It is the first Wednesday of the month and do you know that means? Posting for Insecure Writers Support Group, now why would I be party to such a crowd? Well let me tell you why, writing in general …
A ghastly, not gassy, career choice indeed! And yet an affliction plaguing many. Everyone is a writer, but not everyone has support – so let’s hear if for the club! Open to one and all just skip on over!
Last month, on Wednesday 1 of April, I was honored to be attending a workshop in Portland, Oregon with Larry Brooks and a great number of talented authors. His tutelage should, absolutely, be the 1st letter in the alphabet when thinking about sitting down and penning a spectacular piece of literary art.
There are many considerations to navigate. Putting one word in front of the other is not the only talent for success. Excitement and common sense have a tendency to cross in the night and end up on Pluto.
Oh’ good morning my sappy writer friends and to all those who know better, lol!
What a day, what a life, what it means to surround yourself with those of a similar, twisted, like mind. Do you remember the wild ride? Yes, the nauseating thrill that beckons us forward, casting a voodoo spell until we vomit from excitement and exhaustion.
I would imagine the same can be said in all of our passions, albeit I speak of mine, writing, scribbling, dabbling with a pen, chewing the lid until plastic shards fill your mouth and your lips become covered in an explosion of red.
(Pencils, I know, dream with me, my people)
It is that gnawing creature inside inking its way out.
This week has encapsulated Sandi and me with a solid core, a safe zone of inspirational minds who have left their egos at home. (hallelujah) Portland has welcomed Larry Brooks an amazing story coach and writer, and you would almost say, friend. He is hard-core, yet genuine in his honesty, speaking those nasty words you truly need to hear. Logic, structure, placing a skeleton behind the myriad, fleshy jumbled literary maze, that would be our mind, and asking in simple plain terms,
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Simple questions, like, “What is conceptual about this?
What is your core dramatic thread? Your premise?”
And you stop and say, yah, I just wrote 20,000 beautiful, pain-staking words of… let’s be honest, not much, equaling a chalk board void of scribble. What he lays out may seem simple to some, but this is complexly clear and offers…
Substance, sprinkled appropriately, given straight.
The beauty of dissecting our thoughts saves us time and sanity.
As a glorified rambler, babbler, pantser, sitter down and jumper in, I recognize the need in myself for this framework, before.
If I am truly serious, this I will do.
Insecure Writers Unite –arm yourselves with the appropriate weapons to slay these inner gremlins, ultimately, holding us back, allowing clarity of our vision to be seen, when planned appropriately.
Skip the 18 drafts and cut that time in half, reach for the light!
Write on! ❤ Jessica
Calling all my INSECURE WRITING FRIENDS
Are you kidding me? We are so there! Done and done says Sandi and me!
After the two of us have attended Writing Conferences and Webinars and Many Other Costly Programs and Writing Events … We assure you this is MONEY WELL SPENT! I don’t know how you are going to get there, but get there and BE afraid to learn more about writing and who you are as a storyteller than you would have ever imagined possible and expect to cry. Yes, happy, sad, mad, life-changing tears of reality!
(hey, it’s all a part of the experience-it’s NOT going to kill us-
JUST make us stronger-BOOyah, Baby!)
We have seen Larry at our Portland Conference for the last two years and like frightened newbies hid in the back afraid to be called upon or looked at for too long, shrinking in our seats if his gaze came too close. This past year we did edge closer to the fourth or fifth row, but our hands remained glued to our chairs.
Go to, NO, run to http://www.novelintensives.com to sign up ASAP! Initially, we were told the class would be well over our price bucket – it is more than 50% OFF the pricing quoted in August 2015.
Do you want to know how serious I am about this? I will forgo my morning Americano, take back the 800 bags of bottles lining my back shed, get a part-time job at McDonalds (might be an exaggeration), run to the blood bank, re-evaluate my Dyson addiction (sorry James) and make my husband dinner at least
32 of the 7 nights in a given week. Write On! ❤ Jessica!
Hey everyone! One of my writing gurus (coach), Larry Brooks is teaching a 4 day workshop in Portland Oregon (my home town) in April at the gorgeous historic Benson Hotel. And I need a couple things from you;
First, I’ll be there, so let me know if you will also. We can have coffee, libations or hang in the beautiful lobby and get some work done on our novels. Because trust me, Larry is a force to be reckoned with and he will work us hard.
