Why I Chose To Self-Publish My Books

I self-published my debut book three months ago. It hasn’t been an easy journey and I’m certainly still trying to figure things out. I’ve been wanting to write this post and explain why I chose to self-publish my books for a while but never thought there was a right “time.” I recently saw someone on Twitter post something that rubbed me the wrong way and I figured now was as good a time as any.

Why I Chose To Self-Publish My Books | Creative Writing | Author | Indie Author | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

All Opinions Matter

I’m not going to name names or quotes tweets. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I recognize there are people out there who believe traditional publishing is “better” than self-publishing. On the flip side, there are people out there who believe self-publishing is “better” than traditional publishing. What I’m realizing is that these people all have one thing in common – they write what they know.

“Write what you know” is a big piece of writing advice that people toss around. The people who think one way of publishing is better than the other, do just that. They write what they know in the sense that traditionally published authors believe that’s better because they never tried self-publishing. Self-published authors think that’s better because they were never published by a traditional company.

Obligatory disclaimer: I, of course, don’t mean everyone. There have been authors who let go of their agents deciding to self-publish instead and there have been some self-published books that were picked up by agents. These things happen and if it happens to you, great. You get the best of both worlds and try out all the different angles of getting your work out into the world. Again, everyone is entitled to their option no matter how they came to the conclusion.

Here’s What Bothers Me

The tweet I saw basically said that an agent or publisher will pick you up if you write good books. Rejection means that’s it not good enough, it won’t sell. Therefore, keep working and try again.

I don’t agree with that.

Yes, rejection, in a sense, is good. It allows you to grow a thick skin, take another look at your work and keep improving. Determination, patience, all that fun stuff. Who is to really say whether a book will sell or not? There have been traditionally published books that didn’t sell and the agent left the author because… well, it’s all about money. I mean, fair enough. It is a business for agents and that’s their job. If they can’t make money off your book, then bye-bye to you.

What really bothered me about this statement – and maybe I misinterpreted it, but I think it’s worth talking about anyway – is that it said you’ll only get picked up traditionally if you write good books.

Well, who is to say a book is good or not? Certainly not one single opinion. Certainly not that person who has two books in hand and can only take on one more project and they just happen to enjoy that other book more than yours.

In my opinion, the readers decide that. If you market the target audience well and have a great following before, during, and after your book is released, you’re most likely good to go. No one said writing was easy. No one said it was a “get-rich-quick” scheme.

You will be someone’s favorite author someday. Even if it’s just a handful of people. Your writing is good. Your story matters. Don’t ever forget that and keep going. It doesn’t matter if an agent or publisher deemed your book “worthy” to see the light of day or if you took a chance on yourself and tossed it up on Amazon.

The Rules Of Writing

Okay, there are “rules” that we should follow when it comes to writing. Grammar is important. However, there are other general rules when it comes to creative writing. Show, don’t tell. Write what you know. No adverbs.

Well, rules were meant to be broken. People don’t speak in perfect English, so neither should your dialogue. Sometimes, it is better to tell than to show. Research is your friend – write what you don’t know. If it’s fiction, embellish a bit and make something up.

Do you know what this is called? Style. Every writer has their own writing style. This doesn’t make your writing “good” or “bad.” It’s your own unique voice. Some people may not be impressed but others will absolutely love it.

So, I ask again, who is to say a book is good or bad?

Which Is Right?

I have read some great self-published books and some not so great. I have also read some awesome traditionally published books and some that were not so hot. Why didn’t I enjoy these books? Not because the author was represented or because they did it themselves, it just happened to not be my cup of coffee. Maybe I couldn’t relate to the protagonist, but someone else out there does. Maybe I thought the plot was dull, but someone else out there thought it was fabulously well-executed. Maybe my copy was riddled with typos but someone else got a later edition than mine and that had been fixed.

You can say authors who are traditionally published are hard-working to meet their agent’s deadlines, determined to get that agent, and patient while they wait for their query to hopefully be seen. You can say authors who are self-published are hard-working to meet their man-made deadlines, determined to get their story told regardless of the number of rejections, and patient while they research their audience, trends, marketing plans, cover designs, and more.

There are people out there who self-publish because they were frustrated no one would pick them up. Or they self-publish because they just want to get their story told. They’re not looking for the money. They do it because they love it.

Some people go the traditional route because they don’t want to do the majority of the work or they don’t think they can. Or they want to see their physical books on the shelves in bookstores.

There are so many reasons people choose one or the other. They do what’s best for them, what’s best for their story. And that’s the way it should be. If someone wants to spend, potentially, a few years querying, then more power to you. Good for it and good luck. If someone else would rather do the majority of the work themselves and learn the ropes of self-publishing, then I say the same. Go for it and good luck.

Why I Chose To Self-Publish My Books

I’ve been writing since I was ten and, at the same, traditional publishing was the only “right way” to get published. Self-publishing wasn’t as big and it didn’t have a great rep around it. I didn’t know anything about anything, so I followed the crowd and thought my book would be on the shelves at Barnes & Noble from some big traditional publishing company and I’d be sitting in a pile of money.

Of course, ten-year-old me didn’t realize how obnoxiously wrong all of that actually is.

I chose to self-publish for two reasons.

1. I tried the querying game and didn’t like it.

I queried for a few years. Novels, children’s books, poetry. Nothing ever came to be. The rejections were hard, but I knew I just had to work harder.

