I can’t thank Presents of Mind for posting this, this particular weekend. Especially after some advice I received recently that made me quite frustrated with my writing. I am going to have to print this out and put it in my wallet or carry it with me always. Because it’s a gentle reminder that I’m not crazy.
Oh lord, there it is. You are reading along in a blog then you come across a comment, or something that tells you that another person is a writer trying to get published. And in that instant, boom! You have the green eyed lady smacking you in the face and making you see, well, green. You know this has all happened to you, right? The jealous factor that you have more competition. It isn’t enough that you have your own neurosis to deal with, but now you have that added pressure that someone else might get published before you do. And it’s even worse if you see that they are trying to get an agent, a publisher, a query letter, in your field of writing. For that split second you want to dash their dreams into the ground because, hey, writing is a cutthroat world and YOU want to be published first.
I had this happen to me the other day and I almost screamed for that one moment when I realized I was just one of tons of people trying to publish and I’m not putting in the every day work required to do this. I’m blaming several bloggers I follow, who’s general writings are putting pressure on me. It’s all your fault, people that have ambitions.
Ironically, I just started reading a post by J. Sander of Don’t Delete Me, about our day jobs and wishing our day jobs were writing jobs. First thing tackled is about how you are just one person and there are millions out there that are doing the same thing as you. Gasp, hold on while I take a moment to breathe. BREATHE! That can make anyone panic. Does it make you panic and think you might as well give up now? It makes me for a flash moment.
I even panicked today when I was reading Cassandra Clare’s bio and realizing that I will never, let me stress, NEVER, be that good. (I know, I’m already self destroying myself) Along with the panic was to work on my cover letter, but still, I am constantly panicking that I will never be good enough, that I will always be striving for the impossible, that I might as well give up now. There is the drive to succeed, and the fear of falling flat on my face. I think the fear is more 80% instead of a more level number. (it shouldn’t be that high, should it?)
And there is the constant jealousy that while I’m super happy for anyone that can be published, I also want them to fall flat on their face and make way for me to be published. It’s sick and twisted.
But I bet I’m not the only one, am I?
So, how often do you feel the green lady’s gaze clouding your judgement? Do you get panicked and want to just throw in the towel? D
So, I have a question for anyone who has considered submitting to a literary agency or has submitted. Have you ever written a cover letter instead of a query letter?
I’m working on one for the Sheldon Fogelman Agency, and I’m just not quite sure about it. I was wondering if anyone has some advice about typing one of these up. I’ve got the synopsis down pretty good, I hope (gutting some of my query letter) but it’s mostly the bio I’m struggling with. I mean, I have not published a thing, anywhere! How does this sound to everyone?
I wrote Lulu Buys a Hat after my own experiences hunting for a good hat that wasn’t too expensive and looked just right. It took several shops, and a best friend in tow, to find the best hat in an area where hats are not a common thing. When I am not writing picture books, I write weekly on my own WordPress blog, entitled Kate’s Bookshelf. I was referred to your agency via the Writing and Illustrating blog, run by Kathy Temean.
Jazzy enough? Yep, I am relying on you readers for some help. You’ve been great in the past and I am SOOOOOOOO nervous I’m going to do the wrong thing. I’ve only queried two agencies in the past. So, any help you want to share would be great.
Alright bloggers. Have a marvelous Wednesday evening! I’m off to pick some jostaberries. Yes, that is a real thing. Ah, farm life. I wish it was more of a writing life (by which I mean published author writing life)
A slightly ironic post since I didn’t go to bed until 3AM last night, or was it this morning? Then was awake by 8:30-9AM. Six hours of sleep is not enough, but it’s becoming more common with me and my generation. We stay up way later than our parents, and we run ourselves on caffeine and pure adrenaline, though with the lack of motivation I see, there isn’t much adrenaline floating around.
Eight years ago I would feel guilty if I was up at midnight. Now I don’t think twice about it. Heck, if I go to bed before 1:30 I feel like I’m doing really, really good.
And what am I doing in these early hours of the morning, “when the whole world is fast asleep”? Nothing useful. I rarely write because I’m usually tired. NO, I play on Tumblr and bounce around looking up things that could wait till morning.
