Friday, August 31, 2012

Writer problems: Revisions

Revision is like doing an invisible puzzle that only you can see and no one else cares about.

Yep. That's my feeling about revision right now. 

But the best part... the very best part is when you know you NAILED it!  You fixed whatever problem was looming over your manuscript. 

Oh the feeling of success! 

Oh the joy!

Oh invisible puzzle for my enjoyment only, how I love and hate you. 

What's your metaphor about revision?   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writer Problems: Not Trusting yourself

I will admit it, I don't trust myself at all.  Especially when it comes to project I've been trying to query. 

Just when I think it's perfect, it gets rejected-- that's cool.  Believe me this post isn't about rejection, it's about confusion.

Here's teh thing, every time it's rejected, it's for totally different reasons.  So every time I'm rejected I look at the feedback, read through it, mull it over in my brain and think, "yep that sounds about right."
Then I fix the problem... I send it off to again to a different agent and BOOM I'm rejected again for a TOTALLY DIFFERENT REASON.

I've done so many tweeks and changes, that I can't figure out what's right and what's wrong. 

And here's the thing, I totally 100% thankful EVERY piece of feedback I've gotten.  My feedback has been WONDERFUL.  It's just it's all different.  It feels like I'm getting shut at by an machine gun and not a sniper rifle. 

So now I don't trust myself.  I don't know which way is up.  I only know this--- At it's core... I've got an AWESOME book, it's just the details I keep screwing up.

At this point I know perfection is out of my reach...but trying should be.

I have no solutions to this problem.

Maybe walking away for a little while and coming back to it is something.  And the advice trusting yourself is easier said than done.

What about you? Does anyone else have this problem?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Writer Problems: forgetting to write.

This summer I was super busy.  My kid refused to leave me alone.  I traveled most of the month of July.  I read a lot.  I worked out a TON... like at least one hour a day.  I don't want to brag but my butt looks amazing.

We did a lot of home redecorating, my daughter is now in a big girl bed.

It's been really productive. 

But through all this busy time, I forgot something.... Something important. 

Then I read a tweet from someone and it said, "a real writer writes, everyday no matter what."

Then it hit me what I forgot to do.

I forgot to write.

It's the end of the summer and I'm only 130 pages into my new manuscript.  I didn't revise my old book and my book I'm querying still needs work.


To an average person 130 pages into a book sounds incredible.

But to a writer...  well, we all know that it's a massive fail.

The muddled middle is impossible to write, it's when it the easiest to quit.

And there's the other projects looming over my head.

It's not like I have a publisher demanding these books.

 But now I've missed a fictional deadline imposed by no one for a project no one cares about. 

And I feel like one massive failure.

Yes, I know you'll all try to give pep talk me about how my real life is important too and how it's all about balance.

I'm aware of this.

But alas blogging keeps me honest and I haven't been doing that either.

Really I'm worried that my priorities are changing.

What if I keep making excuses for not writing and I quit writing before I achieve my goals?

That's my big fear.


Monday, August 20, 2012

When Magic Happens: Reflections from Warped Tour.

A few years ago I wrote a book about a group of boys who started a band.  I never got around to writing the sequel, the band's rise to fame.  But I had every page mapped out, every conflict and character fleshed out.

Now as a writer, everyone once in a while, you write something on the page and it happens in real life.

When my husband and I were walking around the Warped Tour, we passed by a small stage.  We I got there, a crowd of about twenty girls and one guy were enthralled with the band.  I paused because the music was cute and catchy.  But when I looked up at the stage, I realized exactly why these girls had stopped.  EVERY MEMBER OF THE BAND WAS HOT.

Seriously how was that possible?

  See the girl with the brown ponytale and glasses.  Every time the lead singer looked at her she swooned.  Literally.  In my 33 years I've never seen a swoon in real life and it happened two inches away from me.

About one song in, I decided I needed to know exactly who I was listening too.  So I checked the program the name of the band is Phone Calls from Home.

The lead singer kept looking out to the crowd and smiling, not this I'm a cool rocker and I'm smiling to get you to fall in love with me (because that would have worked too) But something was making him happy, like he was shocked it was really happening.

How freaking dreamy is this guy?  Seriously the only word in the English language that fits is dreamy.

I looked around and saw at least another thirty people had stopped what they were doing and stayed to listen to the band. 

Here's the thing... for me, this was EXACTLY what I wrote (or meant to write).  The thing that only happened in my head was happening in real life, right in front of me. 

By the middle of the set, I had stopped being a passer by and committed to being a FULL FAN...  and that was BEFORE the bass player did a super cute stage dive and the crowd caught him.   Which he seems genuinely surprised when it happened.

At the end of the set there were at least 200 people and the lead singer announced they were doing a signing and we should follow them.  And we did.  He lead us like a piper.  By the time I got there, the crowd looked like this:

I waited in line, and behind me was one of my former students, sort of my worst nightmare. 

Anyway I bought a tee shirt, a poster, a CD and a bracelet for $25.  The band signed my poster and I told them, "dudes, I wrote a book about  a band just like you guys... by the end of the book they were playing the Main Stage."

The lead singer looked at me ,right in the eye after taking a long drink of water and said, "let's hope your book is non fiction."

Then at the age of 33, I swooned.

They don't have a wikipedia page, only facebook and twitter pages.   But according to their bio on facebook:

"We are Phone Calls From Home. We play music with the intention of helping people. We have found that a lot of bands have hopes of being rich and famous, or hope that they can play their instrument as a career. We have higher hopes than that. We want to use any fame or success we get to influence people in a positive way. Teens today have a hard time growing up. They struggle with boredom, depression, peer pressure, their parents, and themselves. They look for happiness in any outlet they can find and try too hard to fit in. We want to make it easier for them by giving them someone they can relate to and understand. Through our music, our advice, and our lives, we want to teach our fans to be happier and help them find more purpose in life.

That’s Phone Calls From Home. That is what we are about. If you agree with what we are doing, support us: come to shows, and be a fan. If you don’t agree, be a fan of the music anyway. Either way, smile. It’s your life, be happy and be who you want to be."

Dave Place - Bass/Vox
Zack Gowan - Guitar
Danny Stockman - Drums
Jason Vieira - Guitar

Seriously, are you swooning yet?

Wanna see more pictures?  How about this one?

You're in love, are you?

Now hear their music:

Yes, you are in love with them now, aren't you?

 You can get some of their albums on amazon.  ( But I had a hard time finding the most recent album Live. Love but you can get it on iTunes. 

Support smaller bands, like you would support a debut author.

Music is like writing a book that you can hear.   OK that's stupid, because a book you can hear is an audio book. But you get my point. 

Sometimes as a writer, magic happens.  Sometimes as a musician magic happens.   The best part of my summer was watching the magic happen before my eyes.