If you want to be a writer, you must learn to research.
Why? Why can't I just stick to creating worlds exclusively from my head? Shouldn't I "write what you know"? If I have to research too deeply, doesn't that mean that there is someone far more qualified than me to write that piece?
Research is daunting, and will often open all the doors of self doubt inside us. But believe me. You can do this. I recently took a college course by Ann Dee Ellis who taught me something crucial: you don’t have to be an expert to start writing about a certain topic. But, you better believe that if you’re doing it right, you’ll be an expert when you finish! Using accurate details in your writing enriches stories of any genre. Even contemporary fiction needs it! Widen your perspective on humanity by really trying to see through a different lens and you will be great.
I have three beautiful kids, ages four, two and one. From the moment the sun wakes them up and their sweet voices pull me out of bed, to the last little moments where they peek out of their rooms before falling asleep, I am their everything. My time is all wrapped up in them and their needs most of the day. Except for writing. I knew that I would be the best mom for them if I had at least one thing for me. So, 4 years ago, during my down time I started writing because it was something cheap and gratifying I could do for myself. Since then my love for it has grown. Part of what I love most about it is that there's so much to learn!
I might not have been in a stage of my life that was ideal for formal education, but I used the tools I did have to learn tools that would help my writing get better. During dishes, laundry, showers, and driving; any time I could reasonably listen to or watch something on writing, I soaked it in.
Many of you find yourselves in similar situations. Maybe you have a demanding day job, you’re a full-time student, or you're stay at home parents. You have precious little time to yourself, and no luxury of taking formal classes. Lucky for us we live in the mighty age of the internet where YouTubers, bloggers, and podcasters alike reign supreme. For those who have the desire, there is no end to the things that can be learned.
So, here are just a few of my favorite online resources for writing that have made those spare moments worthwhile.
1. Jenna Moreci
Your potty mouth, tell it to you straight, writing coach, Jenna Moreci is the science fiction and fantasy author of Eve The Awakening, and The Savior’s Champion. She’s an independently published author with a background in business which has given her writing career a successful edge that she shares with her audience. Her videos go into depth about her publishing process and other writing tips, and the Cyborg Queen pulls no punches.
I've found these three videos to be especially helpful:
CreateSpace vs IngramSpark: Which One is Better for Selfpublishing
How To Write With A Full Time Job
Tips For a Successful Book Cover
The enormous crowds. The television and radio interviews. And, of course, the money. I know of few writers that don't dream of being as famous as J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, or Stephen King. We long to discover our books on bookstore shelves and hear about book groups discussing our carefully crafted novels.
Writing is a highly romanticized career. Like many artistic careers, those who do end up in the spotlight make it seem ideal to be a published author. Once you've published, you have it MADE. And yet, my first year as a published author has made it clear that this isn't an overnight gig, and most of it is far from romantic.
Accurate, much? Yes. As I'm typing this, I'm sitting on a rocker chair in my (let's be real, messy) bedroom while my kids are having a dance party in the living room. My inspirational piano playlist is punctuated by gleeful (and not so gleeful) screams, the toilet flushing, and music from the Trolls soundtrack. It's pretty rare that you'll find me at the library or Starbucks with a paper cup at my side, headphones in, pounding out golden word after golden word. And yet, this is how writers are thought of and often portrayed in the media.
Writing to produce a short story or novel is hard work. A LOT of hard work. And most of it is done in isolation. People often ask me how long it takes for me to write a book. I tell them that it depends on how much takeout we eat and whether I have a babysitter during the week or not. This is the reality for me as a homeschooling mom of four (almost five!) kids. "Woven" took me four years to go from concept to published. It's sequel, "Bound", comes out next month, 13 months from concept to publication. I've written a few short stories and novellas in that time as well, and started several projects. So, you can see that the timeline really varies depending on my life, my priorities, and the project itself.
Besides dealing with less-than-desirable creative atmospheres and life-interruptions, there is a host of tasks a published author has to complete in order to maintain even a modicum of success. I wasn't so naive before I published to think all I had to do was hit "submit" and my publisher would take care of everything. I had been to writing conferences and I thought I knew what to expect, but nothing could prepare me for the myriad of hats I've had to wear in the past year. Allow me to give you a glimpse.
We all know Horror is not for the faint of heart, and you should be expected to steel your nerves when diving into a book of that genre. Writing a book around those themes can be rather difficult, and it isn’t for everyone, but elements of horror can be incorporated into any genre. Here, I’m going to talk a bit about different aspects of horror, and how you can blend them into your stories for a more adult, slightly darker feel.
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.