Spring in My Step

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Hello everybody! It’s springtime here in NY!

I have been gone for quite a few months. Just work and things. Kinda haven’t felt the very best in terms of being confident about my writing, either.

It seems now is a perfect time to write, read, and talk about writing with what’s going on in the world. How are you all doing with COVID-19 and being isolated? M and I have been doing well; we are watching lots of old movies and going for walks. I thought this would be a great time for me to break my writer’s block, but I haven’t done that as of yet, and we’re starting week 7. I have been reading, though, which I’m happy about.

I used to have my nose stuck in a book all the time growing up. I kinda stopped reading as I got older. Now I’ve gotten back into it. I’m glad. I love reading. I’ve gone through 4 or 5 books so far. Right now, I’m currently reading Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. It’s a mystery thriller. I’m liking mysteries right now.

I was scrolling through Facebook last week and I came across a competition that the Writer’s Digest is holding. It is the Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I caught it just in time; the deadline for submitting work is May 1. It’s an expensive entry fee, but I talked to M and we decided I should go for it! So I sent in The Underground Dogs. I’m not holding my breath, but I’m hoping for honorable mention!

Speaking of The Underground Dogs, sales have been okay. It seems they’ve slowed down. I thought they might pick up due to everyone being stuck at home. I might have to change my ad strategy. It’s a double-edged sword; I hate having to pay for ads because it gets expensive, but it’s the only way to get people to find my book on Amazon. So far, 12 people have reviewed it and I have a 4.5 star rating. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to go get it. Its dystopian fascist themes are reminiscent of what’s going on in today’s world. It has some thrills and humor, too. I am sure you’d all enjoy it!

I also discovered people are rating and talking about The Underground Dogs on goodreads. I had no idea! It has a 4.33 rating on there! And there are 8 people who are currently reading it or want to read it. How amazing is that? It made my day! I feel somewhat ignorant and naive I completely overlooked goodreads. It seems like readers very much like that site to talk about and rate books. I will have to make an author profile over there. If you have a goodreads account and have read The Underground Dogs, please consider rating and reviewing it there! I’d be very appreciative.

So, because of those things (Writer’s Digest competition and ratings), I feel more motivated to work on my novels and start writing again. My psych and M have been telling me to “just do it” and write something. It is much easier said than done, of course. I am really going to try though. I have set myself a somewhat lofty goal: I want to self-publish (with Amazon) 4 more books before I am 40. Without telling you how old I am, know this is doable, but ambitious. BUT! This also means I have to move my butt, stop feeling sorry for myself, and actually WRITE! I am hoping to do so ASAP.

I am also thinking about adding a section to my website here about self-publishing. I am thinking of putting together some FAQs and How To’s. There is so much information out there and I figured out a lot of stuff for myself. I think I’ll put together tips and tricks in one spot to help others that have no idea where to go.

Well, that’s what is going on with me. Let me know what you all have been up to!

-JCDK

Failure

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So it’s NANOWRIMO…. Every year I have the best intention to write every day and complete a lot of writing work. And every year I fail horribly.

I tried really hard this year but as each day went by, this giant wall just hit me. I can’t write. I haven’t been able to write for a long time. It seems like it’s been this way since I finished The Underground Dogs.

I thought I broke the block the other day when I came up with a new plot for one of the novels I have going on. It doesn’t seem like it, though. I still can’t seem to write anything of the story.

I can’t seem to write anything at all.

I don’t know why, really. I think some of it is that I feel disappointed that The Underground Dogs isn’t selling as much as I hoped it would, so I have this feeling of “What’s the point of writing anything if no one is going to read it?” Another part of me just always thinks my stuff is crap, and then yet another part of me is so let down at the fact I’m a tiny drop in an ocean of other “writers” trying to get their words out there. (I wonder how many of them are really storytellers though?)

I just don’t know what to do. I just hope I can force myself to sit down and write something soon. It’s making me very sad and I think it’s just making my depression worse and worse…..

Ignore the Gremlins

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A couple weeks ago I had an opportunity to attend a writing/poetry fair at a local college. Many vendors, authors, and lovers of books and writing attended.

Several panel discussions took place throughout the day and I wanted to attend one of them because mystery author Walter Mosley was going to be speaking. I wanted to hear what he had to say and to possibly get his autograph on my copy of Devil in a Blue Dress.

 Long story short, M and I ended up leaving before the panel discussion. Truth is, I felt very out of place. I later told M it was because I felt like I didn’t belong; it seemed like there were more “relevant” and “creditable” writers there. I felt very small.

M and my psych both told me that it was silly to feel that way, and now I believe they’re right. You shouldn’t feel like you’re any less of a (insert profession or even person here) because a) someone makes you feel that way, b) strange environments, or c) especially because you let your self-doubts get the best of you. I started to doubt myself and my own writing and so I got depressed and nervous.

But, who’s to say I don’t belong there, rubbing shoulders with “the best of them?”

Nobody, that’s who.

So don’t listen to that little gremlin in your head who says you can’t do it and you’ll never match up. Because you can and you do.

Re-Vamp

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I’ve combined my personal and “professional” Facebook pages. I have nothing to hide. I personally don’t agree with having separate ones and have always felt weird about it. Much like the radical new indie publishing world, why can’t we have a radical new way of looking at authors in the sense that what you see is what you get? I’m not stuffy or hiding anything. I am who I am. I want people to know me.

I’m also tweaking this blog to talk about lots of other things, not just my writing. It’s going to be my journey to become a published author and all the other things I go through on that journey, too. Like an outlet, kind of thing.

I’m struggling with my depression lately. It feels like I’m falling into a puddle. I just don’t want to end up in the same place I was in three years ago. I refuse to end up there. I am just trying to take one day at a time and stay in the moment.

I haven’t written much in a while, either. I have a new idea for a novel that M helped me come up with. It’s going to be a comedy. I still have that other sci-fi I’m working on, too. I have to really sit down and work on them–short stories, too.

Anyway, that’s my update.

Stay cool.

May Update

Howdy.

Something cool happened regarding The Novel that Will Get Me Published. I sent a query and the first 30 pages to a publisher and they asked to read the whole thing. That was pretty awesome in itself. They eventually said no, but it was one helluva complimentary rejection letter:

“Thanks so much for sending your full manuscript. The voice still blows me away with its pace and tone. You’ve captured humor and intensity at the same time. Although it is an intriguing concept and a well-written account, I didn’t fall in love with it. I wish you all the best.”

I was disappointed, of course, but just the fact they liked it so much made me think, “Gee, I’m getting really close!” Bittersweet. It was cool.

I’ve been submitting all sorts of stuff again. Short stories, vignettes, etc. Things that were rejected, I’m turning right back around and submitting to other places. Hash tag determination.

I’ve taken a break from Facebook. Place gets on my nerves sometimes. Gets to me, y’know? So far I feel better. More time for writing! 😀

Anyway, the weather certainly helps things, too. Thumbs way up.

Stay cool.