Am I Meant To Be A Writer?

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Are you prepared to come face to face with the one question that has tortured the best of us? Wondering if you are good enough to make it in the world of writing. There never has been a question so vile and yet so beautiful to your soul.  At the beginning this  question made me toss and turn in bed until the light began streaming through my blinds. This question tortured me as I finished my first book doubtful of its worth. I always thought I writing came naturally, but I never thought I was meant to be one until now.

You may ask me, “How on earth do you know you’re meant to be a writer A. Willow? Did God come down and tell you this is what you are  going to do? Did He already plan out your life so you know you’ll be comfortable financially?”

My answer to you is a bit long, but the short answer is this “I can Feel it!”

If you are unsure of if you want to be a writer in your life, then listen close. I will reveal what it takes, how hard it is, and what your life will most likely look like.

I have researched to the point of exhaustion, and I am still learning everyday forcing myself to learn about the writing world. The truth is making it as a writer for a living is hard work.  If you write beautiful stories, if you structure a poem perfectly, or even if you think of the greatest character in the world, if this comes to you naturally then hooray for you. But that won’t be enough!

The writing industry in this decade is excruciatingly hard to be apart of and even harder to be successful. That is why I am trying to show you that if you are not already working hard then you need to. It’s just like everything else in this world,  if you don’t work for it you will not get anywhere.  It’s not just about writing every day, it’s about promoting yourself everyday.

I learned from a very helpful book  that you are your own marketer. You are the best person to promote your work, sell your work, and find the best agents, publishers and etc.  So to put it blatantly, besides working hard to write everyday, the hardest part is to promote yourself everyday.

In future posts I will tell you how to promote yourself.

The next thing you need to know is that writing can take a toll on you emotionally as well as mentally.

You may begin sending out your works, start a blog you think will generate popularity quickly, and even read out your poetry expecting a huge applause. Now, when I tell you this next part I truly wish the world worked different. It saddens me to say that more than likely these beautiful things of recognition, appreciation, and excitement for your writing probably won’t come right away. People will reject your work, your blog may start off with no followers, and you may not get a standing ovation and just a few scattered claps from the audience.

This is normal. Yes, I just said that you are a normal writer, but don’t be offended. Most of us start off normal, and must gain enough experience, and/or followers to witness all the beautiful things I mentioned above.

Yet again this has to do with building your platform, but to build your platform you need to understand that you do begin at the bottom no matter how awesomely fantastic your work may be.

Writing doesn’t just take talent, it takes a lot of time, energy, and sometimes even emotional stress.

Hopefully I didn’t scare you away by telling you what it takes to be a writer, because the overall outcome of writing is rewarding.

It may be different for everyone, but I want to tell you why I want to be a writer. Honestly there is no one answer that will tell you if this is the path you should take, but I can give you one definition of knowing.

If you feel like writing is your life, a part of breathing in and out, the sense that life fades away as soon as your pen touches paper.That is when you know you are a writer.

Writing for me is like writing out my soul. Feeling the words mold into my heart and I breathe them back out into the air to tell everyone about what I am experiencing.  There is no feeling that comes even remotely close as I type words onto a page. The reward is the feeling of beauty and wonder as you see your work. Creating a world in your head and exploring it as you find it on your page.

Writing is a gift only a few of us have, but it’s the ones that pursue it that are truly magical. You may be a writer at heart, but it takes a warrior to become a writer in this world.

Do you feel that warrior within you?

For me I don’t have it everyday, but I am struggling to bring that warrior to my everyday life. Please let me know if you feel the warrior within yourself, and what you find helps you overcome the challenges of being a writer.

Your blogging friend,

A. Willow

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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.

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

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!

The Confessions of a Book-aholic

I have always wondered why I have such an odd obsession with YA books. Over the many years of the yearning to read that newest story that will drive me towards excitement, adventure and thrill; I have discovered that, unfortunately, I am a bookaholic. I am, point-blank, ADDICTED! My condition torments me on a day-to-day basis, but my biggest concern is knowing if this is a common problem or if I am completely abnormal. Let me explain my symptoms and allow you to decide for yourself if you have caught this strange fixation.wpid-1367434834953.jpg

When driving by the mall, as if by an incomprehensible instinct, I always park by the big and bold Barnes and Noble.  I honestly don’t see why, considering there is never any parking when I go by, but somehow I can never resist. Once I have fought for a parking spot I immediately dash inside, the doors swing wide open, and I breath in the scent of pages filled with vibrant anticipation.

I wish I could tell you it ended there, but embarrassingly enough the story continues.

As I walk past the stands, moving towards my usual section, my eyes catch the books on display. Everything looks so interesting, and there is always something new and fresh. I wish I had enough time in my life to stop and pick up a few of them just out of curiosity, but I know it is a rarity if I ever find that time in my day. I ignore my adventurous taste as I head towards the section that never slips past my notice.

“Young adult” are the words I hardly glance at anymore as I routinely skim the covers of its shelves.

