Is Your Heart in it for the Long Haul?

There you are…smack dab in the middle of a long project. The electric that was in the air during the thrilling newness of it has the spark of, well, a sock with static cling attached to a pant leg. And the finish line seems a million miles (or weeks, or words) away. Here is where you have a choice to make: do I have the heart to stick this out for the long haul, or do I move on?

This feeling is normal in many jobs but especially so in our field. Whether you are a writer, an editor, or a publisher, you are constantly challenged to stay motivated. Many of our projects take months, often up to a year or more, to complete. Couple that with the fact most of us do this work as a second job or a hobby and it can be hard to not only find time but also stay interested and motivated.

If you decide to stick with the project, here are a few things you can do to keep going.

  • Set smaller goals to meet on the way to project completion. Write them down with a firm deadline date. Then, once you’ve reached the goal, do something to celebrate.
  • Get other people involved. This field tends to get a bit solitary. Get interaction (and accountability!) through writing groups or other types of peer review.
  • Take a break. If you need to step away from a project, take some time to research, do some planning, or begin your marketing. That way, you’re still moving forward.

What other methods do you use to keep motivated over the long haul? Leave a comment!


Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your…eBook?

This week, I found an article on the Kindle Lending Library, where readers can borrow your ebook through Amazon/their local library. 

Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books

As a writer, how do you feel about this program? Vote on our poll or leave a comment!

Who Are Your Favorite Poets?

Just when you think spring can’t get any better, you look on your calendar (well…at least on my calendar!) to discover April marks the beginning of National Poetry Month, a time dedicated to celebrating and recognizing poems and poets. Since poetry has a special place near and dear to my heart, I thought I might share links to a few books that I think are great! What are your favorite books, and who are your favorite poets? Why? Leave a comment!

The Hell with Love: Poems to Mend a Broken Heart:  A reminder that poetry can be fun!

Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West: Beautiful, passionate poems.

100 Selected Poems: Just because I like e.e. cummings.

What We Carry: Real poems from a real (amazing) poet.

River of Stars: A wonderful collection of poems by our very own Vonnie Winslow Crist!

E.B. White & Planning a Sunday Afternoon

I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. This makes planning the day difficult. ~E.B. White

I started writing this blog with the good intentions of making it a technical piece, a nuts-and-bolts guide to something dealing with the business of writing. When I saw this quote, I knew that today was not the day to write such a thing.

As a (new) publisher, I like the idea that every morning is a new beginning, my “do-over” from the challenges of the day before. There is a whole new day ahead of me where I can make better choices and be creative and do something for someone else—even in my very own, tiny way. Maybe those things sorts of things don’t change the entire world, but it’s awfully nice to see the look on a writer’s face the first time they see their book in print!

There are also a lot of other good times that come with this new endeavor. I’ve met some amazing people I might never have met, attended events I might never have attended, and taken risks I might never have otherwise taken. Last Sunday alone, I spent a day with writers, musicians, artisans, and dozens of Fair Folk.

All this does make it tough to plan a day. I have a four-page to-do list on any given day and a calendar full of nearly illegible scribbles. Lucky for me, while I love having some routine in my life, I also thrive when no two days ever look exactly the same.

My plan for today? Spend some time with a few of my favorite little people, cross a couple things off of the ever-growing Cold Moon/Book Mark It to-do list, and let the dogs walk me before it rains. And maybe I’ll grab my tattered copy of Charlotte’s Web before I change the world.

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Magic of February

There has always been something magical to me about February. It is still cold, but we are bridging to spring. With that knowledge, I relish the snow, knowing that any one of them could bring the last flakes to fall until the end of the year. If I close my eyes, I can see a sprite skating across ice-laden pine boughs of the trees in my yard.

Then, there is Valentine’s Day, of course, which I celebrate as a most sacred holiday, second only to Halloween. I imagine a modern Cupid, mischievous as ever, plotting how to get two awkward, flawed people to finally realize what is right in front of them.

