To Blog or Not to Blog…Does it matter as long as a writer writes?

Eva Acharya:

As I sit here contemplating my own Author platform, here’s another writer’s thoughts on the same thing.

Originally posted on Kate Dancey:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA image: Graphics1796

So you’ve taken the first steps toward writing a novel. Me too! And might I add; holy carpel tunnel, what an undertaking.  Aside from a novella pubbed with a small house, and a self pubbed short story, I’m new to the journey of writing longer bodies of work. And now that I’ve got a couple of novels closing in on completion, I’m revisiting the notion of blogging before the novel is finished. Why blog before you’re writing journey is finished? Let’s explore that idea, because if you, like me are already writing every night, you need a reason to take that next step, and write some more!

So, do you really need a blog or website?  I’m tempted to answer, “HELL YES”, but that gets us nowhere. It is also a short answer for a long journey. Ask yourself two questions to determine if having a blog or…

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Writing style: Long-handed writing

How prevalent are computers and tablets, and little ‘Note’ apps on phones? Pretty much everywhere. You’d think they’d put notebook makers and other paper product out of business, but, luckily, we can still enjoy a well bound and finished notebook in our hands. 

I tell people I write and they immediately assume I write straight onto the digital page. When I say ‘No, I actually psychically write my books on paper’, the mouths fly open. It’s something people can’t fathom a writer doing in the modern digital age, but I’m not the only one. There are lots of writers out there that like writing with a pen in hand. I LOVE it. The only time I’ll use a computer is to type up the story I’ve written longhand.
It sounds crazy but it’s true. The reason I do it is several, but here are just a few you might like to hear:

1) I write faster than I type,

2) I can actually focus on the story and not the screen. Writing by hand is obviously more natural than staring at the distracting screen, 

3) It feels more free, and comfortable,

4) I can take it anywhere, no chargers needed and is often lighter than the laptop,

5) It’s how writing has been done through the ages and I like being part of that club,

6) I’m not tempted to edit what I just wrote, therefore keeps me focused on getting more writing done than fussing over mistakes I can mend later, hence, helps me keep pace,

7) Is a lot calming; studies have proven that people using their computers and phones before bed struggle to fall asleep, and I tend to do most of my writing before bed.

Fact about my previous books: 
1) In Strange Company took me 5 years on and off to write and a few more on and off to edit. It also took about 700 sheets of A4 lined paper.
2) Rule of Thirds took me a year to write, and 7x250page notebooks. ( Releasing later in August)
3) A Million Smiles for June, I started writing this late last year and am still going, on and off between my studies and film attempts. So far, I’m on chapter 13, notebook #2, and I already have about 6-7 notebooks ‘handy’ should I need them.
What I want to own one day?: A classic typewriter.
(Something about sitting at a typewriter and punching out a book has such an attractive appeal to it.) 
How do you write? And most importantly, what do you use to write?

Battle brave

  

‘It’s impossible,’ said Pride,

for it puffed it’s wee chest out in the winter chill,

forever thinking he were right.
‘It’s risky, dear, not impossible,’ chimed Experience,

for she knew what she was talking about, of course.

How dare you think otherwise? Her eyes warned.
Reason hung her tiny little head, low,

and whispered, ‘Why, it’s simply pointless. Pointless. We may as well turn around and go now.

For she knew there was no getting through, the mind was already made up it seemed.
Heart stood by all this time, 

as quiet as a mouse. It stepped forward and whispered, ‘May I try?’

The other three shrugged.

Heart smiled, and stepped on the heavy shoulders. 

‘Why don’t you just try?’
The Person turned, wracked with nerves, and stared.

‘Try?’ Heart simply nodded.

‘Why don’t you just try?’ The person mumbled, 

unconsciously stepping away from the ledge.

(Hopefully you enjoyed that. Just a quickie announcement: I do have a Pinterest account you savvy folks are invited too. :D I’m starting to build a feels board full of clues for my next book release happening around August.

http://www.pinterest.com/evacharya)
See you there (too!)

Fear Vs Regret: You call yourself a writer?

