beta readers

Rock Star Moments, Hockey, And Lingerie. Not All At Once. Maybe.

First, a valentine for all my friends who read and support me.
And this time, I didn’t forget the men.

Press here if you like hot, sinewy, half naked men.

Press here if you like sexy chickadees. (this is a new, ever-evolving board. I’ll happily take direction/suggestions on who to have on it, guys!)

Back yet? Good. I’m glad I have your attention because this post is chock-full. I’m not stopping at ten. Hang onto your seats… (more…)

Oh, Look…A Squirrel…

That title pretty much sums up how my brain works when I blog. I start off with one simple task, and before I know it, it’s been nine hours. I realized the other day I’ve gotten way off course from what should be my main job right now, but in the process, you know what I’ve discovered?

I Freaking Love Blogging!

I started blogging a few months ago, and to be honest, I thought it was going to be a writer’s blog about the process of editing/publishing my novel with some other random stuff thrown in to mix it up. But I guess that’s not what organically birthed out my blog hole. (That was hands-down the grossest metaphor I’ve ever used. It’s so bad I feel compelled to leave it.) The blog has ended up the other way around, really. I like to write like I talk. I like to laugh. That’s what feels honest.

This is my voice.

The problem is I have a manuscript here. It’s waiting patiently to have its revising finished, or better yet, to be effing published. I have editors that don’t even know they’re on my list to be called upon for pricing and samples. This novel is my everything.

So why am I spending all my time blogging? Because I’m in overload. I’ve read so much information about editing, blurbs, the first 5 pages, what you should do, what you should never do, genres and sub-genres, do a prologue, never do a prologue, AHHHHHH!

I’m kind of a study-junkie. A perfectionist. I take advice very literal and to heart. I’m thirsty to learn from the people who’ve done it before me. But it’s all been too much, and has literally paralyzed me from moving forward.

So I’ve been falling back on my new love, blogging, which conveniently takes up all my time, and has become a great excuse to avoid something else, something far too overwhelming.

 Enter the *Writer Whisperer*

This is what I’ve dubbed a friend of mine, unbeknownst to her (until now), who I had lunch with her the other day. She basically said, what the fuck have you been doing and why isn’t this brilliant book published yet? (She actually used the word brilliant, just so you know. Ironically, this is the same woman who told me to start a blog.) But you know what? She was right. After talking to her, the weight lifted off my shoulders.

I have 5 beta readers who already told me any integral changes I needed to make. I have to STOP obsessing over it. My novel is written. And it’s good. I just need to clean it up and get it to a pro editor. Let them figure out the rest.

That’s precisely what I’ll be spending more time doing for the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

*Oh, and the last post I wrote about the Fall premiers? Come talk to me in comments as you watch during the week. Let me know what you’re liking/not liking!  (On The Voice…did you see my ex-almost-fiancé’s sexy beard? Me Likey! #TeamAdam)* —that “Oh, Look…A Squirrel…” moment was brought to you by Beth Teliho, the most easily distracted writer on Earth. Maybe don’t write her about TV. Yes, do!

Did you always know your blog’s voice? Does blogging take up more time than you expected? Is it your first love or do you write other things, too? I love hearing from you!

Blogging Takes Big Hairy Balls

I know what you’re thinking. Why does blogging take balls? I’ll tell you why. Because you’re putting yourself out there. Big time. You’re holding a neon sign and saying, “Hey world, here I am and all the crazy shit that goes on in my head! Do you like me? Press that thumbs-up button!”

Some days your post may be funny, other days it may be more thought provoking. You never know which your followers will respond to. It’s all a big risk, but you can’t write for some supposed, abstract expectation. So you write what’s in your head and in your heart. You squeeze your eyes and say a little prayer that someone out there in the blogosphere gets you, and you hit that publish button.

To some people this may be a risk free endeavor. People who are comfortable being in the spot light. “Here I am, take it or leave it” type people. They put it all out there, lay it all on the line to be judged or loved. Easy peasy. I admire the shit out of those people.