Just because no one wanted my work, doesn’t mean I chose to self-publish as a way of “giving up.” I just didn’t like the process of it. This agent is currently not taking on new clients, this one wants the first three chapters, that other agent wants the whole manuscript, while this guy wants a blurb. The agent wants a paper copy, this one wants an email. It was hard to keep up and keep track of it all. Sure, I had a spreadsheet of which novel I sent, to who, which company, when, what format, when/if I heard back, etc. But it was time-consuming and the research was killer. (Seriously, I can’t begin to explain many agents and publishers I researched that I could find any of their information anywhere on their website… I hope this has changed since then because one of those agents could have been the one for me. But I shall never know now.

In addition to this, I realized something about myself as I got older and learned more about the process. Hence, my other reason for choosing to be self-published.

2. I want it my way.

Yes, sounds selfish, I know. But when I was in high school and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, my therapist noticed something about me. They wanted me to get back into school, but she recognized my ambition and took that into account. Instead of trying to get me back into high school for my senior year, she found a dual enrollment program at a local community college.

I went to college for my senior year of high school. My courses counted toward my high school credits as well as credits toward my degree. I killed two birds with one stone – getting my high school diploma and getting my first year of college under my belt.

This was the best thing for me because she knew I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was already doing it. Writing in between school, homework, and my job. Not only did this allow me to continue my schooling and graduate high school, but it allowed me creative freedom and set the foundation for where I am now.

Later in life, I’d take a risk and quit my job and pursue this writing thing. I have worked harder than ever before, researched and taught myself so much. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve become a businesswoman. I’m always looking to grow and expand my current work. I’ve learned about creative writing, blogging, website building, freelance, social media/marketing…

Hey, I even published a book myself.

And I’ve helped other writers and bloggers along the way, promoting their work as well. I’ve met a lot of great friends and have learned from them as well.

I have ideas. I know how to grow. I want to create bigger and better things. I can’t do that if I had to go through my agent who then needed to go through whichever publisher decided to take a chance on me.

I mean, I have a novel timeline through 2021. Do you know how fast publishing a book would go if I went through traditional publishing? I’m not sure, but I know it can take a year or two. Faster is not always better, of course, but it’s easier when you’re mostly answering to yourself.

Do What’s Right For You

I’m not saying self-publishing is better than traditional publishing. I’ve never been traditionally published so I have no idea what the pros and cons are. What I am saying is that self-publishing was the right choice for me. Some people may not enjoy my books, but I know there are people out there who will enjoy them. To those people, my book is considered good. And it wasn’t accepted by an agent or represented by a high publishing company.

Which route did you or will you take when publishing your books? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Starbucks!

Coffee

 

 

So Kris and I decided that we were going to go to Barnes and Noble today and write. Yes, we have our office now at home, but we haven’t been to Barnes and Noble in a while. We thought we would go, say hi to the workers behind the Starbucks counter there, but…she ended up getting called into work. So we didn’t go.

We did end up going to Starbucks, though. Since she was closing, we thought we would get coffee and write in our office at home. She continued to edit her novel while I continued to write Inspiration Station.

The more I write that novel the more I realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. When I wrote Detective Florence, I outlined the first part of the novel and continued to outline as I wrote the rest in an attempt to making editing easier for me. I am not outlining Inspiration Station and I never planned on it because this was something I began to write when I had a slight writer’s block. I didn’t expect it to turn into an actual novel. I was still able to write 5,096 words for it, though.

I also changed my schedule, you can see it on the To Do List. Even though I have a lot of free time without work and school, writing 5,000 words a day and editing takes a lot out of someone. So I decided that I’m going to write 5,000 words a day Monday-Thursday and edit Friday-Saturday and relax on Sunday. I can write/edit if I feel like it, but I’m not obligated to do anything. This will be helpful for when school does start back up again (in about a week and a half) and I can do the bulk of my homework on Sunday. Not ideal, but whatever.

So, since tomorrow is Friday that means I’m going to edit. I’m hoping to edit a lot as I would love to self-publish this novella by the end of 2014…wish me luck!

Goodbye 2013!

New Year

 

 

Today is the last day of 2013. How weird is that? I decided to do something special on here in celebration of 2014. I spent most of the morning going through all my blog posts from 2013. I had a good few laughs at the things that happened and there were also a lot of things that I couldn’t remember that happened. Oh, and I wish I counted all the typos I have made in my blog posts…sorry about that!

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to recap on everything that happened in 2013. I know WordPress sends something about views, stats, posts, pictures, comments, followers, etc. But my report is going to be about everything that actually happened in real life. And I know I don’t post every day or post about everything little thing that happens in my life, we can still get a pretty good idea on what’s been going on.

January:
–I was in the middle of writing The Blank Page.
–Dick passed away. Dick was an old man from my church. He did a lot for the church and the people apart of it. He passed away from a long hard-fought battle of lung cancer. It’s really hard to believe that it’s already been about a year since his death.
–We switched from Verizon to Comcast. My laptop still has internet issues because of this. It’s been almost a year of me fighting with my internet connection, too!
–My flash drive died and I lost everything. All the novels I was currently working on and already completed. All my lesson plans for Sunday school, everything for work, all my homework, among other things. I literally lost everything.

Feburary:
–About a week after my flash drive died, I finally got back into writing. I started writing Take Over (as The Blank Page was lost and I was too discouraged to re-write it). I worked on Take Over for the entire month.
–I got my driver’s license.

March:
–I prepared myself to write Saving Each Other for Camp NaNoWriMo in April.
–I continued writing Take Over.
–I sent my picture book Asking Bobby to a publisher.
–I came up with the idea of starting a vlog.

April:
–Wrote Saving Each Other for Camp NaNo and finished it. Began the second part, Seeing Things. I also finished Take Over and began writing The Blank Page again.
–I wrote one haiku a day for the NaPoWriMo, but finished after April.
–I finished my first vlog, but decided not to post it
–I began writing Far Away in a notebook
–I was interviewed by Briana Vedsted
–Did a Booky Questions and Blog Hopper survey
–I made a goal to finish The Blank Page in May, which never went through.

