Growing Pains…Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

I felt the need to go back to my childhood and write a middle grade story. Not just any MG story, an interactive fiction MG “choose your own adventure” type. Some of you may remember these. Some of you may not. I remember getting hooked on these books. 

The stories gave ME the choice as to what happened to the characters. I could read the same book over and over again. Now with technology, an e-book of a ‘choose your own adventure’ could be even more exciting.

Guess what? Writing one is, in my opinion, SO COMPLICATED! I have my little post its and postcards and highlighters all over the place, but…adding and taking away still doesn’t help where I numbered the page. I bit off more than I could chew.

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Growing Pains…When Your Laptop Goes Kaput!

I am writing a Word document and it continues to tell me it’s not responding, the format keeps changing, and all this other crazy stuff is happening. I am not sure if I tried to fix it and ruined it or if the laptop demons were playing with my head again but I gave up.

Two days later, I attempted to use the internet ANOTHER time. I could not get on Google. Now I know my laptop was laughing at me. I called my younger brother. He did his best to help me. He even told me something I didn’t know about my laptop. Oh well, thanks Corey.

I felt as if it helped for a second but it that was it, one second. As soon as we hung up I was done. He lives too far away to really help me. I posted on Facebook that I was about to throw the thing out of my attic window. 

Considering my imagination and the situation, I had second thoughts. I visualized it bouncing back into my house and attacking me with viruses and HI messages all night. Not to mention, I felt a broken laptop is better than no laptop at all.

I received a message from a friend that saved the day! My neighbor told me not to toss it. She said her husband loves to play with tech stuff and would be happy to look at my laptop for me.

Growing Pains…Trying to Advance to the Next Level

I heard a great voice for the first book. The woman sent me a piece based on the script and I accepted. Then she turned me down. She stated she had other things and didn’t want to be spread so thin. Okay, fine with me but then don’t do the second audition. Even if there were other things wrong with the book don’t do it. I am sure there may be other issues if you read further. Possibly the language (I warned the producer), or the content. Maybe the writing isn’t her style. I don’t know but don’t start it, waste both of our time and then say no.

The second book was also in the auditions. I wanted to hear it in a male voice. I listened to a male audition and I loved him. His fifteen-minute piece sounded choppy, as if he stopped at each line, not pausing for a comma or period. It was strange. I gave feedback not sure if he has fixed it. How could someone be great for an audition then not know where a comma or period is in a simple book?

I am worried. I will find out soon enough. 

Growing Pains…Staying Active/ In Shape

I force myself to get healthier food. I am not saying I am a health nut, I am far from it. I still need to have my cookies and the occcasional churro. What I am saying is living off of garbage food is not good for the writing process. 

Writing great books is in the details. Not just the details of your manuscript but also in the details of how we live our lives. We need sleep, we need breaks, we need to move around and we need a vegetable once in a while. I don’t know about you, but I know I need a cookie at least once a week. We need to keep our wits about us (unless madness is your muse, then stick with that).

I tried to stick with schedules in the past. They don’t work, I use lists. I am going to add movement to my list. Something like a walk to my gas station to buy some cookies or coffee. A quick workout when I have writer’s block would be great. My endorphins or anger at the burn could get me some good material. You never know.

Growing Pains…Learning New Vocabulary

I thought back to my school days and said to myself “context clues, Robyn.” The many times I hear ARC and reviewers or test readers I should have known. But when there are so many terms thrown at a newbie on a weekly basis, context clues are no help. It can be a different language at times. 

I hope this list is a beginning and it gives you a reason to look up a little bit more on these words. Metadata is important for discoverability. SEO sounds similar to metadata, but it can be very different. It gets confusing depending on who you speak to so doing your own research before you listen to EVERYONE gives you a bit of a heads up. Just my little newbie opinion. 

I need to go look at what the heck OOP means. Maybe I should go clear some more of the garbage emails, until next time.

Growing Pains…Implementing ‘Easy’ Tasks

I feel like the sixth grader that grew six inches in one summer. She is starting to look like a teenager but walks into walls and trips on her own feet every five steps.  That is my impatience talking. I will get there. We all survived puberty. I am growing and learning. This is my self-publishing childhood and I should embrace it. 
As for me not calming down, I am doing something that I’ve read is a no-no in the industry. I am writing two books at once. Technically, I am letting my book breathe for a minute before the next edit. While this is going on, I am working on an MG interactive fiction.

I had grand ideas about this interactive fiction story. Holy Cow! This story is going to take a lot longer than I anticipated. I have the organization, so far. Let’s wait and see how long that goes. 

I remember reading a few of the interactive fiction stories when I was young. In case you’re not familiar with the term, they were called “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

Growing Pains…Crowdfunding for Authors?

Personally, I have never heard the term, crowdfunding. I typically delete multiple emails that I find uninteresting but this one I wanted to find out more. I opened the email. Oh my goodness! 

Crowdfunding is basically a go fund me for writing a book. The author requests investors for writing a successful book. The money can be used for an editor, cover design, formatting, advertising, etc. (according to the email).

Now, this is the craziest concept I have seen as of yet. Talk about pressure! If I am asking for money to create a novel/ ebook/ graphic novel/ book, I MUST write a best seller. Not to mention, it needs to be in a time-frame the readers can relate to. I can’t wait a year or two after someone paid me money for writing it. 

Growing Pains…How-To & OverWhelm

Many newbies are told: get an email list!  That is great, I did that after months of trying. I was so focused on getting this list, I didn’t know what to do after I had a list. I went to the internet and researched. I saw some tips and then realized, great! Seems easy enough.

The video says, email your list a video with a thirty-second welcome message. Tell readers who you are. Offer them an extra incentive if they share your reader magnet to friends. Give them the info of your facebook page (not the personal page). If the reader does not respond to any of your emails after four attempts, delete them from your list. They are not interested.

Another great tip was to have your readers/ email lists have a contest with them responding to phrases for content. If that reader/emailer replies with the best phrase, you use that in your whatever you intend. I plan on using it on a tee shirt. Oh, let me move on to the next step of our how-to market.

Growing Pains… The Self-Editing Process

Well, I am very uninhibited with my writing. This time was different. I tried to plan. I tried to be sober. It took a little longer until I decided that doesn’t work for me.

My revising and self-editing is another story. This process I need to do many times before I consider giving it up to a professional.

I have Grammarly in my Word Doc so I can pick up some flaws that Word doesn’t see; if I overused a word or if I need a comma. Usually, it’s because I used a comma too many times (I think). Grammarly loves to use commas for the words but, and, so, yet. I was taught these words connect phrases so that you don’t need a comma and Grammarly loves to try and add them. I am always second guessing myself while self-editing.

Growing Pains…I Have an Email List, What Next?

I have so much to read on e-mail lists. I guess I never thought I would ACTUALLY get anyone to sign up. Maybe I was so focused on getting readers, I wasn’t thinking of the next step.

In any case, I need to step up my game. I have to figure out how to NOT bother these people AND not ignore them. They are signed up because they are interested in my work. That is a compliment. I guess I can officially take my own name off of my list. I probably won’t. I still need to see if I’m sending crazy information or sending something more than once. 

I send my other account the test preview but I still need to check four times before I know. I still don’t know if my thank you template goes to my readers right away. I want to fix something in my thank you template but I am not sure if the original thirty will get it again on top of the new subscribers.