Archive | July 2015

You Sit Down to Write… and “Got Nothing.”

nothingToday I was given a gift. My husband took my son to the beach and my daughter just wanted to chill out and watch Netflix all morning. I was given hours to simply write and work on my latest WIP, Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter series.

Well, I sat in my favorite writing spot (on my bed with the laptop on a mini desk on my lap) and opened the story to the latest part, put my fingers on the keyboard and…. nothing. I stared at the screen in shock. Nothing? I couldn’t have nothing – I had three hours to write and I couldn’t come up with anything. I couldn’t waste this precious time!

But waste it I was starting to do. I wrote a line, deleted it and then was so bummed I clicked on Twitter to complain about my ridiculous first world problems.

My tweet: My family just gave me a full hour to write – it’s quiet, in my favorite spot, been staring at the screen for 10 minutes. I got nothing!

And then I sat there waiting for responses, because I still had nothing and what better way to waste time then stare at twitter and wait for some of my 29K followers to respond. True to form, my lovely twitter peeps didn’t disappoint. Some of the best replies?

@elysesalpeter Just keep your butt in the chair & stay off twitter! It’ll come.
@elysesalpeter i usually watch the documentary channel for a book inspiration?
@elysesalpeter Blow something up. Start a fire. Give your characters a different mind set. Always works for me.

So what did I do? I listened to my tweeps. I got off twitter, I opened the WIP and I simply started writing an argument between two main characters, then someone went missing and then I added a scene about how two characters felt about each other… I don’t know if they are any good, but after having nothing all morning, I cranked out over 2,500 words after that.

We all go through moments when we “got nothing.” I think the trick is to “find something out of nothing” and just muddle through. To be honest, that’s what a first draft is all about. We shouldn’t stress about first drafts. They’re supposed to be rough, garbage, stepped on, ripped apart. The trick is to just get the story down and the framework laid.

So this post goes out to my twitter peeps who chimed in and gave me some cool advice. You guys rock!

So what do you do when “you got nothing?”

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Authors, Really, Don’t Do These Things….

postNow, before I begin this post, I need to declare that I’ve probably committed a few of these less blatant faux pas myself during my start in publishing. To a new author, you think it’s not quite a big deal, but they really are. The more you’re immersed in the publishing social media industry, the more you learn the do’s and dont’s. What irks me are not the newbies, but the people who have been publishing for years who continue to make these mistakes or these “not cool” actions. I’ve spoken to authors directly about it and many of them have listed why they do them. One told me “they were too lazy to do anything else.” Another told me that they were too desperate and figured “why not?”

Well, the why not and too lazy won’t help any of us be successful and more than that, it won’t help us with our other fellow authors helping us. So here are some things I see, some of my biggest pet peeves. If you see yourself consistently doing any of these, please just take a moment and rethink them.

#1) For goodness sake, on your author page, please don’t guilt readers, friends or family to buy your book. Please don’t tell everyone you’re broke and that you need to pay your bills and it would really help if you could purchase a book for them. This is your public author page. Be professional and respectful. It’s one thing to suggest they buy your book and explain you’ve just launched it and would love their support, or ask for reviews, promote blogs and other things, but when you start resorting to guilt to purchase? Not cool and you certainly won’t get a fan base invested in your work.

#2) Please don’t go to another author’s page and promote YOUR book or services. (someone did it to me yesterday – an author I actually know on social media) You want to tell an author you now do book covers? Then email them or IM them – don’t go to their author page and put a big photo of YOUR book or services on their page. Just not cool and you can be sure I’ll delete it pronto. That page is mine. Meaning, if I want to promote another author, I do it because “I” want to, not because someone else used my platform to meet new people.

#3) Please don’t spam your twitter followers with ONLY “Buy my book” tweets or a post about your book. Or for that matter, just post other people’s book tweets. It’s lovely of you to do that to support them, but you want to be known for more than just being a book spammer. Follow some conversations, ask questions, retweet other people. Work with the hashtags. Anything, but just spamming. Talk to people. You must do this if you wish to have more engaged fans.

