Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Small Pep Talk

Staying committed to your dreams is hard, especially when nothing is happening the way you think it should. Your process is too long. Feedback is mixed. LIFE constantly throws crap in your face. How the hell can you end up on top?

Yes, I'm speaking from experience. Hair-pulling, head-slamming experience. In case you missed it, I've been at this writing thing for a long time. I've been with you, Lurkdom, for already six and a half years. In that time, I've trunked a novel, witnessed Nemesis self-publish his epic fail, and met tons of fantastic, committed writers who have pushed their way through the doldrums I'm stuck in. I've also watched a few of them pack it in, not able to deal with the heartache and frustration anymore.

Even though the temptation to say "fuck it" and give in is so delicious, I haven't folded. Seeing my works in print is my dream. I work on keeping that in the forefront while I continue to query, research, write, revise. Some days I love it. Some days I think that being a wino would be more productive. To be honest, most of the days right now fall in the latter category. 

No more. Today is the day that I'm totally putting all of this back in my control. If I get a rejection, FINE. It's a rejection. If I get negative feedback, FINE. It's feedback. I'll synthesize it, better my project based on it, and carry on. 

You can do this too. 

Don't give up. Commit to your dream. I'm rooting for you. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Loving Winter?

Welcome to snowstorm 4,321,987 of the year! I bet you're ready for some summer now, huh? Don't worry, you're not alone in this.

Here's the bad news: We have several more weeks of our current situation.

If that true fact has you considering bodily harm, let me point out again you're not alone. I was over winter after the first storm.

That's why I started listing things I like about winter. It's on Twitter and I try to post one thing a day. All of my tweets are dead-serious, no sarcasm.

So far, I've shared:
- snowmen with real scarves
- The Stripey One snuggles a lot more
- the way snow clings to conifers after a hearty snowfall
- sunlight on freshly fallen snow
- small dogs in sweaters, Corgis in particular
- brightly colored winter scarves and hats

I'll share one new thing per day until warmer times hit.

If you want to join in, use the hash tag #winterlove.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Know Yourself for Better Efficiency

For the last month, I've been slogging through first round revisions for my self-dubbed "light and fun" YA contemporary, and it's been hell. The revision process has been so bad I recently had a weekend-long panic attack. While I'm known to tweet/FB things like "Revisions. Grrr...," I'm not opposed to the process. It's an accepted fact of the writer life.

So the fact I struggled for breath just thinking about my WIP caused even more anxiety. I didn't think too much into the why of it all but over the last few days I've come to the conclusion that most of my recent tweaking is due to unrealistic expectations I set for myself.

Despite what I said publicly, internally I kept my goal of revising this project in 31 days while working the day job and querying and handling life. The truth is, I couldn't. No matter how much I wanted it, I'm a 2-4 month revision girl. Because I set down something I couldn't realistically achieve, everything else in turn became backed up. Which caused yours truly even more anxiety. This could've been avoided if I accepted my strengths and weaknesses in terms of writing and revising.

Of course, acceptance is hard. Everyone wants to believe they're stronger than they really are. In some instances, this is a great thing to do. But in this case, accepting what you can and can't do is the key to figuring out whether you've established a reasonable timetable for your goals. But the question remains: How do you map out your strength and weaknesses?

The first thing to do is be honest with yourself. If you never pay bills on time because you blew all your cash on something frivolous, that's a weakness (and possibly an addiction of some sort). If you're an ace at prioritizing yourself and everyone around you, that's a strength. Sit down and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to what you're trying to achieve. Once you have these figured out, you're one step closer to creating realistic deadlines.

When setting goals and deadlines, it's very important to know what works for you. This way you know what you can comfortably manage while giving yourself permission to overreach just a bit. Eventually the part that is outside your comfort zone WILL be your comfort zone, and you can add on a little bit more. The point is to become more efficient, not burn out after 5 weeks.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dear God, Really?

I've been at a total loss in what to say here, so I figured I'd take some online quiz to share with you. So I did. The results aren't pretty.

Your results:
You are Robin
Robin
64%
Green Lantern
60%
Supergirl
54%
Catwoman
50%
Wonder Woman
49%
Superman
45%
Batman
45%
Spider-Man
40%
The Flash
35%
Iron Man
25%
Hulk
20%

Young and acrobatic.
You don't mind stepping aside
to give someone else glory.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Honestly, I don't know much about Robin other that what I retained from the 1960s TV show. (Note: This isn't much. And that I'm only 49% Wonder Woman? That's disappointing!

