Monday, September 26, 2011

I know two heads are better than one. Does that apply to writing projects?

So there I was driving along in my car on the way home from a family outing, my husband asleep in the passenger seat, my kids snoozing in the back.  The music was low.  I was twirling my hair not thinking about much of anything, letting my thoughts go where they would then KABLAM! An idea for a book.

And there I was with nothing to write on, nothing to record with, hoping I could hold onto the contents of my brainpan through the rest of drive and the long process of bedtime.  I clung on with all my strength, conserved thought energy by responding to my husband and children with noncommital grunts then dashed to my laptop the moment the last goodnight kiss had been given.

I pounded out my ideas and thought 'Okay, well that's that.  Now I know what I'm going to be working on when my WIP is done."  Or so I thought.  That idea rattled and tapped around in my head, tantalized me with its newness, its potential, its mystery until I finally said, 'I give!' So now I'm working on two projects; one revision, one first draft.  It's the first time I've ever done this and I'm a little nervous.  My main concern is that the projects might bleed into one another and they are so very different I don't want one to compromise the other.  For those of you who have or are right now working on dual projects, how do you prevent crossover?  And do you give both projects equal time or do you let your muse dictate which one you work on and when?  Any advice would be much appreciated.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creative paralysis

I've been attempting to edit my WIP since May.  Yesterday I finally reached Chapter 4.  That's a chapter a month.  That's pretty sad.  Granted, I moved from Colorado to Idaho in that time, but that's not the reason my edit is moving along at the pace of an octogenarian. 

In May, I submitted Seeds to Jennifer Weltz and was all afire to get to the edit of WIP so I could have it ready and waiting when she signed me and asked what else I had.  Optimistic thinking to the point of delusion?  Of course it was, but it never hurts to be prepared.  However, every time I opened my WIP to do what I had to to have it ready to hand over to Ms. Weltz, I was seized by an inexplicable fatigue, which was quickly followed by a sense of ennui and then somehow I ended up on facebook chatting with one of my old college roommates or taking the neverending book quiz on goodreads. I thought this had something to do with the fact that I was supremely unhappy with the place I was living at the time.

After I moved back to Idaho and put the depression inducing time in Greeley behind me I opened my WIP and blazed through edits on the first two chapters in a week.  Yes, I thought, here we go.  I'm finally picking up some momentum on this thing.  Then I got the rejection from Ms. Weltz and suddenly there I was fatigued, bored, distracted, spending more time on MSN games than my WIP.  I couldn't figure out whas was wrong or how to get past it and I hated it.

Then just last week I stumbled on this post by YA author Mette Ivie Harrison and in the same week this one by YA author Elana Johnson.  Both posts talk about how writing for publication is much different than writing for themselves and how they both tend freeze up when writing for publication because they're worrying what their agents, editors, fans and critics will have to say.  Both have a project on the side that's just for them, where they don't worry about what others are going to think of it because no one else is ever going to see it.

I kept thinking about these posts, feeling like there was something important there.  Then it suddenly came to me, even though I wasn't agented or published my paralysis on my WIP stemmed from the same source as Mette and Elana's.  When working on my WIP while Ms. Weltz had Seeds I had been worrying she wouldn't like it because it was very different from Seeds and wouldn't help me 'build my brand'.  After she rejected Seeds I began to worry that no one anywhere, ever would like my writing enough to publish it or, hell, enough to even read it.  Bingo, perfect recipe for creative paralysis. 

So I had a little pep talk with myself, told myself the only thing I might ever get out of my writing was my own enjoyment and that was more than okay.  I stopped worrying about what those faceless, amorphous agents would think and finally, finally I opened my WIP with the same sense of anticipation and enjoyment that has been so woefully absent the past four months.  I edited two more chapters this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Conclusion, I need to write for myself, because if I don't I can't seem to write at all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If I Could Be Anyone, I'd Be . . . .

It's Watching Willow Watts launch day!  Hooray for Talli and her book!  In the spirit of Willow, Talli asked anyone who wants to participate in Willow's launch to put on their blog who they'd be if they could be anyone.
I put a lot of thought into this (probably way more than I needed to) and honestly, I hope this doesn't sound incredibly narcissistic (I know it's going to sound a teeny bit narcissistic), I'd be myself.  Not myself of today, but myself of fifteen or so years ago.   Yep, I'd be that girl right there (despite the bad hair and serious overplucked eyebrows and questionable fashion sense).  And here's why.  That girl has a lot of great days ahead of her, lots of adventures, lots of great people to become friends with, lots of lessons to learn, lots of dreams to dream.  And I hope in another fifteen years, I'll wish I could be the me of today for the very same reasons. 

So there you have it, who I'd be if I could be anyone. 

If this little post has peaked your interest in Talli's book, I invite you to pop on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy of it.  If you'd like a little more info before purchasing feel free to check out my review of Willow. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Watching Willow Watts Review!

I didn't even realize yesterday was Monday and my regularly scheduled posting day until 11:30ish last night.  A little late for posting, I thought, so my post this week (obviously) is going to be on Tuesday instead.

And have I got a post for you.  I got the privilege and pleasure of reading an ARC of Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts and I really enjoyed it, but I'd like to expound more below, so read on if you're interested in a more in-depth opinion.

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

With a premise like that I don’t know how you could not want to read this book.  And it lives up to the promise of its premise.  Told from the differing viewpoints of its great cast of characters you’re introduced to lovable and endearing Willow who’s given up her dreams to take care of her father and his foundering antique shop.  You also get to meet Jay Bellamy, a villanous agent you’ll love to hate.  There’s Cissy Havering an aged, bitter, ex (sort of) starlet and Willow’s unlikely savior and, finally my favorite, Betts Johnson, middle-aged, ample waisted, Southern divorcee who is at the mercy of her ungrateful grown children and finds solace in her Marilyn memorabilia.  All these folks are brought together by the ‘new’ Marilyn aka Willow in Belcherton, Britain’s ugliest village.

With laugh out loud moments and a thread of a romance running through it, Watching Willow Watts is a very enjoyable read.  And though it starts out as a light hearted romp the book poignantly delivers the message that not only should you be true to who you are, you also shouldn’t let anyone else dictate your individuality, no matter the cost.

Willow releases on Kindle on September 14th and you can buy it here

Next week instead of posting on the 12th, I'm going to be posting on Wednesday ther 14th as part of Talli's If I Could Be Anyone I'd Be . . . . party celebrating Willow's launch.  It's going to be tons of fun, so if you're not already planning on participating hit up Talli's blog to find out how you can be a part of it too.