Posts Tagged ‘life’

Hello, my name is Melissa and I’m a procrastinator.

Yes, it’s that dreaded nightmare that holds people back from continuing their plans (or even getting started on something). I admit that I can be a really bad procrastinator. Back in school, if I could put something off, I would usually do it. I always liked to think I just got distracted really easily (which I do, trust me), but I can’t put all of the blame on that.  Sometimes, it’s not distractions that hold me back. It’s not having the drive to do it or putting it off to the side so I can “Finish it later.” We all know that never really happens.

Have I been procrastinating finishing my book? Yes. Have I been doing anything about that? No.

A part of it is definitely fear. Fear of what’s next after that last word is written. After the editing is completed and the book is ready to find a publishing home.  Self-publishing or not? If I do go self-pub, how am I going to do it? How in the hell am I going to afford it? Those questions race through my mind and makes the procrastination monster rear it’s ugly head.

Tomorrow, I’m making an effort to try and write more. It’s important to get this finished even when I don’t know what I’m doing afterwards. I have to worry about that after I’m finished. Not right now.

I also plan on blogging on here more. I’ve been so busy trying to make jewelry and hair accessories to put in my etsy shop so I can save up money to actually publish my book.  I’m still not seeing much success, but I guess it’s all about patience, right?  If you want to read all about my jewelry and hair accessory making, you should check out my new blog which talks all about that. 🙂  I also have one that I started on blogspot for all of you on that site to follow. I’m probably going to make the switch to that one soon.

I’ll leave you with this flower headband I just made that’s in my etsy shop.

Cute, yeah?

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about my views on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Stay tuned!

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That Evil Inner Critic

It appears I did it again…..

I neglected this blog yet again. I think this was like the third time now.  Again, I’m really sorry. My internet connection sucked. Okay, I’ll admit that I lived in the land of Dial-Up. Yes, that does actually still exist.  It was unreliable and super slow, so blogging took awhile. I got busy with other things included trying to get my book to the end (we’ll talk about that in a moment) and working on my jewelry and hair accessories that I sell (It would make me the happiest girl in the world if you checked out my etsy store…. just saying..)

So here I am, back at my blog now with high speed internet. Yes, I have finally made it out of dial up. Thank goodness. So hopefully I’ll be able to blog more now that it won’t take me hours to post.  Of course, it can make writing a little more difficult considering the distraction it can be. But, good news is that I’m about three or four chapters away from finishing my book.  That’s always a good thing, right?

My problem always has been finishing though. I sort of freeze up and really start to feel the pressure. Everyone starts asking if I have finished yet, what am I going to do with afterwards, how I’m going to get it published. Blah, blah, blah. All of this pressure starts to build up and I freeze. I start getting really critical about the words I type and whether it’s good enough to actually publish.  Yes, my book is about the start of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s not completely full of zombies either. It’s really character driven and sometimes I’m not sure if that’s what people want. I know you can’t please everyone and we all have bad critics who want to bash everything we do but……. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the inner critic in my own head to get to those outside critics.

That’s my biggest problem. The inner critic always wants to bring me down. Will I let it? Of course not. But, it’s always a bitch to get over.  How do you turn off the inner critic in your head to get the work completed? Let me know in the comments section below!

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I know I already posted today but there’s something that I wanted to mention real quick.  I’ve had quite a few guest bloggers in the past, so I’m opening my blog back up to anyone who wants to do a guest post on here. The rules are fairly simple:

  • Posts must be about either writing, writing advice, or maybe a book that inspired you. You are also allowed to do a book review if you wish.
  • If you have a book that just came out, you can blog about it here. I’ll allow that haha
  • Please keep your content PG (or PG 13).

