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Posts Tagged ‘Community Writing sites’

There’s a debate going on over at Fear of Writing on avatars and monikers. Of course I instigated. And of course I sang the post. Yes, there’s a sing-along. Never a dull moment. I’d love your comments over there. And here too. You can sing your comments, if you wish.  

Speaking of cats, there is a kitten that I need. NEED, I tell you. My life won’t be complete until I have it. Someone get it for me. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/06/10/mini-kitten-pats-things.aspx

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I once read in a magazine a tip from an author on successful writing. All I remember of her tips is this: Dress for success. Dress like you care. 

I serious

She went on to say she had been writing in her sweats and jammies, not even brushing her hair, looking like something the cat dragged in (so?). Then a friend suggested she clean herself up and take her job seriously and it would reflect in her writing. She did and her writing improved along with her self-esteem.

Okay, I said to me, I’ll put it to the test. I took a shower, blow-dried my hair—styled it, even—painted my nails, wore slacks and a blouse—bra included—and a pair of low-heeled shoes.

I’ll be the first to attest that this “friend’s” advice is a load of BS. Not only did all that cut into my writing time, but I was extremely uncomfortable, hyper-focusing on my bra and shoes and not on writing. The wispy feather-strands of my hair were tickling my face, my arms were restricted in the long sleeves of my blouse, my slacks were digging into my gut, and the smell of nail lacquer was making me sick.

This friend was no friend, and this author was crazy. I mean, who does that???? (If you do, confess right here. I won’t bite. To each his/her own, right? Whatever works for you is cool with me. Nothing wrong with that. *OTHER THAN IT’S WRONG!! *the author of this post is kidding and is not passing judgment on your writing attire.)

So head on over to wordsxo, where you’ll find me, trendsetter that I am, exposed in my professional writing garb.  There, you’ll be treated to what not to wear when writing. Since she’ll be asking you what’s the most bizarre outfit you’ve ever written in, I’ll conclude by asking something more personal: What are you wearing right now? (sounds kinky)

Also, you’ll notice that Milli (check out her blog on pjs) refers to my old Twitter name of IQOkie. It is now under my regular name of Tricia_Sutton. She is aware of it but in denial. She loves the old name and followed me because of it. I side with Milli, but I took advice from a social media expert (much like the “friend” mentioned above) and changed it to my name. Tell me, should I change it back or keep my name?

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I was going to go about my day of blog posting in my usual self-depreciating manner. Let’s face it, I love messing with myself, and I give myself plenty of material with which to do so. But I just finished reading Judy Clement Wall’s post about being kind to yourself. She says amazing things on her blog, and today’s message hit home. “Truthfully, I’m amazed at how hard we are on ourselves, how quick we are to criticize, undermine, belittle and doubt. If we spoke to our friends the way we so willingly speak to ourselves, we’d be friendless.”

Wow. How true. I mean how many of you would return to my blog if I called you an unfocused flake? How about a freak? Does “loser” hurt your feelings? I call myself all of these things, and more. But not today. So instead of the post I was going to do about my hair and how ugly it is since I had it chopped to pieces, and how it looks like original daughter Becky from Roseanne who, in her last season, cut her hair so severe the ratings plummeted and they had to get themselves a new, prettier Becky for the remaining seasons (I don’t know the real reason, but come on, look at the hair), I will instead share with you what I did right. My floor.

Below are pictures of my finished concrete floor. There are no before pictures, but picture a stained, ratty carpet the color of oatmeal.

I love my floor. I love even more that I did it. And that the total cost of the project was $75.00 (not including another $75.00 for new baseboards because I managed to ruin the old ones—oops). Now, of course, I want the whole house done this way. I just don’t want to be the one to do it. It took a month for just one room. A month of neglected writing. So back to writing.

Another achievement I’d like to share is a story that is up at Slow Trains. It was my first attempt at non-humor (not my first non-humor published. I had written a couple after this one that went before it). It’s about a mistake in judgment and the very anti-thesis of Judy’s message. I’m not sure which I recommend first: reading about a pair down on themselves then getting rejuvenated by Judy, or filling up on love first to withstand the dismal dread of those who think they are unworthy. I wrote this 13 months ago, and I think I was PMSing—oops, there goes that self-back talk again. What I mean is I really like this story and I think it ends with a powerful message that everyone can benefit from, and I’m proud of myself for writing it and encouraged and validated that Slow Trains published it. Yay me.

What can you share that is wonderful about yourself or that you accomplished lately that you are proud of? Don’t forget to go to Judy’s blog at Zebra Sounds and do the assignment she asks of you. I know I will.

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This time last year, I was an internet virgin. I knew it was out there; it offered nothing for me. My employment years involved a sheltered company computer with only their narrowed focused program. Looking back, it was like living in a country that has only one kind of programming for TV viewers.

