Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 Signs Fear and Self-Doubt Are Blocking Your Success #AmWriting #Motivation



Sometimes, no matter how much we want something or how hard we're working at it, we feel like we're just not getting any traction.  Self-doubt starts whispering, "What if this is the wrong path? What if I've risked everything only to fail? What if I'm not good enough? What if...?"

Doubt and fear aren't necessarily bad things. We as humans have been designed to survive. Fear and doubt are the yellow flashing lights in our brains cautioning us to tread carefully. But that is all they are...caution lights, not stop signs.

We may see someone else succeeding in what we want to do and, rather than seeing that as proof that it is possible, we retreat and hide and beat ourselves up. We've allowed fear and self-doubt to stop us.

When you start to feel self-doubt take hold, go ahead and reevaluate where you are, but then you need to push through it by remembering why you started this venture, why you believed you could succeed, and have faith that you can do whatever it is you intend.

Here are five signs that you may be blocked by doubt:

You're easily side-tracked

When you get distracted, lose steam or move in a different direction, it is a sign that you are letting doubt stop you. This is the time to push through the discomfort and keep taking action.  
 
Other people’s negativity affects you.

Sometimes the negativity is coming from those we love. This can be confusing because we trust and value their opinion; but remember, many people are afraid of change and they don’t want to see you hurt, so they warn you of potential dangers. Or perhaps it is someone who has given up on pursuing their own dreams and are telling you that you "can't" succeed where they failed. Don’t allow this to derail you. Thank them for their concern (or tell them to screw off or ignore them completely, whatever you feel best with) and move on.

You don’t ask for help – from the right people.  

When we doubt ourselves, we need people to speak positivity into our lives. Find a mentor, coach, or friend who can pump you up when you feel flat.  Someone who will not let you quit! The need for approval can kill our motivation. When our confidence is dependent on another person’s opinion, our mood is unstable and we are inconsistent. The reason I wrote "from the right people" is that it's true that misery loves company and it may feel more comfortable for you to find someone who is also not selling any books, complaining about the impossible odds of succeeding, and so on just because you want to feel validated. Those would be the "wrong people" to seek out. Remember, well-meaning people can throw you off track. Stay strong and believe in yourself and your mission.  Inhale confidence and exhale doubt.   

You have an unrealistic timeline--and use it as an excuse to beat yourself up

You see other people who are further along than you and it feels like you will never get there. There is a quote that says,  “Faith in God includes faith in his timing”.  This reminds me to be patient and trust that it will happen… at the perfect time. Remember… the time will pass anyway, so you might as well stay in the game and get the prize!

Obstacles trigger your immediate irritation and frustration
Doubt is annoying! When you find yourself agitated, sad, lacking energy or motivation, you need to go inside and ask yourself, “What is this feeling trying to tell me?” You can be moving along at warp speed and then something (or someone) throws you off.  Remember… Obstacles will be a big part of your journey. Unfortunately, a necessary part. Each challenge is an opportunity to grow.  Every roadblock contains valuable information that can help you succeed. Successful people view problems as lessons.

Being a soloprenuer is challenging enough without being your own worst enemy. If doubts have been blocking you from being fully passionate and committed lately, remind yourself of all the good qualities you have and the reasons you want to do this. If you've been hanging out with a lot of negative Nellies...kick them to the curb and gravitate toward those who are positive and successful in their own right. Remember to trust your path and believe that what is happening is pointing you in the direction you need to go.

Starve the doubts...feed your faith in yourself.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Writing Powerful and Believable Paranormal Characters #AmWriting

 Writing Powerful Paranormal Characters 
A guest post by Paranormal Romance Author Dakota Skye

There's something incredibly freeing about writing paranormal stories where the imagination knows no bounds. Our characters can morph into another species, shoot fire from their palms, control the wind, read minds, and so much more. Despite the fantastical elements of a paranormal story, it's still important that the reader believe the characters are possible and are still able to relate to them. Whether writing about magicians, witches, wizards, mermen/mermaids, psychics, or any other character that is magical and mystical, there are a few traits to keep in mind.

