Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dreaded Slump

Some people call it writer's block. I call it a slump -- that time when I seem incapable of writing anything new. I might be in the middle of a book or maybe I haven't yet begun a new one. Either way, it can be really depressing to be in that space where I can't seem to write. It happens to me and many other writers, so I have developed a few behaviors to overcome the stagnation. I hope they help anyone else out there who suffers a similar affliction.

1. Put my current WIP on ice and start something new. That something doesn't have to be an epic novel. It can be a short story or a novella. That change can often push me out of a creative rut.

2. Adjust my daily word count goal. Sometimes taking off some of the pressure can help. If my current daily goal is 2,000 words and I'm overwhelmed by the idea of writing 20, I change that daily goal down to 500 words. That little mindset switch can re-energize my creative juices and the decrease in pressure sometimes does the trick. I switch it back up once I have my mojo back. Hey, I figure 500 words is better than no words.

3. Take a breather. Sometimes I allow myself to take a little time off. Life happens. I might have company in town or just lots of things in my mind. I have to tell myself it's okay to take a vacation from the writing as long as I set the parameters of how long that break will last. I try to keep it to a max of a few days.

4. Write with friends. I occasionally go to a cafe with members of my RWA chapter to write. Sure, we spend part of the time catching up with each other, but we also get some writing done. Seeing others working can kick-start my On button.

5. Break up that daily word total into manageable blocks. I allow myself a short email break every 100 words or so. Or I do a 250 word sprint then take a break to get outside or get some chores done.

What about you? Do you sometimes get creatively blocked? Do you have any suggestions for ways out of the dreaded slump.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Three in Long and Hard Series!

It's here! The third book is finally out. Crescendo completes the Long and Hard trilogy. Comment here and I will pick one name win the book!

After a painful break-up, concert violinist Chloe Carmichael just wants to be alone. But when she is targeted by a stalker, she’s forced to allow a sexy stranger into her life.

Security expert Wyatt Long is trying to protect Chloe. Staying as close as he dares to the beautiful musician proves difficult when she insists on performing a public concert. When the job becomes personal, he has way more to lose than a client.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Taking Research to the Next Level

I'm just beginning work on a new project -- a series of paranormal romances set in my home state of Florida. If you're familiar with my books, then you know the paranormal genre is new for me.

I have one short story out that deals with a psychic. But Spirit of Seduction  only scratches the supernatural surface.

The new series will go way deeper into several occult topics, the first of which is wiccan magic, or witchcraft.

I took a big step and signed up for a six-week course on basic wicca, which is turning out to be great. I've now attended an authentic wicca Samhain (pronounced sah-ween) ritual. I've also started devouring everything I can get my hands on about witchcraft, magic, casting spells and pagan rituals.

Frankly, the class is so much more interesting than anything I did in my years of collegiate learning. I don't know why I didn't take this step a long time ago. Next on my agenda will be research on the subject of the next book -- either reiki healing, tarot cards or astrology. I haven't worked up the outline yet.

What about you? What's the most extreme step you've taken in the name of research?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday with an Editor - Angela James

Today is the final installment of Thursday with an Editor. Today's guest is industry icon, Angela James, always a fount of great information. Thanks for joining me, Angela.

Apparently I'm the wrap-up crew here at casa de Wynter. Whenever you have a wrap-up post you usually get a highlight of what's come before, but given the number of awesome editorial posts she's managed to snag, I don't think that's possible, so I suggest you go re-read those earlier posts from the last few months. The other thing we usually get with wrap-up posts is some kind of predictions or things to think about as we move forward. Now THAT I can do.

So, without further ado, here's 3 things I want you to think about as we move forward into publishing in 2012.

1) It doesn't have to be self-publishing OR traditional publishing OR digital publishing.

Honestly, there's room for all kinds of publishing. There's no either/or situation here and we should all stop presenting publishing as if there are no shades of grey. That type of thinking doesn't lead to logic-supported arguments. Nor does cult thinking or drinking the kool-aid, so knock it off and let people decide how THEY want to publish, not how you THINK they should publish.

When you choose one of these paths, than I assume it's because you did your research and concluded it was the right path for you to achieve your career plan. I'll hope you didn't do it out of visceral reactions, or because you were told publishers pull the wings off butterflies, or because you think every single self-published book is dreck. Don't do it for those reasons. Do it because what you choose is good business for YOU.

2) If you're self-publishing, and millions of you will in 2012, don't skip all of the steps that go with publishing.

Just because you don't think solid editing and good cover art and excellent formatting and a well-thought-out story aren't important doesn't mean your readers don't. Every time you skip one of those, you damage your brand. And your brand is how you sell books. Don't damage that which makes you money and builds your publishing career. It's foolish.

3) Last, my favorite quote, the one I'll probably have engraved on my grave marker some day: Never, ever forget that there's a difference between CAN publish and SHOULD publish.

Just because you wrote it doesn't mean people should get the opportunity to read it. Remember your brand? Everything you write and publish (whether available for free or for sale) adds or detracts from your brand. Don't foolishly damage what you've worked to build just for the sake of a quick buck, or because you can't bear to write it and never have it seen. Not everything everyone writes is meant to be published. There. I said it. I'm sure most of you actually agree. You just don't think it applies to you.

So there you have it, three things I think authors should keep in mind as we move into 2012. There are a lot more things I think you should keep in mind (always wear clean underwear when you leave the house, realize there's a difference between signing terms of service and a contract, embrace the opportunity for choice as one that's good for an industry, and follow @angelajames on Twitter) but we'll stick with these three highlights for now. There will be plenty more time to dissect publishing, both past and present.

Executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, Angela James is a long-time advocate for digital publishing after nearly a decade in the industry. She frequently travels to conferences around the world to meet with authors and readers, and to drag them to the digital dark side. You can find Angela on both Twitter and Facebook.

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