Dealing With the Book Baby Blues

After months, or even years of incubating, brainstorming, plot forming, typing away your days, and sacrificing precious morsels of your life for the greater good of your project, you put the finishing touches to your book baby and sent it out through Amazon’s birth canal…

Now what?

If you’re like me, it goes a bit like this:

*Rides tsunami publishing high for 24-48 hours*

*Refreshes Amazon every 3-5 minutes to check ranking*

*Until that moment when the numbers start to get bigger again*

*rank plummets as if book baby were an anchor in the Mariana Trench*

*cue depression, self-loathing, heavy drinking perhaps, followed by tantrums, whining, tears, more drinking, etc*

Somewhere around a week postpartum, suddenly, that shiny and new, precious lil book cherub starts to keep you up at night. You feel inadequate, worried that you may have overestimated your abilities. You wonder what in f*ck’s name you were thinking when you decided to become a book-mom-or-dad in the first place, because you obviously aren’t fitting the bill. You aren’t rich yet. Your ARCs bailed on you, or a lot of them did. You let people down because your baby didn’t come out the way they wanted. They were hoping for curly locks, but yours came out with straight, black hair and a funny birthmark that looks like a middle finger. Who knew? You curse yourself, embarrassed because you should’ve seen it coming. You should’ve prepared better. Maybe you should’ve paid the extra bucks for one of those fancy genetics Docs to enhance its DNA with bells and whistles and curls and what-have-you, so that he and she and they would all be happy and love you and all your book babes for all eternity.

But alas, the realizations come.

a) You did the best you could do, and that’s all you could do,

OR

b) Maybe, you didn’t.

Both of these realizations are difficult to swallow. With the first, it’s both frustrating and empowering, because DAMN. There is nothing more you could’ve done. How your baby is received into the world is out of your control. But also–> DAMN! You did a hell of an amazing job, because you did everything you could do. You ate the right foods, you did water aerobics and took your prenatal vities. You read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting (a new book baby)” and you did your new-parent homework. You painted the room, got the crib, bought the clothes, purchased the toys, the whole shebang. Meaning, you had it professionally edited and formatted. You got a nice, professional-looking cover that was eye-catching and fit your genre. You had it correctly formatted, you set up your marketing and book promos ahead of time, you did your Thunderclap, HeadTalker campaigns, etc. You played nice with other authors and readers, treating them with kindness, and respect. You had every single base (that you knew of) covered. You should be proud of your amazing accomplishment. Take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back for all of this awesomeness, because you are an absolute rockstar.

Before we move on to the book baby blues, let’s address b: Maybe you didn’t.

I read a post the other day in a FB group I’m in, where the author was pleading for help. He was suffering from a big case of Book Baby Blues, and needed some direction. Upon reading the comments and checking out his books on Amazon, a few things clicked into place. This author had been so focused on quantitypublishing book after book after book as fast as humanly possible–that he had let quality slip, big time. His books were not edited; they were riddled with errors. His covers were not great. His characters were flat and lifeless, IMO, a byproduct of not enough incubation in the writer-womb. Oh, and he didn’t have a mailing list, which is a huge must-have for success as an indie author. (More on building your mailing list to come)

I’ve also witnessed talented authors with great books, or aspiring authors, be total asshats to others, not carrying themselves in a kind and professional manner, and I just cringe, inwardly, because that is not good for business. Would a store manager have repeat customers if he was a jerk to everyone who came in his store? That old adage,  “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is true. For the most part, people are attracted to others who are kind, thoughtful, honest, and don’t try to cheat them. I can’t express enough how utterly important integrity and respect are in building your brand, your network, and your fan base. If you want to be successful, you have to cultivate some gosh darn people skills, mmkay? Even if people are ugly to you, you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner, otherwise Karma will come back one day and bite you, and you will regret your a$$hole ways, I promise.  Here’s a good book to help with that. 😉

Being successful at anything is a delicate balance of light and dark. Patience and realistic expectations are key, as are willingness to see your faults and weaknesses, and learning from your mistakes. In order to improve your craft, these are vital. If something isn’t working for you the way you’d like for it to, then perhaps it’s time to try something different. SLOW Dooooooowwwwnnn. Take your time with your book babes to ensure you’re outputting the best possible product you can. YES, getting a book professionally edited, formatted, and covered is expensive. YES, it is worth every penny in the long run. You’re building a brand, and you want your readers to expect quality products from you with faith that that’s what you’ll deliver. The answer is not always ‘more books, faster.’ Sometimes the answer is ‘more patience,’ or ‘more time.’ Only when you are truly honest with yourself will you see what that ‘more’ is for you.