Create a personality profile, just like you would with any other character, but remember that your paranormal character is larger than life, too. Witches, wizards, and demigods, for instance, need to convey a sense of power. Below are a list of personality traits to incorporate into your paranormal character--no need to use them all, but these are some to consider:

  1. Intelligence. Supernatural powers require an above average intellect, critical thinking, critical analysis, and the ability to make difficult, fast decisions.
  2. Excellent memory--for rituals, spells, ingredient lists, and things of that nature. 
  3. Creativity. Those in the supernatural world need to adapt quickly to new situations, be open-minded to the unexpected. 
  4. Self-disciplined and focused. A supernatural being or those with magical powers need to be able to shut out distractions, even under difficult circumstances. They must also be able to resist temptations that we mere mortals wouldn't.
  5. Patience. (especially true of witches) Magic requires endless practice and repetition and the impatient drop out long before they become masters. 
  6. Highly trained. Talent is not enough--an inclination toward the mystical is just that...an inclination and nothing more. Wizards, witches, demigods who wield the power of the Universe---are all trained how to manage their supernatural gifts. 
  7. Specialized. Not all supernatural beings are created equally---all have specialties that they've honed through practice combined with passion. Perhaps one can control the weather while another can manifest great wealth. Think of it like the medical field where doctors ultimately choose an area of concentration. 
  8. Musical. Many forms of magic or supernatural practices involve drumming or chanting or another form of musical communication. Think of your character...can you apply this somehow? 
  9. Spiritual. Most forms of magic are linked to religious beliefs and most myths are also linked to a higher form of power. Even an atheist will often engage in a form of meditation. 
  10. Well-organized and methodical. Supernatural characters always have more information than most or have ingredients on hand to whip up a magical concoction at a moment's notice. In comedic situations, of course, the disorganized witch creates disaster...but there is always a wizard or more skilled witch present to save the day. 
  11. Introverted. Whether it's because of their powers or their need to practice/study the craft, most supernatural and magical beings prefer solitude. After a night or a day in noisy places or with too many people, your character needs to retreat to solitude to recharge his/her energy. Even for the most gregarious and outgoing supernatural beings, there is usually a degree of retreat needed to reconnect with their power. 
  12. Ethical, except for your evil antagonist, of course. With supernatural power, comes the weight of moral judgement as to when to unleash it for the sake of the greater good or justice. These ethics may be connected to their spiritual connection or individual conscience. Modern magical ethics of "harm none" or "don't interfere with someone's free will" often come into play. This can be a powerful source of internal conflict with your hero/heroine as they debate on using their powers and the impact that choice could have on a broader scale. 
  13. Sharp senses. Supernatural and magical beings are in tune with the world around them, far beyond the senses of a regular human being. They can detect changes in energy, have excellent hearing, and keen eyesight. Their abilities have been fine tuned through intense training and years of awareness. But don't overdo this; for instance, don't make a psychic who can hear the dead also read the minds of the living because it provides little challenge and will ultimately create a boring story. Every character must have a limit to what they can do, even those with supernatural abilities. Remember that the reader must also relate and believe your character and that perfection is boring.
  14. Day job. Most supernatural characters interact with mortals every day--not only to pay the rent, but also to appear normal and make them connect to a community. 
  15. Pets. Most supernatural or magical characters have a pet of some kind. This doesn't need to be conventional. In my novel, Impact Zone, the merman has a pet sea lion. 
Paranormal stories are made extraordinary by being unique so use as many of the fifteen characteristics in your character as YOU deem appropriate; however, always remember that the reader must relate to and believe in your hero/heroine to keep them engaged.

Keep being sensational!
Dakota Skye
http://www.authordakotaskye.com

Author Dakota Skye is a paranormal author fascinated with all things other-worldly and fantastic. She has seven paranormal romance novels and short story collections out in the world with four more novels slated for publication in 2016. Find details for all of her books at http://www.authordakotasky.com and follow her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDakotaSkye 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Stop! It's time for a performance review...on yourself. Ready? #AmWriting #MondayMotivation

Can you believe the first two months of 2016 are almost history? It's time to take a look at those goals you made in early January and see if you are on track to meeting them.

It's good to check in on yourself from time-to-time, sort of like a boss doing a review of your performance so far. As soloprenuers we often become complacent in checking in on ourselves because of the whole "accountable to no one syndrome". But here's the catch: you are accountable...to yourself. Take a few minutes to think about and answer the following questions today as we start this last full week of February.

