Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Pushes You to Write?

I have really been struggling. I have one manuscript finished - getting reviewed by an Editor. This is sort of nerve racking.

My second manuscript is currently going through an overhaul. Fun. Fun.

Sometimes I feel like I'm pushing against the impossible.

I haven't written anything in a few months and am drooling to getting back to what I love.

In the last few months, I’ve been asked why I continue writing if I'm not yet published.  I've been asked this question or something similar several times.  Initially it was someone who really wanted to know how I get motivated. It seemed that they were searching for their own brand of motivation.  In my opinion, determination is much more useful than motivation.

Of course initially I was upset.  But after thinking about it...this is a logical yet misguided question. Everyone wants to succeed at a passion. Maybe it is piano (which I am terrible at) or sports or something else. Not everyone will be Beethoven or Picasso.  But does that mean we don't try.  If we spend our lives comparing our work with someone else s...we will be dissatisfied and a failure.

In the end, I write for me.  It is fun and a way to express myself. If my only goal is to be published or make money than I could be in trouble. The good thing, being published is only one of my goals.

So I decided to come up with several reasons why I write:

1.) Because I can.

2.) I want to change the world – some authors have been so blessed to write something that actually changes the world, even stopping it at times.  Who wouldn’t want this?

3.) I want something my kids can be proud of.

4.) It is in my mind, I just need to get it out.

5.) I love to learn, I love to improve.

6.) I have a dream of getting published.

7.) I want to make money.

8.) I want to see my book on the shelves of a bookstore.

9.) It is such a blast to do.  (Most of the time)

10.) It is far better than editing.

Feel free to add your own reasons to write.  It is an amazing thing to do. What motivates you?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Battle that Starts on the First Page

Who knew that the real estate on the first page was so important. I learned this, dramatically, at the Pikes Peak Writing Conference. I was hammered during one of the critique sessions and I am glad I was.

Imagine standing in front of 30 or so other writers and having an editor give your first page the once over as you read it aloud. I had worked hard on the first page before and thought that I had a good point of view (POV), no spelling mistakes, an identifiable character and I introduced a pending doom. My mistakes ended up being large and plentiful.

I don't think the writing itself was horrible, but maybe it was. My real problem was where to begin the story. A previous conference suggested crescendo during the first chapter and ending with a bang. I think that this still can be done, but my issue was that I didn't have a good hook for the reader. I started with a scene eluding to a disaster - not bad - but then I went into a description of my protagonist - very bad - . It didn't end up going well. Therefore - this begs the question: Would you ever put down a book after reading just the first page, first paragraph, and maybe even the first sentence? If so, then you would agree that the real estate on that first page is so important. As I am constantly editing my manuscript - I've noticed a tendency to come back to that first page or first chapter - in order to ensure that everything is exactly how I want it. It's the make it or break it foot in the door. What pressure!

As I rewrite the first page over and over again - I try to keep my sense of where I think the book should start and the vast information that I learned and the experiences I had. I hope that my first page is becoming stronger and stronger. It certainly needs to be. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Much Needed Vacation - Slopes of Utah

I was so blessed last week to have escaped the day job and to escape to the mountains. We have been planning this little vacation since before Thanksgiving. We planned on one and a half days of ski lessons and a day and a half of time on the real mountain. I was worried about some aches and pains. But I was really worried on how the kids would do. They did so much better than we did. They got along with their instructor and she took the time to really go one-on-one in teaching them. After two days, they were skiing better than we were.  Take a look at some of our pictures.

What a blast we had. Skiing is such a fun thing to do. Unfortunately - we went during some of the coldest weather Utah has seen in many years. The last picture - the inversion was so bad that the clouds looked like a storm in SLC. In fact, it was pollution. My asthma was loving it up in the fresh air.