Don’t Get Sad … Get Mad!

Did you just get another rejection?

Has someone dissed your book?

Has someone said that if you write romance, you’re not a “real” writer?

Are you stuck with your “sagging” middle? (I mean your book, not your body).😉

Is some other writer you believe isn’t all that good more successful than you are?

In all cases, don’t get sad – GET MAD!!

Regarding rejections, THEY MEAN NOTHING! Don’t cry about it. Get mad. Tell yourself you’re a damn good writer and the book that “x” didn’t want will sell to “y” – and in the meantime, KEEP WRITING! Editors like to know you are not just a one-book wonder. They want to know you intend to make a career in writing – that your head is full of new ideas. Before I sold my first book over 35 years ago, I had close to 100 rejections! I wrote 9 books in a matter of about 3 years, and I kept sending them around to different publishers, sure I’d hit the right editor at the right time. And I “listened” to advice that came with some of those rejections. I realized I hadn’t written Gone With The Wind, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t sell one of my books. Each new book I wrote became a learning experience. The first book I actually sold was that NINTH book. And back then, it was hard to sell because romance was incredibly popular and there were a lot of fingers in the pie and no modern ways to get through to publishers. No internet, so you had to mail those big heavy manuscripts, over and over. And those first books were written with a typewriter, using “white-out” to make corrections and – literally – cutting and pasting! But I got mad when I didn’t see my first book and kept writing and cutting and pasting and mailing until I finally got a sale. Some rejections are just standard because that editor is so busy he or she doesn’t even want to look at any more new manuscripts at that particular time. So don’t fret the small stuff. Keep writing and keep submitting! Don’t get sad – the MAD.

Regarding someone dissing your book – that just goes with the territory. Ninety-Nine percent of the time it’s because they are jealous and “think” they could write a better book. Tell them that if they think they can, sit down and do it. Concentrate on your positive readers – those who send you those wonderful compliments and want to know what else you have written. You can’t please them all, especially in today’s times! Never, ever let a snide comment or a bad review keep you from what you love doing. Just keep on writing! Don’t get sad – get MAD!

Regarding those who say you are not a “real” writer – really? You’re published. If not, you are spending some serious time on your dream, and you are at least making the effort. Once published, you may not be earning Stephen King royalties, but you are published. You are a real writer. To those who say you aren’t, just tell them, “Fine. You go write a book and get it published and then come and tell me you aren’t a real writer.” You can also explain what you write about and why you write it. Make them see you don’t just write senseless fluff. Don’t get sad – get MAD!

The sagging middle? We’ve all been through that. It can really put a crimp in your writing schedule because suddenly you come to a halt, not knowing which way to go. It can even, in some cases, make you give up and think your book sucks, so why go on? Well, you started out with enthusiasm and a good idea. Yes, we can all write ourselves into corners, but there is also always a way out. Let the wax on your floor dry, and then get out of the corner, i.e. – give it a few days. Get away from your book. Re-read the first part. How to go on WILL come to you. If not, don’t let too much time go by or you will start losing interest in the book all together. Just sit down and start writing. Even if you aren’t happy with what you come up with, write it anyway. As you write, the answers will come. I PROMISE. Don’t get sad, get MAD.

Regarding the success of other writers? Success is a matter of perspective. Are you writing with unrealistic expectations? Compared to the literally millions of writers out there, the ratio of the big names compared to the rest is really small. Are you writing just for the money? Then quit, because that should not be you reason for writing. Your reason should be the love of the art, the burning desire to tell your stories, whether or not you are a huge seller. You know your own potential, have your own dreams, your own reasons for writing what you write. If you keep comparing yourself to other writers, you will defeat your own dreams. Be proud of what you do, proud you are published at all, because it’s not an easy thing to do, even if you are publishing your own books on the internet. You still took the time to sit down and write a whole book or books. You are a successful writer just for trying, let alone getting published. Don’t compare yourself to Stephen King or Danielle Steele or any other writer. Do what you do best. Don’t get sad – get MAD! Keep writing. With each new book you publish, here is always that possibility of becoming a best-seller! You just never know.

Focusing Your Ideas

Any “born” writer knows that it’s pretty hard to shut off your brain when practically everything you read, see and hear becomes a possible story idea. The news is packed with them – crimes of every sort – governmental espionage – historical events – major auto accidents – and even (too rarely) GOOD NEWS stories that give you an idea for a sweet, romantic tale.

Stick to Your Guns

“Stick to your guns” is not just fitting for my theme, which is to write from your heart and write what you believe in, but also fitting because “guns” are most certainly a big part of what I write! 

