Tag Archive: inspiration

Social Media and Writers

OMG I can’t believe that happened.


No this isn’t about Deadpool, by I needed a pic to show how some things make me feel.

Social media has made some amazing things possible. I was feeling frustrated and angry one day so I went to a writer whose work I love and asked for advice. Part of me didn’t expect a response but they got back to me, I may have squee’d. Today I thanked a writer for the gift their books gave me and they got back to me with thanks.

This post isn’t going to be about how to use social media to promote your author platform, this is about using it for interaction with others and how some authors do it right.

When I was growing up you could join fan clubs for popular kids books, you could even try to write to writers through publishers, there was no guarantee that your letter would get to them, though many did get responses.

Times have changed. Some say social media is bad, it causes isolation and negatively impacts people’s ability to interact one on one. Yes it can certainly do that. It can give you the feeling of interacting when in fact you are building a wall around the real you, a false persona to project to the world at large. It can also be a very useful tool.

When I was still involved in children’s bookselling, I used social media to connect to people in the publishing industry and authors. I built a network, and it is a network that still serves me well even though my career trajectory is very different and books (writing and reading) no longer provide my primary income.

Authors, or at least some, are quite willing to interact with readers.

With all the rigmarole that went on regarding my publisher I reached out one day to a favourite author. Now I was down and desperate, I just wanted to get it out of my system to someone who I thought would understand my frustration. Sure I hoped for a response but there was a part of me who realistically believed that would never happen. She did, and Tamora Pierce you have no idea what a boost it was to me to read your considered response of advice and encouragement.

I have favourite books, yes that is plural and I cannot nor would I want to, make that list down to one. One of these books is Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi. I love this book so much I have an image from it inked onto my skin.


I shared the above pic with Tony and he liked it. That wasn’t the only interaction I’ve had with him. One day I messaged saying I knew he sold prints of some of his work and I wondered if he could tell me where I might be able to buy one from Kenny. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine what would happen next. He asked me my address and sent me this ink sketch. It holds pride of place in my office. It to offers incredible inspiration, on those dark days I can look of it and hold onto the thought ‘never abandon imagination.’


These are not my only interactions. Marianne DePierres had a small afternoon tea with some fans one afternoon that I was invited to, and I went out for a catch up with Michael Pryor when he was in town doing signings and school talks. Both of these authors were more than willing to listen and offer snippets of advice and encouragement.

Today I felt the need to thank Raymond E Feist. I was thinking of doing something really silly, and even as I thought of it I knew it was silly. Authors don’t really want you hitting them up on social media to read your book or promote your work. Think about it. What an imposition. It puts them in an awkward position. How do they let you down without in some way coming across as a dick? So I talked myself out of such a stupid action and instead thanked him for his influence on my life. He responded, immediately. I was kind of gobsmacked.

Here is the thing though. Here is where social media gets tricky. These people you look up to, do not know you. For the most part any way. Sometimes you get lucky and actually strike up a relationship, friendship or mentorship. Mostly though they are just words sent in response to something. Oh I wish I was friends with any number of these people but they have their lives and I have mine. I’d like to think though that knowing they have done something that has helped or been memorable to an aspiring author and fan, would be a positive thing.




So, the research thing never got the go ahead.
I shrugged, really wasn’t all that surprised, I knew it was never going to be a popular topic, it’s just not a pretty one or one people like to think about. Sustainable agriculture, economics, anything to do with making money, these are all marketable topics, things people are happy to talk about. Corrections – well lets face it, most people would be quiet happy to ignore it or criticise it, they aren’t all that interested in finding a way forward for dealing with the ‘dregs’ of society.
Still I’ve not given up on the concept entirely, in this age of electronic formats, and self publishing there are many, many options.
As the saying goes though, one door closes another one opens.
I had that opportunity recently that many aspiring writers dream about. The 30 second pitch. Okay so in my case it was a little different, it sprung from a conversation I was having about other books and the writing process but it is still a foot in a door where previously there was no foot. In fact I hadn’t even been looking for that door because let’s face it, when you have a day job and can only write a bit at a time, you think way more about self publishing than traditional. Truthfully, I don’t know if it will lead anywhere but it is another step forward. A little piece of encouragement and as a writer we all know we grab onto those little bits of encouragement and hold on tight. They may be what sustains us through our next chapter and the one after that.
I’ll keep you updated, if and when.

