I'm in love with this mashup, yet everyone I play it for really seems to hate it. I get why. "Let it Go" from Frozen is so celebratory, it's hard to hear it mashed up in a sad song. But this song perfectly sums up... someone. If you've finished "The Mansion's Family" click to read more! Otherwise, be warned, there are spoilers ahead!
Warning: this is almost guaranteed to turn into a rant.
So I was scrolling through Pinterest one day, and came across a "guide" for whether to pursue indie or traditional publishing:
I only have one issue with this chart, but it’s so huge I can barely even acknowledge the rest of it. Okay, it’s more like three issues:
All of these make me rage so hard it’s gonna take a whole lot of self control not to drop a bazillion F bombs into this blog.
Let’s break this down. #1. “Do you hope to become a millionaire?”
I don’t think any writer in the world could honestly say no. We all naturally dream, because we’re professional dreamers. It’s so horrendously unfair to say we’re “not ready” because of our natural inclination to dream.
Let me just clear something up. “Want” and “hope” are not the same as “expect.” I don’t think any writer expects their book to make them millions. While we are dreamers, we know what we’re getting into. If writing was an easy ticket to fame and fortune, everyone would do it.
Someone who expects to become a millionaire is, well, crazy. No matter what their profession. Someone who dreams about it is completely normal.
Moving on to #2
What really bothers me is the assumption that when writers dream of being rich and famous, that means we want to become “the next JK Rowling.” Just. Get. Out. This bothers the crap out of me particularly as a young adult fantasy author. No one wants to be “the next” JK Rowling. No one wants to be “the next” anything.
I didn’t spend almost half my life trying to be someone else. I built my world the way I wanted it so I could be the first and only Crossworlds. I even fantasized about people called me Crossworlds because 1) it would be awesome, and 2) it just makes sense, because they wouldn’t know whether to call me Rose or Libby.
I can’t imagine any writer in the world wanting to be “the next” insert-other-persons-name-here. In fact, most writers are terrified of being called unoriginal, or a wanna-be, or phony in any sense. This actually stops a lot of people from writing, because we nit-pick everything we read/watch/whatever for similarities to our own work.
Of course everyone wants (again, want does not mean expect) to be as successful as JK Rowling. That doesn’t mean we emulate her and keep her in our brains constantly as we work. That would only set us back. Comparison hurts.
So, finally, #3
There are a lot of other problems with this chart. Things like "I wanted (there's that word again!) it on the shelves yesterday," somehow leading to "You're not ready yet." Note how the "not ready yet" section says you probably need to make a small tweak, like saving up money, learning a new skill, or adopting more realistic expectations. The idiot who made this doesn't know the difference between want and expect. Does "I wanted it on the selves yesterday" really sound serious to you? I can't hear that without a bit of a laugh in the speaker's voice. This is eagerness, not expectation. We can't help it, we're passionate. You won't get anywhere without passion.
If you’ve been told you’re “not ready” because of your natural inclination to dream, I’m here to tell you this has nothing to do with whether or not your actually ready. You might be. You might not. It’s not up to me, or any single, oversimplified flowchart to tell you.
I’m also not going to say “only you will know” because you probably won't. The process of figuring out when you’re “ready” is one filled with doubt. One minute you’re in love with your story, the next, all the flaws are glaring out at you, and you can’t help thinking it’s the worst thing ever written. During these vulnerable moments, a flowchart like this reprimanding you for dreaming can be a real slap in the face. So, stay away from crap like this.
If you focus back in on your story, remind yourself why you started, and let that passion and that unrealistic dream guide you, who knows how far you’ll go?
“What’s your REAL job?”
“Why aren’t you USING your degree?”
“So you work at a grocery store, you have a psychology degree, and you want to write books?”
Today, I just have to be super real with you, and just talk about some real life. This will be more of a pep talk than a traditional Tips blog. Might even turn into a rant. But this is for every aspiring author who tells people their dreams, and gets hit with the "Um, you know you’re never gonna get anywhere, right?"
First of all, why are you telling us that? What do you hope to gain from this? Most writers already understand what the chances are of getting rich and famous off of books, but we want to do it anyway, because we love to write.
