Overcoming Procrastination

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Something happens after a book is published. Writers, then, have a dual focus. Trying to promote and continuing to work on their next project. This leaves me, personally, overwhelmed. And I don’t function well in that place.

Some authors speak of a “let down” time after their novel or book is published. That they feel depressed, blue, unable to work.

I wonder if it’s something like postpartum depression. You’ve worked so hard and birthed this marvelous creation, and you’re somewhat exhausted and now have so much to take care of.

Writers do refer to their writing as offspring in some sense or another.

The thing about procrastination is that it becomes a habit.

When I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do first, I tend to procrastinate. We’re not just talking about a lot to do. I regularly have a lot to do and have it scheduled, done, and still have writing time.

I think scheduling helps overcome or even usurp any potential procrastination. So it’s summer, no schedule, makes it even harder.

I got a schedule book, instead of just my phone, and keep that on the table I pass most often in the house. There it is, laying open, telling me what needs to be done and by what time. No phone beep that I tend to ignore or swipe to dismiss, but an open book written in pen and ink.

I’m old school. An open book is my catnip.

I’m a tad neurotic. A to-do list is my medicine.

Take that procrastination!

 

 

The Process

Joy is in the process.

Gratitude in purpose.

 

How it feels to write after a long time

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The Healing Power of Writing

I’m not sure if all people begin to heal from writing, but it does happen. Once a person gives their stories air, light, voice – they begin to heal from whatever was hurting and holding them back.

healing.jpgMany years ago, when I was in school. A woman showed up late to class. She could barely walk, used a cane, struggled to a seat and didn’t speak for half the semester. Then, one day, she spoke.

Maybe it’s important to tell you about the class. It was a women’s studies class. The instructor gave voice through stories, studies, lectures, and guest speakers to women’s issues, including what we call today the #metoo movement.

For most of the semester the beautiful woman, long hair, tight lipped, rarely smiled, spoke even less, barely moved and every little moment seemed to drop into depths of pain.

Then one day, she spoke up. She said, about ten years earlier she had been raped by her husband’s best friend. If you tell, he warned her, I’ll tell your husband that came on to me and it was consensual. Afraid of not being believed, afraid of losing her husband and her son, she remained quiet, believing she could push down the shame and pain.

The class was stunned into silence that the woman could share such a secret with us. The instructor hugged her and thanked her for being brave enough to share with us.

None of us knew the power of her statements.

The following week she moved with much more ease, and by the end of the month she showed up without the cane.

She shared that since she’d let that secret out, she’d been feeling better. Her mysterious mobility issues, the serious pain that had riddled her body for years, was dissipating.

I believe, she told the class, it was the pain of that secret that was locking into my own body.

She felt freed.

Writers often talk about needing to write. Stories need to be told. Secrets need to be shared. There’s a healing power for the teller and the listeners.

I actually began this blog today to talk about my story “The Healer” in How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. But this isn’t that story. There are many times of healing in that book, but this story wasn’t mine. It was hers. But it taught me something about healing and releasing stories which might hurt us or hold us back.

3 Things Writers Hate About You (jk)

You don’t have to be a psychic to know there are things writers have in common. Some love them, some hate them. But, if you’re a writer and they haven’t happened to you yet, they will!

  1. Every writer runs into multiple people who, upon find out they’re a writer, says, “I have this story I want to write…” the conversation then progresses in a few ways. The person will tell them they’re story, will ask them to write it for them (for free), or will suddenly be afraid their story will be stolen.
  2. Every writer has someone ask them for free copies. Writers get a limited number of copies, unless, of course, they are Stephen King or someone like that. And sometimes the copies aren’t exactly free.
  3. Almost every writer who has a social media account has had some amateur plug their own book on the writer’s page by dropping a link, comparing it, or other. This is rude, distasteful, and will not win the person friends. I’ve deleted and blocked people who’ve done that.

Now, given this is my page – I’ll plug my own book – released this week. Get it here!

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Submission Fees for Writers

I sincerely understand when print journals ask for a reading fee of a few dollars. Print journals do not sell well, they have a staff, and some of the ones on the “best literary journals” get many more submissions than they can use. As well, if they are using submittable, the larger print journals have to pay a fee to use the service.dollar-signs-smiley-face_burned

Submission fees can range from $1 to $10. I’ve seen some as high as $20 or $25 for a submission of a short story. I call bullshit.

I understand a reading fee of $5.00 or under. $10.00 is questionable. But then – more than that – No. No. And no.

Especially for an online literary journal run by one or two people. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to earn money. I am saying I don’t think they should be charging writers that much to read their fiction, poetry, or memoir.

There’s one website run by a single person – I won’t publically shame them – who has “contests” nearly every month. This person charges between $7.00 and $10.00 for each contest and offers minimal feedback; however, I have yet to see one print journal even though her copy says, winners will be published in the journal.

I have no idea how many people fall for that.

Research the journal carefully and ask yourself what you’re supporting. If you believe in what they are doing – then by all means pay the fee. Don’t pay a fee in desperation of being published. If you’re good, publication will come.

 

How Your Book Becomes a Finalist…

The Lone Escapist (1st  Illustration) - Copy - Copy.JPGAs a writing community, I believe we need to help one another. There doesn’t need to be a competition or an unfriendly or unhealthy antagonism between us. We are people who share a love of the written word, a desire to share our stories.

When one of my writer friends introduced me to one of her writer friends, I was happy to join and jump in to help.

I had the honor of helping Dan Rhys bring The Lone Escapist to publication life.

When I heard he’d become a finalist in the Chanticleer Awards, I knew his book would be a great success.

It’s a detective, sort of mystery, sort of noir of old. I think Hitchcock would have loved it.  The baser of our human needs and selves sometimes win out and cause us larger problems. Where exactly was Kelton when a school shooting took place in his very own classroom?

Wracked with guilt, he wants to find the shooter himself.

Released just this week – the writing is tight and the topic is contemporary – The Lone Escapist is available on kindle and in print. Audiobook to follow.

How do you get your book to become a finalist? to win an award? – Read Dan’s and find out!