I promise next time I'm here, I'll have something useful to say. In the meantime, take the quiz and share which superhero you are below!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Presenting the 2014 Quarterly Writing Life Game Plan

Oddly, I'm still on that "new year" kick. This baffles, so let's chalk it up to the clutch of bad years circa 2011 - 2013 and push on.

Good? Good.

Another big thing for me this year has to do with writing*. My goal for 2014 is to get to the next level in my writing career. I've spun my wheels for too long, not to mention The Timeframe That Must Not Be Named sucked out my soul, so now it's like do or die while I catch up from two years of my creative life.

Alicia, stop bitching willya?

Not bitching exactly, but more like explaining myself. Because when everything else has gone belly up, it is really a challenge to continue fighting that one more thing. So, this shiny goal begs the question how do you get your writing career to the next level?

The answer: persistence. And a game plan.

This sounds pretty simple, but then again the best plans should be so you're guaranteed to stick with them. As long as you have something mapped out and stick with it, you really can't lose.

And my personal game plan is busy. Granted, it's only planned through March, but baby steps are still steps**.  I think these steps will help keep my creative life fresh and active, while pushing me forward to that publication goal. It's also in a manageable chunk that allows enough room to reassess and plan for April-June.

January

  • Continue querying PHOENIX RISING
  • Revise SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT


February

  • Continue querying PHOENIX RISING
  • Complete SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT revision and send out for beta feedback
  • Research stuff for ASSASSIN PROJECT


March

  • Continue querying PHOENIX RISING
  • Complete ASSASSIN PROJECT RESEARCH
  • Synthesize beta feedback for SCENES FROM LAST NIGHT and revise as needed


So this is the first quarter game plan to take my writing life to the next level. I'm telling everyone the plan to keep myself honest. Yes, Lurkdom, I'm asking you to keep me honest. Feel free to ask me anytime to make sure I'm not slacking. We all know how much I love Bejeweled.

Have you been struggling with a similar issue lately? How have you managed it?


_________
* You're shocked. I know.
** Remind me of this later when I grumble about futility.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In Which I Actually Make New Year's Resolutions

For years, I've been anti-resolutions. They're too cliche. It's a load of bullshit. Blah blah blah. Still, there's something to be said about setting something down at the start of a new year. And because of the overall horrible downward trajectory my life has taken from October 2011 pretty much through the summer of 2013, I want 2014 to be a year of positivity.

Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of *those* posts.

My main goal for 2014 is to get back to social media. I miss Twitter. I miss Pinterest. I miss The Lurkdom. Now that I've finally adjusted to the new day job, I feel that I can incorporate it all back in my life.

Which brings me to my second goal for the new year: Balance. It's so easy for me to get sucked into one particular part of life whether it's writing, Facebook games, reading... you get the picture. This year I want to be able to do all of this and remain sane. Oh, I'm also aiming to drop the ten pounds I already gained from the new day job.

So! Be on the lookout for me here, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Happy New Year!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Flippant Girl's Guide to Conference Success

As a writer, it's important to um... well, write. This goes without saying. Another important thing is to be all professional and go to a writer's conference. This is a great place to meet other writers, get ideas, and be smart and shit. If you're new to the conference scene, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of things: people, freebies, ideas, agents, and the concept of not wearing pajama bottoms while conducting your writerly self.

Fortunately for you, Flippant Girl is here to help.

1. Bring a stenographer. You'll be too busy being in awe of your workshop leaders to take notes. Because you don't want to kick yourself for not doing this, find someone to do the hard work for you. Let them write down the crucial bits while you fangirl/fanboy out over how brilliant so-and-so is.

2. Wear roller skates. With only a few minutes between conference sessions, speedwalking is too slow. Zip through the crowds to get that prime seat for you and your stenographer. You'll appreciate the skates when you're also rushing to that book signing/bathroom stall/open bar*.

3. Say something memorable. You're going to meet a lot of people, including industry pros. When you do that follow up thing in the weeks to come, you want to make sure that these people remember who you are. They'll definitely remember the girl who has the theory that squirrels are taking over publishing versus the dude who talked about the literary importance of Jonathan Franzen.

4. Host in-room cocktail parties. We're writers. Drinking seems to go in-hand. Besides, after a day of fawning over your literary crush or being crushed from a manuscript consultation, you'll want to unwind. Bring on the Solo cups and fill the sink with hotel ice!

5. Collect as many business cards as possible. Almost everyone will have one and it's your duty to collect them all. Think of the scrapbook you'll have later one.

Bonus Tip!
Create a book fort. You're at a conference with 600 attendees. If everyone has at least one book in their bag, you can do it. However! Pictures or it didn't happen.



* Not that conferences have open bars. That's wishful thinking.
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