Burn Out!

WOW! Never thought it would happen to me, but it did! Burn out!! Not from writing  —  from   L-I-F-E…

No, I’m not being suicidal. I’m being tired! Full time job outside of the house, full time writing career, full time mother, full time wife, owner of 2 small businesses, writing for 4 or 5 different blogs (I’ve lost count LOL!)… Does it ever end??? Whew! I need a vacation and FAST!

In all honesty, I do this to myself all the time. I have a disease that doesn’t allow my mouth to say “no” and doesn’t allow my mind to ever close from its creative activities. There is always some idea that comes to mind that will help me in my life. But with a new idea always comes new tasks to add to an already too full plate.

And it’s CampNaNo June, which I am determined to win. I think that is what is really making me feel burned out. The pressure of writing 50,000 words in a month. Now, I am absolutely certain that I write 50k words in a month with no problem. No doubt about it. I have to — writing for several blogs, working on my manuscripts, and writing poetry. But the pressure that is on now is writing 50k words in one manuscript all in one month’s time. Yeah I write 50k words in a month, but never on one subject or in one manuscript…

Burn out.

I know it’s from sheer overwhelm. I work at my peak when I have too many tasks on my plate. My subconscious mind, however, keeps reminding me that I am 2 days and 505 words behind not counting the words for today. The day is still young so I can’t count that as “behind” unless I don’t write any more today. That puts me at 3,839 words behind. But what makes it worse is that I am at a particularly difficult part of the manuscript. It’s a memoir, so in this section I am talking a lot about my mother and father who are both deceased. The memories are good ones, but the fact that they are no longer here is what’s making the writing difficult. I am nearly 4,000 words behind! I don’t need this kind of difficulty in writing right now…

So, what do I do to circumvent this burn out? I wrote 1,162 words this morning and then ended the chapter. Those 1,162 words are what made me less than 3 days behind. I couldn’t bare to write any more about mom and dad…not right now. It was making the writing laborious. This is the very first, clunky draft anyway. I can always go back during the editing phase and add in whatever I need to enhance that chapter. If I continued to try writing in that chapter today, I would not get any writing done.

I have read many authors who do the same thing. Either finish the chapter off quickly, knowing they have to edit the manuscript anyway, or start writing a different scene or section of the book and come back to the difficult writing later. Because I am a pantser, there’s no way I can write a different scene or section and come back. I haven’t done any planning or outlining so I don’t know what the future scenes and sections will hold. I could always have gone off and worked on some poetry or maybe one of my other manuscripts; but I know me, I would never get back to writing this one… For the next 24 days I need to stay focused on writing this one manuscript. I want to win CampNaNo and I want to have a completed, clunky first draft in my grubby little paws by June 30th. If I don’t stick to deadlines, I will never get this book written and published!

Some writers take a break from writing when they hit a difficult patch, either by writing something else or walking away from writing altogether. Oooo, that would be a book killer for me! I would never want to return to writing that manuscript knowing where in the manuscript I had left off. Walking away at the difficult part for me would ensure that I would never return to finish writing. And I definitely would not return from writing something else, something less emotional. However, some authors have what it takes to walk away and come back later. I just am not cut from that part of the cloth…

Whatever you do, as always, you need to keep writing!

Time to share…
What do you do when you are burned out from so much going on, including your writing? How does writing sensitive passages affect your writing ability? What do you do when burn out begins to sabotage your writing practice? 

Syndication! YES!!

Thank goodness today is Friday! I’ve been holding onto this news all week…

The W.I.N. at Writing blog has been syndicated!!! I was approached last week by the Books Editor of Before It’s News, a web-based news portal that gets 10s of 1000s of visitors daily. The Books Editor asked if I would be willing to allow them to syndicate my blog and pull my feed for the Books section of their site. Well you know I said “heck yeah!” It is truly a honor and a blessing to know that my articles are found to be news worthy by my readers and that Before It’s News feels like the information found here can be beneficial to many more people. Thank you to Sebastian Clouth, Books Editor, and Before It’s News for finding the value in my blog.

