Struggling Through the Abyss of Time

Hello Fellow Writers,

Today I will share with you a problem I have been facing over the last six months. I have bashed myself down time and time again because I simply tell myself, “I don’t have any time to write.”

Is this statement true for me as well as for you? Do you feel that time is your enemy with your studies, work, family, and friends that you are unable to make time for your writing?

For some this is a daily struggle, others a few times a month, and a few that hardly have to worry about time. To those of you who don’t worry about timing Hurray to you! but for the rest of us time-crunchers, here are a few of my thoughts that may help you as well as me.

imageThe way we writers must view things no matter how busy we are is that time doesn’t stop just because you’ve stopped writing. You may want to be a big famous author or poet one day, but here’s the thing, if you aren’t writing you are stuck in time. The literary world isn’t going to stop the busy route it’s taking and slab you on the best sellers list.

You have to work for that all on your own.

You won’t be handed your accomplishments, instead you will have to work for what you want in life. We as writers must MAKE time everyday to write, we must make time to market ourselves every week, and we most certainly have to send out our works at least once a month. You need to start being that annoying writer who never takes no for an answer. Get your name out to the public, the publishers, and the literary agents. You need to imagine yourself as a persistent hornet, striking at every opportunity you are given.

Praying to God, talking to your friends, and writing when you simply feel like it isn’t going to be enough.

In america we have this sort of motto, that you can do anything you put your heart to, AS LONG AS YOU WORK YOUR TAIL OFF!

There are no tomorrows without the beginning of today, so start getting off the “another day” train and begin writing today!

Write, write, write.

Work, work, work.

And Advertise yourself.

I know that time might seem like it’s out to get you, but honestly only you can take time by the shirt collar and hold it down to go in the direction you want. Time is not completely our enemy, it just takes the courage to becomes friends with it and make it a frenemy.

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The Problems with Being a Writer

A. Willow

Ever since the dawn of time, writers have struggled to survive.

We each have our own style of writing, a way we like to do things, and a certain audience we are searching for. We strive to become noticed, or talked to about our work, to see what other people are thinking and if you have changed any one small person in some way. Once people start reading our work we begin to love our job, and we take pride in what we do.

The burden of this task doesn’t lay in the writing though, it lies on the outside.

For centuries we have seen, or read about the penny-less writer. Starving artists who have no choice in the matter of doing something else because they know deep down in their hearts that they are meant to write.

So here we all are, poorer than we had hoped, but feel helpless in the matter because no matter what your family and friends say, no matter how many times people bash at your life choices, you have no choice but to write with all your heart.

Choosing the path to follow your heart and dreams is one of the many sacrifices we must make in this world. We could have went to school to be some sort of doctor, even with a little interest, but where would you be now? You picked the writer path because you loved writing, and when you type your words on a page it feels like your fulfilling your life with meaning.

In this world, we are supposed to strive to become wealthy, long lived, and have so many expensive hobbies that we can’t even keep track of them all.

But imagine, if we didn’t live in this world. Imagine a place where money didn’t matter, and all anyone cared about was the passion they filled their lives with. A place where everyone followed their hearts and nobody second guessed themselves as to what to do, because they could see their soul as clear as day.

*Sigh

But we do not live a part of that world…not now at least. Because beyond the boundaries of our human race’s small minds, we can’t see everything no matter how smart you think you are. Everyone may think they have life and our surroundings all figured out, but in truth I doubt God or the Divine, or whatever you believe in gave us the minds to understand everything. For if we did understand everything we wouldn’t have wars to see what religion is right, we wouldn’t keep a stock of food for months when people are starving somewhere else, and we wouldn’t doubt that love surrounds all of us, but it takes a time a serenity to grasp it.

So for me at least, and perhaps for many of the other writers out there. I am not just writing for myself, or for the people I think might be able to get me rich or whatever….but I am writing for my soul. For I feel deep down, within my very core, that I’m meant to write words to help people understand that love isn’t just a myth of this world, and that every war does come with a consequence.

Each of us writers have our own reason to write, some unseen force pulling us along to tell a story to the world. I hope you find yours, and you learn from your own writing just like I am.

To me, it doesn’t matter if I am  penny-less and striving to get by in this world, but what matters is that I strive to show the world how much love and passion there truly is out there.

Goodbye my fellow writers, and if you’ve found your own reason for writing let me know. It’s a special gift our creator gave us to write out our feelings in song, and it’s just as special to share it.

Love Always,

     A. Willow

 

Does Word Count Matter?

Does word count matter?

This is a question every author must face while writing their book. I wish it weren’t true, but I think that may be the case.  With my book reaching 100,000 words, it can be lengthy for someone who has never been published before. This truly isn’t very large, but when you look at the young adult genre they recommend around 60 or 80 thousand…not 10! Young readers like quick reads, and if they don’t know the author they may not pick up a large book.

Personally I love large books. The BIGGER they are the BETTER!!!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while writing your books. The things you should be thinking about before and after.

