editing

Take a ride on my crazy train

THREE MOST MIND-BLOGGING THINGS ABOUT 2014:

My post about mental illness was Freshly Pressed. Me. Freshly Pressed. That’s INSANEAMAZINGCRAZYBEAUTIFUL. I’m very proud of that post, not only because it spread awareness about mental illness from a unique perspective, but I met (and hopefully helped in some way) so many incredible people who either suffer with mental illness themselves, or have a family member or friend who does. It opened a dialogue I didn’t know I needed.

The Bloggess commented on my post about G-Spot shots. That’s right. I talked vaginas…and THE MUTHERF#$@ING BLOGGESS CAME TO MAH PARTY. I should change my tagline to “Jenny Lawson Was Here” because that’s all you need to know anymore.

(more…)

Come See My Rock Hard…Muse, What Did You Think I Was Gonna Say?

I was lost, but now I’m found, baby!

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a few days. But there’s a reason. I was dangerously close to the abyss. The ‘D’ word. (not that one. the other one). It got really bad. No. Really bad. The doubt trolls were eating my brain. Wanna see what one looks like? Are you sure? Mmmmkay….

evil-scary-sinister-woman-tongue-out-11030656

I eat confidence and creativity!

Turns out, regardless how prepared you think you are to have your novel handed back to you chopped to bits, it bruises your ego and wilts your muse like a flaccid p….

petunia (what’s wrong with you?)

So there I was, trying to do the revisions as suggested by my editor, but finding myself unable to do so without hyper-analyzing every word to the umpth degree. It got so bad, come Monday morning I found myself paralyzed beyond the ability to blog – bleh! Yesterday, I deleted four – yes four – attempted posts and ended on the couch in tears convinced it was over – I was going to disappoint everyone who believed in me. I began to fantasize my escape route:  I would shut down my blog and disappear somewhere far, far away, where no one could ask me, “how’s the book comin’ along?”

I hear Borneo’s nice this time of year. I bet they have tree houses! Yipppeee!

tree-house-5264768

I could get those tattoos I’ve always wanted! Maybe this won’t be so bad?

woman-tattoos-6255969

I wanted to shout out to other writers, “I know this has to be normal…but how the hell do I get out of it?!?” But how could I do that when I couldn’t even pull myself together enough to write a post about it? Last night I was going through emails when I saw I had one from Chuck Wendig’s blog. The title caught my attention: I think I suck and I’m not a real writer. Hmm. That’s similar exactly what’s in my head. So I read it.

***CUE THUNDERBOLT***

 Had I been able to reblog it, I would have. Since I can’t, here’s the link:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/11/05/nanowrimo-dialogues-i-think-i-suck-and-im-not-a-real-writer/

Let’s just say, THE M#THER F#CKING TROLLS ARE DEAD.

I can’t possibly do it justice, so you must read it for yourself (it’s hysterical, btw, as is the post prior to it), but my takeaway was (or what I needed to hear):

(1) every novel takes just as long as it needs to be written (2) it’s in the rewrites that you learn how to write well; you must write shit, to learn how to not write shit, and to find gold (3) a real writer writes (4) it took him five years to write Blackbirds. (That last fact took monstrous weight off my shoulders. Oh, and don’t panic. I’m already closing in on year three.)

Proof, you ask? Well, *wipes troll poop off shoulders*

I wrote the new first chapter today! AN ENTIRE CHAPTER, REWRITTEN. EVERY WORD. WOOP!! That’s the most productive I’ve been with revisions since…well, since EVER. My muse is no longer a flaccid p…

pentunia! (really, you’re awful) Now, my beautiful muse is once again a raging, hard, throbbing c…

cattle prod of power, ready to stamp my writer-freak-flag all over those revisions!

*BRING IT ON*

In celebration of getting my mojo back, and actually writing words today (oh, beautiful words! I love you!) I leave you with this:

sexy men photo: sexy man f1cf.jpg

It’s that vein, right by his briefs. That’s what kills me. Also, if you don’t follow my Pinterest board “who put this board here?”…uh…you should. Link on sidebar. You’re welcome in advance.

And for the guys who follow my blog (or the girls who play for the other team. Btw, congrats on getting Illinois – woop!)

sexy women photo: Sexy women cowgrl.jpg

Thanks to everyone who cheers me on, has my back, and picks me up when I fall down. I appreciate you more than you could ever know. OH, and thank you Chuck Wendig. If I wasn’t already married and done having babies, I’d offer to have yours. But that won’t stop me from dry humping your leg should we meet someday. I owe you. BIG.