But for those of you who have done this, and have still arrived at the Book Baby Blues, my answer is this: Give yourself a break. Maybe take a day off–you deserve it. Give credit where credit is due. Keep your expectations reasonable and realistic. Building a successful business and brand takes time, sacrifice, patience, more time, money, tears, sometimes blood, perhaps therapy, more time, immense passion, determination, and SCREW YOU GUYSit-doesnt-matter-how-slowly-you-go-as-long-as-you-do-not-stop IMA DO THIS THANG  NO MATTER WHAT stick-to-itiveness.

You’ll get there.

One step at a time.

Progress, not perfection, is a reasonable expectation.

Most books do better when they are first released. Just because your rank is falling now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. With each new book you publish (that is quality), your overall sales will increase. Books do sell books, yes. But not if they aren’t quality books, which is why that is so important. Your rank will ebb and flow, but as long as you continue to put your best foot forward, you’ll continue to build a business and brand–and publish book babies–that you’re proud to put your name on. Enjoy this journey, even the hard parts, because one day you’ll look back and see that it was in those darkest moments that you were pushed to grow, to believe, to persevere, and to perhaps, choose a better path. It’s in those times that we are driven to search for the light, to move toward it, and to shine in this world in a way that only we can. And THAT . . . is what’s most important.

 

Do you have experience on this topic? Spill your thoughts in the comments below.

***

Check out my new website!!

And you can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)

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Play Your Violin Amidst the Madness

violin3

Well it’s that time again. 2014 has come to a close, another year has passed us by. How was it for you? Horrible? Fantastic? Just kinda meh? Best year ever?

For me, it was mostly fabulous, with sprinkles of meh, and a few jiggers of heartache.

I did an amazing thing this year. I wrote and self-published a novel while single-handedly raising four children. That, alone, is cause for celebration, right? So, why the meh and heartache?

On top of all of the loss, death, and devastation present in everyday life around us, which makes it difficult to focus on life’s beauty sometimes, I have struggled with the disenchantment of my love of writing.

This masterpiece of mine (“The Treemakers”), which has garnished such fabulous (though few) reviews, hasn’t brought my children and I out of the poorhouse (yet!), and I have been dealing with some grim realities of my existence as an indie author.

Sure, there are things I love about being an indie author, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t sell out to the first big publisher with a five or six-figure advance. Because struggling sucks. Right? I know we all struggle with different things. A lot of you can relate to mine, I’m sure. Skimping on the groceries toward the end of the month because you’re almost out of foodstamps . . . . Having to go without things so your kids don’t have to . . . . We could sit here all day and whine about how much it sucks to be poor. And bitch about why it is that people say they care about us, want the best for us, totally support us, but then won’t/don’t even buy/read our books/art/etc… Or, they read it and don’t review it/recommend it to others… (why? Do they not realize that this is the bread n’ butter of our existence as an indie author/creative person?) But none of that wallowing and complaining and whining would do us any good. It won’t make us rich, and would only be counterproductive. It would irritate those around us, and bring more negative results into our lives.

But still, I wonder about those people. A little birdie pointed out to me that some of them are perhaps just quiet souls who honestly aren’t of the reviewing/recommending-variety. And some of them are just lazy. But then . . . there are those of the hater variety. Even people you may share blood or long-term friendships with. They see you shine and it reminds them of how dull they feel, so instead of lifting you up and adding to your brightness, they shoot you down, or try to ignore you altogether. They secretly want you to fail. Your greatness makes them realize how un-great they secretly think they are.

So. What now? What to do in the dim light of the people who want us to fail? Who want our children to go without? Who secretly want us to crash and burn because they are so flipping self-centered that they can hardly see the world around them for what it truly is? Shall we lie down and die so the poor haters may feel better about their wittle selves?

