Writing Tips

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Fear (6)

Originally, I only intended to do five of these posts. As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. I had thought of five:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities

However, my friends and followers had pointed out that there is a sixth reason often responsible for writer’s block that I felt needed to be addressed. This is: FEAR.

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Fear = Small Goals & Courage

adult, black-and-white, bodySometimes we feel that we are defined by that empty, blank page. It stares at us and we stare back at it. For one reason or another, we are paralyzed, unable to commit words to paper. Why? According to both Mia and TShaw, fear is a major factor behind Writer’s Block. Mia says,

I think, why writer’s might suffer from writer’s block: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (yes, that’s a fairly common fear for writers, especially as most are very introverted). Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

Tshaw agreed, stating,

Fear that my writing is a waste of time.

Of course, both of these intelligent women were correct. Fear is a huge problem in a successful writing life! Perhaps it is ironic that the same week I am working on this post, my church spent an entire sermon focusing on courage. (You can read all about it here.)

In order to face our fears we must remember what courage is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite the presence of fear.

If you are feeling fearful, the best thing you can do is act regardless. Now, this is easier said than done which is why I suggest that you focus on small goals rather than large ones. When we fear rejection, or success, or failure, or really anything, the only way to fight that fear is to refuse to give it power. Sure, I could tell you to think positively, but that does not always work.

Truly, the only way to fight your fears successfully is to act in spite of them.

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry, Writing Tips

How to Write a Poem

A few months ago, I had someone contact me via my Instagram page because I had recently posted a love poem. This man asked me to write a love poem that he could give to his girlfriend as a gift. I suggested to him that he should be the one to write the poem, that it would mean more to her coming from him then from a random stranger. While he agreed, he was doubtful of his ability to write a poem. He did not even know where to begin. This got me thinking:

How do we write poetry?

After all, there are over 50 different forms of poetry and those do not include obscure, region-based forms. There are haikus, free-verse, cinquains, epics, ballads, sonnets, odes, limericks, and many more. While some of these forms are easier to play with, others have strict rules and guidelines such as stressed and unstressed syllables that must be obeyed.

For any beginning poet, I believe that free verse is an excellent place to begin because for the most part, the poet is free to experiment with their form.

Now, this is not to say that free-verse is beneath the other formal structures and forms (Although some poetry snobs might argue that it is). Any poetical form can be done well or poorly, it depends on the poet not the structure.

Back to my story, I encouraged this man to write down a few sentences describing the elements of his girlfriend that he loved the best and then to start eliminating extraneous words. Here is my own example:

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Now, that doesn’t sound much like a poem, but let me start playing with it, getting rid of extra words and re-formatting the lines.

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Hands held in public

Hair tickled in private

Missing laughter

Craving company of

His arms.

While this is a very simplified first draft of a poem, it is most definitely a poem. Therefore, I think I will stick by this advice. Want to draft a poem but not sure where to start? Try simply writing down your thoughts first, then eliminating and re-arranging and adding where need be.

Related image

What do you think of my strategy? Is it worth trying? If so, I would love to read YOUR attempts at this in the comments below.

Happy Writing Everyone

***A special shout out to WaltPage who encouraged me to blog about poetry!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Managing Expectations

As some of you may know, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding! In that process, my fiance and I are also undergoing pre-marriage counseling (which has been a lot of fun as well as insightful). Did you know that recently it has been announced that what kills marriages faster than anything else is unmet expectations?

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish!
    • Here are some examples:
      • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations.
    • Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip, be sure to check out more under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu. Have any questions about writing? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

Derek Harvey has a great article expectations in marriage if any of you are interested in reading the article.

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games – Sign Up!

As you all know I have been working on my book, The Agency Games (working title) for the past several months and I turned it in (all 78,218 words) to the publishing house on May 11th!

Originally, I intended to send it to the Peer Reviewers on May 31st but I exceeded my own expectations and finished early! I also just received news that my rough manuscript is currently in the hands of two peer reviewers! Hopefully this means my book will be published and sold in late 2018 instead of early 2019, but it is too soon to tell. I have to wait a couple of weeks (possibly months) before I hear back from the Peer Reviewers, and I am kind of nervous, but I can’t wait to read their feedback! Hopefully they love it and also have some constructive advice on how to improve it.

As I get closer to publishing The Agency Games, I’m hoping to start a list of people who are interested in my book.

Image result for sign me up gif

Please note: putting your name below does not mean that you have to buy anything.

However, if you are interested in:

  • Information about Book Release Party dates and details
  • An online Book Release Party through WordPress
  • Early access to the The Agency Games
  • Discounted Prices or Signed Copies

Then, please leave a comment below!

