The Roller Coaster of Writing

I find that sometimes writing is a real roller coaster. There are times writers may have a “love/hate” relationship with writing. It can be so exciting and rewarding. You create something and just watching the magic come together is an emotional high like no other. But then there are other days. Days where writing can seem terrifying. You might feel your work is awful. “What’s the point?” “You’ll never be as good as…”

It’s a strange phenomenon. I haven’t had too many of those scary days lately – but they do creep up when you least expect it. So how do you get through those times? Do you give up? Throw in the towel? Hang up your pen?

Or

Do you take a step back? Take a deep breath? Take a break? These are certainly great options, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes just going for a walk to refresh your mind will help. Sometimes just writing through it helps. Look to a journal or a blog about your writing progress to sort out those complicated feelings.

But, when you’re done, that story you were working on? It’s still there. Your muse will return because chances are, if you have a story idea in your head – that Muse will not leave you alone. So do what you need to recover from the writing lows when you have them. There will be many more writing highs to look forward to.

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Learning By Doing

I’ve always been one who learned best through doing an activity. There’s nothing more educating than going through the actual experience. I have recently applied this thought to my writing career.

See, I want to know as much as possible about the industry. Learning about the writing process is just one step of the whole picture.

After having four picture books traditionally published, I once again stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a tween novel. I finished the first draft in January. Just comprising the novel was a whole other process. Then I started paying attention to some indie publishing groups on Facebook. I’ve studied them for a few years- watching what they do, the questions they ask, the tips they suggest and I knew one thing: independently publishing was hard, back breaking work. Yet I wanted to try it.

Why? For one,the route allows you more creative control. You also earn out better royalties.

As my novel is finishing up the final editing stages, I decided to prepare for the next hurdle: the print run. Ideally, it is best to have enough funds for a decent first run – at least 1,000 books.

How do you come up with the money to fund such a project? This is when I learned another new thing about publishing independently. If you don’t have the funds to do this, you need to look into crowdfunding. Much like I stated before, I have been following authors who have been working on these crowdfunding campaigns and I have seen how much work they are.

But, I decided to go ahead and try it. I could still publish by way of Print on Demand if I didn’t raise enough for the print run. Before I committed to that, I did what I often do: educate, educate, educate myself.

I found a course that helped me strategically plan out my campaign. A friend of mine suggested I contact Lisa Ferland and check out her course. I am glad I did because even my small successes are due to her tips. (If you’re considering a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, see if she can help you.)

As I am halfway through this campaign, I am learning so many lessons at once. I’ve learned that I love every bit of the creative process from creating the book to hiring my own hand selected artist.

I’ve learned the rest of it is hard work, but it is an interesting side to publishing that I haven’t experienced closely before. What I am finding tough is that it is taking away from my writing time. This is a huge drawback for a writer. Is independently publishing something I might do again in the future? It’s possible- I am still mid process right now, but I just don’t like how much time I haven’t been writing. So, we’ll see what my final thoughts on this are in a few weeks.

As for now, if this is something you are considering, definitely do your research. Join several writing communities on Facebook. Build your audience. I’ll say that again as this was a weaknesses for me. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE. And if publishing independently is an option for you, definitely get a head start on your crowdfunding by checking out sites like Lisa’s.

So, I’m Doing a Newsletter

Sharing news and updates with my readers is an important part of what I do. Now that I have several picture books out and I am working on more projects ( I have two novels in progress), I think it’s time to add a newsletter.

I have some basics included so far. I decided to share links to my latest blog posts and I have a suggested reading section. In my quest to do a newsletter, I have one goal: I want it to be useful to the reader. So, I need your help. What do you find beneficial in a newsletter?

I’ve been tossing around some ideas, such as resources for readers, writers, teachers and parents as well as a few other ideas.

As a fellow reader, writer, teacher or parent, what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments.

Meet Author Aaron McGinley

Please join me in welcoming author Aaron McGinley, the author of the beloved book Aiden McGee Gets a Case of the “Actuallys”.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Children inspire you. I’ve always done professional writing, and my silly side always came out in my work with kids and at a summer camp. But I knew when I had my kid and she inspired a dream, I had to model for them to follow through.

How inspirational! How long have you been writing professionally?

This is my first book!

What does your writing schedule look like?

