, I feel that I am not the best person to write a review. I am not the average reader, and definitely not a non-bias one. So, I am not sure if what I may write is really applicable.

Though, there are many times when I do read something and think, Holy Moly this is amazing! Then, I review away.

These are my thoughts. As I have said many times on this blog, it is just my way of thinking, not right or wrong, just mine.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Are you a reviewer?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Confessions of a Mother

This Sunday, being Mother’s Day, got me thinking about motherhood. Being an ideal mother is a confusing concept for me to wrap my mind around. Living in a society that bombards us with images of what a perfect mother is can be a bit overwhelming.

I remember starting out on this road as a wife and mother and really having no clue what I was doing. (Still don’t have a clue)Yes, I had my mother as an example, but her life experiences were so different from mine, that I really had to figure out how to navigate motherhood on my own, on my terms.

I know women who genuinely love everything about being a young mom. Being a mom brings them all of the fulfillment that they need. You know these women too. They are the mommy blogger, cute kids, immaculate homes, types. I am in awe as I watch them. I do believe what they portray is real because I personally know a few. Man, how I wish I was this way. But the truth is, I am just not wired like that. Yes, I do try, but I am a bit overwhelmed at times by my endless lists and I do forget things. Having four busy kids I have to prioritize so a lot has to fall by the wayside. And sometimes as I look at my day, I feel more depressed than fulfilled.

I am the mom that sends her daughter to school having forgotten to brush her hair. I am the mom that sends lunch money because it’s easier than packing a sack lunch everyday. I am the mom that actually lets their kids do their own science project. I know, gasp!

Being a young mother for me was exhausting. You don’t see this in motherhood magazines. My two oldest were 12 months apart. Within a 6-year time frame I had 4 kids. I remember rocking a cranky baby at two in the afternoon, and wanting nothing more than to sleep, let alone find time to brush my teeth and get out of my yoga pants. There were times when I felt that if I didn't spend 15 minutes alone, I would burst.

Now that my oldest is starting High School and my other three are close on his heals, I find that I am still exhausted, just more emotionally than physically. Though these four can bathe, clothe, feed themselves, they need me in a way that is so much more than when they were little. They need me to be present at ALL times. They need me to listen even when they are not speaking. This scares me to death. I can’t mess this up.

So, what is an ideal mother… who is this perfect person that I am supposed to be? I really don’t know, but I have come up with a few things that matter most to me. TO ME are the key words, because it really is different for everyone because we as mothers are different and every child is so unique and needs different things.

If I could talk to my young self fifteen years ago this is what I would tell her.

It doesn’t matter if the dishes don’t get washed, or you don’t have up to date family portraits, and your dinners burn from time to time. It doesn’t matter if your kids are the smartest or the most talented or even the most well behaved… insert gasp here.

What matters is who matters. Don’t waist energy on trying to impress anyone. Just love those that you are blessed to have in your home. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Show it in everything you do, in words and actions. Give your heart, all of it-withholding nothing, even if it is scary. There is nothing more vulnerable than being a mother. Your heart is so exposed, so open. BUT, there is no calling on earth as influential as the role of mother. There is nothing else that will stretch you and push you to your full potential as being a mother. There is nothing that will feed your soul as mothering a child.

As I have been working on my "Character Arc" project this concept of motherhood keeps coming to mind because my arc would not be complete without this role. I could never live up to my full potential without adding mother to my list of who I am.

So, on this eve of the day where my family celebrates me J, I am filled with gratitude for these, sometimes joyous, sometime difficult, fifteen years. I wouldn’t trade it for all of the accolades this world has to offer.