  1. Is your income for the first two months matching up to your expectations? No? Then what can you do today to improve that going forward? Do you need new clients, more completed products (books or eCourses), or a different marketing strategy?
  2. Are you on track to meeting your writing deadlines? If you plan on having four books out this year, now that it's almost March, how does that look? Are you close? If not, reevaluate your time management strategy. 
  3. Have you attempted at least one new thing to expand your business? Whether that's starting a blog, a newsletter, a Facebook group, joining a local freelance networking association, or anything else that will expand your reach, have you done it? If not, why?
  4. Have you streamlined your days so that you are spending your limited time only on productive activities that benefit your long-term vision? That means cutting out Facebook scrolling or texting, anything that is simply a time-waster. What can you do going forward that will make your days more productive? Remember: work smarter not harder.
  5. What's your overall attitude? Are you still as excited today as you were on January 1? If not, why? That is a telling sign that things are going off the rails and today is the day you need to get back on track. If you are still as excited...or more so...then celebrate! Keep it up!
It's always good to review your progress. Writing is a business and you need to have a plan. There are people out there who love to argue that you don't--but we'll see where they are in a few years compared to the rest of us who do. Take your temperature. Look closely at ways you can improve going forward. Celebrate your milestones and successes thus far!

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com


Monday, February 15, 2016

Time to Take off the Blinders and Get Out of Your Own Way #Motivation #AmWriting



"In writing, you must kill all your darlings."--William Faulkner

Writers are a sensitive group--I am one, so I can relate on some level; but I've also been in this business as an editor and marketer for nearly twenty years so tend to look at the big picture more than most. I hear people lamenting about poor sales or bad reviews while simultaneously covering their ears and closing their eyes to advice that could help them.

Here's the thing: if your books aren't selling, you need to look at the why instead of finding excuses.

No, it's not because there are so many books in the market place. No, it's not because the writer over there has a rich husband funding paid advertising. No, it's not...fill in the blank for whatever excuse you were about to give.

Sometimes the reality is that you're not working hard enough or being critical enough of your own work.

How open are you to advice? Be honest. As an editor, I've been fortunate to work with professional authors who crave feedback. They know when to question, when to bend, and when to admit that maybe...just maybe...they'd made a mistake. There's a reason why they are professionals--true pros are open to another perspective. Writers who see this as a career know that the digital marketplace is competitive but not impossible. Quality always rises to the top.

How is your quality? 

Take a good look at the product you're putting out into the world. Is the cover captivating? Is the downloadable sample riveting? Is the blurb a strong hook? Readers have a lot of choices, those three things need to be perfect. They won't wait until chapter five to be interested. They won't read the blurb if the cover alone bores them. They won't bother with the sample read if the blurb is too long or falls flat.

Is your spouse/friend/coworker working as your editor? Just because they may be an English teacher, avid reader, or what-not does not qualify them to edit your manuscript. Editors have been educated in story arcs, character development, grammar, dialogue, setting a scene, etcetera. They are worth the money. If you've worked with a professional editor, are you truly open to their feedback or do you argue over every comma or suggestion?

How does your cover look compared to others in your genre? If you have tried to be too unique, it's possible you're turning off potential readers. If someone reads mysteries, for instance, they are accustomed to certain images that subconsciously tell them, "this looks like a good one" and triggers them to read the blurb. If you are off the mark, you may not got a second chance. Are you staying up with trends? They are always changing. Your cover is your main marketing tool--invest the time and energy involved to make sure you're putting forth the best first impression you can.

Does your blurb hook from the very first line to the last? Are you teasing the story rather than telling someone an entire synopsis? Are you ending it with an emotional hook that makes a potential reader care about what might happen? Blurbs are hard, I won't deny that. They can be more challenging to write than the novel. Take the time. Start working on your blurb before you're done with the book, tweak it, ask your editor to give it a look.

How open are you to marketing suggestions that are outside of your comfort zone? Believe me, many authors moan about marketing while they are also crying about no sales. They don't want to write a blog or participate in a Facebook party or post on Tumblr or try any other distributor than Amazon. Yet they cry and complain louder than any I have ever met! They've gotten into a rut and, even though that rut may be digging them deeper into trouble, they refuse to try another path. Maybe "someone" told them how useless it was to try a thunderclap campaign or a blog tour even though others are succeeding with those tools. Maybe they say that they're "too busy" to do anything else. Maybe they get defensive immediately at the suggestion that they need to change--despite the fact that what they're doing isn't working. That sounds crazy, doesn't it? I hear it all the time.

