Monday, December 26, 2011

Prepping the Resolutions

I'm one of those people who loves Christmas in the weeks preceding, but is ready to pack up the decorations and shove them into the nearest closet once the festivities are over. And now in the remaining week of 2011, it's time to set your 2012 goals.

You have a week. One. Most people aim at losing weight, paying down debt, quitting smoking, getting more exercise. While all fantastic goals -- and while one such target sits on my "to do" list -- I found it very beneficial last year to set a writing goal for myself. Something to aspire to in the months spanning December 2010 to the present. And it just happened to be one of those resolutions I fulfilled, and damn if that's not a good feeling.

So I hope everyone had a lovely holiday, but it's December 26, and time to at least think about where you want to be next year, when it's a week from 2013. What do you want to have accomplished? And how exactly can you get there?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

From all of us at Romancing the Muses!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's the Most Frustrating Time of the Year

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t seem to find the time to get anything done recently. Shopping, parties, families, wrapping, children’s plays, concerts, workplace gatherings, and so on and so on and so on. Even if you don’t celebrate a particular holiday over the season, it’s easy to find yourself stampeded by the number of external events that occur this time of year. This unfortunately comes with the side-effect of getting little to nothing accomplished when it comes to writing goals.

For this reason, in preparation of being overwhelmed, I decided to give myself December off, excepting my editing responsibilities. Aside from Christmas, I have a December birthday, a grandfather with a December birthday, and then my split family to arrange our plans around, my husband’s split family to arrange plans around, and then our work schedules/parties. It gets a little crazy. And after NaNoWriMo, I knew any hope of getting a significant amount of writing done in December was a pipe dream.

So if you find yourself trailing in your goals, it’s okay. It happens to the best of us. Just sit back, enjoy the holidays, and don’t blanch at the stack of work waiting when you get back to business in January. We always find away to muddle through it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life's like something or other.

I’m not a fan of coconut, nor am I particularly keen on stringy caramel. The sort of caramel you get when you buy a Milky Way or a Snickers; I’ve come to the realization I like caramel depending on the form it’s in. Solids are good, stringy gak-like substances remain rather nasty, in my humble opinion.

Anyone here remember that popular movie from the 1990s? Bit saccharine now, if you go back and re-watch, but it remains an entertaining piece of American cinema. There was a line about a box of chocolates, life, and not knowing what to expect. Fortune cookie wisdom as it may be, there is a good amount of truth in the anecdote.

The publishing world comes with its coconuts and its peanut butters. Time, patience, and perseverance seem to be the key in success. You might have all the Internets gabbing about your latest release, only to receive dismal sales numbers. You might spend a lot in promotions, including merchandise such as bookmarks and print copies, but wait years before you make back the cash you invested. You might take yourself for an emotional roller coaster ride in writing the book, yet watch it get largely ignored by your readers.

Then again, you might write something fluffy and trivial only to have it be a sales dream come true. The truth is, you can’t know what’s going to do well. If there was a recipe for a success, believe me, we’d all be millionaires. All you can do is hope your work resonates with those who read it, enough that they come back for more. It might take years to develop a loyal readership; in the meantime, relax, unwind, and remember for every bad chocolate you eat, there’s one of a different flavor with your name on it. You just need to know when to suck it up and chew or spit it back out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writing For The Market

Let's face it: All aspiring authors want to be successful. There is nothing wrong with that. However, I've recently seen an increase in authors who have decided to write in particular genres, not because they enjoy them or have a great new idea but due to the fact the genre sells. While this is totally up to the individual, I wanted to address how writing for the market can sometimes be a devil in disguise.

I've found that the books I've created that are most popular are the ones that come from the heart. These are stories that don't fit a mold but have to be told. I'll sit down, hammer the story out, and when I'm done I have a odd sense of accomplishment. However, I have written stories in the past that were a part of an anthology. Although I wrote the material, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the result. Why? Because it wasn't organic. Due to this I decided it wasn't in my best interest to dip my toes in anthology waters in the future unless the story I want to tell is mine and mine alone.

Each of us have our own ideas and interests that excite us. I think that when we write these things our enthusiasm shows on the page. Consider this when you're deciding what it is that you want to write. Sales are well and good but keep in mind there is no guarantee that just because you write in a genre that your book will be a hit. Luck, promotion, and word of mouth play a huge role in this; something you can't control. What you can control is what you put out there for the world to enjoy.

Just something to think about.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Here's your eye-candy of the week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Interrupt This Blog For A Public Service Announcement

I know this is a break from our typical topics, but being that it is the season for depression, I thought I’d do something a lot different for those who might need to hear it.

We’ve all heard the statistics regarding depression and the holidays. Heck, there’s even been a catchy little acronym coined to describe the sentiment – Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. No one is safe from S.A.D. There might be routine victims – people who know to expect it – or it might hit someone out of the blue after umpteen years of being jolly and festive during the winter months. S.A.D. is difficult to understand as many of its sufferers, myself included, absolutely LOVE the holidays. The knowledge the season is one of your favorites and therefore should inspire joy can only worsen the effects of S.A.D., and if you don’t understand it, it’s hard to get over.

S.A.D. is commonly thought to be caused by lack of serotonin. The sun is a natural provider of serotonin, and in winter, when the days are shorter and the weather is often dreary, the sun has no way of transmitting this important chemical. Among other things, low serotonin levels are “believed to be the reason for many cases of mild to moderate depression which can lead to symptoms like anxiety, apathy, fear, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia and fatigue.”

Serotonin is hardly linked just to S.A.D. I take two medications to boost my serotonin levels as part of my treatment for OCD. Learning what you can about these important make-or-break brain chemicals, even knowing there is a cause, can be the difference between having happy holidays or a Blue Christmas. I highly encourage everyone who has suffered or is suffering from S.A.D. to do some research.

I promise we’ll be back to normal next week. :o)

Read more on S.A.D. here