Wow Does Time Fly

See I knew it had been a while since I’d written here, but truthfully I thought it was only a few weeks not twice that. I’ve in this time, had moments of productivity. I suppose mostly in the area of reading and blogging – review blogging that is. My review blog hasn’t been getting as many hits as it used to, I suppose that is in part because I sometimes find it difficult to blog after a 12 hr shift. You know when you work that many hours in a day and some days are very, very demanding ones, you just want to go home and veg.
I am finally, after almost 12 months in the job, getting organised with my reviewing. It is an awesome feeling. Also even though my blog traffic has dropped off, the other site I review for is doing awesome and I’m proud to be a part of that. People often don’t understand why I put so much time into reviewing and reading, they figure if I don’t get paid then it can’t possibly be worth it. Well let me tell you, it certainly is worth it. I love books, I love children’s books and I love sharing my love for them. (What a lot of love). Also I get books sent to me and for me that is a pretty awesome type of payment. I am very proud of my office library and quiet frankly I get why people don’t keep books or only borrow from the library (it can get kinda expensive over time) but I love my books, I love to revisit them too, sometimes even when I have heaps of new stuff to read, I just need to curl up and catch up with an old friend, it’s just what I need to make things feel right.

Might need to invest in one of these

Might need to invest in one of these

Writing stories hasn’t stopped, it’s just not quite as organised as perhaps it should be. I keep telling myself that I will get it all sorted but I haven’t got there yet. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m too scattered in my approach or what. I try to be disciplined but truthfully, sometimes when a new idea springs you just have to get some of that down. I wonder if some of my problem is simply that I want my writing to be profitable and so I get distracted with other projects in the hope one will result in some kind of breakthrough.
There is a part of me that wishes the muse was controllable but she is a fickle wench, always has been and I suspect always will be. That is life though. So for the moment I will plod on getting pen to paper whenever I can.
Oh if you want to check out either of the review blogs feel free.

Pic2So this week some things happened which left me heading to work for a very early start feeling rather crap and somewhat sleep deprived. We all probably have had this happen at some point. There are times things just don’t work in your favour.
Anyway, long story short I was inspecting a vehicle when I had the weirdest flash of inspiration. It came to me in a succession of images, starting with a garden gnome. Needless to say I stood next to the vehicle laughing at nothing visible much to the confusion of the person with me. I informed him of what was going on in my head and his response was to shake his own and say in a befuddled tone, ‘I want to know what drugs you are on.’
Going back to my desk the idea evolved and I was still laughing at myself and other co-workers came to the same drug influenced conclusion. The story evolved over the course of the afternoon and so I considered my sleep deprivation a bonus in the end, though I still find it strange as I have never written a horror story in my life cheesy or no.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that ideas can come from the strangest of places and in the most normal of situations, it is up to us as the writer to embrace these moments that most find nonsensical and turn them into something. The something we end up with doesn’t have to be any more than a way for us to write something different and thus energise ourselves for our current project. Of course if you can come up with something awesome from a random idea then I think that would be pretty great too.
Write whenever you get a moment.

