Top Ten Truths About Being an Author

I am often asked what is like to write a novel. On this journey of the mind and soul, I have learned a variety of often painful and sometimes pleasant lessons.  So I decided to share a few of my gems in case you are tempted to think about writing a book or if you are just an author looking for a little laughter!

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  1. If you are stuck and can’t decide what to write, drink anything highly caffeinated—don’t worry about the pain in your chest after your fifth espresso, that’s just ideas being born.
  2. Ergonomics is for wimps. If your neck, back, wrists, and eyes don’t hurt after a long day of writing, you are doing it wrong.
  3. Coffee shops are your mecca. Once you accept that you are the stereotype of a writer, you can make great use of any place that has quirky people and uppers floating in the air.
  4. Not talking about your story until it is complete is impossible. It’s like talking about your children, sometimes you just have to share. Your friends are just going to have to accept that your life revolves around little souls and souls that exist nowhere else but in your mind (don’t worry when they call you a border-line schizophrenic, take it like a compliment).
  5. In your marriage, killing a character is an acceptable rule for being in a bad mood; unless it is an antagonist, which is reason for jumping around the house like a mad woman/man.
  6. Sickness will come to the household whenever you are nearing the end of a book deadline. Make sure to get your work done early because nothing promotes a peaceful and harmonious writing environment like the soft scents of Lysol and a child’s feverish face.
  7. Putting your kids to bed early because you have a revelation about your current WIP is not only acceptable but almost required as there is nothing worse than forgetting/not utilizing the muse.
  8. Ideas only come after all of your pens are lined North to South and your chair is tilted in an exact 10 degree angle from your computer screen (or when you are trying to go to sleep and have somewhere to be early the next morning).
  9. It’s normal when you are having a conversation with one of the few friends you have left (after months of being in your writing cave) that everything they say relates to something that you have written. In fact, if this is a true friend, they will love you more for it (even if they are rolling their eyes).
  10. Every character in your book is based on someone you know. We are creatures of habit, why create a character when you have a well-known acquaintance that (not so secretly) loves to dress in drag and only eats yellow food on Wednesdays? HELLO, character quirks!

What about you? What gems have you learned along your journey?

 

*Danica’s next novel, The Curse of Zeus, Book 5 of the Nymph Series will be out Fall 2015!

Cover Reveal: Montana Christmas Romance

Cover Reveal for MONTANA CHRISTMAS ROMANCE: A Multi-Author Anthology

A Collection of Heartwarming Holiday Stories From Under the Big Sky . . .

AuthorDanicaWinters,LLC._4

Coming November 1st 2014!

Take a trip to Montana with this collection of seven heartwarming Christmas romances by award-winning and best-selling authors. This collection of stories from the mountains to the valleys of Big Sky state will remind you of what is truly important and why you love the holiday season. Be ready to be swept away on a series of incredible journeys of the heart and soul.

Casey Dawes — author of Love on the Wind

Danica Winters —author of A Date for Christmas

R.L. Syme — author of Montana Mistletoe

Clare Tallier — author of Homecoming

Melissa Tenley — author of An Unexpected Gift

H.A. Somerled — author of Death at a Party

Jade Barnaby — author of The Stars She Lost

 

Published by Self-Publishing Services, LLC.

Advice: So You Want to Write?

I have some exciting news! Casey Dawes, Clare Woods, and I have started a company to help all authors through every step of publishing. This includes writing coaching, editing, cover design, marketing support, and everything in between. We created Self-Publishing Services with a simple goal in mind: to give writers all the tools they needed to succeed in creating their best book. Whether this means we are working on their first book or their twentieth, a children’s book or an epic novel, the goal is always the same, we’re there to help authors navigate the world of self-publishing and come through with an amazing book.

Self-Publishing Services LLC will be officially launching in September, but I’m pleased to say that we are already busy with clients (if you are interested in our services, please let me know).

This week, I have spent a great deal of time working with folks who want to start writing professionally. Over and over I have been asked for advice. While there is much I can say about writing, I think the most important thing to remember is to remember why you want to become an author. What about you drives you to want to follow this dream? Is it a dream of fame and fortune? A desire to contribute? You want to see your name in print?eye on the ball

All of these things are important and are legitimate reasons to want to write, but the sad truth is that these may not be strong enough reasons to continue the journey when the going gets tough. Writing isn’t an easy business. Almost anyone can put enough words together to make a book, but few can make a good book and even fewer have what it takes to get a book (regardless of how well it is written) into the hands of millions.

Writing is a multifaceted world of business, creative gumption, and the ability to be mutually extroverted and introverted. Long gone are the days where a writer could simply sit behind a computer and write. The new world of publishing requires travel, public speaking, time, patience, and a incredible determination. So before a new author starts down this path, I always ask them: Why? What drives you to follow this dream? Do you want it to be a career or a hobby?

If this is a career option for you, I strongly recommend that you write down the reason you want to follow this path. Hide the note. Put it somewhere that only you can find it. And then, years later, after you’ve finished that first or second book and your find yourself road-worn by rejection letters, reviews, sales, or whatever else is getting you down, you can come back and be revitalized by the former you.

At this point, I’m seventeen books into writing. I plan on writing many, many more. Does that mean I’m immune to low days? Hardly. Yet, I have learned to move past these points and keep my chin up. The trick is the same for both writing and life: keep Moving Forward, learn from the past but don’t stop, don’t become stagnant or complacent, keep learning, and as I tell my little league softball players–keep your eye on the ball/the reason you started your journey as an author.

5 Rules of Being an Enduring Author

I have been writing professionally for several years now. I have seen writers come and go. I’ve seen fabulous talent fizzle under the pressure that comes with the business side of writing and it breaks my heart. So, in an effort to be honest to upcoming authors or those of you who dream of being a writer, I want to share five undeniable rules that can keep you moving down the long road of being an author. road

Rule 1: Follow your heart. Don’t write what you think people want to read. Yes, it is important to be able to market to a certain group of readers (e.g. Vampire lovers), but it is even more critical that you are passionate about what you are writing. I’m a wee bit notorious for writing whatever strikes me, but I have found that my readers have followed. They read my books because each one is created with deep, unwavering passion for the topic and the characters.

Rule 2:Be involved. Writing can be a lone wolf career path. You can sit in an office each day, diligently writing away and working your fingers to bloody nubs, but unless you are out there in the ‘real’ world, people aren’t going to know you exist. No one owes you anything. No one has to be your friend. You need to go out, introduce yourself and find like-minded people. I’ve said it a thousand times, but it begs repeating, I have met some of my dearest friends at writers conferences and readers events. I LOVE talking books with people who are passionate about the world of romance and literature. These are great allies when you are feeling down. These are the people that remind you of why you love writing.

Rule 3:Study. Study. Study. This can mean in the craft of writing in addition to researching your book. It is critically important that you are constantly learning and changing with the times. In just five years, there has been a dramatic shift in publishing and what readers want. In another five years, I can guarantee that it will continue to change just as dramatically. If you are not learning and watching the world around you, you will be left behind.

Rule 4: Grow a thick skin. You are going to cry. You are going to scream. And then you are going to need to step away from your anger or pain and be ready to smile. The act of being an author isn’t easy. You are going to get negative critiques, even more nasty criticism, rejection, and fluctuations. We all get them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been published or are a New York Times Bestseller. Someone out there is not going to like you or what you write. Elizabeth Lowell said it best, “Whenever you stick your head above the crowd, someone is going to take a shot.” I like to add, “But if you never stand up for what you are passionate about, you will be nothing more than a face in the crowd.”

When I have tough days, I force myself to think about what could come, or better yet, what will  come if I just keep going. I can’t stop to lick my wounds, instead I let them heal in the reassurance that there are better days ahead.

Rule 5:This is by far the most important rule. NEVER STOP WRITING. I have small children, a job, a husband, pets, family (that sometimes puts the fun in dysfunctional), friends, I get sick, sad, happy, crazy (though I try to keep that under wraps as much as possible), and I get bored. I’m human. You’re human. We all have things that require our time and attention; regardless, we have to make time for what we love.

There are many days in the job of writing where it would be easy to just quit. People are cruel. You can’t let them put you down and keep you from your dream, your passion. If you do, you are your worst enemy, not them. So ignore the fervor around you, the neigh sayers and critics, and put your blinders on and write!

You are in control of only one thing–yourself.