Tag Archives: Authors

Happy National Authors Day

Happy National Authors DayWe love our authors, and today because it is National Authors Day they get an extra shout out. Are there authors who have changed your life through their beautiful words? There are for me, too many to count.

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” — Author Unknown

Is it a coincidence that National Authors Day is the same day as the start of NaNoWriMo, the writing competition that spans the month of November? For all of those participating in that mad dash to 50,000 words, good luck! I did it three years ago and finished the first very rough draft of my novel.

But alas, an author — at least, a novelist — I am not. Not yet, anyway. Novels are approximately 80,000-100,00 words and undergo revision after revision after revision. I’ve been through two major revisions already and am not done yet.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood

Authors should be recognized. As an aspiring one, I know how incredibly difficult it is, and producing a well-written tome is something to be very proud of.

Here is some interesting info from Scribd, the reading subscription service, offering access to the books, audiobooks, news and magazine articles, documents and more.

Scribd has analyzed its user data to come up with the most popular author in each state.

Here are a few of the key data findings:

  • Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) is the most popular author in America, claiming the top spot in 7 states. (I reviewed this book.)
  • Pop culture is King – Stephen King (ItThe Tommyknockers) is the most popular author in 4 states and Ernest Cline (Ready Player One) is the most popular in 3 states.
  • The Northeast wants to know What Happened, with New York, Maine, and Massachusetts each reading Hillary Clinton more than any other author.
  • Most Popular Genres – Personal Growth and Mysteries, Thrillers & Crime are indisputably the most popular genres across America right now.

Happy National Authors Day

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.” — William Makepeace Thackeray

Thank you, authors, for delighting us, inspiring us, drawing us in to worlds we never knew existed. Keep writing, keep creating, keep sharing! And perhaps we should all heed this suggestion:

“When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author.” — Sherman Alexie

 

 

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When Your Work in Progress is Not Making Progress

I got used to the incessant drone of crickets around here.

Not the ones chirping outside our bedroom window. Those I like.

No, it’s the crickets inside my head that bedeviled me. The crickets that invaded the space where my writing inspiration should be.

When Your Work in Progress Is Not Making Progress

Writing a novel has been a lifelong dream, one that has eluded me thus far. Ten months ago I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and banged out 50,000 words of my novel. It was actually a stress-free, even pleasant experience. I let my creativity flow and I sat back and watched what happened.

The outcome surprised me. My characters, with flaws and desires I hadn’t predicted, made choices I hadn’t foreseen. Major characters switched places with minor characters. My setting evolved from blurry to crystal clear, vivid and colorful, the way Oz looked when Dorothy’s house plunked down in it.

I felt like I was on the sidelines observing the action in a lively football game.

I kept at it, several hours a day. In the end, I proudly tacked the NaNoWriMo certificate of completion on my office wall. I did it! It would be smooth sailing now.

On a roll of self-confidence, I didn’t let the momentum subside. I continued to work on the draft, writing more chapters, editing, and finally in March, submitting the work in progress to a developmental editor. I wanted a professional to take an overview of what I had done so far.

Nervous to hear her say I would never be a writer get her feedback, I was relieved to get thoughtful, helpful notes of ways to improve my story.  She pointed out where the holes were, alerted me to inconsistencies in the timeline and, since I am writing historical fiction, suggested ways to give the reader a fuller context of the time period.

Charged with energy, I dove into the second draft, certain that 2015 would be my year. The year I finally finished the novel.

That’s what I thought.

Welp. It’s not happening.

Why? Well, life kind of got in the way. My son got married. My daughter got engaged. My dog got sick.

Maybe I should not have let these interruptions derail me, but I did. I was distracted. I couldn’t get back into my novel.

Chagrined, I started to feel like a failure. Would this novel never get completed? I had come so far, done so much work. Invested so much love in this project.

I sat myself down and did some soul searching. Some DIY psycho therapy. I resisted the inclination to slip into self-doubt. What could I do to get back on track if I couldn’t muster the energy to work on my draft?

I did three things.

  1. I gave myself a pep talk. Instead of my normal refrain — I can’t, I won’t, I’ll never — I told that inner voice to shut the hell up. I gave myself permission to extend my deadline. It’s my deadline, no one else’s.
  2. I continued to write, blogging at least once a week on topics of interest to me. This gave my writing muscles a regular workout.
  3. I kept reading. The hours that were not spent writing were devoted to the stack of books next to my bed. There’s nothing quite like reading brilliant writing to inspire your own.

The upshot?

I’m back. The juices are once again flowing, the wheels are turning. I’m happy to say that my work in progress is again progressing.

And I’ve kicked those crickets out of my head.

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