Success requires more than passion, talent, and intent. You need to be able to look at your work product and marketing strategy objectively.

Yes, there are a lot of books in the marketplace. Yes, this author gig is hard work. Yes, you can make money as a full-time writer. Yes, the problem might be you! That's good news! We all have the power to change our course in the blink of an eye. Isn't it better knowing that your success is in your hands rather than at the mercy of the whims of outside forces?

Are you willing to take off the blinders, stop the excuses, and be self-critical? I hope so.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com

 
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.





Friday, February 12, 2016

Are you driving your editor insane with lazy writing habits? #AmWriting


Crazy-making writing habits that drive every editor insane

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." –Stephen King

  
The Power of Words and Story Arcs

I admit that I hate lazy writing. Whether it's passive voice or weak verbs, their use pushes me one step closer to insanity (and I'm already dancing on the edge of the cliff). Below is a list of a few power words that convey emotion and deliver maximum impact. When utilized effectively and without supporting adjectives or adverbs, they will strengthen your writing. I'm sure you can think of more on your own. Here are a few to get you started:

Agony, annihilate, apocalypse, assault, backlash, beast, beating, beware, blinded, blood, bloodbath, bloodcurdling, bloody, bomb, buffoon, bumbling, cadaver, catastrophe, caution, collapse, corpse, crazy, cripple, crisis, danger, deadly, death, destroy, devastating, disastrous, doomed, drowning, duplicity, epic, epidemic, fail, feeble, fired, fool, frantic, frightening, gambling, gullible, hack, havoc, hazardous, hoax, horrific, insidious, invasion, jail, jeopardy, lawsuit, looming, lunatic, lurking, meltdown, mired, mistake, murder, nightmare, obliterate, obsolete, proximity, promiscuous, panic, peril, pitfall, plummet, plunge, poison, pummel, reckoning, refugee, revenge, risky, riveting, savage, savor, sensuous, searing, serendipity, shatter, shellacking, silly, smash, strangle, suck, tailspin, tank, targeted,  teetering, terror, toxic, tragedy, vaporize, volatile, vulnerable, wounded.

Those were a few to add to your arsenal; the following are a few phrases to eliminate. In fact, do a search on your manuscript for any of the below and delete them. They do nothing to enhance your work. If you see them, it's a clue that you are using the wrong word in the sentence.

Kind of, sort of, a little bit, just, even, sort of, very

Why all this focus on words? Because each one matters. We are storytellers. We create worlds with a rhythm and sound of its own. We took on the responsibility to transport readers into our world and show them our hearts. Perhaps the average person wouldn't know why they couldn't get into a story or why they started skimming or why they put the book down, but I do. Each line of your manuscript, each word in a sentence, is important. 

Elevate your writing.

Story Arcs

With most stories, we begin with a problem or conflict. You've designed hooks that have kept your readers on the edge of their seat, pumped up your sentences so that they pack a punch, have created snappy dialogue and intense action scenes, but did you wrap up all those sub-plots and story arcs?

When revising, read to make sure each main character has wrapped up their journey. Do not leave a subplot undone. If you're not sure because you've revised it so many times your eyes are crossing, choose a few beta readers to read through your manuscript before sending it to an editor/agent/publisher. 

Some writers outline, others like to wing it. I'm the latter type of author, but I do cheat by making character sketches along the way that detail who my heroine is at the beginning and who she is at the end. The plot twists and turns must support and contribute to this evolution. More importantly, it must appear natural and real. 

Readers need to think the ending makes sense. There's a saying that goes something like this, "the beginning sells your current novel; the ending sells your next one." This is absolutely true. 

Secondary characters may have their own subplots happening---do not forget them or lose them in the fray. 

Main plots and subplots are often entwined. When revising, make sure that the character's reactions are organic to the twists and turns. The last thing you want is a reader rolling their eyes or putting the book down because the reactions of your characters simply don't make sense in "real life".

If you're intentionally leaving a hook at the end of your book as part of a series, make it satisfying enough that your readers won't get turned off. There needs to be enough of a conclusion—and evolution—that the reader isn't discouraged.

Action steps for your weekend homework:
·      Challenge yourself to do better. When reviewing your manuscript, are you delivering a punch with each sentence? Are you using the right word--as in, the most powerful one?
·      Read poetry to see how masters use few words to convey great emotion
·      Eliminate adverbs as much as possible. They are clues that indicate a weak verb. You can find a better word.
·      Make sure all those loose ends are tied up with your plot and subplot.
·      Ask yourself—does this make sense or does the ending feel forced?


