Writing Tip Wednesday – Take the Pressure Off

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This is an entry I’ve been meaning to write for a while.

A few weeks ago, I hit a bit of a block. I’d been reading fanfiction (I’ve never really stopped – it’s free to read but finding good stories is another thing), struggling to get a few of my own works done (original and fanfiction), and the story I was reading, the author kept commenting on how she was struggling some with the story. Not necessarily with the flow or even the desire to produce and publish, but with the plot itself.

Now, there is more to the story than what I’ve just related – there usually is – but here’s the main thing I want to discuss: I remembered to take the pressure to publish off of my shoulders.

There is always a desire to produce something when it comes to writing. Good or bad, we just want to get it down and out of the way. It’s true of any writer. We start writing, we start publishing and posting where others can find it, and the reactions we receive help to feed us. Sometimesin the way of ideas and inspiration, but usually in the desire to continue to writing, to continue producing. That’s when it happens: the pressure of writing something good, something people will eat up, love, and enjoy bears down on us, and it starts to affect our ability to write. Each writer usually handles this in a different way. Some become frantic, wanting to get more out there to keep people interested, while others happily dive into the next chapter and a separate project at the same time. Every author is different.

For me, it was coming down to I haven’t sold anything in a month, and I’m panicking because I still want people to know that I’m out there, that I’m still writing. I’d forgotten one important thing, the entire reason why I started to write (and publish) in the first place.

I forgot how much I just love to write. I’d started to put so much pressure on my shoulders to produce to publish that I was sucking the joy out of writing the projects I’ve mentioned. As a self-published author, I don’t have a publishing company backing me. I didn’t receive an advance of $5000 to get that first story published (and, even if I had, that money would be gone already). Promoting the stories currently published falls on me. Garnering interest in my stories is on me. Everything about this career is on me, and that includes the ability to keep writing/producing and publishing. Given I was working full time not that long ago on a day shift and recently relocated to a new location, the demand of producing, well, it became a little more intense.

But the interaction with this other author (done mostly in private) reminded me that, in some ways, I’m filling a very small niche in an otherwise huge pond. Not only as a fanfiction author but as a fiction author as well. After a few slidebacks early on in the fanfiction “career” (namely jumping on a bandwagon of “I only read this pairing”, “I don’t really like this characters”, “I want to read smutty stuff”, etc . . .), I’d decided to get back to filling the niches I so loved. I went back to writing stories that focused more on plot and character development rather than riding a trend. I went to “smaller” fandoms and just wrote. I remembered what it was like to love writing again.

Now, the pressure to publish is never going to leave. The pressure to promote is never going to leave, either, no matter how much some days I just don’t want to do it. That comes as part of the territory of an independent author. But I can at lease ease enough of the pressure to publish off of my shoulders as much as I can because the flipside is my stories will suffer. And if there’s anything I truly dislike about publishing, it’s putting something out there that I wouldn’t want to read from another person, let alone myself.

But that’s also the bonus to being an independent author. I can take that pressure off, for a while, focus on writing the stories and polishing them, promoting in the process, and going about it the way that I see fit over what others tell me they think is fit.

So, if you find yourself in a slump, stumped, blocked by that nightmare they call writer’s block because you’re frantic about publishing and soon, just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re doing this because you want to write, to publish and be out there like that and not because anyone else does.

At the end of the day, if you’ve produced crap for your readers, something that they didn’t enjoy as much as the first chapter/previous work, you may very well be very hardpressed to keep some of them.

Be kind to yourself. Write the story you want to read with all of the love in your heart for the story, and you will love yoursel for it.

Writing update: Sigyn’s Flowers is undergoing some ending edits. I’m not one usually for short stories so ending them with a closed ending is a bit hard. I’m also now on the fence about the current plans to publish the end of May, mid-June, due to some of the events in the story itself. There is a cover for the story, courtesy of my younger sister, and it will be published at some point. The question remains of when.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out my currently published original fiction – Portal to Gaming (Arc of Fantasy 1), The King and Queen of Wands, and The Sons of Thor (Arc of Fantasy 2) – on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Elise-K.-Rasha/e/B00MQF33K6. NOOK sales are currently suspended while I run a trial by being back in Kindle Select.

Have a lovely Wednesday!

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Book Review Tuesday – No Reviews/What I’m Reading Now Part 2

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Yep. That’s right. I have no reviews for today.