May:
–Attempted to write The Blank Page and the three novels that are written in that novel. None of them got finished.
–Made a writing and editing schedule which stuck for a little while.
–I was nominated for the Sunshine and Super Sweet Blogger awards.
–I began editing Diary of a Lover while my mom began to edit Take Over.

June:
–Finished the fourth draft of Diary of a Lover. I tried to print it out to let Kris edit it, but the printer broke.
–I began to edit Hunter because I didn’t want to start a new project before the next session of Camp NaNo in July.
–My sister Lisa moved out with her boyfriend, my two cousins moved in with my grandparents, and I graduated with my Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education.
–Began to write a Pokemon FanFiction that is still not finished.

July:
–I decided to write Cybertra for Camp NaNo, but ended up not finishing it in the end. I ended up not being into the story anymore. Needless to say, I lost that NaNo session.
–Kris and I tried out a new writing schedule, but after going on vacation for a whole week, the schedule died.
–Decided to do contests and post stories into books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

August:
–Sam, a boy I babysit for, wanted me to write The Babysitting Adventures of Rachel which is about the two of us. I never wrote it, although I had plans to.
–I thought a lot about my future. School, work, writing, etc. Wondered where I was going to be in a few years and how I was going to get there.
–Comet, my uncle’s dog, was put down due to cancer.
–I had a tough time writing so I wrote a silly prompt and it ended up sparking a few new ideas.
–We began to remodel Lisa’s bedroom so Kris and I could have an office. It is now complete and we call it the “Blue Room.” Don’t ask why, we planned on calling it our office.
–I finally got a new flash drive.
–I continued editing and outlining Hunter and began to write and outline Hunted, the sequel.
–My co-worker was laid off due to low enrollment leaving me with a promotion, but it was only me and one other teacher with all the kids.

September:
–Work started as me being a teacher and school started which was my first semester at a new school for my bachelor’s.
–Gloria, a member of my church, passed away.
–I asked for information about Smashwords and got a lot of nice feedback along with others. I still have to finish researching Smashwords, PubIt!, CreateSpace, and Kindle Direct Publishing.

October:
–I prepared for NaNo in November. I planned out the novel using sticky notes, index cards, and a big poster board with Kris.

November:
–I hit 50,000 words on Detective Florence for NaNo 17 days into the month. I am still currently working on the novel. I have a little over 70,000 words so far.

December:
–I won NaNo and I talked about focusing more on my writing
–I lost my teaching job. The preschool closed due to low enrollment and no money. I am still jobless.
–I survived my first semester for my bachelor degree.
–I got the new Pokemon games and a Kindle for Christmas!

So there you have it. A breakdown of everything that happened to me in 2013. But as I looked through my old blog posts I realized probably about 90% of everything I started was never finished. I know I say this all the time, but for 2014 I’m really going to buckle down and get something published. Or get something ready for publication. No more goofing off.

My resolution for 2013 was to read 50 pages a day and write 1,000 words a day. I stopped keeping track long ago, but I know I did not make the reading goal. I most likely didn’t make the writing goal, either. I doubt I wrote 365,000 words this past year. While there were some days I wrote 10k, there were so many other days that I didn’t bother to write at all.

My resolution this year is…

–Finish editing a novel or two
–Read more
–Freelance: Enter writing contests, send stories into magazines, etc.
–Finish what I start

That last one is for everything, not just my writing.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2013 and I wish everyone the best in 2014! 🙂

And So It Goes On

To Be Continued…

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I won NaNo. Yay!

But I also mentioned that my novel is far from over. I may have hit 50k words, but I still have probably at least another 50k more words to write, if not more. I am writing a murder mystery, after all. This thing takes a lot of planning. I can only imagine what the editing process is going to be like…

Anyway, I continued to write this morning before work. I wrote 2,380 words. I didn’t want to stop at where I left off, but I do have to get ready for work in a few minutes. And I’m not going to have much time to write when I get home from work, either.

I’m glad that I’m still into my novel. I usually have the issue of not finishing what I start. Usually when I write a novel, I get other ideas for other novels and I tend to hop around between novels. I’m actually sticking with this one and I keep coming up with more ideas for it.

Then again, I never finished my outline for the novel and I already wrote everything that I had put onto my outline. So now I’m winging it. We’ll see how this goes.

Today’s Word Count: 2,380
Total Word Count: 52,610
Today’s Page Count: 7
Total Page Count: 167

Words, Words, Words

Tuesday Writings…

 

Snoopy

 

 

The picture today explains the way I feel about my NaNo novel this year. Of course, I tend to love everything that I write, but this year I feel as though I’m really going to win NaNo. I have never once won the November NaNo and I really believe this is going to be the year.

I love this novel so far mostly because I’m falling in love with my characters. None of them have the personality that I originally planned on them having, but they’re lovable, anyway.

My two main characters, Detective George Florence and Lilah Williams are still only acquaintances right now, but I can see them getting closer and closer to each other as each word gets written. And no, before anyone takes that the wrong way, George and Lilah are not going to end up together into a romantic relationship. They’re going to be friends and work partners and that’s it. It’s more like a big brother–little sister relationship. And Lilah is one really annoying little sister.

This morning I got about two hours of writing in and wrote 3,342 words on my novel. I’m still ahead of the game and I’m going to try my absolute best to keep it that way.

Yesterday I said I was going to start writing five pages a day, well I actually wrote about ten pages this morning. So I’m excited about that.

