Tag: advice

Editing the First Draft

The first draft. Red pen at the ready.

Happy Monday beautiful people!! I hope you all are doing amazing and hanging in there. A lot of the United States is experiencing weird weather and all sorts of things going on.

I missed the last two weeks, life just got in the way. It happens. I could beat myself up over it but honestly, why? This isn’t a bigger priority over my other responsibilities. So meh. 😜

First draft edits began a week ago or so, and phew! Let me say that damn this is the hard part. I am not loving it. Finding my rhythm and method has taken a lot of painful hours of me staring at my computer and printed manuscript wondering what the hell do I do next? It’s sucked. Totally sucked. BUT! I found an amazing asset, an amazing tool….

ProWriting Aid!

ProWriting Aid is INCREDIBLE! This post is not at all affiliated with the program. It’s amazing for any and all writers of all kinds of skill sets. Not just novel writers. You upload your work, I suggest doing chapter by chapter- it goes faster. And it scans and analyzes the entire chapter. It looks at everything. Adverbs. Grammar issues. Pacing. Spelling. Sentence structure. Sticky sentences. Repeated words. The list goes on and on!! YOU NEED THIS APP!

My biggest hurtle in editing was not knowing where my weak points were in my work. This took the guess work out and showed them all to me. Heck yea!!

So. I am excited about editing now. Fixing plot hole and strengthening the story. Then addressing these things in ProWriter Aid… which is a free plugin attachment available for download using Chrome. With a Premium account for a yearly fee. And it honestly was not that expensive! You should check it out!

I hope this might’ve been some help to you. That’s all I’ve got for ya. Next week I’ll be sharing some thoughts on this book series I read in a little over a week. The first books I’ve read in over 4 years… gasp! I know!!!! Okay. Have fun! Drink water! Grab some sunshine and smile!! It helps!!

Sharing your WIP

Hello beautiful people! I hope you all are safe and healthy on this fine June day. Let me cut right to the chase- do you overshare your work in progress on social media?

What’s too much? 

Many authors are on Instagram, it’s a great place to promote, market and establish yourself as an author and share your work. So it’s a no brainer there’s a lot there. There’s just this common trend that has caught my eye and I myself have been guilty of it as well, over sharing. Or what I consider over sharing in my opinion.

Last week I discussed the prompt usage and the nuances of being part of such prompt communities. And I’m going to take it another step further. I think many authors are sharing way too much about their WIPs online.

HEAR ME OUT!

For instance, there are a few days during the week that encourage snippet sharing. I have done this. And still might share a quote or something here and there. However, if you share 7 paragraphs each snippet, and there’s 52 weeks a year- unless your book is incredibly long- you’re sharing at least one snippet from each chapter… if not more. What are readers paying for? And are you ruining certain surprises for them?

I don’t know about you, but I love discovering the story as I read. I love learning the characters and the history as I read. It’s why I love to read. How much are we ruining for the reader when we share all these things online?

I’m not saying don’t promote your book, your story.. I’m not saying not to… but I am saying is be mindful. I went through and removed almost everything about my characters and story off my Instagram page. You see very little now. You will find dark poetry, personal stories of my battle with ptsd and therapy. You’ll find my highs and lows with writing, you’ll see my love of nature and photography. You’ll see a lot of me! And that’s what I want readers to love. I want readers to fall for me! Not just my stories.

Just some food for thought. Chew on it. Let it rest on your tongue a bit and get the full flavor. You can spit it out and shake your head or swallow it and adjust your approach. Do what you feel is right and what you’re comfortable with always. This is just my opinion and my thoughts on these things.

Drink your water and get some sun. Have an amazing day and keep plugging ahead on your dreams!

Unpopular Opinion

Before I get started let me say this, I am not knocking anyone or bashing the practice of using prompts… I use them all the time on my other social media outlets. I save them for blog post ideas. With that said, there are some things I have noticed that I wanted to simply voice for discussion and thought provoking purposes as I’ve recently pulled away from the prompts and certain things became noticeable.

