My Guest Blog | Hero with a Rebel Cause

Today I am guest-blogging...

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to guest post, by the talented and lovely Erin Cawood, on the topic of Heroes.

My heroes are very close to my heart so this was a topic I was excited to guest post on.

“The hero of my stories is usually an underdog. My heroes are rough-hewn and rough around the edges. They have a rebellious streak and love bucking the system. They usually do not know they are a hero until push comes to shove and they are thrown into the white hot fires of adversity, conflict and tension. Even though they are underdogs, they are no cowards. They also don’t have the bounties of life offered to them on a silver platter. They have had to fight for recognition and achievement every step of the way. They succeed through honour, integrity, loyalty and above all perseverance. They believe that if you do not stand for something or stand up for someone in life, you will fall for anything.

….

“My heroes and heroines don’t fit the mould of everyday society. They don’t follow the rules. They fight for their own place in society and they make their own rules. They are rebels with a good cause and they will do whatever is needed to fight for that cause whether it be rescuing someone or standing up for what they believe in. You will want my heroes and heroines on your side because believe me they are better friends than enemies. You might say my heroes and heroines are heroic rebels. … read more on the post here 

What qualities make up your heroes and heroines?

Write from the Heart | Write your Story

Heart

Two things have really struck me over the last few weeks and I felt I needed to blog about them. Both lead into the same subject but from different angles. The subject that has been niggling at my conscience: (Warning: this will be a long post.)

Write from the Heart

For the past 6 weeks I have been working on the final edits of my current WIP. Let me tell you…when I say “working” I mean just that. Anyone who says that writing a novel is difficult has obviously never got to the editing stage. For me first drafts are simple. The words, plot and characters flow out onto the page like opening a tap. Why is writing a first draft simple for me? I am a pants-plotter. I am not 100% a pantser nor am I 100% a plotter. I like some form of an outline but I it is just strong enough to light the next 500 words of each scene. But I am a night owl. Which means that I don’t write by day….In a way you could say that I drive at night if my driving is my novel, my headlights are my plot and my time of day is ruled by the light of the moon. I write like a driver who takes a journey at night. I can see just far enough ahead to know I am not going to crash into anything but there is still enough darkness and mystery that I can still be surprised by what turns the journey can take me on. 

I would say that I plot 30% and free-form write about 70%. For me the story has to be written as it comes to me. If I plot too much I tend to lose that emotion that fuels my writing. I plot myself out of the story if I think too much. So, yes, viscerally it is vital that I write that first draft from the heart. I don’t subscribe to writer’s block. I think you write the story as it comes to you. But I do think you can out-think yourself out of the story and ultimately out of the writing which would in turn lead to a brick wall: the notorious writer’s block.

“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it is like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

There are so many writer’s books, writer’s classes and workshops out there both online and in real-time. The information network through these channels as well as social networking can be wonderful but adversely can also be really overwhelming. Information is freedom. Or is it? Can too much information be overwhelming? Like the wise people say, too much of a good thing can be overkill. Yes, sign up for writer’s classes, attend conferences, read craft books and network with other writers and mentors…but when push comes to shove, you have to stop the information overload long enough to shut out the world, open the heart and start writing. To be a writer you have to write. To be a novelist or short story author, you need to finish a novel to a short story. Nobody said it would be easy. In fact, I guarantee you that most people love the dream but fear the reality of being a writer. But you knew this when you decided to write. You have to write because otherwise this story and these characters will not let you rest: they haunt your every hour, day and night. Yes, you must write. So the birth of a first draft starts. 

First draft is just that. Your work is not done when you have got to those magic words “The End” of your first draft. Pat yourself on the back for finishing that story or that novel. Unfortunately though, now the real labour pains of the birthing process start. Writing the first draft was just your pregnancy. It may not have been the smoothest pregnancy and you may have had morning sickness but overall you know your “baby” is growing, changing and getting ready for entry into the real world. Your first draft is just like pregnancy in that it is really something intimate and the writing is for you. It is your chance to get to know this story. It is something that nobody else can do for you. Your real work has not even started until the “9 months” is up and your water breaks. Writing “The End” on your first draft is that water breaking. 

But the real guts and glory are in the labour pains of birth. Writing is not easy but editing is painful. Editing a first draft should not be easy. It should be pain-staking, heart-wrenching and pure “work”. 

If writing is sitting down and opening a vein…Editing is sitting down and cutting the vein.

I always thought that if you write from your heart, you must edit from your brain. In theory this is accurate. But can you out-think your first emotions from your first draft? Can you over-analyze to the point of killing the heart in your story? 

I have realised that unfortunately you can over-analyze a story. I talk from very fresh experience. Funnily enough, I am usually my own worst enemy when it comes to critiquing my own work. However it is also true that like all writers, I can also miss certain elements that need to be corrected in my own work. This is when writing partners and beta readers come into play. If you have good writing partners, they are honest and forthright with you at all times. They are your headlights in the editing journey. But say now you get through that first and second edits (your second draft) with your mental health intact and your manuscript looking better for the cosmetic surgery…What now? 

After both you and your writing partners are satisfied you have done all you can to edit your story, you start submitting and pitching it. If you are lucky enough to get an agent or editor to love your first pitch and they request a partial or a full manuscript, you have to put your hard hat on again and enter the final edits. Of course I am not even mentioning the edits that take place after a manuscript has been accepted by a publisher. No, I am just talking about the edits that may be required of you by the agent or editor in the initial request. 

How far do you take those comments on your manuscript? Do you do a complete edit and rewrite again? Do you tweak only a little using both your intuition for the story and the advice you have been given by agent/editor? When does too much change become overkill for your story and your characters? 

From very fresh personal experience, I can tell you that you can over-analyze your story into overkill. You can also change and rewrite your story so many times that after a while you wake up one morning, look down at the screen or the page and wonder who wrote this story? Too much editing and following too many pieces of advice, no matter how well intentioned, can cause you to fall out of love with your own story. You become an amnesiac and the story that you first wrote has disappeared into the ether of too much editing. If you get to this point, you must stop! If you try to push through determined to follow advice and to get that manuscript just perfect, you will start to feel like you are taking dictation and not creating. You become a secretary and stop being a creative writer.

