Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writing is Hard & Other Truths About the Craft

As I was torturing myself with Episode 3 of "Sunny with a Twist of Olive" this month, I kept thinking this should be easier. Each aspect of the serialized novel belongs to me: the character, her struggles, her emotions, her pain, her joy, her sarcasm... even her fashion sense materialized out of my imagination. This project started about five years ago with a loose outline, a dream, and not enough writing experience to make it work. Four published novels, two short stories, and several blog posts later... this should be easy. 

But it isn't. 

Writing is hard work. 

I don't sit around in my pajamas, eating candy, drinking coffee, and watching television while dashing off a few thousand words each day. Nor do I drink copious amounts of alcohol and write into the wee hours of the morning. In fact, those pieces usually end up in the virtual recycling bin as what felt like brilliance in the moment is actually craptastic by the light of day. 

Writing doesn't get easier with time. 

I wish it did, but the more I write, the more critical I become. Each word takes a little piece of my soul with it when it's released to the page. I struggle with grammar, spelling, flow, word choice, and vocabulary. I'm struggling to write this blog, because while words come easily to me, parting with them is such sweet sorrow (a little Shakespeare tribute since he just celebrated his 451st birthday, and even though he was prolific, I bet writing wasn't easy for him, either). 

Writing is not a good way to make money. 

The sad truth of the matter is, most writers are undervalued. We're very good at giving our work away for free. All we ask in exchange is a review, some sharing on social media, and recognition for our blood, sweat, and tears. Unfortunately, these rewards don't put food on the table, pay the electricity bill, keep us warm in the winter, or put clothes on our bodies. They do, however make us feel like we should keep chasing our dreams. 

Writing is exhausting. 

It's emotionally draining, and at the end of the day, if I've done my job well, I feel as though I've experienced every emotion, event, and activity my characters have. This is the best part of writing. Wordsmithery is a fantastic way of embracing a completely different persona without making real-life compromises. Even though the activities are fictitious, the experiences are real in the mind of a writer, and hopefully, the reader. 

Writing is an addiction. 

Sometimes, when I feel like I'm swimming against the current, and my books aren't selling, and the words aren't flowing, I just want to quit. I can't. The moment I consider abandoning my passion, a small part of me rises up, takes hold of my creativity, and forces me to continue this tortuous journey. I am compelled to write, create, and direct the lives of my imaginary friends. If I don't, I start to lose control of my real life. 

Writing is hard. 

But I wouldn't want it any other way (except for the income, because, let's face it, who wouldn't want to sit around in pajamas all day, drinking coffee with Baileys, snacking on candy, while writing the next great Canadian novel?) 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spring Cleaning

I'm supposed to be diligently working on the next installment of "Sunny with a Twist of Olive", but my focus is off, so I decided to change direction and update all my social media sites. Surprisingly, it took longer than I expected, but every now and then, we all need to do a little spring cleaning.

I probably won't keep the new colour schemes, since I'm not a pink kind of girl, but it reminded me of sunshine and warmth and flowers, so I took a leap. It's only colour, after all, and can easily be adjusted later.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Where's my writing mojo?

One of the reasons I decided to release "Sunny With a Twist of Olive" as a serialized novel was because I wasn't writing consistently. Days, weeks, and sometimes even months would slide by, and even though I felt the need to write, the words never made their way to the page. I have no excuse for my behaviour. I can blame procrastination, needing to be in the write (right) mood, and writer's block, but I think it comes down to being lazy. I need solid deadlines, otherwise, the act of living takes over, and the writing doesn't happen. It wants to, but it doesn't.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of representing Morning Rain Publishing at the Ad Astra Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror convention with Jaclyn Aurore and Jo Clendening. Most of our time was spent in the dealer room at the MRP table, selling books, meeting readers, and generally socializing. The rest of the time, we refilled our cups of writing mojo, bouncing ideas off each other, and gorging on writerly-silliness.

We needed this event, because sometimes we forget that writing doesn't have to be a lonely, solitary activity. Sure, there are all kinds of online writing forums and groups, but spending time with real, live people, away from the virtual world is refreshing and energizing. Real-world laughter is much more fulfilling than online banter. It's also much more inspiring.

So, I didn't sell a million copies of Liminal Lights, but that's okay. Instead, I received something much more valuable - the gift of shared passion. With so many creative persons in the same space, it's no wonder my writing mojo is spilling out of its cup and onto the page. So, thanks, Ad Astra, for hosting such an incredible event.

I'm very much looking forward to the next event, whatever it might be.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Episode 2: Inside Out

Today's the day! Episode two of "Sunny with a Twist of Olive" is ready for download. In this installment, Olive finds herself twisted "Inside Out" as she confronts issues from her past.

I'm having so much fun with this serial, that I often forget it's supposed to be work. Olive is so full of spirit and mischief, with just enough snark and realism that I have a hard time putting it away to focus on other projects. 

Stay tuned for more Olive updates.