Growing Pains…Writing Contests

A newbie author discusses writing contests and how they can improve the curse of writer’s block and writing in general.


Growing Pains…Hustling Any Way You Know How

In order to stay or become relevant, you must keep hustling. Stay in front of your audience. Get your fans to talk about you and others to keep talking. I’m not a fan of Patterson but he has me watching him. I am paying attention. If he can surpass Stephen King with his own idea from years ago, take IF to another level, reintroduce the same ideas from years ago and make them his own I will continue watching him.

Growing Pains…Getting Back to Basics

I fixed that as soon as I realized it was happening. I got back into the driver’s seat and started that engine. I read up on the best approach to my issue in one of my books (I was having a small meltdown on that too). I began my fifth book (the fourth is still at the editor but you know what? I need to keep it moving).

I made it a point to get over a thousand to fifteen hundred words in a day for each story this weekend and today. I felt the groove so I let it flow. Since the overwhelm was out of my system I did it and one of the stories had the fifteen hundred words in less than an hour. I was shocked about that. I was really feeling it. That story must have been itching to come out.

Today, it was a little tougher, but I got it done. I will do the same tomorrow. I need to keep pace and not revise at all until it is complete. Then look at my stuff a few days after. I’ll revise two weeks later and then book an editor soon after I know I’m happy. Both of these will not be completely done for a while. I am going to be tougher on myself more than usual.

I think I will read them out loud and play it back. I noticed things sound harsher out loud. 

I’ll be honest, I’m not going to do marketing or advertising today. I am going to continue to write. I did want to get some sort of blog out there so you see I’m doing something today.

Growing Pains…I Can’t Write Today

I am not sure if my mind is used to Thursdays as my cleaning and shopping day (if you want to call my pathetic domestic skills ‘cleaning’). It could be the project I’m working on, I can’t find my groove lately. It is a monster I wasn’t prepared to take on. A journey of a thousand miles, right?

I get that. I foresee myself using this project taking longer, maybe a year. I’m sure that’s okay. I didn’t have a set deadline and it’s not in my genre. If I take the pressure off myself I will most likely be able to get it done.

I think my brain has a schedule of the week set and knows that it’s supposed to relax today. I’m not supposed to write or market today. Maybe catching up on research will help. As long as I don’t look up analytics and pixels (we all know how I despise that stuff) I should be okay.

If something isn’t working at the moment, the best thing is to drop it for a while. Why force a circle into a square, right? 

Notice all the cliches I’m using…I have no business writing at all on a Thursday. I hope your creative juices are flowing better than mine (yes, exactly…I’ll stop while I’m behind).

Growing Pains…Growing the Business

EVERY blog and YouTube video tells me it’s super simple. Well, none of these people have met me. I added it to the page after my site heading, before the site heading, after the slash, before the colon, after my name, everywhere imaginable. Guess what’s not super simple.

I lift up my laptop and walk over to the window…I open the window, the cool air hits me in the face. I calm down and realize throwing my laptop down three stories will not place the pixels in the HTML correctly. I place the laptop on the table and make a cup of coffee.

I want to create a raffle of some sort in the near future but guess what? They want me to embed code to the site. Oh well, I guess I’m not setting this up this week.

I can’t afford to hire a techie. I am going to have to bother my techie neighbor again. I hope he can just add all the techie code all over the place. I’ll buy him a few drinks for his trouble.

Thank goodness he loves this kind of stuff because if I didn’t have friends and family in the business, I would have no money from hiring someone to do all of this.

I am still on a high from all the great milestones lately so this won’t get me down. It is just a step back I can overcome. The road of a newbie is never without a pothole or two.

Growing Pains…Hitting Milestones

A publishing company has contacted me to take a look at my next work? They want to read my next manuscript? I am not sure how much of a milestone this is, it feels good to see that people are noticing, even if it’s to take my money. Thanks, but no thanks.

Now, I have the book in an ad for a day or two. I am giving it out for free….HOLY CANNOLI! A thousand downloads? You have to be kidding me. This thing is on fire. Granted, I never entered a contact page to the back of my e-book, therefore I messed up getting an e-mail list and potential reviews, but it’s still a great feeling.

This brings me to my next milestone. As a result of my crazy downloads in one day, I was rated #5 in my genre for a minute. Maybe an hour. I was rated #9 in another genre at the same time. I was on Amazon less than a month and I was top ten long enough for another happy dance.

Mansion with a heated indoor pool here I come!

Yeah, right! Well, now my other milestones that have been coming in slowly. I hit my first 100 contacts on my readers’ list. I only had four for so long but when I learned the right way to do it, 100 came fairly quick. Then, I passed 150. I’m between that and 200 right now. I plan on having 200 by next week.
My first volunteer for the ‘Forbidden’ advanced team is my next milestone. I received an email the other day. I am extremely excited to announce I have ONE person that requested to be a beta tester. Thank you! She is not my cousin from Long Island by the way. A complete stranger read a book of mine and wanted to be part of MY TEAM. 

As a newbie this stuff will never get old. I can’t imagine it EVER getting old. How could anyone get complacent in this business? The mere fact that others accept you and love what you write is one of the best feelings ever. 

Growing Pains…The Proper Mentor

I ask various questions on my FB groups and on Twitter. On occasion I will comment or ask a question. Listen, nobody knows you right now, you’re safer online than in person. I am outgoing in person but really shy online…I have no idea why. I’m weird like that.

I can write this blog and publish a bunch of books but it takes me REAL STRENGTH to get the kahunas to ask advice on one of these writer’s groups. Let alone make a real connection for a mentor. Ridiculous but true.

We have to take it slow, find our people (authors in our genre) and make it a point to ask questions, comment on posts, like a post here and there. Even if your comment is ‘congratulations’ or ‘great job’ that’s a start. 

When you find yourself in a rut while trying to do something and you need help, instead of wasting three hours on the internet Googling ‘how-to’.. just go on a writer’s group and ask. If you think of something while writing your story, jot it down for later. When you are on your schedule for social media, then ask.

Growing Pains…Never Second Guess Because of Others

I reread this and rework it at times, but not to the degree I work on my novelettes. My stories have feeling and drama. My series is not the editor’s style, she could have just said that. Maybe I am a little too sensitive about my writing, I don’t know. I need the criticism and I need to grow. I need the honest opinions. Maybe I know it but can’t handle it. Maybe the short answer with little explanation is why I’m second guessing my abilities.

I will go with another editor that agreed to work with me and they will give me feedback. I will take their expert advice and become a better writer. I need to work on my writing. I know this, all new authors need to improve. I am guessing I will need to improve when I am in the business fifteen years from now (not sure, I’ll tell you in fifteen years).

One reason why I decided to start this website was to help me improve my skills. I felt writing a little bit each week would get me there quicker. I write my stories every day, yes, but sometimes not setting up an outline or scenes (I just started this phase for my stories) can help too. Rereading and seeing a little bit on a page without going back right away will teach me I can just write until my thoughts are complete.

One day this will be something that might free my writing and get my word count up. It might bring my confidence up one day. I had a mini setback and that’s okay. I realize I am not Shakespeare.

I am more of an Edgar Alan Poe, crazy stories with little consideration for spelling (not true but you get the idea). As a matter of fact, Poe used to drive me crazy with his lack of spelling skills. The greatest of writers back in the day had no editors, no publishing companies and look at how we cherish their classics.