Being on Instagram and amongst fellow writers, poets and other authors in various stages of the journey is helpful, interesting and often enlightening. But there is a flip side to all that too and further down I’ll explain.

Many use prompts for posts created by various members of the community. Many do not. Once again, I’ll reiterate my sentiments before, there is nothing wrong with either or. This is just my thoughts on it all. To each their own. And I use them too. However, I find pitfalls to both approaches but more recently in using them.

Let me explain!! 

The use of the prompts gives authors and writers a no brainer approach to what to post during the journey- it helps. It takes the guess work out of “I haven’t published yet, but what do I share?” I totally get it. And am in the same boat. I’ve used many prompts for this reason. It’s hard to know what to reveal in order to create interest in the story you’re working on. Here’s the kicker though, I feel as though it’s a crutch in some ways. And often results in over sharing. It starts to feel like a clique, you do every prompt and use the hashtags to go with them and soon the people sharing the same things find you and you are in this little group. That’s great- support is great. But what about those that don’t participate in the prompts or use those hashtags? Are they less worthy of the support? I find that many won’t give your content a second glance if you don’t use the hashtags or prompts. That’s my personal opinion and experience. I guess the question is what are you there on Instagram for?

Some may be there just to share their process, whilst promoting their story. Some are there to promote themselves while trickling in their story and work in progress. And there are I’m sure a million other reasons. The prompts however begin to feel like a constant marketing campaign with little focus on the actual author and just on the process or story. I find this flawed.

Now of course some will say well if you don’t use the hashtags they can’t find you… blah blah blah…. I don’t buy it. Call me crazy but many don’t give you the time of day unless you subscribe to their monthly prompts. Harsh truths. Like I said. Unpopular opinion.

Let’s look at this a different way, I’ve researched a lot on what makes a successful author brand and social media account. I love research. Maybe too much. You know what though, the research is almost unanimous that authors should be sharing more of their lives outside of being an author. Why? Because readers want to know the writer! They don’t care where you are in the journey. Some might. Most don’t. You know who does care- other writers- because we don’t want to feel alone on this crazy road. It feeds the ego when we can share our word counts and progress, I’m not saying don’t celebrate the wins, but the constant focus on win to win to win is exhausting. And sets an unprecedented pace. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking to appeal to other writers. I want readers. Other people. Research also showed that you should be sharing other topics, what you hold close to your heart. Now, many authors I follow do this. They don’t do any prompts. They share their lives. There might be updates on their writing journey. But they share their adventures, their struggles with illness, their family, their other passions. And you know what… they’re selling books like hot cakes. See, I observe a lot. I watch people. Habits and notice trends. Of course it is helpful to have the support of other writers! We need to be lifting each other up!! Why don’t we celebrate the non writer material? Why don’t we celebrate the entire person? Not just the craft? And why doesn’t that extend to the writers that don’t use the daily prompts?

There’s some benefit to watching and learning how others approach the craft of writing. Of course there is! And again, I use prompts here and there and also go rogue too. I get more followers from the rogue posts. I reach more people with the rogue posts. Interesting isn’t it? I find the writers that share odd and unusual things about their lives more interesting. I want to hear about their adventures and life. Because they are people like me. I don’t want my entire feed being craft posts, I ask myself all the time if a reader came across my profile what would they see? I hope they’d see a woman, a mother, a spiritual person, a nature lover, a writer, an artist, a passionate woman, a woman who struggles in mental health and so much more… I hope they don’t just see me as a writer. I am so much more than that.

To wrap this up, I will once again say, I am not bashing or discrediting those that do prompts. I do them sometimes too. If that’s what you want to post, what your focus is on, that’s great. To each their own. I am merely sharing my thoughts on the subject. And if that means I speak about topics with an unpopular opinion, than so be it.

What a Week!

Hello readers!! Welcome back! It’s a new week!! Happy Monday to everyone and phew let’s hope this week goes better than the last!! Last week was the longest ever.

