Heartless Dissection Ready

I hope I didn’t scare you with the title of this post. Almost a month has gone by since I put aside the first draft of The Book of Sharon. The time away is necessary for what comes next – a heartless dissection of it, and I’m ready.

As writers, we pour our heart and soul into our work, then the time comes to forget about it, followed by a cold stare before we are ready to slash it into pieces – heartless and purposely, not an easy thing to do but necessary. From this dismemberment a second draft is assembled. The process goes on until the story is as ready as it can be.

During this time, emotions run wild – from doubt, insecurity, uncertainty, and not wanting to let go, to perfectionism, pride, fear, doubt again, restlessness, exhilaration, incessant questioning … all of it culminating in exhaustion, and all of it necessary. Sounds painful and not too enticing, but it is what writers subject themselves to repeteadly, and beyond scrupulous consideration, and all for the love of the story.

A love affair with words, a crime of passion?

 

My next victim.

First draft of The Book of Sharon

First draft of The Book of Sharon

Authors: You’re not Alone

An excellent post for Indies. Must share it 🙂

chrismcmullen

Alone

Alone

It’s easy to feel alone:

  • You sit down and write your book all by yourself.
  • If you self-publish, you do it yourself.
  • Marketing is up to you.

Indie ≠ Alone

It’s really indie publishing, not self-publishing.

  • Indie = independent. Independent means you’re the boss, you make the decisions, you have freedom, etc. Independence doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself. Choose not to be alone, if you wish.

Where Is Everyone?

Get connected:

  • Meet fellow authors. Interact with them. Read about their experiences. Discuss your publishing experience.
  • Ask for help. Others have worn your shoes. Advice is easy to give. Search for ideas. Post a question.
  • There are many free, helpful, positive, interactive author communities on the internet. You just have to look.
  • Need professional help? There are many editing, formatting, and illustration services available by many editors, designers, small publishers, and businesses. You can find affordable and reliable…

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For Aspiring Writers

Today, I completed (finally) the Resources and Tips section on my website. This is an ongoing labor; however, it had been left as Coming Soon! for a while, and my goal was to have it ready for January. There are some good websites and recommended reading for aspiring writers. I hope it serves its purpose, and that it may be useful to someone.  Here is the link . I hope it helps a bit. I know that when I started, it took a lot of time and effort to find the best sites, as well as to separate the husk, so this is only a very small list but good for starters. I included a few websites at the end, good for exploration, inspiration, research, and learning. I will keep adding with time, as well as updating this section.

A Happy Coincidence

Sometimes, writing takes life on its own. With my first novel, Moonlit Valley, I felt as if the story wrote itself. The characters presented themselves, and I dare to say, named themselves. The writing process is different for everyone, and I have to say that I enjoyed the writing of that first novel; it was an adventure. After a while, I went back and looked at it with different eyes. I found symbolism in it, and a happy coincidence with some of the character’s names. When I looked at the common meaning of their names, what I found intrigued me and excited me. The meaning match the character in an almost eerie coincidence; it is how I imagined them. Here are a few of the names. If you read Moonlit Valley, you will understand what I mean.

  • Jeremy = God will uplift
  • Rose = Flower
  • Cole Angelou = Victorious + Angel
  • Lara = Cheerful
  • Hael = Immense/living in hall
  • Dinorah = Judgement
  • Leah = Weary
  • Olga = Holy
  • Anne = Gracious
  • Maurice = Dark skinned (I imagined this character tall and dark)
  • Jake = Pale/supplanter
  • Robert (town’s mayor) = Famous (of importance)

I found very amusing the coincidence of the meaning matching the characters and my idea of them. After all, writing is a very profound and spiritual endeavor, an act of letting go, of listening, and of invention and communion between writer and characters/story.

moonlit-valley-coverfrontnew.jpg

 

2014 Reading Agenda

I think that life is too short, not long enough to read everything that I want to read. I have a large backlog of books that I want to read, from new authors, classics, and topics that I want to explore in-depth. This year I have a few books in mind, some of which are of new indie authors, other are inspirational books, and so on – a mix of everything. I would love to get to all the ones I have waiting for me in electronic form as well – tons. So I force myself to prioritize just a few.

Currently, I am reading How to Market a Book by successful indie author Joanna Penn. So far, I am loving it, and I think if you are considering making the jump to become an indie author, you should read this one.

Next in line is Break Out by Joel Osteen (five keys to go beyond your barriers and live and extraordinary life) – and inspirational book. This one, followed by Count Lucanor by Prince Don Juan Manuel.

I am planning to read Time Flies by Claire Cook. Followed by Libre de Saviesa by James King of Aragon.  Also from James I King of Aragon – The Chronicle. In addition, I want to try to get to The Complete Writings of St. Francis of Assisi.

After that one, I would love to read three indie books that I’ve wanted to read for some time now – God’s Whisper, a book by Margaret Long, Exceptions and Deceptions by Cliff Burns (collection of short stories), and Galapagos Man by Kenton Lewis.

I am dying to read Confessions by St. Augustine, and Letters from Father Christmas by Tolkien. Also, if I can get to it – Twilight of the Gods by Adam Pfeffer.

These are my must read this year, but the list is very long, and I wish I can get to many more. As it usually happens, some books may come out in 2014 that will grab my interest and derail me from my mission. A bit of everything, I describe myself as an eclectic reader.

