Friday, October 07, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAY: Where's the joy?


Hello world,

When I asked author Catherine Mann how long it took her to sell her books, she said that her first sale was for her fifth novel. Her secret was to write a book, edit it, and move on to the next one. Clearly, there's a lesson to be had from this. Fact is, it's all about the writing. Yes, we want to sell, and wouldn't it be lovely if we sold all our books, starting from the very first one, to a big name publisher. But we live in the real world where sometimes this is possible, and sometimes it's not.

I think that we're too focused on "publishing" and not focused enough on the actual writing process. Does it give you joy to write? Or do you just want to hurry up and get published? I always felt the former, but there were times when I got caught in the rat race too - writing for the market so I can sell quicker. Whenever I did that, the result was crappy to say the least. The most messed up writing I ever produced! I'm still fixing the mess in the fifth draft of my latest WIP, which I'd started writing before I had this epiphany. Recently, I communicated with an old friend who also shared the same feelings with me. Her thoughts were...

DON'T WRITE BECAUSE IT'S "TRENDY" BUT WRITE BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR STORY.

She told me and a mutual friend that she wanted to feel that way again. She wanted to forget about the goal and focus on the process. It used to be something she loved to do.

True, the industry is tough. It may take a while to sell the finished product, but that doesn't mean the work isn't good. It just means one needs to continue to do what one loves - and write another story! When an author gets published. they still have to keep on writing, anyway.

If Catherine Mann had written a book and felt discouraged after she didn't sell it, she'd never have written a second, third, fourth, and fifth book. And then, she would never have become a USA Today bestseller. She'd never have known...

So what are you going to do after you write your first novel and start shopping it around. Will you let the rejections crush you? My suggestion is - open a blank Word document or a blank email, and start composing... your next masterpiece! Think about how you felt when you first read books that inspired you to start writing. Think about that love you always had, still have, for the written word. It was a childlike enthusiasm, untainted by piles of rejections, multiple drafts, revisions, various crits, and market forces. It was just you and a writing pad, a laptop or a type writer. And it was pure love! Sharon O'Brien, an author and teacher, said: "Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say." What a feeling!

So be that "child" again, the one who can't wait to jot down his/her thoughts at every free moment - find that hidden joy and grab on to it. By going down to the bare bones, stripping away the layers, and separating the act of writing from the business of publishing, you are carving your path as a committed and happy author. Because that's what it's all about, baby :-D.

Before I "wrap up", I'd like to add that my lovely CP, Zee Monodee, is really walking the walk. Please mosey on down to her blog today to see what she has to say. Her Progress Friday blogs are always worth the read.

And to finish off with a bang, here's my eye candy of the week. The sinfully sexy Julian McMahon, who's half-human, half-demon character on Charmed, Cole, gave me no choice but to give the hero in my first short story, and then my son, the same name.


Until next time, my lovely friends, live well and love deeply.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

9 comments:

Zee Monodee said...

Hmmm, sinful pic! :)

You're so right - the only way to go is forward, and for the writer, that's the next book. Each work we start should be the work of our heart, not just something we're chasing to gain publication credits!

Here's to a lovely Friday and weekend to you, girl! XOXO

Pat Azzopardi said...

Mmmm delicious eye candy..

I'm sure every artist, composer, architect etc would rather NOT being doing anything commercial too my dear Angela but yes the rat race does tend to dictate things sometimes. A nice balance between what YOU really want to write and what the public wants would be desirable. Balancing is an everyday struggle for us all i guess...

Angela Guillaume said...

Zee, thanks for popping over! Yes, we have to feel what we're writing, first and foremost. The other stuff follows! Have a great weekend, sister xxxx

Angela Guillaume said...

Pat, you are right. Everything in life is about balance. I think that by writing what we love we produce something infinitely better, so that balance can be achieved. Of course, it's still important to learn and study, and basically work hard. Thanks, my lovely, for visiting my blog xoxoxo

Rae Lori said...

Thank you so much for this post. You hit the nail right on the head girlie and really made my day btw. I had to rediscover my love for writing and really focus on just telling the story like you said. It's that child-like enthusiasm that the business tends to stomp down on ya that's needed and I so needed a big blaring sign to say "hey you! Remember this!" :-)

Hope you have an awesome weekend and big huggs to you and my other sis Zee for being the awesome, inspiring and big hearted chicas that you are!

P.S. Julian McMahon in that pic is a thing of beauty lol.

Angela Guillaume said...

Rae! So so so so so so happy that we inspired you! We have missed you tons and yes, do it for the love. It's a shame if you don't because you do have something to say. Love ya xoxoxoxo

MJKane said...

I'm already there...Even though I'm editing my first work, I've got piles of notebooks with chapters from the next five books in my series. No, I haven't been published yet, but that's not stopping my desire to tell my stories. Thanks to the wonderful ability to self-publish, if a main steam publisher does not feel that I'm 'fitting' into their desired writing parameters, I can still tell my story the way I want too. Yes, I'm still following the rules of writing my genre, just bending them a little. There 's nothing wrong with producing something new and fresh for readers. The 'big houses' can't dictate what every reader wants to read. There's a difference between want and forced. You know what I mean? Put a variety out there and let the readers decide what they want.

Angela Guillaume said...

MJ, it's great to see that you are so psyched about your projects and that your desire to write is not dulled by the hard aspects of the business. That's the spirit! xoxo

Guilie said...

Thanks for posting this, Angela... It's an ultra-valuable reminder for all of us. No matter where we're at--multiple rejections, haven't even queried yet--it's important to remember WHY we're doing this in the first place. Sure, selling books is the ultimate "pat on the back", the mark of success, and who doesn't want success? But the only way to get there--and I do stress ONLY--is by writing the stories you're in love with. Making concessions to the market may seem like a good idea, but it takes a truly serious writer, a truly professional and experienced one, to walk that line without falling into "selling out". And if we do sell out... Well, then, we might as well go do something else for money, right?

Thanks for the post!