Tag Archives: Success

Going Full-On

I’ve written before about moments in my writing “career” where I’ve felt dejected and full of self-doubt. This is not one of those posts.

I have a strong tendency once I get past my initial doubts where I go full-on confident.

man-1902765_960_720You see, there are times when I don’t give a damn what someone else thinks. I know I will succeed. I have no doubt. I believe in myself when no one else will.

I’ve never been given anything. If I wanted it, I had to work hard for it. My family didn’t have money. I started working when i was 13 or 14 as a newspaper carrier for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, OH. I got up every morning before the sun and delivered the daily paper all along my street.

Not having money taught me to work hard, learn from my mistakes, and suck it up. I didn’t always enjoy the jobs I had, but I dealt with it and gained strength from it. Everything I gained is because of determination.

I can’t tell you how many times my stories have been rejected (Well, actually I can. My stories have accumulated 74 rejections since 2014 with only 4 acceptances). Many for good reasons. It’s ok. I know they’re good. I know they belong somewhere. So I continue sending them out.

The thing is, I can’t let those get to me. What’s the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” I feel that way about my stories. They weren’t right for some places but a perfect fit for others. I gotta find that fit.

So for those who reject my stories just know, you’re gonna be part of my success. You will push me to prove you wrong. It might not be the most healthy attitude, but it keeps me focused.


10 Things Learned Since I Started Writing

When I started this writing journey, I was naive to the complexities of it all. I guess in it’s most basic state, writing is just me and the words on the screen or paper. It’s when I started sharing those words that things changed. Here are ten things I learned since I started (in no particular order).

Editing is your best friend. I didn’t understand the serious need for revision and editing. I knew those things were important, but as I progress in my career, it’s abundantly clear how vital good editing is to my work. And I can’t do it on my own.

Sometimes the first draft is hard to finish. The moment I start revising parts of the first draft before it’s finished, I bog myself down and the pace of my writing slows to a crawl. That’s not good. I need to get that draft out, warts and all, as quickly as possible so I can jump in and fix it after it’s done.

I’ll never please everyone with my work. As much as I love what I write, not everyone will see it that way. It’s ok. Art is never universally accepted. There will be some who it doesn’t work for and that’s fine.

articulated-male-818202_960_720Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Contrary to popular belief, writing is not an individual act. Sure, the writer creates and physically writes the story on their own. However, to make it work, we need other sets of eyes to help us tighten our prose. And once that’s done and you want to share it with the world, you need others to spread the love. It takes a team of dedicated individuals to make that happen. I find it best not to piss off those that can help.

Family and friends don’t always support you. I gotta start by saying I have a tremendous amount of support from a lot of my family and friends. They might not agree with the subject of my stories, but they’re super supportive of my work. Then there are those that can care less. Yeah I spent a ton of time working on perfecting my stories, only to have it fall on deaf ears. Just because they are family or friends doesn’t mean they’ll automatically help or buy the book or leave a review. And thats ok. They are under no obligation to do so. If they sell Mary Kay cosmetics does that mean I have to buy them? No. Same with my writing. It’s cool.

Rejection isn’t personal. Let me restate that: rejection isn’t personal. It’s not an indictment of you as an individual. For whatever reason, the story didn’t work for that person. Cool. Move on. Try someone else. Revisit your story to see where the holes are. Send it out again. And again. And again. Maybe try a different market. Whatever the case, remember rejection isn’t personal.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You hear so many uplifting stories about people leaving their day jobs to become full-time authors. I would love to have that kind of financial success from my writing. However, unless your book goes viral and everyone under the sun suddenly wants to read it, this takes time and patience. Lots of it. Don’t be discouraged. Keep at it. If you have a passion for your craft and continually seek to improve, your chances of this happening are better, but not guaranteed.

work-1627703_960_720Everybody has advice. Take it at your own peril. Many people mean well, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about. Maybe they do. Talk to fifty different authors and you’ll get fifty different answers. Sift through this massive trove of opinions carefully. Try different things, but always be wary of the advice given. How to find the best and most trustworthy advice? I don’t have an answer. I take in a lot of suggestions and sometimes I’ll try them, sometimes not. It’s a personal thing I guess. Just be careful with what “rules” you follow given to you by others.

Self publishing is easy, getting noticed is not. I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy it was to get my stories uploaded to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple. It literally was a click or two and *poof* done. That’s it. But that’s also why indie authors are slammed by critics and readers. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I spent a lot of time revising and editing my first collection of stories to leave the best impression I could with potential readers. I still had a few errors in my work. Then when it came to earning eyes on my stories, that was (and still is) a difficult process. I’m basically asking someone to use their hard earned cash to buy a book from an author they don’t know and invest their time with me. That’s a big ask. I better deliver with my work or they won’t come back.