Can You Smell Them?

I’m baking cookies RIGHT NOW. Can you smell the chocolately goodness? I’m celebrating many things!

1. I spent the morning with a lovely lady who might as well be my sister. We are so close that our kids think they’re cousins, and hers call me “Aunt B”. Yeah, one of those besties. We got pedicures, had a yummo lunch, and then shopped. We both eyed this sweatshirt (photo below) in the 50% off rack at the same time. We both bought it. It’ll do since I can’t have the one I REALLY want from Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – HERE. <<<(DO NOT PRESS THAT LINK IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED. JUST DON’T.)

epic

Cuz, Epic and Shit.

2. I got my manuscript back from my editor-OMG. My first thoughts? I won’t be doing Nano this year. I have a mountain of work to do! BUT, I knew that going in and I’m so relieved she was able to point out the problems and suggest things I can do to steer it in a better direction. It’s all a bit overwhelming, but at the same time I’m really excited and anxious to get started.

3. I’m VERY excited to have a few minutes of time and inspiration to finally post something new and have my previous title out of my face. I’m tired of seeing my exploding boobs everywhere. I’m sure you concur.

4. OctPoWriMo. A challenge to write a poem each day the month of October. It has sparked creativity I didn’t know I had, and some things have happened that I’m pretty proud of.

5. THREE DAY WEEKEND. nuff said.

6. I entered one of my short stories in a Fresh Ink writing contest. *eeeek*

7. The hubs had an idea for us to take the kids to a seafood place last night and order a big platter of crab legs. His theory was while they were enamored with cracking legs with the cool pliers and pulling meat out with the tiny fork, we could actually have a beer and a continuous conversation.

I thought he was nuts.

IT WORKED. Not only could he and I talk, but it was like a date with the kids. I didn’t realize how long it’d been since we all four were together, really presently together. We had such a good time we’re gonna do it every Friday. Sometimes (SOMETIMES) hubs can be geniuses.

So I offer you all virtual COOKIES on behalf of my theme today: EPIC AND SHIT. Cuz it just fits, doesn’t it?

chocolate-chip-cookies-15490485

Does something have you all excited today? Do you celebrate with food? What’s your favorite celebration food? Please share with me! I can’t wait to hear about it!

This wasn’t originally a TToT post, but the lovely Lizzi Rogers of Considerings was sweet enough to encourage me to join the linky even though I don’t have ten things and I’m running a bit late. Now I’m adding an 8th thing I’m excited about this weekend – wonderful bloggy friends.

Ten Things of Thankful

Do The Lambs Still Scream, Clarice?

I turned my novel into an editor on Friday.

I tried to find a photo that would convey shear terror and elation at the same time. Like a girl, mouth wide open with a scream, covered in blood, but also in a tutu, twirling and dancing.

Couldn’t find it.

On one hand, the tremendous work of revising and editing just to get it ready for this stage is finally OVER. I’m free now to catch up on what I had let go. Turns out the shit hits the fan around here without me. It took me ALL WEEKEND to catch up on Mount Laundry, the frat house my upstairs had become, dishes, bathrooms….UGH. And the house being up to par only frees me up for the endless list of other things I need to catch up on: that oil change, and those bills with their pesky due dates. But now I can tackle it; that’s the good news.

On the other hand, every time I remember there’s someone reading my novel I want to spit up a little. Yes, people have read it before, but they weren’t professionals, whose aim it is to find problems.

What if she hates it?

What if she tells me it’s shit?

What if it comes back so riddled in red marks I’ll never see my way out of it?

What if she doesn’t love my characters like I do?

will this excruciating fear ever end?

I wonder if authors always feel this way, or do you finally get to a point of confidence in your work? Does Stephen King write The End and think I just shit gold!

I try, I try to quell the scary thoughts and replace them with positive ones: What if she loves it? What if she has great suggestions I can’t wait to implement? What if everything’s going to be just fine did you ever consider that you masochistic nut-job?

Last night I was on the computer. My husband came in and – seeing the expression on my face – asked if I was looking at a murder scene.

Kinda. I was on a website about formatting your novel for ebook. *gulp* Seems really overwhelming. I had to take a few deep breaths and remember the words I’ve been telling myself during this whole journey — the same ones I told myself in an earlier post, Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It , Please : I need to just take things in baby steps, and know that there are amazing, supportive communities of writers out there to help me through these processes.

