IWSG: Pitch Wars Announcements

Being a apart of IWSG, I've gone through ups and downs throughout my writing process, wondering when I'd ever have an upswing (if ever). What I truly like about this group is the continuing support that really encourages you to persevere.
Last month I entered my current manuscript into Pitch Wars, an awesome contest created by Brenda Drake which gives writers (if selected) an opportunity to work with a mentor (published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns). I entered pretty hopeful, but at the same time I tried to talk myself out of it to lessen the blow of disappointment. Over the weekend, I was a nervous wreck. With about 1,600 manuscripts and only 125 slots, my slim chances were enough for me to delve into an enormous bowl of macaroni and cheese. I know the business is very subjective, which only heightened my nerves. Maybe my story was good, but it didn't mean someone would connect with it.
By the time announcement day was rolling in, I spent a lot of time consoling myself before the results were up. Though I had an ounce of hope, I went into it expecting not to make it. Then lo and behold I got my 'yes.'
I am beyond thrilled to be working with Brianna Shrum (author of Never, Never out on September 22). So thrilled, I could hardly believe it when I saw my name on the list!!!
So the point of this post? Don't ever count yourself out! And have some hope in your endeavors, because a little ounce of it goes a long way. With all contests, there are no guarantees, but nonetheless I am thankful I get to experience the process with my mentor and fellow mentees.
One thing I have a hard time doing is believing in myself. But if you don't believe in yourself, how can we expect others to? Own your craft. Keep writing, and keep going.
Thanks again IWSG-ers! For always listening to my rants and giving me a push when I needed it.

This was a post for IWSG, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh to 'To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!'

IWSG: When you lose your identity.

Someone close to me is going through a very difficult time. She's going through a hard point in her life where she now questions her identity. When one great part of you is taken away and you have but a few scraps of yourself left, how do you step back and rebuild your life?

I'm being vague, I know, but I just wanted to pose the question of identity. How do you identify yourself? Or even the characters you write about? Is it by heritage? Your past history? Your likes, and dislikes? Is it simply by how one looks? Or one's intellect? Or the sum of it all? Comment below.

This was a post for IWSG, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh to 'To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!'

Thanks also goes to his co-hosts this month:
Charity Bradford, S.A. Larsen, AJ, Tamara Narayan, Allison Gammons, and Tanya Miranda!

IWSG: Distance

Hi All--

Last month I wrote about high anxiety and I'm happy to report that I am doing much better. Within the month I've been really focusing on drafting project M4 in seven weeks, with this week being the seventh! Almost done! I have high hopes for this story and I'm really hoping that it's 'the one.' The one with enough hook, the one with enough complexity, the one with enough heart that will capture an agent's eyes (after extensive revisions of course). But at the same time I have so much doubt within in, that I wonder if I'm just pumping myself up for no good. Because maybe this isn't 'the one.' Maybe it won't be enough.

I know I should take it one day at a time. One word at a time. One paragraph at a time. One page at a time. But then my mind wanders though I know I should be patient, but all I'm thinking about is the distance. The distance between now and where I want to be, and it drives me crazy!

Will I ever get there? How long will it take? Am I doing enough? Am I up to par with the competition? Cue nonstop questions that give me heart palpitations.

Am I insane for thinking I can do this?

I go back and forth constantly. I'm determined, but at the same time I'm tired. I treat writing like a second job and sometimes I'd just like that one job that gives me some cash flow and more freedom to write, aka the dream job.

But there's a difference between dreaming and doing, and I find myself doing both. How do you guys keep your sanity at times like this? Comment below.

This post is in participation of an amazing writers support group started by the just amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh, making writing a little less lonely and filled with encouragement. Thanks also goes to this month's co-hosts: M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee

IWSG: High Anxiety

When I'm stressed or I feel unbalanced, I suffer from high anxiety. So much that it can be crippling. My behavior becomes erratic and a sense of hopelessness consumes me. Cue sleeping problems.
I know myself enough that if I go without good sleep for a few days it'll start to become a problem. I'll want to sleep so bad, but the stress of trying to fall asleep will keep me up. In college when I dealt with a bout of depression, I used OTC sleeping pills to help me and along the way became addicted to them. After that I haven't touched them since.
I feel like this whole year so far has been a complete whirl wind. I can't seem to catch my breath. There's always something next to do. So these past two weeks (going on three), I've found myself in a rut of being unable to sleep. I'm not sure if it's the early rising sun in combination of not having blinds (manufacturer issues), but I was desperate. So I've been using melatonin this week and I think it's helping.
I cant wait until I am well rested again. I feel like focus and clarity is missing in my writing, so hopefully I can return back to normal.
How do you deal with stress?

This post is in participation of IWSG, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. And special thanks goes to this months amazing co-hosts,  Eva Solar Melanie Schulz, Lisa-Buie Collard, and Stephen Tremp! 

Asia Vacation: Day 5 & 6 / A to Z / IWSG

A is for 'Asia.'

I've realized that I've fallen quite behind on my vacation posts! So I'll try to wrap them up by combing the days and transitioning them into April's A to Z blogging challenge and today's IWSG post!

After the holiday, I had some stomach troubles. Of course, that's to be expected considering I ate/tried everything. Nonetheless, I rallied, despite my cramping and spasms. Our first stop was the Marble Mountains. However, my mother is quite superstitious so when she heard that dating couples her family knew had broken up after going into the mountain, she wouldn't let Michael or I go. So we waited outside at a café with my mom, aunt, and sister, while the rest of the family went to explore.

When they returned, we all filed into the van and made our way to the Ancient town of Hoi An. This little tourist town was super crowded, but we walked around taking it all in. At the temple, we all went in to get our fortunes. My own was relatively good, saying that this upcoming year would be a good one for me and that I would get what I want, as long as I'm not too selfish about it. Ha, okay, I guess I'll take it!