Write On!
Amber Lea Easton
 
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com



  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Battling the Lonliness of Being a Solopreneur #AmWriting #Motivation

 Being the boss sounds good...until you look around and realize that the it's all on you. The pressure. The creativity. The successes. The failures. The paychecks. The marketing. The production. 
All of it.
Know that expression, 'it's lonely at the top?' Yeah, it is. Don't let that loneliness impact your health.
 As a creative professional, we often work alone on the journey of being a solopreneur. Stress is our constant companion, not always silent with its demands, expectations, and self-doubts. If a fire breaks out, it's up to us to put it out. There's no team to call to consult, no miracle worker who can sweep in an make it go away. We are the fixer.

We often look to stress management like exercise, more/less sleep, yoga/Pilates, or the local happy hour as ways to prolong our lives in this, the unpredictable life we've chosen. But the silent killer, the one some of us are reluctant to address, is loneliness.

There's a difference between loneliness and solitude. The former is the pain of being alone while the latter embraces the glory of being alone.

I've also seen that great men are often lonely. This is understandable, because they have built such high standards for themselves that they often feel alone. But that same loneliness is part of their ability to create.--Yousuf Karsh

Most writers (or other creative soloprenuers) begin this journey trusting themselves implicitly--trusting themselves alone to create and deliver. What we create is uniquely ours, after all, born from the ether like magic and sculpted through our own diligent focus and effort. Because of this, we find ourselves alone a lot, reluctant to delegate (or perhaps unsure what to delegate), and the weight of all that we do bears down us creating a steady hum of pressure burning in our veins.

This is where the problems begin.

A study from researchers at the University of North Carolina shows that loneliness can "vastly elevate" a person's risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, making it as dangerous to your health as a lack of physical inactivity in youth or diabetes in old age. Another study led by University of Chicago states that adults suffering from loneliness have a 14% chance of premature death.

The overall picture is clear: loneliness can kill.

Am I uplifting and motivating you yet? No? More like depressing you and freaking you a bit? Okay, hold on. I know soloprenuers are reluctant to take advice, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.  Here are some ways to break out of the loneliness rut that our careers inevitably bring about at one time or another:

Collaborate
While your instinct might be to always go it alone, you run the risk of self-imposed isolation, which almost always leads its close cousin, depression. Rather than isolate yourself, network among your writer's groups for like-minded people who may want to collaborate on a project--whether it is a short-term or long-term situation, this can be a win-win for all involved. Start a group of your own where you create an environment for exchanging ideas or supporting one another professionally. For example, if you're not certain about marketing but have a lot of tech savvy, perhaps you can find a good balance with another. Open your mind about ways to find collaborators where you are all complementing one another's skill set.

True, having a partner sometimes sucks, which is probably most of us have chosen to work alone, but that is why I am emphasizing the "choose like-minded" people who you know through networking situations and laying out the expectations from the get-go.

Look at the situation differently/reframe the experience
Solitude is never really being alone, it's knowing that you are physically by yourself while taking the opportunity for clear thinking, inner reflection, peaceful time where you're not interrupted and are able to reflect on yourself. Call it prayer, meditation or talking to yourself, reflection always gives your mind the pause it needs to recharge. Embrace the glory of solitude rather than indulging the pain of loneliness.

Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
--Paul Tillich

Let it all out! 
I cry. I'm not ashamed of it. Sometimes when my royalties aren't matching up to my effort and the mortgage is due and editing clients haven't paid me on time and the kids need this or that, I look around at my life and wonder what the hell I'm doing and why did I ever think I could go it alone. Instead of pushing all that stress down deep where it could screw up my body, I have a good old fashion breakdown behind closed doors. So go ahead and cry when you need to--it doesn't mean that you're weak or a failure. It means you're human. It means that you carry a lot of burdens all by yourself--things that your friends with their 9 to 5 commuting jobs would never understand. But when the tears are done, sit down and get back to work. Move on.