If the advice you are getting is making you change your story to the degree that you are hating your own story and wanting to put off working on it, you must stop! You need to stop and recognise that your cosmetic surgery is becoming ugly and morphing your story into something unrecognisable. If you have fallen out of love with your story because of over-editing, that lack of emotion will come through and stain the story for any readers. 

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ~ Robert Frost

There comes a point where you have to follow the initial stirrings of your heart. At the end of the day you are the writer and this is YOUR story. These characters came to YOU. The story’s idea may not be original in that isn’t every romance like any other or a thriller just a thriller. What is unique and what is special to your story is YOU and YOUR heart/ YOUR emotion. Great emotion that is tenderly written into the spaces between the words is what makes a story a great story. 

Ultimately advice is just that: advice. You choose what information to use and what to throw away. Ultimately YOUR story has to be YOUR story. You have to write from YOUR heart and you have to write YOUR story that you feel. Let that emotion come through and your story will be the better story for it. So yes: write the first draft with your heart, edit the second draft with your brain but the final checks need to be with your heart and your emotion. Be true to that initial emotion and that initial excitement when you first met your characters and heard their story. If you are true to your story and your characters, the story will be true for your readers. Essays come from the brain but stories come from the heart.

Write from the Heart .

Write Your Story.

Edit with your brain but let your heart be the final check.

Editors and agents are not writers. They are salesmen who help you polish up your story, promote it and market it to sell it. Don’t ever forget YOU are the Writer. It is YOUR story. If you feel strongly enough about keeping something in your story, then you MUST be true to that. It is called instinct. It is called creative license. It is: You writing Your story. Be true to it! Be true to you!

“There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.” ~ Arnold Bennett

Have you ever over-edited the heart out of your story? Or have you ever been told to remove something / change something vital from your story? What did you do in the end? 

Middle Book Blues Magic | Leigh K Hunt

Today I have the pleasure of Leigh K Hunt guest posting. She comes with a wand of magic dust that she is going to use to blow magic back into your manuscript.

We all have those times in a manuscript when we hit a crossroads. We may have been excited by the beginning and can’t wait to write the climax but then there is that pesky middle that we have to get through. We know we have to get through it, there is no other way to the climax. We may read over what we have written and just think it is rubbish because it is not moving fast enough.

Slowly a whirlpool starts pooling at out fingertips and we feel ourselves sucked into a vortex that threatens to overwhelm us. Leigh calls this the Middle Book Blues. Our fight or flight response kicks in. Do we give up or do we forge ahead, sword waving. So if you are at this point, Leigh is going to tell you how to fight back and refuse to give in or give up. She is going to give you some tips, from her own experience, on how to blow magic back into your manuscript.

 

Blowing a little MAGIC back into your Manuscript

 

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago – if I hit the middle of the book with nowhere to go, I would stop writing, shove that blasted manuscript in my drawer, and walk away from it forever. I would give up on it… Somehow, I could always justify it to myself. “It’s just wasn’t worth the angst,” I would say. Then I would start on the next book that I had been dreaming up. 

It wasn’t until I had done this to three or four different novels that I realised something incredibly significant to me. It wasn’t writer’s block that I was suffering from. It was the Middle Book Blues. 

You see… Writing the middle of the book wasn’t like writing the rest of it. It wasn’t all shiny and new like the start. I was no longer developing and getting to know my characters. I wasn’t setting the scene and spending loads of time really discovering what was going on. I wasn’t setting out on a new journey. There was no longer any of that excitement. 

It’s not the end of the novel either, where you are tying up all the loose ends, everything is exciting, and you feel as though you are on a rollercoaster ride of writing adrenaline. 

Nope. The middle of the book just wasn’t exciting. I felt starved of action. And in feeling starved, I lost all motivation to bother finishing it. There was just something that stopping me connecting with the book, the characters, or the storyline.  

I figured it out. 

My characters were too happy! Yes, they were just living their lives… happily! That is boring. There are no happy middles in good books. Happy characters and happy scenes make for some pretty boring writing and reading. And the only way I discovered that, was by actually being there. Then I would throw my manuscripts into my dusty literary drawer. 

So, how do you get yourself out of the Middle Book Blues? Well. It’s simple.

  • Create mass destruction of your character’s lives. I am not kidding.

There is nothing quite like throwing horrific events at your character and watching them work their way out of it. When this happens, there is a huge emotional pay off for your book, your characters, the situation – but most of all – for you as the writer.

In the planning stages of the book, or at least when you get to know your character a little.

  • Write down five things that would be devastate your character, and make them happen.

It doesn’t have to be horrific. Not all of us write like that. An example would be if your character is a materialistic millionaire, then taking all of their money way would force some sort of drama, action, and change to that character. 

Suddenly, the middle of the book becomes exciting again, and more importantly – it’s exciting to write. You learn more and more about the boundaries of your character, and your readers become more emotionally invested in your character’s plight. This in turn creates action, reaction, and commitment. 

Writing your way out of the Middle Book Blues with action will turn your novel into a well-paced and riveting read. Before you know it, you’re wrapping it up, and ending it. 

Remember this: There is no happiness in the middle. The only way out of the Middle Book Blues, is to write your way out. If you find yourself floundering… ask yourself,

‘What is the worst thing that I can do to my character?’ And do it. 

Leigh K Hunt can be found online at:

Her Author’s website 

Her Writing Blog 

The Writer’s Achilles’ Heel | Part 1

The Achilles Heel
Image by texmex5 via Flickr

There are two words that strike fear and tension into a writer’s mind:

Synopsis

Query

But if you want to be published, these are two steps that you will need to take to walk through the gateway of publishing. 

Why do these seemingly simple processes strike such fear into most writers?

It is time to take the arrow from Achilles’ Heel and use it to point you in the direction of Success.

After all haven’t you already achieved something incredible by creating a plot, writing a story and finishing a manuscript. Why then should these words stop so many writers in their tracks? Why are these two steps sometimes the ultimate Achilles’ Heel in a writer’s path to publishing success?

There are so many different “standardized” versions of a synopsis and a query. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that these two words can turn a confident creative into an unsure person filled with doubts. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a definitive list of rules of writing a good synopsis and thereby insuring an effective query. 

