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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Hey everyone! It’s gearing up to be a super busy weekend. 6 days until we see the new ‘Star Wars’ movie!

Yeah, that’s my fandom of choice. We can discuss that another time, though.

Everyone talks about being creative, finding inspiration from the things around them. You can read countless stories on social media about how a writer looked at a situation, did a mental, ‘what if’, and turned it into a story.

The thing is, inspiration isn’t enough to make it as an author.

You need the self discipline and determination to sit yourself down and finish the story.

You need the critical eye and willingness to realize that the first draft is just that – a draft – and changes need to be made. Some will be minor, others major. But no manuscript is print ready from the gate.

You need the fortitude to do your research and compile a list of agents and publishers.

You need courage to submit you m/s to said publishers and agents.

You need patience and the ability to put your ego on the shelf when edits come back.

You need the mental stamina and strength to promote your book.

This is work. Plain and simple. It’s not as easy as sitting down to a computer or notebook and vomiting words onto a page. If you can’t get find that strength within yourself, you’ll not like the job.

Don’t get me wrong. The highs of being a published author are AMAZING. Having someone get excited because they met ‘a real author’ or seeing them hug one of your books after you signed it gives you some of the best warm fuzzies you’ll ever feel. And this is one of the few industries where the nice guy finishes first. But you have to be strong, have to draw on a mental toughness every single day. Bad reviews are going to undercut your confidence. Months without sales will make your stomach fall to your feet. Authors pour our souls into our books. We breathe life into our characters and work hard to create worlds that readers will be lost in. When those bad reviews or no sales months come, they hurt.

You can’t simply wait for inspiration to strike. You have to roll up your sleeves and work if you want magic to happen. If you seriously think all you have to do is write, you haven’t been reading my blog long. LOL.

BB

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Hey everyone!

So, the Whole Life Activation awards were this past Friday. While I was deeply honored to be on the short list, another author won. I have no doubt that she is talented and deserving of the honor.

And, despite all of you that voted for the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’, it didn’t even place in the final round in the AuthorsDB cover contest.

For a short time today, it hurt. I freely admit it. Authors are still human, after all. We want to be told we did good and win contests. Have that validation that all the months of crappy sales or writer’s block was worth it. So, when you come close to that brass ring, it hurts when you get told no. You weren’t good enough.

The thing is, I am good enough. I write good books that are entertaining. I’m not a total jerk to my publisher or readers (at least, I hope I’m not. If I’ve been a jerk to you, please let me know and we’ll hash it out). I’ve come too far to sink back into the mindset of I’m not going to be good enough.

I’ve survived rape.

I’ve survived a parent who was narcissistic.

I’ve survived being bullied.

I’ve survived crippling self-doubt.

I have gone through some really bad crap in my life. And come out on top. This isn’t the last award I’ll be up for. It’s not the end of my career. It’s the beginning. It marks another step forward because my work is being noticed now.

You can not let a single event dictate your future as an author. Ride the wave of hurt and disappointment, then find your resolve again. Because there’s no way to change the past. All we can do is look to the future.

BB

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Nine years ago, something happened in my life. For most people, they’d wonder why a D&D character would make any sort of impact in real life. Perchance I was a bit TOO connected to her. The thing is, that group of friends had been meeting every single Saturday for about 2 1/2 years. We too these characters from game infancy (level 1) to fully fleshed out characters with personalities.
 
When the group wrapped up, in rather unexpected and bad ways (we were all killed or imprisoned), we mourned the loss. We were bitter, hurt, and felt cheated.
 
Out of that experience, my muse was unlocked. I finally started to write ‘Daughter of Hauk’. And I got encouragement from friends and family that gave me the confidence to keep at it.
 
Without that party wipe, I wouldn’t be writing now.
 
As such, I’ve got a certain fondness for The Raven Chronicles and Arwenna’s story. That was my character, after all. I invented her, borrowed (with permission) other people’s characters from the group. Threw in a few of my own imagination. Changed a few things so the makers of D&D wouldn’t sue me. And used writing Arwenna’s story as a way to deal with some of my own issues.
 
So, yeah, it hurts when it goes months without a sale. Because it’s more than a good story. It’s my baby. I’ve written other stories that may be better told, or more engaging, but that trilogy will forever be my favorite. For very personal reasons.
 
What makes things nice is that the wait and patience is paying off. I’ve seen pages read or sales for all 3 books for 3 months running now. Even the fan fic has gotten some love.
 
Will it ever be on the NYT best seller list? Probably not. But my baby’s getting a little bit of love right now from readers. And I’ll take that.

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Good morning!

We’ve got a small wilderness area with a river behind us, and the county is working to shore up the levy/create a salmon habitat/make run off areas. While it doesn’t directly impact us, the noise and occasional vibrations have made it interesting.

I’ve had a few people tell me later that I inspire them. It’s not something I went out seeking, but I’m learning to be okay with the idea that people see me as a role model of sorts. I can’t control what they think of me, in all honesty, and perhaps they’ve seen something in what I do or how I live my life that inspires them to do the same.

One of the things I think all authors really should be aware of is what your goals are. Are you looking to be at the top of the NYT best seller list? Retire early to a mansion in the middle of nowhere? Will you be willing to donate your time to a charity looking for a celebrity guest? Are you wanting to be surrounded by an entourage every where you go? Assistants to do everything but write and sign the books for you? 

If those are some of your goals, start saving now. Because that’s not going to happen overnight, and you won’t get it from the first day of your first release.

There is no real instant gratification when it comes to being an author. We spend months or years on a single project. Then, more time devoted to either finding an agent/publisher or going through editing/proofreading. It can take 4 years or more of real work to see a book go from idea to up for sale. And, for new authors, another 5 years before it’s discovered by readers. 

Being an author has a certain amount of celebrity status attached to it, yes. I’ve seen it on the faces of people when they find out what I do for a living. I’m one of the success stories. That person who stopped dreaming about writing a novel, and actually did it. 

But I don’t care if I top the NYT list. The mansion? Not my style. Celebrity guest? I could do that. Entourage? Now, that’s a funny one. Because anyone who I would include in something like that would keep my feet firmly on the ground. I’m surrounded by people that all know when, and how, to tell me my ego’s running amok. And that’s one reason I keep them around.

My goals as an author are far more simple. To write a story that engages the reader. To have enough success with my books to help our household budget. Maybe help out with college for my daughters. Give us some breathing room each month. 

Am I there yet? Not by a long shot. My stories, I think, are good. And the sales will find me. Eventually. I hope so, anyway. But I already got one goal I didn’t know I was even trying for. I inspired someone else to write, put thoughts to paper, and think about getting published. I can live with that.

Good news alert!

Do you live in the Portland, Oregon area? If so, come to Book Warehouse in Troutdale on Sunday, July 20th! I’m doing a meet and greet from noon-3pm! The books aren’t making it in time for the event, but should be in the store sometime in August. I’ll still be there, though! With postcards, doing a reading or two, and talking about my books and publishing. Hope to see some people there!

BB

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