Second, would you please tweet out one or both of the below twitter cards to your adoring fans on either Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or wherever you are loved. Thanks, Mindy (find me on twitter @MindyHalleck)
Your Story On Steroids: A 4-Day Novel Development Intensive: (excerpted from Larry’s…
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It is true. For the past 12 months, I have dedicated almost every single day to follow my individual pursuits. I have finished another manuscript while redrafting my first. I have lived from great highs to deep lows in encouragements and frustrations. My steadfast team has held my hand, pushed me forward, relished in my accomplishments, and attempted to wipe away my blubbers of disappointment. I have been lifted up and let down. I have won as I have lost and for the first time in – ever, I speak in first person.
My life as a dreamer has earned me less than I have made since I was 13 years old. But I did get paid and that, in itself, was a moment of triumph. Not as a novelist, per se, but in copy editing and that is okay.
So what is it I have learned to pass on to others who dream of this fantasy that does not leave us, penning words of whimsy or knowledge?
If it is your passion, do it, whether it is in the dark or on the back of an envelope. If you have five minutes or five hours, it is all the same. Thoughts overflow and find their way to a page, a habit we cannot quit. Allow this voice to find you and guide you. Do not question ‘the Rules’ or allow well-placed advice to deviate you from your course.
Just Write. That is what makes us a…writer.
More time leads us to more self-pressure, self-doubt, and self-deprecation. And everything hinges on the same word, you.
At my 2nd writer’s conference, the question was asked, “What is it that keeps you from writing?” And 90% of the room raised their hands to answer, “Time.” Last year, this was my answer, too. Today my response is, “ME.” While I have found my individual freedom to speak, I have also found a plethora of excuses or outside intrusions limiting me from my potential.
“You are living your dream.” A statement from one of my very best friends. He is right. When dubiety and disappointment flood my brain, I remind myself, hearing him speak. The strong voice of one who does not write but knows me for the person I am. It matters not if I am a Plotter or a Pantser, an Amateur or Accredited, I am a writer, and I will forever tell stories as I see them told.
As Always, WRITE On! ❤ Jessica
I have to admit I quite enjoyed my original post on the importance of Gravatars (it was the 80’s hair band collage) in this world of cyber-space. The importance of bringing a personal perspective to what is almost impersonal. And because of a writer’s conference class I attended speaking specifically on the importance of online presence and peppering that miniature baby everywhere you went. Especially, on your blog/website and making an appearance on others.
It’s like BAM here I am! BAM here I am again, and suddenly we feel like we know each other and vise-versa.
When we make ourselves seen, and our presence felt enough, our voice can be heard without using any words.
And the biggest reason I wanted to write Part Deux, forgetting the most important point that I wanted to make originally, (I somehow got caught up in all that hair) is that I look for you by that tiny representation. Your image whatever it might be when you hit the like button, and there you are — making me smile. It is a refreshing, breathtaking reminder of the time you have taken to say hello.
And I will admit…I fall in love a little with each of you.
Write On! ❤ Jessica
Who would have ever thought you could be so excited to receive criticism? Constructive criticism that is! It has been 2 painful months of waiting for feedback from an agency that specifically is going to critique my Query Letter, Synopsis, and the first three chapters of my novel!! (I am screaming; can you hear it?)
Through Writers Digest I attended a webinar, specifically, “How to Avoid Rookie Mistakes When Submitting to Agents.” The course was $89.99 and offered these 3 all critical feedbacks. I have, of course, in that painfully long amount of time, re-written most of it. But to see if the changes I have made are in the right direction is kil – ling me!
I have seen similar webinars and professional feed-backs that are much more expensive, and this was an offer too good to pass up. I also admire the agency who offered the course. The information stated our material would be sent back by 3-29-15, but that was yesterday, a Sunday, so I am giving them until Monday, today, as the actual end date. We all make mistakes, right?
One would fret, “Did they receive my material at all?” Well, I know that they did because I got an e-mail, dutifully archived, from the agent replying my submission was received. From this past Friday until the end of business today: (8 p.m.?) I have been jumping back and forth from multiple e-mails to see if this gem of disappointment has finally arrived.
If by the end of the week I still have not received my packet should I call them? The last thing I need to do is make a bigger fool of myself than I already have a tendency to do. Face to the sun I am smiling bright, big-red-felt marker bring it on!
Keep writing, ❤ Jessica
Social media is one of the biggest questions writers seem to be asking…Should I? How necessary is it? What are the steps? After Oregon’s largest writers’ conference last summer the answer could not be clearer – an online presence is a must.
