As I struggle to get back to my own writing and question why I’m doing something that often feels so much like I’m beating myself over the head, I thought I’d procrastinate just a little bit longer and post a few more links to some very interesting articles and blog posts that address the issue of being a writer …
First off, a flow chart from terribleminds, because I love flow charts (and I know that my designer, Jenny Ryan, loves flow charts, too!)
From wordserve water cooler: Being a Published Author Won’t Make Me Happy (And How I Know That) by Lucille Zimmerman AND The Writing Life: A Super Balancing Act by Rebecca L. Boschee
From C. Hope Clark: One Day I’ll Write This Story
From Michael Hyatt: The 4 Hidden Rewards of Rejection
From Seth Godin: Fearlessness is not the same as the absence of fear
From Writing Forward: How to Write Well Without Losing Your Mind by Melissa Donovan
From HuffPost Books: When Novels Become Assassins by David Biddle
And, as if the angst of writing weren’t enough of a worry, here’s an article for those of you who are considering whether to go the traditional or the self-publishing route …
From The Guardian: Linda Gillard on self-publishing: ‘I market myself, not a genre’
After what now feels to have been a whirlwind 7-week visit to Canada, I’m settled back on Bequia – for the time being …
I have a lot of thinking to do, plans and decisions to make, books to read, a novel to continue promoting. Oh, and a second novel to finish writing and edit. Enough to keep me “plenty busy,” as they say here. I’ve been formulating ideas about setting up an ePublishing company and publish the writing of other authors, relaunching an online writing contest, figuring out ways to transplant my author promotion business to Ontario, where I would now like to spend half of each year. And I have a couple of new schemes up my sleeve that I’d like to be able to develop. The beauty of all this is that *most* of what I hope to be doing in the future can be dealt with online, so it could be done from virtually anywhere in the world! Including Bequia. And I can still be my own boss. We’ll see where all this may lead over the coming months.
In the meantime, I’m still acclimatising myself to being back on the island. To my friends in Minden – if it’s any consolation, while we do not have blackflies, we are plagued at the moment by mosquitoes and no-see-ums. And for the Calgary peeps – it’s raining here, too, and it’s also terribly humid. I hate it when washing dishes causes me to sweat!
Fortunately, we’ve been invited over to Pammy’s Swimming Hole in Friendship today and have been promised all sorts of liquid refreshments. For our part, we’ll be packing the fixings for pan pizzas. Should be a fun way to pass the afternoon, even if it rains.
Thanks again to all my Canadian friends who made my stay in Canada so enjoyable! And to the many new friends who opened up their homes to me and made me feel totally welcome, as though we had known each other forever, and not just through a Facebook connection – thank you very much!
But, unfortunately, I didn’t buy a memory card for my new camera until after I had arrived in Toronto, so I don’t have many photos from my trip to post. For now, here’s the iconic photo of the Leuty Lifeguard Station by the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beach. I always have to break in a new camera with a picture of this!
Weekly offering of links to Blogs, Articles, Information, Discussion, Inspiration … and a Writing Contest!
From ragan.com: news and ideas for communicators
Why every writer needs an editor
From Writer Unboxed
The Value of Editors
On Reading, and Finding Readers:
From The Guardian
Readers are out there – but the model for getting their attention is broken
From The Guardian
Fiction prescription: why libraries make you happy
How To Write a Scene: A Step-By-Step Infographic (I love infographics!)
Write Your Novel – Torture Your Characters
The Art of Asking: For Writers and Storytellers
From Anne R. Allen’s Blog
5 Ways “Difficult” Women Can Energize Your Writing and Make Your Fiction Memorable by Ruth Harris
From The Writing Corp
So, You Claim To Be A Writer?
And A CONTEST FOR WRITERS!
From Northwestern Ontario Writers’ Workshop
2013 Contest Rules
Writers and Misinformation, Or: “How Did You Publish?”
From Rachelle Gardner
Sometimes You Fail. And it Sucks.
On Promoting and Marketing:
19 Things Successful People Do On Social Media
On Unnecessary Promotion and Publicity:
From Carin Makuz
dear media people
GREAT Blog Posts
From Eugene Stickland, a very inspirational blog post …
Caylan Boyse – Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World
From Seth Godin
“I’m making money, why do more?”
And, Just For Fun!
From Proposition Zen
Daily Zen – March 4, 2013
Today would have been my grandfather’s birthday, so I’m reposting something I wrote earlier. Since I posted this commemoration on June 6th, long-lost-to-us-relatives in Belgium have contacted me and inquired as to whether Elise was my mother. Now we are connected again, at least by email, with cousins (twice-removed?) whose grandmother was our grandfather’s younger sister. It just goes to show that you never know who is reading your blog posts or where these postings might lead …
On June 6th in 1972 my grandfather died. He was being treated for cancer, during which time the doctors wouldn’t let him smoke his Players Navy Cut or drink Labatt’s IPA – in those days available in brown stubby bottles. I think that’s actually what killed him, not the cancer. Being denied the two things he enjoyed in life would have put him over the edge. That and Grandma’s constant nagging. I’m positive he just gave up.
