Archive for the ‘Time to write’ Category

A twinge of writing envy

04 Aug

I have to be honest and confess to a little writing jealousy today. Not much, just an Amazon book recommendation which made me think “this should be me” which of course is totally unlikely, because the writer in question is good, established and has likely worked harder then I ever worked so far.

Nevermind, whenever I see a paranormal romance with a touch of magic, I get a little twinge of envy. And regret.

What to go with this writing jealousy?

So what do I do with that? I often get down on myself and take a break from the writing – oh big mistake! What I should work on is do what I did today, turn that negative energy into fuel to get to my white page and work, work work!

90 minutes today, squeezed between the kids and the meals and the cleaning.

What I learned today:

When I work on my story, the writing jealousy goes away and is replaced by hope! The hope that maybe, if I persist, work hard, and stay positive, that could be a little bit me one day.

Something to work on…

Still writing,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Rusty writing coming back

03 Aug

Back home and back to writing after my holiday home in Québec. I plan 2 weeks off from writing in the summer to spend lots of time with my mom and another 2 weeks at Christmas to spend lots of time with my family.

I feel a little rusty coming back to it after a long break but I managed an hour of light editing today – easing my way into it.

I spent my plane rides with an excellent and motivating book on goals by Brian Tracy, a pen and notebook. I feel I have a definite goal and plan for my writing now. It’s motivating but also scary.

I was nervous to encounter my writing again today. But somehow it was easy. I always wonder if I’m wasting my time, but today I didn’t feel that way at all.

What I learned today:

At the end of the day, while I’m still actively writing in the hope of making another sale and being read, I also really really love my time spend with my story. It’s MY time! Not truly lost, is it?

Writing today,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Writing tools I already have

16 Jul

Today’s writing was a mere 30 minutes of editing before the gym. I’m still liking this story – a lot.

Today’s writing: 30 min before the plane leaves!

I’m packing to go on holiday today, starting my first writing break of the year. I’m a little nervous about taking 2 weeks completely off writing today so I’m trying to figure out what I can do that’s writing related but not as formal as writing and editing. Options are reading contemporary romance to get more into it, reading books on writing, beta reading (I should really do that) or reading a goal oriented self help book to motivate me and give me better direction. I’m not sure yet but by tomorrow I should have a good idea of what works.

What I learned today:

I’m toying with giving sexy contemporary romance a real try (i.e. keep going with that genre) and I made a list of the tools I have to help me write those. Here it is:

“I have already tools to write romance!”

- The clear GMC method to write a blurb and set the story I got a long time ago from a workshop.
- The conflict grid – again from a workshop.
- Characters traits: defined using tricks from Jim Butcher’s blog.
- Characters sheet from Mary Buckman’s book.
- Characters questions from Donald Mass’ book.
- Save the Cat method to storyboard and plot.
- TV tropes for story idea.
- my own way to craft sexy love scenes!

And that’s what I have so far!

Editing, planning,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Running away from a story…

14 Jul

Today’s writing was somewhat self-indulgent.

2 hours of editing the contemporary romance then 1 hour doing the same think on the steampunk. Most of it I did super early this morning while my family was still asleep.

Why switching back?

What I learned today:

A strange thing happened as I continued to work on the contemporary romance. Yes it was fun. But then I started to think about where I could try to sell it. I googled publishers, then followed up on their authors telling myself that maybe I should read more of them during my upcoming holiday.

Then I saw that I had tons of competition and even if “that’s what selling right now” and it’s fun, I still get the same stress as I’m thinking of seriously submitting this new work.

Running away from a story doesn’t make the new story easier.

So lesson learned. Maybe I won’t be breaking the “finish what your start” rule after all, because running away from a story doesn’t make things easier.

The break was nice but I’m back on attacking the big complex fantasy story. Still going forward and still writing daily.

At time confused, but still writing,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Giving myself a free writing pass!

13 Jul

My writing this morning took a different turn. I did the one thing experts advise NOT to do, pause the writing of my steampunk sequel to go back and finish a sexy contemporary romance I wrote last year.

Writers: finish what you start!