And finally, the birthdays of a few of my favorite writers nestle in toward the middle of the month. Maybe there stories aren’t necessarily about magic, but there is magic in them…sometimes in the plot, sometimes in the characters, but always in the writing.

Kate Chopin, February 8
I read The Awakening at least once a year. I remember the first time I read it…sophomore year of college in a women in literature class. There was something about it that changed me. The writing was as smoldering and dream-like as Louisiana itself. The copy I had in college, now replaced with a hardback, was laden with notes made in the margins and dog-eared pages (both habits I dislike, but I felt a compulsion to remember each beautifully spun phrase). As a writer, I grew by reading it, finally making the connection that the language of a story is just as important as any other single element. Read this bit from her novel.

The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in the abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.

Toni Morrison, February 15
You pretty much can’t go wrong with a Toni Morrison book. The language is complex, pulling you feverishly through the story. Several years ago, I picked up a copy of Paradise. I was hooked. It was, literally, one of the best first lines I’ve read of a book. Yes, there is magical realism in this book. But the language is also magic. I was enchanted with the very first line I read:

They shoot the white girl first. With the others they can take their time.

Tonight, if I’m lucky, I will write a sentence or two with a bit of magic in them. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll imagine what creatures lurk outside in the light of the waxing moon.

National Letter Writing Week

January 9 marks the beginning of National Letter Writing Week. Never was there a better time to celebrate it than at the start of the year, when many of us are sending out query letters to jump start our New Year’s resolutions for our writing.

The query letter can be quite challenging. Authors who have been able to write 300 pages of a novel freeze at their keyboards as they attempt to fill paragraphs in a meaningful way. Here are a few links to help you get started!

Writing World – How to Write a Successful Query Letter

Agent Query – How to Write a Query

Writer’s Digest – Advice on Writing Query Letters

Taking Chances

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
William Shedd

I’ll admit it. I play it safe. I wear my seatbelt. I check my surroundings before using my ATM card. And I can’t even imagine making the choice to jump out of a perfectly good plane with the hope that a flimsy piece of fabric will break my fall from 3,500 feet. I’m just careful.

There comes a point, though, when you realize that careful isn’t always satisfying or fulfilling. My time came this year. Sure…it would have been easier to stay on course, but I could feel my barnacles forming as I continued to dock in my safe harbor.

So, I did it. I opened Cold Moon Press as a sister company to Book Mark It Promotions. Yes, it’s scary to try such a huge venture, but after years of learning so much from other great folks in the publishing industry, I figured it was time. Time for me to sail out of my safe harbor, time for me fulfill some of my dreams.

As a writer, I’ve often pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone. Sometimes, these chances have had little risk beyond a few hours of time and several crumbled pieces of loose-leaf paper. But every once in a while, it leads to something kind of wonderful. Which is what I’m hoping for with the writers I am and will be working with at Cold Moon.

Today, I invite you to take a few chances. Eat at a new restaurant. Talk to a stranger. Write that piece of poetry or prose you’ve been mulling over. Scrape off your barnacles and head out of your safe harbor.

Two Articles Worth Reading!

For all writers who have been ho-hum about ebooks…read this!

Amazon: eBook Sales Surpass Hardcovers

And this one is a much different. As an editor AND as a writer, this is a great reminder. I still struggle with “affect” vs “effect”…

10 Common Errors “Spell Check” Won’t Catch

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Janet Fitch’s 10 Rules for Writers

I read this interview recently in the LA Times book section online. It’s not just about mechanics…it’s about challenging yourself as a writer and examining how you write.

Janet Fitch’s 10 Rules for Writers

Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stores See Google as Ally in E-Book Market

This is pretty interesting. Why? Because I just read that Google is the most visited website on the planet, and if an author had ebooks available on it, think of the possibilities.  Couple this with the fact that, “people who buy Google e-books will not be locked into any particular reading devices or book formats,” and this might be a great option for writers! Read more here.

Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment