Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection Day 5: YOU

Can we all just be honest and authentic for a couple of minutes?

I am encouraging ALL of you to be willing to be vulnerable in the comment section.

Anyone who is serious about writing has most likely received some sort of rejection in their lives. Maybe it was not an official rejection letter, maybe it was some peer review (from family or friends) that did not go as you expected.

Writing is hard, and rejection/criticism makes it harder. But I think the thing that is so detrimental about rejection is when we think that we are alone in our rejection. We think, “This is a personal reflection on ME.”

I am hoping to combat this idea and the isolation that can be a result of rejection by encouraging you to comment below your own experiences with rejection. As a writing community, let us come together to share our own struggles.

So, if you are up for it, in the comment section please answer:

Have you ever experienced rejection for your writing? If so, was the rejection kind or harsh? And more importantly, how did you respond/handle the rejection? What advice would you give to someone who just received their 1st, 2nd, 3rd rejection letter?

©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

Highlighting Rejection Day 4: Louisa May Alcott

Perhaps the name Lousia May Alcott rings a bell in your ears? Alcott was the author of Little Women. The novel follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. These women are loosely based on the women in Alcott’s own life. According to VanityFair, “More than a century after it was first published, the March sisters still galvanize readers, writers, and Hollywood producers.”

However, Alcott received one of the harshest rejection letters of her time when Publisher James T. Fields rejected her work and advised her, “Stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott. You can’t write” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail). If you saw the recent movie, Little Women, you saw first hand the treatment that Jo received for her writing.

Image result for harsh gif

What might have happened in Alcott had allowed these insults to change her mind of writing? She never would have published the first and second parts of Little Women.

After her success, Louisa herself wrote, “Twenty years ago, I resolved to make the family independent if I could. At forty that is done. Debts all paid, even the outlawed ones, and we have enough to be comfortable. It has cost me my health, perhaps; but as I still live, there is more for me to do, I suppose” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail).

Image result for louisa may alcott writing quote

Don’t let someone else’s opinion decide your fate. Set sail on your own journey.

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020 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

Highlighting Rejection Day 2: Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is one of the most successful children’s author in the world. His well-know works include Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat and the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Many of his books have been remained into cartoons which were later remained into live-action movies. And now, even his movies are being reanimated closer to their original form.

Related image

Needless to say, his success is obvious everywhere!

However, it wasn’t always that way. Did you know the Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book,  And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected twenty-seven different times! In fact, he had almost given up on getting his book published at all!

It was only due to a chance encounter with a friend, who had recently become an editor, that Theodor Geisel ever became Dr. Seuss. Can you imagine though, what would have happened, if Theodor had been too broken down by his recent rejections to even mention his book to his friend? What would Christmas look like without his classic tale?

If Dr. Seuss, the genius behind children’s stories, can take twenty-seven different rejections and keep moving forward, so can I and so can you! Try and try again, it’s all that we can do!

Dr. Seuss

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. 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: Market Yourself (The First Step)

Hey Everyone!

Today’s post is specifically geared for YOU: the blogger, author, creative person that you are.

Marketing your work is more than just posting a fancy photo of your book cover or your latest blog post. Marketing is more than just shouting out into the void “look at me!” Good marketing involves hard work and (you guessed it) authentic relationships with your target audience.

Look at it this way: why should anyone want to read what you have to say? Why should anyone pick up your book off the shelf instead of someone else’s? What do you have to offer?

The work that we do is so much different than a regular nine-to-five job because our work is dependent on our audience. That’s why learning how to market our work can be so important and also so scary. A lot of beginning writers and bloggers feel daunted by marketing their work because really, marketing begins with YOU.

If you do not believe in the worth of your blog posts or writing, than why should anyone else? The first step to marketing your work is to learn that you are marketing yourself, your product, your ideas, your thoughts, your experiences, your realities, and your fantasies. So my first bit of advice is this:

Own Your Own Identity

This might be the hardest thing to do, but first you must develop your own online identity, particularly as bloggers and even as authors in today’s technologically-savvy society. This is because most of your promoting will be done online (surprise, surprise). In order for anyone to know you exist, you must first create your presence. When you begin blogging, or creating a website, or even creating facebook/instagram author pages, you need to think about: personality, consistency, frequency, and authenticity.

