Stress #WritersLife #IWSG

Stress? What would a writer know about that? Pfft.

I have so many posts about stress, this could simply be a string of links to those. I won’t do that to you.

Among other things, I’ve written about the pressure of “success”, too-many ideas syndrome, and trying to fit writing into my schedule while juggling the numerous responsibilities of life. Dealing with the technical side of stuff (formatting, universal links, formatting, working in Canva, formatting). Trying to keep up with blogging and social media. And putting myself out there with marketing, promotion, etc.

Trying to choose which of those stresses me the most is like trying to choose which wine I like best. It depends.

I’d probably bundle some themed stress-baskets, as a lot of these go together quite nicely.

Writer’s Stress Basket One: Time (lack of, trying to find some), Success (what that even means to each individual writer vs what the world expects it to mean), Blogging (see “Time”), Social Media (see “Time” and, also, just ugh…), Life (see “Time” and, also sapping of energy/creativity). Add a bow and we’re done.

Writer’s Stress Basket Two: Formatting, Uploading, Downloading, Graphics, Promos/Ads, Word, Anything at all to do with computers, Anything at all to do with platforms, Anything at all to do with file types. This one needs some ribbons hanging off the handle.

Writer’s Stress Basket Three: Marketing and Promotion. Add some metallic tinsel crinkle paper and we’re ready to go.

At any given time, my writer’s life delivers me one of these lovely little baskets so that’s where I’m at on that.

What delights me about writing? Well, I feel I should give an equal amount of time to discussing that. It would only be fair. But I’m not going to. Writing, itself, delights me. It really does. I love it. It’s a lifelong pal. Also, putting something of quality out into the world that I created, that I worked hard on, that I am proud of…well, that’s delightful.

HAPPY DECEMBER!
🎄🕎🎅🏻❄⛄

The writer’s life is challenging. It’s full of stressors. Which ones are your biggest bugbears? What brings you delight in your writing life?

IWSG Question of the Month

December Prompt – In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

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IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Blurbs Drive Me Batty #IWSG

Blurbs, am I right? They’re the scourge of the writing world. A plague. They must be destroyed.

Blurbs are the bane of every author’s existence. (At least mine. And it’s my blog so I say OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!)

Also, I’ll add, intros. Ugh. Though not quite as bad as blurbs, intros are pretty awful. I have a whole post on rejected book intros that’s totally worth reading. It’s sad and kind of hilarious and 100% true.

Here’s a snippet from that post (which could definitely work for blurbs):

During this time of lunacy when I was alienating friends and forcing family to disown me, I came up with some real doozies.

The following introductions are real. They were not written for your amusement. But I thought I would share them with you in case you are amused. It’s okay, you can totally be embarrassed for me.

  • I like writing. I don’t like spiders. I made a book. Read it.
  • I think I’d rather become dinner for the Swamp Thing than continue working on this foreword. Which is ridiculous because the Swamp Thing protects people (and is probably a vegetarian).
  • Short fiction is like dark chocolate. It’s pure cocoa with no fillers. A small piece is rich and satisfying.
  • I don’t like writing bios, forewords, or introductions. Actually, I don’t care for anything that requires me to tell readers about myself or my work.
  • This pumpkin spice stuff is seriously getting out of control. Here’s a book with NO pumpkin spice in it.
  • I’ve missed meals, skipped family outings, remained unshowered for two five days, typed until my eyes were sand paper and my fingers bled, developed headaches that laughed at Tylenol, and alienated many friends with my writer moods. I do hope you appreciate all that went into this book and that you will take pity on me and read it.
  • I triple dog dare you not to read this book!
  • This is a collection of mini stories… But, wait! There’s more! No, there isn’t. But mini stories are fun and delicious. Like those little cupcakes with sprinkles that you can eat a bunch of without having to explain yourself to anybody because they expect you to eat more than one.
  • Will this torment never cease?!!!
  • I’m seriously considering finding a vampire and asking it (“him”? or “her”?) to turn me so I have an excuse to not finish this intro. No, seriously. Now I’m wondering. What is the correct pronoun for creatures of the night? Are they “it” or do you refer to them by the gender they were before they were bitten? And, technically, they are still that gender. Regardless, if I were a turned into a vampire it would require some adjustment on my part. Would that be an acceptable reason for not including an introduction to this collection?
  • There is nothing (not one thing) in this book that mentions the United States political system, the election, or the candidates.
  • Short fiction is known by many names. Flash, sudden, postcard, micro, hint… Hint fiction. Get it? Hinting at Shadows does hint at darkness but it’s also hint fiction. Cool, huh? *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* Know what I mean?
  • I’d rather be watching Harry Potter.
  • If I write any more introductions, there’s a real possibility I will spontaneously combust.