The next day my stomach recovered, so Michael, my two sisters, and I ventured out to the beach. After all the touristy stuff going on, it was nice to just chill out for an afternoon and soak up the sun.

When evening hit, our extended family took us out to a New Year's carnival. It was very crowded, and I'm not one for crowds, but it was enjoyable for my extended family so their smiles made it all worth it. It was kind of strange though, it seemed like one song was playing on the speakers on repeat the whole night, but I liked walking and looking at the lanterns.

To end the night we went to a café. Instead of a night cap or coffee I opted for some fries. When it came out, my sister's and I devoured it. My uncle laughed. "You guys really like this kind of stuff in the US? It's so easy to make at home. You just cut it up and fry it."

Michael found his sentiment hilarious and looking back I now do too. Just thinking about the authentic Vietnamese food I had there makes me pine for it even more. I'd trade a lifetime supply of fries to have another authentic meal again!

I guess for IWSG, my main concern is not remembering my trip clearly enough. Yeah I kept a travel journal and I'm doing these blog posts, but it's never quite the same. It relates to writing in the sense that I wonder if the story in my head is being properly translated on the page.


IWSG: On first loves and the ones after.

You always remember your first love. Your first love opens up this great possibility of love that you never could have fathomed without experiencing it first hand. Your first love teaches you about yourself and how to be selfless. How to care for another's happiness more than your own.
For once, things are finally brighter, more colorful, more clear, and you hold onto this clarity hoping it's not some temporary high, but something everlasting...
Then the honeymoon phase passes, things get tough, and you have to decide whether to stick it out or go out in search of something more (whatever 'more' is). So you decide on the latter, and now the first love becomes a measuring stick for anyone else that comes after, until.... until what? You find 'the one'?
For me, this can be applied to writing. My first completed manuscript was like a first love to me. I was enamored by the story, the process, the characters. I look back at it fondly, thinking of the happy moments (disregarding the horrible writer's blocks inbetween) and wonder, will I get that again?
I'm facing a difficult decision with my current WIP. Should I run with what I have right now? Or change it? Knowing that if I do, I may change the whole undercurrent of the story. And if so, are the changes necessary to what I want to accomplish? Decisions, decisions. Why is it the ones that come after your first love always seem like more trouble and less romantic?
I remember the boy that came after my first love. He had curly brown hair that I thought was the cutest thing, but what really looked like a large soppy mop. He had an air of confidence that pulled me in, only because I, myself, at the time lacked it. There was no chase. Rather, I gave in to the easiness of it all. He was a rebound. And I think he knew it.
It was easy between us because we weren't serious. But when it's all fun and games without any depth to it whatsoever, you realize that the relationship becomes meaningless.
Is that what my current WIP will be? Meaningless? I hope not.
Boyfriend number two after my first love was the complete opposite. He was oh so serious, to a capital S. We were two broken people at the time, and I believe he wanted to fix the issues within him by fixing me. No surprise, it became a toxic relationship and I crumbled under the pressure. I was not the girl he envisioned and as much as it hurt, I had to walk away.
Sometimes I have this impulse of walking away from my current WIP just because it's so serious. Since it touches on a personal issue, sometimes I fear my mind can snap back to what it once was that I forget how far it has come now.
How do you feel about your current WIP compared to your past ones?


This blog post was in participation of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Big thanks to this month's co-hosts: Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence!

IWSG: Inspiration via personal experiences versus imaginative

One of the first pieces of advice I had ever gotten was 'write what you know.' I'm sure many of you guys have probably gotten the same advice yourself. It's good advice to a certain extent, but it can also be very limiting to your potential.
Starting out, 'write what you know' is legitatmite advice. Grounding yourself in reality and developing your eye (how you see the world) is critical in improving your craft. By training yourself to be present in your surroundings, you're able to be create visceral scenes through the use of words.
But if you only limit yourself to reconstructing reality, you will limit yourself by containing your creativity. So what to do? Well, with your developed eye and a dash of imagination, you can then train yourself to be present in your mind. And if there's something you don't know, you do research until you become knowledgeable. Thus, reality acts as a springboard for something else.
That's not to say that reality and writing what you know is not imaginative. With a unique perspective, sometimes the most imaginative things can be right in front of you.
To quote Shakespeare in Hamlet, 'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.' I like to think of writing what you know and writing what you don't know as a method for madness.
When inspiration strikes, via reality or in your own imagination, that is considered madness, and only when you apply a method to it can it be translated across the page. If you don't like that saying, then perhaps bringing chaos to order will resonate with you.
I am writing this post merely as an observation of my own experience with what I've written. When I started with M1, I stuck to reality, contemporary if you will. I didn't finish it. I got bored. Then I was hit with inspiration of another realm, and I wrote M2, and I'm still in love with that story. It challenged me creatively, and that's when I realized it's okay not to write what you know, because it's the process of figuring it out and learning your way through that makes the journey worthwhile and exciting.
Now I'm writing M3, going back to contemporary. This time, however, it's loosley inspired by my time in high school and the people I've known throughout the years. But it's also an issues book on body dysmorphia and self-worth, something that I struggled with a lot in my college years and something my main protagonist will go through in the span of a year. In a lot of ways, M3 is harder than writing M2 because I'm writing through personal experiences rather than imaginative inspiration.
I've been rereading a lot of my old journals, which really makes me shy away from writing sometimes because somehow I feel myself transplanted right back to my adolescent years. Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is, M3 will definitely be more of a struggle to finish, but somehow I think I'll get a lot of meaning out of it.
How about you? Where does your inspiration come from your current WIP?

This post was in participation of ISWG. Thanks to