26 August 2011

Being an aspiring writer...

for me it means that I should focus my efforts and time to finish the unfinished (it's been 7 years now...), polish the finished and start sending it out whether as a query or for feedback (contests - see my Calendar for upcoming contests, are perfect opportunity for getting feedback on your work from other writers, also published, if not agents and editors themselves!).

Unfortunately, recently instead of writing I've been spending my time
- trying to get a new day job with - surprise, surprise! - more responsibilities and a steep learning curve
- polishing my CV so it matches the requirements for the potential new job
- learning new stuff so I can perform at interviews for the new job
- making sure that I've got the look for the job (cue new hairstyle, advice from a stylist and a few rather painful shopping trips - have you ever tried to radically change your style?)
- going to conferences (well, at least one was to do with writing - another great RWNZ conference, where I met in person my fab online romance writing friend Serenity Woods)
- enjoying time spent with friends (waving at Serenity and other lovely people I've met recently)
- trying to come up with not-so-social-animals-friendly promoting strategies for my book on OCD, which is just out
- thinking about a new post on my blog (long overdue, I humbly admit)
- learning at an online workshop how to manage day job, family, life, have some sleep AND still write more than one book in a year (by fabulous Kerri Nelson)
- feeling overwhelmed with all the above and the guilt that I'm not writing that I often end up playing stupid flash games
A lot of procrastinating, isn't it?

I feel being an aspiring writer is so much about fighting your urge to procrastinate.
Fiona Maddock wrote a brilliant post on being unknown and unpublished writer once. And what does being an unpublished/aspiring writer means to you?

But hopefully it's about to change.
At the conference Lucy Gilmour, Mills&Boon's medical romance editor, suggested that I sent the first 3 chapters and a synopsis of my novel to her (it's not a proper request as I didn't quite pitched to her - she just told me to send it to her as they look at all submissions anyway), so at the moment I'm polishing these while sneaking out from some boring conference sessions (this is not a writing conference though!). I have to have it ready by Friday.
In the meantime I'm spreading the word about The Liebster Blog Award, which goal is to showcase up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, like me :)
I have got the award from Sara Furlong-Burr - one of my favourite bloggers (thanks Sara!).

The rules are simple:
  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who bestowed the award on you 
  2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog 
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog 
  4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love 
  5. Have bloggity-blog fun!
It's taken me a while to choose my top 5 bloggers for this award, but finally I've gone through the (long) list of blogs I follow and was really surprised to find out that some of my favourite blogs have fewer than 100 followers! Here's my list of  bloggers worth following- they're all writers (some write romance, some not), and their blogs burst with superuseful writing advice:

1. Nan Cormague - a romance writer, who has gone quiet a little but I hope she's back soon to continue posting

2. A.J. Humpage - a fiction (short and long) and non-fiction writer with many years of experience and excellent posts on story mechanics and the use of language.

3. Morton S. Gray - a fellow romance writer and The Mutual Admiration Society member

4. Liz Fielding - another romance writer, a very experienced one, who is always happy to share her knowledge and at the moment is giving advice on New Voices competition.

5. Jodi Henley - discovered only recently organic writer and the master of subconscious writing process which is ... (check her blog!)

I hope you all enjoy reading these blogs.
Now I have to send off that manuscript and go to another (boring) conference session.

02 August 2011

Online courses and workshops for romance writers (August 2011)

I've been keeping an eye on online writing courses for a while now and it seems this has become a very popular way of learning craft and boosting inspiration for writers. I didn't realise there is such an aboundance of workshops out there! I suscribe to only a couple of mailing lists, and it's still hard to keep up, let alone choose.
Onlike courses are cheep, convenient and can be informative if you do it properly.

Here is a list of a few August workshops I think may be of interest to fellow romance writers.

1 - 31 August The Book Factory: Producing Multiple Novels in One Year with Kerri Nelson
to enrol go to Red River Romance Writers
I'm doing this one!

Three of many interesting workshops organised by Low Country RWA
5 - 26 August Writing Regency Set Novels with Shannon Donnelly
5 - 26 August What Does Nora Roberts Know That You Don’t? with Carol Hughes
5 - 26 August Body Talk: Lying, Loving and the Real Language of the Body with Kit Fraizer
To enrol go to Low Country RWA website
1 - 28 August Ebook and digital publishing - is it for me? with Suzanne Rock

15 - 28 August Creating better heroes with Sasha Illyvich

15 - 29 August From Slow Burn to Fast Sizzle: Making Sexual Tension Work For You with Kira Sinclair and Lynn Raye Harris

Two of the many interesting workshops at Savvy Authors
1 - 6 August Patchworking the perfect plot (even when you're a pantser) with Suzanne Johnson
1 - 28 August - Dirty little secrets of character development with Keena Kincaid

My main sources of info about online workshops are Savvy Authors website and RWA Newsletters.
What are yours? Where do you find information about interesting workshops? Share your tips below.

photo credit: Photostock at www.freedigitalphotos.net.