Grandpa was born in a small Flemish Belgian town and made it through WWI, the war which pretty much devastated most of Belgium. He worked as a stable boy at a race track, but had aspirations to become a jockey one day, since he was slight. But when he met my grandmother, she had other ambitions, making him promise he would never bet money on horses again. As far as I knew he kept that promise. When we were kids living in The Beach in Toronto, the original Woodbine Race Track was in operation at Woodbine Ave. and Queen St. Later it became the Greenwood Race Track, but the real live ponies still ran there every day at that time. Our grandparents lived on Bellefair Ave., only about 6 blocks from the track. Grandpa would take my younger sister and me for a walk along Queen to the track where we just watched the horses run. To this day, I still love watching horses. I’ve never learned how to ride, but I haven’t felt the need to, as long as I can admire horses in motion.
I also seemed to inherit his love for opera. Grandpa had a collection of 78s, mostly recordings of Mario Lanza, that he enjoyed, even though he couldn’t understand Italian. He’d sit in his armchair in the living room, drinking a beer and smoking, and the music made him cry. I don’t react in quite the same way to opera, but I do appreciate the music.
The gene I most definitely inherited had to do with cooking. When my grandparents and their daughter, my mother, Elisabeth Marie (but Grandpa always called her Elise) first immigrated to Canada in 1919 by ship with Grandma’s family, Grandma managed to get Grandpa a job as a cook in the Chateau Frontenac. When they moved to Toronto the next year, he worked in the kitchen of the Prince George Hotel. Later, after they’d moved to The Beach, they owned and ran the Seagrill Fish & Chips at Queen & Leuty, which our Uncle Moe moved to just west of Coxwell and reopened under the Seagrill name. Grandpa made perfect Belgian frites, something my mother also made well, and now I too can make perfect chips. And I love to cook, and eat good food. Grandpa did all the cooking in the house; Grandma made all the money.
He was a good man – quiet, kind and unassuming, always ready with a smile, a joke and a laugh. Even though he never learned to read, my sister and I would sit on his knees and he’d “read” the newspaper comics to us, making up the stories, adding his own sound effects and hand actions. He allowed us to have sips from his beer bottle, and also taught us how to swear in Flemish. Then he would send us home with, “Say that to your mother.” I had no idea what the words were I was repeating, but they garnered a cuff from my mother as soon as they came out of my mouth. When I cried, “Grandpa told me to say that!” she phoned and reprimanded him, but then they both had a good laugh about it in the end – at my expense. To this day, my total Flemish vocabulary consists of swear words.
I borrowed heavily from my family’s history, and especially from my grandparents’ lives and personalities, to write a couple of short stories that have been published. Both Hockey Night on Bellefair Avenue and 50 Ways to Lose Your Liver have appeared in Ryerson’s The White Wall Review, and have won prizes. There are a number of other grandparent stories in production, four in early draft stages, and some just a title at the moment, but probably about 14 altogether. I hope to eventually complete and publish them as a collection titled The Grandparent Stories.
“It’s been good to see you. Now give me a bezeka and get the hell out of here!”
Well, I survived writing for the International 3-Day Novel Contest and am now here to tell you the tale.
Teach Your Children Well was date-and-time stamped Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, 8:09 p.m. (although my computer was still on Calgary time – the actual time on Bequia was two hours later, but still within the midnight deadline). My novel is 91-pages, double-spaced, and 21,317 words. Light for a novel, true, but it’s a complete storyline and I wrote all that I wanted to write.
The novel is about Sondra, a teenage girl who encounters bullying in her new high school and discovers that bullying doesn’t stop at graduation, but can continue throughout adulthood – even her own mother is a victim. So Sondra sets up a bullying-awareness campaign to try to stop all bullying in its tracks. I hadn’t intended to write this for a teen audience, but I hope now it will work as a cross-over or bridge novel, appealing to both teens and adults.
This was a story I developed a couple of years ago and had always planned on writing (as I explained here in an earlier blogpost) so I’d given the storyline a lot of thought before the weekend. I loved the experience though of writing on the fly, filling in the details, getting to know the characters, creating new characters and incidents and business that I hadn’t thought of previously, like making Sondra’s family, who moves to Toronto, French-Canadian, and in just playing with it all on my computer for three days. I hope that readers like reading it, but mainly because I really enjoyed the writing process. I know it’s cliche to say that the novel wrote itself, but this one almost did just that. Never once during the three days did I think, “What have I gotten myself into – again??? Am I crazy?” It was actually a pleasure to write for hours at a time, then even better when it came around to beginning the editing process – although I did discover a major gap in the timeline that needed patching, and I hadn’t thought, before submitting the manuscript, to check one of the jokes that was supposed to be spoken in French and make sure it was actually as funny in French as it would be in English. (It was – phew!) But I believe I caught all the major gaffs and typos, problems with formatting, etc., and if nothing else, I gave myself a crash-reminder course of what it takes to edit a novel.
So, a worthy way to spend a 3-day long weekend (although Monday was not a holiday here on Bequia) and I came out in the end with a novel that, while it may not win any awards in this particular contest, is something I’m happy to have written, proud to attach my name to, and that I know will be marketable and published at some time or other.
Thanks, 3-Day People!! See you again next year!