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…

Writer vs. Outline/Synopsis

Every conference, there is always one editor who advocates writing an outline or a synopsis. One editor almost convinced me, too. But my own mind prevailed and I have gotten away with writing manuscripts without such confinement.

Until today.

An upcoming conference deadline put coals under my feet. I am scheduled to meet a pretty awesome agent there, and our first ten pages plus a synopsis is due by THIS THURSDAY! My problem is that I only have twelve chapters written. Even though I know how the story will end, I had no real idea of how it would get there.

Now I do.

Thanks to the required synopsis that must accompany my ten-page submission, I had to make some decisions and make them quick. What emerged was a strong climax and much stronger ending than what I had originally created. A lip quiver and a tear followed my last sentence so it must be good!  😉

Although my manuscript is not yet finished, my hope is to get professional feedback on its beginning and a possible invitation for the full manuscript once it’s done.

My fingers are crossed.

Now, I am a full believer in writing a synopsis even before I start writing a manuscript. Meanwhile, the outline can still suck it. 😉

My Picture Book, My Problem

Like millions of others, I wrote a picture book. Also like millions of others, it was about Christmas. The difference is, my picture book about Christmas has caught the attention of a handful of agents and editors. My roadblock, however, is that I have never been published before and they always say–“We do not publish Christmas books by new authors.”

Grrrr….

So what’s a new author to do? The manuscript has been praised by notable Scholastic editors who have asked to see more of my work, but… I do not have another perfectly polished picture book manuscript to send them. I am so divided between jotting down new pb’s and completing my YA novel by the end of 2012, that I am spread fairly thin.

Furthermore, while I understand the logic behind not publishing holiday books by new authors (marketing dollars and all), I can’t help but wish more publishing houses would take a chance.

So what’s an unpublished author to do? Actually consider self-publishing? Or place the PB on the shelf until my YA novel is complete and published, then try the Christmas PB again?

Has anyone else hit this roadblock? And if so, were you able to find a satisfying resolution?

My blog is new and will go unread for a good long while, but still… maybe someday someone will stumble upon my dilemma and have some thoughts to share. Even better, I may stumble upon a satisfying resolution someday and share my thoughts with another writer who is going through the same dilemma.

Either way, big hugs to you all. And happy writing!