  1. Personality: Your blog, website, facebook/instagram page should be individualized. Of course, it’s not a bad thing to start with a template provided to you, but eventually, you should begin tweaking and editing your sites to reflect who you are.
  2. Consistency: If you use a specific theme, or profile picture, or cover photo, etc., it should be similar across all of your social media sites. This helps your audience know that your separate sites all belong to you and form harmony instead of dissonance.
  3. Frequency: You cannot create social media sites and then dip out. This is where that hard work comes in. Have confidence in your abilities and blog more regularly as time allows. Your pages will not magically attract a following, you have to get out there and go get it!
  4. Authenticity: In the getting-out-and-go-getting-it, don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t put forward a fake front and don’t lie to get followers. You can only pretend for so long. Be yourself and garner a genuine audience who is actually interested in what you have to give.

That’s a lot for today so I’m going to stop here. In the future, I’ll work to expand on the next steps in your marketing campaign.

Meanwhile, I would love to hear from you on your own experiences. How have YOU promoted your work in the past? Do you find that my four (Personality, Consistency, Frequency, & Authenticity) work in your own promotion avenues?

Happy Writing Everyone! I’ll see you in the comments!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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: The 3-Draft Rule

Today, I’m going to offer you some advice about how many drafts you should have before you consider sending out your full manuscript to a publishing company.

I consider the magic number to be 3: Three full-length drafts and let me tell you why.

Draft One: Getting it Down

Your very first draft should be focused on just getting your writing out of your head and down on paper. In this draft, I encourage you to just write. Do not focus on getting it perfect, or saying everything you need to say.

Create the bones of your manuscript.

Or, in other words, consider it the road map for the rest of your drafts. This first draft is all about getting your words on paper and it will be messy, it will be disorganized, it will not be perfect. And guess what, it shouldn’t be. However, this is very important: this is NOT an outline. This first draft should be a whole and complete draft with plot lines and developed characters. When I say this is the bones of your manuscript, you should still include the entire skeleton.

Draft Two: Buffing it Out

After “completing” your first draft (meaning that the bones of your manuscript are present and arranged), it is time to start adding the “meat” (the muscles, sinews, and veins, etc.). Draft Two can be accomplished on your own or with a friend or writing colleague. I personally believe that it is beneficial to have outside opinion for this draft. What I do, is I send my Draft One to friends and receive BETA reader comments. What needs flushing out? What drags? What doesn’t make sense, etc.? Once I have their comments, I comb back through my first draft and begin addressing both their comments and add in my own.

As I am going through, thinking about their comments and my own, I REWRITE (yes you heard me), REWRITE the entire manuscript. I open up a new blank screen next to my first draft and I RETYPE everything. (Next week I’ll be sharing a blog post as to why I REWRITE instead of Editing). After this, you should have a completed, flushed out draft, but you’re not done yet.

Draft Three: Cleaning it Up

Once you have completed crafting your narrative (it has bones, and muscle, and skin), it’s time to make it pretty! If hardcore editing is not your thing, ask for outside help whether that means the family member who is an English major or paying for grammar edits. Trust me, nothing lowers the quality of a good book faster than bad grammar. This is your one chance to impress a publishing company, so spend some time (and maybe *some* money) improving your manuscript until it shines.

 

Well, there you have it: my three-draft rule!

What do you think? Is three drafts too many or too little? Be sure to comment below!

***Extra Tip: It is okay to have some time take place between Draft One and Draft Two, distance can be a good thing for your own writing! It can give you perspective.

 

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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: Stop Working/Keep Writing

Many of you have probably read my blog post: Writing Tip: STOP Writing. I was ecstatic to see that it was so well-received and that so many of you either took encouragement from the post or replied with your own positive experiences in seeking distance from your writing.

One of my favorite things about blogging is the comment section because in the comments, I really get to have conversations with other like-minded, brilliant authors and bloggers. For instance, on that post, I engaged in a conversation with Michelle at Fantasyland on the power of stopping a project while continuing to work. That conversation sparked today’s blog post (so thank you Michelle!)