HA. WE THINK NOT.

our-deepest-fear-quote (1)

I’m not a millionaire yet. I’m not even a thousandaire. Hell, I’m not even a hundredaire. But I’m not dead yet, either, and neither are you. I sure as heck don’t plan on making things any easier for me or those around me who can’t handle the light, do you? Put on some sunglasses, haters, because we’re just getting started. And hey, those who may be in need of that permission to shine, will look at us and find the strength to do so. Our strength will make them feel stronger, too.

I’ll tell you what I did once I saw “The Treemakers” plateau at a level of un-greatness (for me). . . I cried.

I cried good and hard. I died inside for a short time. I gave up writing (for a few hours) and imagined what life would be like without it (horrible). I cursed the day I ever decided to do this for the long-haul, and I wallowed in my morass of self-pity until I was so drenched in the muck that only two choices remained: give up and “die,” or take a nice hot shower, put on some fresh clothes, and do what I do best.

Stick my two middle fingers in the air . . .

and then get back to writing.

A friend and I were discussing how difficult it is to be heard in the chaos of social media land. When you have a book out, especially when you’re new, she said it can be much like standing on a runway filled with jetplanes and screaming to be heard. I thought about this for a long while. It didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. How pointless. I thought, “why not do something that would make the pilots stop the planes and get out alongside the passengers and watch?”

This is what happened next (in my head)[you may have to skip a stupid ad first]:

No matter what life brings us, no matter what elements lie before us, we have to “play our violin” amidst the madness . . . or the calm, or the heartache, or the bliss, or the riots in our minds, or the joy, or the sorrows . . . we let our light shine on, and don’t give up.

What is that thing you do that makes you stand out, like in a good way? That’s your violin–Do that. Writing is my sweet violin, and I know if I just keep playing it, eventually, someone will hear me. They’ll see me, feel the music pouring from my soul into theirs . . . the pilots, passengers, and all the people inside the airport will gather ’round to listen when it’s my time to shine.

Same as you.

It may not be our time to shine for everyone all the time. Sometimes we may stand alone on an empty runway with no one around for miles. It’s at those times we must practice practice practice, preparing for when it’s our turn. When the world and time stop and wait, and listen. For us. It will happen if we believe, plan, practice, prepare, and continue to play our violins amidst the madness.

Believe it will happen, and make the best out of this miracle before you. Another year awaits to unfold before our eyes.

Happy New Year to you, my friends.

And no matter what, always . . .

Play on

To check out reviews or purchase “The Treemakers,” follow the links below. Thanks!
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P49KVKG
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00P49KVKG/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22036603-the-treemakers

21 Reasons Why Life without Facebook is Totally Awesome

flower girl

So many things fall to the wayside when chained to Facebook for endless hours days months years. Some time away allows you to see the many ways it negatively impacts your life.

For the past two weeks, I’ve spent a total of fifteen minutes on Facebook, which is no easy feat. As you can see >HERE<, getting off for even an hour was once a near-impossibility.

If you are anything like me, you too, may be unhappy with the amount of time you waste in the vice-grip of status-updates, friend requests, and all the jingly bells and screeching whistles that go along with a life glued together at the seams with good old Facebook. Because I’ve enjoyed my break so much–I wanted to entice you to give it a try.

Here are 21 Reasons why life without Facebook is totally awesome, and why I’ll be limiting my time there to fifteen minutes, one day a week from now, until further notice. 🙂

21. Less chair ass

If you’ve experienced the torturous hell that is hours of writing, whilst fighting Facebook distraction (and losing), followed by the darkest moments of a writer’s existence–chair ass–you understand. Often times, this is accompanied by mouse-wrist and/or typing-elbow. (Yes, I am aware I just made these up, but these writer ailments should have names, shouldn’t they?)

20. More exercise

19. More time outside

18. More time with children/friends/family

First on any list of dietary restrictions should be Facebook: Serving size I’LL SLURP OUT YOUR SOUL AND SAUTEE THAT MOTHER WITH TWITTER BALLS AND PINTEREST NUTS SO JUST SIGN YOUR LIFE SAVINGS OVER TO CANDY CRUSH NOW AND CALL IT A DAY.