Most writers will try to put the SYNOPSIS off as long as possible until eventually we get that magic call/email that our manuscript has been found interesting enough to submit it. The excitement is soon paled by the looming terror of having to sit down and write a synopsis.

Perhaps as writers we are looking at this process back to front. Perhaps instead of leaving the synopsis to the end of the manuscript completion, we need to start compiling the synopsis during the writing process or even before we even start writing the story.

This is what I do. I start writing the synopsis while I am writing the first half of my first draft. For me a synopsis is not just a summarized version of the story that I am creating but it is a map that I am using to help plot my journey to my final destination: the climax and resolution of the story. 

There are no fail-proof methods to attack a synopsis, but here are some points that help me create a synopsis.

Every story I write or read starts with a character. Whether this be the Antagonist or the Protagonist, a story cannot happen without the main characters. You cannot stage a play without the principal actors. Once the main character is introduced, the story can begin. Everything else is just back-story that helps set a scene for the character to step into. Every protagonist needs an antagonist. This creates the CONFLICT which leads to the CLIMAX. The antagonist is usually the spark that sets the whole story alight. He/She is the reason that the Protagonist needs to ACT.

  • Think: Climax | Resolution | Beginning


This is the ultimate breakdown of your story. These are the most important points in your story, no matter what genre you write. Funnily enough, when I first get a story idea, what comes to me first is the crisis point then the what ifs start happening. That’s when I dig some more to get the beginning of the incident/story. Everything else in the plot arc of a story is just padding of these three plot points.

  • Voice & POV (Point of View)         

Who is telling this story? Are you, the writer, narrating it? Is your Protagonist telling the story? Is your Antagonist telling the story? Or is there a secondary character telling the story? These are the questions you need to think of to hear the VOICE of the story. The POV and the Voice gives the story and the characters life. Depending on which POV (who is telling the story?) you choose, the Voice will change. Like chinese whispers, each different person never tells the same story. The core elements may remain similar but the story is guided by who tells it.

  • The Story Arc | Conflict

This is your check list to make sure your story makes sense. Fiction must make sense. Truth can bend the rules of sense vs nonsense but fiction needs to be believable. Your story needs to have a timeline that works smoothly and each step in the journey needs to lead both the writer and the reader into the next step.

Once I have these four points worked out, I can write my story’s synopsis. Sometimes if I find that I am not sure of my character’s pathway to this story or their motivation, I will also use these four points to write a character synopsis. The synopsis does not need to be difficult nor does it need to be put off until the last unavoidable minute before you have to scratch one together in a wild panic. I also find that when I write a synopsis at the beginning of my first draft, it keeps me from hitting a block or stumbling point. Like a map, it gives me a clear path to my final destination. There may still end up being unexpected roadblocks but with just a few minutes looking back at my road map (SYNOPSIS) I am back on track.

If your story’s synopsis has become your Achilles’ Heel, try simplifying it for yourself. Even if you find you struggle with road blocks in your story, this way may just help you past them. By targeting these four points you may just find that writing a synopsis can in fact be a key to the difference between a good story and a great story. Don’t complicate things for yourself by over-analyzing the synopsis. You already have enough to do with writing and finishing the story as well as submitting it for acceptance or rejection.

Part 2 – Query will be posted on Friday so look out for that.

Coming up on Thursday, there is a guest post on a very common writing road block: Middle Book Blues.

My visit to Rachna’s Scriptorium

Interview

A couple of weeks ago my good friend and one of my writing partners, Rachna Chhabria, asked if she could interview me on her lovely blog: Rachna’s Scriptorium. Rachna and I became friends through an online writers group called Scribblerati that we both belong to. Very soon we were Facebook friends and this year we became writing partners.

For those who follow my creativity blog, Dragonfly Scrolls, you will be aware that I am usually the one asking questions in the interviews. Asking the questions is the easy part. Rachna turned the tables on me this week and put me in the “answer” chair.

The interview will be posted in 2 parts. In this first part, posted today, Rachna asks me about my writing process and the NZ publishing scene. My thanks to Rachna for a lovely interview. If you have not visited her Scriptorium before, bookmark her blog because one visit will soon turn you into a fan.

Part 1 – My visit to Rachna’s Scriptorium.

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Time Saving Steps for your WIP

Hourglass

This evening, I received one of my daily emails called: Thought for Today. This is an email sent by the Oprah website and which I get every day. It has a mesh of little tidbits of advice, ranging from physical to mental tips, along with a daily quotation. I have realised that today’s one could be reworked and adapted to a writing-focused tips post. The original post, 4 Time-Saving tips to Start your day, is from a series called: How to have more productive mornings.

So this is my adaptation to – 4 Time Saving Steps for your W(ork)I(n)P(rogess)

  1. Work before Networking/Marketing
  2. Get Publishing focused
  3. Prep your Manuscript
  4. Buddy up with Writing Partners

Work before Networking/Marketing

Your actual writing and editing must come before everything else. Anything else is procrastination. This means that updating your Facebook/twitter is procrastination. This also includes chatting in your numerous online writer groups. Yes – this is harsh – but if you are not going to hold yourself accountable to being a producing writer, who else is going to?

Get Publishing Focused

Work out a progression plan for your writing. Even if you are only writing part-time, you still need to have a progression plan for the future. Work out your goals. You can break them up into small goal increments, I am not talking a 10 year plan here. But write from where you are right now to where you want to be in 3 months time, then where you want to go from there in another 3 months ect. The most important part of this plan is to Write It Down. A plan that is written down has far more chance of success than one that is just spoken aloud. Then once you have written down your plan of attack, print three copies. Tack one to an area that you will see at most times while working. Then give one copy to your writing partner and another copy to a non-writer who is very close to you: this may be a best friend, a spouse, a sibling, a child. That way you know that they have your goals and can hold and will hold you accountable to accomplishing them.

Prep your Manuscript

Do all the prepping you need before you start writing. Whether this be research, lucky charms, muses aligned, negative thoughts released; do it all before you start writing. That way you will not need to procrastinate by suddenly remembering you forgot a key element of research and then get sucked into the vortex of browsing in your local library or online. If you are like me, this could save you hours.