Now that W.I.N. at Writing has been syndicated, I would love to start having a guest blogger once a month to write an article either on the topic of self publishing or memoir writing. However, if you’d like to submit an article on another topic related to the writing industry, I would be open to hear your suggestions as well. I am currently developing this part of my blogging life; but, if you are interested in being one of my guest bloggers in the future, please post a comment below and we will connect and get you scheduled.

On another note, the Inspired & Independent Book Club officially kicked off today! It’s not too late to join us in this month’s book reading — Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom’s Adventure in Life and Faith by Sarah DiMickele. The Book Club has divided the book into 4 easy-to-read sections and one section is read each week. We then post our thoughts on that week’s section, with no spoilers if you read ahead, and at the end of the month we give a summary of our reading experience with the book in its entirety. Hop on over and join us. Christine and I have already posted our thoughts on the first week’s reading section.

Lastly, today is Day 1 of CampNaNoWriMo. I am doing CampNaNo this year, at least the June camp…haven’t decided if I’ll do the August camp as well. That’s 50,000 words written in a 30 day period. I am in a cabin with 5 others and we will be supporting and cheering each other on throughout the next 30 days of intensive writing. I hope to be able to finish my first draft by the end of camp, which I’m sure will be more than 50k words. That’s my goal so that I can then start the editing process and get this book published by the end of the year. If anyone is willing to read the finished first draft manuscript sometime in July of this year to give me your input, please let me know.

Whew! Lot’s of news for Friday Frivolities… More is better, so I ain’t complaining LOL!!! Have a GREAT weekend and I will “see” you all on Monday!

Hangouts on Google+

For today’s Thursday Themes, I thought I would take a moment to briefly discuss Google+ Hangouts. I say briefly because I am just learning about them myself…

One of the daily challenges for the Author Platform Challenge by Robert Lee Brewer that I’m running from my blog this month is to create a Google+ account for yourself. You must complete it fully — add your picture, bio, website, etc. — in order to ensure that this place to find you on the web is complete. After I completed the task of creating my account and updating my profile, I began to peruse what Google+ had to offer and think about how I could incorporate this social network into my writing life.

Then I stumbled upon Hangouts and I started digging deeper. Hangouts are essentially a private video chat room that you can invite your Google+ friends to and discuss whatever. You are able to connect up to 9 people via video and I believe others can participate in the chat by typing (those who don’t want to be on video, and those folks who join after 9 video connections have already been made). Hangouts also gives you the ability to allow “Hangouts On Air” which streams your video broadcast live on both your Google+ profile page and your YouTube channel. It’s a really neat feature of the site and I believe it can help a writer tremendously with building her platform and marketing herself.

Some of the uses for Hangouts, especially Hangouts On Air, that I have come up with include:

  1. Holding a virtual book reading of sections of your book.
  2. Holding a virtual discussion about your book or some aspect of your book.
  3. Holding webinars on industry topics such as self publishing and memoir writing.

The list goes on and on. I intend to use Hangouts for the Inspired & Independent Book Club so that we can meet at least monthly to summarize the book we’ve been reading together. Book clubs are so much more fun when you can get together in person and discuss the work. This will be a really great experience to add to the Book Club.

If you’d like to connect with me on Google+ or any of the social networks out there, I can be found:

Time to share…
Do you have a Google+ account? If so, do you use Hangouts/Hangouts On Air? How do you/would you use the Hangouts feature in your writing life?

Focusing Your Memoir

Writing a memoir is a daunting task. A writer often struggles with what to include and what to leave out. It can be very overwhelming because no one wants to leave out any of the “good parts.” But how does one determine what the “good parts” are?

Memoir writers are often tempted to put in too much information. Characters and details that really are not important to the story you are trying to convey. These characters and details may have been part of the actual events, but do they make sense to the story from the viewpoint you are writing the memoir? If not, leave them out…even if it’s one of your siblings. You are not altering history here, you are simply writing the important memories you want to convey without the fluff stuff that isn’t necessary to the story you are telling.

