Years ago I received the pleasant surprise of my short story winning an honorable mention in a Writer’s Digest contest. Since then I haven’t been able to find a suitable market for this story. Now with Easter upon us I thought what better time to publish a creative non-fiction piece that deals with the story behind Easter? So, after reading about authors who are publishing short stories on Amazon, I decided to give it a try, and here it is:

If you do purchase a copy of this story, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about it and leave a review on Amazon. Thank you!

Also at Easter time, you may decide to purchase cards and gifts for your loved ones and prepare your home to celebrate Easter. You can find all you need by clicking on the link below.

As I promised some time ago, I’m going to give you a sneak preview of my soon-to-be-published novel Coming OutAngelaJosephCOE. Of Egypt. This novel has had a gestation period of several years, beginning with a different protagonist and with a much more complicated plot.  Then, at a writer’s conference, an editor critiqued it and well, sort of tore it apart. Not that she didn’t like it. She did, but thought it was too much for one book and suggested I make two books out of it, with the female adult character as the protagonist of the first book. Then my critique group who had read both books felt that the original version was better, so back I went to the keyboard.

Coming Out Of Egypt, written in the Christian women’s fiction genre, is the first in a series of three books. It is a tale which, I believe, will tug at the heart of every woman, and the men who love them. At the risk of writing my own review, I will say that the story is warm, compelling and, though set in the eighties, evergreen.

You might be wondering what makes Coming Out Of Egypt stand out from other books. In this first post, I give you a brief overview and a glimpse at the main characters.

Overview –  Coming Out Of Egypt deals with a subject that most people tend to sweep under the rug – sexual abuse. However, this is not dealt with directly in the book. I have tried to show the effects, physical as well as psychological, that this horrible experience has on the lives of the victims. No matter how hard they struggle to hide and overcome the effects of the abuse, it follows them nevertheless.

The characters are lifelike and likeable. Marva, the protagonist, is taciturn, strict with few friends, desperately longing for love and fiercely protective of her younger sister. Works as an automotive technician.

June. Marva’s younger sister, junior high school student, beautiful, outgoing, loves her sister but tries to wriggle out of  her control.

Cicely, Marva’s former teacher, is a Christian whose goal is to mentor two teenage sisters, lives with her ailing father.

David, Cicely’s fiance, a detective trying to solve a murder without clues – no eyewitnesses and no weapon. All he has to go on is motive, and it is one that makes him very uncomfortable.

 

Coming Out Of Egypt, a tale of two sisters, their roller coaster journey out of bondage and a God who delivers.  Pre-orders will soon be available.

 

Christmas is over, but you may still be enjoying time with your friends and family. Part of the conversation around Christmas and Thanksgiving tables usually centers on what are we thankful for. What are some of the moments over the past months that made us do a happy dance or pump our fist in the air and say “Yes!” Even though we may not think of being thankful at the time, all of these incidents should call forth a feeling of gratitude.

So, as a writer, what are you thankful for? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Maybe all you did was start a blog or website, join a writer’s group or write some words for NaNoWriMo. Whatever it is, it’s more than you did before, and you should be thankful and proud of yourself. See it as a stepping stone to better and greater things so that by the end of the year you can have more things to be thankful for.

For me, I am still thankful to be able to wake up each morning and see the sunrise, feel the fresh air on my face and hear the sounds of birds as they call to each other. I am thankful for my family who makes every day worth living. I am also thankful for the gift God has placed inside of me. I call it a gift because not everyone has the ability or the desire to sit down and write something that others will enjoy reading or even pay for.

Even before I started writing seriously thirteen years ago, I had a short story published in a college magazine. At that time I was an inexperienced writer and my writing was a diamond in the rough, but I joined a writer’s group and the members helped me polish my writing to the extent that I have now been published in such reputable anthologies as A Cup of Comfort for Mothers by Adams Media and Chicken Soup For the Soul: Reboot Your Life. I have self-published a Christian non-fiction book Women For All Seasons  and written a fiction trilogy Coming Out of Egypt. In addition, I have written hundreds of articles on health, fitness and education for online sites.

So, I’m thankful for all these things, but especially for God and the people who helped and encouraged me along the way. People like you, my readers, who take the time to read and follow this blog. So, what are you thankful for? Share it in the  comment box below.