SupaNova ’13

Well it was most awesome.
That really sums it up.
I didn’t work the bookstall this year. Me I volunteered, I had thought maybe my experience in dealing with difficult people would mean I might get to be a PA, but that’s really the top, only experienced people get to do that. So I was pretty happy when I ended up working in the photo booth. I figured I’d get to see most of the celebs a bit and I was supposed to be able to get to two seminars.
Imagine my slight disappointment then when I discovered I would be so busy volunteering that I wouldn’t get to any seminars. However there was a big bonus right from the beginning. I really liked H, the lady running the photo booth. I thought right from the beginning that working with her would be huge amounts of fun.
Turns out I was right.
Conventions are great fun. They give me the chance to indulge the geek part of myself that is sometimes not really able to be let loose. I got to briefly meet one of my fav all time writers, Raymond E Feist.
Also met Jay Kristoff and got him to sign my books – didn’t get a pic with him though and wish I’d had to think of asking for one.
Then of course was this:
Knights 4
My teen self thoroughly geeked out at this:
Hoff 1
My Firefly fangirl loved this:
WashA 1
And this:
Wash 1
Then who doesn’t want to get strangled by a Princess:
I also got a LOTR signature:
Karl 1
So for a whole weekend I was around my own people. Shouting out instructions and trying to keep people moving and positive about the wait time. By the sunday I got applause and throat lozenges and even a song. I told a heap of people to breathe and saw more than a few tears.
I was fortunate to meet nearly all the stars. I got to speak to the Phelps twins, joke with the Merlin boys, get into a couple of group shots with the amazing guests and wonder if they had an over 6 foot height policy for the male guests (boy did I feel short), though there were a couple of a more normal height.
All up it was a flat out busy but great weekend. Made better by the fact I got to work with some awesome people – you totally know who you are guys. I am very much looking forward to next year.
Being a fangirl or a geek puts you in a community that seems rather accepting of certain eccentricities and for me that is a great thing. It means I can truly embrace the part of me that loves to escape reality and just hide elsewhere for a while.
Also being around that much positive energy and fandom is really refreshing for the creative soul at the core of me.
I love my SupaNova experience and now you all know it.
I am inspired.

Oh Yeah Baby!

So here it goes.
I’ve hit 20000+ words in my manuscript.
That might be all in fact.

No not true. I have some real motivation at the moment. Even managing to get some stuff down before going to work before it gets light.
The other thing is, I’ve had a major breakthrough with the plot. See that’s the thing with being a writer who doesn’t plan, you don’t always know how you’re going to get to the end.
I love it when my characters surprise me. I also love it when you thing you know how the story is going to go and something happens, the muse sings, the lightbulb goes off and all of a sudden it’s like, “oh yeah that’ll work!”
It really is a testament to continuing to indulge in other people’s work, fiction, non, blogs, whatever format. You never know what will trigger your epiphany.

Relaxing A Way To Solutions

Re-writing for a structural overhaul is a huge task. Sure there is heaps that you’ve already written and you already know much of the story but sometimes you hit a wall. The wall I’ve recently hit was because I knew the future, I knew the end result but I was more than a little sketchy on how it got to the point I was writing about in the story. I realised I needed the back story in my head to be far more detailed. This hung me up though. I attacked this problem from several angles. I started writing a scene even though there were major details I couldn’t get my head around. This caused a few problems, obviously, not least being that it just felt wrong.

I tried thinking it threw and in the process discarded a bunch of ideas. In the end I settled on writing a short story from a different characters point of view that would fill the gaps. Great idea I thought (and in the process it gave me another great idea but I’m not about to talk about that just yet) but I still couldn’t get a grasp on a key point.

Then yesterday I took a day off work. I had a physical to go to for a job I am applying for and my boss wasn’t keen on me using my lunch time for it so I took a whole day off. This proved to be a great thing. I had received a massage voucher for mother’s day and decided to use it before seeing the doctor to ensure my blood pressure wasn’t high. So I settled in for a little pampering. And boy did my muscles get pounded, I was so sure I would have bruises after my session, this however was not a bad thing because with all the fitness stuff I have been doing my muscles were so tight and after they weren’t. That really isn’t the point though, the point is that as a writer your story is always with you and at some point while I was enjoying the muscle manipulation and half contemplating my mental block, I found the answer and it was so simple.

This weeks lesson then is – sometimes we need to take time to just relax and do something for ourselves, stepping back can sometimes result in taking leaps forward.