This novel is going really well: the characters are awesome, the plot is moving right along, and instead of writer’s block I keep coming up with more ideas for the novel (and the whole series). I really hope this blog post doesn’t jinx me, either!

I hope everyone else doing NaNo is doing just as well and is in love with their novels, too! Because the whole point of NaNo is to do something you love. And it’s kind of hard to do that when you’re not cooing over your characters and excited about new plot twists and turns!

If you want to read the summary to my NaNo novel, click here: Detective Florence (Book One)
If you want to add me as a Writing Buddy on NaNoWriMo, click here: Fiery_Sapphire
If you want to add my sister Kris as a Writing Buddy on NaNoWriMo, click here: Winged_Spirit

Today’s Word Count: 3,342
Total Word Count: 17,370

Monday Morning

Two Hours Of Writing…

 

Keep Calm

 

 

Yesterday was a very productive writing day for both my and Kris. We wrote our NaNoWriMo novels together and she was able to make it up to par while I was able to get myself way ahead. It must have been all that Starbucks. 😉

Anyway, I think what really helped us out was that we weren’t looking at the word count in the bottom left screen on Word. I took my Donny, my iPod, and Kris took her phone, and we leaned them up against the computer screen right in that spot. Then I took my phone, set the timer for 30 minutes and we kept going until the timer went off. The point was to see how much we could write in that amount of time. We ended up writing a lot more than we thought–we each banged out about 1,000 words. It made the writing process go by a lot faster and I think we got more work done that way than we would have if we were just typing while staring at the word count slowly going up.

We continued to do that after realizing how well it worked. But every time I wrote for 30 minutes, I realized that I wrote exactly five pages, too. I decided that if it only takes me 30 minutes to write five pages, why not try to get my goal to be “write five pages a day?” (yes, I know the picture says one page…)

I decided that’s going to be my New Year’s resolution. Yes, I know that’s two months away, but I thought I might as well get started on it now. I can get myself into the habit of it so it might be easier to accomplish next year. Especially since it’s NaNo right now, I’m going to need all the pages I can get to boost my word count.

So I wrote for about an hour and a half to two hours this morning. I wrote while my cousins got themselves ready for school and I wrote after they left. I have about an hour or so in between the time they leave for school and the time I have to start getting ready for work.

But it was productive nonetheless. I wrote about six pages and 3,398 words. It was a good morning. I had to have two cups of coffee, but I can blame part of that on the weather (I think it’s in the 40s…ew).

Anyway, if you want to read the summary of my NaNo novel, here it is: Detective Florence (Book One)

Also, I stopped posting my NaNo username at the end of my posts, but lately a lot of people have been asking for it. You can find my NaNo profiles on the “Come Find Me” page of the blog or you can look me up: Fiery_Sapphire (you can also click my username to be brought to my profile). I love having Writing Buddies, so feel free to add me!

 

Today’s Word Count: 3,398
Total Word Count: 14,028

Sunday Updates

Super Productive Things Going On…

 

Start Writing

 

 

During NaNoWriMo, Kris and I decided that we were going to spend every Sunday not having a life. We’ll go to church in the morning, go to Starbucks immediately after, then go straight home to write until we decide to go to bed. Today is the first Sunday of NaNo; therefore, it was the first day of this plan.

We went to church, went to Starbucks, then came home and goofed off a bit. Great start, huh? Due to everything going on at my house (we’ve had to sleep in the living room for the past three nights because the insulation guys were in our room and are still not done), we needed to clean up the living and make our beds in our bedroom so we could sleep in our own beds tonight. We decided to hold off on that until we wrote for a little while. Then Kris says, “What time are you babysitting tonight?” Well, crap…I forgot I was supposed to babysit tonight. So we had to stop writing earlier than intended so we could get our room straightened out, I could post on here, and then get ready to go babysit. I have leave in about a half hour.

So here’s a quick post to update my progress on NaNo. I wrote 6,950 words in about four and half to five hours today. Yay! Kris and I were both super productive. I’ve also been following my outline, so it’s been easy to write. The words keep flowing out of my fingers (does that make sense?) and I haven’t gotten one bit of writer’s block…yet.

Kris and I are hoping to keep this streak up every Sunday during NaNo. I’m also hoping to keep up with writing 1,667 words a day every day (even though I’m ahead), just to get myself into a good routine. But tomorrow is Monday, which means I’m going to have new homework as well as work. So we’ll see how things go. But at least if I can write for an hour or so in the morning, I should be good.

I also decided that during NaNo, every single Sunday I’m going to post something about the novel I’m writing. Today, I posted the summary. I already posted it before this post, you can read it here. I hope it sounds interesting to all of you. I’ve never been good at writing summaries.

Right now my fingers keep making typos because they’re tired from typing so much. I’m going to give myself carpel tunnel. Yep. I’m a writer.

 

Today’s Word Count: 6,950
Total Word Count: 10,630

All About Sacrifice

Ten Minutes Here, Half Hour There…

 

Novel In Progress

 

 

Let me start off by saying: I wish I had that doorknob hangy-thingy like in the picture above.

*Ahem* It’s day two of NaNoWriMo. We are no where near the end, yet the 30th will be here before we know it. And because of that, we need to find all the time we can to write. You can’t say, “Oh, it’s only day two. I can write double tomorrow,” or “It’s only day two, I still have 28 days to get it done.” No. it doesn’t work that way. If you procrastinate today, then it’s inevitable that you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.

Being a writer is so much more than just writing. It’s all about sacrifice. Sacrifice time, sacrifice social life, sacrifice your sanity.