 

 

 

A 1993 survey conducted by polling firm Bruskin-Goldring showed that fear of public speaking consistently ranks as the number 1 one fear in America. Yet, as writers, we are told that one of the best ways to promote ourselves and our books is through speaking engagements. This week I interviewed my friend and critique partner Glenda Mathes to get her take on what is involved in being a writer/speaker and what advice she can give to fellow writers.

Glenda Mathes

Glenda Mathes

Glenda has authored several books, fiction as well as non-fiction. Her non-fiction works include two devotionals, A Month of Sundays: 31Meditations on Resting in God and Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. Another nonfiction book, Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, offers biblical hope for the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility (a form of infant loss). Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism is the first workbook in the Life in Christ catechism. Glenda is currently collaborating on a memoir with Uriah Courtney, a man who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over eight years before being exonerated. They anticipate this powerful story will be titled Exoneree.

Glenda has six grandsons, and wrote The Matthew in the Middle series of three novels: Matthew Muddles Through, Matthew Makes Strides, and Matthew Moves Ahead with boys in mind, but girls and entire families enjoy it as well.

 

Questions:

1. Did you always want to become a speaker, or did you just slip gradually into it?

Although I was involved with speech activities in junior and senior high, I never longed to be a speaker. It’s stressful! But because writers are encouraged to build their platform through speaking, I try to embrace the opportunities God sends. I may attempt to schedule an engagement when I plan to be in a specific area, but for the most part I haven’t actively sought speaking opportunities. They have come to me gradually, so in that sense I’ve slipped into it.

2. What topics do you speak about in your presentations? Who is your target audience?

I usually speak to women’s groups on topics related to the Christian life and to my written work: experiencing God in the Psalms, resting in God, or delighting in his word. I also teach seminars on becoming discerning readers or excellent writers. I’ve been blessed to teach Christian sisters in prison and a seminar on writing to male inmates. I enjoy sharing about my life as a writer to elementary students on career days. I even managed to engage junior high students. My toughest audience was a high school youth group. I haven’t been asked to return.

3. Do these topics relate in some way to your books?

My speaking topics often relate to my published work, but also to subjects I’ve studied and written or blogged about—like literature and writing. My regular writing for a couple of publications piques my interest in a variety of subjects and allows me to meet—often only virtually, but sometimes in person—people from different backgrounds and countries with fascinating stories. These experiences add depth and authenticity to my speaking presentations.

4. How do you juggle your schedule as a writer with your speaking engagements?

Your verb choice triggers the apt image of juggling. Speaking means adding another ball to the family and work obligations I’m already spinning. Before accepting a speaking engagement, I carefully consider if I can fit it into my scheduled deadlines and family commitments. I pray about it, and I discuss it with my husband. Scheduling includes more than simply setting aside time for travel and speaking. Adequate time must be allowed for writing a speech and possibly crafting a PowerPoint presentation. How much time is adequate? I always have less time than I’d like.
An instructor at a recent writing conference asked, “How long does it take you to prepare a speech?” I answered, “Forever.” That’s how it usually feels.

5. Can you cite two memorable experiences from your speaking?
When I presented a writing seminar to male inmates participating in a seminary program, they kept me on my teaching toes. They fired questions like bullets, and I had to think extremely fast. It was exhilarating and exhausting.
For a recent trip to speak to women inmates, I prepared two speeches. But I ended up speaking five times on five different topics. Because I like to prepare far ahead of time and write out my entire speech, speaking with little preparation and only a bare-bones outline forced me to depend on the Lord like never before. But God demonstrated that it’s not about me, it’s all about him and how he equips even a weak vessel for his glory.

6. How can someone overcome the fear of public speaking?

I can’t give a step-by-step plan to overcome this fear. Before I speak, I get so nervous I can’t eat. Afterward, I’m starving. But while I’m speaking, God enables me to relax and enjoy it. He expands my mind to work on different levels: I’m concentrating on what I want to convey, focusing on engaging the audience, paying attention to the time, and communing on a deep level with God. If that sounds something like an out-of-body experience, it kind of is.
Perhaps your fears decrease the more often you speak, so the best solution may simply be to do it. And keep doing it. Many books and websites offer practical advice such as video-taping yourself or speaking in front of a mirror, but I find the less I think about myself and the more I depend on God, the better he equips me.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer/speaker?