  

I loved this quote when I came across it on Pinterest trying to find pins to put on my ‘Rule of Thirds’ ChickLit concept board. Yes, I’m attempting to Pinterest. Can’t say I have tried it before, though I was signed up with it more than a year ago. Never really saw how I could use it to drum up interest for my book(s). But, ever since I came away from a day seminar at the Sydney Writer’s Festival last month, I may have been inspired to try it in a way I never thought about. Use it to create a page/board (still learning it’s lingo here) for the book/story in mind, helping create the look/feel of the novel. So, for the last week, I’ve been searching pins for weddings, love, romance, mother-daughter etc. and still going. Don’t know if it’s been at all successful but can’t hurt to try. 
What was the point of telling you all that? Well, as writers, and truly anyone who has a job that gets them or their product in front of strangers, go through this regardless of the career path you choose. We are held back by fear. Our potential squashed ruthlessly by the little devil that sits on our shoulders, and whispers ‘it’s not good enough’. Let’s give it a flick off our shoulders. Time to free them shoulders!
I believe regret is a painful thing to go through in life, but I’ve also realized personally that fear is the only thing that usually causes one to have regrets in the first place. 
If you fear about what people will think, then try and divert that fear to but what if they like it. You can’t please every one. This is not Pleasantville. 
I’m going to try and not fear too much about too much from now on, or at least attempt. After all, I’ve come so far from being that tiny girl who questioned whether I could even wield enough command to handle directing film cast and crew as short as 12 months ago. And now, I have made at least 4 short films, have 3 others in the works and a major feature in the planning. And most of all, those lovely folks who gave me and my tiny stories a go are eager to work with me again as I am eager to work with them too. What was holding me back all those years after finishing my study? Fear. What was I doing every single day till that fateful day after Valentine’s Day last year? Regret. Regret not having enough guts to go ‘hell, I’m gonna try before I die’. That was pretty much what gave me a final push, whether I was willing to let go of a dream and regret it all my life, or whether I was gonna give it a try. I voted for try, and try I did. Firstly, I released my debut novel despite fear of criticism. Then, wrote my first short film and took it by its horns. 
It is my deepest belief that one is not a writer until someone else gives you that title. Before this, I used to say I want to be a writer. Nowadays, I say I am a freelance writer and filmmaker. It feels bloody good to be able to say that. 
I may not be known yet, I may not have the whole skill set yet, but I am learning, I am trying, and most of all, I am happy. So, do yourself a favor. If I can give you one advice then it is this: truly try before you give up on a dream, you never know the strength that lies in you till you hit that fork in the road and you must choose. Choose wisely and give it all you got. 

All my best to you. 

The challenges of becoming a ‘Writer’

I read the ‘Writer’s Manifesto’ on my Facebook feed today and had to share it with you. It has everything to do with what I’m talking about today, if not more.

 
The challenges of becoming a ‘Writer’
It’s an elusive club filled with so many members we aspire to be like. But how do we get in, and what’s playing the big bad guy in our lives that keeps making us push against the door when it says pull? 
The answer to that question? I have no freaking idea. I’m one of those staring into the club through the glass door wondering how to get in. But, I have a theory. A string of thoughts rather that may have been thought by you already, about why it is that becoming a writer is harder than thinking about become a surgeon? (Which I have thought about once very briefly.) Not hard in the sense that we have to study such a complex and thorough subject for years but because at least in deciding you want to be a surgeon, or an engineer, or teacher etc (many more profession), the plan is laid out. You go through the set plan, through a University, you graduate, and you are ready for the workplace. Soon you get hired as a junior staff and then you’re in the club of your choice.
Writing. There is simply no clear plan for us to follow. Yeah, sure, we can go to university and get a degree in creative writing, but then we have to show them our work before we even get a chance to grovel for work experience. 
But that’s a problem for later on. The initial problem we face is ourselves. Are we doing all we can to get qualified for this club? Are we going about it the right way? After all submitting our works we think are grand is still not going to get it picked up by a publishing house. 
Firstly, we gotta write! We have to write, and not things that have already been written. Yes, pretty much every story has already been told but we have to find a way to make it new, spruce it up etc. The indicator of this is that when we are excited by the story itself, not about writing it because their must be someone out there who would want to read it. Are we EXCITED? If yes, we must go ahead and write that darn thing. If we are not, the. We must stop! Immediately. Take time, walk away and find another story that inspires us regardless of how long you already spent on one story. 
Secondly, write it with dedication. We must make a promise to ourselves and give ourselves a deadline. Finish that thing first and worry about the mistakes later. If we are not good at editing (I certainly am not) that’s what other professional editors are for. Just get the story on the page, make it pulse, and then read it front to back. Yes, we must read our own work! 