Last week, I walked a total of four miles. On purpose. And not just to get to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, either. I did it because, hello, I opened my eyes to the wide world around me and decided, what the hell, I’ll go for a stroll. Destination? Starbucks. There was a venti nonfat carmel iced coffee calling my name. Funny, I didn’t hear it when I had my Facebook earmuffs on. Who knew those things were soundproof? Distance: two miles. It was a beautiful, sunny, relatively warm, late-spring Dallas, Texas afternoon. There were bugs. And noise. I perspired. I pushed my son in his stroller as he experienced the wide world around us from little toddler eyes. It was beautiful. 

It’s common sense; less time playing kissy-face with Facebook leaves room for endless possibilities of fuzzy-feeling real life stuff like being active and spending time with family and whatnot.

17. More time to write

Okay, raise your hand if you’re guilty of using “platform” as an excuse to insert Facebook into your body intravenously?

Uh-huh. *gives you evil eye*

I don’t wanna hear it. Platform shmatform. You don’t exactly need platform if you don’t have a book to sell, right? And even if you do have a book to market, think of how many more you could have if you didn’t spend so much time stroking the Zuckerburg…. I have a lot of writer friends, and not a one of them has ever gushed about how Facebook sells tons of books. If you’ll check out your top NYT bestselling authors, you will rarely find them spending hours–if any time at all–on Facebook. They do what writers are supposed to do. They write.

16. More time to do housework and other things you’ve been procrastinating

I get it, I really do. Hunting down the perfect meme-of-the-hour is way more appealing than doing the dishes. But your significant other is tired of doing them while you harvest friends on Facebook. Or your kids are tired of wearing dirty and/or wrinkled clothes because surfing meaningless status updates and filling your little brainy with mindless chatter that means ultimately jack to you and your life–seems more important to you than doing their laundry.

And shower, cuz… damn. *pinches nose*

15. More time to do other (than writing) things you love

Facebook is a drug that should come with dosage information and a warning label. And certain people should really cut it out mostly, or entirely from their life. Being a recovered drug addict/alcoholic, I have an addictive personality. I get “stuck” on stuff if I’m not careful, and then hours days months years go by and I look up and realize EVERYONE IS DEAD AND THE WORLD HAS BECOME A DESOLATE WASTELAND IN WHICH THE UNDEAD HAVE TAKEN OVER AND I MUST NOW LEARN HOW TO SHOOT A CROSSBOW LIKE DARYL DIXON AND TELL TIME BY THE SUN’S POSITION IN THE SKY AND LEARN THAT MOSS GROWS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF TREES OR WHATEVER AND ALL THAT’S LEFT TO EAT THAT HASN’T BEEN LOOTED ARE THOSE LITTLE DRIED CRAWFISH THINGYS WITH EYES THAT YOU FIND AT MEXICAN SUPERMARCADOS…

Not a good scene.

Would I rather spend my pre-apocalypse moments on Facebook, stalking Daryl Dixon (well, actually…), or doing fulfilling things that make me happy, like making cool stuff with my hands?

Tough call.

*sighs*

*stomps foot*

I guess I’ll take the art. (As long as I can watch reruns of “The Walking Dead” after.) 😀

14. You see who your true friends are

I’ve made a lot of good friends on Facebook. Almost 3,000 as of last Sunday, actually. And every other Tuesday, we get together and go bowling and then go to the spa afterwards and I catch the tab on a few rounds of those little umbrella drinkys…

Yeah.

I can count the true friends I’ve made on Facebook on two hands. From what I can tell, most of them out there are looking out for numero uno. I am but a drop in the bucket, of which may as well be a toilet. Taking a step back, I was able to see who I miss, which is a surefire way to tell who you really care about. And most of those people have my email address and some of them have even acquired the much sought-after 10 digits of happiness, and I don’t mean fingers. Some of them even call me on the… phone. *GASP!*

13. You can address your festering narcissism and get some effing humility

If no one has told you today, you are a precious little snowflake and everyone on Facebook–all of the internet and the world even–should stare at the exquisite uniqueness that is your Facebook profile. They should soak up every single status update from now, until the beginning of time, memorizing the luscious deets and “liking” every post, every comment, every picture, and every single little marvel that is your totally real, unfiltered, un-photo-shopped real life. Really.

And if they don’t…

Gah, how dare they. The nerve.

12. No Facebook drama

Does this really need explanation?

