I am one lucky girl. The Ohio public library system is phenomenal. We have numerous amazing programs for readers and writers. I’ve had the honor of speaking at several this year and have basked in the awesome of many other visiting authors over the years. My children grew up on preschool story hour and my mother in law and I attend ladies night out quite frequently too. All wonderful Ohio library programs. I am a library fangirl. I love my local librarians, know a few from each of several locations by name, but my favorite is the librarian who meets me every Tuesday night on the Bookmobile.
The Bookmobile (for those who aren’t familiar) is a tiny library on wheels. It visits schools during the day (and school year) and random locations throughout the community in the evenings. Once a week, my family and I drive to the local strip mall and climb aboard. The librarians there don’t even ask for our library cards anymore. I’m like a fixture. I love it. I try to show them I love them by bringing iced coffees or ice cream in the summer, sometimes hot chocolate in the winter. They make me oh-so-very-very happy.
All week long, I spot books online I must-must-must read, then I log in to the library and make my request. Voila! A few days later, they are waiting for me Best deal ever.
I grew up on the Bookmobile and I plan to continue visiting until I am too old to drive and can’t find someone to take me. At which point, I will make a request they add my old age home to their list of stops. The Bookmobile is a staple in our community. Ohioans are lucky to have this wonderful opportunity. I wish it was available to everyone.
One day, if I ever have the money, I vow to rent a big tour bus, fill it with books and travel the country doling out free books to anyone who will stop and see me and my very own bookmobile. This is a dream of mine. Corny? Maybe. But who doesn’t love a road trip? And one where I get to giveaway books? WINNING.
Mark my words, folks, if every I have the cash. This I will do.
How about your neighborhood? Do you have a local Bookmobile?
My writer-life is very cyclical. Once I get an idea in my head I can’t ignore, I start the process. It always ends the same way.
STEP ONE: I write. I outline for a few days, thinking of different scenarios, twists and outcomes. When I’m satisfied I’ve covered everything well, I begin a full-on writing frenzy. I write between 1-3 chapters a day. As I finish each new chapter, I send it to a writing partner or two for feedback. As those come back in, I stop writing to refine what I have and then press on sending and receiving for weeks.
STEP TWO: I shine it up some more. Once it’s finished and all the 1st round suggestions are made, I read it from the beginning and polish as I go, tightening, cleaning, cutting and adding. I send the opening chapters to random beta readers I don’t know for feedback. I make more changes. Perhaps their suggestions lead to bigger revisions, I take all applicable advise and use it fully. The mean, bossy, superior stuff, I pitch. Can’t let the nay-sayers get me down. I’m a writer LOL.
At the end of Step Two, I’m completely satisfied with my work. In my mind, it’s the best project I can produce at that moment in my life. I’ve used all my available resources, experience and knowledge to follow rules, push boundaries and touch readers. In other words, I’ve given all I have to that work. As a result, I’m depleted. Hence Step Three.
STEP THREE: Paralysis. During Step Three, I’m in a funk. My energy is zapped. My mind alternates between dread associated with waiting and rejection and freak-out mode for the same reasons. During this part of the cycle, I’m unable to write anything. I can barely entertain a new idea. I deal with self-doubt. My mind rolls back to my latest project, wondering if there was something more I could’ve done.
Waiting is tough. I have two big projects on submissions now. It’s really early in the game, so I know I won’t hear anything for a while, probably months. This is the reason I wrote the latest manuscript. To keep me busy. But now I’ve finished. My agent has it on her calendar to read next month. Gah! That leaves me on a month long reading binge just to see what her response is. She loved the concept, my outline and opening chapter, but what will she think of my full execution on this? *sweat beads on brow*
I’m not ready to start a fourth project this year. I’m wiped out. I had a busy spring getting the two manuscripts ready for submissions and a few months of promotion that kept me running. Then this project, and now I’ m nearly catatonic.
But I’ve written enough to know this will pass. It’s my downtime. These are the days I binge read and fill up on the amazing words of authors who get me, inspire me and keep me reaching for my goals. The side effect of all the reading is I’m learning more about my craft, what’s selling, getting new ideas, turns of phrase and making notes for the future….for when this cycle ends and I find myself back in Step One again. It will come. It always does. And while I’m deflated and frettting at this moment, I know the elated manic frenzy of a new work will come soon. And that makes Step Three worth while. The next manuscript will be stronger because I spend time here in between.