Titles? Now that’s a different ball of wax. I love titles. Titles for books, blog posts, short stories, flash… Titles are wonderful. Delightful. Magically delicious. (And easy. And fun. Have I mentioned I love them?)

What say you, gentle readers? Can you write blurbs easily? (If so, I don’t like you anymore. Kidding. But do comment because I may hire you.) What about titles? How easy or difficult are those for you?

IWSG Question of the Month

November Prompt – Which is more difficult–coming up with a title for your book or writing the blurb?

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IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

One Link to Rule Them All

 

one link to rule them all

 

Most of you know of the “universal” or “global” link for books. A lot of authors use it. The link allows you to customize your book url so it redirects interested readers to the correct country. (Amazon .com becomes Amazon .ca or Amazon .co.uk—you get the idea.)

So, yes, I do want this. And, sure, I’m willing to learn about different options. Which is why I’m here today.

The companies that change your link range from free to one-time fee to monthly subscription. So you can assume they range in services. (They do.) We’re going from cut-and-paste-your-link to tracking sales, customizing domains, and tons of other techie stuff I don’t understand.

Some give you a link that automatically redirects your Amazon customers. So your country’s Amazon store will become their country’s Amazon store. This allows readers to quickly and easily buy your book from the site where they have an account. This is Amazon only.

Others completely transform your link. They go global and create a link that works in every country, on every operating system (iOS, Android, Windows…), in every store (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks…), on every device (laptop, tablet, phone…) so you’re not only international, you’re, like, intergalactic.

Here are a few that I’ve seen. If you use any of these, please let me know in the comments. If you know of any I’ve missed, drop those in the comments, too. Inquiring minds want to know.

 

SmartURL

BookLinker

RelinksMe

Books2Read

Genius Link

 

My random thoughts in (a bit over) 200 words.

ThoughtBubbleDo you use a universal link? Do you like it? Which company would you suggest and why (price, ease-of-use, accessibility for buyers)?

 

I was recently searching for the best universal/global link when I remembered this post. Forgot it was from 2017 (!) but, as it’s still relevant and quite timely for me, thought I’d repost it.

Since that post, I’ve been using BookLinker, and it’s worked fine, but I’d like to change it. I don’t need (or want) bells and whistles but do want to branch out (and away from an Amazon-only link). 

Laser Focused? #IWSG

 

It’s June already? What? How?

This summer is going to be interesting. Watch for some announcements and fun, my friends. Working on a thing at the moment and am pretty damn excited. 

Speaking of which, the question this month is about shelving drafts. I’m not having any of that right now. And I usually don’t. Except when I do. My collections don’t get shelved. I work and work (and work) until they’re as-near-to-perfect-as-I-can-manage then I’m done. Longer pieces are usually shelved (anywhere from a few days to ten years) but not because I feel the need to get space from them. More because I lose confidence in my abilities or something shiny comes along.

Speaking of which, my too-many-ideas syndrome I mentioned in last month’s IWSG post is still plaguing me. I’ve had some suggest that I shouldn’t write them down but, if I don’t, I’ll forget. Or, worse (way worse), the ideas will sit in my head, refusing to leave, and knock against my skull to be let out. Tylenol does not help with this.

