The Writer’s Box

© 2012 by Heather Palmer

Writing is hard.

Whoever thought writing is easy has never written. Writing is such a solitary venture and a personal journey sometimes I find myself lost as I sit alone again behind my desk creating the characters and worlds living inside my heart. I often wonder if this is true for other writers. Will I ever find the equilibrium between writing and family? Am I alone on this zigzag trek to publication and beyond?

I am not.

Though at times, I feel this way, as I imagine a lot of writers do. People ask me, how do you do it? How do you sit down with all that you have to do and write? There is no easy answer to this question, as I, like you have the same twenty-four hours, the same housework and grocery shopping to accomplish and family who rely on me.

My answer…

By knowing the hard work will pay off. By loving what I do (and I admit, I don’t always love writing) and building boundaries to protect my passion. I have on days and off days like everyone else. I delete more than I write on my off days. Some days I don’t even make it to the keyboard. These days happen, but you have to persist. No war is won in a day and each day is a battle so keep fighting and know you are not alone.

I sat talking with my husband the other day on this very topic and I said to him, “My writing is this box and in order for me to protect it, I have to fight every day. If I let you or anything else inside this box, I won’t do what I need to do for me or my writing.”

Treat your writing like a box.

Make boundaries for the time that you need to create and live within those boundaries for the time that you can each day. Every writer has to make their own set of rules to protect that box, so make your own and protect the time you can carve out of your day. You will write. And the more you write the closer you are to achieving your goals.

I like to set aside at least an hour for my writing. I write when I’m tired. I write when I’m sick. I write and I write and I write. But when I am in my box, I know that when I leave the box and return to all the distractions daily life is filled with, I will feel accomplished. There is nothing better than this sense of achievement.

Reward your hard work.

When you’re ready to emerge from your box (or maybe you’re being drug from your box by your hair), back into reality, give yourself the credit you deserve. You have won. Tomorrow will be another challenge, but for now have a glass of wine or the chocolate bar you were thinking about before you sat down at the computer. Open the door of your office and let the world inside, because in order to write—you must also experience life.

They say it takes twenty-one days to make a good habit, but don’t give up. Know you are not alone and know that others out there struggle with the same battle you do. The balance between life and writing is not easy to master. The weight you carry will shift from one side of the seesaw to the other and re-adjustments will be required.

But, I promise you, persistence WILL pay off. So, keep writing and build your box!

Until the next bite…Heather

Living in Almost, but Not Quite

© 2012 by Heather Palmer

 

Almost, but Not Quite is a place where every writer will find themselves at one point or another in their career. Right now, I am SO queen of this land. It’s not a fun place to be, but for now it’s where I need to be.

As writers, we have a craft to learn. There are so many facets of this craft and learning them takes time. Most days I find myself impatient, hungry, and chomping madly at the air around me trying to force something to happen in my writing career. I’ve discovered this does nothing other than make me more frustrated and discouraged with my current state.

Now, I’m not some self-pitying, wallowing kind of person. I’ve been writing since I can remember, penning my first stories with one of those fat pencils children use to learn to write with. Writing is in my blood. The essence of stories slides through my veins with every beat of my heart.

This week I didn’t final in yet another contest, but what I have learned is far more powerful than a certificate I can hang on the wall of my office. I got feedback.

And…with feedback comes rejection.

Rejection is part of being a writer and regardless of how long you’ve been honing your craft and plying your words we all must find ways to deal with rejection. For me, I give myself a short amount of time to wallow, to scream, to cry and wail at the world in general and then…I suck it up. Having tough skin in the writing world is a MUST.

Being a writer, you know everyone is not going to drop to their knees and kiss the pages of whatever awesome story you’ve churned out in a raging fit of inspiration. Writing takes work–A LOT of work. Part of our jobs is to ensure our work is ready. And for me, I know because of this recent feedback, it’s not quite ready.

Almost.

But not quite.