Basically, you can talk about anything writing or literature related. This is a blog for writers so that’s how I like to keep things. It can be funny or serious. That’s up to you.  If you’re interested, please e-mail me at thestoryinme@gmail.com and we’ll set up a date!  Oh, and I’ll return the favor and write up a guest post for your blog if you want. I love doing guest posts. 🙂

Doing guest posts here is a great way to meet new bloggers and promote your own work and blog. I’m willing to work with anyone if scheduling is a conflict.

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Yesterday, I completely forgot to post part 4 of my serial story, The Painter. So here it is a day late. Sorry about that. Enjoy! Keep letting me know what you think if this is your first time reading it. You can also let me know what you think if it’s not your first time haha. That’s up to you. If you have missed parts 1-3, search for The Painter on the search bar on the right hand column.

Part 4

As soon as I walked in, I noticed the house was quiet. It was too quiet.  I wondered what my parents were going to say about my absence. In my hurry to catch up with Sal, I didn’t leave a note. My mom was probably having an anxiety attack.
The kitchen was brightly lit when I entered. My parents were standing around the sink, yelling at each other.  They were so engrossed in pointing fingers at each other that they never saw me standing there.
“It’s not like Ella to just go somewhere without leaving a note, Walter,” my mother said. “What if something bad has happened?”
“Like what, Laura?” my father asked. “I doubt she was kidnapped.”
My mother began to protest again, gesturing widely out the kitchen window, talking about how I was probably lying in a ditch somewhere. I knew that this was the time to step in.
“I think you’re over reacting just a little,” I said, causing both of my parents to whirl around.
The look on my mother’s face said it all. She let out a long breath and pulled me into her arms.
“We’ve been so worried about you! Where have you been? Didn’t you think to leave us a note? Haven’t we taught you anything?”
Her stream of questions didn’t stop until I pulled away. “I’m fine. I just went for a walk out into the woods. I didn’t know I would be gone for so long.”
“Going out into the woods at this time of night is dangerous!” my father shouted. “What were you thinking?”
I shrugged, not wanting to tell them the real reason I went out there. They would think he was some kind of old pervert and wouldn’t let me out of the house ever again.  It’s best to just keep that one quiet.
They stood there, waiting for me to explain myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I sighed, wondering what to do.
“I just got tired of being cooped up in this house. I’m sorry if I made you worry. It won’t happen again.”
“You’ve got that right because the next time something like this happens, you won’t leave the house until you graduate college. You hear me?” my father asked, his face turning red with built up anger.
I nodded and that ended the conversation. My father went into the living room and I heard the television turn on. My mother stood at the sink, still staring out the window.  I could tell she was deep in thought and didn’t want to be disturbed.
Luckily, the next day was Saturday and I could relax without having to go to school.  My plan was to stay on my mom’s good side and help her around the house so I could sneak outside that evening to meet with Sal.  I had to know what was in that cottage. There had to be some significance.
That evening, I told my parents I was going to do some homework and get to bed early. To my relief, they nodded and didn’t say another word. I locked my bedroom door and climbed out of my window. All of my years of climbing trees paid off as I landed onto my feet.
Sal was waiting for me at the lake. Two easels stood before him and he motioned for me to take my place in front of one.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked as he started handing me paint supplies. I looked at them like they were some kind of tools from another planet.
“I want you to paint.” He looked at me like it was that obvious.
Sal started swiping the brush onto his white canvas. I watched him for a few minutes as he started to create some other world I had never seen before. “Well, what do I paint?” I asked, staring at my still blank canvas.
“Anything you want.  Just let the brush do the work.”
I did exactly that. My hand took control and I stood there for an hour just painting these bright colors onto the canvas.  When I finished, I stood back and looked at the finished product. My heart sank as I started to criticize everything about it. The lake looked more dreary than magical. The sunset was very bland and had none of the colors I saw with my own eyes.
“Do you know what you did wrong?” Sal asked, wiping the paint off his hands.
I shook my head, feeling a knot forming in my throat. I was a failure and a disappointment. I couldn’t paint a lake and a sunset. How did he expect me to do what he did?
“You painted with your head instead of your heart. That’s where you went wrong. But, don’t worry, Ella. You will get there in time.”
Sal’s painting was beautiful. The world he created sparkled and felt so real. I almost wanted to jump right into the canvas and live there.
“I don’t think I can paint like you, Sal.”
He patted my shoulder and smiled. “Yes, you can. I have no doubt that you will learn.”
Sal led the way back to that mysterious cottage in the woods. He set his battered suitcase down on the ground and brought out his hand.
“We will leave your painting here for safe keeping.”
My head raced with thoughts of what was inside that house.  “Can I come inside?” I asked, hoping for a positive answer.
Sal’s face turned grim and he shook his head. “It’s not time for you to see,” he said. “It’s not my place to share.”
“Whose place is it then?”
He merely shook his head again and shuffled his feet inside, shutting me out. I tried to peer through the windows, but they were too grimy from years of not being cleaned. This cottage has been sitting here unoccupied for years.
When Sal came back out, I asked him about the cottage again. Sal sighed and closed his eyes. He sat down on the steps and rubbed his frail arms.
“You’ll have to ask her.”