Cleanliness is Next To…

Once every three months this thing rolls around that I both loathe and like. Rent Inspection. Yes that is right I rent. There is a big part f me that wishes this wasn’t so but it is my lot at the moment and there really isn’t anything I can do about it. Being of a creative nature simply hasn’t paid off in our lives financially in any way at all.

So, rent inspection. Obviously I loathe them because I have to clean and allow a stranger into my house to, ostensibly  to make sure I’m not trashing it, but truthfully I can’t help but think they judge me. Other real estate agents have never given me this feeling but this one always does. I doesn’t help that they make comments like ‘office is untidy’. Oh I know that the state of my own desk and sideboard in my office is none of their business, that isn’t what a rent inspection is for, it never seems to stop them.

The flip side is, I actually quite like having a clean house. I always say I’m going to try and keep it that way and it never really lasts for longer than about a week. So because I totally stink at housework I have chosen to use rent inspection as spring clean out time. I go hard and brutally get rid of what I can.

Oh and I’ve taken to straightening up my desk. This is a good thing, I think. I’ve ordered all my notes I’ve put all my reviews in one place, it’s so clean and organised that I’m just itching to get stuck into writing. Really itching. I long for the time to close myself in my office for a few hours and just put pen to paper. I want to shuffle through my scenes and work at putting them all together in one coherent stream. I’m blasting through the story in bits and pieces and scenes that flow together but it really needs the time for me to pull it together.

I really want to take a step away from the world and all the stuff going on in it and just escape into my own creation. I have found myself thinking I wanted to get back to the story I was reading before realising it was the one I am writing not one I’m reading that I am talking about. I also spent my time at the register one day during the week probably looking quite silly as I kept pretending to draw certain new weapons that my character has just so I could write the action properly.

So cleanliness it seems is another way to flush out the cobwebs and get the juices flowing again. If only I had the time to make the most of it.

Maybe next rent inspection.

It’s Now December

Well I did it!

Yes indeed, I hit 50 000 words and did it with a day to spare. Not even sure I could believe it but I did it. Boy was it an incredible feeling. I haven’t finished the story yet. Just got the big climax and aftermath left really. And to be honest once I’d hit the requisite number of words I sort of stopped. I will finish it but there is at the moment so much reading I really need to catch up on. I have so many books piling up it’s getting beyond ridiculous. Of course it isn’t helped at all by the fact that I keep buying books and adding to the pile.

I have to say I love NaNoWriMo. I really do.For the first time in quite a while I actually feel as though I accomplished something. Not only did I practically write a complete book in one month, and yeah it still needs a lot of work and is more like a really detailed draft, but I also got inspired to work on another project that has been sitting in the back of my mind for a few years. This particular one is not a kids or YA book and it was started ages ago. Finding the inspiration to work on it though hasn’t happened. Then this week strangely the voice of the book came to me. So really I have to say thank you to NaNoWriMo. It has given me my focus and drive back.

What I will do next is anyones guess. Though I do plan on getting up the word flow and getting some writing finished. Though I may take a bit of a break just to try and catch up on reading.

My Writing Brain

Over the last couple of weeks at work I tried taking a notebook with me to the register so I could write when it was quite. I managed a little not a lot, in a way though I have to say I viewed this as a success. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get into writing anything longer than a few thousand words and so even writing snippets for my second fantasy novel has been a good thing. In some ways I feel I should be able to do more and so I feel disappointed in myself. On the other hand I know I’ve been putting so much time and effort into reviewing and establishing the website that something had to give, and to be perfectly honest with all that was going on at work it has been particularly difficult to find myself in any sort of head space to write especially anything even remotely useful.

So now I find myself having a week off in which I had planned to knuckle down and find my writing brain, unfortunately I didn’t realise until about a week ago that my week off was the first week of the school holidays, so I guess I may have to be content with a few more baby steps in the right direction. I am confident I will find it though it would help if I had a map.