So, what do you do? I ask myself often…how bad do I want this? How bad can I taste a publishing contract on my tongue? Many of you will have the same answer: so bad you can feel the sharp, thin edge of the paper slicing into your flesh and drawing blood. This blood is rich with every ounce of effort you have expended into creating the best work you can offer.

But again, you could still reside in Almost.

Follow your ritual. Work through whatever you need to pick yourself up and get back into your chair and at your keyboard. Drink your wine and eat your chocolate. Hide in bed for a day. Pick up your favorite author’s book and read it again for the millionth time to solidify WHY you do what you do. Then…get back to work.

Fix what you know needs fixed. Revise like the hounds of hell are nipping at your tired feet. Now for me, I hate revision. I would rather have every hair plucked out of my scalp one strand at a time than sit down and pour through the same manuscript I have written four times.

Four times.

Today, I start round five.

You are not alone in this. Writing is a journey and we must embrace that part of us which makes us whole–the part of us that calls to our souls every waking and sleeping moment of our lives. The part we cannot and will not abandon. No matter how many times we have to polish and cleanse.

When we accomplish this…we WILL move beyond Not Quite into the land of I Have Finally Made It.

Oh, but here’s the painful part…then we start all over again.

Love what you do. Live for it, eat it, breathe it and sleep it.

And one day you will make it out into the world of being published and so will I.

 

Until the next bite…Heather

My Top 10 Vamp Books and Movies

© 2012 by Heather Palmer

Well here it is Sunday again, which means a new blog post. I’ve been thinking on what I wanted to post all week. I decided to share with you a piece of me. All these books and movies have influenced me or my writing in some way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by horror movies. Though I have to say some were lacking when it comes to special effects or strong plots. I always get a laugh out of the large breasted women who walk into a darkened room, chest thrust out and feigned fear in their eyes and what do they do?

Walk in and call out “Hello? Is anyone there?”

I mean really.

Ah, but isn’t this part of why we love bad acting/script writing with the lame music. So we can sit on our comfortable couches and chairs, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. I know I do.

Which brings me to my…

Top 10 vampire movies:

  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – My all time fav. Oh yes and let’s not forget Keanu Reeves.
  2. Queen of the Dammed – Stuart Townsend rocked this one.
  3. Underworld (all of them) – I shamelessly admit I have a thing for Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman.
  4. Interview with the Vampire – Brad Pit and Tom Cruise what isn’t to love here?
  5. The Lost Boys – I fell for Corey Haim and a new obsession was born.
  6. From Dusk Till Dawn – Selma Hayek and the snake…enough said.
  7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Like totally…
  8. Van Helsing – Kate again and this time with Hugh Jackman.
  9. Dracula (the 1931 classic) – This had to be on the list.
  10. Nosferatu (1922) – And the beginning of it all one of the earliest vampire films ever made.

I’ll have to do another post on who plays the best Dracula so stay tuned and check back in so you don’t miss it!

As far as writing goes, there are some really great paranormal writers out there. One day I hope to have my name show up on someone’s list. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but I think I really fell for the genre in junior high. These authors will always hold a special place in my heart.

Top 10 vampire books:

  1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – The beginning. For which I have traveled to Ireland and seen an original copy of this book. One of favorite memories.
  2. Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice. My first ride into the adult vampire scene.
  3. The Vampire Diaries – L.J. Smith – my teenage obsession.
  4. Forever and the Night – Linda Leal Miller. This series made me want to write vampire romance more than anything in the world.
  5. Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost – I am so in love with Cat and Bones.
  6. The Last Vampire – Chrisopher Pike – Again with the teenage infatuation.
  7. Christine Feehan – any of her books qualify for this list.
  8. J.R. Ward – same goes here for all her books.
  9. Shayla Black – another all time fav of mine
  10. And last, but by far the least, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

So that’s it, the books and movies that fuel my passions. How about you? Who would be on your list? Please leave me a comment I love to hear from all of you!

Until next time….