Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ 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


Epic battle with writing resistance

15 Jul

Today’s writing was an epic battle not with myself but with life around me.

Sometimes resistance really does come from outside of you.

First I fell asleep again after my alarm went on and woke up at 5:30 am just in time for the gym (okay that one is my fault). Then I hit the couch with my laptop as soon as I walked in the house at 7:00 am. Laptop died. Twice. Then the household woke up but anyhow… I stuck with it and got a scene finished after an hour and a half of editing.

I’m back on the romance. Had a chat with my 13 years old who is wise beyond his years and convinced me to complete all the different genres I have (contemporary romance, paranormal romance, novella and middle grade) and submit them all until I get one bite. Hey that’s the kid who is now learning viola on top of his violin so he can get into his school senior orchestra.

You do what you can to get where you want to be.

And it’s a good thing I’m now working on this because I am totally in love with the story and characters and it just fit the mood I am in right now. I can’t stop working on it.

So that’s the plan for now.

What I learned today:

I bough a copy of Writer’s Digest this week-end and the editorial gave me a great idea. Think of one reader who would read your book. Give her a name, describe her, like: Skyler, 24 years, female, computer programmer by day, gamer by night, live with boyfriend and has a secret addiction to Twilight.

Write for one reader alone!

When you got your one reader, write for that person only. Be consistent. Narrow your audience. Don’t try to write for a 13-99 years old crowd of everyone’s invited. Stay focus – your book will be tighter.

I do like it. I’m working on defining my reader. But I think it will help me because I will stick with one theme, one heat level, one type of hero, one type of setting. It might certainly help me from switching tone throughout the book.

One book – one tone.

Also agent Scott Eagan had a good article this morning on keeping your main plot line throughout your story.

Still editing,
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


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


Back in the big kid writers pool again.

10 Jul

Who are you accountable to? By that I mean, in your journey to self-fullfillement, perhaps writing a novel, lose weight or get that degree, who checks whether you continuously work those small steps towards your goal or not?

For six month now, I’ve been on a journey to find more self-contentment and meet certain goals like, writing and try to walk again, by building habits with the help of the Sea Change Program run by Zen Habits Blog author Leo Laubatta.

I’ve been tackling my to-do list, exercising and writing daily, tackling my clutter and beat my paralizing fear of rejections by getting back in the game of submitting my writing.

“Back in the game!”

Who am I accountable to right now? Not many people. Thankfully the Sea Change program has a forum where I report daily and where I met wonderful people on a similar journey, but I feel I need more writing focus.

And the accountability part of my journey has prompted me to return to this blog.

I’m have started to submit my completed novel to many (yes many) agents and the rejections are pouring in (yes, people, getting published once is not a guaranteed road to be published again).

(And BTW here’s a great article on dealing with rejection from a guest at Musetracks today.)

Which means that my resolve is faltering and that little voice in my brain telling me I’m just a one hit wonder is getting stronger and stronger.

“Writing is not for sissies.”

So I need the accountability to stay on track for the long run. Reporting to this blog, even to a mostly silent readership, was key in rebuilding my daily writing habit and I now face the reality of having to buckle down and write despite it all (and by all I mean the constant reminder that writing is not for sissies).

“Better keep swimming.”

If I’m playing in the big kids pool again, I better keep swimming, as my friend Jenn Bray Weber likes to remind me, and bring back all the tools I got.

Hence, welcome back universe. I’m writing daily and telling you about it!

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


Goodbye for now…

05 May

Well this is the time to say goodbye to this blog for an undetermined time, maybe for good. I haven’t been very active in the last few months mostly because I am concentrating on my writing. I am working on some great projects and want to give them my full attention both time and creativity wise.

Blogging regularly takes a lot of one’s mental energy and as writers I think we have to decide where to put all that creativity. For me, it’s at the page, in my manuscripts. This is where lies my “happy writing place.”

So I have decided to blog a lot less and only at Musetracks, a popular blog for writers that I am very proud of. We started it as unpublished authors with big dreams and now we are still great friends and writing partners and the blog has grown bigger than we ever imagined.

So you can find me there on Mondays, but I do hope you will stick around on other days because we offer a lot of inspiration and companionship to fellow writers, along with the chance to pitch to agents and editors once a month.

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

p.s. if you like social media, you can also add me as a friend on Facebook or on Twitter, or Instagram as marieclaudewrites


Marie-Claude's Blog

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