 

If we survive this process, better yet if the Story survives this, then send it to be proofread. 
Sometimes, we are our own obstacles. We harbor doubts and fears that hold us back. Such was my case. I held onto a finished book for years because I feared people’s reaction to it. What if they thought it was a stupid story? What if they think I write like a child? What if? What if? So many of them. Eventually I started doubting whether I truly wanted to be an author? Was I ready to be studied and questioned by people? 
The answer was not in these questions. The answer was in whether this was something I really wanted. And yes, it was. Is it for you?
Nowadays, I battle other things, like study, filmmaking, freelance work, job hunt amongst preparing the next book for release as well as writing various scripts and working on the third novel etc, all vying for my time. It’s no wonder writing is a struggle, unless you could do it full time (and what a blessing that would be). But that’s a long way away yet. Long way indeed.
The other massive challenge, one I struggle to comprehend and execute well enough is marketing. It’s a beast that’s completely frightening and fluid. My next challenge is to understand this beast in amongst all this chaos and questioning. 
My target, as an author is to release my next book by late August, all done up and ready, trailing on the footsteps of any marketing strategies I might tackle. Just very nervous and wondering a whole lot of what if questions once again. 
If you are trying to be a writer or are already one, you will understand this struggle. One piece of advise I can give if I may is to keep trying. Keep trying because regretting giving up ones dream later on will be a torture in itself and not worth it. 
You work, then keep working but don’t let that take your writing from you. I had reached a point in life where I had made peace with the fact that my writing may only be just for me, but it still gave me joy. So I carried on. I’m still carrying on, hoping one day others will call me a writer/author and not just myself. 
I think I may print out a large sheet of the manifesto and hang it on the wall my bed faces. Just something to set the mind on track every morning. So here is to stop making excuses, to stop feeding fear, but to strive for it and hope for the best… As scary and exciting as it is.

Cover art progress and my blog in general

  

This is as far as I got today. The dress is filled out. I just have to add depth to it. Then there is the gaping grass and sky. After which, it will be safe to say the painting is ready and I better hustle with the final proofreading of the book. There are 29 chapters and I’m leisurely gotten to 12. 
The first image is the section I’ll probably use, and the second is the whole canvas, minus the black bits. What do you say? Good cover image so far? Striking? Would you pick it up out of others on an Amazon page? 

 

Also, on a completely off base, I’m about to rearrange and overhaul my blog. I think it needs a bit of sprucing and getting looked after. I’m not the most savvy blogger out here, so I’d really appreciate if any of you feel like sharing your best advice on what a blog needs and what it doesn’t etc, and if you have any advice on how to increase more traffic, I’ll be forever grateful! 

Cover art for next book ‘Rule of Thirds': in progress

  

Ok, here’s the thing. This entire painting follows the psychology of colours that appeal to the female demographic, as well as being based around the theme of the book. It features the main protagonist in a symbolic way that represents her stance in life. The painting also depicts clues of where the story is based etc. 
How is she looking? 