If you want to get into speaking, start small. Perhaps you could offer to lead devotions for a women’s group at your church. Maybe you have something valuable to share with a local parenting group. Look at your church and community for small opportunities to gain speaking experience. You don’t always have to be paid for speaking, especially if you’re a beginner. Even if you’ve published books, you may simply accept whatever honorarium or love offering the group chooses to give you. But be sure to ask for a table where you can display, sell, and sign your books.
Once you have secured a speaking engagement, pray and prepare. Ask God to soften the hearts of the people who will hear your speech—and the heart of the speaker! Seek his direction on what to say and how to say it. Find friends who will pray for you while you write and give the speech.
Don’t be afraid. It’s the most frequent command in the Bible, and it applies to so much of life, particularly speaking. Unfortunately, not fearing is easy to say and difficult to do. My best advice is to lean on the Lord. Don’t try to impress people with your brilliance or beauty or poise. Don’t speak only to sell books or build platform (although that may be the hoped-for corollary). Do it for God and his glory.

Great advice from a writer who has taken the plunge and done what she needs to do not just to get her book into the hands of readers, but also to encourage and inspire others. Updates on this and Glenda’s other projects can be found on her website here.

Are you a writer/speaker, or do you aspire to become one? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Most professionals are required to attend at least two conferences a year. By doing this, they gain new information in their field, get to network with other members, and acquire tools that help them advance in their career. It’s the same for writers. You can read all the books on writing and meet regularly with your writers’ group, but one of the best ways to develop as a writer is by attending writer’s conferences. Maybe you  already know this and are planning to attend a conference this year or the next. In order to get the most for your money, here are some things you should know.

1. First decide what you want out of the conference. Conferences offer a lot of sessions on different aspects of writing. Depending on the type of conference, there may be workshops on everything from fiction as well as non-fiction writing, social media networking, website design and, of course, opportunities for pitching to agents/editors. Some conferences also offer critiquing and mentoring. What do you want? Maybe you are a fiction writer with a manuscript you would like to pitch, and you’re also interested in social media. Zero in on the one that’s more important – you may not have time for both – then prepare accordingly.

2. Register early. The early bird catches the fattest worm doesn’t only apply to hungry birds. If you want to get the most benefit for your money, you should register early. Reason is, workshops, especially those that are most in demand, fill up quickly. Also, if you are looking to pitch your manuscript, by registering early you are more likely to get the appointments you want.

3. Do your research. After you register, you should receive a packet with a list of presenters, editors and agents who will be at the conference. A well-organized conference will indicate the learning level of the workshops. You don’t want to waste precious dollars sitting in a session that is beneath your knowledge level. Also, and this is very important, if you plan to pitch to an agent/editor, study their bios listed on the conference website so you know what they are looking for. Don’t pick a fantasy editor if you are a romance author.  When you have found some you’re interested in, visit their websites or Facebook pages to see what kinds of books they deal with.

4. Prepare for your appointments. Once you have selected the people you want to pitch to, get your manuscript(s) ready. Most agents don’t want a whole manuscript at the conference – not even a proposal – but they will look at your one-sheet or outline and if they’re interested, they would request a proposal. However, what I found at the last conference I attended is that after I’d pitched my story, they all asked to see the first five pages of my manuscript, which they read before giving it back to me. So, if you’re having multiple appointments, make sure you walk with several copies of your one-sheet and either the first five pages or the first chapter of your manuscript.

5. Practice your pitch. Katherine Sands in her book Making The Perfect Pitch says when practicing your pitch you should interview yourself. What would you say if you were on Oprah? What would you want your viewers and readers to know, not just about your book, but about you. I remember an agent’s first question to me at a conference was, “What kind of books do you like to read?” Now, that’s a loaded question. If you are a writer, you should love to read, and you should be reading some books – not all –  in the genre you write. Fortunately, I love to read, so I was able to answer that question comfortably, but I hadn’t prepared for it. Practice your pitch in front of the mirror and with someone until it sounds perfect.  Remember you only have five minutes to impress the agent or editor.

6. Dress professionally. At the conference you want to impress others, but a writer’s conference is not the place for your stilettos and low-cut blouses. Leave those for the gala night. Most conference brochures will emphasize business casual as the dress code. Why is this important? The people you meet with will be forming their own impression of you. Do you look like someone they would want to do business with in the future? By dressing professionally, you will demonstrate that you are serious about your work and can be taken seriously.

7. Give them something to remember you by.  Every writer should have business cards. You can either make them yourself, or have them made very inexpensively from Vistaprint in a color that matches your website or one-sheet. A word about one-sheets. In case you don’t know, a one-sheet is literally one sheet. It gives the hook and a brief description of your novel, along with your bio, a professional-looking headshot of yourself, and a photo that depicts the essence of your book. Most agents will keep this so when you send your proposal, they will remember who it came from.


