Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Everyone Deserves A Chance to Fly!

Okay, so I've been listening to a lot of WICKED in the car recently. You know how you turn it up really loud and scream-sing along with, pretending you're even half as good as Kristin Chenoweth? Yeah, maybe that's just me.

But anyway, my favorite song of the show is "Defying Gravity." It just seems to fit a lot of what I've been feeling, thinking, and going through lately.

So Glinda has told Elphaba that she "can still be with the Wizard. What you've worked and waited for." (Tell me that doesn't apply to publishing!)

And Elphaba says:
"I know:
But I don't want it -
No - I can't want it

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game

Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep

It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!"

I love that. You can't pull me down!

Then Glinda says:
"Can't I make you understand?
You're having delusions of grandeur."

(Also, publishing. Who among us doesn't have delusions of grandeur? I'm totally guilty as charged.)

To which Elphaba replies:
"I'm through accepting limits
'cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down."

See? See how this applies to publishing? "I'm through accepting limits, 'cause someone says they're so." I absolutely love that line. And there are things in publishing that we don't understand until we try them. And things we're afraid of, and things we miss out on because of those fears.

Then Elphaba and Glinda have their little goodbye, and Elphaba sings:
"So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Everyone deserves the chance to fly!"

And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me

Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in reknown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!"

Again, love. Because everybody DOES deserve the chance to fly, even if it's solo.

So today, I am getting on my broom and hoping it'll fly. I'm letting you know that I will be self-publishing a novel of mine on February 18, 2014. It's called ELEVATED, and it's about a girl who gets stuck in an industrial-sized elevator with her ex-boyfriend. It's a YA contemporary novel-in-verse.

That's right. Poetry. Every word.

And my good friend, Erin Summerill is making the cover with some exclusive photography she shot--and she is brilliant!

And in case you haven't heard of WICKED or Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, you really should watch it.

Don't you think everyone deserves a chance to fly?

Monday, November 18, 2013

How Do You Know If You're Good?

Okay, so many of you know I'm querying. And if you didn't, you do now! Of course, I'm getting rejected. It's part of the business. But as the rejections have been coming in, I'm always left with one question: How do you know if you're a good writer?

Is it because people tell you you are? Is it because you have an agent? A lot of sales? A deal?

I'm not sure, because I've read books that win big, major awards and I walk away from them because I don't like them. I've read books that are brilliant that no one else seems to be talking about. I've read books that sold for a lot of money and found them boring.

So how do you know if you're a good writer? What's the measurement?

I hate stuff like this, because I am a concrete person. I want a plan, a method, to know. Like, I can count my calories and know how much I've eaten. I can see the weight coming off the scale (BTW, I'm down 10 pounds now! Just started a couple of weeks ago). I know how to measure the success.

But with publishing, I don't.

I think that might be the most frustrating thing of all. I don't want to publish something bad, something poorly written or imagined, something poorly executed. But I don't know how to tell what's "good" and what's "bad."

So how do you know if you're a good writer?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pushing Past the Subjectivity

Dude, this business is SO subjective. If you didn't know that yet, I hope I'm not revealing anything too heart-breaking. Because this publishing thing? It has the power to rip your heart out and trample on it.

And it's because of the subjectivity of the art. Writing is art. Books are art. I know intellectually that not everyone will "connect" with the art I produce. But emotionally, this is a much harder fact to internalize. Because, if the writing is good, and the plotting is smart, and the characters are well-developed (all compliments I've gotten), why exactly isn't this book for you?

Subjective tastes.

And that's hard to stomach, because I don't know how to revise to fix that. It's impossible. We can't revise our books for every reader who comes along, be them agents, editors, or fans. Maybe if you're writing a Choose Your Own Adventure (remember those?).

But seriously, the subjectivity of this industry is demoralizing. It makes you question your ability, and allows your mind to wander into Forbidden Territory: Doubt.

At the same time, this subjectivity is what's so great about publishing. There literally is a place for everyone, all stories, all types.

So each time I get a rejection that doesn't resonate with me, or with the reasons I wrote the story I did, or the vision I have for my story, I have to push past the subjectivity of it. Sometimes it's hard -- oh, so many times. But in the end, I have to create the art I love and believe in.

How do you push past the subjectivity?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NaNo Check-In!

Okay, I realize I've abandoned the blog for a little bit. It's because all my time is sucked up in teaching, mothering, and writing. And it's exciting! I haven't written a book since April, and for a few days there, I seriously thought I'd forgotten how.

But isn't that always how it goes? Sure, I've been spending a lot of time on writing-related things. Revisions. Social media. Editing. But the actual drafting a book doesn't happen as often. Not nearly enough.

So this NaNo-ing has been good for me. Very therapeutic. I'm a bit ahead of the curve right now, but I still need to be writing about 1400 words each day to finish on time.

The real problem came yesterday when I wrote during my lunch hour (gotta grab the minutes when you can, you know?). I think I may have written myself into a corner. I usually write again after my kids go to bed, but I just couldn't. I wasn't sure how to get out of what I'd gotten into.

So I'm stewing on that today, and I might have to do one of those fillers. You know, the "stuff happens here" highlighted in yellow so I can keep getting the words on the page.

Are you NaNo-ing? How is it going?

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