Friday, August 27, 2010

People I meet.

So far this year I’ve met a lot of interesting writing folk. The reason for this is mainly because I’ve been spending more time getting involved in writing groups and forums. I’ve shared stories with these people, celebrated triumphs and consoled failures.

Writers are an interesting bunch. We each have our own hang-ups and insecurities, strengths and weaknesses. We are all on different paths and never fail to compare ourselves to each other. It’s a different world when you enter a writer’s space. The lingo is strange: queries, ms, POV, submissions, the dreaded R…but we all seem to share the same vision and I can honestly say that I’ve met some of the most friendly people who have talked me off of the writing ledge, helped me by critiquing my work and being brutally honest, have pointed out when I’m being a fool…and all around supported me through all of my struggles and triumphs this year.

So I wanted to pay tribute to those people this week…you know…the ones who raise you up in this crazy writing world…the ones who give you unending support and encouragement…whether it be family, agents, writing groups, friends or as I like to call them, e-friends (since my writing group and my forum buddies are all on-line).

Here’s a round of applause to those who give us poor souls, a.k.a. aspiring authors, that much needed confidence boost once in a while.

I'm headed into another major round of revisions for my agent so my posts are going to be on the shorter side for the next few weeks. I want to remind you though that my final Assassin contest closes August 31 at midnight, so get your comments in! Remember, the more comments you post over the weeks, the more chances you have to win an e-copy of Assassin.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What are you willing to sacrifice for your dreams?

I recently had a very enlightening conversation with one of my friends who informed me that I was spending too much time pursuing my dream of being a writer and sacrificing more enjoyable things in life…like spending time with her. It was an interesting conversation that left me not only confused and slightly angry but also intrigued…was I sacrificing too much? Had I abandoned my friends in favor of my dream?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a matter of perspective. My perspective is that I don’t sacrifice too much time to my writing. I make plans with friends and spend time with family; I always put aside my writing for my daughter if she needs me. Yes, I set aside certain times of the day for writing but most of it is after she is asleep and my husband is working. I would never say to her, no we can’t go to the park because mommy has to write. I make time to get the words down and I thought I was doing a good job balancing things.

The conversation with my friend opened my eyes to a few things. One, not everyone is supportive of my pursuit…not if they perceive that it costs them something. Two, I may be more of a hermit then I thought I was. Three, that doesn’t bother me.

I’m content with the way my life is going right now and will not abandon my dream simply because I’m not spending all of my nights and weekends socializing. I have a list of objectives when it comes to my time: family, work, writing, friends, which I balance accordingly.

What about you? Do you have to make sacrifices to get things done? Do you have a dream that requires you give up other things? Do people you know give you a hard time about it?

Friday, August 13, 2010

5 Things I've Learned this year.

Well, it's been a full year since I got on the agent train; a full year of gaining an agent, losing an agent and then gaining another agent. It's a bit crazy, I know, but along with all of the stress came some insight that I thought I would share. I'm going to set this up as a chain and tag three other writer's who in turn can tag three more...let's pool all of our collective learning experiences and share what we've gained this year.

1. Patience is going to be hard to master: I learned a few things about myself during this year of waiting, primarily that I go a little crazy and can't handle it for too long! I reach a breaking point at a ridiculously short interval and decide that the worst case scenario must be happening to me so I panic. That's when I start making stupid phone calls or sending dumb sounding emails. Luckily, I've learned that the first phone call I should make is to my friend Karen, at which point I also read her my dumb sounding email. She talks me through it and calms me down and then I'm good for another week at least ;)

2. Always trust your gut: I had two very strong gut reactions this year both dealing with my first agent. I won't go into specifics but needless to say my instincts had been right and I although I ignored my gut reaction the first time, I didn't the second, took a giant leap of faith, and ended up in a much better place.

3. Asking for help leads to many great things: There are a lot of very great people out there in the writing world, many of whom will do wonderful things for you if you ask them to. I'm not saying you should exploit your contacts but sometimes asking is the first step in getting what you want or need. I've gotten a lot of great advice and support, as well as unexpected bonuses and favors over the past year that have truly made my year memorable in a good way.

4. Showing up is the key to success: I'm not a social butterfly but once in a while I take a chance and go somewhere that I wouldn't normally go and more times then not, it pays off. For example, I went to an author event which eventually led to me getting my new agent.

5. Writer's Block is not what I thought it was: Okay, so I've always been a strong advocate that writer's block does not exist. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't have any difficulties getting words down. I'd set my quota for the week and get to work, no problem. But then I did a major rewrite for my agent and worked day and night on it and kind of got burned out and for two straight weeks couldn't bear the thought of writing a word. It was torture and sent me into more than one panic attack about my future as a writer. It only lasted for two weeks and in that time I realized that although I didn't have a problem with the ideas, I did, for the first time in my life, have a problem with motivation. So writer's block has taken on a new meaning for me. To me it means lack of motivation. For those two weeks I was feeling really down and dejected (physically ill as well) and it was getting to me more than I would have guessed it could. And I don't rightly know how I snapped out of it, but I did, and I'm back to normal now which feels great. So I guess writer's block does exist, just not the way I thought it did and now I know that I need to pace myself a little better so that I don't burn out and trigger it in the future.

So that's it for me, the three people I'm going to tag to continue with the learning experiences are: Selestial, Danica Avet and Michelle Muto. What did you ladies learn this year?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Significance of names

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re standing with some friends at a social event and you see a person coming toward you who you vaguely recognize but you can’t quite remember his/her name? Or it’s someone you definitely recognize and you should totally know their name but can’t remember it?

If you’ve ever been in that situation then you know the sheer panic that grips you. Your throat clogs with that lump of “oh shit” and your face flushes and your stomach turns upside down with each step that person takes in your direction because you know that you’re going to have to introduce them to your friends. And I’m not talking about a situation where you can simply say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name…” No, you should know this person’s name, no way around it.

I am terrible with names. Truly horrible. You tell me your name and it instantly leaves my brain. I don’t know if it’s because I’m simply not paying attention or what, but each and every time I warn myself, now Angie, listen to this person’s name and without fail, I lose it a second later. And then if you ask me to remember it days or months from that first introduction…well, that’s just a disaster. It’s even worse if I see the person out of context…like a person from work at the mall.

It’s not so bad when I meet up with a person one on one cause I can fake it…I don’t need to say their name in a conversation but when you’re with a group of people and you have to introduce them…well, sometimes I even forget the names of people who I work with for goodness sakes…it must be a nervous tick of mine or something.

And to make matters worse, I have a very distinguishing characteristic that sets me apart from many members of society. It’s a physical feature that is not altogether common…I’m not going to specify because I use a pen name for a reason but suffice it to say when I’m meeting someone for the first time in public I tell them to look for the person with the…blank, blank blank.

Because of this physical feature people recognize me a lot more than I recognize them. It’s unfair really that I, the most socially awkward individual around, has to be cursed with a feature that others remember…so much so that I get people…like complete strangers…coming up to me and talking, waving, or simply tracking me with their eyes, as if I’m supposed to know them…and let me tell you, that does not help my name forgetting issues. As soon as someone waves at me I’m struck with instant panic…oh shit, do I know this person? Should I know their name? Will it be rude if I don’t introduce them? What if I just walk by?

It’s horrible really and something that happens to me a lot. So I put it to you all, how do you remember people’s names? Or are you like me and can’t keep a hold of them to save your life?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And the Winner is...

As promised, I’ve drawn a winner for the comments posted throughout the month of July for an e-copy of Assassin.

The winner is....Jessica Peter! Congratulations!

Jessica, I need you to send me an email at angelaaddams@live.ca so that I can get some details from you.

For the rest of you, a new contest starts today for another e-copy of Assassin. It’ll run for the entire month of August...remember the more times you comment over the course of the month, the more times you are entered to win Assassin!

That’s it for me this week folks...I’m taking a break...a much needed break after getting my agent revisions done and submitted. Now, I wait and as we all know, waiting is a very painful process...but there’s always new stories to write...like Assassin’s sequel...boy, do I have some plans for Garrett and Violet...maybe I won’t be taking a break ; )