Why you ask? Well, since I don’t have an agent to help me figure things out, I went and sought the advice of my mains, all hybrid authors (traditional and self published) and whose opinions I value a lot.

Talking to them made me realize that I kind of missed the steampunk boat by taking so long to finish my manuscript (going back to school to get a masters while teaching during the day will do that to you) and that everything is a hard sell right now, except perhaps for contemporary romance.

So I decided to give a shot to the contemporary romance I have collecting dust on my hard drive.

And I’m doing yet another thing writers shouldn’t do: I’m chasing the market!

Writers, don’t chase the market!

So I spent time fixing a scene this morning and it’s fun and, after a year of writing dark, complex fantasy with lots of action, historical setting and world building, it feels a little easier to focus on real characters with real problem in our world today.

So what I’m learning from this today:

My rule for now – write daily

That submitting is taking a toll on me (and that’s normal, learning to cope is part of the growth). And it’s perfectly acceptable to give myself a pass on following rigid writers rules because I need to make it a little easier on myself as long as I don’t break my rule for now – write daily.

Writing, editing,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Resistance to writing lurks everyday.

12 Jul

Today’s writing gave me a nice 1000 words. Now this month, it is a little easier to find the time to write because I’m on summer break and my kids are at violin camp for 3 hrs in the morning. I have the luxury of those 3 quiet hours to write at least a scene.

Today writing: 1000 words!

But despite that, resistance to writing lurks everyday.

The kids had a concert last night which meant a night out and a midnight bedtime for me. I went to bed thinking I would skip writing the next day. But then I realized that my husband was not using that evening out as an excuse to stay home from work.

So while I usually don’t like to view my writing as a “my job” for various reasons I don’t want to go into here, I see that making a commitment means that you have to follow through on that commitment especially when it’s difficult.

Now while I do have writing breaks planned in my year schedule (one of them starts next week), a late night is not an excuse to skip a day. I can find have a whole day, certainly I can to find a small thirty minutes in there somewhere. If I skip today, then skipping tomorrow will be so much easily justified and I’ll find myself skipping weeks.

Write daily, no further expectations.

So that’s what I learned today: excuses are easy to make. But my goal is simply to write daily, no further expectations. And for that I need to build my discipline, one day at a time.

Still writing daily,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Selling, getting published – so irrelevant!

11 Jul

Today’s writing gave me 800 words, nothing last night as family life turned chaotic and I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, but I got it down this morning.

I had to fight a lot of resistance within myself to keep writing today. The querying process is brutal to my spirit (see more below) and I fought with myself all morning about the idea of abandoning my current project which is the sequel to the project I’m submitting now. I though I’d jump right away to a sexy paranormal, which has more chance of selling.

The main thing is to write daily.

Then it sort if hit me. It really doesn’t matter what I’m working on. Selling, getting published, getting kudos, it is so irrelevant right now when the main thing is to write daily.

So I took a shower to dust my brain cobwebs and forced myself to sit at the page of my current project for an hour. Got my scene down. I like writing this story, so forget sales for now and to paraphrase author Cheri Adair: just finish the damn book!

Just finish the damn book!

I’m sending quite a lot of queries this month for the manuscript I finished in March and an important thing I’m learning is that sending too many at once can be a bad idea. Receiving a batch load of rejections all at once, some in the same day, can be quite hard to take.

What I learned today…

I’ve been working with the faulty principle that, perhaps because I sold my first manuscript quickly, these rejections mean that I am truly not a publishable writer (as in, ever) and that I’ve been a fraud all along.

This feeling of being a fraud is common to many writers and something we talked about a lot during Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writer’s workshop and which he explains quite well in this article here.

“Rejection means you’re a real writer.”

As I’m reading more and more articles about rejections like this one here by Tobias Buckell, I’m starting to realize that rejections means that you are a real writer.

It’s kind of hard to internalize but I’m repeating this over and over to myself like a mantra with the reminder that while this story may not be the one that will get me back on track, writing and submitting it is necessary for me to do as a writer so that I can get better.

It’s all part of learning and growing into what I chose to do.