Ask for help
Depression is the downside of soloprenuership. If loneliness is leading to a true mental-health condition, find a therapist or close confidante. If you need to talk about where your life or business is heading, hire a coach. If it's a spiritual crisis, turn to your pastor or other spiritual leader. Talk to your mentor. Call your dad. The greatest loss that comes from loneliness or depression is perspective. Only someone who isn't you can truly see you without the biases our internal mirrors show us. My experience has been that people generally want to help others, so don't be shy about asking for help if you need it. As they saying goes...no man (or woman) is an island.

There are many perks to being a soloprenuer and few of us are willing to admit that there's a downside to doing it all ourselves. Perhaps we feel that would be admitting weakness or that the response will be something like, "Stress? How can you be stressed? You make your own hours, do your own thing. Look at the freedom you have!" So we keep a lot inside--the not so glamorous stuff like financial struggles, difficult clients, and so on. But the more we hide, the more isolated we become. Most companies have a boards of directors to help manage a business crisis! They have staff to lean on. We don't. So it's important that recognize that there may be areas of our professional lives that aren't so glamorous--like loneliness and isolation--and we need to manage those things, too.

Some days, 24 hours is too much to stay put in, so I take the day hour by hour, moment by moment. I break the task, the challenge, the fear into small, bite-size pieces. I can handle a piece of fear, depression, anger, pain, sadness, loneliness, illness. I actually put my hands up to my face, one next to each eye, like blinders on a horse.--Regina Brett

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why write? What's the point? Why bother? #AmWriting #Motivation

As a published author, I sometimes wonder why I keep putting up with readers wanting free books, trolls delighting in their mischief, less experienced 'writers' trashing the craft that I've studied for two decades who really fuck with my patience, and people repeatedly belittling my career as a hobby and my chosen genres as joke-worthy. I mean, really, why do it? The pay sucks. The hours are long. The co-workers can be sketchy. Why am I choosing to do this to myself?

We're not even unique--we think we are when we're aspiring, but after joining the "published" club, we realize that we're all the same. We all say we write because "we're compelled to do it" and/or because "the characters won't leave me alone."

Guess what? Inmates in insane asylums say similar things.

So why do we really write?


“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”--Virginia Woolf

I write because, despite all that I listed in the first paragraph, I honestly love storytelling. I enjoy the craft of character development and plot arcs. I get a thrill when it all comes together after several revisions and I have that "a-ha" moment where I know I've told the story I was meant to tell. I love words. I like the satisfaction of finding the exact right word that packs a punch. It's a challenge for me, no matter how many books I've published or edited. The thrill is always there. When I open a client's manuscript for the first time to help them edit it to perfection, I get the same rush that I do with my own work. It's the excitement of discovery and creation.

It's fun. I admit it. I have fun with writing and editing. If I didn't, then all of that stuff in the first paragraph would make me throw in the towel.


“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”
--James A. Michener

Do you know how mad that makes people? It's not an intellectual answer. I'm not being profound in saying that I have fun creating stories. I'm supposed to tell you that I want to change lives (that may be true with my memoir, but, even if my fiction touches on dark and disturbing topics, I'm still enjoying myself). I'm supposed to be more writer-ly and aloof with my answer---that whole "my characters won't leave me alone until I tell you their story" crap, for instance.

But honestly? I entertain myself with writing, with researching, with creating! I love it.

Don't you? Isn't that what truly keeps you persevering through all the obstacles and frustrations leading to success? A sincere, pure love for what you do? Isn't love the only excuse we need for persevering through all the other bullshit this business brings with it?

“When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.”--Neil Gaiman
 
Am I compelled? I don't know. I could easily quit and sit in a hammock by the Caribbean and socialize with random people for the rest of my life while not twitching from writing withdrawal. My fingers won't itch with the need to touch a keyboard.

Does that make me less of a writer? No. Does that mean that I'm not meant to be a novelist? No. It means I'm being honest with you.

If this ever stops being fun for me, I'm done.

I think it's important for all creative professionals to stay in tune with the why we do what we do so that we don't get disillusioned by the other stuff. Just write...or paint...or act...or sculpt...or design. Nurture your love affair with your creation and make no apologies for enjoying yourself.

Think of it this way: it really seems to upset all those other people trapped in their cubicles when we say that we're having fun writing for a living. So maybe the pay sucks, our fellow writers can be nuts or downright nasty, readers can be greedy with all their requests for free stuff, but isn't it worth it just to see that uptight relative grit their teeth when you smile and talk about how much fun you're having making up stories as a career?

Write on! (and have fun!)
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com

 


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness.
To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com
For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.