I had been writing in Word and corresponding with my critique group, but other than that, I was unaware of the worldwide writing community at my fingertips.

And then I became deflowered—overnight.

Members of my writing group can take credit for this. They spoke amongst themselves of this mysterious place, this mystical magical place of wonderment. They spoke of each other’s blogs—what’s a blog? I thought, but too afraid to ask. I was given blog addresses, whereupon I came to visit and leave my comments (it would be three more months before I started one of my own). I learned from each blog that there were agents who had blogs—agents have blogs? Nathan Bransford was the first of many distractions resourceful agent blogs. Then came the industry blogs, which contain every vital piece of distractions information necessary to find and agent and become a published author.

Now there’s a tiny part of me that wishes I just stopped at the writer’s blogs, because before the onslaught of industry blogs, I had hope.

And now, I know too much.

I benefitted greatly from all the online advice thrown my way, but it also came with a price—self-doubt. Ignorance had been my bliss. I had no doubt mine would be the next bestseller and my pounding out thousands of words every day, my belonging to critique groups (trying out several for size and sometimes belonging to many at once), my completing my first draft in a year and having two short stories accepted by a magazine, was a testament to my ambitious goals.

But I have to admit my ambition waned once I became aware of the difficulties of the publishing industry: how it was hard to break in before the bad economy, has now become close to impossible. How does one carry on after such daily news as that, along with all the other negatives? It affected me. I haven’t had many writing successes since I became “aware.” But yet, I am thankful. The tiny part that wishes I was still in a blissful state is overshadowed by the great improvements in my writing since. Once you’re equipped with the power of knowledge you can’t go back. Once you know the world isn’t flat, you don’t continue the same thinking path you once took. I need to return to that prior blazing trail I had been on without sacrificing my daily addictions of agent blogs. I shall overcome.

So I just want to say I am thankful for my knowledge, for the internet distractions  community of industry professionals willing to take the time to educate and empower. And most writerly related of all, I am thankful for the blog friends I’ve made. Each one of you is walking the same path—some at a different pace—and it comforts me to listen to your stories and to share some of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving

p.s. feel free to share what you are thankful for.

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My blog has been dark for a while. Mainly because I’ve been busy with entering some contests—some crazy, some real. And because I’m still suffering from the Idol results. Sure Adam will be successful, but it’s the principle of the thing: he had more talent and should have won. Sort of like how I feel about the results I got this morning about querytracker’s worst query letter contest THAT I DID NOT WIN.  Nor did I win last week’s Purple Prose contest. My query sucked as much as the winners they posted, so I just don’t get why I’m not winning. And the one sentence Purple Prose? Oh, come on, I should’ve won that. I submitted a super overwritten, outstandingly purpley sentence that would make the wordiest politician proud.

Besides being one sentence of terrible, the only other rule was to include “querytracker” somewhere in the prose.

Here is my submission to the Purple Prose titled The Wedding Singer

With my matrimonial ceremony in full celebration, I now ponder the wisdom of certain anticipations and precautions taken prior involving a recipe blend of geriatric vitamins, Metamucil, and Viagra—the latter two rumbling and stirring in predictable destinations, and now no longer in complete command of my netherregions, pity the heavily inebriated guest table of querytracker just downwind from me.

As far as my worst query letter, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it because it is too long for this post. Plus I didn’t save it and can’t remember its awfulness other than to say my protagonist was a male pigeon named Petal who was humiliated by his feminine name and it was classified as every possible genre there is, thus taking up one-half the page.

So as a recap: Worst poetry X

                             Purple Prose  X

                            Worst Query X

                            Adam    X

Such a waste of the worst and best talent.

Anyone else out there suffering a disappointment?

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Before I go into my rant I just want to say that I know rejection. If anyone knows rejection it’s a writer and a cat lover, of which I am both. Though I have sent only two queries yet so far, my first rejection is just a taste of what’s to come. I’ve entered contests and not won, which to me is a letdown akin to rejection. Such as Chip MacGregor’s most recent Worst Poetry Contest. I so had that one nailed that I had my acceptance speech already prepared and a space on my mantle dedicated to the future spot of my winning prize: The lava lamp. I know it’s not a Pulitzer Prize, but hey, just as groovy. Imagine my disappointment to see in today’s post that I was not a winner, nor a finalist. I didn’t even make the top ten—I think there were only eleven entries.

But worse than not winning was I displayed my true colors and had an online fit—such as the one I’m having now. I did not accept defeat gracefully. I demanded a re-read under less sober conditions, and preferably recited in the tune of a rap song. Here it is for those of you not yet exposed to my poetic talent.