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Some of you may know that this past year, I went through major writer’s block. Due to some person family emergencies, I found myself seriously affected and couldn’t write. Several months would go by and I couldn’t write. I couldn’t even get myself to even think about writing.

So what happened? I started listening to the doubts. You know, those little thoughts that get inside your head and make you doubt everything you do? Yeah, those pesky things. What do they “say” exactly? Here’s a few examples:

“You’ll never make it as a writer anyways.”
“Why even bother? You’re not good enough”
“You’ll never be successful.”
“This story sucks.”
“You aren’t a writer. You’ll never be a writer.”

Let’s just say, those doubts can be pretty mean sometimes. In the past, when those doubts came into my mind, I was able to just shrug them off and keep writing. But, this past year, certain situations left me emotionally vulnerable and exhausted. I couldn’t fight them off. I felt like I couldn’t at that time.

A couple of months ago was the time where I realized that it was time for me to get back into it. I had to dust myself off and tell my characters stories. They needed me for that. Their story couldn’t continue without me. My dream of being a published author couldn’t be shattered just because some nasty doubts crept into my head.

Lately, I’ve been doing really well. I’ve been averaging about 2,000 words a day and I do write every day now. Yesterday, I made it to 4,000 words which was a great accomplishment for me. Just a few short months ago, I wasn’t writing any, so to go from that to around 4k is pretty amazing.

If you find yourself  yourself in a situation where the doubts are taking over, take a step back and collect yourself.  Think of why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.  Think about the story you are writing and why you wanted to write it in the first place.  Don’t let those doubts take over.  Think positive and keep moving.  Anyone can make it if they try hard enough.

I am opening up my blog to anyone interested in writing a guest post here.  It can be anything writing or reading related, so if you’re up for it, either comment on this post or send me an e-mail at thestoryinme@gmail.com

Also, my “Interview With The Character” blog fest is next Friday and we need more participants! All you have to do is conduct an interview with a character in a story you are working on (or planning on working on). Ask them questions and then answer them as that character. It really is a lot of fun and helps you get to know your characters. Post that interview on your blog with a link to this one. On that day, stop by this blog and check out the post I’ll make with the links of everyone who is participating (and read my character interview, of course…). You can sign up by commenting below or send me an e-mail at thestoryinme@gmail.com with your name and blog link. 🙂

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Whenever I tell people I’m writing a book, they usually ask me two things:

“What’s your book about?”
“Do you have a publisher?”

Now, I don’t really mind answering the first.  That’s not a hard question to answer.   It’s the second one that’s tricky. Why? Because I don’t have one. I always have to tell people that I’m in the early stages of writing and I’m not even thinking about publishers at this point. If they aren’t writers, they don’t really understand this. I guess they figure publishers spring out of the ground whenever you want them to. They don’t understand the process and how long it can take.

Basically, some non-writers just don’t get it. When they read a book, some don’t comprehend the long hours writers spent in front of a computer screen, typing away until their fingers hurt.  They don’t feel the headaches it may have caused or the strong desire to hit their head against the desk when scenes just aren’t working.

I’m definitely not at a point where I’m even thinking about publishers. I’m pretty sure I’m going the “indie” route because I feel like it could work better for me. With networking like Twitter and facebook, it’s easier to market your own book.

Sometimes writers feel the pressure of being successful like the other writers before them. They feel they have to write the book really fast and get it out there for the public to read. Of course, I would love to be a published author today, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m not about to speed write through a book just because I was feeling the pressure. No way.

So I just hope that you all remain patient as I continue to work on this zombie apocalyptic novel. 🙂  I really hope people like it as much as I enjoy writing it. I can already see a prequel in my head, but that’s for another time…..

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We’ve all been there.  We work really hard on our writing projects and send it out to someone we trust, someone we feel will give us the best advice on where we should go from there.  Maybe we need a different pair of eyes looking for certain issues like grammar, punctuation, spelling errors, or those dreaded plot holes. Of course, we know that our projects aren’t perfect, so we expect some comments.

We wait anxiously for our projects to return. Paranoia sets in if you don’t get it within a reasonable amount of time. We begin to think: was it really that bad? Why is it taking that long? Are there that many errors?  We don’t take into consideration that people do have other things to do. That will never cross into our minds at that time.

Then that long awaited day arrives when you open up your e-mail and find your project back. The anxiety hits again and your mind races as you scan the document.  Then you get that awful knot in your stomach when you finish and you think:

Ouch, that hurt.  I didn’t think it was that bad..

Every little thing was pulled apart. Every sentence was wrong…all of the characters weren’t up to par and your whole plot needed to be reworked. Basically, that critic says: “You should just start over.” It kind of reminds you back when you were in school and just turned in a paper. You hand it in thinking you did your best and surely you’ll get a nice passing grade. Then, you get it back and it’s almost smeared in red ink. That dreaded red ink.

Chances are, you’ve encountered a bad critic; one who doesn’t understand that this is just a first draft and of course there needs to be some work done to it.  But, they only zero in on the bad. No good comments will be heard from them. They’re what people call “Negative Nancy’s”. Everything is wrong and nothing is right.  Instead of encouraging you with some good comments of what they liked, they’ll knock you down with their harsh critiques and negative views. It’s a tough thing to swallow because you begin to doubt your own writing.

The thing is, we can’t hide from those critics. We can’t run away from receiving criticism because it really can help our writing…. as long as it’s done constructively. Constructive criticism is the best kind to get. It’s helpful because it’s not knocking down everything you wrote and it’s also not telling you everything is perfect either.  Constructive criticism shows you what you need to work on and what sounds good in a positive way.  That’s the most important part.  Positivity.

What do you do when you encounter someone who is a bad critic? Last year, I wrote a post about my issues with a bad critic in my life, someone I like to call Critic Boy. I sent him a screenplay I was working on after he was interested in seeing what I had so far. I wanted a different view-point of it, so I thought why not? Once I heard what he had to say, I immediately regretted that decision.  In his opinion, nothing was good. My dialogue was awful (I think he used the word horrendous actually) and my characters were not relatable. At first I believed him, doubting what I wrote until I sent it to someone else who told me that yeah, I had some stuff to work on (all first drafts do), but it wasn’t “horrendous”. It was good and I should keep going. Suffice to say, I haven’t sent anything to Critic Boy after that.  Oh, and he has asked. But, he’s not reading it. At least not until it’s published. 🙂

Send your work in to people you trust. People who understand what constructive criticism is.  Make sure you leave your sensitivity at the door and swallow your pride when you hear some things that may not sit well.  Remember, first drafts aren’t perfect. You will have mistakes. It happens. So let go of that anxiety and get to work on that second draft!


