Confessions Of A Writer #12

There are always excuses not to write.

I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I’m distracted.  I had to work today, and the students decided to throw pencils up into the ceiling among other offenses.  I have errands I need to do which will take the entire afternoon.  Someone is leaving for work, and the house is running at a faster pace so they won’t be late.  Someone comes home from work and wants to talk or have you go somewhere with them.  The weekends are nearly impossible because I am always out doing stuff.

These are some of my own most popular excuses I find not to write.  Chances are some of the same ones I listed are ones on your list of excuses too.  Because the fact is there is always an excuse not to write.  We’re only human, right?  Plus there just aren’t enough hours in a day, and the hours that are there get booked up with other things a month in advance, and whenever I sit down to write something happens that breaks my focus and where I was headed with this chapter.  Writing gets penciled into the column “When I have time,” which feels like never.

When you are a writer, you have to make writing a priority and make time to write.  But there is no time, right?  In reality, we are constantly making time to do things.  We make time to go to the gym.  We make time to stop in the morning and get coffee.  We make time to meet up with friends for a drink.  We make time to do all those things and more because we allow our schedules to be flexible enough to fit those things in to everyday life.  We tweak our schedules in order to accommodate those activities.

Just as your schedule allows for those activities, you need to start including writing into your daily routine.  You are a writer after all, even if you are currently working another job to help support yourself.  Writing is one of the things you want people to know you for.  In order for them to know you, you need to write.

It can start small.  Bring some note paper with you to work, and write when you take your breaks.  When you get home, instead of spending half an hour flipping through channels to see if anything is on television, spend half an hour writing.  Write during commercial breaks.  Write during that sliver of time when you know no one is going to be home, or after everyone has left.

You don’t have to wake up an hour early everyday so that you will have an extra hour to write.  Find those little windows of opportunity throughout your day when you can write.  Very soon, writing will become a natural part of your day.

Help One Fund Boston

I was reading an article on The Huffington Post today about the cost of the Boston Marathon tragedy in terms of money.  One Fund Boston, the charity set up by Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick to help the victims of the bombings, has so far raised over $25 million.

As impressive as that may sound, it probably is not enough to help cover the costs of the victims.  As The Huffington Post article points out, at least fifteen victims had to have limbs amputated.  According to The Huffington Post, it costs around $20,000 to amputate a leg, plus more than $50,000 for the most high-tech prosthetics, plus tens of thousands of dollars more for an amputees’ rehab, plus the wages that person will lose because they are out of work, plus the thousands of dollars it will cost to have that person’s car and home modified to accommodate their prosthetic, plus a lot more expenses that will incur.  Now multiply those rough numbers by fifteen.  Subtract the number you get from that original $25 million, and you can begin to see that the money raised by One Fund so far is still not enough to help all the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

The website to donate to One Fund is onefundboston.org.  I hope that you will please consider donating.  There are so many victims and those affected by the tragedy that any amount will make a difference.

I’m going to make an initial donation to One Fund Boston.  In addition to that donation, I will be donating 10% of the proceeds from The Hunted and Darkness Calls sales (my e-books, both available on the Amazon Kindle and NOOK stores) to One Fund Boston from now until the end of the day on May 15th.

Thank you.

Lauren

Confessions Of A Writer #11

Is anyone listening?  Or should I say, reading?

That is the question which constantly runs through my mind as a writer.  Is anyone out there reading this blog, my books, anything I have written?  What do they think?  Wait, I don’t want to know.  Wait, yes I do.  Oh, no, I don’t want to know.  But…wait…

Sometimes, okay a lot of times, I feel my writing is like a table at a holiday craft fair.  People look, a few might even stop by, but then they move on.  Meanwhile, the person who needs a refresher course on paragraphs is getting more views and more hits than I am.  Oh, and the book they wrote where they also need refresher courses in both basic grammar and Writing 101 (as in, not mixing up your characters’ names)…yeah, that book is one of the top 100 books in the genre on the Amazon Kindle Store.  Meanwhile The Hunted and Darkness Calls are…well, I won’t go into it their sales ranks but let’s just they are not presently in the top 100.

