Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Navigating the Net

Okay, for the past week I have been getting myself up to speed (well, maybe just a notch above neutral) on all this nutty net stuff. I now have a MySpace page, I’m on Facebook and I’ve even tweeted...twice!

I even figured out how to link to those pages from my blog—thank goodness they make it easy to do that these days! Of course, I still have a lot to learn...like, ‘how do I get the cool first paragraph of a new blog post onto my “wall” on Facebook,’ and ‘RSS feed??? WTH?’ It’s been fascinating, frustrating and very time consuming.

I have to admit it’s also been fun...the most enjoyable so far is Facebook. I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t heard from in more years than I’m going to say publicly. I even got to talk to one of my favorite peeps that I’d lost touch with, who is now teaching English in Thailand, for goodness sakes. How cool is that?

However, it’s now time for a reality check. I am a writer with a young child at home. I have limited free time. Time which must be spent WRITING. And as fun as all of these other things are, they distract me from job number two. (Job one being my family, of course).

One of my favorite authors, Lisa Kleypas, said once that she didn’t allow herself to even check e-mail until she had 1200 words under her belt for the day (not in those words, exactly. She would have said it much more eloquently and with some lovely description).

I am going to have to take a page from Lisa’s book and limit myself to checking Facebook--and my blog and everyone else’s cool sites and blogs and walls and pages that I’ve discovered this week--to once a day AFTER getting in my word count goals. And I’d be smart to save it until night time, when I’m creatively zapped.

After all, my goal is to be a published author, and I’m not going to get there if I’m not writing!

That being said, I’m off--back to work on “Sweet Enemy”.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll see you next week...but only AFTER you’ve completed your own goals for the day, right? ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wearing The Tiara...

I have many flaws, but the thing my husband says he wishes he could change most is that I tend to brush off successes in the overall push for perfection. And since perfection isn’t possible, I always feel like I’m failing. I have trouble appreciating my accomplishments, and usually say something silly like “Yes, but I still have to do X and Y before I can get to Z.” I never just enjoy the moment.

So, one of the things I’m working on is to celebrate little victories.

To that end, I will tell you about “The Tiara”. Early on in my critique group, we decided that we should do something to reward our milestones on the path to publication. We were all pretty new to the craft, so we decided we would celebrate all manner of things: first novel completion, contest finals, requests, first submissions, etc.,--all the way up first and subsequent sales.

So, off to Walgreen’s I went, and purchased the $3.98 plastic princess tiara with matching jewelry set and a bunch of big fat stuffed plush roses (it was around Valentines Day, so there were plenty of romance type things to choose from—a great time to buy things for promotions, btw).

Whenever a member hits a writing related achievement, she gets to wear The Tiara all through critique group. We make cards, take pictures…it’s great fun. We’ve celebrated some fabulous triumphs, most recently Fran Abram’s 2009 Emily final (with request for a full) and Katy Madison’s 2-book contract with Avon.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned that my manuscript, “Sweet Enemy”, is a finalist in the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance’s “Launching a Star” contest. I was very excited when I got the call, as I’d been beating myself up about my writing for a few weeks. Soon, however, my exhilaration wore off, and I started the “Yes, buts”. I won’t bore you with all of my negative self-talk, but I did subject my poor critique group to it and let me tell you, I got a lovely but firm e-mail butt-kicking from my friend (and fabulous author) Katy Madison. I’ll spare you that, too , but in a nutshell she told me to BE HAPPY. And she signed off with:

“And you are absolutely wearing The Tiara”.

So, here I am, wearing The Tiara.

Sunday night, I found out that “Sweet Enemy” is also a finalist in the Romance Writers Ink’s “Where the Magic Begins” contest. I am over the moon (cliché, I know!). It looks like I’ll be wearing The Tiara again on Wednesday. (Don’t worry...no more pics).

It is an honor to be among the incredibly talented finalists in the historical categories of “Launching a Star” and “Where the Magic Begins”. Therefore I am going to celebrate it and leave my “Yes, buts” behind.

So, let’s use this comment section as The Virtual Tiara…go ahead, toot your horns! I want to hear any and all tiara worthy things you’ve accomplished of late…

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stepping a toe into the blogosphere….

Hi. My name is Heather. And I am a Luddite.

Okay, not quite a Luddite. After all, I do love my new netbook (it’s pink!) and my schmancy new Keurig coffee maker totally rocks, but suffice it to say this is my first attempt at blogging. I don’t Tweet. Facebook? My Space? Oh my gosh, I’m so far behind. I do actually have accounts on those two sites (as a dear friend of mine forced me at virtual knifepoint), but I haven’t touched them since signing up. I suppose one of these days I will have to figure all of that out, too.

The sad part of this is that I’m only in my thirties. I don’t even have the excuse of not knowing how to work a computer… (Does having an 18 month old who won’t let me anywhere near a keyboard or mouse while he’s awake count?)

So why, you ask, am I starting a blog? Because even a youngish technophobe like myself recognizes that the internet is THE venue in which to connect with people – friends, family, other writers, agents, editors and hopefully someday, readers!

I’m sure I’ll start slow. Remember that 18 month old? Well, I have to use every spare second of nap-time to actually get my writing done. But I hope in the months ahead to build on this humble beginning and create a blog we’ll both (you and I, that is…he’s too young) find interesting!

For now, I’ll leave you with a question. Since I am new to the blogging world, why don’t you share with me what you love about your favorite blogs and why you read them? I’d love to learn from those more savvy than me!

Until later,