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

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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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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

 

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.

 

Getting Back on Your Writing Bike Makes You Stronger #writers #writing

 

 

The Power of Getting Back in the Writing Saddle-2

I have fallen off my writing bike a couple of times during these past few weeks.

All sorts of writing related issues can send you flying off your writing bike; crisis of confidence, rejection, fear of failure etc.

Coming off can result in you storming off out of the living room, slamming a door, having a hissy fit, texting writer friends a long-winded account of your writing situation (heavy usage of either weeping emojis and angry faced emojis) or even threatening to jack it all in.

Getting back on your writing bike requires strength and bravery.

Here are some recent situations from my writing life:

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How to Stop Being a Lazy Writer #writers #AmWriting

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Ever had one of those mornings where you struggle to get out of bed and all your plans of having a ‘writing day’ go out of the window?

So when you find yourself enjoying the delights of a warm bed, moaning about how tired you feel and coming up with 100 excuses for not doing any writing, here are some handy tips for turning this situation around:

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8 Wonderful Affirmations For Blogging #BloggingGals #Bloggers

 

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Blogging can be hard, frustrating and at times something which makes you think ‘why do I bother?’

A positive mindset is vital. It is something which will get you through the Negative Nancy days; when your blog stats flatline, your ideas for posts run dry and you see nothing but typos in things that have already been published. Sigh!

Repeating affirmations to yourself is a great way of staying positive. They will also make you a happier blogger.

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What Writers Can Learn From Ira Glass #writers #amwriting #SundayBlogShare

 

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Photo: StockSnap.

Below is a quote from Ira Glass which has really resonated with me.  Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of a TV show.

Lately I have been doubting my writing strategy of simply writing as much as I can. Thousands and thousands of words. Every time I write I know that it is ok but it feels like it’s falling short / not quite there yet. So I pull my stories apart and look at what didn’t work. To date I have had various issues with plots, lifeless characters, conflict and story arcs. I then start writing again. This is how I learn.

People think I am nuts. This year alone I have clocked up 65k words. This strategy is hard, punishing and at times makes me question myself.

I read this quote and everything fell into place.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.

—Ira Glass

 

I am simply closing the gap and it is my ‘killer taste’ that disappoints me – sigh!  I just have to keep fighting my way through.

James Clear has written a fabulous article titled ‘What Every Successful Person Knows But Never Says’ on this quote from Ira Glass. He talks about accepting that it is a long struggle to create something noteworthy.

‘For any skill there is always a gap between being an apprentice and being a craftsman. The apprentice has the taste but not the skill. The craftsman has the taste and the skill’ – James Clean.

It is about showing up and doing the work. I will keep on with my strategy of closing the gap.

Have a great day and keep fighting writers!