The Night Thief

Black D. That’s what she had chosen as her call name. With a name like that, she was sure she’d be someone people would be scared of. And so they should. She had had enough of this bullshit in life. She wanted more, and if she had to turn to tricks to get what she wanted then so be it.
With this particular thought, Black D rolled down her black balaclava over her face, pulled on her woolen mitts over her hand as she didn’t want to leave fingerprints of course, then she zipped up her windshield jacket and snuck out of the front door into the quite night of the village fast asleep in their warm beds. Their warm comfy beds, with their warm comfy partners and pretty things like their mothers valued China tea pot! Ugh. 
Black D shook the doubts from her mind and snuck over to the small cottage across the road. Her first target. She knew the lady of the house was away tonight for her recon works previously. She knew where the old bat stores her spare key too for good measure. A dumb gnome in her front porch missing the tip of its ceramic cap. 
Black D looked around to make sure she wasn’t being watched. Then she reached for the gnome, fished out the key and let herself into the house. It was tiny. Ended before it even began. Would make things easy for her she supposed. Tiny lounge, attached tiny kitchen cum dining, then a bedroom door and a bathroom door.
She headed for the bedroom, pulling out her small pen torch and set about searching for valuables. She rummaged through the wardrobe, under the mattress, in old shoes and tiny jewelry boxes. Nothing stood out, u tip it was that an old gold pocket watch in mint condition glinted from the folds of overly large granny panties. She fished it out and admired it. Gorgeous thing it was. She slipped it into her pocket and made haste out of the house before anyone caught on. These old folks were tardy that way, waking at ugly hours of the morning. 
She wasn’t entirely happy when she closed the front door quietly behind her. Where were the other valuables? In anger, she pushed the gnome over and heard a faint crack. Good. She stuffed the key back and stole across the road once more.
It was a good day later before the home owner arrived and soon the ruckus of alarming ‘I’ve been robbed’ sounded. Black D, still innocently casing her next victim smiled a small smile as she heard the cries of help. ‘I’ve lost my father’s old watch! Someone stole it!’

Black D walked up to the house and joined the huddle. ‘Was anything else stolen?’
‘No.’
‘Then how do you know you’ve been robbed?’
The lady stood straight and tried to peer at the crowd. Obviously trying to see what the query was from. ‘Because gnomey here is broken…. And, and I can’t find the watch.’
‘Perhaps you misplaced it.’
‘No. No. Who said that?’
By the time people were looking around, Black D had slipped out of the throng and was just another passed by. A passerby with a sinister smirk.
That night she was going to do it all over again. A new target had been found. 

[Today’s prompt: a thief, and they lose something of value.]

Rule of Thirds, new novel, new art

I have started  a new painting specifically with the intention of using the image for my book cover for the next book. I wasn’t joking earlier when I said I will be releasing a new novel in the coming month or so. 
 It’s too wet still for me to continue painting in it tonight, but what do you think? 
 

Next book release: Need help!

Writing is not an easy thing, and sitting here thinking about releasing a book is daunting. I guess having previously published my first novel, it does not make it easy with the consecutive releases, does it? Don’t really know why I’m nervous, but I am. I’m worrying about preparing the final draft. I’m worried about how the blurb sounds (which I’ve re-written and re-written so many times, that now I can no longer tell if I’ve made much difference to it). I’m also worried about making the cover page that will do the book justice. I’ve also been contemplating whether I should go ahead with the crazy idea that I might paint some art work for use in the cover, like I did with my first book. Or whether I should hire a graphic designer. Or whether the story is even ready, though it’s been finished for over a year now. I’m worried about taking on some advice by editors that doesn’t sit right with me, or whether I should concede that they know better than I?

So many questions indeed, and that’s not all of them either. I don’t think self-publishing should be taken lightly. I mean, its like pretending I know everything there is to know about the publishing world, when really, I’m just a writer who wishes I could just focus on my craft than the business side of things. So here I am, turning once more to you lot :)

Want to help me out in the construction of my next release? A ChickLit that some people haven’t been able to put down once they’ve picked it up? :) It’s called Rule of Thirds and it’s my first romantically inclined modern-day story. I’m very proud of it too. It’s something that was inspired by a real-life story, and I couldn’t help but jump up and down when I finished writing it. Its written in third-person, and follows a past/present/past parallel story telling. I really feel the structure is essential for the story, as do about 90% of all beta readers. But an editor has told me I could do away with the past. Which absolutely doesn’t feel right to me.

Therefore me screaming out HELP!

I’m going to be trialling my blurb, cover samples as well as some chapters with you in the hope that you’ll be able to help me chose the best ones. So here goes nothing.

First of all, here is the most current blurb. Please let me know if it’s strong, or weak:

Once on a rise and now a reluctant wedding photographer, Elle Grace isn’t sure about any of her recent decisions, especially the decision to take Dean Stewart on as one of her top clients. In fact, the young mother of one is sure it’s the worst decision she could make. After all, falling for a client was not on her list of things to do when she left her old life and moved to a country town, a total stranger. A stranger whose only aim had been one of obscurity.

Will Elle succeed in keeping Dean Stewart strictly a client, or will her wandering eyes and heart render her efforts completely wasted?

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