Let’s talk about time because that’s been my biggest issue lately. I was happy that NaNo started on a Friday. I work eight hours a day so my only real time to write is in the mornings. Because when I get home from work I need to do homework and I’m exhausted. But it’s also hard to find time in the morning. If I don’t wake up really early, then I can’t get as much writing in as I want to because I get my two cousins ready for school in the morning. Now they’re both old enough, 9 and 11, so it’s not like I need to get them dressed or anything. But I do have to remind them every once in a while. If I don’t shut off the TV when I tell them to start getting ready for school, then a half hour later they will still be sitting in front of that TV.

But since it was a Friday, I only had to worry about that one day. I didn’t get as much written as I wanted to, but I was over the word count goal with 1,717 words. It was a good start. Then Saturday, today, I could write all day. And Sunday I can write all day after church. It’s a good start to NaNo.

I try to write for at least one hour every single day. I was really good at doing that in the summer, but when school and work started I stopped. And I really shouldn’t have. I’m hoping NaNo gets me back into the routine and I carry on with it through November and beyond. But it’s tough to find time when there is no time. The thing is, there is always time.

I like to write for at least an hour. I can bang out about 2,000 words in an hour (depending on my caffeine intake and how early/late it is in the day) and to me that’s a job well done. If I sit down and write for ten minutes, well…what good does that do?

It actually does a lot of good. I finally understand the meaning, “slow and steady wins the race.” Even though it’s not as much as you would like, you’re still writing. You are still getting something written down on the paper and that’s ten less minutes that you need to get done the next time you write for a decent length of time.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I thought this weekend was going to be a breeze. I probably could have made it to 50,000 words this weekend if I could. But plans got changed. And because of that, I’m finding it hard to find time to write.

These guys were supposed to come in the middle of the November to add insulation to the upstairs and basement to our house. Now the upstairs is my and Kris’s bedroom and our office/video game room. The only two places in the house we can hang out, write, have some privacy. Well, these guys had a cancellation so they came Thursday and Friday (Halloween and the first day of NaNo). Where are we going to write? When are we going to write if the guys are in the house and we need to babysit the dog and the cat so they don’t bother the men working?

The basement and the entire upstairs looks like an episode from “Hoarders.” Kris and I have been sleeping in the living room for the past two nights because we can’t get to our beds. By the way, this was supposed to be a two-day job and they’re still not finished. And they can’t come back until Wednesday. Yipee…

Kris and I planned to write every single Sunday in November together. Go to church, go to Starbucks, come home and write until we have to go to bed. We can’t do that tomorrow because we don’t have any place to go. Not to mention that we need to try to clean up the place a little bit.

This is what I mean about finding time. I thought I had all the time in the world and today I have to work on cleaning the rooms a bit and go to my friend’s birthday party later tonight. Tomorrow, I have church, continue cleaning the rooms, then I have to babysit from 6-midnight. It’s tough, but guess what? I did it. I made the goal yesterday and I made the goal today. I will make the goal tomorrow, too…I am determined to!

So ten minutes or a few hours, it makes no difference. As long as you’re writing, you’re getting something done.

Then you need to sacrifice your social life, too. My boyfriend and I haven’t had a chance to see each other a lot lately due to work, school, and other things going on in our lives. We used to see each other practically every single day, too. But even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I told him that I’m not seeing him every Sunday during November. I need to write. He understands as this is something I love, something I want to do. I have to do what I have to do in order to make my dreams come true. I’m very fortunate to have someone so understanding and supportive. So on Sundays my only form of human interaction will be with my sister…and the workers at Starbucks.

I can’t come up with any examples of sacrificing your sanity…I don’t think I had any sanity to begin with.

But that’s what writing is all about. Sacrificing everything here and there to do something you love. Something you want to do. It is difficult to find time; especially when you already made plans to write straight through the entire day.

This is why I think NaNo exists. It’s not about whether you can write an entire novel in 30 days. It’s whether you can take on the pressure, the anxiety, the frustration, the sacrifices, and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s a much deeper test than we all make it out to be. So the question is: Can you handle it?

 

Today’s Word Count: 1,963
Total Word Count: 3,680

It Starts

Ready, Set…WRITE!

NaNo 2013

Today marks the first day of NaNoWriMo! To start ourselves off, let’s ask ourselves one important question: Why are we doing this? Why would we want to put ourselves through writing an entire novel in only 30 days when it takes some people years to complete a first draft? Why do we write at all?

For me, this question is easy to answer. There are two reasons why I write: The first reason is because I want to make a name for myself. I never liked my class growing up. Elementary school was fine, we were all young and naive. Middle school got tougher, as so did the kids. When I had gotten into high school I had finally had enough with them.

I hated high school, to put it bluntly. I hated my teachers (I only liked three of them), hated my classmates, my best friend turned against me, and I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It got to the point where my body said, “I don’t want to go to school anymore, so I’m not going to!” I sure gave my parents a run for their money. I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning and refused to go to school. I didn’t even know what was going on with me.

Just like my family and I, my best friend had no idea what was going on with me, either. She asked and when I told her, “I don’t know,” she thought I was lying to her. This is what ended up breaking our friendship. She thought (after being friends since third grade, may I add), I didn’t trust her and such. When I stopped going to school, she spread rumors that I was dead and did many more “mature” things like that.

She knew I liked to write and that I wanted to an author. She liked to write as well (and she was a good writer), but being a published author was never her dream. When I decided to write a novel, she decided she was going to do the exact same thing. She never thought I was going to make it in the writing world. I’m no expert in writing, but I did a lot more research than her. When it came to being an “expert” in writing, I was the expert.  But she wanted to beat me at my own game. And if you want to get technical, she did. She self-published a book. However, she never edited it and never advertised it as she didn’t know how to. She thought that being published was “easy.” She thought she would end up rich and famous from this one book that no one has heard of. She never really understood what it means to be a writer and she probably never will understand.