11. No Facebook trolls

*please hold while I squeeze into my ranty-panties*

There is nothing that pisses me off more than those still-living-with-momma social outcasts that have never seen the sun rise nor fall, that tell me what sort of sunscreen to put on my poochy. And worse yet, even blatantly judge me for putting the stuff on his furry be-hind in the first place. Hey, buddy, if I wanna put a gosh-dern t-back and tap shoes on my dog, that’s my own damn business and I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me how to–or not to–do it.

*tosses ranty-panties to neighbor’s poochy*

*snickers*

10. No more constant marketing

If I see your book cover one more time I’m going to hang you upside down by your toenails from the ceiling fan in my mind and flip the switch to the “on” position. Then I shall pop popcorn and set my demon puppy loose to chase you around, snapping at your hair or ears or what-have-you. And I shall laugh.

9. No more creepers/perves

In case you weren’t aware, Facebook just recently became a free dating site for the uber creeps and perves and still-living-at-home trolls. If you have never seen troll genitalia, be warned… the sight of this in an unsolicited private message has been known to cause vomiting, insomnia, loss of appetite, and in serious cases, blindness.

(NOTE: If you experience an erection that lasts for four hours or longer, well… you may be part of the problem. Seek professional help immediately. And in the meantime, please, stay the bejeezus away from Facebook.)

8. No more game requests

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of every harp in Heaven simultaneously playing Queen’s “We are the Champions,” because we have done it. We’ve won. People, ONE. Facebook game-requests, ZIP-O-ROOONIE.

7. No more clogging your mind space with unimportant crap

No, I was not aware that the African spotted muskrat is endangered. Please, post that Upworthy video all about it so that I can lose four minutes of my life learning all about them, and what I can do to ensure their future safety.

6. No more depressing selfie sessions to find that “perfect” profile pic

Of course, I have no personal experience with this one… but I had a friend once that, um…

yeah.

Next.

5. You no longer have to pretend to care about things you don’t care about

Hear that? (Isn’t it amazing how much you can hear without your Facebook earmuffs on?)

It’s the sound of 2,500 people clicking the “unfriend” button as they learn that I wish (I really do) I had enough mind-space, time, and heart, to give two squishy turds about what you ate for dinner, or how your husband wants you to get a bikini wax, or how your new Ferrari unfortunately had to go to the shop today to get the problem with the vibrating seats fixed. Because you paid extra for those  damn vibrating seats and by-God, they better vibrate on “GO.”

4. You no longer have to bite your tongue to keep from being an asshat to other asshats

If you hang out in a barber shop long enough, you’ll either get a haircut, become a barber, or try to eat that thing that looks like a candy cane because you’re hungry and you can’t take the curiosity any longer…

(Note: It does not taste like a candy cane.)

In the same manner, if you hang out on Facebook around asshats for too long, you too may start to present symptoms of asshatedness. You must ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?

3. You get a new perspective on life

This isn’t my first Facebook-free stint. I actually deleted my account three or so years ago, for a whole year. My finger hovered over the “deactivate account” button for–I shit you not–a whole hour. I sweated profusely. I pulled my hair out and I cried. I banged my fists on things and broke many pencils. Facebook had taken over my soul, and was eating my family, my life, and my sanity away at the seams like greedy little blue termites. When I finally pushed that button, I literally grieved the loss of my intangible, fabricated cyber-life, and all of the “friends” who would no longer “get to” be a part of my life.

Notice the self-righteous asshatedness (above) than soon became apparent. Once I stepped back, a week went by and I realized the sun was shining… “Whoa, when did the snow melt? What day is it? June? When the hell did summer get here? Where is my family?”

I had to integrate myself, not only back into the lives of my family–relearn their ways, their schedules, their habits, likes, dislikes–but I also had to be integrated back into society. It was serious culture shock. When you spend five or six hours a day on Facebook, you may as well be spending five or six hours a day at a dope house. Some of you may not have it this bad, but some of you can drink alcohol without it ruining your life, too. Others of you, like me, may hit a wall, where you have lost control. We are powerless over our Facebook addiction and our lives have become unmanageable. Stepping away removes a dark shroud that you didn’t even realize was there. You will experience life anew.