I recently read an article on the American Scholar website on How To Write a Memoir. The author relates detailed information that can assist in memoir writing, some of which include:

  • But in my memoir I don’t write anything about the war itself. I just tell one story about one trip I took across North Africa after our troopship landed at Casablanca.“, and
  • Remember: Your biggest stories often have less to do with their subject than with their significance — not what you did in a certain situation, but how that situation affected you and shaped the person you became.“, and
  • Tackle your life in easily manageable chunks.

I think that these tidbits are good information for memoir writers to keep in mind. There is a wealth of other useful tidbits in the complete article, which can be found here. Don’t overdo it. Write just what is necessary to the story at hand. Your life spans many decades and trying to get a history of all those decades recorded in one volume is not only a difficult task, it may be unnecessary. Unless you are writing your autobiography, every detail is not necessary to tell a story about a portion of your life in a memoir. There’s no reason to relay all or most details of your life from birth up until the time of the story at hand. Leave those details for a different memoir. Focus on the subject matter of the memoir at hand — your memories of trips to your grandparents house, your memories of growing up in the church, your memories of baking cookies with your mom and selling them for a nickel at your lemonade stand…

In writing a memoir you must keep the story you are telling in focus. Do not lose your readers by giving too much information. Only what is pertinent to the story need be included. I suggest you take the time to read the full article. It is time well spent. I will be implementing the author’s suggestion to write a story about your life each morning and file it away until you have enough material to review and look for recurring patterns and themes. This helps the writer to really find out what their memoir is about, which is not usually what you think.

Time to share…
What do you struggle with in memoir writing? Has this article or the article on the American Scholar website helped you to refocus your memoir writing? In what ways?

Writing Memoirs

I receive an e-mail newsletter from the National Association of Memoir Writers. This is a great organization and site for memoir writers all over the world. It is a wealth of information, webinars and classes, as well as one-on-one coaching.

In the May 28th copy of the NAMW newsletter, it listed six questions that memoir writers ask:

The top six questions that memoir writers ask–and some answers.

  • ·         “Where do I start?” Start with a compelling story that you HAVE to write. List 5 more stories and write them one by one.
  • ·         “What do I include?” In your first draft, write everything that is on your mind. Remember, this is not your published version and you don’t have to show it to anyone.
  • ·         “Should I just copy my journals?” You can draw upon your journal but a memoir is a story. Learn the fictional tools that will help you write a compelling story.
  • ·         “What makes my life interesting to other people?” All of us worry about this, but the good news is that no one has lived your life, or understands being you and living on the planet the way you have. Everyone’s life is interesting to other people. Writing a great story makes it interesting.
  • ·         “Do I have to write a whole book?” (Gasp.) No. Write one story at a time. Just one.
·         “What will my family say?” Tell them you’re writing fiction. Don’t share your most vulnerable stories hoping they will understand you suddenly. Treat your writing like a tender plant in the garden.”

Oftentimes memoir writers worry about their content because of the personal nature of the subject matter. They worry about offending people in their lives who their stories may brush upon or talk about in detail. Our United States Constitution has given us the right to free speech. Speak freely about whatever topic you choose without worrying about hurting someone’s feelings. Everything you write will never be accepted by every person who reads it — whether the person is intricate to the story or a stranger reading the story. As long as you are not writing untruths about the individual or the situation the individual was party to, then there’s nothing you need to worry about.

Not everyone is going to like every story or book we write. There are too many obstacles in a writer’s path to “published” to let the feelings of others hinder you from writing. If you are able to:

  1. Write the truth, without sensationalizing it.
  2. Give facts and details.
  3. Speak from the heart in a non-vicious manner.

then you are able to write a memoir that you can hold your head high about and be proud of. You have not lied. You have provided great detail and all of the facts in the story. You are speaking from a storytelling perspective, free of thoughts of “pay back” or vindictiveness or seeking revenge. If someone’s feelings are hurt or you offend in your storytelling, you will know that your intent was to do neither. Your intent was to share with the world your story, from your perspective. No two people will have the same perspective and what you may see as the events of the story may be related by another party to the events in a totally different manner.

So, take a deep breath, relax, and write. It is your story. Your way. From your perspective. Remember that and know that you did not set out to anger anyone. My favorite quote from a very famous author:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)