(Author’s note: poetry typos were retained for optimum creative expression)

Horace, Benny, Eurkel,

Kent

Reading my novel was time well spent

Mabel, Ethel, Fran, and

Adolf

All are dead now they laughted their head off

Sleazing my book: stores and shows, when I sells one

Nobody knows.

 

I know, it’s a travesty that I didn’t win, but I did have some pretty stiff competition. There’s so much talent out there it’s scary.

Update: Mr. MacGregor responded to my complaint: The judges have taken your request into account and have suggested a restraining order. Sorry, Tricia, while your work was bad, it didn’t reach the heights of badness needed to be badfully bad.

Well the nerve. I’ve never been so insulted in all my life. I’m going over there right now and rapping my poetry till I get that lava lamp.

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In reference to my last post, Bookshelves, I have this question: How on God’s green earth can I even have a bookshelf if the world is going Kindle on me? If I were the type to read a book then store it away in a box in the attic then I might be a candidate for Kindle. I get how they could be great for travel: finish a book on the plane then buy a new one and begin a new story—cool. Same with itunes—great for travel. But I know where it’s headed: the same direction albums went. And photo albums. Nowadays everything is downloaded and stored in invisible places that require usernames and passwords to assess. Photographs on computers, books on Kindle, and music on ipod.

In the old days (like just a few years ago) you could walk into someone’s house and have conversation pieces displayed everywhere. Guest looking at gigantic album sleeve: “Aw, I see you like The Bay City Rollers, too.” Now, looking at a picture on the mantle: “And who is this cute little cat? He looks just like you.” Now looking at bookshelf: “Oh, you have an autographed first edition of Phyllis Diller’s Guide to Housecleaning, too? My goodness we have so much in common”

Technology has now made snooping into other’s lives that much more challenging—and I don’t like it.

And worse, technology requires more sitting tying to learn it all, thus causing extra, irreversable poundage of thy hips and thighs.

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Does anyone have any real order to their bookshelves? I just noticed my particular order and it ain’t pretty. I do not have my books in alphabetical order. I don’t have them lumped together in author order. I don’t have a shortest to tallest method either. I have them grouped by color. Yes, color.

In my family room, the walls are blue and the theme is ocean. Therefore, all my blue and green-jacketed books are shelved there. In the warmer toned living room, the walls are a richer olive green—only my black, deep purple, reds, and burgundy’s are allowed in there.

My guest room is for the antiques. The engraved, ornate spines of the early 1900’s. My bedroom gets the oranges and yellows.

What does this say about me? And how are your books shelved?   

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FOCUS!

Hocus Pocus I need to focus. I stole that phrase from my 9 yr old daughter. I’ll be chanting it often as I have a clinical problem with focus.

Something some people don’t know about me is before writing full-time, I actually used to EARN money for a living. Yes, I can hear your collective gasps. Hello, I’m right here.

Sometime after getting the ax, a jealous co-worker kept tabs on me. She wanted to know what it was like to stay home, and she was especially curious with me since I complained there was never enough time in a day.  She wanted a list of my daily activities. She couldn’t believe I was a busier person at home than I was at the office. So when it came to providing her evidence of a busy life, I came up with … nothing.  I was a busy person with nothing to show for it. And three years later nothing has improved. Hocus Pocus I need to focus.

I then embarked on a critical self-survey: I documented my every move to see why I never get anything done. And why people can produce bestsellers in half the time while keeping a day job.

I start first with an organized list of what I should do and when. Whatever the day may bring, I must write from 9 to noon.

After a hectic morning of getting my daughter up and ready, making her breakfast, packing her lunch, going and returning from school, my real chaos begins at 8:30 … because now, I’m alone.

The big plan is to do chores until 9 then get to work writing until noon, at which point I am to do whatever is on the list: bank, store, yard and housework, bills, appts., etc.  

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS

8:30 – 11 – Head for the dishwasher-phone rings. Talk to sister till 9. Gosh now must write. Go to computer, spend a few minutes catching up on MSN (today I learn how I can look like a rock star), read agent blogs, emails, critique forums, snark sites, then I pull up my book on Word. Phone rings (yes, I have caller ID, these are just the calls I do take). It’s my mom. 30 minutes later, back to computer. But wait, I should start the laundry first. Get up only to forget why, I think it was to eat. Go to pantry and organize it instead. Return to computer for about five minutes.