2.  Live life in the ever-mysterious and spontaneously beautiful now

Without the distraction of Facebook, I remember to enjoy life right now. Instead of “building that platform,” “marketing that book,” “cultivating that following,” all of which are future-oriented visions and aspirations, I can just enjoy the awesomeness that is my life right now. I can sit on my back porch and look at the sky and quiz my third-grader about what type of clouds are out today. I can play. I can breathe in deep the official first day of summer because I am experiencing it firsthand, not because I saw someone’s status update reminding me of it. I can be present in my life.

1. Freedom

Facebook is designed to hold you hostage. It is a prison without walls or bars. Sure, there are some good things therein… there are bible scriptures scrawled on prison walls, too, but that doesn’t make me want to go to prison any time soon. You?

Without Facebook to tie you down, you walk a free human. Free from ego, from narcissism, free from garbage-in garbage-out, free from the poisons there, disguised as profit, prosperity, popularity…

Without Facebook, you are free to just be. And live.

Until next time, fellow humans…

Just be. ❤

 

You can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)

11 Rules for Being the Best Writerly Soul You Can Be

type11. Don’t be an asshat

It’s unfortunate how many of us are afflicted with this terrible disease. Asshatedness is a virus of the writing world, spreading to unsuspecting and unfortunate others, who may in turn, spew asshatedness onto others. I have been both a recipient of the side effects of this illness, as well as a host. Though I try my darndest not to let the asshat fever take over and make me do asshat things, I admit, sometimes I get delirious and lackadaisical, and forget I’m trying to not be an asshat. It can be easy to let this sickness rule your life. Beware its repercussions. Just because someone is an asshat to you, doesn’t mean it’s okay to be an asshat back to them. A few months down the road, when that sexy little book of yours comes out–and that asshat hasn’t forgotten or forgiven you for that asshat thing you did/said, watch out for that evil one-star asshat review on Amazon.

10. Support other authors

I had an author once ask me to read and review his book (which wasn’t very good), and when I read his bio on Amazon, he was knocking other authors. He said some asshat thing like, “I can only hope to rise above the sea of crappy authors using their first two initials.” Not only is he breaking rule #11, but he’s also taking a big nasty poo in the hands that feed. When you are first starting out, especially, other writers (the non-asshat ones) are there for you. We’re on the same team! We’re straddling this tightrope together and pulling each other’s wedgies out! We are like, FAM, yo! And even if you aren’t just starting out, writers are readers, too. Knock other writers and you might as well crap on your own head because you’re screwing yourself out of potential badass customers. Because what’s better than a reader? A writer-reader!

9. Get off Facebook, you addict!

“Could you hold on just a second?” (Me, to the cashier at the grocery store while checking my Facebook)

Seriously.

This could (and–UPDATE–it is, now) a whole ‘nother blog post. (Read it >HERE<)

Get the heck off Facebook! Platform shmatform!! What matters most is that you are not an asshat and you write a badass book. Facebook can be evil. I am not even sure if it’s a necessary evil for the writer yet. Or for humanity in general. Remember life before Facebook? When people actually talked, and went outside and things? Yes, I am aware everyone and their dog is on Facebook. But you wanna be a badass writer, right? Well get off Facebook and write! All right?

(ANOTHER UPDATE: Read about my leave of absence from Facebook >HERE<)

8. Read

So you wanna be a writer who doesn’t suck? Read read read read read READ. It’s important to be well-rounded in what you read and well-read if you want to write stuff worth reading. And not just in your genre, either. You write erotica? Read some classics. You write literary stuff? Read genre fic. Write children’s books? Read some erotica.

What?

It might do you some good to step into the adult realm and take a stay-cay every once in a while. *winks*

Which leads me to…

7. Take a break

Don’t burn yourself out. Though I firmly believe in following rule number one (below), there comes a time in every writer’s life when he/she must chose between throwing the laptop off of a very tall building and committing themselves to the nearest mental ward, or taking a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break. Even just a day can work wonders. Long enough for you to take a step back and see the whole picture. To remember why you write. (Here are 50 right >HERE<) To regenerate those creative juices that can dry up sometimes if we overwork the engine for too long, too hard.