Michelle mentioned that when she needs to, she will sometimes stop the current project she is working on (giving herself that needed distance) and then pull up another project and work on that instead.

Now, I am not the type of writer who can work simultaneously on multiple large projects, it’s just too much for me. I prefer to work on one large project (like The Agency Games) and maybe some smaller projects such as my blogging posts. I cannot start another book until I have finished the old.

However, the idea to stop working on your major project but to keep writing is a fantastic idea! In doing so, you are giving your mind the break and distance it requires, but you are still writing and keeping your creativity flowing. If you are like me and you cannot work on several large projects at once, here are some practical ways where you can stop working, but keep writing:

  1. Blog Posts: If you are reading this post, odds are, you’re a blogger, author, or both. If you are a blogger, what better time to work on scheduling some blog posts than when you need distance from your book?
  2. Poetry: The wonderful thing about poetry is that it is the perfect outlet for spewing out writing. Now, I would suggest cleaning it up before you post it, but often times when we are frustrated by writer’s block or in need of distance, getting our emotions out through poetry can be a powerful thing.
  3. Free Writing/Journaling: Maybe you are so stuck/overwhelmed that both blog posts and poetry seem daunting, but you still want to write. That’s when I would suggest free writing or journaling. Write about literally anything, your day, your hopes, the color of the wall, your dream vacation, whatever, just keep those writing juices flowing.

What about you?

What do you do when you need distance from a larger project?

Happy Writing!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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: STOP Writing

“Stop writing?!”

“But Kayla,” you may ask me, “how can you tell me to stop writing? Shouldn’t we keep writing? After all, we are writers! How can we be writers if we are not writing? How does stopping our writing actually help our writing? Isn’t that contradictory?”

Image result for girl you crazy gif

Now before you turn away from me and shake your head in disgust, hear me out.

I’m not saying that we should stop all writing. I am saying that you should stop working on the project you’re currently working on once you have finished it. For writers there is this huge urge that once we finally finish a project we automatically want to go back through, edit, and send it to a publisher. It’s just not realistic guys. In order for a work to be good you need to utilize the power of distance.

Now some of you may be wondering what the power of distances and others of you might have already heard of it. For those of you who are unfamiliar or need the refresher: The power of distance is, as it sounds, distancing yourself from your work after you have finished it.

Once you have finished a project you set it aside. If it’s on your computer, exit out of the file for a while (I know it’s scary but don’t worry it’ll still be there when you get back to it). If you’re writing in a notebook (hey kudos to you not a lot of people do that anymore),  close the notebook, put in a drawer and leave it alone. Give your work at least a couple of days if not weeks to rest and work on other projects in the meantime. Heck, go outside and see the sun once in a while (you know us writers are vitamin D deficient).

After a few days or a few weeks whatever you can manage, although longer is better, take your work out. The distance that you have given yourself and your writing will now do several things for you:

  • You will no longer be wrapped in the euphoria of finishing your project. As such, you will be able to remove your rose-colored glasses and look at your work for what it is: beautiful, but in serious need of some editing.
  • Due to the above, you will also be more willing to do what needs to be done, even if this means cutting out whole sections or chapters of your work.
  • You will gain a new and fresh perspective. I’m sure many of you college students out there know the feeling of turning in a paper, believing it to be 100% free of errors only to have it returned to you with red marks and think to yourself, “How did I miss that?” Do you know that when we read the same thing over and over, our brain will automatically fill in the gaps because it knows where we are going? That is why students often miss entire words in their essays, because their brain automatically assumes the words are there. By placing distance between your work and yourself, you give your brain a chance to restart and give your eyes a fresh chance to look at your material (making it easier to spot mistakes).

Try for yourself guys and let me know how it goes! Once you do finish a project and utilize the power of distance I encourage you to NOT EDIT, but rather, to Rewrite Instead.

Happy Writing Everyone!

 

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by Home Responsibilities

As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

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

Home Responsibilities = Setting Priorities

Brown Shell Egg and Silver Hand Whisk

Are you a parent? Trying to juggle cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids, working, and writing? Are you a college student? Trying to do homework, feed yourself, find a job, tidy up that dorm room (once a semester)? Whoever you are, it is probable that you have more than just one responsibility. The average human does not only work a job, but they maintain some sort of living area (whether that is a dorm, an apartment, or a house.) Many people have children, or siblings, or dorm mates that expect certain things like food and cleanliness. Whatever the reason, there will always be different home responsibilities pulling on your time and reducing your ability to write.

Time to make some priorities:

  • Now, if you are a parent, your children will always come first (and in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that). However, even as a parent, you still have some room to prioritize.
  • Make a list of all the things you need done in that week (or even over the course of three days). This list will usually include: cooking, surface cleaning, laundry, work, dishes, showers or bath time, etc.
  • Schedule out these priorities and while you’re at it, add in writing. For example, you could schedule a weekend like this:
    • Friday – Focus on the Family Night with Dinner, Dishes, and Games
    • Saturday – Wake up Early before kids to Write, do laundry throughout the day, put in a load of laundry, be with the kids
    • Sunday – Wake up before kids to write, Church, set aside time to shower and bathe the kids, finish hanging laundry, prep for Monday’s lunches

Overall, the best way to work around multiple responsibilities is to intentionally prioritize and schedule what it is you want done and when you want it accomplished.

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.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by a Lack of Creativity

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The five primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear*** (Added later due to comments on original post)

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.

Lack of Creativity = Finding Inspiration

Image result for empty well

Are you feeling all dried up? Your metaphorical well of creativity is empty with only sand at the bottom and walls that echo and mock your best efforts? What you need is a high dose of inspiration! Luckily, inspiration can be found in a myriad of places.

  • The best place for an author to find inspiration is in reading. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand, especially when an author is feeling low on personal creativity. Go reread that series that first inspired you to write. Find something that you aspire to.
  • If reading isn’t doing it for you, I suggest looking at Fan Art. Now, I know some of you are probably shaking your heads and thinking about clicking elsewhere, but hear me out. Fan Art is some of the highest praise out there. People love a series so much that they take hours to create art celebrating that series. Whenever I look at fan art, it motivates me to write something that someone will consider worthy of fan art.
  • Still can’t write? Start writing down in a journal what happened to you this week. Yes, I know this can be a bit tedious, but take some time to write down the most interesting thing or whatever you can remember. This will get you writing (even if it’s not very good). Then try to turn that writing into a minimalist poem with only a few words per line and no complete sentences. This exercise will at least help get your brain back into writing mode.

Writing is not always easy, and tapping into a truly creative vein can be as difficult as producing diamonds, but the effort is always worth it.

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.

Writing Tips

When Writer’s Block is Caused by a Lack of Time

As noted in the introductory blog, “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. The six primary reasons include:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities
  • ***Fear*** (I am adding this in response to the comments I received on the original post)

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.

Lack of Time = Intentional Scheduling

clock, hours, minutes

If your writing is suffering from a lack of Time issue then the issue might actually be your scheduling.

There are indeed few people with airtight schedules that hold no wriggle room; however, the majority of us are a bit more flexible. There are various ways that we can adjust our schedules to allow at least 15 minutes of writing time a day.

  • For instance, wake up 15 minutes early or go to bed 15 minutes late. Use that time to write every single day.
  • Don’t want to miss out on sleep? Do you watch TV? Perhaps it’s time to cut out a show, or record it and watch it later that way you can cut out the commercials and use that extra 15 minutes to write.
  • Have a facebook, an instagram, a WordPress, a Twitter, AND other social media sites? Limit your time on them! Yes, they are great and resourceful, but if you are spending hours online with “no time to write,” then something has got to change.

I’ll be honest. I have used the excuse “I don’t have the time” to really mean “I didn’t make the time.” Don’t do that, but instead intentionally schedule writing periods for every day. This will not only give you time to write, but if you do it at the same time every day, it will also help you form a habit.

Happy Writing Everyone!

How to you plan to adjust your schedule to include more writing time?

©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.