Second, you actually don’t know that. I’m pretty sure you don’t have the ability to see the future. Some people do become big stars because of their books, and how do you know you’re not looking at someone who will? Even if there’s a one in a million chance, that’s still a chance. We know that. We write our books that way, where the protagonist only has that slim of a chance to win, but they find a way. This is our mindset. Do not take this positivity away from us.
"You know writing is hard, right?"
Really? No! I had no idea! Might as well quit now. Thanks for letting me know before I got myself into something hard. Definitely didn't want the personal growth and sense of accomplishment that comes with a challenge!
I mean, do you really expect to hear this kind of response?
Most importantly, why do you even care? What’s it to you if I’m not “using” my degree? Honestly, I use it every time I write. Studying people’s brains has been very helpful in developing characters. Sure, I could go back to school to gain the necessary credentials for a serious career in psychology. But why would I want to put myself in debt for the rest of my life for something I’m not really passionate about? I love psychology itself, I’ve always found it fascinating, but I don’t feel a drive deep within me to pursue it. I feel that for writing books. And I wouldn’t be the writer I am now if I hadn’t gone to college. I also met some of the best people ever in college. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. So just because I’m not “using” my degree, that does not mean my time in college was all a waste.
Also, what makes a job a “real” job? Would you consider the day job I have to make money more real than my writing job that I’m using to pursue my dreams, make myself happy, and make not as much money? If you want to know what my day job is, that’s not an offensive question. What’s your day job? I’ll tell you, I work at a grocery store. But my writing is more real to be, because it gives me life. It gives me happiness. We all need to do something to make money, and some authors actually do make money off their books alone. I’m not among them yet, but I have hope. You’re just very negative and want to take my hope away.
Yes, I have a psychology degree, I work at a grocery store, and writing books is my true passion. Why? Because I’m a well-rounded person. I also like singing and dancing and snowboarding and riding quads. And sitting at home with my cat drinking tea. Why exactly are you so surprised that I have multiple interests? This isn’t the world of Divergent, okay? It’s not uncommon for people to have more than one personality trait.
I took a creative writing class once and there was this horrible guest speaker, who basically told us all that our writing would never take us anywhere, and that it was basically impossible for any of us to make it big. Guess what? We’re all gonna keep writing anyway!
As long as we’re happy, I don’t understand why people want to talk us out of it. Are you just imposing your own regrets about your life onto me? Are you afraid I will succeed in the thing you were too scared to attempt? Clearly this isn’t about me. I’m just some hopeless lost girl who found a home in another world, and wanted to write about it. So… what exactly is your problem?
Keep writing, people. Don’t let anyone else’s negativity stop you. Even if you don’t “get anywhere” by the rest of the world’s standards, if you wrote a story, you have succeeded in creating something out of nothing, and worked real magic. You have expanded your creative thinking. You set out to finish something, and you pulled through. That’s a big accomplishment. Go celebrate with people who understand how huge that is. Or, celebrate by yourself if no one around you gets it.
Let's start the week with something fun, because the next two posts are going to be... well, kind of angry rants. Fair warning. But we won't rage on Monday, it's already tough enough. Save it for tomorrow. For now, lets jam out to some Pentatonix!
Whenever people asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I’d shrug and say “I don’t know.” I had some ideas in my head, but I knew they weren't what anyone wanted to hear. My answer would never be "right," so I played dumb. I just didn't understand people who dreamed of being ordinary things, despite how great they might be. I wished I could be satisfied with those things, but nothing was good enough.
I wanted magic. I wanted adventure, danger, and the kind of relationships that only develop out of experiencing these huge, life changing situations together. Basically, I wanted to live inside a book.
I didn't know how to put all of this, even to myself, at that age. Instead, I thought I was dreaming about being in movies. Not in the "I wanna be a star!" kind of way, but because I wanted to live in fantasy worlds. I wanted to experience life in stories, and play different characters. I'd taken some acting classes, and it was a ton of fun. Being a "movie star" was, I thought, the closest I could get to leaving reality behind.
But some things weren’t right.
Starting out as an actor means taking any job you can get. You don’t get to pick the parts you play, and the worlds you live in. And even if I did make it big, I still wouldn’t have complete control over what I was in. I’ve got the look of the classic creepy girl in a horror movie. I’d probably get type-casted, and never get to be a Hannah or an Eva. I realized I needed control of the fantasy world I wished to live in.