6. Quit beating people over the head with your book cover

This branches off of #11. Sure, a certain amount of marketing is necessary for sales, but when you are whipping your cover out every chance you get and violating every slot you can fit it into, not only do people seriously consider calling security, but some may even sick Uncle Jeb on you for being such a violating, indecent asshat. Not everyone wants to see your cover ten times a day, whether it’s in different Facebook groups, or Twitter or whatever. People will get numb and jaded and tune you out, and unfollow or unfriend you. And they definitely won’t read your book if they feel violated and/or annoyed by it. Again I say, write an awesome book and be an awesome person (not an asshat), and you will find you will operate more on a level of attraction rather than promotion. People like people who are confident and talented, not needy, forceful, and annoyingly persistent. If you write it (and it’s fab), they will come. Keep the faith. Do the work. Keep the cover in your pants unless it’s concentual. 😉

5. For slop’s sake, quit taking yourself so damn seriously

Lighten up. Just because your book may not be doing as well as someone else’s, doesn’t mean you have to get grouchy and be a meanie. Or if your book is rockin’ and you become a self-righteous prick, a.k.a. asshat, because you are so awesome and everyone should bow to your insurmountable wordliness skills, so you turn your back on the little ants that you used to call your author friends…well that’s just uncool, man. See rule #11.

4. Take constructive criticism like a champ.

“Thank you, Sir, may I have another?”

These should be your words to most beta readers and critiquers. Yeah, sure, it can sting and you might have to rewrite. But how many authors out there are so scared to move into uncharted territory, that they cram cotton in their ears when you try to point out things they can work on? And they continue to produce work that isn’t up to par…. And do they not see their own reviews? This is baffling to me and makes me want to smoke cigarettes and contemplate existence.

How art thou so safe in thoust writing, that thou neverest hath the guts to improve? That ’tis the question.

3. Look at everything in your past, good and bad, as fiction fodder

You’ve been through some tough times, eh? Great! Use it as fuel. Put it in the book. Nothing makes all that stupid stuff we’ve done more worthwhile than turning it into an awesome book.

2. Don’t give up

Sleepless nights. Tears. Bad reviews. Plot holes. Rewrites. Endless hours in the editing cave.

I know, I’m trembling, too.

But this is where the rubber meets the road. This is how our character is molded. That’s where good books become great books, and authors become bestselling badasses.

1. And most importantly, the no-brainer is WRITE! Write every day.

The writer-mind is like any other muscle–it must be used constantly for it to be at 110%, which is where it needs to be for you to be totally awesome. Keep a “Don’t-break-the-chain” writing calendar if you are having trouble disciplining yourself. Mark a red “X” on every day that you write for at least five minutes. The truth is, once you sit down, five minutes may turn into ten, twenty, thirty, or an hour. You’ll soon find that time you thought you didn’t have to write, is in fact, there. You have to make time for what you love. Because:

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
― Franz Kafka

For real. There’s nothing worse than a creative person who is not being creative. Poor miserable little souls. 😦

So, to sum up:

Write the best book you can write and don’t be an asshat. The rest will fall into place.

Until next time, writerly souls…

Write on! 😀

 

UPDATE:

You can check out my books on Amazon here:

The Treemakers (YA Dystopian Scifi Romance) http://amzn.to/1H3tqFw

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure) http://amzn.to/1EoAme8

Hello, my name is Christina, and I’m addicted to Facebook.

facebook-addiction-1

Some of you may laugh. But I am willing to bet many of you share in this affliction. In fact, studies show that as many as one in five Facebook users are addicted. (Note: I just made that shit up because it sounded good)

But to be honest, I hate to love Facebook.

We had a falling out two years ago. I was spending so much time on Facebook, that I was entirely neglecting almost every aspect of my life. At that time, being in a Twelve Steps program for alcoholism and drug abuse, I recognized the signs of addiction but blew it off at first. Because—hello—it’s Facebook. I’m not selling my body for “Likes” or shooting memes in my veins here, so really, how bad could it be?

Well, it was bad. My relationships were horrible, I was completely obsessed with the number of friends I had (which was a lowly 600 something at that point), and I was a horrible parent who played “Farmville” instead of helping my kids with their homework.

Yes, Facebook was ruling my life.

It sounds completely ridiculous, doesn’t it? Like the people at the Narcotics Anonymous meetings I’ve been to who said they were in there because they were addicted to Marijauna, and I’m like, “Seriously?”

