Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I've decided to open this thing up...

Beth Fred got me thinking. See, she's so enthusiastic that she actually suggested that I open up a linky list for anyone else who wants to start tilting at windmills with me.

I was still thinking about this when I read the post she wrote in response to mine. It made me realize that while I'm the first one insane enough to put a mad, almost impossible goal out there, I'm not the only one with a dream.

So. I'm going to put up a list where we insane dreamers can come into touch with each other.

If you want to join in, you're more than welcome to. All you need to do is write what you want to do. It can be anything. From finishing that Masters Degree in Creative Writing, to finishing those edits you were putting off for years. Anything. You get to make the goal and you get to choose when you'd like it done by.

How this will work:

1) Beth and I will be co-hosts of this list.
2) If you do enter your link into the list, please be supportive of the other entrants.
3) Keep us up to date with how you're doing. Update Day is on the last Friday of every month. Even if you don't think you achieved much or anything, write a quick post to say so. We can't encourage if we don't know.
4) When you enter your blog's address write your goal as the link title. For example, my link's title will be "earn $7500 per month." Not your name or your blog's. This is so we can keep track of who's doing what. AND it will serve as an easy indication of the fact that you're not the only crazy one.
5) Please please please spread the word! I know this is nuts, but I know a lot of people need encouragement, and making a decision and figuring out how to get there is half the battle...

Who else has a crazy goal?
If you do, complete the following:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Good news bad news

Good news is that my laptop  is back. 

Bad news is that none of my programs could be reinstalled by the it people, so I have to do it myself. Including microsoft office. *Shudder*
So... yeah... My laptop isn't technically mine yet. It lacks all the things I love and enjoy. I'll probably have to work everything back slowly. 

Further bad news is that the IT failed to save the blurbs and synopses that I was supposed to get to Etopia Press. So I'll have to start again. (For those of you who missed it the announcement of my laptop failing, I did save everything up to two days before it failed.)

And we all know what a lovely inspiring experience it is to write those. *fake smile* 

But hey, at least I have some motivation. Those blurbs and the synopsis I'll be sending in will influence the cover that'll get chosen for Doorways. 

Ooh! Speaking of which, I need to share something juicy with you guys soon... 

In the meantime, it's time for me to get back to downloading necessary problems *ahem* programs. 

Once that's done, I'm really really going to try and get some blog visits in. I'm way overdue. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Plan

Seems like quite a few of you want to know the plan. So would I. Kidding!

I actually have put some thought into this project. Here's the thing... I've done the math. Using my background studying investment management, I'd calculated my expected (average, for the non-investment crowd) returns from an average book.

I won't bore you with the calculations.

But the result is this... Assuming that my average books earn the same average amount every month, I'll have to publish 126 books in four years in order to make $7500 per month for the last year.

So... No matter which way you look at it, my goal would be impossible if I were to produce average stories. Which is really turning this project into a challenge I'll relish. Because a lesser being would make the goal more realistic. Not me, though.

That goal is here to stay.

What will I do?

And here's where I'm probably going to dissappoint you. Because the success of my attempt will depend soully on my ability to produce books that sell well. Better than average. Which is yet another snag. Because right now, I have no idea as to how my books will sell.

The best thing I can do at the moment is to play the odds. My logic says that the more books I publish, the better the odds that some will sell well. But NOT if I'm churning out books of average quality. I'll need to balance speed and quaIity and produce the best stories I can, as often as I can.

Yeah. I know this is really obvious, but doing the above means I need to think of very many things. Like how I'll balance drafting, rewriting, editing and submissions. And speaking of submissions, will I query agents or submit to small presses on my own? The latter will likely be faster, but how will earnings compare? And above all that, I need to figure out how to keep writing despite rejections. And the pace I can maintain without burning out.

Those things I'll have to learn as I go along. Looks like I'm in for a tricky five years...

Any bits of advice for the insane person?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My computer broke...

So I'm sort of limited at the moment.

That, combined with my busy work day meant that I won't be doing an interesting sort of post tonight. Tomorrow, though, I might be convinced to share what will be my strategy to finish as many projects as possible.

Who's interested in knowing?

Friday, July 19, 2013

And now, I'm serious. (A Landmark Announcement)

For those of you who are wondering, I'm posting the Paying Forward winners on Monday. I have about 8 people left who still need to claim their prize. If they don't claim over the weekend, I'll post the names anyway, because you'll need to hassle them into contacting me. We don't want any of our sponsors to feel like they're any less appreciated than they are. ;-)

Now... on today's rant post. *Sweet smile*

I almost do want to rant. I actually want to go to a nice solitary place and scream my lungs out. Why? Because... well... the industry I'm in for my main job sometimes drives me apeshit.

People I have to work with are... well... not your average sort of person. While I have met wonderful people in the same industry as me, going through a dip in the market is showing the dark side of three of them. In one week. And when I say dark-side, I'm talking about them being willing to do serious harm to other people's businesses in order to get a few inches ahead. I'm not going to go into more detail, since I think it would be unprofessional.

But suffice it to say, I'm seriously tired of this nonsense.  See... I actually own a quarter of the business I work for. Which means that I'm beyond pissed off that people are trying this crap. Worst of all, we just need to grin and bear it, because that's what will get us ahead in the long run.

Yeah. I know. Being a strategic thinker sucks when you want to drive a few miles and beat someone's face in with a shovel. Or his telephone. Or his laptop. Yeah... laptop would have the right sort of ring for my writing soul. Since most of the aggravation comes from the e-mails I have to read.

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway. The business is fine. We're smarter than to allow a few idiots to do damage. Still, I know that turning into a big green rage monster every two or three days isn't healthy when you're not Bruce Banner.

So. I need to focus on something else. Like... say... my new alternate career, writing. Yeah... that's a much healthier thing to work on at the moment. But I also know that I don't work at it nearly hard enough when I don't have some sort of goal or incentive.

Therefore, I now have a goal. Within the next five years, I want this writing gig I have to be a viable alternative career. In other words. I want to be able to produce enough, of good enough quality, to make royalties to the value of $7500. Every. Single. Month. For at least a year.

Dun dun dun...

Now I know some people are spitting coffee onto their screens. She's gone mad! Mercenary! In an industry where writing's done for the love... 

Let me put you at ease. I'm not going to write for the money. I'm just using a goal in order to get myself to get more writing done. I'm not going to sit here and be complacent with my current publishing deal. Yes. Publishing the series is awesome. But. Except for the series, I have four completed rough drafts, three rough drafts in process, and about eight viable stories that I want to draft out. Not to mention the twenty or so ideas milling around waiting to get some attention. And what did I do with them in the past four months? Nothing. Not a single thing.

And that's what I want to change. Because I know that I'm currently writing stuff people are looking for. Not because they're looking for it, but because I have these amazing ideas. Even if something turns into a slow seller, it doesn't matter. Because then at least, it's done. And it'll be out there.

So why am I telling you this? Well...

Remember when I put a count-down timer for my edits? And when I told you when I'd self-publish by if I didn't sell or get an agent for my book? This is exactly the same thing. Holding myself accountable to you my readers and blogging friends keeps me going.

The more insane the task, the bigger the incentive. Because if there's one thing I hate, it's falling on my face in front of a lot of people.

I know quite a lot of people will think me insane. And hey, I might be. But you know what? A lot of people tuned in to the Misha Show to see if I'd sell my first book. I did. And my second.

Now it's time to up the stakes.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Advice from the Editing Trenches

Before I start today, I just wanted to let you know that I'll announce the Paying Forward Award winners next week. As soon as they've all contacted me. 

In the mean time, I'm still editing. Sadly, though, these are the boring sort of edits. Those where you're having to pick up on small stuff and fix them, since the bigger issues have been sorted out. 

Since that's on the forefront of my mind, I guess I should do a quick and easy post about it. Sorry. Crazy cool writing stuff'll return to this blog soon. I promise. I just need to get out of the next two editing rounds, since the deadlines (while fair) are closer than I'd like to think. 


How to edit:

Most people start pulling out their hair at the mere mention of edits. It's just one of those unbelievably huge chores that a writer has to go through. Even I get chills before I start, and I love editing. It's just that it feels so daunting... 

But today, I'll share a few general tips on how to get through editing in one piece.
The key is to focus on certain things at a given time. If you're going to try everything at once, you'll drive yourself nuts and miss a lot. The list below is my editing method. 

As usual, I don't think of is as a hard and fast rule, but it's worked for me, so I thought I'd share...

1) Always always always give your work a break. After you've finished a draft AND after ever editing round. The longer the break, the better. It'll be what you need to get some vital distance between you and your work. 

2) Never clean up the small stuff before the big stuff. If you do and find a big problem after polishing, you'll need to possibly delete page on page of your hard work. There's also the fact that fine edits done too soon is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. So find characterization issues, plot holes etc. first. Always work from big to small. Even in each separate editing round. It might happen that you find another big issue when you thought you could move on to step three. Sort out the big issue first.

3) Once you have big problems sorted out, you can start with the smaller stuff. This is when you rearrange paragraphs or swop around chapters without affecting the story-line. Basically to make the story look prettier. 

4) Finally, you start polishing (which is where I am now). This is where you need to look for those small little annoyances you couldn't spot before because you were busy with other bigger issues. Clunky sentences, repetitive wording or sentence structures not varying enough, finding better and stronger words etc. 

5) Repeat the above four steps until you've done more than one pure polishing edit. Keep polishing your work in progress until you really can't see anything else to fix.

In the above, you can use an editor and/or crit partner as well. I just strongly suggest that you do some edits yourself, first. Otherwise you might just be wasting your time. 

If you're new to editing and have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. 

If you're an editing veteran, what's your best editing advice? 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She's aliiiiiiive!

Things have been a bit busy lately, as I'm sure you noticed.

See... once I got past my hang-ups, I easily got back into draft mode and got a lot of writing done. No really. I wrote almost 30k in two weeks. Most of it was by hand.

Yeah... that's really impressive for me, since I write by hand. But... because I write by hand, it meant that every moment where I didn't work was filled with writing.

But yesterday, the edits for Doorways came back, so I'm back to editing once more. Which is a lot faster and easier for me.

And that's why I have returned.

How are you doing?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Paying Forward Awards

Hey all! Sorry for being so late with this! My life went nuts this past week. But finally, I get to make an announcement about June's Paying Forward Awards.

So here goes:

I've received over 20 nominations, but some were repeats, which means that I ended up having 19 nominees. Because of the wonderful reasons you who nominated gave, I'm adding voucher prizes to the list I already have so that we automatically have 19 winners!

So thanks again to everyone who nominated.

And a very very special thanks to the following amazing people who volunteered prizes:

First Chapter Critique

E-Copy of If the Shoe Fits

First Chapter Critique

Paper Copies of  M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle, The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks and This and That by Emily Carr. (US Residents Only) 

E-Copies of his Moonsongs Trilogy

E-Copy of one of her books or a three chapter critique

A Hawaiian care package. (US Residents only)

First Chapter Critique

Three chapter/30 page critique

An e-copy of The Emotion Thesaurus

And then I'll be adding two one (one has been claimed) $10 and two one $5 Amazon vouchers to be making a total of 19 prizes. 

That's it from me. I'll be contacting the nominees with instructions, but would you all like to know who they are? 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Paying Forward Nominations closed

Hey all! Just want to let you know that I'm closing nominations to the Paying Forward Awards.

I was going to make an announcement with regards to this today, but I'm way behind on my writing, which means that I can't do the announcement as properly as I'd like.

I WILL do it tomorrow, though.

See you then!

Friday, July 5, 2013

And the Word Master is...

Hey all!

Just wanted to quickly announce May/June's Word Master.

Although I had to pick between three awesome entries, in the end, Magaly Guerrero's Entry absolutely fulfilled every criterion I'd set for the Challenge.

She's picked the 10 chapter crit as her prize, and looking at her mad writing skills, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her work.

Thanks again to all who've entered!

My next Word Master Challenge will be up next week.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Welcome to another IWSG post. For those who don't know, it's a bloghop hosted once a month by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Here we can share our insecurities and encourage others who are feeling insecure. So if you want to join, go here to check out the details. 

As for me, I'm filled with insecurities. I could practically pick a new insecurity every day. But hey, to give us a bit of variation, I'll move away from Doorways related fears and focus on something different. 

Well... somewhat unrelated. Or... uhm... not directly related? Oh screw it. It's still Doorways related. But in a different way from normal. 

See, I handed Doorways over to my editor again. She might be a while on these edits, so it left me with what I think will be a few weeks before I need to edit again. 

Lo and behold, I got invited to Camp NaNoWriMo. It made me think. "Oh hey perfect! I can get some writing done. See how much I can add to my poor neglected rough drafts. Wonderful."

But on 29 June, insecurity struck with the force of a bullet train. 

You see... I've taken to flying into my rough drafts with wild abandon. Often, I only know a tiny bit about the characters, and the climax of the story, or the end. Sometimes I only know the climax and that's okay, because I still have something to write towards. 

But my insecurity lies with... You guessed it. 


I spent six months just thinking about it and the world before I started writing it. After that, I spent a bit more than six painstaking years changing it into the story I sold to Etopia Press. I went through heaven and hell with that story. With the characters in it. 

And now... I finish rough drafts like... Well... I've gotten four into the shape I call "ready to rewrite" in the past three years. Doorways took four (or something similar). 

Thing is, I never feel as connected to the other stories. Doorways always lives in my head. The others... well... I think they do too, but I can't hear it through all the Doorways noise. 

So on 29 June (most inconvenient timing EVER!) I suddenly wondered if I'm writing the other stories wrong. Obviously Doorways worked. But I basically ignored that method and flew into story after story. Possibly before they're even ready to be written. 

The horror! 

It was like building a huge block tower, working on it for years, only to watch it topple because I removed the last block I'd placed. 

What did I do? Well. I melted down on twitter, only to have three awesome writers console me. Because of their messages, I realized two things I want to share now. 

1) You're not the only one to ever feel this way. 
2) It really might not be as bad as you think. 

After spending a few hours calming down on the 30th, I grabbed one of those WiPs I "rushed into" and read it. 

And... it was good. Not brilliant, but not remotely close to the disaster I'd imagined it to be. 

I'm working on it now. Bits at a time, because it's a fun book to write. 

Have you ever had a melt down because you thought you worked on an idea before it was ready? 

Before you go!

Sarah's Reviews is giving away each of C. Lee McKenzie's books here, here and here. Go check it out!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Paying Forward Awards: Extension of Nominations

Hi All!

Sorry for the last minute change in plans.

I've received many wonderful Paying Forward Awards nominations this past week, but I still don't have enough to give out all the prizes. So, please please please send in more nominations.

Who deserves having their day made?

Please send in names, with their blog-links and a short motivation to mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. The subject needs to be "nomination" or I won't be able to find it again.

Thanks in advance!

And before I leave, just want to say Happy Canada day to all our Canadian friends.