Mythologically Speaking

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

46. Myths about writers

There are a hell of a lot of myths out there about writers and writing in general. Do a quick Google search and you’ll be bombarded by everything from stereotypes about people who write, to complete BS about how publishing “really” works. I’ve plucked out a few particular ones that I hear quite often and thus feel that I can comment on them.

1. All writers are insane.
Obviously this one is a generalization, but it does actually have some basis in truth. Writers do tend to be a little…off the deep end…but that’s just because of the overwhelming mixture of creativity and passion. Here me out: writers have all this creativity in them, all these stories that need to come out, and there’s a desperate passion to make that happen. But putting a story to paper is a lot more difficult and time-consuming than non-writers think. In order to put that story down you have to give up things…time, sleep, a social life…and you’ve got to be at least a little bit insane to do that.

2. If you’re talented, you’ll get published.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The only other myth that’s as far off the scale as this one is “you’ll never get published without natural talent”. In a perfect world the talented writers would get all the publishing contracts and the no-talent hacks would never get anywhere near a published book. But this isn’t a perfect world. Unfortunately wonderful stories will get overlooked for a number of reasons, the least of which is not a publisher’s desire to publish what is currently “popular”. Publishers are like any other business…they’re in it to make money, and if they get a wonderfully-written fantasy epic and a crudely-written vampire-porn, they’re probably going to publish the vampire-porn because that happens to be what’s “in” right now.

3. All you need is an idea: the rest will come easily
Oh my laughable lord, no. I don’t think anyone really understands the writing process until they’ve done it, but as with everything else in life people will always talk about what they don’t understand. Sure, getting an idea for a good story is definitely an important part of the equation, but it is hardly the only variable. For one thing, a plot is nothing without good characters, and good characters need subplots, conflict, and personalities that allow us to relate with them. And even with all that you need a multitude of scenes, tension and climaxes, and a reasonable conclusion, and that’s a lot more difficult to figure out than it sounds. Also, all that isn’t taking into account that you have to find the words, the proper words that make everything sound right. All I’m saying is, try it first, judge the difficulty later.

The Infamous Agent

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

42. How not to get an agent

If you’ve been paying attention to any of my previous posts, you know that I don’t have an agent. I have no writing career to speak of, aside from my ambitions and will-be-finished-someday-soon-I-swear manuscript. As a result I’ve had to do a bit of research on the next few prompts, since they all involve information that only someone who had put actual effort into a serious writing career would know.

For how NOT to get an agent, I’ve snatched a few ideas that I found from actual agents explaining what not to do if you want them to pay any attention to you.

If you do NOT want to get yourself an agent…

…send them a query letter that talks about how wonderful your book is. They will be the judge of that.

…send them a manuscript of a genre that they have stated they do not represent.

…waste time and energy telling them your entire life story when you should be focusing on the important information about your manuscript.

…send them a manuscript that is rife with spelling and grammatical errors.

…contact them in inappropriate ways, i.e. stalking their Facebook page, calling their home phone number, etc.

…reply to a rejection with anger; seriously people, grow up. You’re supposed to be a professional.

…beg and plead for them to accept you. Again, I say, grow up.

So there you have it. Pick a couple of the above suggestions, have at it, and you’ll not have an agent in no time!

I Don’t Even Have Time to Manage!

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

32. Time management systems for writers

I know I’ve said this before about other topics, but if there is one thing that I should not be commenting on, it’s ‘time management’. The very existence of a thing known as ‘time management’ eludes and confuses me. At my very best I’ve been known to accomplish one or two things a day that I had actually set out to do. Most of the time I accomplish only the herculean task of clothing and feeding myself, and rolling around on the living room floor with the baby.

That said, I know that time management is (should be?) very important for writers. We have to be able to find the time to pluck out x-number of words a day, plus keep up to snuff on our social media, plus deal with all the other aspects of everyday life, which for many of us means a day job. It’s just not something I’ve ever gotten a hold on. I write when I can, and when I can I write a lot. That’s about the best I’ve been able to manage.