That said, my focus has been off-the-charts amazing. I am working on one project. ONE. Can you believe? Admittedly, it’s a ginormous one so I’ve kind of been forced to focus. And it’s got a lot of parts so it feels like more than one project. And, actually, it’s almost to the point of an obsession. Huh. Okay. But, hey, focused, people. Huzzah!

Speaking of which… Yeah, I got nothing. Just wanted to type that again. 

 

Do you take time away from your projects? If so, why? To get some clarity/perspective? To clear your head? To wait for beta readers to get back to you? Because something shiny comes along?

IWSG Question of the Month

June Prompt – How long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and redrafting? 

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)
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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Showers & Flowers #IWSG

 

What am I insecure about this month? Hmm.

First of all, WordPress is not being very nice and it’s not going to get any dessert. It’s possible it might get grounded if it doesn’t SHAPE UP! Stupid WordPress. Stupid formatting. ARGH! 

 

Anyhoo… I have a lot going on. Writing stuff and life stuff.

Life stuff, well, just happens and you deal. You get through it. Because. Life.

Writing stuff is…tough. I mean, writers NEED to write. That’s how we feel but, technically, it’s not true. It’s not one of the basic human needs. (But it sure does feel like it.) It’s like you must fit in your writing regardless of what else is going on. Which can be overwhelming.

Presently, I’m juggling a fair amount in the life category but, also, the writing category.

Trying to write in the spaces between life responsibilities. Editing a few books that have been patiently waiting to see the light of day. Getting those new covers together. Working on a (long-overdue) book. And, always, the technical crap. Ugh with that already. Please.

Also… My too-many-ideas syndrome is flaring up. And my ooh-a-shiny-new-project is back. I’m taking Tums but, alas, I’m still in distress.

So, yeah, a bit overwhelmed with ALL OF THE THINGS raining down on me. But April showers bring May flowers, right? Hopefully, this month will be calm. Pretty. Unsoggy. Blossoming with creative possibility and productivity.

Here’s to a bloomin’ brilliant May, my bloggy friends. 🌸

 

 

Do you try to fit your writing in or put it aside when life rains on you? Also, I’m super curious how many other writers have too-many-ideas and ooh-a-shiny-new-project syndromes. Do you? 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month

May Prompt – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)
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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

Taking Writing Risks #IWSG

 

I never thought of myself as a risk-taker. A writing rebel. But, thinking on it, I guess I am.

I’ve mentioned numerous times (as recently as last month’s IWSG post) that I write what I want regardless of whether it’s popular, fits into any known genre, or is marketable. That, in itself, is risky. Also, the form, subject matter, tone, and style make my writing a pretty tailored taste.

I’m currently finishing my MS that’s not-novel, not-short-story, not-novella. And I break the rules of how it’s supposed to be written.

Also, I just posted about the possible downfalls of changing the covers of my books, wondering whether or not I should do it. Yup, I am. And they’re going to be what I like, not what they “should” be.

Oh, and, as you all know, I’m a pantser. ‘Nuff said.

So, um, yeah, I’m a risk-taking writer.

 

Wow. After writing this post, I realized I take risks in just about every area of the writing process. Yikes. 

Do you take risks in your writing?   

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month April Prompt – Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

 

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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading & Writing in Specific Genres #IWSG

 

Genre. 

This topic vexes me. 

A few lines from my 2016 post, Footloose and Fantasy-Free

I wish my writing fit neatly into a specific genre.

[it’s easier to market your book and gain readers] if you can categorize what you’ve written.

The thing is, I write what I want and it’s not always tidy. 

Five years later, I’m still in the same unanchored boat. Bother. 

I do enjoy the freedom of writing without borders, without expectations… But, honestly, for simplicity, marketing, and pitching, it would be nice to have a specific genre.

Horror.

Boom. Quick and easy. Sometimes I’d love to say, “I’m a romance writer”, or “I write sci-fi”, or “I’m working on the seventh book in my cozy mystery series”. Alas, my genre doesn’t really exist. 

 

As far as my reading preferences, they can’t fit into the genre I write (because of the not existing thing).

