Do you like books? Do you write books? Are you a person, with a pulse? Well, you’ve got to check out my newest project. The Muse Crew
These ladies and I have shared so much through the years…thought provoking discussions, tear-inducing laughter, and the tremendous growth of our writing skills (which both tears at the ego and then rebuilds it).
Now, we’re ready to share the wonders of our group with the WORLD! Yes, I’m thinking big here…world! So, if you like to read books, then take a look, because we’re working to find the best of the bestbooks. Writers, we’ve got your back because we’re willing to review your high quality books.
Please, come and join us, you’re sure to find something to make the visit worth your time at The Muse Crew.
This summer I had the privilege of visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For those who haven’t been there, it is a rugged sort of beauty, one in which outdoor lovers are in their element.
Now, I’ve spent lots of time there in the past, but it’s been awhile. Yet, I’ve been there, in my mind. The Upper Peninsula is almost like a character in my book, The Nature of Denial. It was part of what inspired the story.
I remember working through the entire book in my mind over hiking and camping trips. I snuggled in my sleeping bag, listened to the snores of others, and imagined how the rugged nature of the U.P. could help heal a person so badly in need of healing.
Anna (my main character) is not taken from my life or any other person’s life, but the scenery is very much what (for the most part) I’ve seen on my own. And it has, in many ways, healed me, again and again.
Visiting some of my old “haunts” was exhilarating for me, like meeting an old, dear friend. I couldn’t help but smile at references in my book that only I would get as I passed an old (not to be named) questionable motel, a dazzling waterfall, or heard the calming whispers of the forest leaves.
So, that was a part of my inspiration for the book. The other parts are too long to get into for this blog (maybe another one?) but they have to do with themes that I seem to revisit in my writing–struggle, hope, friendship, and love. The world is full of darkness, but there is light around every corner.
“Dreams. Don’t be afraid of them. Immerse yourself in yours. Remember, they exist today, in the here and now, in the what you do in this very moment. Dream big, break goals down small, and start checking them off the list. It’s empowering.”
This is part of an email I sent to some of the high school students that I work with. One of my jobs is to mentor students in an online program. Many of these teens need to hear that they are capable, that dreams are possible, and other positive affirmations. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for all of us to dream, and dream big.
Whatever the goal–being a writer, promoting world peace, making a decent living doing something you love–it is okay, imperative even, that we are dreamers. Dreamers have created the beautiful parts of humanity and advancements that have altered how we live. So, go ahead, dream a little, and if you have kids, encourage their dreams too!
When you hang out with writers, you recognize the signs of a writer going through the “marketing” experience of self-publishing. They talk incessantly about social media, blogging, Amazon sales, and finding high-quality reviews. Yep, you’ve got it; they are in the marketing phase.
For most writers, this experience means lost sleep, gray hair, and various signs of outward stress. Sure, there are writers out there that love selling their wares, but you and I aren’t one of them! For us, it can feel a little like selling your soul. We’re writers, not sales people.
The truth is that if you want to sell your books, you will have to be part of that process (unless you are an all-star author). That means putting in the time to build a platform, finding internet spaces to shout about your book, and handing out the occasional “bookcard” or bookmark.
I know, you’d rather be writing. I feel your pain! For me, balancing between a writing project and the marketing side is what keeps me sane. If I had to do all marketing at one time, it would dry out my passion for writing.
So, if you see the signs, help a fellow author out. Take them to coffee, listen to them rant, then brainstorm the next book idea.
If you are reading this, you probably have some interest in writing. Have you written poetry, essays, novels, or all of the above? Do you call yourself a writer?
When is it okay to label ourselves as such? For me, this was tough. I am not the type to talk much about myself, much less advertise that I write novels. I know, we have to promote ourselves and such, but like many “writers” it’s just not my thing.
I have spent years writing, editing, and working to grow as a writer, but I still find it difficult to label myself as much. We had a similar conversation a long while back in my writing group and someone simply said to me, “you are a writer” and hearing it come from someone else’s lips helped quite a bit.
Now when the what-do-you-do conversation comes up, I list my other occupations and include that I write novels. It’s hard for me not to cast my eyes down when I say this part but I resist because if I can’t call myself a writer, why would anyone else?
So, when should we call ourselves writers? When the big publishing house calls? After our self-published books sales reach some magic number? Or after we’ve invested years of time and energy in developing the craft even if the masses yet haven’t consumed it?
I’m not blogging this because I have the answer, clearly I don’t!!! But I’m curious on your thoughts out there. So, I put it to you… When did you start calling yourself a writer? Or when will you?
Writing need not be a lonely endeavor. The experiences that have nudged me along to become a better writer have been the ones where I talked with other writers about (you guessed it) writing. Writing is not a finite craft. There are so many subtle, and not so subtle, variations of it. Once we think we’ve got it and are finally the writer we’re meant to be–no extra work needed– it’s time to put down the keyboard because we are done (and not in the good way).
The purpose of this blog is to talk about writing. Sometimes as writers we are so engrossed in our stories that we forget to look up and around (or is it only me?), but exploring the craft is a way to further develop our skills. So, let’s talk. Look around my blog, add your comments or questions, and let’s see what we can learn from each other, or at the very least find a useful mind-break from writing for a few moments.