But I’ll tell you what, Marijauna is a drug, too, and just because it doesn’t usually screw lives up like other drugs, it can, and it can lead to other things. It all depends on the person. Some people can puff a joint every once in a while, just like some people can get on Facebook once every couple days for an hour and get off, no sweat.

I’m not one of them.

The day I closed down my FB account is a day I’ll never forget. It took me an hour just to push one button. I cried. Sweat poured from me in various places. I almost had heart failure. In all honesty, it felt like going to rehab. That feeling that you get when you know your life is about to change and you’re not going to have that distraction—that crutch anymore. Fortunately for me and a lot of people, though FB can be psychologically addictive, it isn’t actually physically addictive (yet—just give the ‘burg some time), so it is easier to recover from FB addiction than it is from drugs and alcohol.

But not much.

I did feel freer, lighter, really, but it took a couple days. For the first day, I was depressed.

“WTF do I do with my time now? I haven’t a clue.”

Oh.

Right…

Yes, I do have children.

Yeah, I suppose they have needs.

Funny how the “empty” space fills so quickly and perfectly with filling things, or should I say “fulfilling” things.

I didn’t get on FB or any other social media for two years; I found myself; I bonded with my children; I saw God in His underwear; I wrote two novels. It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have junk filling up your time.

Fast forward two years to post novel-writing time.

Some Voice of Reason says that magic word to me: “Platform”

Voice of Reason: “If you want to get an agent/publisher/readers, etc., you have to have platform.”

Me: “WTF is a platform? Like, I have to build something?”

VOR: “No, it’s a following. Social media and networking, you know, friends, followers, etcetera…?”

Me: “You’re fucking telling me I have to get on FB aren’t you?”

VOR: “Yes.”

Me: *calls sponsor*

VOR: “I’m sorry, but it’s a necessary part of building your writer platform. Google it.”

Me: *Googles ‘Writer Platform’ while tattling to sponsor about VOR*

VOR: “Look, do whatcha want, but don’t come crying to me when you can’t get an agent/publisher or readers because no one knows who the fuck you are.”

Me: *slams imaginary phone down on receiver* (yes, I am old school in this role play, cuz that tis how I ‘role’)

Me: “Okay, VOR. Fine. I will get a FB. But I will NOT be happy about it.”

So, here I am now, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, GoodReads, WordPress, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. I keep up with all the wannabes as best I can, but it’s me and FB that have to hide our relationship from the masses. For the purpose of this confession, I will reveal to you the true nature of our love affair. We pretty much do it anywhere:

Waiting for kids in school parking lot: Check FB.

Long check-out line: Check FB.

Eating any meal: Check FB.

Church: Um…. Forgive me…?

Stop light: Check FB.

Cooking: Check FB while waiting for water to boil.

Bathroom: We are not even going there.

Bed: Check FB one last time before going to sleep.

Wake up in middle of night: Check FB and find him sleeping on the couch. Beg him to come back to bed.

I’m not as bad as I used to be though. I help my kids with their homework and whatnot. I don’t play any of those stupid FB games. But I feel it draining the life right out of me, kinda like those two and a half bad marriages (don’t ask.)

So, I’ve brought you here to witness this, in case FB decides to do anything rash when I say these words.

Ok, here goes . . . .

Facebook, you know I love you, but . . .

I think we should spend some time apart.

*shields face from cyber shrapnel*

*peeks out from behind hands to find FB doing absolutely nothing but sitting there, staring at me*

Oh. Well then. Now that it’s all on the table, let me just say that I think we should spend a month apart. Or like a couple wee—days. Three days. Got it?

*FB shrugs*

Oh, don’t even act like you don’t care, FB.

*slams laptop screen down*

*fights back tears, stuffs mouth with Tagalongs*

And so it shall be, *holds right palm up in air*, that on March 4, 2014, I do hereby solemnly swear not to get on FB for any reason for three whole days.

I shall let you know how this transpires. It could get ugly. It could definitely get ugly.

And in case you yourself need a good “out” of your unhealthy relationship with Facebook, please do read my post,

25 Ways to Make Sure Everyone of Facebook Hates Your Guts

I hope it helps.

Until next time, word nerds and other peeps…

Write on!

And just say no to Facebook!

 

UPDATE: If you’d like to read about my life after recovery from Facebook addiction, you may do so right >HERE<

XOXOXOX