I’m aware that there are many apps out there for both Apple and Android products, as well as many websites such as LifeHacker that were created for just this sort of thing, but somehow I don’t even manage to find the time to look into these things. How sad is that? I can’t find the time to look into time management. And despite my own failure to initiate change, I do suggest that anyone looking at working on their time management skills do a little research on Google…trust me, there are tons of aids out there if you can muster up a little initiative.

Can Someone Please Invent a 36-hour Day?

Because time seems to be slipping away from me at an ever-increasing rate and I’ve been completely unable to find the time for any decent posts over my recent days off, here are a couple of drabbles for you. They’re fanfic drabbles based on the Harry Potter universe:
The Godfather

Sirius couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so happy. Not that he was unhappy on a regular basis – on the contrary, he was a very cheerful person. Nevertheless, at this particular moment he was what he would have described as ecstatic.

“You….you’re sure?” he asked, nervousness in his voice, “You’re both absolutely positive?”

Lily and James smiled at him, her from her hospital bed, and he from her side. “Yes, you idiot,” James insisted, “Of course we’re sure!”

Sirius couldn’t keep the grin off his face as he looked down at the newborn baby in Lily’s arms.

“Hello, Godson!”

Hired

Sybil shook her head a little. The headache had come on suddenly, a most unwelcome distraction from her interview with Headmaster Dumbledore.

“Excuse me, I just…” she started, but before she could pardon herself she found the pain had intensified tenfold and she clutched her temples.

If you told her afterwards that she’d been speaking in a most disturbing voice, she’d never believe you. To her, mere seconds passed before she looked back up to the Headmaster and apologized for her transgression. However, as she did, Dumbledore was staring at her with a thoughtful and calculating gaze.

“Congratulations. You’re hired.”

Damn right, dragons!

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

8. Describe your dream writing space

If I had the time, ability, and financial stability to actually make writing my whole career, I would dedicate a whole room to it, a study if you will. I’d paint the walls a nice, warm, chocolate brown, and I’d have big heavy curtains on the window in case I felt like I needed to be in the dark. I’d have a handsome desk – not your average computer desk, but one of those big writing desks that the authors in movies always seem to have, with notes scattered all over the place, a lamp or two, and a laptop or typewriter plunked in the middle. But besides the desk (which would presumably come with an ergonomically correct chair), I’d also have a big, cushy armchair so I could just curl up with a pen and some paper if I wanted. Finally, the walls would be lined with bookshelves, filled with all my favorite books and my dragon figures (because, hey, dragons!).

17 Months

Today my daughter is exactly 17 months old. Soon she’ll be a year and a half, and then before I can blink she’ll be turning 2 years old. Time flies mercilessly by, and in the time I’ve had with her so far, my little princess has never ceased to amaze me.

Honestly, this kid could be the poster child for how you can never know what to expect.

I, like many other women, read a lot while I was pregnant. I read everything I could find about those first few years of dealing with a child. And while some of it was definitely useful information, quite a lot of it wasn’t helpful in the least because my daughter, like all babies, is unique. Strange, even.

My daughter, for example, never even noticed the switch from breast milk to formula and then to cow’s milk. I had been prepared for a struggle. I read so many horror stories about women whose breast milk had begun to dry up while their child stubbornly refused to drink anything else. Not my daughter. Once we got past the hurdle of getting her to drink from a bottle she didn’t give a damn what was in it.

She also has strange habits that I’ve never seen in a child her age, like her ceaseless love for her crib. Every morning when she wakes I have to hang out with her in her room and wait for her to decide that it’s time to come out of the crib. If I try to pick her up before she’s ready, I’m setting the tone for the day and it’s not a good one! The kid just loves her bed.

She shoos away cookies in favor of crackers. She adores plain cooked green beans. I’ve been trying since Easter, but she won’t let a marshmallow anywhere near her mouth.

And the reason I’m writing this post, the newest quirk that put the idea in my head, is that she has recently decided she simply doesn’t want her bedtime bottle anymore. No weaning for this kid: she’s gone cold turkey. Honestly, how many kids do that? Don’t you usually have to deal with months of crying and arguing to work a kid off their nighttime bottle?

Daughter, dear, you’re an odd one sometimes, but that’s why we love you. 17 months and counting…keep surprising me!