But that’s not me. Not by a long shot.

I’m more of a “waves from afar, hope you like me but if you don’t then I probably need to apologize at this point” type. Have you ever played that game – that what Friends character are you most like game? You probably have. So keep in mind who you think you’re most like, but then ask someone else who knows you well which character they think you’re most like. The answers won’t always match. My friends all said I was definitely Phoebe. I’m assuming because we’re both blonde and dingy; good natured and a little eccentric. Know who I always related to? Chandler. I never related to any of the girls – they were way too together for me. I related to the shy guy who never knew where he fit in. The sometimes awkward one who used humor to get himself through life, or to cover up when things got too real.

I’m fiercely private by nature, but trying very hard to learn to be more open. It takes tremendous effort to quiet the negative voices in my head and gather the cajones to write. I’ve found this is infinitely easier to do with strangers, however, so blogging is good practice for me. There is a comfortable buffer in sending your words to people you never (or rarely) see. Conversely, handing my novel over to beta readers, whom I know personally, almost made me physically ill. I would have rather paraded naked in front of them. I did it, though. I gave them my novel because I want it to succeed that bad. I’ll do whatever it takes.

So why the hell bother with a blog, Beth? Because I need to, desperately. It’s strangely cathartic. It fulfills some sort of innate writer’s need to share what’s in my head. If I don’t satisfy this call to action, I’m going to end up that crazy lady under the highway that talks to invisible people and shows her boobs to strangers eats paper. And you know, you know, I’ll have like a hundred cats. So I’ll continue to use this awesome, crazy, strange venue to purge what my muse wants to create, and with shaky, tentative hands I’ll offer it to you.

This is what was in my head today. I’m scooping my big, hairy balls over to the side so I can reach the publish button. If you enjoyed it, hit that damn like button and let me feel the love. Even better, comment and tell me which Friends character you think you’re most like. Did it match what others thought? Are you a blogger? Let me know if it takes big hairy balls for you to blog too. You can use a different analogy if you want. Jes sayin’. If you’re not appreciating the testes visual. If you are, you’re welcome.

Dream Team

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I’m a recovering introverted writer. Or trying to be. (see previous post). One of the first, and most important, movements towards this was getting Beta Readers to review the novel I just finished. I had worked on it for the better part of two years and was sitting with a finished manuscript. I knew it was time for someone to look at it and that terrified me. I had horrible visions of my best friend letting it flop in her lap with an eye roll, telling her husband, “this is awful.” I know, that’s self-defeating and negative, but it’s my nature.

The mere possibility that this thing I had spent two years on – this thing that I adored doing more than anything – could be a complete waste of time was unbearable. More than I could risk. I was paralyzed.

THANK GOD FOR NANOWRIMO

Right about the time I finished the novel, Nano was sending out links advertising a webinar featuring the Book Doctors (the genius Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry) who were going to speak about the process of editing. I signed up immediately, knowing that I was about to be knee-deep in this process. I learned a shit-load from that webinar, but perhaps the most important tidbit of knowledge for me was the importance of having others read your work. if you don’t have other people reading your work, it might as well be sitting in a drawer. That resonated with me, big time.

Not just one person reading your work – no – several people: A Dream Team.
*Cue lightening bolt*

I want this novel to work. I believe in this novel. IT WILL HAPPEN. I put on my bravest warrior priestess armor, chose a Dream Team of 5, and handed out my manuscript.

In my last post I said that the scariest things I face almost always turn out to be the most rewarding. DAMN STRAIGHT!

The feedback has been like a four-chair turnaround on The Voice! The validation filled my little writer’s soul and – on one occasion – literally brought me to tears. In addition, I received smart, insightful editing feedback. My Dream Team is the Shizzle Dizzle.

As for now, I’m revising based on the feedback I’ve received thus far while I wait for everyone to finish.
…And…*bites knuckles*… I’m shopping professional editors. *lightening bolt/crash of thunder*