marketing

Networking Isn’t so Dreadful After All

Networking. I used to always dread that word. It meant a bunch of people pretending to care about each other just to get a job, or a favor, or whatever.

Now that I’ve begun to network as a writer, I see it totally differently. I LOVE talking to other authors and listening to what they have to say. We’re so trapped in this solitary activity that it’s just so nice to hear about other people going through the same things.

Plus I am legitimately interested in what other people are writing about, there are some awesome ideas out there! Other creative types are definitely the people I jive with the most. It’s cool to talk about random hypothetical scenarios with them mid conversation. They don’t think I’m wasting my time spending so much of it writing.

A few weeks ago, I hosted a writers retreat and had authors and publishers come to speak. I was amazed at how close I got with these people over the course of the day. The were so friendly and willing to give advice, and despite the age difference (and professional difference) I felt like they saw me as an equal.

Last night I participated in Kim Chance’s #Chance2Connect on twitter for the first time and was amazed at how friendly everyone was. All types of writers all at different stages in the writing process came together to meet, give advice, and complain about our shared writing woes. I even found a couple potential critique partners!

I highly recommend looking into opportunities like this and putting yourself out there as a writer. It’s scary at first, but so rewarding!

Let me know in the comments if there are online groups or other hashtags you use to connect with other writers!

writing

Adventures in Beta Reading

Hello again readers and writers, I’ve been away from the blog for a while because it’s my last semester as an undergrad and my focus needs to be with school right now, but also I’ve taken up the commitment of being a beta reader!

Beta readers are readers who give you feedback on your novel before you publish it so you can make sure readers are reacting to it as intended.

Why beta read if I should be focusing on my novel? Well once I finish my first few drafts, I’m going to send it out to beta readers, and I figured, what better way to learn about the process than to become one myself?

I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience, and I’ll definitely have more sympathy towards my future betas as a result.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

•Make sure you only choose betas who like the genre you are writing in

If a beta reader doesn’t like what they’re reading, it’s going to be a slow and grueling process to read your material, and even more so to answer questions about it. Make sure your betas are invested when selecting!

•Busy schedules don’t make for good betas

I fall into this category. I’m not always the best beta reader because my weeks are always hectic, and I often don’t feel like answering questions in my free time because it feels like work. Make sure your betas have open enough schedules to commit to this- beta reading is more work than just reading.

•Keep your questions concise and clear

After a beta finishes a chapter, authors have questions prepared for them to answer. Make sure these allow for the beta to write a lot of feedback, but don’t give them super long questions or too many! This will make them stress and not look forward to reading the next chapter and doing it all over again. Ask what you need to know, no more.

•Make sure you expectations are clear

Whether it’s time limits to read, or how you want them to answer questions, make sure the expectations you give are clear. A lot of people don’t know what beta reading entails. ESPECIALLY make clear that you want them to be completely honest. If they didn’t like the chapter, it’s far more harmful for you to lie about it than to just tell the truth. You are giving the writer an opportunity to correct their mistakes, which is what they wanted you for!

 

Overall I have enjoyed beta reading, but I can appreciate the amount of work it is now and hopefully this will help me to create a better relationship with my future betas.

 

If you are interested in beta reading an adventure historical fiction about a gang of female pirates, let me know in the comments! It’ll be a while before it’s ready, but I’d love to know if some of you have interest.

Happy writing!

poetry, writing

Attempting a Slam Poem

I’ve been very inspired by slam poetry lately. Maybe it’s because I’m performing in The Vagina Monologues, but there’s something so beautiful about just getting your feelings out there without worrying about rhyming or sounding good, but saying what’s on your mind and getting a point across. So, here are some feelings:

Since the day we are born

Somehow it leaks into our heads

That we have a place

That we need to change

To be more like her, now her

But never her.

Never speak out of turn

Or your mind

Never put on weight

Never show how smart you are

Never outdo a man

His ego is too fragile

And somehow that’s my problem

Because his feelings, his pleasure

Will always come before mine

 

Well like Michael Jackson

All I want to say

Is that they don’t really care about us

They want us to take off

All of our hair that isn’t on our head

Put on uncomfortable lingerie

It’s not sexy if I don’t feel sexy

It’s not okay unless I say so

It’s my body, not yours, NEVER yours

You have the privilege to touch it if I say so

I am so much stronger than you will ever be

Because I have had to deal with this bullshit

Day in an day out

I have had to overcome a world that said I should hate my body

That I shouldn’t be me

Well I am me

I’m all I have

And slowly but surely

I am coming to love me

And finding people

Who love me for me

Because they’re the only ones who deserve

To have me in their lives

 

Uncategorized, writing

My Vagina Monologue

I recently had the opportunity to join a group of fantastic women and perform in The Vagina Monologues. As I read through the monologues for my audition, I am inspired to tell my own story. There is so much pressure on women to stay quiet and shut up about anything related to vaginas, so sometimes you just need to break the silence.

If you are squeamish about these things I suggest you stop reading, or get over it. Being a woman is an experience that differs for everyone, and it’s important for all genders to understand that.

~

When I reached puberty, my doctor told me “Boys are going to want to touch you now, don’t let them.” He then proceeded to poke and prod me, leaving bruises on my ten year old skin.

You told me that too. You told me your biggest regret was not waiting until marriage, and that I would regret it too. It would feel wrong unless it was with the right person.

But it didn’t.

The first time a boy massaged me there through my clothes he asked “Is this okay?” It felt good. I knew I was supposed to stay stop, but I said “Yes.” I could feel happiness melting through me with each moment. How could this be wrong?

After each encounter I would not feel guilt, but worry that you would somehow be able to tell what I had done. That you could smell it on my breath, like alcohol.

You never knew til I told you part of the truth, and you shamed me. You called me a tease for not going all the way. You said “Don’t you feel gross?” I didn’t. I don’t think I would have at all if not for those words.

Then one day, after you had lifted my ban on seeing him, it happened. His eyes were filled with lust as he thrust his fingers into me. More than usual. It began to hurt, and I tried to pull him hand away but he continued, not noticing the pain I was in. I was to embarrassed of my own body, not confident enough to assert myself to tell him to stop until the pain surpassed a level I could take. I went to the bathroom and bloody clumps on what looked like veins greeted me.

I don’t know what happened to me. I’ve never told this to anyone before. But since that day it doesn’t feel good anymore. His fingers felt uncomfortable. The next guy’s did too. There was little pleasure to be gained. I prayed it was him and not me, that I had not somehow lost that part of myself by not speaking up. I don’t know what has happened to me, but I wish I could talk to you about it. About anything at all. I shouldn’t be so afraid to speak my mind, to tell a man to stop touching MY body. I should love myself, all of myself. I want to love every part of me, the physical, the emotional, my desires, my everything. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. My daughter will know this. I’m going to make sure of that.

 

 

writing, writing advice

Why Raising the Stakes is so Important in Your Story

Ever been reading a story and had a thought like ‘where is this even going?’, ‘I’m so bored right now, when is it going to pick up?’, or ‘this plot is predictable’?

Yeah, you want to avoid this at all costs in your story. And it all comes down to constantly raising the stakes. What do I mean by that? I mean adding more drama, more twists and setbacks, more for the character to lose should they fail. Let’s consider an example:

 Jane Doe searches for the hidden oasis to find herself and her beliefs.

Sounds okay, but needs some sprucing up (aka higher stakes) let’s try something else:

Jane Doe searches for the oasis, hoping to find her beliefs after her people were made slaves.

Backstory is better. Still needs more though.

Jane searches for the Oasis, a place that may hold the key to freeing her enslaved people and reconfirm her beliefs.

Now we’ve got a story. It could still be better though:

Jane escapes from a labor camp to find the Oasis, the one place that may hold the key to bargaining for the freedom of her people. But the king has sent talented assasins after her and the mythical oasis is said to vanish for years after appearing for a week.

Now we’ve got a deadline and enemies to fight, two key stakes that most stories should include. Every story can always use some raised stakes, consider where yours is lacking so it never drags!

marketing, writing, writing advice

How to Not Get Overwhelmed by Social Media When Marketing Yourself and Your Book

So I’ve recently hopped on the blogger train and have been researching ways to market my book. Spoiler alert, 80% of them involve a strong social media presence.      -_-

Social media has never been my strong suit, I enjoy reading articles people share and frequent facebook a lot, but I had never had a twitter, got too distracted by tumblr, and was too scared of reddit.

Now thanks to the marketing advice I’ve dove back into all of the above and more. Needless to say I have felt overwhelmed at times, and have had to work not to let social media take over my life. Here’s some tips:

1.Set aside an hour or so for social media marketing a day.

That’s it. Cut yourself off, just like setting aside writing time helps you write more, setting yourself a limit to social media can help you get back to writing.

2.Remember, what is your goal here, to be big on twitter, or to write an awesome book?

Marketing won’t get you very far without a great product to back it up, so as frustrating as it can be, make writing your priority!

3.Don’t get too obsessed with your stats, they’ll come in time.

We’ve all been there, refreshing and refreshing wondering why your views are going down or why so and so has more than you. It’s great that you are trying to figure out how to market yourself more effectively, but sometimes these things just happen. If you keep consistently posting high quality content, the views will come.

4.If you don’t like it, don’t force it.

If a certain platform isn’t for you, then just don’t use it. Below I’ll detail how you can still use sites you don’t like minimally.

Twitter: Set your blog up so that it posts to twitter, and that can be it! I would also follow some up and coming writers in the same place you are so you can support each other.

Tumblr: It’s easy to get sucked into tumblr for hours. Likewise, you could make your Tumblr page just about your blog, or just about posting poetry or artwork you do or whatever. It’s a great platform for creativity, and there are a ton of poets and writers on there with awesome content to follow. If you like reblogging, make sure to really set a time limit for this!

Reddit: Reddit is a scary place and people aren’t always the nicest there, but it’s a great place to post your blog posts to get more exposure, or ask questions in subreddits

Facebook: You can just set up an author page and post updates when they happen with your book, no need to dedicate too much time to this!

Author Website: I recommend wix.com because it is user friendly, has tons of customization options, and you can do it for free or upgrade to get your own web link when the time is write.

 

I hope this was helpful to y’all, happy writing!

poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Fall in

Bit more if a song than a poem but hope you enjoy 🙂

I’ve never been here before

Knowing you don’t feel the way I do

But maybe there is hope

Says my brain, I shouldn’t trust it

Someone help me make sense of this

Falling in and out but I know I’m always in

Would saying something bring the relief I seek

Or would it crush me like the piece of paper that I wrote this on

Toss me away like a leaf under a freight train

Spinning over and under endlessly

Never hitting the ground

But you’re always out of reach

Why can’t you see we each have what the other needs

One sided love gets old

So why do I keep falling deeper

Every smile every look warms my heart til it breaks it when you look away again

Why can’t you see me

Why can’t you see us

Why won’t you fall in