Image result for sign up gif

Again, if you leave a comment that does not mean that you have to buy the book and I promise not to spam anyone with emails. I am only trying to get a realistic idea of who is currently interested in a scholarly look at the beloved Hunger Games series!

Thank you!

And Happy Writing!

Poetry

My Muse or My Block

She sits next to me

Gently encouraging the stroke of my pen

Her hand on mine

We trace, create, a world of our own

_____He hovers over me

_____His breath leaking into, blurring my mind

_____His hands form a barrier

_____We destroy, hesitate, doubt our abilities

Side-by-side

You would never tell

Never see

The truth hidden in plain sight

_____She and He

_____My Muse and my Block

_____Co-exist

_____In one body: My Own.

————————————————————————————————————–

***This whimsical poem was inspired by a conversation that I had with E. Michael Helms, Mrs. M, and Diana on last weeks “Not Him Again…” post. In our discussions we considered the relationship between our Writing Muse and Writer’s Block. I hypothesized that they were the same person or perhaps brother and sister. Today, I think I’ve found the answer, they are the same person and that person is YOU.***

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Read!

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

A large part of what we do is based on what we know, what we have experienced, and what we have read. Let’s be honest, most writers are also reading enthusiasts. Reading and writing often goes hand in hand. Through reading we come to learn about this wonderful world of writing.

At one point in your life, a certain book or series truly inspired you. You decided, you wanted to write something like that, you wouldn’t to create worlds and characters that touched not only your heart but the hearts of others. That’s because reading inspires and encourages. For me, my writing is inspired by hundreds of books such as Harry Potter, Eragon, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, etc. These books and their authors have encouraged me to become the best author I can be. Reading also connects us to others, whether they are fictional characters or real people who share the same interests.

In order to be a successful writer, you want to be a frequent reader. Now of course, you have deadlines to meet and reading every day may not be possible, but in your writing journey don’t forget or underestimate the power of reading.

Reading can be inspirational.
Reading can be an escape.
Reading can be an adventure.
Reading can be a connection with others.
Reading can encourage.
Reading can be comforting.

What else, in your experience, can reading be?

In the comment be sure to answer, “reading can be ______________.”

Happy Writing (and reading) Everyone!

 

Spotlight:

95642059-AC75-4E4A-8037-CA2CEB689DA0.jpeg

Lloyd Chudley Alexander was an American author of more than forty books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence.

A successful author of more than 30 publications, Lloyd enjoyed reading Shakespeare, Dickens and Mark Twain. He asserts that King Arthur is his favorite hero. If Lloyd Alexander can find the time to read and places so much importance on it, we should too.

Happy Writing (and Reading!) Everybody!

***Be sure to check out more tips under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu! Have questions about writing or blogging? Leave them in the comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Know Your Points of View

The fact is, a lot of novice writers switch point of view unintentionally or without knowing that there are specific categories of Point of View. Knowing these categories can help authors decide which point of view is best for their story. For the experienced writers out there, this might be a refresher or old news, but it is still worth remembering! For the novice writers, I hopefully have something new to share with you concerning Points of View:

There are in fact six different Points of View:

  • 3rd Person Omniscient
  • 3rd Person Limited Omniscient
  • 3rd Person Objective or Dramatic
  • 1st Person Central
  • 1st Person Peripheral
  • 2nd Person

The most commonly used P.O.V.s are 3rd person limited and 1st person central.
3rd Person Limited is when the narration is viewed through the mind of one character in particular but does not use “I” or “My” throughout. Also, the reader is not granted access to everyone’s thoughts, only one character’s thoughts. Consider the Harry Potter series where we follow the story through Harry, we view the action as Harry sees it, and we often come to the same biased conclusions as Harry.

Image result for gif harry potter

1st Person Central is similarly viewed through one character, but the narration strictly uses “I” and “my” throughout the story. Consider The Hunger Games series as we read the words through Katniss’s voice.

Image result for gif katniss everdeen

One reason you might want to use 1st person over 3rd person is to help anchor the readers into the narrator’s perspective. 1st person helps connect the readers to the narrator’s struggles and beliefs. The story feels more personal.

Now that I’ve covered the two most common, you might be curious about the others.

3rd Person Omniscient is a narration that can jump around from mind to mind, from character to character. While this P.O.V. can be done well and offer a lot of information, it often can go wrongly when readers find it difficult to follow the narration. One example is the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

3rd Person Objective/Dramatic is narrated from an unbiased narrator. The best example is a fairy tale in which the story is laid out, the facts are given, but no opinion is offered and we do not often hear the thoughts of the characters.