Here is what I’m currently reading:

The Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove
The Age of Zeus by James Lovegrove
I Bring the Fire, Part 1: Wolves (A Loki Series) by C. Gockel
Norther Magic: Rune Mysteries and Shamanism by Edred Thorsson

Recently Finished:
Runes and Feminine Powers: Northern Mysteries and Magick by Freya Aswynn

As I mentioned before, I am not giving a review of the non-fiction books.The non-fiction books are for educational purposes only, not just for fiction writing but for myself. While I’m “coming out” as a Wiccan/Pagan/Heathen with a propensity towards Odin, Loki, and the Norse pantheon, I feel no need to discuss my views with anyone who isn’t expressing an interest. I will gladly discuss my spiritual views with those who actually want to discuss them with me, but I have no desire to make anyone feel like I’m “pushing” anything on them that they don’t want.

On the bright side, I’ve been reading through Freya’s book since July. I’ve finally finished it! Yay!

Moving Forward Monday – Finally!

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A few weeks back, I mentioned that I’d be announcing where I was moving to as part of the Moving Forward Monday section of this journal. As people may have noticed, that kind of . . . didn’t happen.

Not for a lack of not wanting to say something but, on the actual moving day, things weren’t going as I’d hoped. I’d wanted a rental car to be able to bring with me everything I wanted to upon my departure from Tulsa. The rental car was a no-go, at least through Enterpise, and I didn’t have time or access to the internet to find another. Much to my chagrin, I had to leave quite a bit behind (but will be getting it before the year is over) and take the bus. I was not thrilled by this, but I made due.

So where did I cast myself to? It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to my facebook friends. I’ve moved to Louisiana, specifically the New Orleans area. I’m currently residing in Gretna and making plans to move closer to the French Quarter in the future.

It’s been a very fun (and sometimes nerve-wracking) experience. The French Quarter is AMAZING. Being there is like being in Philadelphia. For me, I can see the history and feel it coming up from the bones of the Earth. I’ve had gumbo and po-boys and a couple of Hurricanes to boot. I feel right at home here. I felt an excitement upon arriving in Louisiana that I didn’t feel in either Washington or Pennsylvania, despite loving my time in Philadelphia. I have two awesome roommates and I’m slowly getting myself situated, but there’s no denying the New Orleans area is where I’m meant to be.

Hooray for me! Louisiana is another place I’d never been to before until getting on that bus and taking off. I left some very wonderful people in Tulsa behind physically, but they’re always in my heart, their numbers in my phone, and in my friends’ list.

I will eventually set up a post office box for people to write to me. I have a few other things to take care of first before I do that, but it’s on my to-do list.

Thanks everyone for your patience. I’m working on doing better on all aspects of my life, including this writerly thing I’ve chosen for myself.

In some other news, Sigyn’s Flowers is complete . . . ish. I wasn’t terribly happy with the ending but have let it rest for about a week. This morning, some inspiration struck and now to get those ideas onto the pages so the story has a better ending and won’t feel so much like a chapter section. I also was aiming for a May/June publication date for the story but am finding myself reconsidering pushing it back awhile. We’ll see what the critiquers have to say about it.

Up tomorrow: What I’m Currently Reading

Sunday, Sunday – Book Push, er, Promotion

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Portal to Gaming
“Welcome to Portal to Gaming, the largest company in the gaming and entertainment industries. Here, we pride ourselves on offering our clients and players once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We offer a wide range of options, from fame and fortune to epic, high fantasy adventures, and at prices anyone can afford. Whatever you wish for, we can make it happen so stop on by today and talk to one of our friendly staff members to see how we can serve you. We can turn your dreams into reality.”

For Fen Willows, his current dream is to not have such a boring life or a broken heart. On the heels of a break-up with his boyfriend, Fen takes to the virtual reality simulators of gaming giant, Portal to Gaming. There, he tries to forget his troubles and loneliness until a mysterious swordsman shows up and turns his life upside down. The lines between fantasy and reality start to blur for Fen, but there is more. Feelings of unease hound him after his encounter, sensations he can’t explain. Unsure of who he can really tell, Fen keeps his thoughts and emotions to himself.

Not all is as it seems, though, and the new twists in Fen’s life are the only hints of what’s to come. Greater powers are at work, and Fen is only one of several people in the heart of the conflict.
Available on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 and as paperback for $11.99

http://www.amazon.com/Portal-Gaming-Fantasy-Turning-Reality-ebook/dp/B00MQ68JNQ
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/portal-to-gaming-elise-k-rasha/1120942910?ean=2940150257382

The King and Queen of Wands
For the Gods of Asgard, their twilight is drawing near. Loki and his son Fenris have broken free of their bonds and will lead their Jotun enemies to them in one final glorious battle.