I, personally, did not even have a Facebook account and that quickly changed. There is so much support for writers through communities and groups that your experience will be everything you put into it, within sane reason. To be successful is not an illusion it takes time, effort and energy. To have a following, you must be an involved follower, an active participant in building your platform.
If you don’t know how to put it all together; Google it, the needed information is out there if you are willing to look. WordPress has blogging courses for beginners or freshen it uppers. Do not be afraid. Work for the recognition you deserve and have labored for. But, you must be mindful. You will no longer be anonymous.
The most beneficial information for me has come from; Twitter.
These entities link together and before you know it the magic slowly becomes reality. I attended a webinar recently where a traditionally published author explained she became solely independent. All marketing while being represented was her exclusive responsibility.
The course also mentioned in the next 10 years the industry will be called “publishing,” period. We must get comfortable with the notion of being “Hybrid” if anything, a bit of both, traditional and self-published and get over the misplaced idea of being One or the Other.
If we want to be read, we must not only put our professionally polished work out there, but be willing to step forward on the internet stage and take a bow. One year ago I would have never been able to do this…Hi, my name is Jessica Edouard and I write historical romance novels.
Much <3! Keep writing! Jessica
To be remembered is a piece of advice that Sandi imparted upon me, and while at our big writer’s conference this past summer, I learned first hand the appropriate, not bumbling, ways to make an impact with the proper approach…
1. Dress the part: Case in point…there was a lovely young woman who wore a bold striped skirt of various colors, with a geometrical patterned blouse that clashed on every account. Now even I do not own Garanimals, but instead of her trend choice being a fashion faux pas, she did what? Exactly, she stood out and even today is being remembered. If I can’t get her out of my mind, think of the agents she sat in front of to pitch. Her outfit was not obscene in any way shape or form, just far from ordinarily boring.
1a. Play the part: Characters from your book? Different culture? use it to your advantage, make your characters work for you. Sell your story. When was dress- up ever boring?
1b. As a dithering and enthusiastic entrepreneur of the written word, I will not be one to make such an emboldened choice when it comes to my apparel, but there is another option that could make a lasting impression: added stand-out, look-at-me jewelry, scarves, belts, man bags. These are choices for the faint of heart.
1c. If you opt out of colorful clothing possibilities then have an intriguing personal bio, make your background a great story of its own. We all can make a great impression by being professional as we demonstrate endearing traits of our personalities.
Another awesome case in point…the first night of our stay a beautiful woman stated in our peer group, in front of a panel of agents, that she was a retired Disney Princess. Now how does one compete with that? It should have been my cue to exit stage right.
2. Pitching to agents at any conference is a huge piece, if you so choose, but the last thing I would like to say about our first experience is to take advantage of all the great information and classes offered at these events. It is invaluable, and you have paid for the information, do not leave short. Network with other authors and enjoy this amazing experience.
3. As in all things of life, be wary, there are still those nasty individuals who are busily looking to take advantage of our delicate egos and complete inexperience in the industry.
My emotion about agents was a direct reaction to our experience on February 20th. I dislike any opinion that paints a group with a broad stroke. That’s what I did, and I apologize. Agents have an incredible job with volume alone, culling the unacceptable first pages from the great ones; then being enthused about the genre as well as the writing style to sell it; and they are individuals making a living with their own criteria and circumstances.
With that said, facial expressions that deepen the bite for the denigrated writer are unprofessional. One agent, a a scrawny, self important, over confident twit, was appallingly rude! Sharing one’s writing is as vulnerable as standing naked in front of a group of 8th grade boys.
Agents have a library of helpful advice to share, and we are ready to listen. We pay for our individual time with them or for a conference; is it too much to expect a tidbit or two? Your attention for 10 minutes @ $30? We might be the one to make you rich. How many published authors have you turned away who made money for someone else?
The number of hoops to jump through and then land on one’s feet is larger than I ever would have guessed. Kindness goes a long way as we find our way. Thank you to those agents who offer constructive suggestions. We writers appreciate you!
Moving on: A nugget I learned about editing was to enlist editing from people who are smarter than you and avoid friends and family. I learned the hard way when my husband read a chapter and had nothing to say. His comment was, “I didn’t know what to say.” Another hint was to circle adverbs and “state of being verbs” in your draft and find stronger verbs . As we have heard many times, show not tell.
Pages to write, so off I go!