Turning Your Great Idea Into a Book

I can’t count the number of times an aspiring writer has told me, “I have a great idea, but I don’t know how to make it into a whole book.” Or, “I started this book with a great idea, but I’ve reached a wall that I can’t get over. I don’t know where to go from here.” I’ve been in that same situation more than once myself, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you’re a born story-teller, you can write your way through almost anything.

What Makes Your Hero and Heroine Real and Memorable?

I have written articles and blogs on creating “real” characters for years, but I’ve never been able to pinpoint the answer to an often-asked question: “What is the secret to creating characters that to you and your readers are so real and memorable that you and they both feel these people really lived?” 

The Long Journey

I have been writing books since 1979, when I penned my first novel - a 3,000 page disaster called WINDS FROM OREGON! I took a couple west on a wagon train, and anything and everything that could happen to people heading west in the 1850’s happened in that book. Those two should never have survived! And I didn’t know how to skip time, so it was practically a day-by-day blow all the way to Oregon. Hence, 3,000 pages! I never sold it, but it was a real learning experience, and I know now that I’ve used bits and pieces from that story in my later books.

The Benefits of Blogging, Social Media and Facebook Parties!

I remember when, probably at least fifteen or twenty years ago, a former agent told me I should create a blog.

BLOG? What a weird word. I wonder who invented it. I had no idea what she was talking about and I never did anything with the idea – was still new to just using a computer and the programs for writing books. I had just registered an e-mail account, knew nothing about web sites and blogging, and things like Facebook weren’t even born yet. I knew nothing about the internet and figured e-mail was handy but I’d never go any farther than that.

400 Years Of Publishing and Hardly Anything has Changed for Authors!

We live in a world of progress, from the Pony Express to Skype; from covered wagons to planes and drones; from long hand-written scrolls to today’s instant messaging through texts and e-mails. I’m sure our ancestors would faint from shock at traveling down the highway at 80 MPH, or being able to talk to a loved one through cell-phone face time, or share pictures and news through Facebook.

Are You a “Writer-Holic?”

I’ve always had a somewhat addictive personality, which is part of the reason I don’t drink. I quit smoking about 50 years ago (boy, that’s a hard one!). If I have surgery or some other reason for pain pills, I stop taking them as soon as I can. I once took pills for depression but didn’t like what they did to me (no feelings at all!), so I weaned myself off of those too. I’ve never EVER tried street drugs because I’m terrified what they would do to me. I’ve never even smoked pot, and I come from the 60’s generation. I also tend to be a “shop-a-holic,” and I actually turned to shopping once when life handed me a big blow that was hard to deal with. Shopping helped me forget my troubles and new clothes and jewelry made me feel good … but the shopping got me into credit card trouble, so I’ve stopped that too … well … at least not the big stuff. It’s still hard for me to turn down a great deal!

When life hands us some unexpected events that are hard to deal with, it’s so easy to turn to whatever makes us feel great and forget our troubles. I can most certainly attest to that. But there is one habit that comforts me that I’ll never give up, and that’s WRITING! I recently posted a blog about how writing can be a catharsis, a form of meditation and medication. I guess this blog runs along those same lines, but it’s because writing is something I could NEVER give up, I’ve realized that it’s another one of my “addictions.”

And what a wonderful, pleasant, soothing addiction it is!! Something recently gave me another blow to my emotions – such a blow that for the last two months I haven’t written a word. But things are better, and time is a BIG healer. I am treading lightly as far as feeling confident our troubles are over and taking one day at a time, rejoicing in each good day. For a while I thought I might never write again … but how can I stay away from the most wonderfully healing habit I have? WRITING!

I’ve been posting weekly excerpts from THE LAST OUTLAW, my fourth Outlaw book coming in September, and that has been a big help in making me want to get back into writing. I’m having fun reading through the MS and looking for some good excerpts to share with my readers. As I do so, I find that revisiting one of my stories has reawakened that need to write. I am planning the first chapter to a new book I proposed to my publisher (still waiting to hear from them) and I’m ready to work on some books I want to write strictly for Amazon. My Amazon book CAPTURE MY HEART sold in really great numbers, so now I’m excited to write more books strictly through Amazon rather than a publisher. I hope to continue with Sourcebooks and that eventually they will take a fifth Outlaw book, but whatever happens, I will KEEP WRITING as long as my body and brain allow it. Of all the addictions a person can have, I can’t imagine any as wonderful and fulfilling and comforting as WRITING.

Are you addicted to writing? More power to you! Don’t break the habit!

Writing Can Be Your Meditation

At first I was going to call this blog Writing Can Be Your Medication, but I realized that meditation is a better word. I can’t count the number of letters and e-mails I have received from grateful readers who have told me that reading my books helped them through bad times, whether emotional upheaval or surgery or an illness. I am always grateful in return to hear their comments. It makes sitting for hours at a time in front of the computer and pulling ideas and plots from my often-tired brain worth the effort.