9 Winnie-the-Pooh Quotes Every Writer Must Trust

20130910-173747.jpg The problem with dreaming REALLY BIG dreams is being constantly reminded that you and your dreams are, in fact, quite small. Nearly invisible to the average eye. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes. Especially in the world of Twitter, where we have to hunt like dogs to recruit followers. I only have 36. Lame, I know. Meanwhile, the dreams of those whom we follow are currently coming true, or came true a long time ago. Those people are just maintaining their dream, keeping us hooked so that we’ll keep their dream thriving. Which we do (because we’re nice, or because we hope our engaging with them will somehow help our own dream), but we’re constantly wondering, when will it be my turn?

We artists are wired with a grand emotional spectrum; one that occasionally requires a great big hug and some kind words from an old friend. Like Winnie-the-Pooh. Thanks to the Great Golden One, we “creatives” can write through any ugly, frustrating storm (eg. writer’s block, rejection, Twitter), to eventually see our dreams shine like a rainbow once again.

So I share these insightful quotes with you, dear writer friends, in hopes that you too will stay motivated and continue to Write On!

Pooh’s advice for picture books is a no-brainer in the writing community (today’s picture books are expected to be 500 words or less), but he doled them out long ago, and they are still relevant to this day:

1) “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?'”

In the face of Writer’s Block, you must:

2) “Think, think, think.”

Much like Pooh, a writer must strengthen his creative muscle through reading and writing:

3) “A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”

When Writer’s Block strikes yet again, it helps to:

4) “Think it over, think it under.”

Even Pooh knows the importance of proof-reading and editing:

5) “My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

In a world where a million other writers are vying for an audience, you are a single digit. But that is no reason to give up. Even if no one else understands, Pooh does:

6) “It is hard to be brave, when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”

Even Pooh knows better than to dwell on backstory and info-dumps:

7) “So perhaps the best thing to do is to stop writing Introductions and get on with the book.”

When your book is finally published, will people like it? Pooh says maybe, maybe not. But you will never know unless you try:

8) “When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Pooh’s most important advice is to not lose hope. Simply flow with the course of your life, and at some point, someday, you will reach your dream destination:

9) “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.”

Happy Writing.

Are You An Authorpreneur?

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Consider me a self-publishing convert. I know, I know. In the past, I’ve been hard on self-published writers, opting for traditional methods toward publication. But not because I didn’t admire their dreams. Heck, I live by the creed:

WISH IT. DREAM IT. DO IT.

And I have nothing but respect for anyone who dreams up a new life for themselves and then chases that dream. My problem is when they don’t care enough about their “dream,” or their reader’s hard-earned dollar, to use spell-check.

But renowned indie-author, Pamela Fagan Hutchins, has shown me the “other” side of the self-pub world: the side that believes in QUALITY and will work hard to ensure nothing less. To prove this, Hutchins spent the summer holed-up in an RV with various members of her family, and embarked on a 60-Day/60-City book tour in support of her new e-book, Leaving Annalise

And today, I learned all about her unique adventure and the valuable lessons in e-publishing and e-marketing she learned on the road, courtesy of Houston Writer’s Guild, who organized the all-day workshop.

Out of respect to Hutchins, I won’t share her how-to’s on this blog, but I will tell you this: 

INDIE PUBLISHING = AUTHORPRENEURSHIP

If you are an Authorpreneur (and this includes you, Dreamers, who have sinister fantasies you secretly wish would earn you $95-million), then develop your “dreams” like you would any business — with research, funding, networking, and marketing — because publishing a successful e-book is a business. YOUR business. And hopefully, eventually, your career.

If you must, start with a business plan and a projected timeline. Don’t trust Mom to be honest (you could write, “Gobbledy-gook blop booger-eaters,” and she would love it). Instead, hire professional editors who will wrangle your manuscript into publishing shape. Also, locate a group of beta-readers who will find any last-minute spelling mistakes. 

Then, when you’re ready, there are several available options for getting your perfected, polished novel to the masses via Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.

But getting onto the shelves at Barnes & Noble… whew! That’s a whole other story.

Happy Writing!

Why Self-Publishing Can Be Crap

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A self-published author said to me, “My writing is crap. But people are willing to pay for my crap, so what do I care?”

EEK!!

You might wonder how the above-mentioned author sells her books if they are indeed, “Crap.” Well, the $2.99 price tag doesn’t hurt and she cranks out about 8 books a year. I know, I did a double-take, too.

But this is the type of mentality that frightens me about self-publishing. Finding a quality e-book is like shopping at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, sifting through piles of crap to find the one Diane Von Furstenburg gem hiding in the rack. The search is exhausting, and oftentimes, futile. Plus, your money is wasted on the cheap items you dared buy because, hey, the price was great. Unfortunately, though, they sucked.

My rant boils down to this: Please don’t ruin self-publishing for the rest of us. If you are going to venture down this path, please, please, PLEASE, make sure your story is the most polished it can be. Most self-publishing ventures will edit your work, but still. Before you submit, hire your own editor to give your manuscript a once-over, then HIRE ANOTHER!! Join several critique groups, too.

And realize your success is QUALITY over quantity.

