Weekly Update – For the Writers with a Second Job

I don’t know about you, but being a writer is hard work.

It’s even harder when you’re working another job on top of writing books.

Whether it’s volunteer or paid, working in other areas besides writing can make things difficult.  It’s hard to find time to write.  It’s hard to get a clear head primed for creativity when the day’s stressors aren’t over yet.  It’s hard to get as much done as you could have if you had more hours in the day.

And if you don’t meet your goals, it’s easy to feel guilty or feel like you’re not a good enough writer.

So what are some things one might keep in mind as they work other jobs and write?  Here are a few that help me:

  1. Realize you’re not alone.  There are plenty of other writers (and singers…and actors…and painters…and people in hundreds of other professions) who work multiple jobs, too.  The struggle is real, and we understand it.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up.  It’s not easy trying to juggle multiple tasks while getting things done on time.  Cut yourself some slack and don’t forget to practice self-care.  Be good to yourself because you’re worth it.
  3. Use your other experiences to help with your creativity.  You never know when you’ll be inspired.  Creativity can hit in the most unexpected places, and the experiences you build in areas outside of books will only help further your artistry.
  4. Enjoy your other line of work.  Even if it’s volunteering, there’s nothing wrong with having an interest outside of writing.  For me, it’s volunteering at my church.  For others, it may be helping rescue animals or serving the homeless or mentoring youth.  Whatever you do, learn to enjoy the moment.

Grant it, there are many more things that could be said, and many writers do go on to devoting their time fully to their art.  That’s certainly not a bad thing, and I’m sure many of us who work other jobs would hope to do the same someday.  But if you find yourself having to work as you write, don’t get discouraged.  Keep writing!  You never know – your hard work may just pay off!

 

Weekly Update – Odd Things About Being A Writer

When I first published, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as an author – book signings, blog entries, late nights writing and editing.  All of these expectations were accurate and came with the job, but there were a few things (okay, maybe more than a few things) that I didn’t expect.

Chances are, if you’re an author or planning on becoming one, you may run into these oddities.  But don’t worry – just like doing any job, you’ll be able to weather any storm with patience and experience.  🙂

1. People will ask you to write their book.

One of the first conversations I had after announcing I was publishing The Ripple Affair was the simple question, “Will you write my book for me?”  Following said question was an explanation as to why this was a good idea to them: “I have so many great ideas, but not any talent to do it.  I can tell you what to write and then you can write it for me!”

No.  Just, no.

Writing a book is hard work.  It takes time, patience, and lots of dedication.  That being said, your story should be written by you.  Grant it, there is the subject of ghostwriting, but that topic aside, there’s something special about writing your own story.  It’s yours and no one else can claim it.  That, my friends, is something to be proud of.

As for having “talent”, rarely does a writer know everything there is about writing.  We’re learning just as much about our language and its syntax as any student.  Writing is more than just typing words on a paper – it’s a growth, one that never stops, even after the work is finished.

2. People will request to help you write your book.

A comment that makes me laugh (or cringe, depending) is when a person comes up to me and says, “You know, I’m not trying to tell you how to write your books, but I have this great idea for a character/story/setting, that I really think you should put in there.”

Again, no.

Trust me – you’ll quickly learn how to say, “Write your own story” in the most polite way possible.

3. You may not want to write on some days.

Writing is my life.  It has always been my life.  But some days, I just don’t feel like writing.

Between stress, volunteer work, family, health issues, and the temptation to drool over all those awesome Pinterest recipes, there are some days when the writing just isn’t flowing like it should.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  We all have days where the creativity takes a breather.  That doesn’t mean the writing will stop or you’re wasting your time.  Like any job, you just have to be persistent.  Don’t get down, and don’t give up!

4. Some people don’t take writing seriously.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me to “get a real job”, I’d be a millionaire.

There’s an unfortunate stigma that being a writer somehow equals unemployment.  Grant it, writing doesn’t always bring the best pay (or any pay, for that matter), but writing is hard work, and mentally, it can be grueling.

Why?  Because writers today don’t just write, typically.  They also edit, format, illustrate, design web sites, run blogs, market their books, do research, attend conferences, teach…there’s an endless list of all the things writers do in order to publish a book and make it a success.  Being a writer is not a simple 9-5 job.  It’s a passion that lasts all day and all night, 365 days a year and 7 days a week.

Are there oddities about being a writer?  Certainly.  But despite the setbacks or inconveniences, the good tends to outweigh the bad.  Every moving plot, every good review, every connection you make with a reader through the words you write is worth all of it.

What are some oddities you’ve run into as a writer?

 

Weekly Update – Crafting a Villain

In the midst of editing this week, I decided to work a little more on Heir of Vengeance, Book Five of The Ripple Affair Series.  It’s about 80 pages in, and so far…so good…but I can tell that this one is going to be a fun one to write!

Because in this story, one of the biggest villains in the series is about to take center stage.

Now, keep in mind that there’s some spoilers ahead.  Okay, maybe they’re big spoilers.  So you have been warned!  Stop reading now unless you want to be spoiled (or you’ve already read the ending to Book Four, Heart of Deceit)…

Remember, spoilers ahead…

Keep going…

Almost there…

Okay.  If you’ve scrolled down this far, you’ve decided to enter spoiler territory.  In Heart of Deceit, we learned that Malum (the leader of the Velori) is none other than Edward’s older brother, Stephen!  No, he’s not a ghost.  He’s very much alive.  And after years of being amongst the Velori, I can tell you right now…he’s out for vengeance (hence the title).