Keep your business card in a neat little case so you don’t have to hunt for it when you need to give a card to someone.

8. Take notes. Obviously, you will take notes during your workshop sessions. Don’t depend on the outlines the presenters hand out because by the time you get home, you may have forgotten everything else. Also, take notes at your appointments. Each agent may request something different. One may ask for a query, synopsis and the first chapter; another may want a full-scale proposal. Make sure you understand and give them what they require.

9. Network, network, network. At one conference I attended, we actually had a workshop on networking. We were made to work the room with our business card in hand and talk to as many people as possible. To some attendees, it was no big deal, but to the more introverted ones like myself, it was intimidating at first. However, once I got the hang of it, I had fun doing it, and made quite a few friends. So when you go to that conference, don’t sit at the same table for every meal. And if possible, try to sit at the agents’ table at least once. They always leave a few extra seats for attendees. You never know, your next contract may come from an informal meeting such as this and not from your appointment.

10. Follow up. After the conference, be sure to email the contacts you made and let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Get your queries or proposals ready and send them off to the agents who requested them during the timeframe they stipulated. Attach a cover letter stating that you met them at the conference, state date and place, and you are sending your query per their request. If you had an appointment with someone and were not able to keep it, send your query and explain what happened. Also, if your agent suggested changes, be sure to make those changes for that particular query.

Attending conferences is one of the things I enjoy about being a writer. I get to visit a strange place, most of the time, and meet other writers. Most of all, I increase my knowledge about the craft of writing, and return home energized to keep on writing. What has been your experience at writer’s conferences? Please leave a comment in the box below, and if you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog.

As writers, we pride ourselves on our creativity, but researchers have found that creativity can be linked to depression. Many famous writers such as Mark Twain, Stephen King and Virginia Woolf suffered from depression. But one factor needs emphasizing: researchers also found that while writers are at a greater risk for depression, their relatives are not. Therefore, writers may be able to avoid depression by following the tips below:

 

 

 

Stephen King

Cover of Stephen King

 

 

 

1. Avoid isolation. Most writers are introverts by nature, and once we begin to write, it’s easy for us to turn down invitations for spending time with others. We need to guard against this. We have to forsake the company of our characters and our ideas and get out for a while, maybe just to browse through the mall or chat with a friend.

2. Work with the clock, not against it. Deadlines are the bane of most writers. In order to maintain a good reputation with clients and/or editors, you need to be able to meet your deadlines. Work out a system you can live with. Keep projects, newspaper clippings, calendars etc. in labeled folders (on or off screen) so you can find them when you need them. Schedule activities in blocks of time so you don’t become overwhelmed trying to meet those deadlines.

3. Manage your time wisely. Airlines overbook all the time, and then they bump passengers. As writers we don’t have that luxury. We need to have enough work to pay the bills, but at the same time we don’t want to take on more than we can handle, because this can lead to stress which leads to depression.

4. Take regular breaks. Whether you are a full time or part time writer, you should schedule regular time away from your computer. This is not exactly the same as #1. In this case, you are taking a break from your writing so when you return to it, you can see it from a different perspective. You will also be much more relaxed and reenergized to tackle your writing.

5. Avoid alcohol. You might think this is a given, but many famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald drank heavily and were plagued by depressive episodes. Alcohol is a depressant. It tricks the brain into making it feel it’s having a good time, but when the effect wears off, depression sets in. After a while, you develop a tolerance for the substance and have to use more and more.

6. Observe proper nutrition. Feed your body the right stuff and it will reward you. As writers, we can drift from one end of the spectrum to the other. Either we get so engrossed in our work that we forget to eat, and only live on coffee, or we nibble constantly while working so we become overweight and unhealthy. Plan ahead so that you always have a supply of nutritious foods in the refrigerator. If you are prone to overeat, schedule and stick to your snack time rigidly.

7. Exercise regularly. This goes hand in hand with proper nutrition. Regular exercise not only tones your body, it tones your mind and fuels creativity. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good and fight off depression.

8. Have a creative outlet. I’m a writer, I already have a creative outlet, you say. That’s true, but you should have something else besides your writing to help you relax when you are feeling tense over a project. Music, painting, gardening or simply walking has been found helpful.

