Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Are you one of those writers that lets your house fall apart all in the name of writing? Well, from personal experience, it is difficult to feel relaxed and creative if you have chaos surrounding you. For my post today, I wanted to encourage you all to re-find your life...your real life, not your imaginary world. Gain control of your environment, then you will be able to focus when you sit down to create your written world. You will be happier. Your family will be happier. You will have balance.
In the past, I've done some home organization with the help of Flylady. She is great for teaching you routines and baby steps. I still use a lot of her helpful hints even when I am not following her advise exclusively. I suggest you check her site out if you haven't already.
Currently, I'm using a more simple way to get my life in order. For several months, I'd given my kids chore charts. (I highly recommend it!) Well, I gave myself a chore chart, as well, and posted it up on the fridge right next to the kid's charts. If I expect my kids to be responsible, then I need to show responsibility myself.
Here is my chart:
As you can see, I've added exercise (blech), studying my bible (Quite time), and WRITING and EDITING. I've made it a PART of my day, instead of making writing encompassing my day.
My house has never looked this good. Seriously. And all of my chores, once you have the decluttering down (Rooms Rescues), it only takes a few minutes to get that done each day. I feel more at ease when I sit down to write, instead of feeling guilty that I haven't gotten my normal, everyday stuff done.
I am not an organized person by nature, just so you know. And I'm about as un-domestic as one can get. So if I can gain back my house and increase peace in my life, I know you can too.
Now, go do something to balance your life.
NOTE: And don't forget to come back tomorrow and enter our new Mystery Agent Contest. Oliver says that you won't want to miss it.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I was asked once if I thought creative people needed angst to create. And you know what, it's an interesting question.
Do I think creative people need angst?…. No. Do I think many creative people have angst (at least more than the average person)? ….. Yes. Do I need angst? …. I have no idea.
Angst can be defined as “A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression…[and]…going through deep emotional and possibly physical pain .” For you visual folk, this is how I see it:
I do tend to be more inspired by angst. Depression and sadness seem to draw the creativity out of me more than other emotions. (What this says about me I really don’t want to know…not sure I want to) :D The good news is, I don’t necessarily need the angst to be my own. I get very inspired by other people’s angst as well, like a really good, angsty song or movie. I guess I’d have to say, no, I don’t think creative people have to have angst in order to produce good work. But, I do think it helps.
Robert Penn Warren said:
I think this is what I try to do in my work. I wouldn’t describe it as “angst,” but I do dissect my experiences in order to serve up the most intense parts of them. And the more “angsty” emotions do tend to be the strongest, the ones that stick with me the most. For example, I was ecstatic at my wedding. It was a wonderful day. And then when my son was born, the love and joy I felt looking into his newborn eyes was beyond description.
But the experiences that are the easiest to delve into now, are the depressing ones, the sad, heartbreaking, fearful, adrenaline-filled, emotional ones. Though I remember the "good times" clearly, I have a hard time feeling that exact euphoria I felt at the best moments of my life. But I can feel the pain and anguish and rage and heat and desire and all consuming love or hate that I felt at the worst or most intense moments in my life at a moment’s notice – I just have to dip into the right memory.
This post is getting tremendously long, so I'll go into the whole emotion aspect more next week, but for now, let me ask you...
Do you think creative people need angst to create? Do you need it?
Friday, November 26, 2010
|The Reign of the Elements, Book 1: The Fire Stone|
|The Reign of the Elements, Book 2: The Water Stone|
Matt knows how to shovel hay, dig trenches, and dodge his father’s whip.
But when three terrifying creatures attack him, and he is rescued by a wizard, kidnaps a baby alorath, and is befriended by elves, Matt’s life transforms overnight from dreary to astonishing.
He unwittingly joins a quest to find the Fire Stone, one of the elusive Stones of the Elements which have the power to destroy the world, and is thrust into a string of perilous adventures.
Matt soon discovers that magic does exist and that he has extraordinary powers that can change his destiny and determine the fate of Mundaria.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
As Amparo shared yesterday, if she can't be published, she'd write anyway. Kelly states that she writes because she strives for publication.
Me? It totally depends on the day. There are moments that writing is so satisfying that it makes me soar. Other times, writing is a labor of love--the pushing, pain-inducing, give me an epidural sort of labor. My writing journey initially started as "I am going to be published." and now teeters on "What the heck am I doing?" to "This manuscript would make great toilet paper" back to "Maybe I can be published". So sometimes, the only thing that keeps me writing is pig-headed stubborn preserverence.
And that is tough sometimes, especially after query rejections. And even more so after editorial rejections. After you've had an agent and find yourself back at square one, it would be easy to chuck it all and forget the whole "writing dreams" thing.
So here is when I share the fortune cookie I got the other day. I don't believe in them as fortunes go, but I thought it was a great quote.
There is no shame in failure. There is only shame in quitting.
Remember that next time you are considering throwing in the writing towel...
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Writing in Multiple Genres – Why I LOVE it!
First off, I’d like to thank Michelle and the fabulous peeps at OPERATION AWESOME for having me here today. When Michelle first approached me about writing a guest post and we talked about a topic, she said she wanted to talk about why those of us who write both fiction AND nonfiction do it. I thought, Sweet! A chance to talk about writing in both domains. Awesome.