1. Focus on writing-

While writing your book, DO NOT think about the word count at all! Right now I am writing the first novel to a trilogy I am working on and I keep repeating to myself, “I need to keep it short, I only want 60,000 words.” But I’ve realized that while that is going through my head I am missing some very important conversations between my characters.

Sure I can try to slim my book down a little, but the truth is-  the less you write the more likely you will skip over a really important part.

So the moral is to FOCUS on your writing and not on how long it should be.

2. Editing the rough draft-

Your all done with your book! You feel great like you had just climbed Mount Everest or finished a Marathon. The problem is…now comes the hard part.

Writing your book was easier then editing.

When you go back and edit your book you may notice that some of the great ideas you had before didn’t work out so well. In the process of editing you need to first take out everything you don’t need, and add in the things you do need. After rereading through the book several times you should be getting a feel of how long your book is actually going to be.

3. Final Changes-

Now is the time to fully embrace the length of your book. Is it too long, too short? If your new to publishing you should really consider not having your word count stand out. Most agents don’t like unique lengths by unpublished authors. The more subtle the word count the better.

So if its too long, you need to say good bye to a few of your pages/chapters. You’ve already reduced the amount of things you absolutely don’t want in your story, but now you need to realize some parts need to be pulled for the sake of selling.

I hope this helps those thinking about word count. And remember,  if you don’t have a strong writer’s platform you might want to think of what your genre requires on length.

As Always,

A. Willow

An Expression of Rejection

To express one’s self on a page is hard to do. It comes from the soul hidden deep behind the corners of your mind. All you want to focus on is what feels real, what feels right.

But then you get rejection after rejection and you can’t help to think that maybe your miracle will never happen.

Becoming published is a business you must have patience in, which I lack severally. I wish the day would come where I can float among the clouds of achievement, where I can see my work on a shelf and I can say “That’s my baby. That’s my treasured book.”

To imagine that moment brings tears of joy to my eyes. To actually think I could be chosen for such a high achievement. I just have to keep telling myself, be patient, work hard, and  soon you’ll get there.

If you are in the same position as I am, I just want you to know that a rejection isn’t the end of the world. You just have to believe that out of all the thousands of literary agents out there only ONE is perfect for you. We just haven’t found them yet.

Stay inspired to write, and you’ll get there when the time is right.

A. Willow

A Scene’s Complexity

imageWhat makes your writing unique?

Is it the way you spill it onto a page or could it possibly be the types of things you focus on?

Everyone is unique in their own way, and when it comes to the image inside your head, nobody else is going to have the same thing.

The landscape falls with just enough sunlight to stretch across the grass. The flowers, blooming red, symbolize the new beginning to my life. Stress has overcome all the senses, but soon a tranquil breath will wash over and release me from this heavy burden. 

Seeing an image like this one in your head is all your own, and something you might want to share with the world. But how do we effectively put a strong image into words? No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t give every person the same exact picture that’s inside your own mind, but you can try to get close.

Here are the things you should be thinking about while writing a scene.

1. The mood-

You must insinuate the mood you are feeling while you see this image. Does it seem to lift your spirits when you do see that sunrise. Can you feel the taste of freedom in the soft flowing air?

OR- Is it a drastic change where darkness sets in and you feel lost. Its feels as though your trapped in a dark cave with no light around you. You can only feel the course dank walls of your tormented enclosure?

Try to make your audience feel the way you do. Once you’ve achieved that you are getting closer to showing your audience the essence of your scene.

2. Vivid Description-

Now the question is what do you want to focus on? Is the narrator focusing on one object?

The coffee cup was still dripping with condensation. Letting the water slide down the side, and drip off the edge of the table. It’s as if the cup knew he felt the stress of his job beginning already without even taking a sip of his black bitter coffee. The cup was white, like his pale face, and resembled the staleness of life he had possessed over his many years of greed. The cup was a symbol of his life, and he knew that eventually the cup would drain down his throat dry without any comfort from the outside world. 

Or

Is the narrator unable to focus strictly on one thing, where everything is in a blur?

I heard the phone ringing, but could only focus on the people around me. There was a girl talking so fast it was as though her red lips puffed out in a blur, the man next to her eyeing her goods on his way to his lower end table, the lady in purple drummed her fingernails against the counter impatiently, the man chomping on his gum so loudly it made my stomach twist in nausea …

“Excuse me, you gonna get that or what?” 

I heard the snarky comment from a flimsy girl, but my head grew fuzzy and everyone began turning into one big blur of solid movement. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of answering the bar’s phone like I was supposed to, I bolted out of the spinning room and coughed up my lunch from earlier. 

What was it with me and large impatient crowds?

By looking at these examples you can see a drastic difference when you focus on one main object or too many at one time.   Whether it be a really quick glance of a description, or a long enduring eye for everything in the room.