I just need to reach out and ask for it. Breathe in, Breathe out.

children-holding-hands-26131189

Writers/Authors: Do you still die inside when others are editing your work? What is the best advice you could give me on self-pubbing? Or the best place you would send me for resources?

Anyone: To show you how much I appreciate you reading all the way to this point, I give you this. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

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!

Hold My Hand Until I Can Fake It, Please.

eyes-24018789

There was a time in my not-so-long-ago past when I wept without shame on an airplane, terrified to the point that a stranger (bless her heart, I’m so grateful to her to this day!) held my hand across the aisle to comfort me until we began to descend and I calmed down. Was this a horrifically turbulent flight across the Atlantic? Hardly. It was 45 minutes from Austin to Dallas. No bumps. It might have been cloudy, which probably hurled me into the panic attack in the first place. And I was on Xanax, people.

I’ve come a long way. If that same woman saw me now, she would beam with pride. Hey, I’ve flown to Hawaii since then – sans Xanax! Yes, I was nervous, but I acted like I wasn’t. That’s the key. You just have to fake yourself out – tell yourself you are a pro. Put your head up and walk right in there like you’ve done it a million times. Eliminate any doubts that pop up immediately – SQAUSH! Because you don’t have doubts, you’re a PRO. Stewardess, can I have a pillow? Me sleepy – YAWN.

My point is, sometimes I require hand holding.

Which brings me to the now. I have a finished novel. For two years it’s been my WIP, and now WTF? I’ll tell you WTF. An OCEAN of information. An ocean in which I am a drop of water. The good news? I have found writers to be the most generous and supportive people on the planet, and I’m not just sayin’ that. I have connected with dozens of dynamic, talented, brave, amazing writers who are now my lighthouses. And they just keep comin’. I’m beyond grateful.

After two years of researching the subject, I’ve decided to self-publish. It’s A LOT of work (no matter which publishing route you take) but I’m determined to put the best possible product out there. I want it to be a labor of love, a collaborative effort with a team of people to help me with the stuff I can’t do (professionally edit, cover design, etc.) and I have a lot to learn along the way. But I have a plan…

BABY STEPS.

If I look at the big picture I’ll end up on the floor in the fetal position hyperventilating in a puddle of my own drool. So I’ll take one step at a time. Right now I’m revising and shopping editors. That’s IT. I’m not allowed to think about anything beyond that. I can read about the beyond all I want; I can flag links about formatting, or cover design, or whatever… but I can’t DO. I won’t dilute the quality of what I’m doing now with stress about the future.

I’m going to stick my head up and walk right into this process, baby step by baby step, and if I get confused or overwhelmed – and I will – I know I have an incredible community around me to light the way, or maybe even hold my hand for a little while.

A Stitch in Time…or however the hell that goes…

So I’m supposed to be having this stellar writing day. The kids are back in school (happy dance!) and now I can be one of those mythological creatures: a *productive writer*. I have so many things on my writing to-do list it resembles a page from a phone book: everything from posting (this counts), to working on smaller writing projects, to editing my novel (haven’t even cracked it open and it’s nearing 2:00), and a slew of non-writing to-do’s.

I thought – no brainer. Kids are gone by 8:00. I’ll dabble online, finish a few little things, work on a short story, then lunch, then edit for 3 solid hours.

That
did
not
happen.

Where did the time go? Did I really just lose an entire day? I answered emails and tweets, made a few tweaks to my blog, and all the sudden it’s well past lunchtime! And I think I ate – but I’m not really sure – it’s all sort of hazy. There’s a blop of dried salsa on my sock and chip remnants near the couch. What kind of lunch is that? OH GOD, What else did I eat?

My sink is full, my laundry’s overflowing, I haven’t showered, the dog isn’t walked, and I’ve accomplished no errands. I’VE HAD ALL DAY. Oh, crap, I just realized I forgot (again) to take something out for dinner. Meat can thaw in an afternoon, right? I’m good, I’m good.

The takeaway here is NOT that mass amounts of salsa results in chin acne (but it does), it’s that I need a schedule. (you thought I was gonna say a shower, didn’t you?) Yes. A new, bright, shiny writing schedule. I can’t fall into the abyss of emails and tweets for 3 hours anymore. And editing is my priority – it HAS to come FIRST.

Okay, ready gang? Tomorrow – PRODUCTIVE WRITER: Take 2!

Do you have a writing schedule that helps you stay on task? If so, PLEASE SHARE!

**Why didn’t you remind me to take the meat out! I still haven’t done it. Honestly, you are no help sometimes…

Dream Team

??????????????????????????????????????

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*