Prepping your manuscript also includes a backup plan. If you don’t know what I am talking about here, take notes and follow instructions post-haste. There is no point in getting all this lovely writing done and then losing it all because of a computer glitch or a finger-error. This is where you need to take Backing up into your prepping list. Dropbox comes in very handy for this part of prepping. In Dropbox you can create an account then backup your writing files to this online account that then syncs to all your systems: laptop/desktop/phone/pda/iPod. It is also worthwhile investing in a portable hard-drive at this point where you can also store and backup your writing.

Buddy up with Writing Partners

Whether you are writing part-time or full-time, it is vital that you have a writing buddy/partner. This person is there to hold you accountable, to be harsh with you when you need it, to be encouraging when self-doubt wants you to butcher your WIP, to give you a second pair of trusted eyes on your WIP and to word war with. So if you don’t already have a writing partner/buddy, get one and fast! These gems of critters will save your butt countless times from throwing yourself out the window or throwing yourself into a vortex of procrastination.

You may be asking what the prerequisites are for a writing partner/buddy. First, they must be willing to be one. Second, think of them like a sponsor in procrastinators’ anonymous. Third, they must be a writer. This is for your own safety. A non-writer may want to commit you to a therapist’s couch after the first week. Fourth, you must trust them implicitly and vice versa. Fifth, you must ensure they realise their role is not a cheer-leader. At times you are going to need, you will not want it but you will need it, them to be brutally honest with you. They need to be comfortable with that and you need to comfortable enough with them to accept that honesty. Do not fear if your writing partner lives in a different city, country or continent. I use Skype with my writing partners and find it works tremendously. You can also have more than one writing partner/buddy. In fact sometimes it is even better to have a couple or so. The more people to kick your butt into writing gear, the better!

So now: Go forth!

Write.

B(utt) I(n) C(hair)

Kim

Why Blog?

Blogging Readiness

Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

I am often asked two questions:

  • Why do I blog?
  • How and where do I find the inspiration for my blog posts?

A year ago I would have answered that I blog because I want to build a network and get my name out there on the world wide web. It was a way to build a readership and to connect with potential readers. It seemed to be the thing to do as a new writer. It was what more experienced writers advised me to do.

Six months ago I would have answered that it was to connect with other writers and other bloggers. Share and learn in experiences.

Now my answer is still both of the above but I also blog for my own benefit now. Yes I blog to connect with readers. Yes I blog to connect with other writers and bloggers. But more than ever I find that I am blogging for myself.  As for the inspiration part of the question: I blog about the topics closest to my own writing, being either quandaries or difficulties I am facing and moments of epiphanies.

When I blog, it is like first having a conversation with myself trying to work things out and then I invite in others to the conversation and hear their points of view. I also blog to create inspiration for myself. We all have those moments and those days when for whatever reason, we battle to drag ourselves to the computer to finish that next scene or untangle a plot element. Sometimes we just need a break from the current WIP. That is when I blog. Blogging still means I am writing. It is a way of “getting back on that horse” inspirationally and creatively speaking. The most important part of committing to writing is doing the actual writing: inspiration can be a fickle mistress and can come and go as the wind direction changes. It is in these times of inspirational lows that I like to blog. It keeps the thoughts churning and strangely enough blogging usually unlocks a hidden kernel of inspiration which leads me hand in hand back to my WIP.

Of course it could be argued that there are other forms of writing like journalling. I still journal. I also write Morning Pages, inspired by Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way. But because blogging is in a public arena, one si held to a higher standard of writing. So blogging can be a teacher for your other forms of writing.

Blogging is also a reward system in of itself. When you write a post that connects in some way with at least one person and they are kind enough to comment, there is an automatic uplifting encouragement for the Blogger. One favour: If you do read a blog post that you connect with, comment on it. Let the blogger in question know that their post made you think or feel or just made you smile. It is also a great way to build online friendships and connections with like-minded individuals.

Blogging can also be a challenge tool. You can challenge your own beliefs, practices or thoughts by posting about different topics. Don’t limit yourself to just one rule of topic. Expand your horizons. Do research by reading other blogs. You may be surprised by what you learn from other bloggers and what you may be able to share and thus teach someone else. I have found the most useful resources through reading someone else’s blog. Blogging can be great research.

Words are powerful tools. They can be wielded for both good and bad. When we publicise our thoughts and share our experiences we cannot but help to touch another person either through informing them, inspiring them or finding points of empathy. It is up to us how we choose to wield this powerful tool. These are the questions we should be asking ourselves before we voice our thoughts whether it be in blogging or whether be in our own works…

  • Will we turn it into a positive or a negative?
  • Will we use our words to inform or hide?
  • Will we use our words to entertain or insulate?
  • Will we use our words to inspire or alienate?
  • Will we use our words to create or destroy?

So why do you blog? If you don’t, why do you read/follow blogs?

Blog responsibly knowing that what you write will be read and remarked on by other writers and readers. Be honest but remember to stand by what you blog. Even if it feels like nobody is reading your posts, people are. It is in the eye of the public. Your posts will be judged. But learn from each post, each comment whether the commentator agrees or disagrees. Reply to your comments and do the courteous thing by linking back to others’ posts. In this way you become  part of building a community.

Now: I blog for myself as well as connecting with readers and writers. I blog to understand my own thought processes when they have entangled me in a web of chaos. I blog to create inspiration for myself when inspiration seems veiled in the fogs of moods and emotions. I blog to inform and entertain. I blog to learn and share about the craft of writing. I blog to share my epiphanies and my Eureka moments. There is one rule I follow through on every time and that is to be transparent in honesty and truth. For me, a writer without truth is a fraud and a con-artist. For me words are art. Art is about finding the truth in life. Art is about creating simplicity from the complexity that is Life. For me, to be  a writer is to be a seeker of truth.

What is writing for you? Why do you write at all?

The better question is: Why not?