I try.  I tag the crap out of these posts in hopes to get more views, likes, and followers.  I tweet.  The only social media outlet I have not yet reached out to is Facebook, and that is mostly because I do not want my cousins and aunts asking me about my writing at family get-togethers.  I don’t know what it is, but I always get uncomfortable talking about my writing face-to-face with a person.  I think a part of this awkwardness is because I feel like I don’t deserve to because I am currently not a bestseller or have a hotly popular blog with hundreds of followers and loads of attention.

But an even larger part of my weirdness over being open about being a writer is because when I write I expose myself, metaphorically speaking.  It’s one thing to communicate with someone electronically; in a way, the computer screen acts as a privacy screen.  When that person is standing in front of you, however, there is nowhere to hide.  You are standing there, raw and exposed and feeling like you are back in high school reading your English paper to the entire class, the paper where you had to choose your own personal symbol and why you think it symbolizes you, and the cute jock boys are sitting in the front row staring at you because out of all the times to finally pay attention to you they pick when you have to share personal information about yourself.

That’s the odd thing about being a writer.  On the one hand you want people to notice you.  On the other hand, you are terrified.

Boston Marathon Tragedy: The Power Of Social Media

As an author, especially as a self-published author, you are a brand.  Everything you post, write, tweet, etc comes to reflect on you as a brand.  So yesterday, when it had not even been twenty four hours after the Boston Marathon tragedy, and you decide to devote your social media efforts to promoting your book, how do you think that is going to reflect on you?

I am not saying you have to go into promoting/advertising/marketing hiatus because a tragedy occurred.  What I am saying is that it might reflect better if you give it a solid day before you start sounding off trying to get people interested in your book(s).

When I read through the tweets from the people I follow the day after the Boston Marathon tragedy, I was shocked and slightly appalled by the lack of people spreading the word about ways individuals can help those affected by the tragedy.  I mean, turn on the news and officials are still unsure of the full amount of damage and casualties resulting from this horrific event.  So far, there are three dead including an eight year old boy and a young woman my sister knew.  Nearly two hundred are injured.  Then there is the psychological trauma that can never be expressed in numbers.

You have to do something, not sit on the sidelines and feel bad while others help, saying to yourself how you still can’t believe it happened.  Well, it did happen.  And it was horrible.  But what is also horrible is not helping.

I will post this link again.  It’s to a CNN article explaining ways you can help:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/16/us/iyw-boston-marathon/index.html

If you don’t like CNN, you can just Google “Boston Marathon ways to help” or something along those lines, and a bunch of articles will come up for you to take your pick.  Once you find an article or cause or charity you want to help, please spread the world on social media.  Facebook, Twitter, blogging…help spread the word.

Social media is very much like the domino effect.  One person posts/tweets/blogs something, another person posts/tweets/blogs which inspires another person to…well, you get the point.

Before I end this post, I would like to highlight one author who used her social media powers for good.  Carrie Jones, author of the Need series, posted in her LiveJournal about the Boston Marathon tragedy.  She was there taking pictures of her friend, and when the explosions happened she helped out any way she could.  She gave runners money so they could get on the T when it started working.  She gave a runner her coat.  She passed around her phone so people could get in touch with family members.  She comforted those around her.

Her LiveJournal post was picked up by The Huffington Post.  This is the link to her post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carrie-jones/i-was-at-the-boston-marathon_b_3091219.html

I follow Carrie Jones on Facebook as well as am a fan of her books.  She is a great writer and an amazing person.  She has her statuses be about her dogs and cats, and when a person is missing in her area, she makes her status be about that missing person in efforts to help find them.  She, in short, uses her social media to help.  When the Boston Marathon tragedy occurred, she used her social media to help and continues to help.