9. Develop a positive attitude. As writers we deal with criticism and rejection on a regular basis. If we take them the wrong way, we can become very depressed. We begin to doubt our ability and we may even give up writing altogether.

10. Reach out to others. This can be linked to #1. Instead of isolating when you get discouraged or depressed, reach out to people who will help to lift your spirits. Belonging to a writer’s group has been a wonderful blessing to me over the years, as I believe it is to many writers. We don’t only critique each other’s work, but we also share in each other’s joys, fears and disappointments. If you don’t belong to a writer’s group, I encourage you to find one as quickly as possible.

The writer’s life is full of ups and downs. As writers, we have to take the good with the bad, learn from each, and not allow ourselves to become depressed when things don’t go the way we would want them.

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below and share it with your friends on social media.

 

 

English: Jordan Sonnenblick doing a book-signi...

English: Jordan Sonnenblick doing a book-signing at the Eldersburg Library in Eldersburg, MD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it might be true to say that for most of us our desire to become writers grew out of our love for reading. And that love for reading grew out of our visits to the library. For many of us, those book-lined buildings were like a second home. Now as authors, we still treasure our local libraries and visit them often (I hope) either to satisfy our hunger for good quality reading material, or to do research. But did you know that your local library holds other benefits to you as an author?

 
Below are some ways we can benefit from our library:

 

1. Submit your book. As an author, one of the best ways to gain exposure is to have your book included in the library system. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for indie authors to get in because of the overwhelming number of indie titles being churned out in the US alone every year. But now there is hope. If you have written an ebook for which you hold the rights, you can submit it to SELF-e, a library curation process open to ebooks written in the English language. Your book has to undergo a vetting process by the Library Journal’s evaluators, and if selected, it will be made available to librarians nationwide. You can get more information  here

 

2. Hold a book signing or library reading. If you have a print version of your book, holding a book signing or library reading is a great way to get the word out. After I self-published my book Women For All Seasons, I plucked up my courage and approached my local library to do a book signing. To my surprise, the librarian was very pleasant and helpful. She gave me all the information I needed and even made a large poster for me with my photo and the title of my book and placed it at the library entrance on the day of the event. I felt like I was a famous author. Read about it here.

 

3. Participate in group discussions. Writers’ groups, book clubs and other community groups hold regular meetings in the library. Getting involved in these events not only helps you get known, but it may help you establish valuable contacts. Readers also love to see the face behind the wonderful book you have written.

 

4. The ideal environment. Above my desk, I have rows of bookshelves. Whenever I look up from my computer screen, I see books, and even though I’ve had most of them for a long time, they still inspire me and help to keep me anchored. If you are not blessed with the right environment for writing, what better place to go than your library? It’s usually quieter than a coffee shop or bookstore and has all the books you may need for research right at hand.

 

5. Donate your print book. In #1 I stated that it’s difficult for indie authors to get their books in the library. Difficult, but not impossible. Marlene Harris, a librarian with 15 years experience, advises that you call or email the person in charge of Collection Development or Acquisitions. He/she may request two copies, but Marlene warns there are always exceptions – textbooks, fill-in-the-blanks books and books with spiral or comb bindings may not make the cut. You can also check to see if your library’s website has a blog. They may be happy to help you promote your book there. But, say Marlene and a librarian I spoke to, the best way to get your book noticed by libraries is to have it reviewed by a reputable reviewer like Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and others. Get more information here.

 
So, the next time you visit that revered building to return or check out books, look at it with a new pair of eyes. Think of ways you can use your library to promote yourself and your writing. Best of all, make friends with your librarian. Let them know you are a local author and what you write. You never know what unexpected benefits may come your way.

 

How do you begin writing a novel? How do you build the plot, recruit a cast of characters, place them in an exotic 6a00d8341d6a8353ef015435c1dcc7970c-500wisetting and do all that in a way that will keep your readers turning the pages? In other words, where do you get your ideas? At a conference I attended, one of the presenters suggested that authors browse popular magazines for stories that interest them and build a plot based on that. She actually had us draw up a simple outline during the session. I came up with a few other fountain of ideas.

From other novels.  As a writer, you should be reading – a lot – especially in the genre you want to write. Even famous novelists report that they have been influenced by other authors, especially the classical ones like Hemingway, Dostoyevsky and others. One editor suggested you summarize a novel you enjoyed, but change the entire premise. Instead of the good guy riding off into the sunset with the girl, have her marry the bad guy instead. It could mark the beginning of a series.