Of course, there are also many brilliant authors in the self-publishing world. You’re probably one of them. And if you are, THANK YOU. I appreciate your contribution toward making the self-publishing world a quality place. Someday…

Bloomsbury Spark is Calling All Authors!!

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Bloomsbury is launching a new digital fiction imprint called Bloomsbury Spark that will be targeted to teens and crossover adult readers, including NEW ADULT. The imprint is due to launch later this year, and they are holding an open call for submissions.

The criteria for manuscript consideration is:

· 25,000-60,000 words (English language only)
· Word document or pdf format only
· Target age: 14+
· Genres: All FICTION categories including but not limited to romance, mystery, thriller, paranormal, dystopian, historical, contemporary, fantasy

Submissions can be addressed to Digital Editor Meredith Rich and emailed to: bloomsburysparkus@bloomsbury.com

More information can be found: www.bloomsbury.com/spark

All Bloomsbury Spark books would be contracted for digital rights, with a first option for print editions.

Happy Writing!
Heather

The Writer’s Voice 2013

This entry is for The Writer’s Voice Contest. Enjoy!

Dear Coaches:

Ethan Wilde is a professional wrestler who hasn’t done the moonsault since his mother died. That night, when he flipped backward off the top rope, he fell flat on his head. Now that he’s in the world’s most prestigious wrestling organization, his life is further complicated. Not only is Kid Krap gunning for him, but his drunken father tells him a disturbing fact behind his mother’s death. Ethan must find the confidence to deal with this new reality. Can he forgive his father? Will he ever do the moonsault again? In the world of professional wrestling, anything is possible.

According to World Wrestling Entertainment’s corporate website, nearly 14.1 million viewers tune into their programming on a weekly basis. Furthermore, 34% of their viewers are female. To date, no young adult fiction novels about professional wrestling have been published.

MOONSAULT dives into this untapped literary market. My 53,022 word young adult novel includes plenty of romance for female readers while keeping the pace action-packed for males.

I am a member of SCBWI and a member of several critique groups. I am prepared to send the completed manuscript upon request.

All the Best,
Heather Walters

MOONSAULT
by: Heather Walters

To the many wrestlers who’ve come and gone.
To those with names and those with none.

I step out of the car and lift a duffel bag onto my shoulder. Only a parking lot stands between me and the same arena where my father won his first championship belt. That belt has sat on our mantle for years, a constant reminder of where my path will lead, whether I want it to or not.

My dad, Shadow, holds my shoulder and guides me toward the entrance. In his other hand is an ever-present stadium cup. “Remember to stay low and use your speed,” he slurs. “If you get lost, just put him in a chin lock until you can come up with something else.”

I don’t answer.

“Do you hear me, boy?” He shakes my shoulder. “You have to be quicker than you’ve ever been before. This ain’t VFW, this is XOW!”

Yeah, I know the difference. Veterans of Foreign War has a hall where Dad’s wrestling school performs every month. The show gives his students, plus local amateurs, a chance to practice their moves and work a crowd. Both are crucial in the biz.

“XOW is the big leagues, boy!”

I yank out of his grip. “I get it, Dad. Stop preaching to me.”

He halts just shy of the door and lowers his eyes to mine. Shadow is massive, with broad shoulders and thick pork-like fingers. A mess of salt-n-pepper hair tops his head. It’s hard to believe I’m actually his son.

Writing Over the Hurdle of Life

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A friend in my Copperfield Critique Group advised me to treat writing like a job. Meaning, go to my favorite spot for eight hours a day and write, write, write. Sounds like an awesome plan. Is this what best-selling authors do?

My only hurdle, however, is life.

For one, I am a voice-over talent. Two, I am also a Realtor. Both careers are flexible, but clients need me at various times of the day, and I am more than happy to help them. But it doesn’t end there. I must also attend weekly marketing meetings and send mail-outs boasting my services. Not to mention, I am also at the tail-end of planning a humongous wedding, before heading to Florence, Italy for two fabulous weeks.

All this, and A-D-D too.

So what’s an unpublished author to do? How do we balance both life and our craft?

My thought is… the best we can. No guilt. No regret. Just push yourself through the muck of the day, every day, until your book is done.

The Red Ink, Blues?

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DO BETTER. Those were the two words scrawled on the very first draft of my young adult novel, many years ago. I was new to the craft and had yet to experience the sometimes brutal, always remarkable insight of the critique world. Let’s just say I learned the hard way, military style, with zillions of Track Change bubbles and plenty of red ink screaming at me from every direction. One particular scribble challenged me to simply DO BETTER. Imagine my horror.

But my beloved editor friend was right, and when I read my manuscript again, I did so with an open mind and an eagerness to learn. Now, I am the one with the red ink writing DO BETTER on my own manuscripts.

In other news, I left the SCBWI-Austin conference feeling more hopeful than ever about my young adult manuscript. The agent who critiqued my first ten pages/synopsis LOVED it, and invited me to send the final draft when done.

My pleasure. 🙂

I credit my friend’s two wonderful words. Now, I am paying the challenge forward to you, my new writing friends. Never fear the red ink. Instead, force yourself to always DO BETTER.