2014 Writing Goals

I have set two major writing goals for this year, editing and publishing The Book of Sharon before the end of the first quarter, and writing Sunrise Souls before the end of the year. If I get to the editing of the last one, I will be very happy, but for now, writing it is all I am expecting. In addition, I am hoping to develop my author website a bit more; it has been under construction. As far as this blog goes, I am hoping to post at least three times a week. Those are my only writing goals for this year – few and clear. My main focus will go towards regaining my health. Other projects will be on hold for now.

Today, my nephew sent me an email that had an Allan Watts short video about one of his lectures on meditation. One thing caught my attention immediately – his definition of meditation. He views meditation as a way to bring you back to reality (to the real world, to the life that we live in a daily basis, to the now, to be present …). When I thought about it, I realized that my concept of meditation was at conflict with this definition. I viewed it as a way to relax and step out of reality – a way to alleviate stress or any present inconvenience. This view is opposite to the purpose of meditation. I found this interesting, and I think that many people think of meditation as a way to escape reality instead of getting back to it. I thought this was brilliant.

As writers we tend to retreat; we spend long hours alone dipped into our own worlds and thoughts, and many times far away from reality. Meditation may be a good tool for writers, that is, as a way to bring us back to life into the now.

Versatile

versatile-blogger-wordpress

I want to thank Oawritingspoemspaintings for The Versatile Blogger nomination. I’m honored because someone thought of this blog enough to nominate it. I don’t take these awards for granted.

If you enjoy poetry and art, as well as a bit of everything in good measure, stop by Oawritingspoemspaintings and enjoy what this blogger has to offer. You will find something to your liking. The blog is undergoing a bit of fixing the images, but be patient, it will get done; in the mean time, you can enjoy the many other sections this versatile blogger has.

Thanks again Oawritingpoemspaintings for nominating Inkspeare.

The Perpetual Planner

Although this year I’m living it at 000, each day anew, I understand the importance of healthy planning. We are starting a new year, so I want this post to be about planning in 2014. Are you a perpetual planner? Do you love goal-lists, to-do lists, and planning? I know I do; however, I have to keep myself in check (pun intended) otherwise, I may become a perpetual planner, a living-breathing human calendar, and we all know that is not good. Why? Because you run a thin line between perpetual planning and procrastination by it. Too many To-do lists and planning may keep you from doing. Whether we use planning as a good tool to advance us or as a safe heaven to keep us from jumping into the next step is up to us. Here are a few tips.

  • Research the goals you have in mind. You need to have as much information to clarify your goals. Warning – don’t run into perpetual research mode.
  • Clarify your goals (know what you want and why).
  • Think of a time-frame to achieve the goal (when).
  • Think of a way to do it (or ways). This is the How.
  • Once that is clear in your mind, it is time to put it in paper, bits at a time, following your calendar schedule for the year. Time to be specific.
  • Avoid the double plan. This is not about plan 2; it is about over-planning or making lists on top of lists that end up confusing or derailing you (believe me, I know). Stick to a clear black and white plan stated in simple terms. Gray areas might open doors to exploration, which may lead to over-planning or derailment. This is why you make a clear plan and stick with it. Don’t get me wrong, exploration and spontaneity are good, as long as they don’t open the door that will take you away from your main focus.
  • Always have a plan 2. If plan 1 (yes, I’m tired of the phrase plan A or plan B) doesn’t seem to be working modify it without changing your main goals, that is unless you find out that it is not a goal for you anymore, and in that case, this is why research helps in the beginning. But we are human, and we change, so if by the first quarter of 2014, you find that you are not sure you want to do what you set out to do, don’t drop it yet; do a little more research, and then, decide (exploration and spontaneity may help here). Sometimes, a bit more clarification is what you need to put you on track.
  • Acknowledge your efforts, and celebrate each milestone during the year. This is very important. I used to ignore this step, and because of it, my sense of progress was clouded, opening a door for frustration. When you go back and see how far you’ve come (quarterly is a good way to do it), then, it is as a fresh breath of air that propels you to the next stage (even when you might be your own cheerleader). This is necessary but human nature will tell you to skip it and propel ahead – don’t.
  • Evaluate your steps every quarter (or whatever works for you) and readjust your plan as needed, but not by over-planning.
  • Whether you achieve your goal or are almost there, realize that you are closer to it thanks to your healthy planning, and congratulate yourself. If you hit your goal, celebrate! Understand that you are human, and you might have it all down on paper, but life gets in the way sometimes, and after all, living life is what you do best, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
  • Be grateful every step of the way.

Best Wishes for this year, and may you carry out your 2014 dreams.

 

The Book of Sharon – Update

First draft of The Book of Sharon

First draft of The Book of Sharon

There it is, the first draft of The Book of Sharon. I met my goal. Now, I will put it to sleep for a few weeks, so I can revisit it with fresh eyes to start the editing process. It will get fatter, smaller, skinnier, fat again, until it feels just right, and hopefully, see the light by the end of the first quarter of this year.  After this one, I need a mental vacation. It feels good to have written it, and now the fun begins.

000

This is how I’m starting the new year, at 000. It is a gift just to be here, and I want to start anew, fresh, without any preconceptions. I want to live 2014 as if it was my last year here. 2013 left its mark, and I am grateful for it all. I receive this year at 000. It is a new opportunity, a new beginning, a new purpose, a new living, a new second, millisecond … . I want to make the most of it, not in traveling or great accomplishments, bucket lists, or to-do lists, but in being present every second of my life, in seeing the awe in the minuscule, the humble in the majestic, the new in the old, and the old in the new, the love in everything, and the one in all. I don’t want to take anything for granted. I want to wake up everyday at 000, the second I open my eyes. I invite you to do the same. Happy New Year! 

000