And that’s all you can do here: learn to get better.

Keeping on writing daily,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Fighting with yourself, afraid of the page…

10 Jul

Today’s writing quota was quite good. A mere 200 words last night (because yeah I’m also trying to write before bed now) and a whooping 1400 words this morning.

Today’s quota: 1600 words.

You know how you can surprise yourself sometimes? Fighting with yourself, afraid of the page, then poof, done. So easy.

But this was a love scene, I was writing. I don’t know why but usually writing love scene is easier for me. And I’m left wondering why oh why did I decide to write urban fantasy with close doors. That makes no sense. I must have been high on succeess!! Ahah here’s a good lesson: never take yourself too seriously.

Which gets me to what I learned about writing today (yeah I’m trying to emulate little Arya from Games of Thrones here): this morning I wandered on Facebook to the big writers group I sort of co-own. And lo and behold, among a few great writing questions, there are tons, no TONS of “read my blog/buy my book” posts.

What I learned about writing today…

I had vaguely though of adding my blog there but uh…no. There is too much noise out there, I’ll stay here by myself for a while, thank you very much.

It really doesn’t help to shout out loud in a crowd of people who shoot louder than you. You’ll just get tired.

Just do your thing, be modest. Be consistent. Work at getting better. That is all!

Writing daily,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Nanowrimo? No way! 5 Reasons Why.

03 Nov

I have participated in Nanowrimo twice so far. And I will definitely not do it again.
Here are a few reason why:

1) It usually occur at a time when I’m into editing a project and should really NOT start another book (that’s why I still have 3 more manuscripts to edit after I finish the one I’m working on – 2 of those are Nanowrimo books)

2) It distracts me from what I don’t want to do. Starting a new novel is really fun. The excitement gathered by all the other writers doing it is really fun. There is nothing wrong with fun but for me, it translates into jumping onto the new exciting idea and not ever seeing completion of anything.

3) The social aspect of it is, as I said in 2, a lot of fun. So much fun that I end up talking about the Nanowrimo, adding friends on my Nano profile, reading all the blogs about it, joining all the special email loops, and so on. All that leaves me with very little time to actually write.

4) I’m doing the writing habit thing (challenge 2 – week 1 successfully completed) to teach me to write/edit slow and steady until polished completion and submission. To see how many books a year I can produce (if it’s only one – fine, so be it! ) and keep the pace all year. Short burst like Nanowrimo are terrible for me because I think I have more time than I really do have when I chose to do it all in a short time.

5) and then we get to quality. Now this is very personal. Some people can produce high quality work by writing 10,000 words a day. I am not one of those people. I can produce about 2,000 words a day at my best, by writing two scenes a day, separated by big chunk of time where I basically write in my head while doing household chores, riding the bus, exercising, or falling asleep at night. I need to live in the book and 7 weeks in the minimum amount of time I can realistically write a decent first draft of a 85,000 words novel.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


The writer dream shift

21 Oct

As I enter my last week of my seven weeks writing challenge, I’m thrilled to notice that my writing dream has shifted. I’ll be honest, somewhere when I entered the contest that got me published a few years ago, I shifted my dreams from manuscript quality and completion to something that looked more like recognition.

I started dreaming of list positions, sales, awards. And the more I got myself on the online spotlight, the more the dream became more about being noticed in the romance writing world than the idea that I write fiction because I like spending time in worlds that don’t really exist for me.

It seems that now that I had to time to run away from it all, took a year and a half going back to school, surround myself with non writers and most importantly school kids, and found myself a day job I love, I returned to writing with a different outlook. I really don’t care for awards and lists and while a sale would be awesome, I’m very driven now to spend a little writing time each day and I take huge pride in seeing the scenes in my current work getting revised, one one, slowly and surely, as opposed to counting how many writers I interact during the day via blogging or social media.

They say you sometimes need to hit rock bottom to be able to climb back up stronger and wiser, and it sure looks like that for me right now.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. readers who may wish to comment can do so on my Facebook page or on Twitter. My life needs a little simplifying right now :)


Marie-Claude's Blog

~ a writer's journal ~