Only Loki never shows.

Disturbed by the Trickster’s lack of appearance, Odin and Thor set out to find out why.

Zeus is living the good life. His reign as the King of the Gods is flourishing. Warm weather, an abundance of food, a beautiful Goddess as his Queen – life is good.

Until Hermes announces there are trespassers in the sacred groves of Olympus, and they’ve stolen from the Gods. A man, a woman, and a wolf, and the two are not mortals. Curious and determined to bring them to justice for trespassing and thievery, Zeus goes after them with Artemis and Athena.

Loki is hungry.

For centuries, he’s lain bound to three rocks, a poisonous snake hanging over his head. For centuries, he’s watched his wife, devoted Sigyn, stand vigil over him, holding a small wooden bowl to catch the poison and keep the pain away. And she’s told him something that changes the course of his fate, something that’s more important than revenge on Asgard for slights and insults and the deaths of his sons.
Available on NOOK and Kindle for $2.99 and as paperback for $8.99

http://www.amazon.com/King-Queen-Wands-Elise-Rasha-ebook/dp/B00PM9R6SS
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-king-and-queen-of-wands-elise-k-rasha/1120960202?ean=2940149969357

The Sons of Thor
They were supposed to be having the time of their lives on the biggest gaming adventure ever. After all, nineteen-year-olds Daniel and Wolfgang have just received the best news imaginable. They’ve been chosen to be among the only five players to participate in Portal to Gaming’s Arc of Fantasy pre-game launch, something they’ve wanted since the epic gaming adventure was announced. Only something’s gone wrong. The twins are now stuck in their virtual reality where the situation has gone from fun and make-believe to very real, very quick, and dangerously so. The only way they can go home is to embark on the very real quest of facing King Lopt’s twin-headed fire wyvern, a creature no one has ever slain. The Salmorians, the alien race at war with Earth and her allies, chase after them, intent on killing them, and they’re not the only enemies hot on the twins’ trail. Little do the twins know they’re undertaking a journey of great and dangerous significance, one that will change their lives forever or kill them in the process. The race to the fire wyvern is on! Book 2 in the Arc of Fantasy series.
Available on Kindle and NOOK for $3.99 and as paperback for $19.99

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sons-of-thor-elise-k-rasha/1122600105?ean=2940150919105
http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Thor-Fantasy-Turnin…/…/B012XDRNQA

We are moved by the things we watch./Saturday Inspirations

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Today, I posted to facebook my thoughts on Star Wars and Star Trek. I spoke about a few things that aren’t new revelations for me, but they were ones I wanted to share, like how Princess Leia wasn’t a pushover female lead and how ethnically diverse the original Star Trek cast was, and the type of progress I liked to believe that both made for their respective times, especially for their respective times. Those of you on facebook will probably have seen by the time I click publish on this.

And then, as I was about to hit post, it hit me just how profound an impact these series have had on me and how they have actually nudged me to be as diverse with my writing as I possibly can. As much as I attribute Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for the inspirational source behind Portal to Gaming, I realized that, without Star Wars and Star Trek, Star Ocean wouldn’t have been possible and neither would have Portal to Gaming. I mean, Portal has a gay guy as a main character with two straight guys as his best friends set in a distant, idyllic future. They have no judgements of him due to his sexual orientation. They just don’t care. Fen Willows is a person who has thoughts and feelings of his own and his own autonomy, just like they do. Yeah, Fen has a major angst-fest throughout the book. In some ways, he isn’t properly socialized (much like the woman who wrote him), but he tries. And his best friends care enough about him that they’re willing to do something brash, risky, and stupid just to keep him from getting hurt again. Those are very real human emotions, much like how siblings will react when one is moping and in need of cheering up.

All of this can be traced back to one television series from the 1960s and a movie series that started in 1977. It truly warms my heart to know that I’m doing something by focusing on the character that I have, these underdog types – women, gays, deviants, and peoples of ethnic origins – and it makes me very glad that I am. With the turbulence in today’s current economic, religious, political, and social atmosphere, it’s good to remember that people were dreaming of strong female leads and had no problems about casting black people and other ethnic groups during similar times.

It reminds me that there is hope, and, where there is hope, there is inspiration.