As much as I’m not happy with her, I have to thank her. It’s because of her that I want to write. I need to show her that I can in fact do something if I put my mind to it. I can follow my dreams. I want to make a name for myself and when people I graduated with see my book on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, they’ll think: “She got somewhere in life.”

I may have fallen off the face of the earth to them, but I did not “die.” I felt as though I was being slowed down as I already knew what I wanted to do. I took charge of my own life and I’m going to make something out of it.

Here’s the second reason I write: I love it. I love creating something out of nothing. I love having fictional characters to talk and argue with inside my head. I love creating brand new worlds and adventures. But it’s too much to keep all to myself. I want to share these things with the world and I’m hoping they’ll enjoy it just as much as I do.

I love the hard work. I love the research. I love the imagination and the creativity. It’s the best feeling in the world to create something and be proud of yourself for what you had just accomplished. No, I am not a published author. Yes, I have finished manuscripts, but no, they are not edited. It takes a long of time, hard work, and determination, to write and edit an entire novel. I have stories published throughout the internet on websites, but nothing is “self-published;” especially for money (I’m hoping soon, though).

My reason for doing NaNoWriMo is to kick myself into gear. I want to get myself into a writing habit. I want to write a certain amount every single day. I want to find the time to write every day and not stress over school or work. I want to do something I love. Something I’m proud of. Something I’m good at. And that’s all I could ask for.

So grab a snack and some caffeine, sit at your desk, and pray that you get carpel tunnel. Because then you’ll know that you’re doing it right. You’ll know that you’re getting something productive done. No pain, no gain. Right?

Word Count: 1,717

It’s Thursday

Thriving Thursday AKA Halloween…

 

Pumpkin

 

 

Instead of some awesome quote about Thursday, I decided to be festive and post this pumpkin. Yesterday, my mom and two cousins carved this pumpkin. The hat, added this morning, is from one of my cousins’ costumes. One is being candy corn (thus the hat) and the other is being a ladybug. I’m assuming Jackie is the ladybug (her mother always associated her with ladybugs) and Kat is the candy corn, but I never actually asked them. So I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Today at work the kids are going to “trick-or-treat” in each classroom. We got them Halloween pencils, erasers, spider rings, spider necklaces, pumpkin bubbles, the works. And we’re giving them pizza for lunch. In order words, work is going to be hectic because not only are the kids going to be hyped up with the thought of it being Halloween, but we’re also giving them treats. Good thing we only have seven kids today and not the usual 12…

In other news, I have also deemed today Thriving Thursday. Why? Because when I do get home from work I am going to be NaNo prepping with Kris. I’m going to be at work late, despite it being Halloween, but when I come home (which will probably be between 5:30 and 6:00…) we are going to bust out our ideas! I’ll have to show you all a picture of my poster board tomorrow…I didn’t want to post a picture yet because it’s not finish. And truth be told, it may not get finished. But at least I’m going to try. My novel is a murder mystery so there’s a lot of planning involved.

I never told you guys what I’m going to be writing for NaNo, have I? It’s the first in a series (of course) and it’s called Detective Florence. I’ll post the summary of this novel up here soon, but long story short it’s about a laid off detective who decides to go freelance and open his own private investigator office. However, no cases doesn’t pay the bills. But just when he’s about to close his office doors for good, he gets the biggest case that will make or break his career as a detective. With the help of an annoying assistant, of course.

You may or may not have heard of the Ace Attorney games? The fifth one just came out called Dual Destinies. Before this one, there were games based on Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Apollo Justice. If you’ve heard of them and played them–fantastic! Kris and I are addicted. These games are actually what inspired this novel in the first place. Let’s hope it goes well like in the games.

So that’s that. Teacher by day, writer by night! Kris and I are going to (hopefully) stay up until a decent hour to write. Lately we’ve both been in bed by 9:30…it’s sad.

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🙂

It’s Wednesday

Wonderful Wednesday, AKA: Hump Day…

 

Hump Day

 

 

I’m sure most of you have seen this commercial with the camel calling to Mike asking what day it is. If you haven’t, the go check it out on YouTube because it’s hilarious. It’s a commercial for Geico, but I don’t think anyone actually remembers the true meaning of the commercial. We all just like the camel.

I’m deeming Wednesday as Wonderful Wednesday because I wanted to continue on with my alliteration theme. However, today is most commonly known to people as Hump Day. So I will allow both.

The reason I’m calling Wednesday “Wonderful” is because of the fact that it’s Hump Day. Confused, yet? Once I get through today I only have two more days of work. Today’s an early day at work for me as I only have three kids in the afternoon. I should be home by 4:45-ish, as yesterday I did not get home until closer to 6. But today should be a good day and it should be easy (I probably just jinxed myself).

But when I get home today I have a lot of things that I need to get done. We started this new way of progress reports on the kids. It’s in collaboration with a website and we need to do observations on the kids. We observe the children doing anything that ties into their development — math related, science, social/emotional, physical, etc. — and we need to plug it into the website to see if their at the appropriate level for their age. Well, it’s my turn to plug in the observations this month (the other teacher and I alternate months so we can both get familiar with the set-up as this is brand new to both of us) and more than half of them did not save. Angry, much? Yes, I was. I had plugged in over 70 observations and none of them really went through even though I hit the “save” button. So I have to do that.

I also should work some more on my homework. I don’t have too much more that I have to do, but one of my teachers assigned two essays. One is due in November and the other is due December 2. Should I do them? Should I at least start them? Because I already don’t have any motivation for these classes, when November starts forget it. It’s NaNo. But I only have today to do it.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Kris and I aren’t doing anything special, but she has the day off from work. So when I get out of work (most likely around 5:30), we’re going to finish prepping for NaNo. Maybe do a couple of writing prompts or something. Then come Friday…Friday is the big day!