Kim

Goldilocks and the perfect Desk

Nest |nest|

Noun 1 a structure or place made or chosen by a bird for laying eggs and sheltering its young.• a place where an animal or insect breeds or shelters : an ants’ nest.• a person’s snug or secluded retreat or shelter.• a bowl-shaped object likened to a bird’s nest : arrange in nests of lettuce leaves.• .2 a set of similar objects of graduated sizes, made so that each smaller one fits into the next in size for storage : a nest of tables.

Verb [ intrans. ] (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest : the owls often nest in barns | [as adj. ] ( nesting) do not disturb nesting birds.

DERIVATIVES  nestful |-ˌfoŏl| |ˈnɛs(t)ˈfʊl| noun ( pl. -fuls).nestlike |-ˌlīk| |ˈnɛs(t)ˈlaɪk| adjectiveORIGIN Old English nest, of Germanic origin; related to Latin nidus, from the Indo-European bases of nether (meaning [down] ) and sit .

Nesting is a vital part of both a bird’s, a mother’s and a writer’s life. Nesting is the signal that there is going to be an act of creation. To foster that creation or creativity, birds, mothers and writers all need to be very comfortable in their personal space. There are very vital ingredients that are needed to create the perfect nest. Birds need just the right twigs and grass, mothers need a nursery and baby clothes, writers need a desk and a chair.

I run a weekly interview called Warrior Wednesdays on my Dragonfly Scrolls blog where I talk to writers about their writing. One of the questions I ask all the writers is to describe their writing space for me. Every writer is different. As one would expect. But the one thing that unifies us all is that we all have that very private, personal writing space where we do our own form of nesting. Just like birds have eggs, mothers have babies….writers also create and give birth. Our eggs, our babies are our stories.

Why is a writing space, let me call it a Writer’s nest so important to the creative process? There are the obvious reasons:

  • We need a place to keep all our many books so that they don’t become trip hazards for others.
  • We need a place to hide our secret hoard of stationery – notebooks, journals, sticky notes, pens, highlighters.

But most of all:

  • We need a place that is just our own personal writing space.
  • We need a place that has a door that closes the rest of the world out so that we can focus on the noise from the character chatter in our heads alternating with the “writing” playlists blasting out of our iPods.
  • We need a place where we can hold conversations (behind closed doors) with our muses and our characters.
  • We need a place where we can cry with tears of joy and frustration, bite our nails as we wait to hear the all important news someone loves our book, be entirely one with the weirdness of being a writer without people thinking we are weird.

For me, it is nesting time again. My 5 essential ingredients to making my nest super-comfortable and cozy:

  • My Macbook.
  • My favourite pen: (Oh I have the secret stash of many pens but this one is special.) I was given it for a 21st birthday gift and was told by the giver that this would be the pen that would help me write my stories. It is a 18ct gold Parker ball point with black ink. It has not let me down yet. When I am battling with a story or a character, I pull out this pen and something magical happens…suddenly I come unstuck.)
  • My notebooks: I have an ideas notebook and a WIP notebook. At the start of every WIP, I buy myself a new set of moleskine notebooks. (If I am honest, I will confess to having many beautiful notebooks that I buy, other than my Moleskine, just because I am a notebook/journal junkie.)
  • My chair:  Ah, I love my chair. It is a black leather swivel/rocking chair that is ergonomically designed to fit your spine’s natural sitting posture. I love the ergonomic stuff but the swivel/rocking is what sold me on this one. This chair is priceless to me.
  • A desk: For years, this has changed and been upgraded depending on how much space I had for my writing space. But for years the desk has just been a desk. Nothing special. You see I had not found the one I wanted. I knew what I wanted, searched for it for years but this object remained elusive. I saw ones like the one I wanted but they were always not quite the right size, the right wood grain or way out of my price range.

No matter how lovely the rest of my writing space looked, there was always something missing. Nobody else would have seen anything wrong but I always knew. So I kept on looking and kept on dreaming about my perfect desk. The desk that would make my writing space sing in perfect harmony. I have been Goldilocks. The perfect desk kept on eluding me. Until today. Today I found my perfect desk and amazingly it was in my budget. This one is the perfect size. It is the perfect wood grain. In a few short days when it gets delivered, it will finally be mine. So to bring on ahs and oohs from all my writer friends, who I know totally get the point of this post, I am posting two pictures of my new desk – the one I have been dreaming of for so many years.

Ta-Da!!

mynewdesk2mynewdesk1 

Solid white oak with a dark veneer.

Unlike so much of modern furniture, this is a custom-made piece with dovetailed joinery and not a piece that is glued and nailed.

Isn’t it just gorgeous? This is the desk I have been dreaming of.              

The dream was worth waiting for.

Next week I will be posting pictures of my new writers nest. I am busy moving house and will soon have a cozy writing space of my own again. New season, new house, new writing space and most important just like Goldilocks…finally the perfect desk, the one meant for this writer….all just in time for the creation of the new WIP.

The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him.
Roald Dahl

Now I have THE desk to go to. Some people dream of fast cars, others of big houses but mine was the perfect Oak Rolltop Desk. Each to their own, as the saying goes.

MyWritingDesk

What 5 essential ingredients do you need for your perfect Writer’s nest?

Kim

Lean on me

leaning

Image by acute_tomato via Flickr

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don’t let show

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’d understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
Till I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean on me…

~ Bill Withers | 1972

Writing is the best and worst job. Like any job or calling, writing has its pros and cons:

Pros

  • You are doing something you love.
  • It is not just a job.
  • It nurtures your creativity.
  • Your words may just touch someone, may even change them.
  • You can choose to do this “job” alongside a normal 9-5 job.

Cons

  • It is one of the misunderstood job descriptions – most people put it in the “hobby” category.
  • It is an activity that can insulate you from your loved ones and/or a social life.
  • It can be very lonely.
  • It is a world in your head and your characters are often your only colleagues in this work space.

Over the last year I have “met” many writers online in social networks and different writers’ communities. I have learnt a lot from many of these new friendships. I am very fortunate in that I have a family who stands behind me 100% with any of my writing dreams. I know not all writers or creative people have that fortune. But as much as I love my family and their support it is important to have support from people in the same field as you. This support from fellow writers is especially essential if you are just starting out on the writing road. This is where you can gain critique partners, beta readers or even mentors/coaches through these connections.