I think we should all take a page from Carrie Jones.  If you are reading this blog, chances are you probably have either a blog of your own or a Facebook or a Twitter account.  Please help spread the world about helping Boston and those affected by the tragedy.

Thank you.  I know the phrase, “Thank you,” gets used a lot, but in the wake of such a tragedy, the phrase rings true to those who help.

Boston Marathon Tragedy

Last night, my blog post was not that optimistic because I really did not feel optimistic after what had happened.  But today as I was watching the news and reading the papers and just being online, it hit me how much support there is out there for Boston and for those affected by the tragedy.

One of the most common images I have seen is the quote by Mister Rogers saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’”  At times such as this when news footage of the explosions is constantly on with the caption at the bottom of the screen revealing the rising number of injured and revealing the identities of the dead, it is important to remember that there truly is good in this world.  That no matter how painful an event is, no matter how heartbroken we are, that there are others out there who are in even more pain and are even more heartbroken, and that those individuals need our help.

I want to help.  I have been looking up ways to help, and I found an article on CNN that lists ways to help.  The link is below:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/16/us/iyw-boston-marathon/index.html

I do not know if I can give blood because I have Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease.  I do, however, intend on donating money.  I hope if you are reading this blog post, you consider helping out as well.  It doesn’t have to be much, but any little bit will help.

Please keep Boston and those affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.  Thank you.

Boston, You Have My Heart And Prayers

I can’t stop watching the news about the Boston Marathon tragedy.  I live twenty minutes south of Boston, I was born in Boston, and I have friends who work in Boston.  Boston you’re my home, as the song says.  And today, Boston was attacked.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy.  May those who need help, healing, and comfort receive it, and may justice get to the bottom of what happened.

When I first saw the news footage, my thoughts were that this was not real, that this was not happening.  It’s something out of the plot of a Batman or Spider-Man storyline, not real life.  But this is real life, and Batman or Spider-Man can’t swoop in and save the day.  More importantly, there shouldn’t have to be Batman or Spider-Man to save the day; the day shouldn’t have to be saved in the first place.  The tragedy should not occur.

I don’t think I will ever understand the violence in this world.  What I do understand, however, is the pain and heartbreak of watching such violence unfold.

I pray for Boston, and I pray for all those affected.  And I pray for this world to be better.

 

Confessions Of A Writer #10

Writing is never safe and lowers your inhibitions.

There is something about writing and being a writer where the words “Be careful” get vacuum sucked out the window very quickly by the winds of your I-don’t-give-a-sh**-I-just-want-to-be-noticed attitude.  Because anyone who says they write and do not care if they ever get noticed or become successful might as well be vomiting bullsh**.

Writing is messy.  Somewhere in the haze of this messiness you begin to lower your inhibitions about whether you should publish something because it might be complete crap and not your best work, but you put it up anyway because you know that there are even crappier pieces of work out there.  You begin to lower your inhibitions about the amount of swearing and violence in your work because you understand that compared to some of the stuff that is out there, your work is tame.  Most importantly, you lower your inhibitions about being careful, because you could be the reincarnated hybrid of Mother Teresa and Gandhi, and there would still be people who do not like you and have a problem with you.

I was looking back at some of the earliest postings on this blog, and I realize now that the reason why I was posting about topics not really related to what I wanted this blog to be about was because I still had those inhibitions about writing.  Writing is about exposing yourself, metaphorically speaking.  You can’t hide behind a computer screen and pray you can keep faking it until you make it.  You need to show people the real you, not some puffed up caricature balloon version of you.

When I first started this blog, I was hesitant about revealing the real me: a struggling writer hoping to be successful.  I thought that if I wrote about the challenges of being a writer, then it would take away from my chances of success because I would be admitting that I am not an instant bestseller, so why would people want to read my blog?

But I think people want to know the truth more than some carefully scripted lie.  And the truth is this: it’s really freaking hard.  But the truth is also this: I am unapologetically ambitious and driven.

I am not a bestselling author.  Yet.  As I mentioned in “My Inner Writer Monologue,” there is always hope.