Sunday, August 16, 2015

TSS: August 16, 2015

I didn't mean to take a blogging break.

Last Friday I took my computer to the store for a minor repair. I was told it would be ready the following Monday. While I didn't plan to unplug for the weekend, I must admit it was a nice change of pace.

The three day break, however, turned into five. And the novelty of going off the grid had worn off. Needless to say, it has taken me a while to return to a blogging routine.

I started several MG novels, but didn't finish any of them. I can't decide if my mood affected my reading, or if the story just wasn't for me. I may give them another chance in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I picked up this delightful tongue-in-cheek book and devoured it in under an hour.

How to Avoid Making Art is a collaboration between Julia Cameron (author of the marvelous book, The Artist's Way) and her sister, Elizabeth Cameron.  Each page offers a different excuse artists typically use to ignore or postpone)their craft. The simple illustrations perfectly capture the humorous truth of the text.

While the book is light-hearted and certainly made me smile, it was quite sobering to read all the excuses, one after the other.

By the end, I realized how ridiculous our excuses can be - and how often we sabotage our efforts in the name of doing better, more productive work.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires more time for creativity in their life. In other words, EVERYONE.

Oh my ... what a roller coaster week!

UP:  I joined the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and hope to register for the fall regional conference tomorrow.
DOWN: My critique group expanded to a point where I no longer feel comfortable. I highly respect the core leaders, but fear too many voices will dilute their wisdom.

UP:  I discovered one student registered for my Storytelling Workshop, which will begin next Monday.
DOWN:  I still only have one student registered. In order for the course to hold, a minimum of four need to enroll. The class will most likely be postponed until the 2016/2017 school year.

UP:  I experimented with the iBooks Author app - and fell in love! The idea of creating multi-media books feeds not only my passion for writing, but also my passion for teaching. I have SO many ideas for using this medium to introduce children to reading classics, viewing art, and traveling the world.
UP:  I got caught up in the #PitchWars fever on Twitter. Such a wonderful opportunity for writers!

In essence, over 100 agents/published authors have volunteered their time to read queries and first chapters. In the end, each author will select one person to mentor for the next two months.

I spent the better part of the past two days revising, revising, and revising some more.

CRASH:  I realized my manuscript is total crap.

True... it is a first draft and as Anne LaMott says, all first drafts are sh*tty, but it is still a painful  realization.

I'm not ready to give up on First Impressionism. I still like the idea of time travel to 19th century Paris. I still like focusing on the artists and introducing readers to their masterpieces. I still like my characters and want to know how their story ends (in my mind this is a series of educational stories...) But perhaps the audience is not quite right - or the genre needs tweaking - or it lends itself better to an enhanced  ebook.

It is now back to the drawing board...

I decided to use my unplugged status to learn more about Twitter.

While I've had a Twitter account for years, I must confess I never "got" it.
I like organization. I like compartments. I like structure. Twitter didn't seem to have any of that.

But then I took Catherine Ensley's advice and read Twitter for Writers by Rayne Hall. This Kindle ebook is packed with useful information presented in easy-to-understand language.

Don't be fooled by the title. While Twitter is touted as being the best social media site for writers, but the tips in this book will help anyone learn their way around the Twitter-verse.

The biggest aha-moment for me was learning how to use LISTS. What a game changer!! I can now view tweets by theme - which is exactly what I need. I can also discover other like-minded twitter-ers by reading the lists of other users.

While I currently tend to follow mostly writers, I would like to connect with avid readers as well. If you have a Twitter account, please leave her user name in the comments below and I will gladly add you to my contacts. Feel free to follow me as well: @mycozybooknook


  1. I have no idea how to use Twitter effectively. I know I need to learn more about it.

    Don't throw away your manuscript. You will be glad you saved it. One day. Just my two cents.

  2. Deb ... I could seriously teach you the basics in about two minutes. Once I discovered the "lists" option, it all fell into place for me :)

    I won't throw it away... I may dream of burning the ms from time to time... but I won't throw it away.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that your first draft was sh*t. Hopefully it will get better. In fact, I know it will because your writing here keeps me coming back. I'm sure in a story, it would too.

    What does MG stand for?

    On Twitter I'm @stillunfinished.

  4. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Bryan!

    Sorry... I should probably spell out Middle Grade in the text. I will be sure to do that from now on :)

  5. Molly, I haven't been to your blog for such a long time! I'm sorry that your first draft was crap (your words), but I'm pretty sure that a first draft never made it to the end. I wish for you that the next draft will be much better.

    I'm not on Twitter - I've decided that there is only so much social media I can get involved with, and Twitter just isn't for me.

  6. Carola - so good to see you here!

    I am learning that the creative process is just that - a process.
    I have to stop focusing on the product and instead enjoy the journey :)

    I completely understand your opinion of Twitter. It is not intuitive (at least for me) but once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoy connecting with others of similar interests.

  7. Hi Molly, I would say that even my 3rd, 4th, 5th drafts are still pretty bad, so don't feel down about your first draft!

    It's all about going over and over it so that each time, a little more of what I am trying to say becomes evident to me, hence to my eventual reader. Writing really is a lot like sculpting, in that with each pass, the words and meaning become more understandable, refined and streamlined.

    Or that's been my experience.

  8. Oh Cathy... I am so glad to "see" you here. I am praying for you and your family!

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. Writing fiction is an entirely new endeavor for me... and it is not a natural fit :) I am just stubborn enough not to give up, however... so I foresee about 20 drafts (minimum) in my future.

  9. I've never heard of lists before, but I'm only starting the use of Social Media for career oriented goals. And I just started a new Twitter account and only have 9 followers so far. :)

    If you're interested in following, I'm @hibernatorslibr there's not much up there yet. I'll have to check our this list thing. :) sounds like it would make life easier.

  10. Every published writer I know, including myself, thinks their own writing is crap. It is only when a reader says, "I liked when you said...." that we somehow feel validated. Thanks for the tip on the latest Julia Cameron book. On my must-read list.

  11. I think I probably should read Twitter for Writers too. It sounds like a helpful guide. thanks. Also the Artist's Way sounds neat as well.


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