#4) Please don’t ask someone to retweet your book if you’ve NEVER once done anything for them. If you don’t speak to these people ever, you don’t buy their book, you don’t promote them, you don’t do a review, don’t expect them to just do a dedicated campaign for you. And then if they don’t do this “dedicated campaign,” don’t then stalk them on social media and ask them WHY they haven’t looked at your book yet. Trust me, my reading list for author friends, which is 15 deep, comes first. And another thing, when I read a friend’s book, I do not expect them to buy and read mine just out of courtesy. I chose to read that book. My time is so limited between work, family, commuting, and my own writing that I simply have no time.

#5) In the same vein, please don’t ask another author to do anything for you on twitter if you don’t even follow them back. I have so many authors asking me to do things for them, retweet their books, BUY a book, review a book, yet they don’t follow me and have never once engaged me, promoted me or listed me. Am I petty? No, it’s a courtesy. IM me on the side, go to my web page and seek me out and email me if you have a question – but tagging me so my followers see you just to promote yourself? Not cool. I’ll respond much better privately, trust me.

#6) Please don’t send me publicly anything dirty, racist or ultra religious. Even if it’s a joke and you think the joke is funny and I’ll enjoy it. I have a great sense of humor… but PRIVATELY. But, if it’s on my public feed, I’ll delete or block it. My son saw something really lewd on my feed last night as I was doing a tweet and when I checked it, this photo was right below it. He was appalled and fled the room. I was utterly embarrassed as I stared at the blatant close-up of a woman’s naked “hooha” being “serviced.” I had to assure my son that it wasn’t my post. He didn’t quite believe me thinking that if it was on my computer, it must be mine. BLOCKED and REPORTED.

#5) Lastly, this is a biggie on Facebook and it bothers me the most: FOLLOW THE RULES ON A PAGE. If it is a tweeting page, please make sure MOST of your requests are tweets. If it is a likes page, make sure most of the requests are likes. If it is a horror blog and they don’t allow book promotions – DON’T PROMOTE YOUR HORROR BOOK. It’s one thing if authors ask other authors on those pages occasionally to help them do something because they’ve become friends and they’ve all supported each other, but it’s something else when people continually abuse the rules on a page for their own self promotion yet the admins are too kind to do anything about it.

Maybe I’m just overly sensitive. Maybe I’m a just a stickler for rules. But, I do think with the internet being so impersonal we must put the “personal” back into it.

Thoughts?

Interruptions…

botherI don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m writing, any interruption bothers me. I’m not one of those people who can zone out, who can just jump back into the story. I firmly believe that what I was attempting to write is gone forever. I mean, yes, I might have the direction I wanted to go, but those words WILL be different now.

I have a little rule (or understood rule) in my house. If the door is shut and I’ve told everyone I’m writing, please don’t come in. All I ask is thirty minutes. Really, I’ll even take twenty. Or, if people say they are leaving the house for an hour, I boot up the story and jump in.

When folks come back twenty minutes later, it’s frustrating. I have to stop what I’m doing. If they just walk into the room to chat, I feel guilty that I’m trying to get some work done and all they want to do is talk. Sometimes they’ll just walk in and use the bathroom or get something. They have no idea why I get frustrated with them, BECAUSE THAT IS AN INTERRUPTION. They quickly leave and say “I won’t bother you again.” What they don’t realize is I’ve already lost. My mind is already onto something else and for me, I’m done.

It happened again this morning. Everyone said they’d be gone for an hour. I finished my coffee and went to write. Within 20 min the family was home and in the bedroom with me. After a few choice “words” on my part, they shut the bedroom door again. Ten minutes later my lovely son walked in to see how I was feeling (yes the door was shut). But I wasn’t feeling well last night and he simply wanted to see if I was ok. Lovely, but now I’m done. I am incapable of finding that zone with two interruptions and now the story has been put aside again and I’m instead writing a blog post, or a tweet, or answering facebook.

I really don’t want to have to leave my house to write. I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that it’s my family doesn’t respect my time, but I think they truly believe that it’s not a big deal to pick up where you left off. They can do it, why can’t I? What they don’t realize is that it’s not “my process.” But I don’t want to be angry all the time about this and sometimes I really am.

I’d love to hear how all of you deal with interruptions. Do you leave your house? Do you demand your family leave you alone for set periods of time and what do you do if they don’t honor it? I don’t want to feel that “guilt” that I’m writing and they wish to speak to me. Or play with me, or just talk.

Thoughts?

And for those interested… I’m trying to work on Book #3 of the Kelsey Porter Series. If you’re as frustrated as I am that it’s not coming along faster, well, now you know why!