After skimming through the different covers that scream out at me, I feel the semi heavy weight of the book in my hands. The book is smooth with a hidden electricity that tingles up my palms urging me to decipher this newfound energy into words. As the energy seems to linger at the back of my mind I already know I’m hooked.

This is the part that will be eerily weird to those of you who have never been a book lover before. I open the pages, lift the book to my face, and smell the sweet perfume of freshly pressed paper. It’s strange to think that paper could smell so good, I know, but it leaves the feeling that my next journey is about to begin.

I phase out here. My mind blurs like it has been intoxicated after only reading the first word. I am detached from my body becoming one separate being with my book. Emotions begin blending, my eyes can only visualize this new world of adventure, and my new life has just begun.

This is my obsession. I am addicted to reading, because it feels as though I am living a separate life, experiencing things I never thought imaginable.

This is my curse, my disease,…and my home.

If you can relate to a bookaholic like me write your thoughts down below. I would love to hear your story.

A. Willow

YA Book Releases: April 19 -May 3 (2013)

Hello Fellow Readers!

Here are the tasty new YA books coming soon…

Released April 23:

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Title: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass (NYTimes Best-Seller)

Series: The Selection (Series, #2 )

Genre:Dystopian Romance

Form of Publication: Hardcover/ e-Book

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#2

 Title: Keep Holding On

Author: Susane Colasanti

                 Series: A Novel

               Genre: A romantic and empowering book about bullying

Form of Publications: Paperback/eBook

9781250012890_p0_v3_s600[1]#3

Title: Chosen at Nightfall

Author: C. C. Hunter (Best-Seller)

Series: Shadow Falls (Series, #5)

Genre: Paranormal

Form of Publication: Paperback, eBook

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9780375873379_p0_v1_s260x420[1]*

#4

Title: Zero 

Author: Tom Leveen

Series: A Novel

Genre:An Edgy Romance

Form of Publication:Paperback, eBook

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze[1]#5

Title: The Last Princess

Author: Galaxy Craze

Series: A Novel

Genre: Adventure-Survival

Form of Publication:Paperback, eBook

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Released April 30

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Title: The Eternity Cure (Best-Selling)

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: Blood of Eden (Series, #2)

Genre: Paranormal Dystopian Romance

Form of Publication: Hardcover, eBook

*

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Title: The Program

Author: Suzanne Young

Series: A Novel

Genre: Dystopian Romance

Form of Publication: Hardcover, eBook

*

9780062195265_p0_v2_s600[1]#3

Title: The Boyfriend App

Author:Katie Sise

Series: A Novel

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Form of Publication: Hardcover, eBook

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#412846479[1]

Title: Destined

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Series: Wings (Series, #4)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Form of Publication: Paperback, eBook

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9781477816509_p0_v2_s600[1]#5

Title: Sketchy

Author: Olivia Samms

Series: Bea Catcher Chronicles (Series, #1)

Genre: Thriller

Form of Publication: Hardcover

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#68576171[1]

Title: Faery Tales & Nightmares

Author: Melissa Marr (Best-Seller)

Series: Short stories mixed with Wicked Lovely tales

Genre: Fantasy Suspense

Form of Publication: Paperback, eBook

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Top  Picks:

#1- I am excited for The Last Princess. It really stuck out to me as something intense to read.

#2- The new Bea Chronicles really popped into my view. I can’t wait to read Sketchy and see if the series is worth our while.

#3- Of course I am happy The Elite is coming out. I just read the first book and couldn’t put it down!

#4- The Program seems very interesting, and I want to know how it will end up. Just out of curiosity.

If you have your eye on one of these lovely books comment down below and tell us why. The more opinions on this blog will make it that much easier for everyone to agree on their own favorite.

Enjoy your next book!

A. Willow

Quick Tip: You Are What You Read

As all of you may already know: Writers must be Readers.

Today I will quickly explain the different books you should be reading and why.

First you must ask the question: What Genre do you write for?   If you cannot answer this question then I would highly recommend you to start going through every section in the bookstore, grab the books that interest you,  and decide what you think you would like to write on. More than likely you write what you usually read. If you can find a genre that you love that’s great, but for most of us it isn’t that simple.book-genre

In order to write well you must broaden your reading. If you normally stick to YA paranormal romance, than move to the MG fantasy, or adult literature. You should have a taste of what different genres are about so you know your limits in your area of writing.

To know other genres will help you focus your attention on what is important.

For example: If you only read YA fantasy, you are so used to the trends of the fighting mixed with the romance that you don’t even notice it anymore. Once you go pick up a book of literature, a book of adult romance, and a book of children’s fiction, you can tell what is appropriate for your general audience and what might be more appropriate for another genre.

So instead of picking up the same old books you always read, expand your knowledge and embrace the journey to a better writer.

(Don’t kill yourself though. The requirement is one book of each genre not ten! You may go back to your normal books after that)

Enjoy your reading!

A. Willow