It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.  ~Sinclair Lewis

But what happens when these fellow writers, people who know what you do and understand what you do because they are in the same boat, turn on you? What happens when you trust a fellow writer and they attack you rather than bolster you? I am not talking constructive criticism. That is after all what we need our fellow writers for. No. I am talking about writers being unsupportive of you.

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
Somerset Maugham

It is hard enough when your friends and your family don’t support you or maybe don’t “get” your writing and subtly (tongue-in-cheek) point you in another direction. Even if it stings you can write off their disapproval because they don’t write. But when a fellow writer attacks your writing style then it is quite a different story. It stings.

But you have to look at the underlying reasons that a fellow writer may be attacking you. Perhaps they really don’t understand your style of writing because it is different from their’s. Perhaps they are fearful your writing style is actually better than their’s. Perhaps they are nit-picking aspects of your writing to make you doubt yourself or leave your manuscript. Perhaps they have a degree in English Literature and you don’t. Perhaps they are pursuing the Big 6 publishers in NY and you are going the indie route. Do any of these reasons make you less of a writer than they are? No. None of these reasons do.

But this does not stop these sorts of attacks from writers on other writers happening.

A word is not the same with one writer as with another.  One tears it from his guts.  The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.  ~Charles Peguy

That saddens me. After all aren’t we all in the same boat? Aren’t we all chasing the same dream? Did we really start writing purely for publication and competition with other writers? Maybe you did. I cannot talk for every writer. But for the most part, the writers I do know and respect started writing and kept at writing because they love writing. It is something that flows within your veins. Yes you can learn more of the writing craft. You can polish your grammar skills. You can learn all the “publishing” lingo. You can learn more about the publishing industry. But in the end that is all semantics.

To be a writer you need to write. This means you need to follow the path you feel is right for you. I can guarantee you criticism along this path. I can guarantee you judgement. I guarantee that some people are going to hate your writing and others are going to love it. I guarantee you that you will get every piece of advice, solicited and unsolicited, thrown at you from both your writing networks and your social/personal networks. But sometimes you will get asked advice from other writers. Your opinion will be seeked. All I ask you in these times is to be gentle in your wording. Think before you speak. Remember that when a fellow writer trusts you enough to ask you to read/critique their work it is a huge step of trust. They are standing on a fragile precipice at this point.

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

Writing like any other creative pursuit is challenging and difficult enough without suffering the arrows of contention thrown by fellow creatives. As fellow writers we should be each other’s greatest support. At the top of this post I pasted the lyrics to a very well-known song. Keep these lyrics in mind when you are reading/critiquing another’s art, another’s work. It takes courage to write. It takes more courage to keep on writing. It takes even more courage to show someone your writing. Bolster that courage. Be honest but be gentle. Irregardless of whether they are pursuing a different form of publishing than you are, it does not make their endeavours any less worthy. There are more than enough critics in the literary world. There is still room for more support and community.

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” Gloria Steinem 

Most of all, irregardless of the arrows: Keep on Writing. Don’t give up. If this is something you want to do, love to do, need to do: don’t let anyone – in the industry or not – stand in your way. Rejection is par for the course in the creative realm. But courage and persistence is also par for the course. So if you have had bad advice or a bad critique experience, take heed. Take a deep breath. Count to 10. Then continue with the piece you are writing or start something new. But WRITE. At the end of the day everything else is semantics. To be a writer you need to Keep Writing. Write in spite of the arrows of contention. Write because this is your path and nobody can dictate its direction but you.

“You fail only if you stop writing.” Ray Bradbury

Kim

Putting a Poetic Spin on Creativity | Jess Kristie

I am pleased to welcome Jess Kristie to Warrior Wednesdays this week. As promised at the beginning of the Warrior Interview series, I would feature all types of creative individuals in this series. Jess is a published poet. That is her first love. I understand this as poetry is my first love. But Jess is not just a poet, she is a creative writer who is working on a novel. So make yourselves comfortable while I sit down with Jess and discuss Poetry, Creativity and writing.

Welcome Jess.

 

girl with a quill: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Jess Kristie?                                    

Jess: I am many things and depending on the day, I might have a different answer for you.  What I am most proud of is being a mother, a friend, an honest person and a writer. 


girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?
Jess: I have been writing since I was ten, so it seems to have always been there. As far as for a profession, it was only in the last several years that I put my heart and soul into it.

girl with a quill: You identify yourself as a poet in this sentence from your website: “Poetry is my heart, anchors my soul and documents my journey.”. Publishing poetry can be a difficult road. Can you share with us how you got to the point of having a published book of poetry?
Jess: It is definitely a difficult road to say the least.  Poetry feels to be lost in so many that it is notoriously difficult to market.  Publishers tend to not want to go down that road or if they do they only publish a handful of books every year along with their other books. It takes determination and heart to keep going.  I made a conscious decision to make a manuscript and to query it out. I was honored to find a publisher and an audience who is interested in my work.

girl with a quill: Many people in 9-5 jobs have a water-cooler space where they go to talk with their colleagues about work issues. Do you have a “water-cooler” group for your writing life?
Jess: My water-cooler is mainly in my head. If I have an issue I do the research to fix it or find the answer. I am lucky to have had several kind people reach out and give me advice or support. We all need a form of community as struggling artists and there is a lot of support out there, you just have to look for it.

girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?
Jess: Probably more the what than the who. I tend to pull my inspiration from all forms of life and the lifeless. I try to open up so that all things can inspire and therefore influence my words. If we can reach in and find something beyond the surface, then we can also find a uniqueness to every situation, object, or even person.

girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?
Jess: Sometimes music, sometimes silence, but always a window.

girl with a quill: Are you working on any fictional or non-fiction MS at the moment or do you want to remain focused on your poetry? If you are working on fiction, what genre will it be in?
Jess: I feel it is important for all poets to branch out beyond poetry to grow their writing skills and find what other areas they may be good at writing in. I have my first fictional novel in the works that falls primarily into the drama genre. I am developing an idea right now for my second novel as well.

girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the idea / character voice interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?
Jess: When it comes to poetry I spin pretty quickly. If I have an inspiration my pen will just flow. Sometimes it is magic and sometimes it needs some touching up. I believe heavily in revisions and editing but have learned that there is a fine line between editing and picking apart. I have had to learn to let go and just let things be sometimes.

girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the book you have published?
Jess: Dreaming in Darkness is a contemplative collection of poetry that takes you on a journey of passion and anguish, and makes you feel the acceptance and regret that life imposes on us all.  My hope was that every reader would feel the validation of their pain and discover empowerment through understanding.


girl with a quill: Why do you write?
Jess: To heal, forgive and understand.

girl with a quill: How would you describe your poetry in 5 words?
Jess: Raw, honest, heavy and heartfelt.

girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?
Jess: My themes run through the constant dissection of human emotion. I am captivated by not only my feelings and reactions but also those around me.  Writing about these things always brings some greater level of understanding.

girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?
Jess: Definitely the character in another’s book.  My poetry often runs on a darker road and whether it was through another’s eyes or my own, in a sense I have already lived it. It would be nice to take a break into someone else’s imagination for a change.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Jess: That is a tough question because with successful books they both seem to take center stage, if not each developed equally as strong.  This doesn’t mean that one does not take precedence over the other, but each has to play its role powerfully and effectively.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Jess: Maya Angelou, John Stewart, Eminem, Pablo Neruda, and Tom Englund.  This group encompasses the musical, political and poetically artistic genres. They hit hard and are beautifully creative.

girl with a quill: If you could give you yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Jess: Research all of your options, know your market and be prepared for a lot of hard work!

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Jess: Don’t give up, no matter what.

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Jess: That I wrote with honest integrity, and with grace.


girl with a quill: Where can we find your book for sale?
Jess: Dreaming in Darkness is available on Amazon and will be reaching paperback in the next few months. 

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-in-Darkness-ebook/dp/B004UC4V1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301455903&sr=1-1-catcorr

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dreaming-in-Darkness/dp/B004UC4V1I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301499003&sr=1-1

girl with a quill: Finally where can we find on the web?
Answer: 

Website: http://jessicakristie.com/

Twitter: @JessKristie http://twitter.com/jesskristie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JessKristie

 

Introducing Joe Pranaitis

Introducing Joe Pranaitis.

Join me as I sit down with Joe tonight. We discuss how healing can be found through the creative medium. Joe shares with us his passion for Sci-fi, in particular; the influence of Star Trek on his writing. So take a seat, make yourself comfortable, help me in welcoming Joe to the Dragonfly Scrolls studio.

Welcome Joe.

 

girl with a quill: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Joe Pranaitis?
Joe: To begin I’m a writer, an artist, and a theatre manager. I’m also the youngest of two boys. I’ve always felt like an outcast. Then again, growing up in East Chicago Indiana wasn’t the best of times. It got to a point where I wouldn’t go outside at all and so I started drawing. The drawings became my little world, including the ones about war. When my parents divorced; I was thrown into a tail spin and tried to off myself, at age 13, when I started High School. A couple of years later, when I was a Junior; my art teacher gave me a sense of direction by giving me the assignment of creating my own comic book. Needless to say, I’m a fractured human like everyone else but I’ve learned to channel my feelings into my writing and art.

girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?
Joe: I guess I would say that I wanted to be a writer after I heard Star Trek: Final Frontier and could see the pictures that the words described. Then it just took the free time between high school and college to get me going in adapting the comics that I created.

girl with a quill:How long have you been writing for?
Joe: I’ve been writing for about fifteen years now.

girl with a quill: In your bio, you say that you first wrote a comic book. Are you still interested in writing graphic novels?
Joe: Yes I am.

girl with a quill: Many people in 9-5 jobs have a water-cooler space where they go to talk with their colleagues about work issues. Do you have a “water-cooler” group for your writing life?
Joe: Yes. I talk to my boss and one of my ushers whom has begun writing his own book.

girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?
Joe: My greatest influence would be Diane Carey. When I would go on a car trip to Ohio, to visit my brother and his family, we would bring audio novels; one of those would be Star Trek: Final Frontier. I’ve been a big fan of her trek writings since then.

girl with a quill: If your life story were a novel, what genre would it be and what would be the story-arc up to this point?
Joe:  If my life story were a novel I would say that we’re at the mid-point before any big changes really happen. As to what genre, I would say that’s a good question and I really don’t know.

girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?
Joe: Where I write is at my computer next to my bed. I put toys, pictures of family and models of starships around as well as having my book cases full of books and dvds.

girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the story’s idea / character voice interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?
Joe: When I sit down for a writing session; I put on some music and read a little of what I wrote before and then let the story flow through my fingers to the key board.

girl with a quill: Are you a plotter,or a pantster, or a little of both?
Joe: I would say a little of both because sometimes I do stumble onto a plot point where I know I need to think things out before putting them on the page.

girl with a quill: You write mainly science fiction. What drew you to this genre?
Joe: What drew me to sci-fi was that my parents were into it while I was growing up. I can’t count how many times I’ve watched the original Star Wars and Star Trek: The motion Picture.

girl with a quill: Which Sci-fi authors have influenced you?
Joe: Besides Diane Carey, I would say that the other authors that have influenced me are Keven Anderson, Vonda N. McIntire, Karen Traviss.

girl with a quill: If you could try your pen at another genre, which genre would you choose?
Joe: Adventure.

girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the books you have published?
Joe: Sure, the first two volumes in the series Infinite Possibilities: Chronicles take place in the 29th century. They follow the voyages of the starship Lionheart from the moment that she leaves dry dock and is struck by a space probe from another Earth on the other side of the Galaxy to a number of parallel universes. This leads to it becoming the fleet flagship and dealing with civil wars among the Pirate republic and their own colonies. Now here is a little hint: the second story within Volume one is the leap off point that I used to continue the story of Horizon station and her crew in through three of seven planned books.

girl with a quill: Your first book is part of a trilogy? In writing the trilogy, did you write them as separate stories individually or did you get the idea for the complete trilogy and then divide the story ideas into 3 books?
Joe: No, the first book is not part of a trilogy but the first story within the first volume was before I expanded the story to a now 3000 year story arc that stretches from 65 million years ago to the middle years of the 50
th century. But the original trilogy arced from the Lionheart’s launch to events that, if I were to explain now, would be massive spoilers for the rest of the series since I’ve planned the Chronicles series to go beyond 12 volumes.