I know what I don’t enjoy reading, but, other than that, I just go for what pops off the shelf, grabs me by the collar, and screams YOU MUST READ ME. (Always obey the books, my friends. They are powerful and all-knowing.)

Fun fact: Next to all sorts of of grown-up books, my shelves are chock-full of children’s, middle grade, and YA books. (Before you judge, there are quite a few truly remarkable, beautifully written books out there in these categories.) 

Whether it’s poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction, I enjoy quality writing. (There are exceptions. Sometimes I just crave a bit of escapism, you know?) All that to answer the question: What motivates my reading choices? Great writing. 

 

What do you like to read? What motivates your choices?

If you’re an author, do you tend to read in the genre you write in? (Do you even have a specific genre? Please tell me there’s someone else out there who’s genre-free.)

 

 

 

IWSG Question of the Month March Prompt – Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice? IWSG

 

 

(Insecure Writer’s Support Group) Insecure Writers Support Group Badge This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh. 

 

 

 

 

The Friends I’ve Made Along the Way #IWSG

 

Much has been said about whether people we meet online are “real” friends, the differences between online friends and friends IRL (in real life), and what type of relationship we can have with people we’ve never met. 

So I won’t get into a whole thing.

I will say blogging’s been a long and rocky road. In my travels, I’ve met quite a few people. Some great ones. Some grumpy ones. *shrugs* That’s life, online or otherwise.

Mostly, though, I’ve met truly amazing individuals and developed relationships. I have some acquaintances, some pals, and some fellow cheese-and-chocolate-loving friends. Dear friends. The fact we connected through blogging takes nothing from that feeling. You know the feeling. The one where things just click. That says, quite clearly, this is one of your tribe, lady. Break out the wine. Those friendships have moved out of the blogosphere. (They live in the suburbs.) 

Before I found blog hops, writing prompts, photo prompts, tags, and the rest of the wonderful ways you connect with other bloggers, I just wrote and connected with my lovely bloggy friends fortuitously. Or because Mars was in retrograde. Who knows?

You’re supposed to have an “online presence”. More importantly, you’re supposed to have loads of followers. I don’t. And I’m good with that. Because I’m here. On Lemon Shark. Where I post about life, the universe, and everything. And Lemon Shark Reef, where my writer-of-flash-fiction side splashes around with words. So, yeah, I’m good. 

I could list dozens of reasons I love blogging but the main reason is the friends I’ve made along the way. 

 

Hate to type and run but this blog post is due today so off I go… Cheerio and good day, gentle readers. 

 

 

 

 

I’ve known about The Insecure Writers Support Group for years. I joked I was too insecure to sign up. Also, the old Groucho Marx quip: I wouldn’t want to belong to any group that would have me as a member. Alas, here I am, writing a post for IWSG. (I simply couldn’t resist the question for this month about blogging and friendships.) 

IWSG Question of the Month

February Prompt – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere? 

 

 

IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) 
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This post is part of IWSG , a monthly blog hop/prompt started by Alex J Cavanaugh.     

 

 

 

 

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

 

Wonderful Bloggers of OZ_2 - sig

 

We aren’t people anymore.

Have you noticed?

We’re the Wonderful Bloggers of OZ.

When you read an article or post or tweet, look at the language. “Bloggers”. Like some group of lost writers who crashed a hot air balloon, landing in a bizarre world: The Blogosphere.

We perform tricks to dazzle—with words and photos that aren’t quite as real as we’d make them out to be.

Because, sometimes, your dog’s foot is in the background of that perfect tulip shot and needs to be cropped out. Sometimes that amazing idea gets caught in a tornado and thoughts whirl around and around until you plop down near a Technicolor yellow brick road.

You land on a witch and get her sparkly shoes (which are wicked cool). So there’s that. But there are flying monkeys to watch out for. So there’s that, too.

The Blogosphere can be a scary place.

It’s filled with dangers and strangers but also with wonderful people who rally around you and tell you how awesome you are for arriving here with your blog.