What’s been interesting about writing Stephen’s character, though, is just how different he is from Malina, the series’ original villainess.  I’ve always imagined her as the kind of classical villain-type.  Egotistical, powerful, no moral code, and occasionally snickering, “mwa ha ha ha ha!” when no one is looking.  Malum (or Stephen, as he will eventually be known), is far from her type.  He’s more centered, grounded, clever…and he still has some good in him (even if it’s buried really deep).

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is some backstory for Stephen.  Just how did he go from the quiet and shy little boy to the ruthless people-puppeteer bent on destroying everything his brother touched?  What is his agenda?  Why was he gone for so long and why is he just now coming back?  Are he and Edward really so different, and if they aren’t…just how are they the same?

As I work on Stephen’s story and how it fits in The Ripple Affair, I can’t help but think back on all of the changes that’s happened just within the last year or so while writing.  Originally, Malum was meant to be a separate character (and Stephen was really, truly gone).  But as anyone who has ever written a story knows, characters often don’t listen to their authors and tend to go their own way.  Stephen is such a character, and once I decided for him and Malum to be the same person, everything seemed to flow a little easier.  Of course, once I started writing him, he was similar to Malina – a classical villain type.  But now that I have to write his backstory, and now that he has a bigger role to play in the overall series, he’s once again changing.  No longer is he the typical villain.  Now, he’s got more conflict, and that conflict may make him more similar to his brother than he realizes.

All in all, I’m super excited to get this written and published so you can read the next installment of The Ripple Affair!  And I’m even more excited about showing you the cover for Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance!  Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll be premiering the cover soon!

Weekly Update – Daydreaming Counts As Writing, Right?

I freely admit that I had trouble paying attention in school when I was a kid.

It had nothing to do with the teachers.  They were great people, always trying to make lessons fun and engaging so we kids could learn.  But despite however hard I tried, I just couldn’t keep focused sometimes.  My mind would wander, and I’d daydream almost throughout the day (unless I got to read out of a book, that is…)

Even during the summers, when I was playing basketball or riding around in circles with my bike in the driveway, I’d daydream.  I’d put myself in stories or I’d create new episodes in my head of TV shows I had watched.  

Daydreaming was a part of life, and it wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I learned that it could also be a sign of being a writer.

As I work on finishing my edits and getting the cover designed for Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, I find myself occasionally daydreaming, even as I write.  I think of possible routes my story can take or how I can shake up my characters’ lives. I think of how I might want my dialogue to sound or whether I want to expand on a side plot or not.  And even though I’m working on the new Captain Patty, I’m already dreaming about how I want The Ripple Affair to end and how I want its sequel series to begin.

Though I would never recommend daydreaming when you should be concentrating (focus on your school work, kids, or you’ll have to learn the hard way like I did and realize studying is actually a good thing, ha!), it’s always fun to take the time (when you can) to “write in your head.”  Daydreaming is a way that writers plan their work, a sort of pre-writing as many others have called it.  Daydreams allow you to see plots and characters and settings and learn if they could possibly work.  It’s a way to test the product before the product is produced.

As this week comes to an end and a new one begins, may you find joy and happiness no matter what sort of dreams you create.  Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – 07/15/17

One of the hardest things about being a writer is finding the time to just sit back and read.  I’m ashamed to admit that aside from the occasional story, I’ve hardly read any books since beginning my writing career.  That’s unfortunate, as reading was what made me realize I wanted to be a writer in the first place.

So this week, that changed.  I sat down and took the time to do some reading.  And you know what?  It was fun!  It reminded me of the days when I’d sneak in pages to read between classes or curled up with a good book while everyone else was watching TV. It felt wonderful being lost in a fantasy world with new characters I’ve never met before, as if I was meeting new friends for the first time.

It’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed when life gets busy.  Sometimes we can barely find enough time to eat or sleep, let alone relax.  But it’s always important to have that downtime…to have that time where you can sit down and enjoy the moment.  Reading is a form of entertainment that is as classic as time itself, and despite the fun found in our latest technologies, television and games can only go so far in helping us develop our imaginations to enjoy written worlds.  As you go about your weekend, I encourage you to enjoy a book or story and take some time to relax in this busy thing called life.  

Weekly Update – 07/08/17

Hi everyone!  🙂

I hope you all are having a good week.  It’s been a busy one here, but so far, the editing continues!  I’m just finishing up the first round of edits and rewriting one of the last chapters.  The original ending to Veronica’s Vengeance seemed a tad underwhelming, so more needed to be added to make it just right!  Work continues on the cover as well, and I’m hoping after such a busy week, I can get more done by next weekend.

That’s all for now!  Back to editing!  🙂

-Erin

This entry was posted on July 8, 2017.

Weekly Update – 07/03/17

Whoops!  Can you tell I was busy over the weekend?  Between kitchen remodeling (I learned I can’t paint worth beans but I can grout somewhat decently) and being just plain tired, I completely forgot to do my weekly update!  

Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance continues to be edited.  First round grammar checks are going through, and the first feedback from beta readers has come through. So far, so good!  I’m still having a bit of trouble with the cover, though. The design isn’t quite what I want it to be, so a little more work is needed.

I also began planning more for Heir of Vengeance.  I’ve been debating on whether to finish the Captain Patty series first or continue on with The Ripple Affair.  I’m starting to think writing two series at once is a lot tougher than I thought it would be!  Luckily both series are nearly finished, and I can concentrate on one (future) project later on.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!  Happy Independence Day to all my American readers!