Posted in writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

The Fear of Imperfection

One of my students this spring was interested in writing for magazines, but felt held back by her fear of putting something out there that wasn’t perfect. She wanted my advice on how to overcome that.

Honestly, that’s a really hard thing to give advice on, because every writer is different.

I’m going to attempt it anyway!

#1: Realize no one’s work is perfect

DeathtoStock_Clementine9.jpgYou’re not the only one who makes mistakes. We all do. While I was on a panel at Denver Comic Con last year, we were all asked what was the biggest mistake we ever made in a book. Jim Butcher was on that panel as well (which was seriously the highlight of that entire weekend!) and he said when writing the early Dresden Files books, he didn’t have the income to visit Chicago, where the books are set, and wrote a scene with characters meeting in the parking lot of the baseball stadium. Problem was, that stadium was built before the majority of people had cars. Hence: it has no parking lot.

If you need more examples…check out THIS LIST of the best/worst plot holes in movies. You could literally spend all day watching or reading similar lists.

#2: Waiting on perfection = Missed opportunities

Perfection is unattainable. In life, and in writing. No matter how many times you read your article, book, or story, there will be something you want to change, tweak, fix, whatever. It will never be done. At some point, you simply have to be DONE. Do your best, and then put it forward. I know authors who refuse to ever read their own books again once they’re published. If they do, they’ll want to go back and change it.

#3: You’re your own Worst Critic

This can be a good thing when working through plot holes or character inconsistencies. When it comes to nitpicking your own writing, you will drive yourself crazy before you’re satisfied. Writers are often too close to their own work by the time they get to that final stage of editing. One word or comma likely won’t make the different between success and failure.

#4: Failing is OKAY

If you put out an article or book and it gets ZERO view or buys, is that the end? No, it’s a hurdle you just jumped over. Whether you breakout from day one or have to slog through mediocrity to achieve something better (like the majority of us) you’re on your way. That typo in your first paid blogpost, or character you forgot existed and was never heard from again, are a right of passage. We’ve all done it, and laugh about it later.

Never putting anything out there DOES mean you’ll never have to face rejection. It also means you’ll never get that message from a reader who loved what you wrote and wanted to thank you for sharing it with them. Those come a lot more often than the obnoxious ones pointing out that one typo.

Posted in the ghost host, writing

The Plus Side of Insomnia

I had some book goals for the beginning of 2015…and then my husband and I decided to sell our house, so everything book related happily got put on hold in the face of the excitement of moving.

We’re all pretty pumped about moving next month. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly!
giphy

So, back to insomnia.

Moving is stressful. Well, trying to sell your house and keep it clean with two kids and a dog who is constantly eating crap he should and having…shall we call it intestinal troubles?…that’s stressful. My hubby and I had a tough time keeping up with that in addition to all the other craziness of inspections, offers, surveying, and on and on.

You’d think all that would make you fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow, but not so much. When I get stressed, I don’t sleep well.

What do I do while I’m lying there staring into the darkness?

PLOT

Sounds ominous, right? I’m not talking revenge or mayhem. I’m talking BOOKS.

With all the hoopla of the last few months…

giphy (1)

I haven’t done much writing, or marketing, or anything actually book related. The last week or so, with all the insomnia I’ve been having, I have at least had the chance to work out the kinks I had been stumped with on The Ghost Host.

Ghost Host Title

What’s been bugging me about The Ghost Host?

Trying to capture the decision making skills of a troubled 18-year-old girl on her own for the first time.

She thinks she has things under control. Her friends are with her. A guy she really likes has promised to protect her. She and the ghost who’s stalking her seem to be on decent terms for the moment, and the FBI is actually looking like a good move.

Echo doesn’t actually have anything under control, and I was too the point in the story where things needed to start unraveling but I wasn’t sure how to do that. How exactly does a girl in that situation react when her first boyfriend, first time on her own, first kind of job, and first time trying to handle the ghosts on her own?

I finally figured it out.

She makes a lot of mistakes.

So, now that I’m finally making progress on The Ghost Host again, I can hopefully finish the last quarter of the book a start making plans for a summer release.

So, keep checking back to see what trouble Echo and the ghosts manage to get themselves into.