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Monday, June 21, 2010

Following Yonder Star...

In the past, I've blogged a lot about the power of positive thinking, but haven't touched much on the following words of wisdom from Terry Pratchett in his book, The Wee Free Men:

"Now...if you trust in yourself..."

"...and believe in your dreams..."


"... and follow your star..."


"...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy."


:)

This has been brought home to me rather sharply lately. Now, mind you, I did trust myself, believe in my dreams, etc., and that paid off. However, it only partially paid off, because I also wasn't learning and working hard enough. (Hence, my now 3 "ok" reviews, as well as seeing much better cover art than what I've produced - created by people who have spent years practicing their craft.)

Now, I still completely believe in the power of positive thinking and visualization, but I've also come to realize that I need to back that up with real elbow grease as well. Lots of practice to become better at what I want to do, and not just sit around thinking it will all be magically handed to me.

NYT Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley kept a blog in the years just before she was published (and during the years that I remember her from the Desert Rose RWA when I lived in Arizona) all about her doubts and struggles while trying to get published. She has since moved on to blogging about what it's like to make a living as a full-time writer. I went back and re-read some of those posts the other day, and found them inspiring - and enlightening.

In other words, I got a necessary @$$ kicking. ;) (Which has actually been going on for days, as you can see from my "back to the drawing board" post.)

So, once more I'm taking stock of what I still have to learn, where I need to improve, and trying to force myself to get my act together and produce some quality work. Not just sit around and daydream about it.

In what areas are you trying to improve?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Almost Magical Monday

I've been meaning to start up my "Magical Monday" posts again, but it seems like there's always something that comes up before I get to it.

So, meanwhile, let me offer you another Monday tradition that I think you'll enjoy reading: Amber Scott's Motivational Mondays. They are just that: motivational, and often magical as well. :) You can find a listing of them here: http://en.wordpress.com/tag/motivational-mondays/ or at her blog, http://amberscottproject.wordpress.com/.

I loved her series on "book babies" and "book parenting."

For more inspiration, Zoe Winters is also blogging over at Magical Musings about her journey in self-publishing as well. This was interesting for me, because I know a lot of people who are now trying that route, and I've started to dabble in it as well. (Just FYI - I'm not talking about the "you pay big bucks for someone to print a bunch of books that you have to buy yourself" type of self-publishing here, but a whole different venue where your upfront costs can be nearly zero and your profit is your own.)

Is there anything you've found particularly interesting or helpful lately that you'd like to share? Topic doesn't matter - just something you've enjoyed. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board


Well, it's been a hectic couple of months with many stops, starts, and sputters. I'll spare you the gory details and get right to lessons learned.

One, life is tricky, messy and unpredictable. (Yeah, you'd think I'd know that already, but I seem to keep needing reminders.)

Two, sometimes because of number one above, you just have to hit the reset button and start over.

Three, starting over can be a good thing.

The whole Maine move is on hold right now (job description & funding changed, they offered the possibility of another one in a few months - but too late for me due to lease renewal dates.)

Soooooooo, that gave me a little more time to think about things and where I *hope* to be headed over the next year. (Notice I said "hope" - not plan. I'm done with planning for now. I'll just hope, try to do what I can, and see what shakes out, because really, we don't have nearly as much control over things as we'd like.)

Thus, saddled with my "what now?" funk, I had a little more time on my hands last weekend and attended an intense online workshop with Cobblestone Press on creating cover art. At the end of it, they chose to contract three new cover artists - and one of them was me. That was unexpected and exciting. :)

At some point during that weekend, I had mentioned to someone how once, after reading a story I'd written, a friend of mine made the comment that I should stick to painting. Ouch. Then, after seeing 5 new reader reviews of Managing Maggie on Fictionwise (the scale being great, good, ok, and poor) - one said great, one good, two just ok, and one said it was poor. Ouch again. Even if you take out the cheerleader and the hater, you're still left with just one "good" and two "meh, it was ok. Take it or leave it."

It made stop and think about what I was doing, what needed work, and whether I'm really cut out for this. I have to admit I felt like throwing in the towel. But after a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to use it to my advantage. It made me even more determined to prove them wrong, just like I did with that "stick to artwork, babe" friend of mine. (Just for the record, I was published before she was, so *there* pfft.) ;)

It also made me realize I was shortchanging the readers who kindly took a chance on me when I didn't give it everything I had. So now, I'm back to the drawing board. Lots of work ahead of me. I just hope I'm up to the task.

Any insights into your own life/writing lately that you'd like to share? Anything in particular you do to pick yourself up and start over?