Image result for once upon a time gif words

1st Person Peripheral is similar to 1st person central as both are narrated by an individual character who uses “I” and “My” throughout. The major difference is that in 1st person peripheral the narrator of the story is a minor character at best and is describing the major events happening between other characters. The best example of this is The Great Gatsby which is narrated by Nick, but if we are being honest, no one really remembers Nick because he’s not that important for the story. He’s as much a member of the audience as we are.

Lastly, there is 2nd person which is the least used P.O.V. In these narrations, the “speaker” consistently addresses the “you” of the story. “You” are the story. It’s an interesting, yet hardly used P.O.V. due to the difficulty is successfully sustaining such a narration without sounding awkward or repetitious. I’m not sure I can even think of one successful novel that would be labeled a 2nd person P.O.V. . . .

Image result for gif anyway..

Well, there you have it! These are the six points of view you can use when you write! Your point of view does affect your narrative and as such you should consider it when writing, editing, or re-writing your stories! It applies for poetry too! In fact, 2nd person can work nicely with poetry. . .

What P.O.V. do you use most often? Why?

***If you enjoyed today’s tip be sure to check out more under the tab “Writing Tips” on my main menu! Have any questions about writing? Leave a comment!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life, Writing Tips

Self-Doubt

Yup, I have it to.

I doubt my abilities to succeed. You want to know why?

Because what we are doing is HARD! It is hard to create a habit, whether that is eating correctly or going to the gym or forcing yourself to write. Every. Single. Day.

It is hard to promote our own work, our own creativity, in a world that ignores, criticizes, and insults.

It is hard to be an artist, to see the beauty where others only see the ugliness.

It is hard to be authentic when the world keeps telling us to conform.

It is hard to persevere when the world tells us that we will never succeed.

So yes, I have my own moments of doubt.

But guess what?

We don’t have to let those moments of self-doubt destroy our dreams! I finished my rough draft! The rough draft of a book that two years ago I never thought I would be writing. I got a publishing deal, something that I was told was “never likely to happen.” And guess what, maybe it won’t make me famous, maybe it won’t make me money, maybe it won’t sell as much as I’d like but that doesn’t matter.

I wrote a book. An entire book.

I got a contract, from a publishing company.

I wanted to become an author.

The world said I couldn’t, but I did.

And so can YOU.

Blogs / Life

Not Him Again…

Whether it’s working on my non-fiction scholarly response to The Hunger Games series, writing poetry, or even when I revised my Master’s thesis, I repeatedly come across that brutal and calloused villain known to all writers: Writer’s Block!

*Dramatic music*

I am bent over my desk, pen in hand, words are sprawling across the page. Yes, I think, this is wonderful. I am getting so much done!

Then, the door is thrown open. Wind fills the room, sweeping up my papers and scattering them across the floor. In he walks, his trenchcoat dripping with rain as the cliché lightening bolt strikes behind his silhouette.

Not this guy again, I think.

I try to hide my writing utensils, but it’s too late. He’s already crossed the room and snaps my pencils in half, removes the ink from my pens, and just for good measure, slaps duct tape across my mouth. With a gleeful laugh, he handcuffs my wrists to the arms of my office chair and then leaves the same way he came.

I stare around in dismay at the mess he caused and look down at the blank page he left on my desk just to mock me.

Writer’s Block strikes again.

 

What does Writer’s Block look like to you?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Four Great Ways to Market Your Work

You’ve got your book. It is beautiful and sparkling!

But what now?

How can you promote it and get people to read it?? Whether you are self-publishing or going through a traditional publication house, you are going to need to promote yourself and your own work.

Some of the ideas below are mine and some belong to others that I have picked up along the way, but I am combining them below for your reading pleasure and hopefully they will help you like they have helped me!

  1. Social Media
    1. I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now and saying “well, duh!” but don’t underestimate your social status and don’t just post: “Here’s my book!” Give us reasons WHY we should want to read your book. What will it do for us? Think about how books have been marketed to you. What made you stop and think, yea I want to read that!
  2. Book Promotion Sites
    1. Here is one site that offers a couple of different options
      1. http://www.paidauthor.com/best-ebook-promotion-sites/
  3. Personal Touch
    1. Swap Meets/Farmer Markets/Small Bookstores/Book Signings
      1. Set up a booth, say hello, shake some hands
      2. Offer to do a book reading and signing at local book stores
      3. Don’t forget, people are more likely to buy your book if they meet you and like you instead of seeing an ad on a screen. So get out there and give it your personal touch!
  4. Friends and Family
    1. There is nothing wrong with asking your friends and family to read and leave reviews on your book, but don’t be too surprised if they don’t all respond. Family and friends can be a great support system, but not always great readers.

These are just some ideas that I’ve come across. How do YOU promote your book? Have you had success with any of the above? Do you prefer the social or personal approaches?

Have you done something different? Be sure to like and comment in the section below.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.