Weather and Writing

Seasonal_Festivals

Have you ever thought or wondered if the weather affects your writing?

I didn’t until the ups and downs of the weather beginning with the drought in the Midwest, rain and devastation in the Northeast. Then hot weather, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Now, when spring should arrive, we are again having unusual snowstorms, blizzards, rain, wind, earth slides, and the poor flowers, shrubs, and trees have no idea whether to shrivel up or try to bloom. All the distinct season we know, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, seem to blend together.

Does a trip through spring give you energy to write and add fresh beginnings to your stories? Dormancy becomes alive with bursts of nature. I have found myself outside taking walks, seeing new life, and gathering ideas. During this time, my writing becomes invigorated with different characters and story ideas flow.

When summer comes, the heat and humidity keeps me inside. The sun shines in every window and my fingers want to run over the keyboard or scribble with the pen., Forget the dust bunnies, they can be caught on a cloudy day. I just need to write.

Autumn is the magnificent, majestic parade of nature. The air feels cooler and colors look brighter. The smell of campfires, hotdogs, turkeys in the oven, and football instill excitement. My writing becomes more focused, new plots come into my mind, along with the clash of characters. Thoughts probe my Muse and she takes me to another level of writing. I write slower during this season.

Winter is different for everyone. In some places, snow piles up and stays piled up. In other areas cold rain is the snow. Where I live, one snowflake stops traffic. Yet, I continue to watch The Weather Channel and glimpse at the beauty of snow. I cuddle up with my computer and my fingers caress the keyboard. My imagination goes berserk. I picture a blazing fireplace in the living room and my characters get cozy and intimate. Maybe the Christmas tree and all the presents underneath become torment with the hope of a diamond ring or no package at all.

These are the times when my Muse is happy. Each season brings a different life to my writing. What about all you writers? I’d love to hear from you and your writing seasons.

Happy writing all year.

Patricia

Creativity At Work For Marketing

An Idea

Yes, my friends had some interesting points for marketing, many years ago. This got me to thinking of marketing now, in 2013.

For a writer/author, they need to get their brand out to a lot of people, and this includes readers. On the road to publishing, a writer needs a platform, contacts in all areas, social media, writer organizations, blogs, websites, critique partners, workshops, and the list can go on and on and on.

I watch some television, but with the sound off. Why? Because, if I am revising or writing, my head needs to be in my work/scenes and not on the program. Then an idea hit me and I stopped writing and started looking at a mute television. No. Not the shows, but the commercials. You can learn a lot with commercials sans sound.

Which commercials? Any and all, but you have to think with a marketing head. How do you get hooked in? What does a commercial offer you, even if you have no use for the product? Do certain movements grab you? What about the colors? Do they irritate you or draw you into the center of the advertisement?

You should have your marketing notebook close and start making notes. What works and what turns you off. Then think of your own marketing plan(s). Without any sound, do language movements draw you inside. Look at the faces. Are they smiling, laughing, having a good time? Do these uplifts give you a joyful, playful attitude?

Do you create yourself or are you created by others? Some serious questions need study and answering. You cannot expect others to create you. This is YOUR work and YOUR story.

This commercial watching is not for a night, but try this for a whole week. You are watching, not listening. Make commercials for yourself and your work. Try an animation procedure, then a serious statement. Experiment with all of your senses and see what your commercial would look like. Watch more and look at your notes. What would you change and why? These are questions you have to sift through and revise your commercial, which is your marketing.

What extra steps can you take to get your work out, in front of your readers, and what part of the commercial will pull them in? Put yourself on the imaginary street corner. Now, what would you “hawk” out to people with your book in your hand?

Thanks to my two friends. They always seem to bring the past into the present. Now, you my readers, what can you do in the present to keep the past alive and awaiting for your next book?

Happy Commercial Watching.

Marketing The Old-Fashioned Way

Two friends

Here we are again. Things ( all sorts of things) happen with the wave of a hand now days. Everyone wants instant make-overs, tools that do the work for you, and no sweat.

We over heard Patricia talking about Marketing to a writer friend. No, let’s make a correction – we snooped and listened. She opened a folder with lists, lists, and more written lists of things to do to market you, your writing, and your book.  Seems like a lot of work for no “instant gratification.”

Do you know how old-fashioned marketing works? Take a trip back with us to small villages in Britain. Not yesterday, we’re talking back to the 16th century and chapbooks. Yes, people wrote stories and poems with flimsy paper and the feather ink pen. These were sewn together with a needle and a thick thread, right down the middle with an outside cover.

They were “hawked” on street corners and priced for workers and rural areas to afford. These were used for family reading or groups in alehouses. These first “books for sale” contributed to the development of literacy.

Then the early printers made their way into this chapbook industry. Sometimes, chapmen got them on credit, and carried them all over the countryside, selling door to door, and returned with pay for the printers.

Now, think about how you would market the old-fashioned way. Then, stop and be thankful you have all the lists, and lists, and more lists. Once Patricia reads our bit of information, we are certain there will be more up-dated lists on marketing. But, this was fun. We all need to step ‘outside our boxes’ once in a while. So, we’ll rest for a long time.

Happy Hawking.

A Long Journey

Check your work.Please forgive my absence. There is no excuse, except to say, “I took a long journey. No, not to some fabulous island, or a trip abroad, but rather to my novels, the ones waiting to get published. I wanted to go back over each one with a new fine-tooth comb.”

These have gone through critique groups, gentle reading from other writers, but when a writer friend said she would do a “beta” read, this intrigued me. She did some of a novel, and we met to discuss her findings. Yikes. I got more information about my writing than I did from an editor, and she’s not finished yet.

So, I offered to “beta” read her novel. I gave her some of my findings and surprised myself with what bits and pieces I caught. My red pen got heated, as did my mind and creative side. Okay, I got picky, if not for her, for me, and my instincts sharpened.

Then, I decided to take my own novel and do MY “beta” read. I did not hold back. I searched for words, phrases, out of place scenes, duplicate words, and I was not easy on myself.

No, I did not do this on the computer (another long journey), rather I printed out 335 pages, got a new red pen, and in the evenings, I went to work. I read, marked, marked, marked, and then read again. I was on a ROLL. The red ink ran out, but I do keep a small stash of these red pens at hand.

I felt in control of me and my writing. When I came to something questionable, a big red “X” went across the page. I wasn’t critiquing me, I was critiquing my writing. And, I noticed the sensor stayed out of the way.

I need to thank my “beta” read person and all the pain she caused me. Why? Because, I now know how to critique myself in a new and inventive way. Does this hurt? YES. Does this help? YES. I can take a look at my words and see beyond the letters into the depths of the story.

Now, I’m back and ready to put some of the red marks into a revision of one novel.  Might end up with eight or nine (8-9) revisions; but if it takes ten, I’m on my way.

Let me hear from you and any of your experiences with a “beta” read or your ways to re-read your work and come out exhausted, but knowing you are on a new plateau.

I’ll be back sooner, and thanks for the new journey.

Happy Revisions.