From your life.  What kind of life experiences have you had? Have you ever stumbled on something you were not supposed to witness? Have you ever found yourself in a place you were not supposed to be? How did you get out of it? At the last conference I attended, one of the hosts mentioned that the fourth floor of the hotel in which we were staying was not accessible either by elevator or escalator. Why was the fourth floor cut off like that? What was on that floor? The mystery writers among us all had their antennae up.

The media. One thing we can be assured of is, people love bad news. Every book on writing will tell you that an effective story begins with someone facing a disaster or conflict of some sort. Therefore, if you want bad news, where do you turn? To the media, of course. They dole out mini plots everyday. Think of the stories that dominated the headlines last year. The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Ebola outbreak,  the Bill Cosby rape allegations, ISIS, police shootings, and other less popular stories can all provide us with enough material for many books.

Your job. Regardless of where you work, your job can be a treasure trove of interesting stories. Your co-worker who is going through a divorce, a grandmother whose son has just moved back home, a woman who has just been diagnosed with cancer, an accountant who is cooking the books to keep his mistress. The list is endless. The idea for my first novel Coming Out Of Egypt came from when I worked as a schoolteacher. There were two sisters who, it was rumored, were being abused. In my novel, the older girl kills her father.

Your imagination. Of course, no matter where you look for ideas, you will not have a salable idea without imagination. You cannot rewrite a news item and make it read like a novel without infusing it with some imaginary details. If the situation you now come up with intrigues you and makes you want to keep on writing, then you can be sure your readers will want to keep on reading.

After you hit on an idea that sparks your creativity, draw up a plot then run it by a few friends. Listen carefully to what they say, but go with your gut feeling. You will write many drafts before you type The End. Drop me a line in the comment box below and let me know where your ideas come from.

 

With January just half-way through, you may still be trying to refine your resolutions, craft new ones or just reflect on what file0001428273405improvements you can make to your life this year. I haven’t made any resolutions. I simply prefer to reexamine my values and set my goals  based on those values.  And one of my values as a writer, and I daresay, that of most writers, whether you are a veteran or a newbie, is to grow and improve. How you translate that depends on what stage you are in in your writing life.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and have been fortunate to have some short stories and articles published. However, I still have not realized my dream of having my novel Coming Out Of Egypt published. And it’s not for want of trying. I have queried agents and publishers, attended conferences, pitched to agents and editors, obtained paid critiques as well as having my work  critiqued by my writers’ group. Most of the feedback I received has been positive, but still no contracts.

So this year I’ve decided to take the plunge and self-publish.  I know, most people say it’s always too soon to give up. I am not giving up. I am simply using a viable option available to me in this brave new world of publishing. I think my book is as good as, or even better than, some of the traditionally- published ones, and I expect it to do well in the marketplace. Meanwhile, I’ll be editing and pitching the second book in the series, In The Wilderness. So please follow me on my novel journey. Maybe you’ll pick up a few tips, and if you see me going the wrong way, please advise me to make a U turn.

Why not share your novel journey with us in the comments box below?

libri4Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and is looking forward to the New Year. With my grandchildren around me, my Christmas could not have been better. I am now looking forward to what 2015 holds.  Which brings me to the reason for the headline above. Actually, it came about as a result of a post I read this morning, one that had nothing to do with writing. The author was speaking about expectations in general and she stated that expecting too much from others can lead to disappointment. And she was right. We should only set standards by ourselves.

So, what expectations do we have of ourselves as writers? I know for myself, I set my expectations very high. I want to be the best writer I can be. I want my work to stand out from among the others. There is a trend in writing and publishing toward producing work that is quite similar to what is already on the market. One person writes a successful vampire story and hundreds flood the market. One person writes  a dystopian novel and we get hundreds more.  And I wouldn’t even touch on the romance market. I suppose we are afraid that no one would read our books, or, worse yet, we would not be able to find an agent. The latter may very well be true, but whatever happened to originality and creativity and uniqueness?  Where are the Shakespeares, the Jane Austens, the Faulkners of our day?

A friend of mine who is a voracious reader told me recently that Agatha Christie, who wrote 91 books, 82 of which are mysteries, has a unique plot and unpredictable  ending for each one of her mysteries. Now that’s what I call creativity. I read Agatha Christie when I was growing up, so I may have to go and reread some of them through the eyes of an author.

In 2015, my expectation is to be my creative best, and if I get only one reader, then so be it. What are your expectations? Please share them in the comments box below.

 

 

 

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