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Lately, my writing routine hasn’t been that great. I guess that’s why I haven’t blogged as frequently as I used to.  It was hard to encourage other writers when I was struggling myself.

The one thing I needed to do was sit back and remind myself why I wanted to become a writer in the first place. Why did I want to write books? Why did I desire to become published?

Of course asking the questions are a lot easier than coming up with the answers sometimes. I’ve wanted to write books ever since I was a little kid. I wrote my first story when I was 5 years old. Granted, it wasn’t anything to rave about (I was five after all..) but it was something I was proud of.  I created that story with my imagination and actually put it down on paper for people to read. That’s when the desire really hit me. I had a lot of stories to tell and I wanted the world to know them.

I think there are times when people feel rushed to get things done.  There’s this pressure to make it big and to do it fast. We can’t all have the luck of JK Rowling (but I really wish I could haha).  I just want to inspire other people to go for their dreams. If I can help at least one person with my books, then I have done my job.

It’s just not as easy as people think. Sure, some people can spit out a book in like three months. While other, like myself, take a bit more time to make it work. I’ll be honest, I get distracted pretty easily. I can get discouraged and frustrated with the process. But that’s how writing works sometimes. We’re all different with our own process. Find one that works for you. Sure, you can take bits and pieces of somebody’s routine, but make sure it works for you so you’re comfortable with it. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable and end up like me for a few months: feeling nothing but pressured and discouraged.

If writing is your dream, then you should go for it. But make sure you actually enjoy the whole process of it. Don’t rush through it just to get it done. Write a book you’ll be proud of.

I know I’ll be proud of this book I’m writing once it’s finished. Even if it does involve zombies… 🙂 Zombies are cool, you know. I’m just saying.

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I’m preparing for a three day trip to St. Louis on Tuesday, so I’ll admit writing hasn’t been on my mind.  One thing any writer has to learn that it’s okay to not have writing on your mind all day, every day. It’s okay to not be focused on it so much that it takes over your whole life. I used to think that’s how it had to be. I always thought that I had to be sitting in front of my laptop, typing away until my fingers bled (okay, not literally but you get the point, right?)

Ever since I hit my major writer’s block, I had to learn that it’s really okay to forgive yourself if you don’t write every day. Sometimes we all need a break from things. We need to clear our heads so we can get back to the stories.  I’ve had to put away the book I was working on last year and focus on a different story. Sometimes that’s what we have to do in order to keep going.  I’ve had to learn to tell myself that doing that is okay, too. I’m not a failure as a writer. I’m just taking my time instead of rushing the process.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit your word count or you’re not able to write at all. My college creative writing teacher told me (and the class, of course) that as long as you write one word (just one word) that you have made progress so it’s okay. If you start feeling the pressure, maybe it’s time to take a step back and breathe. Take a walk, take a break, clear your head. Take some time out for you so you can continue your story. Don’t let writer’s block get to you.

I’m not sure if a three day vacation will help me or not, but I guess we will see.

In other news, I’ve been looking through the poems I have written (I miss my poetry weekends I had on here..). I’ve been thinking about compiling a bunch and maybe putting out a book of poetry. Granted, I haven’t really written any poetry in quite a few months, but I think I have enough to put a book together.

I hope….

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That’s right. With all of this excessive heat we’ve been having, it feels like my brain has melted and my creativity has gone with it.

I usually do pretty well in the spring/summer months when it comes to my writing. I really enjoy writing at night by my bedroom window while a nice cool breeze flows through it. I like hearing the crickets chirp outside. It usually helps me. But not lately. Not with the excessive heat and humidity everyone has been feeling.  You can’t go anywhere and not experience it. Even air conditioning isn’t really helping anything. My poor a/c unit is having enough troubles trying to keep out the heat.

So yet again, my writing has suffered.  I feel like banging my head against the wall in desperation, but I know that won’t help matters.

The only lesson I will have learned is that it will only make my head hurt.

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