Have you ever tried to write a book with a crying baby in one hand and a keyboard in the other, at 9 at night? I have!

Yes. It is quite the struggle. What are your favorite books to read? Any that might not be well known?

I love a good thriller. Also, as a therapist, I devour psychology articles!

What have you found to be the most difficult thing about writing?

In my case, it was realizing that the traditional publishing route has very regimented ideas about what makes a book sell. For instance, my book targets highly intelligent children, and realizing that parents know they can manage a higher word count, but that publishers don’t was disheartening. I don’t regret going the independent route though, because now my book is landing into the hands of parents, kids, teachers, and therapists that appreciate it!

What have you found to be the most rewarding?

Almost daily, I hear from parents that are using the book as a tool to help their bright children to connect with others.

That is truly rewarding. What advice to you have for aspiring authors?

Just do it.

What publications do you have out now?

Aiden McGee Gets a Case of The Actuallys. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SK9226S

Do you have an upcoming release? If so, tell us about it.

I might have a few tricks up my sleeve! Follow me on amazon!

What writing projects are you working on?

The one that will soon be released and another one of the three series

Where can we follow you and purchase your books?

You can purchase my books here.

Thank you for joining us Aaron! Check him out on Facebook!

Using Your Senses in Writing

“Describe a moment in time. Make me feel like I am there.” This was an English assignment I had in college.

How do you do that? In a sense, we do it when we are “showing” in our writing verses “telling” the reader what to see. The key words in that English assignment was “Make me feel like I am there.”

In order to make the reader feel what our characters are experiencing, we have to make them become the character they are reading about. We can do this by using our 5 senses in our writing.

Sight

Pretend you are a camera following this person around. What does your character see? Do they see a “scary figure” or do they see “a seven-foot man holding a sharp object in his clenched fist”? Show your reader what your character sees.

Some sensory words for sight include:

Appearance:

  • Blinding
  • Tall
  • Hypnotizing

Colors:

  • Red
  • Aqua
  • Purple

Shapes:

  • Round
  • Octagon
  • Rectanlge

Hear

Sight shouldn’t be the only sense we adhere to. Hearing plays an important part in what the character percieves is going on. They might hear a “loud noise” or they might hear “a thunderous BOOM. When we tell that the character heard a noise, we don’t get what they are feeling. However, if there is a thunderous BOOM, we understand that there is a more threatening situation.

Some sensory words for hearing:

  • Boom
  • Screeching
  • Thump
  • Roaring

Smell

I used an example in A Star in the Night of showing what my character experienced. Instead of saying, David liked the smell of the bakery, I wrote, “Sweet smells of sugary cakes and icing swirled through the air. David’s stomach growled.”

Taste

The sense of taste instantly gives us a positive or negative experience. If our character tastes something they don’t like, we want our reader to understand the extent of what our character feels. Instead of saying that the character didn’t like lemons, we might say that he pursed his lips in response to the sour taste.

Since smell and taste go together we often can use the same or similar sensory words. Some examples of these sensory words are:

  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Bland

Touch

Much of what our brain percieves is percieved through touch. Let’s look at a character holding a brush. If this is important in the scene or the story, we want this to stick out in the reader’s mind. So, instead of saying that the brush was too rough for the dog, we might say, that the brush’s bristles scratched the back of her hand.

Some sensory words for touch include:

  • Bristly
  • Sticky
  • Fluffy

In my research for this post I came across a senseory word list from the 34 Kiwis blog. This is a great start to help brainstorm some of these sensory words. Using sensory detail in writing amplifies your character’s experience and goes a long way in “showing” instead of “telling.”

For more tips, first look at interviews, free coloring pages and a free lesson plan, click here.

Bloggger to WordPress

This started innocently enough. I followed a link to someone’s blog which was a WordPress blog. I had a WP blog years ago, but never fully converted over to WP. I was hesitant because I was used to blogger. Now that I’m more familiar with WP, I like the “clean” look that most WP blogs have.

As I visited my friend’s blog I decided to revisit my old WP blog. I started to toy around with it and I have to admit that I like this much better. It will be a pain to “start over” again, but I believe it makes sense. I’ve grown as an author and it is important to keep growing. You can’t grow if you never try new things. So, here I go. I’m starting a new blogging adventure.

The Writer’s Craft Summit

I just happened to see a post on one of my groups telling about the Writer’s Craft Summit. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. The videos are free to watch during the timeframe of the summit.