Writing both fiction and nonfiction is an interesting endeavor. For me, it is a way to meet two very distinct and separate creative needs – the need to help people related to my work as a school psychologist, and the need to create stories that hopefully help in a completely different way.
As you can imagine, writing nonfiction and fiction requires different skill sets entirely – both with their own rewards and challenges. For me, this means that I get to engage more aspects of my creative mind, and meet more needs internally. All pretty amazing things!
The nonfiction side of my writerly life pulls on the more logical aspects of my brain. I research heavily for my books, doing traditional types of research, as well as focus groups and interviews related to the specific topic of my book. The voice of my works is my own, so in many respects it is like the presentations I prepare, the classes I teach and the counseling I do. It all originates directly from me.
The fiction is different. It appeals and draws on the creative side of my brain. The research I do doesn’t feel like I am conducting research for a doctoral thesis, the way it does with nonfiction. This research usually involves things like using google.earth to “visit” my setting, researching the meanings of names or certain symbology, and studying legends that will come into play in the stories. When I sit to craft a story, I get to lose myself in some other character’s voice. I get to disappear and “be” my characters, functioning as their storyteller.
Both are awesome endeavors. Both deeply satisfy a part of me. Both work to define different aspects of who I am.
I will say that it is hard, at times, working in both fields – like having two distinct careers in addition to the actual jobs I have. But the payoff is worth it as I feel more than a little blessed to be able to write in two specific genres and fulfill two distinct parts of who I am.
It is AWESOMENESS defined, I feel so fortunate to be part of both worlds.
What about you? Have you ever tried writing in such different genres? What do you like about it?
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll stop by to answer.
Christine Fonseca is the author of EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS (Prufrock Press, 10/1/2010) and 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS (Prufrock Press, May 1, 2011). In addition to writing books related to giftedness, she writes fantasy and contemporary novels for teens. If you would like to learn more about Christine, please visit: www.christinefonseca.com.
Website (you can find info on her fiction here as well)
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Order Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children here.
Read the first chapter here.
Preorder 101 Success Secrets here.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
|Picture nabbed from her client profile at the Herman Agency|
Angela: Definitely check out CRITTER! He’s a cartoon cow that has been all over the world, promoting creativity and living with writers and authors (Beth Revis, Cynthia Leich Smith, PJ Hoover to name just a few). Creation of Ian Sands, he’s now hanging out with me in Calgary, Alberta and making appearances at The Bookshelf Muse. He’s collected tons of signatures, including world famous Naturalist artist Robert Bateman, and after his visit here will be auctioned off to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is such a worthy cause that everyone in the Kidlit world can identify with! (Psst--BIG Critter contest is up at The Bookshelf Muse… Critter Palooza!)
nk you so much for the delightful glimpse into your writing process and the awesome query advice. And THANK YOU for the incredible resource you've given us! (What we really need is a thesaurus entirely devoted to the concept of awesome... Hey, THIS ONE might do the trick. ;)
Find more Angela Ackerman on the web:
And if you'd like to learn more about CRITTER and his mission for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, see our interview with his travel agent, Christy Evers.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I do. My hope of having a published novel is what keeps me writing. But what is the right amount of hope? Hope isn't limitless, nor should it be. It has to be tempered with the right amount of realism, which sometimes sounds a lot like cynicism.
It's easy to be cynical when I see how this business chews up some writers. I've seen writers agented, unsold, then ditched. Writers with published debuts that dropped like trees in an empty forest, who then couldn't get another deal. Writers whose books were sold but who had their contracts canceled before publication. Writers who almost had deals, only to have them snatched away when the imprint closed, or their editor left the business or just changed jobs.
And those are the almost-success stories. Others don't get that far.
The more hope you have, the more crushed you are when things don't work out. But when you don't have enough, you stop.
So what's the right balance between hope and cynicism? I'm still working on it.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
They listen to the girl in their life.
They are sensitive, and protective, to the right extreme.
They read books, listen to sappy songs and think about the future.
They are heroic, gallant, etc., etc., blah blah blah.
So are authors setting up false expectations of guys for girls?
Will a teenage girl read a book and think that guys like Edward, Peeta and Sam actually exist? Will they hold out for that chivalrous, poetry reading, classical music loving, baking gods who make their knees go weak? I mean he could probably slit their throat if the situation called for it, but he'd do it with feeling. :)
Are these literary guys ruining a generation of girls with a lie that real guys can't live up to?
I think not.
Think about it, I've never read anything that questions whether classic literary figures spoil our expectations. I've never heard anyone complain Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester or Heathcliff set a bad example. These guys have been aloof, mysterious and consumed by love with dangerous consequences for a lot longer.
I know, have known - and dated - nice guys. There are still guys who hold the door open for you. Guys who listen and can share an intelligent conversation. Guys who are emotional and sensitive. Can they get grumpy, snap at you and sometimes - shock, horror - ignore you when you are being over-dramatic? Yeah. But even us girls sometimes do that :)
Are nice guys out there? Yes. And the best thing is they are real.
Maggie Stiefvater the author of Shiver (and other awesome books) also answered the question on her blog. I think her answers are interesting.
Also, check out this Jackson Pearce clip and her response to the question:
So remember, nice guys DO exist...and they poop.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Joe Ledger meets the this powerful new enemy on their own terms as he fights terror The King of Plagues terror.
Bessica doesn't care about being popular. She just wants to survive -- and look cute too. Is that too much to ask when you're eleven? The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter