Why Returning To A Failed Creative Project Has Been One Of The Best Things I have Ever Done! #MondayBlogs

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Failure. It can give you sweaty nightmares, awful sinking feelings, clammy hands and a feeling of doom. This year I have learnt that failure also gives you a golden chance to try again and do things differently.

Take it from me – the buzz you get from seeing  success out of something you previously thought had failed is a game changer!

Returning to a failed creative project has been one of the best things I have ever done.

Here is my story and my reasons:

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Why Supportive Writing Friends Are Like Lighthouses #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

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There are times when writing is similar to sailing a small boat, across a stormy sea at night.

Think of your little boat as your creative project and the angry sea being a mixture of your emotions, your recent literary experiences and your writer demons.

You are in total darkness, desperately clinging onto something (which you have little faith in), you have no idea where you are going to end up and you are cursing yourself for even thinking about setting off on a journey like this.

You are desperate…when out of the literary darkness comes this beam of light.

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Author Interviews – Linda Bradley @LBradleyAuthor #Author #Writer

Author Interviews-2

Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

In this series I interview the authors that inspire and amaze me. I get them to tell me all about their literary journey, the obstacles they overcame when writing their books and their creative process.

Today I am super excited as author Linda Bradley has agreed to sit in my chair. She describes herself as an author and a believer of the phrase ‘sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.’ I love this phrase and I get the feeling Linda’s interview is going to be a bit special.

So, Linda – welcome to my Blonde Blog! Please take a seat..

Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written.

I live in Michigan and write Women’s Fiction with a thread of romance. I have an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. I wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for my Master’s Degree. I’m a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

When I began writing Maggie’s Way, I believed this book was going to be a stand-alone, but as I prepared to type “the end”, I realized Maggie Abernathy’s story wasn’t finished. Publishing the Montana Bound Series has been a dream come true. I love writing about the “true grit” that makes life unpredictable as well as the humor found in everyday living. The characters in my books are a cast of misfits waiting to steal your heart.

Oh my goodness! I love that line about your characters being ‘a cast of misfits waiting to steal your heart.’ I LOVE misfits and writing about misfits. 

When did you write your first book?

I wrote and illustrated my first book in grade school. My elementary school had this contest called “Calbery”. The term “Calbery” was derived from the names of the Caldecott and Newberry Awards. Students wrote and illustrated their books each year. The winners received awards and the winning books were sent on to compete with other students from surrounding elementary schools. It was a big deal and I looked forward to making my book each year. I still have the ribbons and certificates in my writing box that’s followed me from place-to-place. That deep-seeded passion for writing shadowed me through life, got pushed to back burner, but surfaced later on when my boys were young. I wrote my first women’s fiction manuscript about ten years ago. Time flies when you’re having fun.

How long did it take to write your first book?

To be honest, I’m not sure how long it took to write that “first” full length manuscript. It’s still sitting in a binder on my shelf. Probably a year or so. Maggie’s Way is a different story, though. Maggie’s Way was my debut novel and I completed that manuscript in about three months.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

Cancer was my catalyst. Being published was on my life’s list of things to do, so I buckled down upon being diagnosed. I put all my other projects to the side and let new characters drive my stories. When I began writing Maggie Abernathy and Chloe McIntyre, I found my voice. Within a year’s time, I’d written first drafts for the three books in my Montana Bound Series.

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

I’d written several manuscripts leading up to Maggie’s Way. I’d been lucky enough to have had critiques from agents and editors. The feedback was sometimes difficult to swallow, but in time I learned to stay true to what I wanted to write. I learned to focus on the nuggets that made sense to me. Many moons ago, an editor told me she thought I was a diamond in the rough. I’ve carried that with me and reminded myself that polishing my work and becoming a better writing takes time, hard work, and an open-mind.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

I’d gone through bad patches with previous manuscripts, so when I began writing the Montana Bound Series, I tried to approach the process a bit differently. I began making “character bibles” to help me organize chapter outlines and notes. I collected photographs of people and places to help me stay connected. I also read and completed the exercises in Alan Watt’s book, the 90-day novel while I was writing as a source of inspiration to complete the journey. When I reached 30,000 words, it was time for “NANOWRIMO” so I signed up and completed my debut novel.

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

I know the beginning of my story and how it’s going to end. Sometimes, I’ll make a list of events that need to happen in the story, but more often than not, I see my characters’ actions in my head as I go, kind of like a movie. That action leads me from scene to scene.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

Connecting with readers, most definitely!

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

The characters that won’t leave my head until I entertain their story. It’s very difficult for me to turn off my brain, even if I’m exhausted.

I suffer with this too. Sigh!

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?

Nope.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I wish I had a typical writing day. I teach elementary school, so my writing day begins when I get home. Getting into the chair isn’t always possible, but when the creativity is flowing, you’ll find me at my keyboard, hammering away. When I get started on something, it’s hard to stop. Tuning out the dog, the television, and my phone when I’m in the zone is one of my super-powers.

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

I know procrastination well. Most often, I don’t handle it, I let it take over because I know my brain is processing the work in progress even if I’m not consciously thinking about it. Sometimes watching the Friends marathon or doing an art project is necessary. Procrastinating can be a productive tool in my book. I know what I’m capable of and I know that when it’s time to get going, I will. Setting goals and limits for myself also helps me stay on track.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

Characters. I think if you have strong characters, they’ll drive the plot.

What have been your 3 biggest learnings during your writing career?

One. Never give up. Two. Never give up. Three. Never give up.

LOVE these learnings!

How do you manage social media as a writer?

I try to get on Facebook and Twitter daily. I don’t always promote my books, but I want my followers and friends to know, I’m still there. I like to share posts and re-blog. Occasionally, I’ll set up a Facebook party or a giveaway.

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

Follow your heart. Write what you like to read. Step outside the box even if it’s uncomfortable. Writing is a continuous process. It’s okay to fail and make mistakes. Learn to roll with the punches. Getting back up is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Believe.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

If anything, I have too many ideas milling around in my head. Teaching full-time doesn’t allow me to explore story lines when they blossom, so they tend to build up. And when they’re thick and bountiful, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to organize my thoughts. Sometimes the days just aren’t long enough to get everything done that I want to accomplish. So, you know all those neat little piles of notes on my desk, please don’t rearrange them.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

All. The. Time.

What do you wear to write?

Jeans. Shorts. Pajama pants. T-shirts, fleece if it’s a chilly day and the hot flashes aren’t coming my way. Anything that’s comfy.

If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?

Facebook: LBradleyAuthor
Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor
Website: www.LindaBradleyAuthor.com
Amazon Author Page

Wow Linda – fab interview! 

I have taken a lot from this today:

  • I love how you write about the ‘true grit’ that makes life unpredictable. 
  • I think your writing journey has been so inspirational. 
  • It must have been a magical literary moment for you when an editor referred to you as a ‘diamond in the rough!’  I do hope that’s the phrase my future editor uses when referring to me – sigh!  
  • I can relate to storylines ‘becoming thick and bountiful’ – great way of describing the creative build up. 
  • We all have piles of notes on our desks that must never be disturbed. 

Linda  – thank you – what a star!

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If you are an author and want to sit in my red chair please get in touch. 

For more fabulous interviews please click here. 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/79577679@N00/5448848999″>the chair in the attic</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

How To Accept That Some People Will Never Understand Your Creative Life #MondayBlogs #writer

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This is a tough one to accept and it has taken me a long time to get my head around this.

If you are a creative person there will be some people in your life who will never:

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Useful Harry Potter Spells For Writers #SundayBlogShare #Writerslife #writer

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Photo Credit: Pixabay. 

Being a writer is tough!  On my blog I am looking at ways in which a writer’s life could be made easier.

Following on from my post ‘Useful Super Powers For Writers’ I thought it would be cool to look at some useful spells for writers, which could transform their creative life.

As I adore Harry Potter I have to use J.K. Rowling’s spells for this post.

For noting: a writer would need a magical wand for these spells and may need to have studied at Hogwarts but that’s just low-level detail.

So, here are the spells from Harry Potter, that I think would be really useful for writers:

  1. Cheering Charm. This clever spell causes the person upon whom the spell was cast to become happy and contented. Heavy-handedness with the spell may cause the person to break into an uncontrollable laughing fit. The writer could cast this spell on a stern looking editor  who is about to give them some crushing feedback. With a flick of the writer’s wand the writer could make their editor start to laugh and giggle. Can you imagine turning an editor’s frown upside down? Yay!
  2. Imperio (Imperius Curse).  This cheeky spell causes the victim of the curse to obey the spoken/unspoken commands of the caster. With a swish of the writer’s wand the literary agent or publisher would say ‘yes!’ straight away. The clever writer could even use their Imperio spell to magic up some publisher generosity with their advance and royalty payments too!  Thanks to this spell the writer could have published books and a healthy bank balance – sigh!
  3. Obscuro. This handy little spell causes a blindfold to appear over the victim’s eyes and would be really valuable for a writer. Imagine the writer’s mother is reading their draft and is a page away from a steamy romance scene. No writer wants their mother to raise her eyebrows and shake her head in disapproval at a naughty bit that they have written. With a tap of their wand the writer could cast this spell and sneakily turn over a couple of pages whilst their mother is plunged into darkness.
  4. Slug Vomiting Charm. This AMAZING spell causes a jet of green light to strike the victim, who then vomits slugs for an undefined period of time (greater than five hours). Writers could use this spell on haters, readers who give 1 star reviews or anyone who says anything naughty (justified or unjustified) about their writing or grammar!
  5. Silencio (Silencing Charm). This wonderful spell silences something immediately. A writer could flick their wand and silence a loved one who is busy complaining about the state of the house / lack of housework duties from the writer.
  6. Obliteration Charm. This handy spell removes things not wished to be seen again. With a flick of their wand the writer could remove things they never want to see again like pesky typos, annoying grammar issues, badly worded paragraphs or dull characters. Editing would be a delight with this spell and writers would be busy tweeting #obliteratingmytypos and #lovingeditingwithspells
  7. Obliviate (Memory Charm). This special little spell is used to hide a memory of a particular event. OMG this would be really useful for a writer!  They could hide all bad memories relating to their writing. There would be no more dwelling on receiving a rejection or having a sleepless nights about some criticism that they have received. Writers could just move on with their creative lives. Sigh!
  8. Colloportus. This useful spell magically locks doors and this could be really valuable for a writer with noisy and needy loved ones. With a swish of their wand they could magically lock the door of the room they are writing in and…hey presto – peace and quiet!
  9. Refilling Charm. This amazing spell refills whatever drink was originally in the container. Just imagine how useful this would be for a writer in the middle of a late night writing session who has run out of coffee or even wine *whimper*  With a flick of their wand the writer’s glass could be magically refilled with that pleasant and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc…
  10. Accio (Summoning Charm). This cheeky spell is useful for summoning objects. An exhausted writer could be sat at their writing desk and in need of something sugary to help keep their creative energy levels topped up. They are too weary to get up off their chair and go into the kitchen, so they flick their wand and…..happily summon a bar of chocolate or a doughnut from the cake box. It would just magically appear in front of them – squeal!

With these useful spells our creative life would be filled with lucrative publishing contracts, cheerful editors, wine glasses that magically keep refilling and annoying typos that just disappear!! OMG this would be like literary paradise..

Why didn’t my parents send me to Hogwarts?

If you fancy reading something else on the subject of magic – check out my post on why being a writer feels like something out of Harry Potter…

Click on the image and I will magic you there..

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Have a wonderful Sunday all 🙂

This list was really useful and helped me put this post together.

A Few Things Writers Can Learn From Olympic Athletes #writerslife #writers

 

What Lessons Can Writers Learn From The Olympics-2

I am really enjoying watching the Rio Olympics. It has been a really inspirational sporting event and…one which one makes me feel guilty for sitting on my sofa, wedging another slice of pizza into my mouth, as some poor athlete belts around the track.

The Olympics has also provided me with a creative boost which I thought I would share. There have been a couple of times recently where I have been slumped under a black cloud of creative doom and gloom (my face resembling a bulldog chewing a wasp). In a fit of desperation I have tuned into the Olympics and regained some positive vibes.

An hour later and I have been energetically bounding around my living room crying out “I can do this!” and “this rewrite will NOT beat me!”

I believe there are a few things that writers can learn from watching Olympic athletes.

  1. Getting back up and carrying on after failure. Whilst sat on my sofa I have watched Olympic gymnasts fall off various pieces of apparatus and…..get back up smiling and carry on!  I have been really impressed with their reaction to something going wrong. As a writer I struggle with failure. My standard response is to go in a mood (some might use the term ‘tantrum’) and then talk about quitting. I know I am not the only writer who gives a knee-jerk ‘I quit’ response. My creative journey will contain setbacks, this is inevitable. After seeing these athletes handle failure, I think there is a lot to learn from picking yourself up after a knock down, smiling and carrying on. I think I might try this.
  2. Ferocious work ethic. Olympic athletes work like crazy in their training sessions. Some of the athletes have talked about their gruelling training programmes in interviews and I have found myself feeling tired just listening to them.  Hard work pays off. These athletes even train when they are not feeling a hundred per cent. I doubt very much whether they are like me when I don’t feel hundred per cent about my passion i.e. writing. On these days I choose to sit on the sofa, in pjs, working my way through a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits and watching hours of my Sex & The City box set. If we are serious about our writing then we need to put the hard graft in…even when we are not feeling like it. I think I might try this as well.
  3. Never giving up on dreams. Some of the Olympic athletes have remarkable stories about the journeys and life obstacles they have overcome to get where they are today. No matter what life throws at them they have not given up on their dream. I have been really inspired by Olympic gold medal-winning diver Chris Mears who won the men’s synchronised 3m springboard final. In 2009 he was given a 5% chance of survival after contracting the Epstein-Barr virus. He never gave up on his dream. We shouldn’t give up on our literary dreams, no matter what life chucks our way.
  4. Focus and not get distracted by the competition. I have heard a lot of athletes say in interviews they just ran or swam their own race. They focused on their bit of the track or pool and did got get distracted by their competitors. As writers we do get distracted with what other writers are doing / not doing and this can dilute our focus. You heard it here first, I am just going to stick to my lane of the literary track! I don’t care what fancy athletic moves you lot are doing in your part of the track 🙂

Have a fabulous day folks!

Photo: Pixabay

 

20 Fab Writing Tips From 20 Author Interviews #Writingtips #WeekendBlogShare

Author Interviews

This week I am having a rest from my Author Interview Series and reflecting on the useful insight gleaned from these interviews.

I am so grateful to all the authors who have taken the time to share their book writing experiences with me.

You can find all the interviews by clicking here. 

In each interview I asked for some handy writing tips for aspiring new writers. I thought it would be great to summarise these in one useful post.

These are great tips from people who have actually written books. They have all experienced the many challenges that come from writing a novel and have come out the other side …smiling and proudly clutching their beloved book.  Sigh!

So, here are 20 writing tips from the first 20 authors interviewed as part of my blog series – Author Interviews.

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When You Are Happy In Your Writer Skin #MondayBlogs #writer

When You Are Comfortable In Your Writer Skin

When you are happy in your writer skin you:

  1. Enjoy your writing.
  2. Accept that you have writing strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Work with your creative muse.
  4. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on your writing.
  5. Enjoy the act of sharing your writing with others.
  6. Don’t feel embarrassed about being a writer.
  7. Encourage others with their writing craft.
  8. Take steps to improve your weaknesses.
  9. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on first drafts.
  10. Look forward to working with the fictional folk who live inside your head.
  11. Accept that there will be good times and bad times but nothing will stop you from sitting down to write.
  12. Look forward to sitting down and creating worlds, people and situations.
  13. Accept that some people will like what you write and some won’t.
  14. Accept that some days words will trickle and some days they will pour out of you.
  15. Are proud of the fact that you can write thousands and thousands of words.
  16. Feel grateful that you were born with a creative mind.
  17. Fall hopelessly in love with your story and forget about everything else in the world. 
  18. Forget about pleasing everyone and write for yourself. 
  19. Decide that chasing literary stardom can wait because you are quite happy with just writing and sharing.

Have a fabulous day and may your words flow 🙂

Be happy in your writer skin! 

Photo Credit: Pexel.

 

10 Physical Signs of a Creative Rush #writer #writers

Physical Signs of a Creative Rush

A creative rush can be defined as:

The climax of literary excitement, characterised by some intensely pleasurable literary related feelings. 

All sorts of writing related scenarios can give you a creative rush; you can experience one when you are blessed with a fabulous new idea for a story, coming up with a way of resolving a troubling plot issue or finally working out how to kill an annoying character (which will give you a lot of creative satisfaction).

The best creative rushes occur when you are doing something unrelated to writing like washing up, driving, putting out the rubbish or even cleaning the bathroom. It is like the creative part of your brain carries on working with ideas in the background whilst you do other stuff. Occasionally it comes up with something brilliant.

Creative rushes are amazing and they make up for painful bouts of:

 

For noting: the woman in the image, lying on top of the car, is in the middle of creative rush. She had to stop the car after coming up with a wonderful plot twist for her story. It is going to give her readers such a literary thrill!

So, how do you know if you are experiencing a creative rush?

The first sign is that you will feel a powerful rush of literary excitement which will be accompanied by one or more physical signs:

  1. A warm glow.
  2. A tingling sensation.
  3. Wobbly legs.
  4. Trembling.
  5. A flushed appearance.
  6. Sweaty brow.
  7. Inability to concentrate.
  8. Unsteadiness.
  9. An urge to air punch.
  10. A strong desire to star jump, cartwheel or forward roll, whilst squealing.

The intensity of the creative rush may vary from writer to writer. Some writers may just experience a sweaty brow whilst others (no clues relating to hair colour) could display all 10 in the space of 2 minutes.

Let’s not forget the range of sounds that you could be making:

  • Gasping.
  • Lots of “oh my goodness that’s such a bad ass idea!” and “someone get me a literary agent on the phone quick!”
  • Moans of literary pleasure.

Once the creative rush is over all you will want to do is lie down somewhere; on the bonnet of a car, on the kitchen floor or even on the sofa.  Some creative rushes can leave you feeling weak afterwards so its important to have a cup of hot sweet tea to hand.

I hope you have a creative rush today!

Have a fabulous day!

Photo: Unsplash.

Blogging & Stone Skimming Similarities #Mondayblogs #BloggingGals

Blogging &amp; Stone Skimming Similarities

Have you ever stood at the water’s edge, picked up a nice flat stone and thrown it across the water in the hope that it might bounce a couple of times off the surface?

This is called stone skimming or rock-skipping.

In my head I am amazing at stone skimming but reality is quite different.

I believe there are similarities between blogging and stone skimming:

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