11- ish  Oh look at the time. I jump up—not knowing why—and do a chore that can’t wait another minute—like overflowing litter box. I need to buy groceries, I’ll make a list. First I must read the newspaper ads, might as well read the whole newspaper. Should just do it outside since it’s a nice day. But look, my plants are dying. I pick up the watering can and discover my carnations are blooming. I get the scissors to cut a few for inside the house when the cat climbs on the screen to get out. I remember he needs his nails trimmed. While I’m trimming, I might as well get the clippers for the overgrowth of the jungle I’ve let my yard become. Become increasingly aware that my over-focused attention deficit has taken over my brain rendering me unable to have a complete thought without another intruding, I ponder again why my issues can’t be relieved by an ordinary sedative. I’m thirsty-want tea, with CAFFEINE. Back inside to heat water-3 minutes. Better stay close. I open the mail. Crud I need to pay the bills-go to the office for checkbook. Oh, look a new email or three. Water is ready. I jump up and make tea. Since I want iced tea, I have to wait for it to cool off. I’ll start that load of laundry I’d just remembered I’d forgotten. Go to bedroom for hamper, discover unmade bed. Must fix. Forgot why I came in there. Meander to the kitchen. Pour my iced tea. I want a lemon.  Go to lemon tree and Good God there are a MILLION lemons.  Get bucket, start picking. Maybe take some to a neighbor. She likes oranges too. I’ll pick those.

2pm. Skirt out the door to pick up daughter from school. After which, do all the driving errands that  didn’t get done earlier due to a clinical case of Unfocus. “I have too much homework,” says angry child. “Why can’t you do these things while I’m at school?” Heavy sigh. “Because sweet child, mother was too busy.” In the backseat, arms cross in a hostile manner. “Just what do you do all day?”

Get home at 4pm-go through a completed ms-sized stack of school papers. Check email-Oh, look, my daily news from agent Nathan Bransford. Scan some of the comments—there’s only 200 today-notice my book is still up-should write. Try to quiet brain long enough for creative thought-here comes one. Husband just came in from work. Crud. It’s five already, where did the day go? Heat oven for pizza in a box. Come in later to write. What did I have to say anyway? Book needs edited, but can’t think-brain tired. Read other’s writing (books or critique group) until I remember what my book is about-will write. Have flow-will exercise said flow upon screen. My fingers are on fire … “How old is Patty in that scene?” The voice I hear is not from my head, but from behind me. My husband.  And he is breaking The Rule. No one can watch me write. No one, I say. It’s over. I go to bed. Tomorrow will be different, I swear. I will stick to my writing plan. I will.

Hocus Pocus I need to focus.

Now not every day is exactly like that one. Every day brings me a new surprise as to just how unfocused I can become. Throw in a day where I think I can do something with my hair and I can forget the whole thing.

Some days I write my other WIP. It’s titled Attention Deficit: What To Do If It Suddenly Strikes You. There may be a long wait for its completion

 

 

 

 

 

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My April Fools gift to myself was to send out my first query. April 1st is special to me in that I began my novel 2 years ago on that day, and then finished the first draft on that same day one year later. So it seemed fitting to do something significant on the day of my 2nd year anniversary. What  better way to celebrate than to actually offer it for publication.

I worked on this query for months, so much so, I forgot what the book was about. I read every piece of query advice out there on the agent blogs. I read bravely posted queries on critique sites, which are quite helpful if you are writing a plot-driven novel as most of them were. But I have yet to see a sample query of a character-driven novel, so I had to go at it blindly.

Then came the agent research. I didn’t want to go crazy on this special day; one agent was all I needed to fulfil my ceremonial neurotic desire to feed my symbolic nature. The other queries can follow at different times. So after careful selection, I pre-prepared my query and saved it on my draft. I was having house guests and knew I wouldn’t have time on that day.

D-day: Houseguest arrived. My daughter declares she must move out of her apartment that day. My husband in Minnesota visiting his ailing father, calls to tell me his father passed away unexpectedly. Despite the events and drama, I remembered to hit the send button, but decided to read the first chapter as it looked on the email only to discover it went font crazy. I couldn’t fix it and had to rush and find an agent who didn’t want any pages of the book–query only. After pouring over my list of prospectives, I selected two query-only agents and shot it off to both, felt the world lift off my shoulders, and went to bed with grief about my father-in-law, but a semi clear head.

Lo and behold, I awoke with an email message from Jessica Faust at Bookends that she was not interested (no word on the other agent yet). And weirdly enough, it didn’t bother me. BTW-besides research conclusions, I chose Ms. Faust because she has a sweet and honest face.

Well, Jessica, all I can say is that you ruined my chances of holding seminars on “How to pick an agent based on their face.” Ruined it, I say.

Oh, and one more thing. Jessica at Bookends launched Agentfail on her Bookends site on the very same day. She rejected me at 2:52 am the next day. This is after reading 250 mean remarks about agents from writers. Could it be she was tired and angry? Yes! That’s what it is. If I queried her on any other day she would have called me personally to say how excited she was to represent me and where have I been all her life. Maybe I’ll give her another chance … and another … and another. Ha Ha. Just kidding. Not really.

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