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Friday, March 14, 2008

Writing Mentors

The past few weeks--no--months have been a blur. Ideally, you want to have one book in edits, one book in progress and one being promoted at any given time. Maybe I haven't learned to juggle my time well enough, but I'm finding it almost debilitating.

Part of the difficulty is that I am such a focused individual. I can only concentrate on one task at a time and I try to accomplish my goals the best I can. So having to juggle three things at once feels formidable on a good day, let alone a bad one.

My current wip is finished though I need to read through it again because it's only the first draft and I don't want to put my crit partners into unnecessary coronaries. "Touch Of Fire" is with the editor. She thinks we'll be finished with edits by the end of the month and I am thrilled to hear it. Promotion for said book is still in the works.

I know what I want to accomplish but I'm having a hard time finding any spare time. I have a full time job as well as a few freelance gigs for extra cash. Can you say, "stretched thin"?

I keep repeating to myself, "where there's a will, there's a way". Sherrill Quinn is proof of that. She had a post yesterday where she said she wrote more than half a million words last year alone. Half a million! Is that not incredible? And she's multi-published too, so these are words that are making a profit. Those are VERY good words.

Maya Reynolds is another fine example. Her five year plan is an inspiration. She always makes me feel that my goals are attainable. It gives me faith in myself to get out there one more day. And I think that's the most important element to have in one's soul. Without self-confidence you might as well hang up your spurs, because no one is going to hold your hand in this business.

I have to mention Josephine Damian too. She said something on this blog recently that really made an impression on me. She said: she wasn't afraid to have strong opinions. I think that's an attribute that's common among the writers/bloggers I admire.

For the longest time, I held back my opinions thinking I was too "new" to have much of an impact, but Josie made me realize that was a mistake. It's having an opinion--that is--an informed, well considered opinion and not just a rant, that makes the difference between a respected writer and the writer we all roll our eyes at whenever s/he opens his mouth.

Mark Terry, who I've been reading for a while now is someone I've learned from too. He had a blog post that made me laugh out loud. Nathan Bransford asked what was your goal as a writer. After reading several responses, Mark wrote: … there seemed to be an awful lot of free-floating obsessive-compulsive disorders out there with the predominant response being, "I have to write. I just have to."

I nearly split a gut because he said what I've always thought. And he reminded me that no amount of planning and no amount of words will ever replace what's really important in life.

He made me realize that not only is it important to treat publishing as a business, but also to keep it in perspective. Writing, believe it or not, is not at the top of my list. The people I love--are.

That's what keeps me going. I try to incorporate Sherrill's determination, Maya's strategies, Josie's candor, and Mark's balance in the hopes that I'll find some middle ground--and some small success of my own.

There're an awful lot of good people in this industry. You just have to be willing to meet them half way.

Good news: My friend, Carol Burge signed with Lyrical Press, Inc. for her book "Dangerous Desires". Way to go, Carol!


Josephine Damian said...

Maria, thanks again for the shout out.

Have you read Steve Weber's book "Plug Your Book Online?" You might find some promotional tips you never considered. He's real big on myspace, so be sure to friend him.

I see you've changed your myspace avatar to that way hot book cover. So many writers are saddled with bad book covers, and you are so lucky to have a good one.

Do not underestimate the power of a great book cover!

The Absolute Write website is hugely popular. You might find some promotional opportunities there too.

Pets? Perhaps it's time for a new baby? A rescue pup? That'll might ease the loss of Chelly, or at least distract you from dwelling on it as much.

Maria Zannini said...

I love Absolute Write, but it's so big, it's hard to see everything that's of interest.

Ironically, I was visiting them this morning. You must be sending to me telepathically. LOL.

Ref: Pets
Greg's been looking for another rescue. I don't think I'm ready, but then I never am after losing a pet. Greg always proves me wrong and I end up falling in love all over again.