girl with a quill: What are your thoughts, if any, on Indie/Small Press publishing vs Traditional Publishing?
Joe: So far I’ve only dealt with Indie/small press publishing so I have no idea how traditional publishes would be since I’ve been turned down by more than 100 agents who don’t have a clue that star trek just landed on their lap.

girl with a quill: What tips would you give aspiring pre-published authors out there to get a foot in the industry door?
Joe: I would say to write and let the story take you to where it ends up. As for getting your foot in the industry door; write a good query letter or letters and send them to both agents and publishers but watch out for publishers that ask for money up front because they will keep asking.

girl with a quill: Are you working on any WIP now? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Joe: Yes I’m working on my 10
th book right now and it is an expanded story that I wrote in 2006 when my original story turned 10. It takes place in a parallel universe to the original series; where we see the coming together of the crew of the Lionheart, from the loss of her first captain, to an all-out war and then to it’s end. It’s the beginning of a new adventure for the ship’s second captain post war to passing the ship down to her first officer leading to the birth of the first officer of the Lionheart-A. It is also the first of a duelogy.

girl with a quill: Why do you write?
Joe: I write because I have a hunger for it. The ideas that I have, I feel I need to write down.

girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?
Joe: Yes. It is basically good vs. evil.

girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?
Joe: If I found a golden lamp with a genie and he told me I could enter another author’s book I would ask to visit Star Trek: Final Frontier. The character that I would choose would be George Kirk, starting from the time that he saw the original Enterprise in dry dock for the first time. Now why I chose that book and character is because at times I feel like I’m there watching the last part of the ship, that I’ve been asked to be a first officer on, being constructed.

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Joe: I would say both since you can’t have a story without a character and vise versa. But I mainly focus on the story line.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Joe: My favourite character that I’ve created is Captain Bontrk because through him we see everything that happens to the Lionheart. We also see what will happen because he knows that eventually his ship will be retired to allow the Lionheart-A to go on her adventures. As to why; I would have to say that it’s because his face is hidden, we never see it but we know that it’s there and it’s reacting like everyone else’s.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Joe: You know I never really thought that I had a favourite character in the literary world; just stories. Right now, my favorite story is the Vatta war series. Even though I’ve only read the first two books, I really enjoyed them.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Joe: Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Ronald Moore, J. Michal Straczynski, and Frank Herbert. As to why; well I’ve always wanted to meet all five of them. I wish that I had met Gene Roddenberry before he passed in ’91.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Joe: They would be Captain Kirk, Ky Vatta, William Adama, Optimus Prime, and Batman. I know quite a cast. When I was growing up; Kirk was always my favourite Captain. As for Ky, because I understand her and know that sometimes doing what we think is right could get us into unknown trouble. Now why William Adama; well, it’s because I felt for him during the four years of BSG and he is a favorite character too. As for Optimus Prime; well, when I was a kid he was my first transformer and in that respect became my childhood hero. Now Batman; well, after losing my parents, both to heart attacks, I now see why he has such a bleak outlook on life even though he is on the side of good.

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?

Joe: Considering that was only two years ago; I would tell myself, that even though I may have to pay for the book to be both published and edited, that it is worth it; and to do a giveaway as soon as I can, as well as look for goodreads.com

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Joe: That’s hard because the future is always changing. I would say that I took the right path by getting the first two published and that my first two publishers are always a backup if I really want to get a story out.

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Joe: As for my legacy; I just want people to enjoy my books and to continue to enjoy them and discover them as time goes on.

girl with a quill: Where can we find your books for sale?
Joe: My books can be found on Amazon.com, Barns & Noble.com (BN.com) and the publisher’s websites

girl with a quill: Finally, where can we find on the web?
Joe: I can be found on Facebook, MySpace, trekspace, goodreads.com, twitter under joepranaitis.

Journaling my Adventures in Full Time Writing

This is my Blogging journal where I will be journalling down the adventures and experiences I have in the world of Full Time Writing.

Many of you will already be following my blogging on Dragonfly Scrolls. Not to worry I will still be blogging from the Dragonfly Scrolls studio but I will be doing mainly my popular Warrior Wednesdays Interviews as well as reviews and other writing related blogging news.

This blog will be where the blogging about writing will move to.

After 16 years of working in a day job and doing my writing after hours which meant that I worked two full-time jobs – the EDJ (Evil Day Job) and Writing – I have now decided to get serious with my writing and put my money (and all my bills and other living expenses) where my mouth is and go Full Time Writing.

So as of Friday, 13th May 2011, I have now become self-employed as a Full Time Writer. This means that I will now be committing most of my time to writing for publication, whether this be Poetry, Short Stories, Flash Fiction or the Holy Grail of being a published Fiction Novelist.

So join me in my journey with my pen as I share my adventures and experiences as a full-time writer. There will be comedy. There will be drama. There might even be some spooky signs along the route. But above it all, there will be writing and all things writing-related. So if you are writing full-time, dream of writing full-time or just curious about us strange and wonderful people who decide to throw all caution to the wind to write full time…then join me on my journey here.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.               – JK Rowling 

___________________________________

Aside – Spooky Signs from the Universe

“Perhaps you know this, but, if not, it will be my gift for you to take with you into this new life.

In many traditions, Jewish, Muslim, Native American to name a few, 13 is the number of transformation and healing. Exactly what you are doing. Native Americans believe the dragonfly leads the swan into the dream. The swan is a transformer. It begins life black and molts into a lovely white creature. As you learn to be a fulltime writer, you will heal parts of you that felt unfulfilled. Eventually, the fulltime artist emerges. Blessings on your journey.

If you wish to read more, try Jamie Sams “Dancing the Dream”, pg 94.

Best Wishes,

Robin”

– This comment was just posted on my latest Dragonfly Scrolls post from a friend and fellow writer, Robin Yaklin. Remember that I promised you some spooky signs…well this is one the Universe has just shown me. Thank you Robin for that amazing symbolism. – 

Kim