I’m anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time! I feel like I’ve never done NaNo before, but I’ve never officially won before. I’ve won Camp NaNo a few times, but never the original November NaNo. I really feel like I can make it work this year, despite the amount of homework, working eight hours a day, and all that fun stuff. I have a plan and I am determined to stick to it.

Look me up on NaNoWriMo: Fiery_Sapphire

It’s Tuesday

Tedious Tuesday…

 

Coffee

 

 

Tuesday ends with the letter “Y.” Enough said.

I’m calling today Tedious Tuesday for a number of reasons: School, work, writing, video games.

Okay, I guess the video games isn’t a very big priority. But Kris and I got the new Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies game and we’ve been dying to play it. Due to our conflicting work schedules (and I have homework), we haven’t been able to play it as often as we want. We need to beat it before NaNoWriMo otherwise…our NaNo novels will most likely suffer.

I need to get all of my homework done because I’m not going to be able to do it starting on Friday. Friday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo and I need this weekend to get ahead in my word count. I’m going to have more homework next week which means less time to write. I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish this week’s homework and maybe attempt to jump ahead into next week’s homework, too. I don’t care if I’m ahead, behind, or right on par: I am determined to write at least 1,667 words a day. I think it would be nice to attempt to get in a good writing groove that will maybe carry on past November.

I work 10-6 Monday-Friday. Not really…I leave work when the last kid leaves (provided everything is set up for the next day, which it always is). This year, the kids have been getting picked up early (yay!) so I’ve been getting out of work between 4:30/5:00. The nice part is that I still get paid until 6. Anyway, Tuesdays and Thursday are late because one kid doesn’t get picked up between 5:00\5:30. Not bad, but still prefer to get out that extra hour earlier.

Next is writing. I have gotten a great chunk of planning done on my NaNo novel, but I would still like to see it finished. I can’t really do that if I’m busy doing homework and all that fun stuff. Again, I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish planning. Granted, I don’t need the entire novel planned out. I at least have the beginning and a good chunk of the middle, but I want to make sure that I don’t get stuck anywhere. We all know how terrible I am at editing later on.

Thus, I deem thee Tedious Tuesday! I have homework for five classes, it’s my late day at work, I would like to get an hour or so of NaNo prep done, and because both Kris and I are going to be home today it would be nice if we could also play our game for a little bit.

It will be around 5:30, but I am seriously debating on whether or not I should go to Starbucks after work.

It’s Monday

Monster Monday…

Monday

No, today is not “Monster” Monday because Halloween is coming up. No, today is “Monster” Monday because…well, it’s Monday. Anyone in their right mind does not like Monday. Now if a new school week didn’t start on Monday and I didn’t have to go back to work after a nice two-day weekend, then I wouldn’t mind Monday. Poor Monday. Hated by everyone and is only a part of the week because there has to be some day in the week that needs to get us started on productive activities.

So it’s Monday. The last Monday in October. Thursday is Halloween. Who’s dressing up this year? I’m not. I wanted to, but all the costumes or raunchy and way too expensive for my liking. If my car didn’t break down on me then maybe I wouldn’t mind the money part, but I am still paying for my school bill for this semester, so maybe it’s for the best. However, it still makes me a bit sad because Kris and I usually coordinate together. One year she was a cop and I was a SWAT team member. The year before that she was Batman and I was Robin. But between my bank account starving and our conflicting work schedules, we just couldn’t do it this year. Sad day. Good news is, Kris actually got the day off from work on Halloween. This is the first year in…well, a few years.

On a brighter note, NaNoWriMo starts Friday. On a dimmer note, I am no where near ready for it to start.

Not yesterday, but the Sunday before yesterday, Kris and I had a very productive day. We planned our NaNo novels together. Kris is not a planner. I am a planner. Sometimes. I like the idea of planning and sometimes I plan and sometimes I don’t. When I do plan, sometimes it works out in my favor and other times it doesn’t. However, it was a breakthrough for Kris because she never does anything like that. She just writes whatever comes to her mind. Which is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. However, we wanted to write together and neither one of us wanted to start anything new because NaNo was just right around the corner.

So that Saturday night, October 19, we grabbed a novel and picked random sentences out of it. We then each took the same sentence and used it as the first sentence for our prompts. We wrote six prompts altogether before we got too tired and went to bed. The first four prompts we had the goal to write 200-500 words. The last two prompts we bumped up the count to 500-800 words because I kept going over the 500 limit on the other ones and had to keep editing out words. It was a pain. I’ll probably post these prompts on here soon enough. They’re not A+ material, but they’re decent enough. I wrote each prompt in like, 10 or 15 minutes at the seat of my pants, so you have to expect less than an A+.

Saturday night was a great night. Then Sunday we went to church, went to Starbucks (my favorite place on earth), and we turned on Pokemon Ranch on our Wii (for background noise…if anyone knows/has this game you know how pointless is it, yet still amusing to watch and listen to), and we planned our NaNo novels.

Let me give a little background on this: When Kris was at work one day I found a poster board in my house, got out my index cards and sticky notes, and went to town. On the index cards I made a list of characters, plot points, questions that need to be answered by the end of the novel, etc. On the sticky notes, I wrote events that need to happen in the novel. Then I move them around and attempt to put them in order. When Kris got home from work she saw what I was doing and something must have clicked in her head. So, naturally, we turned on the Ace Attorney game on the Wii and played that.

But that Sunday she grabbed her own poster board and we shared my index cards and sticky notes. Neither one of us “finished,” but since she has Halloween off from work, which is the day before NaNo, maybe she and I can dress up as writers and plan some more.

