Quickie Post

I’m working on the audiobook for a friend of mine, Debrah Strait, who is having some health issues and can use a boost in sales for her middle grade book, The Dragon’s Gold, and  completely forgot to write a blog post for today. The work is fun, but consumes a lot of time with both recording, then editing each chapter.

As I’ve been reading not only my book, but Debrah’s, I have decided that this is something I would like to do for other writers. I know how difficult it is to write the book then, do all the work of the audio version as well. During this process I’ve learned a lot about time management, and am still learning how to get all the tasks that I set for myself completed. I see this as a fantastic opportunity to keep track of the time it takes to not only read, but edit the book, which in turn should give me an idea of how much to charge for my services.

Something really great happened in the last few days. I asked my fellow No Pants Project participants for advice on becoming an audiobook reader and got some wonderful ideas about where to submit my name and samples of my work. Once I get Debrah’s book, The Dragon’s Gold finished, I’ll have a better idea of where to look for clients.

Watch for a real post on Wednesday. In the meantime, have a fabulous weekend.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Writing Lessons So Far

Thunderstorm over Corfu

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ~ Toni Morrison

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~ Gustave Faubert

This morning as I awoke, for some reason I was thinking about what I’d share with eager attendees of a writing workshop should I ever conduct one. Sometimes I wake up with these kinds of flights of fancy rolling around in my head. I don’t know why. Maybe they are part of a dream I was having so it’s fresh in my mind.

In any case, since I’m not finished reading the next book I want to write about, I thought I’d write down some ideas so I can get them clear in my mind just in case one day I end up writing a memoir, or conducting a workshop about my writing process.

In my mind, memoirs by creative people are much more valuable to the new artist than a how to book about writing. I know, how to books are very popular. And common wisdom tells writers to get a MFA in creative writing, or take writer’s workshops. But I’m a contrarian. I take the view that the only person who can teach me (or you) how to write is me. I’m not saying don’t take that writing class, I’m saying that if you are going to be creative in any way, the muses are going to speak to you differently than they are to me. And what you have to share with the world is unique to you alone. No one else can share what you’ve experienced.

Last year I read Ann Patchett’s wonderful memoir, The Getaway Car. It’s about her writing life. It’s called The Getaway Car because in the beginning Ann tells about being a waitress and writing her first novel was her getaway car out of a job she hated. I loved that image, because I had a similar feeling about my writing.

But the point I wanted to make about her memoir is this, she writes about a fellow writer who had to move her writing desk away from the window so she couldn’t look out. She did this because her writing instructor told her having her desk by the window would be distracting. I was appalled! I would never presume to tell someone how to organize their writing space, nor what rituals to adopt, or what time is the best for writing. I wouldn’t do that because what’s great for me, might be disastrous for you.

My writing desk is right next to a window. I love seeing the wildlife that traipse under it. It gives my mind a little break every once in a while so that some new idea can sneak in. I prefer to wake up, get my husband off to work, then meditate, read something inspirational, write in my journal all before entering my office to write. That’s my routine. You may write better at night, or very early in the morning. You may need to play music. I can’t do that, it’s too distracting. See what I mean. Every one of us is unique. And if you’re going to be creative, you’ve got to plug into that core desire that is beating in your chest, train yourself to listen to what it’s telling you, and dive into a life apart from most of the people you know.

Here’s the thing about embracing the wild and crazy life of an artist. It isn’t easy, nor even fun sometimes. It can be scary and frustrating. Sometimes what you want to express plays tricks on you and hides. And the only way to come to terms with your fear and illusive ideas is to take a break for awhile. Sit by that window and watch the birds, or the storm gathering. Let your mind wander. Sometimes I go do housework, or read a book. But no matter what, you can’t let anything stand in your way of finishing that project. You have to go back to that chair, or into the studio and practice, practice, practice.

Barry and I had a voice teacher before we got married who used to say, “Perfect practice, makes perfect.” And I have a writer friend, Debrah Strait, you should check out her books by the way, who says, “The rough draft is always crap. Don’t worry about that just keep writing.” Those two statements may seem antithetical, but I disagree. As you practice, you do the very best you can at the moment you’re creating. When you go back to look at it later, you may well say, “This is crap.” But you practiced as perfectly as you could at the time. Then you throw away the bad parts and take the good parts and mold them into something new. Or you start over again with a new idea. We learn more from our failures than we do our successes. At least, I do. So, as Elizabeth Gilbert suggests, tell that critical voice in your head, “Thanks for sharing, but I’m going to get back to work now.”

I’ve been writing full-time for ten years now. I have two books published, and five years of blog posts trailing behind me, but I still feel like I’m an amateur. Taking creative writing classes may have helped me move along faster, but, again I’m a contrarian. I don’t want an instructor giving me writing prompts and then criticizing a story I didn’t want to write in the first place. I’ve learned that I’m a slow writer. I don’t do well if I have a deadline and that’s why I self publish. I have to let my story roll around in my head picking up little tidbits to add from lots of different sources. I never know how long it’s going to take me to finish my book and that’s okay with me.

So, if you feel the urge to create something, don’t let anything stop you. Jump right in. You will learn as you go.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

‘Tis the Season

Small Christmas Tree

“Your personal life, your professional life, and your creative life are all intertwined. I went through a few very difficult years where I felt like a failure. But it was actually really important for me to go through that. Struggle, for me, is the most inspirational thing in the world at the end of the day – as long as you treat it that way.” ~ Skylar Grey

“I’ve had the thought that a person’s ‘artistic vision’ is really just the cumulative combination of whatever particular stances he has sincerely occupied during his creative life – even if some of those might appear contradictory.” ~ George Saunders

“It took me a long time to even dare to envision myself as a writer. I was very uncertain and hesitant and afraid to pursue a creative life.” ~ Jhumpa Lahiri

I just finished reading Love Life, With Parrots by my friend Cappy Love Hanson. It’s a wonderful memoir. We had lunch this week with another writing friend, Debrah Strait and just as I was arriving at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I got the idea to promote the books of some of my face-to-face and online writer friends during this holiday season. I figure it’s good karma. So this week I’ll tell you a little bit about Cappy and Debrah’s books.

Debrah Strait

I’ll begin with Debrah because I’ve read three of her books and loved all of them. The thing that is interesting about Debrah is that she doesn’t write just one genre. I’ve read rough drafts of screen plays, science fiction stories, her flash fiction book, Flash of the Pen, her novel, The Sweet Trade, and her latest book, Notes from Bisbee: Twenty years of Living with Rattlesnakes, Killer Bees, and Folks in Need of Supervision. This latest book I read as Debrah was developing it, and there were several times I laughed out loud partly because I live near Bisbee and know it’s reputation, but also because of the way Debrah described events and people.

Each of her books has a different flavor, if I can use that as a writing metaphor. But each one is poignant, serious, adventurous, funny, and they make you think. Even in her nonfiction stories the characters are vivid. I could almost hear their voices in my head as I read each holiday letter.

The first finished book of Debrah’s I read was The Sweet Trade. It’s a pirate novel and even though I’m not a big fan of pirate novels, I knew enough about Debrah’s writing that I wanted to read it. This is one of a handful of books I’ve read that grasped me from the first sentence. I wanted to know what happened to Dirk and his young friends as their village is destroyed and their families killed. As they try to survive, they get tangled up in the world of pirates in the mid-1600s Caribbean. This is a great book for anyone on your list who loves adventure. It’s got historical figures, battles, shipwrecks and even romance, something to appeal to almost anyone.

If you like stories with quirky characters, Notes from Bisbee might be for you, especially since the characters in this book are real people which proves that sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

Cappy Love Hanson

I have to say, I’m not usually a big fan of memoirs, but again, since I knew Cappy and a little bit about her writing, I wanted to read her book. I’m always amazed at people who are able to lay out their life on the page in such a vulnerable way. Cappy does this. We suffer through her various romantic relationships as she tries to learn to love herself and find that one lasting love all the while being supported by the relationship she has with her parrots.

Cappy’s book has adventure as well. She describes a horrific car accident that she should not have survived, and the subsequent healing process she went through which included her struggles to find work. She also describes relationship issues with family members that most of us can relate to. Love Life, With Parrots is an affirmation that no matter what challenges we face, there can be love and support for us if we keep trying to find it and give it.

I hope you will consider purchasing one of these wonderful independently published books for yourself, or a loved one because writers and artists have to pay the bills too. And remember to write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, social media, or your favorite bookseller. That’s how we writers attract new readers.

Thanks for reading, liking and leaving comments. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.