I'm Stuck

I'm stuck in a rut.  I have trouble concentrating when I write and read.  I have trouble concentrating on school.  I just have trouble concentrating in general.  I'm not sure why this is, but it really isn't fun.

I'm finished with my baby, The Clockshifter.  I'm finished with What No One Remembers.  I have a couple of book ideas, one of which I've started but I don't know which one is The One.

Maybe a good book will kick me into gear.


5 Things I Learned from Writing Essays

I took a college writing class last semester.  Its torturous lack of spaceships and fantastical beings taught me a lot about writing.  (Note to colleges: you should allow speculative fiction into your curriculum.  It's rather fun.)

1. Essay writing taught me better grammar.

Formal writing requires no broken grammar rules.  Learning these rules helped me improve my writing and know when it is okay to break the rules.  Hey, sometimes ya gotta break the rules for effect.

2. Essay writing taught me how to macro-edit.

My first drafts were scatter-brained messes.  (Well, apparently not when I'm feeling creative or under a strict time restraint.)  Editing short non-fiction is great practice for editing long fiction.  Trust me.

3. Essay writing taught me how to show, not tell.

If any of you know me, you probably know that I tend to write short.  Super short.  My longest WIP is currently 41k words.  Having a 700-word minimum when I can say the same amount in 500 words is difficult.  My problem?  I told rather than described.  Quickly, I learned to either add more description and examples or add another paragraph (though I got in trouble for doing this instead of sticking to a 3-part thesis).

4. Essay writing showed me to line edit by hand.

There's something therapeutic about writing all over a paper with a blood-red pen.  (Until you've edited your entire 41k book with it over a period of 24 hours.  True story.)

5. Essay writing showed me I write better under pressure.*

We had to do a few timed essays in this class.  This is like NaNoWriMo in an hour and a half with no planning and perfect writing.  Somehow, I always got better grades on these essays.

*If I planned before writing.

Have you ever written an essay?  Did it teach you anything about writing?  I would love to hear your thoughts!


COVER REVEAL: Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire

My blogging friend, Abigayle Claire from The Left-Handed Typist is publishing her book, Martin Hospitality!  It releases on February 4, so make sure and pick up your copy when it comes out!
Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.

The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?

Abigayle has been a writer for as long as she can remember, but did not begin seriously pursuing becoming an author until 2015. Since then, she has started a blog and numerous social media accounts, graduated high school as a homeschooler, and participated in the infamous NaNoWriMo. Other than writing, she is also pursuing work as a freelance editor. Writing is her ministry and reading is her pastime. Abigayle lives in Central Texas with her six younger siblings and parents.


Dealing With Rejection

                                                                                    Dear Younger Me,

You will be rejected.  Everything you create is not a masterpiece that will easily rank up there with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.  It's going to hurt, but in the end, good will come out of it.  Here are some ways you can get through those rough spots.

1. Realize that God doesn't want your book published at this very moment.  I know this might be hard to understand, but the publishing industry isn't as fast as those blog posts made it seem.  It's also very competitive and difficult to "make it".

2. Rejection doesn't always mean that your book isn't good enough.  One publisher rejected me because my book was more Christian than general market.  But they did compliment my story.  So it wasn't because I wasn't good enough.

3. If the editor or agent recommended specific revisions, listen to them.  They're the professionals.

4. Realize that you aren't The Exception.  I used to think that I could blast through the publishing process because how on earth could someone turn down my amazing, trendy idea?  Plus, my grandfather could blast email everyone he knows, telling them about my Great American Novel.  No, that is not how the industry is.  Even J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before a publisher acquired Harry Potter.

5. Don't immediately self-publish.  I greatly admire people who self-publish their novels.  There is nothing wrong with it...if they do it purposefully if they decide that self-publishing is truly the path they want to take, not because a publisher rejected them for a legitimate reason.  When I attended Realm Makers this summer, I heard a great piece of advice.  Someone suggested that someone who wants to self-publish should submit to publishers.  What the publishers say about it should determine whether or not the book is ready for publication.

6. Keep praying.  I pray every day that God will guide my journey towards publication.  I want my book to impact peoples' lives, and only He can direct that.

Alea Harper

Have you ever been rejected by a publisher?  How did you deal with it?  What did you learn from it?  Any publishing success stories you would like to share?  I would love to hear your thoughts!