You will have to sacrifice if you want to succeed. When I started writing, I played a lot of video games. One day I came to the realization that the time spent playing games on the Xbox was time spent not writing. How could I hope to grow as a writer and create new work if I spent my time playing games? I stopped cold turkey. I didn’t join my friends on our weekly game night anymore. I didn’t spend hours on a Saturday morning hunting achievements. Instead, I used that time to write more and read more. I’ve whittled down my gaming to two mobile games, that’s it. I miss those gaming sessions, but if I wanted to be serious about my craft, I had to make concessions somewhere.

There you have it, my ten things learned since I started as a writer. As you start your journey or are knee deep in it, how do these compare to your experiences?

Feel free to like, share, and comment. Thanks!

Guest Post: Pamela Morris

Today I’m fortunate and grateful to present an essay by author Pamela Morris. Read on for her personal experience with failure and how she coped with it. Please be sure to check out her website and grab a book or two. Thanks!

Guest: Pamela Morris

Turning Failure Into The Road To Success

Failure. It’s a bitter, dry pill to swallow. It can wedge itself in the back of your throat. It can make you gag. Failure is never pleasant and it’s not what we strive for.

My first published novel, The Virgin of Greenbrier, was released in 2006. It wasn’t the genre I’d ever imagined myself being published in, erotica-romance, but I was still over the moon at this taste of success. Bound To Be Bitten, my personal response to the whole nonsense of sparkling vampires, was published in 2010. As with the novels before it, it was erotica. I struggled horribly trying to make it what the publisher wanted because in my heart of hearts, it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to write horror and murder-mysteries. I officially put down my erotica pen and picked up another.

scarecrow_cover_mBlood of the Scarecrow, a paranormal-themed murder-mystery, was the result. The joy I’d always found in writing returned. It was published in 2013 by a new and small indie publishing house. But in 2014 they decided to close their doors. I was devastated and heartbroken. I was back to near zero! Every doubt in the book (no pun intended) came flooding in.

Had I just wasted ten years of my life going through all these steps? What was the point? Who cared about any of this but me? My friends and family? Maybe, but let’s be honest here, they are partial. They don’t want to hurt my feelings, see me sad, or be part of the reason I give it up. I kept telling myself that all I needed was the right person to read something and give me a good review, someone who has no emotional stake in my happiness or misery, A Person Who Matters.

Out of overwhelming frustration and dismay, I gave up submitting queries to traditional publishers and agents. The rejections became unbearable. The idea of vanity publishing made me cringe. It was something I swore up and down I’d never do. Only the lowest of the low and most pathetic would ever do that. What sort of sad-sack failure would stoop to something so abominable? Not me! No, never me!

Yes, me. Failure and those same friends and family and co-workers who continually asked, “When’s the next book coming out?” drove me to it; that and my deep-seeded sense of self. I’m a story teller. What’s the point of being a story teller if no one ever hears those stories? The characters demanded to be heard.

shadow5Once the choice was made, it took another six months to create the final manuscript and cover art for That’s What Shadows Are Made Of, another murder-mystery with overtones of horror and the supernatural, and unleash it to the world. Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon, a revision of Blood of the Scarecrow, followed shortly after. After ten years, I had my first series of book signings in 2016. A third novel, a classic ghost story with a twist, No Rest For The Wicked was released in late August last year and A Person That Matters told me I don’t suck. Slow online sales and the lack of reviews still gets me down, but I keep pushing forward and trying.

norest_frontcover2Why? There’s no choice. It’s my passion. As I mentioned to a fellow author not too long ago, I can’t NOT write. When I am going through a dry spell I get anxious. I even start to feel a little guilty. Like the Lorax who speaks for the trees, I speak for my characters. I am their voice. I am their eyes and ears. It’s up to me to tell their stories because there is absolutely no one else out there who can. As insane as it sounds, these characters chose me and me alone.

This whole concept struck hard while I was working on Dark Hollow Road. This book, classified as a psychological horror, is truly the darkest, most disturbing thing I’ve ever written. Where did all the despair, pain, fear and blind need for revenge come from to write this? I had a happy childhood! I’ve led a pretty blessed life all in all. How could all that horror come solely from within me? It’s scary to find yourself writing such a thing, but I couldn’t NOT write it. That would be failing.

Failure. It can take you down with it, but it can also push you harder. Had the original publishers of my first murder-mystery not failed, I’d not have been forced to seek other avenues. I may not have had to have worked so hard to get where I am, but I’m paving my own road and not all of those bricks are engraved with a big, fat F. I still hope for a traditional publisher to give me the time of day. Until then, I have little choice but to write on without them.

To learn more about Pamela and her work visit pamelamorrisbooks.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.