There are always a few who are on the same journey and are more than happy to skip along that brick road with you even though there are lions, and tigers, and bears. Oh my.

When we get to The Emerald City Blog, and see the “Blogger of Oz” is just a man behind a curtain, we will show compassion.

Why?

Because none of us are wizards. We are human—vulnerable and lost and busy and stressed and trying to make the Blogosphere think we have our shit together. That we are the Great and Powerful Oz.

So, as I tag this post with “bloggers”, I know that you are, indeed, fellow travelers on this blogging journey. Or writing journey. Or both. But I do know, and do keep in the forefront of my mind, that you are people.

Here’s the thing I think we sometimes forget:

We ARE people. We HAVE blogs.

We are not our blogs.

We are human beings. (Weird, introverted, writer-types, some of us, but still.)

Just remember, gentle readers, there is a person behind the screen.

 

If you need a break, just close your eyes, click your mouse 3 times, and walk away. We’ll be here when you get back–we’ve got water balloons for the Witch of the West and flaming potatoes to fight the flying monkeys. 

 

3 Quick Tips to Keep Your Blog Reader-Friendly

 

I’ve only published a few how-to posts before so bear with me. It’s short. And has three easy tips to increase your readership.

Okay, I can only promise it will increase readership by one.

That would be me.

Hopefully that one flower (that would be me, again) will become a garden of readers.

There are some of you (I won’t name names) who have the most sweetest blogs and the most loveliest things to say. And yet…

There are a few things I’d like to discuss with you. Three, actually. I’ll be quick. Promise.

I’d like to ask a favor, my bloggy friends. Could you do something for me? That is, if you don’t mind and I ask nicely? (I usually offer cookies or something as my “nice” may not be as nice as I think it is. So, cookies will be involved. Or cake. Your choice.)

When I read your post and there’s a link, it’s wonderful if that link is a word or two (or even five), not an enormously long URL.

And then, when you have your cute, little word that is now a link, it’s quite charming if it doesn’t kick me off your blog. I’m reading your blog because I like it. And I don’t want to leave. And you don’t want me to leave. There might be other posts I’d like to read on there.

Finally, when someone leaves a link in your comments, it often flies off the side of the page and makes your blog literally swim before my eyes. And not in a cute, “Aw, look, it’s a dolphin” sort of way. No. It moves and is difficult to read and (apologies) I often click off the post. I sometimes manage to finish reading if it’s short but I certainly don’t enjoy it as much as I would if it were, say, staying in place.

So, if you’re interested (and use WordPress), these are super-quick fixes:

 

Turning a long link into a short word or phrase:

  • Select and cut link from your post
  • Highlight word(s) you would like turned into a link
  • Click on link button in the toolbar (if you hover, it says ‘insert/edit link’)
  • Paste link into the space provided

 

Having a link open in a new tab:

After you have turned your long link into a short word or phrase, have it open into a new tab so I can stay on your blog. (Unless you want me to leave. I can take a hint.)

  • Keep box open where you just pasted your link
  • Click on gear icon (it will say ‘link options’ if you hover) Skip this step if using the Reader
  • Find the tiny box that says ‘Open link in a new tab’
  • Put a check there

 

Adding/editing links in comment sections:

  • Go to Dashboard and into Comments
  • Click ‘Edit’
  • Click the ‘Link’ button
  • Cut and paste link into URL space
  • Find the tiny box that says ‘Open link in a new tab’
  • Put a check there
  • Click ‘Update’

OR

  • Go to Dashboard and into Comments
  • Click ‘Quick Edit’
  • Cut and paste the following into the comment box:
  • <a href=”www.hello.com”>Hi</a>
  • Change “www.hello.com” to link in the comment
  • Change “Hi” to whatever text you want to display
  • NOTE: This will not open the comment link in a new tab

 

So long and thanks for all the links! 🐠

 

If you don’t do these things, is it by choice? If so, why? Does it bother you to have a link open in a new tab? Do you think it’s more likely people will click on longer (obvious) links?