It’s been a good week since my last post, I started off pretty hot and heavy here and fizzled out. Kind of my MO. But ah well. Such is life. Last week began with my sister being in the hospital. She’s fine. Not Covid. She went in for severe abdominal pain and had to have surgery to remove her gallbladder. Her liver though was quite inflamed and bought her a couple more days in the hospital. Scary for sure. Thankfully she’s fine.

My writing has completely shut down in terms of my novel, I decided to re-outline what I had written so far and double check pacing. Looking for plot holes and making notes of anything to add. It was a quick alternative to editing what I had written. And it really helped. I’m excited for what’s to come and anxious to see the book come to an end. Book two I’m super excited for, there’s so much history and research involved. It’s going to be a lot of fun to write.

In other news I’m readying my house for Christmas and getting everything prepped and ready for the holiday that is fast approaching. It’ll be here before we know it!! I’m so excited to see my lil dudes face this year!! How are you all handling the approaching holiday?? Getting things ready?!

My other question is this… I see a lot of authors on Instagram use a greeting of sorts, “hey there wayfarers, stargazers, sirens…” is that something you enjoy or do you roll your eyes a bit reading it?! Let me know! Drop a comment!!

Have a wonderful day and week ahead, posting will be once a week unless something pressing arrives and I can’t wait to share it. Drink your water, get the fresh air and enjoy the little moments!!

Writing Woes

Well, happy December 1st! We made it! I hope you all are fairing well and whatever may be happening in your day to day isn’t too stressful and overwhelming. I know with the way the world is right now, everyone is struggling in different but significant ways. So hang in there!!

Ever feel like your writing is just… crap? Yea?! I’m right there too. I’m 3/4 of the way done with my novel… phew that’s huge! Except, I hit a huge wall in my storyline. Certain things are out of place, there’s a few plot holes that need fixing, and the pacing is a bit rough. And I’ve got 25k left to write. Yikes!!!

BUT THAT’S OKAY!!!! It’s a rough draft for a reason!! (I keep reminding myself that but I’m still struggling…)

Apparently the message I received last week about my snippet (which I discuss under “When someone “helps.”) apparently that is still getting to me. Psyching me out. I will admit my confidence is fragile with the novel. I’m trying really hard to get it in check. And go easy on myself. That’s really hard for me though.

I’m tempted to edit what I have so far, I think it’ll give me a better idea on where to go in the end. I know how it ends… I just can’t seem to get there yet. Frustrating.

Outlining and planning have been my friend in the past, so maybe I can get away with doing that for the end and hold off on editing. I’m not sure. I’m merely venting and sharing my woes.

You’re not alone. Write the thing. You got this.

Enjoy the day and keep pressing forward. You’ve got this. Today is short and sweet. Talk to ya later!

Found this on Pinterest.

When Someone “Helps”

Today I’d like to talk about something that I’ve personally experienced. Something I find can be counterproductive to the less confident writer and unless it’s handled properly can come off quite abrasive.

Unsolicited advice, critiques, suggestions… however you want to word it, whatever you want to call it… it can be really quite annoying and a bit damaging to the delicate confidence of a writer.

Now while I am quite confident in my poetry, I stand by my writing and voice when I write poetry, the novel I’m working on is a different story. I often suffer from imposter syndrome, I lack confidence and am overly critical of my skill as a novelist. So when someone decides to share their opinion or critique of a post or excerpt it can really take some rallying to pump myself up afterwards. While I am sure this person was completely harmless in their suggestions and overall was doing so from a good place, I wonder though is it even necessary?

I ask this because well… for starters, it’s a first draft, it’s a rough first draft, there will be errors, there will be things that need fixing. If that had been taken into account, is the advice helpful? Probably not. You’re doing more damage to that insecure writer rather than lifting them up.

Am I going to continue writing? Absolutely!! Am I going to try to edit the excerpts as best as I can before posting them so no one can come at me with this advice… yup!!

The moral of the story. Think twice before opening your mouth to a writer… I mean it.

Have you received unsolicited advice that was counterproductive? More harm than good? Let me know in the comments.

As always, drink your water, take your Turkey out of the freezer if you’re cooking one and stay well.