I hate that NaNo starts on a weekday. Kris and I can’t plan until midnight and then begin writing because I have to get up early Friday morning to get my cousins off to school then I have work 10-6. Meanwhile Kris is working 12:30-9:30 on Friday. But she always has Sundays off. So we decided that every Sunday in November, we’re going to go to church, go to Starbucks, then write until it’s time to go to bed. Except for the first Sunday…I agreed to babysit at 6 in the evening about a month ago. I’m stupid…

Anyway, that’s where we stand right now. Last week before NaNo…AAAAAHHHH!!!!

By the way, look me up on NaNo: Fiery_Sapphire

October 1st

It’s October Already?

 

Oh, dear Lord…I can’t believe it’s October already. Yesterday when I left work, right before my co-worker got into her car I shouted, “We survived a whole month with these kids! Only eight more to go!”

It’s said because we have very low enrollment. We’re a small, private preschool and have two classrooms. One room is for two- and three-year-olds and the other room is for four- and five-year-olds. We have three kids in the younger room and 12 in the older room leaving our enrollment a total of 15. I was promoted–I have way more responsibilities and I’m also working 40 hours a week now. However, I am still making the same amount I was because we can’t afford to give us raises…we even had to lay one of the teachers off (which is basically the main reason I got bumped up to lead teacher). My paychecks are much bigger than last year, which I am hugely grateful for, but if I was paid what a lead teacher is supposed to be paid…well, I would have an easier time paying for school, wouldn’t I?

Ah, school…one month down, three more to go. My teachers are stupid. Have I mentioned that? All five of my classes end on December 14, but at the beginning of the semester, one professor thought it was a ten-week accelerated course. Do you want to know why he thought this? He thought it was the summer semester, not the fall. Um…I can see mixing up the days of the week, like thinking it’s Friday when it’s really Thursday, but mixing up the months? I mean, there’s a big difference between June and September. Does he not own a calendar? And he (and a couple of my other teachers) re-use lesson plans. I’m all for that, I’m a teacher, I understand what a pain it is and make a new lesson plan. It’s perfectly okay to re-use the same material, but…can you at least proof-read? I mean, this is an English degree, these people are English professors, don’t we know how to proof-read? In one class, the class that was an “accelerated course,” everything is supposedly due June 2013. For another class, this week’s assignments are apparently due in February 2013. I am paying 6,000 dollars this semester. I feel like I’m being ripped off somehow.

But it’s October. And I’m sick. Tomorrow will mark me being sick for a full week. I thought my sickness would start and end in September, but apparently not. I had a really bad cold and from that I got laryngitis. I still can’t talk all that well, but I am doing much better than I was. I know when you get laryngitis the best thing to do is not talk. Yeah, well I’m with a bunch of preschoolers for eight hours of the day. I can’t really rest my body let alone my voice. But as I said, it’s getting better. It’s all a matter of time now.

But I have to admit that I’m sick now rather than later because, well…it’s October. And we all know what October means, right? 30 days (31 days? I was never good at math and never will be) from now it will be the start of…

NaNoWriMoOh, yes! I have been waiting a long time for this. I would rather be sick now during NaNo Prep month rather than NaNo itself. I’ve been sick during November before and it sucked. I wasn’t able to get anything done.

But then I think to myself, “Crap…it’s October 1st.” How am I going to plan? How am I going to make the time with school and work? More importantly, what am I going to write?

Now I have tried to write two novels at the same time before. I’ve tried this a couple of times. It does not work. Not for me, anyway. Especially since I’m at work eight hours a day five days a week and then trying to get homework done in between. Oh, and I have to attempt to have a social life. That’s important…but maybe not for November? I don’t know.

Anyway, I have tried thinking of what I should write. I started this thinking process a couple weeks ago. I thought of something to write, but of course I’m beginning to change my mind. So I don’t really know what’s going to happen because I’m at a loss right now. All I know is that my time is limited because I need to do some serious planning if I want to win. If I don’t plan, I’m most likely going to fail due to being smothered by school and work. At least if I plan, I don’t really have to think. The point of NaNo is to not think and not edit, right? Then again…if you think you’re going to fail, aren’t you setting yourself up to fail?

Oh, well. I never listened to wise quotes like that.

Smashwords

I Need A Bigger Foot….

I’m trying to buckle down and actually get my teeny tiny foot in the door of the publishing world. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. I used to be a size 4 in kids, but when I bought shoes and sneakers a couple weeks ago, my feet shrunk to a size 2 in kids. Yeah.

Anyway, I was thinking of finally publishing something just to get my foot in the door. I think I’m going to publish just a short story or two (if the first one turns out well) instead of a full novel. I know you can set the price for something or free. Whenever I do this, I’m thinking of posting my first short story on there for free. Just so I can get the hang of things. I know nothing about business or marketing or advertising or money or…science, does that category count? See, I know nothing. Accounting! Accounting counts, right? Or would that count as money…? I’m getting off topic…

The whole point of this post is to ask for your help. I’ve looked at the Smashwords website. I’ve Googled it. The thing is, I’m not sure if half of the things I hear on Google are worthy enough to take in.

I’ve seen some blogs around WordPress talking about Smashwords and some people have some things published on there. If anyone has any information on it, any advice, please mention something on the Contact Me page of my blog. Or you could just post a comment on here if that’s easier.

Let me know your honest opinion: do you think Smashwords is good or bad? Do you have any advice for me? Do you have anything published on there? I’ve also looked into CreateSpace…if you know anything about that, that would be great, too. Which would you prefer?

I trust you guys more than Google, so any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance!