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 advice

Spring 2017 Quarterly Goals

It’s that time of year again!

Let’s review how I did on my winter goals:

1. Write at least 7,000 words of pirate novel

Soooo close. About 1,000 words off 😦

2. finish first draft of chapters 2-4 of pirate novel and send out for feedback

Nope, still need to finish 3 and write 4

3. start a writing blog (OH HEY)

Obviously, a strong success

4. start a youtube channel

Not quite, but this is happening soon!

5. do yoga most days of the week

Started out strong… stopped about a month in

6. clean off my desk and use it

HA

7. stay on top of classes (this means at least a C in tough classes, at least a B in easier ones)

Doing this in most, but unfortunately can’t quite count as a win 😦

8. plan and get speakers for the writing retreat

Done!

9. keep up with treasurer duties for theater club

Yup!

10. finish USG requests for theater club

Done and done

11. go to the career center and talk to someone(s) there

I kinda tried…

12. ask people to be references

Yes!

13. apply to 10+ jobs

Did wayyy more than this

14. direct a successful play

Si!

15. go on a date 😉

Surprisingly…. actually did this. Didn’t end up working out, but hey I’m getting out there

16. hold at least 1 fundraiser per club

Mhm!

17. fix schedule

And yes!

 

For those keeping track that is 10/17 completed, so that is a success for the quarter. It doesn’t feel like it because I considered these all things I really had to do, but I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much.

And now my spring goals:

  1. Write 10,000 words of novel
  2. Have 5 critique partners
  3. Finish Beta reading
  4. Have 200 twitter followers
  5. Start youtube channel with Daniela!
  6. Take promotional photos for said channel
  7. Do more makeup art for instagram
  8. GRADUATE COLLEGE D:
  9. Talk to someone at career center
  10. Apply to 50+ jobs
  11. Get a job…
  12. Read 5 books
  13. Start doing something physical for health
  14.  Go on a date
  15. Make treasurer survival guide for next treasurer

Aaaaah graduation is scary and getting a job is scary but one way or another I’ll make it through. Comment below with your goals!

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

 

writing, writing advice

Should White People Write POC Characters?

There are a lot of different opinions on this matter. There is the issue of white people not understanding what it’s like to be a person of color. How can they write a meaningful experience correctly if they haven’t experienced it themselves? And what about how some people will use diversity simply to attract a wider audience and gain approval?

Regardless, my answer to this question is yes. We NEED POC in stories, especially after recent events. Banning immigrants and prejudice against Muslims all comes from a lack of understanding. Perhaps if more people were telling their stories, their voices would be heard. As a white person, you have the privilege of being more likely to be listened to, so use that power to further the narrative of those who are not being heard.

As writers, it is our job to get our readers to understand a new point of view. The world is made up of a lot of different people. It is only realistic to include them all, and it is extremely unnecessary. There is so much underrepresentation in all forms of media, and this creates the idea that white people are more desirable and important. How many white guy meets white girl stories have you seen? Enough for it to get normalize in your head. Interracial romances or just a POC lead in general are so rare that works are applauded for ‘deciding to go in that direction’. There are so many interesting stories out there, why stick to just one small part of the population? Why ignore this whole history and turmoil when you could be actively making a difference? Some people may be upset at your portrayal of POC, it’s going to happen. But at least you are being more true to the real world and aren’t whitewashing your story.

If all your characters are white for no reason, check yourself. Think of how many people need to see someone like themselves being brave, and clever and finding the strength to make the world a better place. We have a multicolored world out there, let’s write about it.

writing, writing advice

Improve Your Writing With Acting Exercises

Being an actor has made me a better writer. Having to learn how to get into another person’s head and act like them physically is immensely helpful for trying to get into so many character’s heads when writing a story.

I’m going to share with you a visualization exercise that I do to help me. Close your eyes as you do each paragraph and imagine seeing everything through your character’s eyes.

Visualization:

You wake up. Are you in a bed? A make shift bed? The ground? If you reach your hand out what texture do you feel?

You sit up. Are you in a room? Outside? What sounds do you hear?

Now you stand up. Is this easy, or difficult? Are you excited for the day, nervous, uncaring? Why is that?

What sort of morning routine do you do now? If you have the option to change clothes, what will you wear? What do wish you had to wear?

Now you walk over to a mirror, or lake or some sort of reflective surface. What do you look like? How do you feel about the way you look? Is there something you want to change? How do you feel about yourself as a person?

Now what does your character have to do today? What are they looking forward to? What are they dreading? What do they wish they were doing?

You step outside of where ever you are- what does the world around you look like? What is the weather like? Are there people or animals nearby? What is your reaction to them? Is there anyone you hope to run into? Anyone you hope to avoid? What reaction do you have to this world-does it calm you, make you tense, afraid, determined, excited about life?

Let this all sink in and realize what in this moment you want more than anything. What if your goal in life, your dream for yourself? How are you going to accomplish it?

I hope this helps everyone- happy writing!

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!