My last piece of advice on the matter is you should be able to feel the writing being soaked up by your story and not disturbing it. Even if the paragraph is phenomenally written, if it isn’t flowing with the story you might have to save it for a later date.

3. What Feels Right-

When writing out your scenes, don’t focus on anyone else’s opinion but your own. It’s hard enough to write everything by yourself, but when you have more than one voice in your head it can get stressful. All you need to do is close your eyes and visualize what you think you should focus on in your heart. If the writing is rough, and you don’t know how to fully describe whats in your head, just write down random words that make sense to you and the scene. Come back to it later, and fully edit in the sentences. Writing isn’t supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be an expression of thought.

If you want to share, I would love to see hear how it helped you and even share what you came up with.

Enjoy your scene writing,

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: The Elite

Happy Thirst-day….Again!

Yep that’s right, this is my second book this Thursday.  Lets just say I’ve been busy catching up on my reading this past week. I’ll also admit that I was way too excited to wait until next week to post this book. It’s a good one!

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Name: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

YA Genre: Dystopian Romance

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 323

Reading Time: 2 days

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

Back of Book:

The Selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she’s swept up in longing for the life they’d planned to share. 

America is desperate for more time. But while she’s  torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want- and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Book Review:

There is nothing greater to me than a book that plays with my heart. A book that gets me so emotionally attuned to the character that I can’t even tell us apart. This is what Kierra Cass does to me in this series.

Being the second book of a trilogy, I thought it was going to be horrible. Usually, these middle books are used to fill in blanks, and get you to the third one. I did get a slight sense that she was filling, but her character and her story overpowered any thing more than a seconds thought on the matter.

This book, along with the first, is exactly what teen girls are looking for. They want the romance, but the hesitant step to dive forward. There is doubt in America’s mind, like most U.S. girls, but there is also an erupting courage. America’s struggle with the two men in her life is a problem a lot of teen girls are dealing with. Should we pick the man we had originally planned a life with, or should we take the person who seems to care for ME.

To be honest, America made me angry in the first one, but I realized it’s only because she hasn’t truly found herself until the very end of this book. I admire her new found strength and her courage to take large steps, and it made me fall in love with this book even more. The last part I will mention is my favorite scene towards the end, when the truth is finally discovered within America, and she decides to take the bold step and speak out.

This book is for all of us hopeless romantics out there, but I will ask you to please read the The Selection first so you aren’t lost along the way. I also didn’t give this a full five because there where still minor things I might not have loved, but overall this book blew me away.

I can’t wait for the third one The One coming out next spring. When I first found out I had to wait that long I grew very angry. I wanted to dive right in to the next book, and here I have to wait another year. Oh well, I should probably work on my patience  anyways.

Feel free to let me know if you like the book too, or if it wasn’t for you. We can’t all be in love with Maxon!

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: Being Henry David

Happy Thirst-day!

Before we get started for the review I just want to say I NEVER would have picked up this book on my own, but for you guys, I broadened my horizons.

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Name: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

YA Genre: Contemporary

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 304

Reading Time: 2 weeks

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Quote: “When you’ve lost your past you have to live in the present.

Back of the book:

“How can you move on with your life when you can’t even remember it?

He wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of who he is. All he has in his possession is a  worn out paperback of  Walden by Henry David Thoreau. All he knows is that he’s on the run.

And so he becomes Henry David, “Hank” for short. With the book as his guide, he sets out for the only destination he can think of: Walden Pond. There, while sleeping in the woods and hiding around town, it seems like he can begin again, with new friends and a girl he can’t stop thinking about. 

But when pieces of memories start coming back, Hank realizes the stranger  he fears the most is himself. What’s in his past that his mind won’t let him face?

Review:

As you have seen by my grading (2.5) I was not impressed, but before I begin to criticize the book I would first like to point out its strengths. The book was interesting, I’ll give it that. The fact that a boy can’t remember who he is, not even his name is intriguing, and the beginning description literally feels like a strike to the face.

What made the story good,  was how the beginning and the end weaved together a beautiful metaphor on how to treat life. I found the meaning behind the book the best part about it, but the actual story lacked depth.

The story, at first, was so intriguing I couldn’t put the book down. It was after the first few chapters that it winded down, but nothing seemed to be happening. From chapter 6 to about 15 or so I call those the Dead Pages. There were sparks here and there of interest, something that would bring the book back to life, but they were quickly extinguished.

It was as though Cal was trying to keep the book going, and drag it out to become a novel. I believe that if the book lost 100 pages, it would make more entertaining. It would keep you on the edge of your seat and not dread so long on things teens don’t want to read.

I believe this book is for those who are heading down the literature path. This long, drawn out book is exactly what most literature is all about. It had some intense parts, but overall it was very boring and took me forever to read. If your the type of person who can take on a slow book that has great meaning behind it then I say go for it, but if your like me and want something you want to fall in love with you should pass.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts about this book. Every one of us has different styles and maybe this is yours.

As always your thoughts are welcome.

A. Willow