If I would just turn off my laptop, open up my book, and read for ten minutes, I’d be out like a light. But I put it off. And right now as we are getting to our busy growing season, I need to be up earlier, yet going to bed after 2AM is not conducive to that. Or my overall general health.
So, maybe this prompt is a wake up call (no pun intended) for me to change my habits. Like stop writing posts late at night and do it in the early parts of the evening when I have some down time. And Tumblr will always be there wit things I’ll like. I can’t see it all. Nor should I try.
So, I know Marie of Presents of Mind and C.B. Wentworth know about my Tumblr addiction. I’ve mentioned it enough. Mimi, my friend is like this too, playing way too late. Does anyone else have my same issues? Do you stay up way later than you should and then run on empty? Do you put of sleep for other fascinating things? Vote in the poll. (My first one for this blog)
And lastly, read the article that the Daily Post used.
I started off the afternoon with a little poem by Billy Collins entitled The Country.
Read or listen to it at The Writer’s Almanac HERE
Here is just a taste
I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice
might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Hey you! Yes you. No, not you reading this blog, I’m talking to the people who I base my characters off of. Colin O’Donoghue, did you know you are my lead male in a romance I’m writing? Martin Freeman, did you know you are part of the love triangle that involves Colin? (FYI, you don’t win, sorry) Tyler Hubbard of FGL, you are a lead male too. Ladies? You are all models from clothing catalogs I love. You wear fashion like there’s no tomorrow.
What am I getting at here? I’m talking about having a model for my characters I write about. Just recently I’ve added two to my list of people for characters. The interesting thing is, as you can see from my above list, all my characters are not ‘real’ people. By that I mean, they are actors and not someone I interact with on a regular daily basis. The newest edition to this list is the singer Mika. I first heard about him when I found his song “Big Girl (You are Beautiful)”, then he wore this most glamorous dark blue velvet suit on Dancing With The Stars singing “Popular” with Ariana Grande. That right there kind of cinched it. (I really thought he looked quite cute in that blue suit). And recently I’ve just taken to listening to more of his music and I really like it.
And I need to have him as one of my characters! I can so see him being this super cool best friend to one of my gals. Like Phaedra who lives in SanFran and is a photographer. Or Mia who works in a book store. Or Kate (who is not me and I had her as Alyssa but I don’t like that name so she’s back to ‘Kate’ till I can come up with something better) who is a hotel manager’s personal assistant. I just need to use him.
So, while all of my character models listed are not people I know, I do have to add that I just told writer Shawn Bird that I just have to base a character off of her. Check out her blog and look at that super cool, edgy picture she has! I love her hair! That blond, blue and purple is just rocker chic and I just know that I could come up with something great about that, right? The thing about this, Shawn wrote back and said “That’s funny. I’m used to turning people into characters, not to be turned into one myself! ;-)”Wow, I’d never thought about how strange it would be know someone was basing a character after you. I don’t know of anyone who would write about me, and I wonder if I would want to know? I had never thought about this because I’m always ‘borrowing’ people from life for my novels. We’ve all done it right?
Well, I have two other people in my life that I have as characters. Calvin, my first crush when I was 5 and my ideal ‘man’ for years, is the hero of “Kate’s” book. Then there is Mimi. Mimi has become Coco in my Phaedra novel. She is this voluptuous, sassy, curvaceous, redhead that owns a flower shop and she’s just super cool. Hey Mim’s, did you know you were a character? Well you do now!
So, while I stick with mostly famous people, watch out, bloggers. Someday I just might write about you.
Okay, so readers, do you use people in your life as character models? Do you stick with famous people or do you write about that somebody you saw at the coffee shop or bookstore, or market? How do you get your characters?
I really want to know. So comment below and I can’t wait to see how you create your characters.
“Here, listen to this,” I say, hearing the silent groans, which I ignore, opening my book, a well worn copy of poetry by a poet laureate, circa 2001.
I have taken to quoting bits of poetry I find hilarious, and while I can sense the lack of interest or understanding, it never stops me from trying. Maybe I have been reading it out loud too often, but I I have to inform people how brilliant this poet is. I mean, who do you know that writes poetry that 1. you actually understand, and 2. makes perfect sense because you relate to it completely?
I finish reading and look up to bored faces. I sigh and close the book. People just don’t get me.
I have taken to reading Billy Collins‘s Sailing Alone Around The Room to anyone who will listen. I rather like his wry take on life and I feel that people, IE my family, need to hear how wonderful he is. I’m sure my family is already quite bored and I’ve only read off bits and pieces of two poems. Sigh.
Do you like poetry? Do you enjoy random bits of history about writers? Poets? Things in history? Do you just adore listening to Garrison Keillor? Do you want a daily audio update about all these things?
Well, you’ve come to the right place to direct you t an even better place. I have discovered The Writer’s Almanac. And what is this, you ask me? Why it’s a marvelous little daily podcast hosted by the most marvelous and talented Garrison Keillor. Every day Mr. Keillor reads the birthday of one or two famous authors/writers, a bit of history for the date, and lastly a poem. Done in his marvelous voice it can be soothing or just the thing to hear in the morning, taking no more than just five minutes, it’s about the time it takes to get fully dressed, or for you women out there, maybe get half your makeup on. It’s charming and informative, and well come on. It’s Garrison Keillor and how can you go wrong.Supported by The Poetry Foundation, it’s a marvelous little thing.
How did I find out about this? Surprisingly enough, Wikipedia when was reading about Billy Collins, poet, who has become my favorite modern poet. Within the article about him, it was mentioned that he co-hosted The Writer’s Almanac for the summer of 2013. Well, I just had to find out about it and wow, I’m so excited.
So, I urge you to check it out. It’s quick and fun, and well, we could all use a smidge of literary in our daily lives.
Right now I am in a poetry mood. It all started when I began reading Savage Beauty, the biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been reading bits and pieces from The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, selected poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Poemcrazy, Foolsgold, and just about anything else I can get my hands on poetry related. I’m listening to music for it’s prose more than just as music. I want the meaning. And yes, I am even writing poetry. Nothing that has wowed me enough to share here, but it’s practice.
I’ve got this crazy blue eyes poetry thing going on, rambling bits and pieces about blue eyes. How this relates? Read HERE. Poetry about Monte Carlo and church bells for Saturday night’s mass.
And today I brought home Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins. I wasn’t even sure what to expect, partly because I requested this on a whim due to some strange search that didn’t even relate. Don’t ask me, but my library catalog does weird things. (I’ve searched for fountain pens only to get back all books on mountain men.)
So there I am tonight flipping through this thin book and suddenly I am hit by the magic of his poem Tuesday June 4, 1991.
By the time I get myself out of bed, my wife has left
the house to take her botany final and the painter
has arrived i his van and is already painting
the columns of the front porch white and the decking gray.
It is early June, a breezy and sun-riddled Tuesday
that would quickly be forgotten were it not for my
writing these few things down as I sit here empty-headed
at the typewriter with a cup of coffee, light and sweet.
I feel like the secretary to the morning whose only
responsibility is to take down its bright, airy dictation
until it’s time to go to lunch wit the other girls,
all of us ordering the cottage cheese with half a pear.
The poem goes on for another twelve stanzas and all of it is brilliant. Just brilliant. I can feel myself there and I can picture the whole setting as He continues to describe the day. It is open verse but with a definite rhythm that makes me want to read it over and over and write just like that. Or something like that. Wow.
Poetry is in my soul. I may not be a great poet, nor even mediocre, but I love reading it, writing it, and listening to it.
And I also mean listening to it through music. Music, songs; the pure perfection and poetry in songs is such a part of my life. It’s just something that has shaped my writing and passions.
I urge you to try and read Tuesday June 4, 1991. It is stunning.
This has got to be the best prompt I’ve ever heard. Well maybe not best, but pretty incredible.
I was talking to an older woman who’s a semi friend today and she was mentioning she and her late husband used to winter at their cabin in the mountains. Every evening they would have their cocktail hour and he would mix up drinks. He loved to go outside and break off an icicle to stir the drinks with to chill them.
Isn’t that great? And icicle cocktail stirrer and chiller. I love it and I had to share. Now, people, run with it! I want to see Flash Fiction, short stories, or a blurb or something with this. Please, pretty please. 🙂 I know you all can come up with something great.
Link back to me so I can read them all. I might come up with something myself too!