I’ve seen a few videos so far, but one of my favorites is the video titled “Creating Complex Characters”.  Megan Linski had many great suggestions on how to develop your character. One thing that really hit me was when she said how difficult it is to write your novel if you haven’t fully developed your character yet. She mentioned that sometimes the character sheets we use to develop our characters can limit our creativity. One suggestion is to interview and observe your character. Put them in situations and see what they do. I loved these ideas and I definitely plan to apply this to my work in progress.

My Work in Progeress is a novel that I have been working on for a long time. I go through dry spells with it because I often feel I hit a wall. After watching this video I am inspired to take another serious look at my book’s characters and see where they need to further develop.

One thing I asked myself was, What do you love about your favorite characters in other novels? Can you predict what they would do? How did the author convey this character’s traits so clearly? I definitely walked away from that video inspired.

Have you joined the Writer’s Craft Summit? What video did you enjoy?

So It’s November



I’ve been in a writing funk for a while. Mostly this is because I’ve had a lot of things to take care of on my end. I’m finally gaining the Muse back and I know it never really left. It’s always there. It’s quiet voice whispers an idea as I drive past the brown and orange trees or as I pass an old, curious building with endless possibilites. I love those moments. I just need to continue to “feed” the Muse and let it do its job. The relationship between an Author (or any creator) and its Muse is like any other relationship. If you ignore or neglect the relationship, it will fade.

November is here and I know I’m not ready to plunge into NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) , but I am grabbing the spirit of it. I am using this time to nurture the writer in me again. I have set alternative goals for me to reach this time. They are just basic writer things that I used to to all the time. Some goals I have are to blog more, write down those ideas that come to me, explore one of those ideas, and add more to that novel I am working on.

So what about you? What are your goals this November? 

Fleeting Inspiration

I think the most ironic part of writing is the whole process of inspiration. I know most writers have been in the situation where you are in the middle of something at work or you are running an important errand and then all of a sudden an inspiration for that next book or article comes along.  Did it come when you were focused and brainstorming?  Nope. Did it come along while you were outlining? No again.

I have found that my inspirtation always comes when I am not equipped to act on it.  I even have a notebook with me for these moments, however many times you can’t just stop what is going on. So why does this happen?

Research from an article I read in Psychology today  suggest that not only are we more creative when we least expect it, but we come up with creative answers when we are least alert or not totally focoused on coming up with an idea.  Maybe trying too hard creates a block for us rather than a quick solution. Could this be why some of our best ideas come just as we are falling asleep?

So, what can we do to harvest those fleeting inspirations that are just too good to miss?  One idea is that if you aren’t able to jot down your ideas ( maybe you are in a car or you are without a pen and paper) you can use your phone’s voice recorder to campture the inspirational moment. Another idea is if your inspiratioal was visual, take a photograph of what inspired your idea.

Just like writing itself is a creative action, capturing that fleeting muse takes creativity as well.  What are your ideas to capturing an idea when you aren’t able to jot it down?

W is for Weary # A to Z Blogging Challenge

You knew I’d pick this word, didn’t you? After all, we’re on the letter W for the A to Z Blogging challenge and the word Weary is just too perfect for my theme.

By now, after blogging for 27 days straight (except Sundays), you can bet this blogger is growing weary. The thing keeping me going is knowing that the finish line to this marathon is now in sight. And while it has certainly helped me gain a better blogging routine, I feel that blogging weekly might be a better fit for my personal and other writing schedule.


I’m pretty sure getting “weary” in the blogging process happens to most of us. I find that a change of scenery helps when the computer screen is just a dull, blank, uninspirational sheet staring back at me. If it’s a nice day, I might take a nice walk. It’s interesting what ideas and thoughts occur to you as you walk. 

Another thing I do is if I know I’m going to be busy one week, then I plan out my posts. For example this weekend that passed, all three of my children were in a play that had 3 show times throughout the weekend. That was just the show. That didn’t include preparing and feeding everyone. So I planned for that. Had I tried to squeeze it in, I’m sure I would have felt overwhelmed. 

One final thought about defeating the blogging weariness, is to find something that energizes you. It could be a break with a good book. It could be mental break of a day out with a friend. Or it could mean a nice cup of caffeine. Whatever it is, recharge.