How about you? Do you have a pattern in your writer-life? Are we all the same in this? I think writers can be classified into a group on the DSM-IV. We are so different and yet share the same writerly behaviors. I can’t help but wonder if this is one of those.
When I began writing, I worked hard to avoid linking my work to anything real. I wasn’t sure about the rules. I made references to things like the obsession of Golum and the ring, without saying Lord of the Rings, or even naming Golum. I named towns with names similar to real town names, but steered clear of naming the towns. I even called Paris Hilton, Paris Hinton in one book. I didn’t want to be in trouble. Really. I thought I could get in trouble. *shakes head* Now, while I wouldn’t advise you name characters after people I know, just so you can kill them off – like my super evil ex bestie Linda Miller! *JERK!* <– Totally joking. I made that name up. If that’s your name, I’m certain you are lovely and also a good sport. LOL.
I now know it’s okay to name things in pop culture, locations too. You can name stores and restaurants and whatever you want. Readers like to identify with places and things, be in on the jokes. And it’s also fun to make all those things up. Writers’ choice.
But don’t count out the benefits of linking your manuscript to a real place.
When your book is published, you’ll have to promote. If you can travel to the town in your book for signings and appearances, you might tap into a focused market. People like to read stories set in their hometown, or someplace where they are otherwise connected. Be careful not to fudge the details or those who love the place will be sure to let you know about it. But, let’s say for example, you write a YA and set it in your old college town. You could potentially catch the attention of not only the town residents, but the current students at your Alma mater, the staff, and other alumni.
If you know the town well, mention a favorite spot or two. Those may be great places to hold book signings. Local newspapers and media will have an added reason to cover your story too. It’s never too early to think about promotion. The work is just beginning after you type the words THE END.
Hey, you’re the author. Write it your way. Knock their socks off! And don’t count out the hidden bonus of name dropping
Hosted by I’m a reader Not a Writer
A BOX OF BOOKS!
I’m moving into my brand new office here at the house! SO, it’s time to clear off those bookshelves. I’m giving away a box of romance type books I’ve accumulated in the past 12 months from all the amazing writers conferences I had the honor of attending. One winner will get them all. Here’s a pic:
Up for grabs today:
Dark Harvest by Karen Harper
Dragonborn by Jade Lee
The Tree Shepherd’s Daughter by Gillian Summers
The Medallion of Solaus by Kimberly Adkins
Assassin’s Fall by Angela Steed
The Sea’s Embrace by Angela Steed
Through Ancient Eyes by Kimberly Adkins
And a SLEW of teaser chapters from authors like: Allison Brennan, Angie Fox, Lila DePasquale and LOTS more
This giveaway is open to US only. Postage is still gonna KILL me, but my new bookshelves shall thank me!
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So, this is a personal, non-craft/industry related post. I’m having a less than happy face moment in my writer-life. For me, writing’s like that. Ups and downs, sometimes maniacal highs and lows. Coming off the completion of a manuscript is like having the wind knocked out of me. Knowing the heavy lifting is done, now the redecorating begins. Lots of clean up to go on soon. For today I have my, “I might as well quit trying because I suck eggs” attitude on. What separates my mood from my truth is that I know this will pass. I’ve been here enough to recognize it. Determination will rear it’s head soon and I’ll be all over that draft like…well me on coffee or chocolate or fresh watermelon…you get the picture.
Meanwhile, I thought I’d talk about my new office. It’s *almost* finished. There’s carpet now and pretty teal-ish paint and an awesome Hunter light/fan combo. My new desk, file cabinet and return were delivered this weekend. My super-comfy roller chair is in place. I’ve matted and framed the cover arts I’ve accumulated so far with my name on them. I can’t wait to decorate. It’s mine. mine. mine. mine. mine. This is extra exciting because originally Hubsy and I had a throw down, wherein he told me the office we were building was HIS and I could use it while he was at work. Guffaw. Yeah. WTH?
But, alas, he is lovely and while installing my new office door, he said something terribly sweet about my new office. MINE. like Julie’s, not his. Wait. That got all confusing for a second.
I can’t wait to post some pictures. I hope to get it all pretty in the next week or two, assuming I can put a book down long enough to do anything at all. I’m on a YA binge lately. So, that’s all. That’s my story. After spending my entire I-wanna-be-a-writer life sitting criss-cross-applesauce on my family room couch with laptop on legs, I now have a real desk and rolly chair and door. A door! This is wondrous and I think faeries and unicorns will inhabit my new space with me from sheer joy.
Pics to come!
So, writers: Where do YOU write?