And even if I became a huge star, Hollywood fame isn’t the kind of fame I want. I don’t want to be on magazine covers with paparazzi all up in my business every day. I don’t want people focused on how I’m dressed, if I’ve gained/lost weight, what I look like without make-up, and when I’m going to have babies. I don’t want fame for an “image.” Let’s face it, I’m the biggest introvert on the planet.
If only I could somehow put the fantasy world, the story, and the characters before me. If only I could be known for a story while continuing a peaceful, quiet life. Think about it. When was the last time you saw an author in the tabloids?
The pieces started to come together. So, you want to live in a fantasy world, one that you control, and you want your world to be more famous than you are? You want to make actual magic that you can share with others? Hm... I wonder what you should do?
The story itself answered my questions before I even reached the word "author." I already had Ellie and Savannah chatting at me inside my head. I already had what I didn't know what a book series forming. I wasn't a writer, but finally I thought, hey, why should that stop me?
Even when I started writing, I didn't consider myself "a writer." Which is why it took me longer than it should have to realized the answer to "what do you want to be when you grow up?" was "An author."
I'm glad I finally got there.
Wow, it’s been way too long since we’ve reviewed any of our Tuesday Tips. This post might be a little less “quick” than usual.
Here we go:
Even though that was a lot of info, I can’t let the chance to say this again slip by: Never forget your golden rules. Read, read, read, and write, write, write!
It's an acapella group from my hometown! It's an acapella group from my hometown!
You might remember "On The Rocks" from The Sing Off. Their cover of "Bad Romance" was particularly memorable. I don't think they sang this song on that show, but I've always loved it. So, I searched for the "original" (non-acapella) version, because I'd never heard it before. But this is the original version! This group is so lit, they've got original songs (well, at least the one)!
Anyway... I don't relate this to any Crossworlds couple in particular, I just find it incredibly romantic. Also, very exciting, because it's 1) lovely 2) acapella 3) original and 4) from my hometown!
Featuring special guest author, A. L. Wright!
I’d love to share my favorite 3-star review, for my short story Marigold. It’s a quick 20 minute read, so if you like the review, too, you can check out the book it was for here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FY2BC50
3 out of 5 stars This was an interesting read.
By AMAZON CUSTOMER on January 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an interesting read. I saw a posting for this free Kindle ebook online and thought I’d give it a try. It’s a very short read, well-written and engaging. It builds up suspense nicely, and while not completely shocking, the ending was satisfying. It was clear from the start the story was building up to something; what it delivered was intense. While I don’t read a lot of steamy books, I don’t shy away from steamy content when done well and in alignment with a fully developed story. Not what I was expecting, but not off-putting either.
Recommended to those who can appreciate good quick fiction and enjoy a bit of steam. Not suitable for teens and younger children.
Whenever I attend an event where I can speak to readers in person, I seem to get asked one particular question the most; “What advice would you give a new author?” Glad you asked!
My first piece of advice is always the same. Join a-no-holds barred Critique group and grow a thick skin. I have a couple of books that would not exist if it weren’t for my critique group. We pass around 7K words of each others’ manuscripts to devour and give constructive and honest feedback on.
This does a few things: It keeps me writing, even if it is only 7,000 words a month! It gives me real feedback from several different perspectives, from others also honing their craft. These folks are great at pointing out discrepancies, repeated words (of which I am a repeat offender), things that don’t make sense and pull them out of the flow of the story. Things that would keep a reader from enjoying the book fully.
Reading other authors works in progress gives me the chance to think critically, and I tend to take away thoughts and ideas of how to do things differently with my own work. I learned how to take real tough feedback. And this has made me a much better author and a more objective thinker when it comes to reader reviews. Now I appreciate ALL reviews for exactly what they are. One person’s opinion.
So, in closing, without having had this group of amazing writers to help me perfect my words, I never would have finished or released Agent Colt. Never would have felt good enough to submit it to contests. Never would have found out that I could win awards with my words.
Featuring special guest author, A. L. Wright!
When I was writing the first two books of my current Trilogy, Blood Price and Blood Ties (Noble of Blood Trilogy) I listened to a lot of melodic metal to stay in the melancholy mood I needed to channel for the "feel" of this story. Here's my favorite song to listen to, to start off that mood:
Check out (some of) A. L. Wright's books below!