3 Things You Need to Do When Your Hobby Begins to Feel like a Job

It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. It came to a point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests, etc. Those things do take priority, but even during downtime, when none of those things were even happening, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, I’ll write tomorrow.” My hobby was beginning to feel like a job.

I became the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I am the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.

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My Editing Technique

Hello!

This is, once again, an edit and repost of an old post I had. I am beginning to realize these are less simple edits and more just flat out rewrites. You know that feeling you get when you scroll through your FaceBook feed from… I don’t know, ten years ago? It starts off all nostalgic and rose-colored, then it just gets more and more cringey. Everything seems so much better, until you actually see it. Well, that’s what ended up happening to me. I went back, started reading these posts, and wondered how anyone read any of this.

I had a tendency to make everything more convoluted and complicated than it had to be, and the same goes for my “editing technique,” whatever the heck that is… Needless to say, I don’t edit the same way I did when this post was originally made (May 4, 2013, jeeeeez). So, it’s time to update. Here is how I edit today:

– Something that hasn’t changed: don’t edit until you finish.
This is pretty much the only thing I held on to from my old “editing technique.” I don’t edit anything until I “finish” the piece. Now I say “finish” because until you’ve edited the piece a couple times, I don’t think it’s finished. Regardless, I don’t edit any of it until I’ve finished the first draft. I think if anything, I’ve actually gotten stricter on this. Before, I’d do some minor edits as I wrote, like fixing a misspelling, putting in missing punctuation etc. Now, I won’t even fix things like that. I don’t pay any attention to anything expect putting words on paper.

– Finish the 1st draft, then add and subtract.
Even after I’ve completed the first draft, I don’t do any copy editing, which is grammar and mechanics editing. I focus on substantive editing. I add things, I cut things, I move things around… this is the fun part of editing because, honestly, it’s still just writing.

– From substance to mechanics.
Once I think I have everything I want to keep, in the order I want to keep it in, I move on to the nitty-gritty: copy editing. I go through and fix all those mechanical issues, grammar issues, misspellings, etc. This is my least favorite because it just proves the point that you never get anything right the first time, and there are always things you need to improve. No matter how long I write, or how many degrees I earn, I still spend the most time copy editing.

– Let her rest.
After long rounds of cutting, adding, and editing, the old eyes need to rest. The piece needs to rest, but so do I. I let my piece rest for a day or two before picking it back up, then I do another round of copy edits, and from there just proofread daily until I feel confident in my piece.

And there you have it. Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s weird how time sorta edits us, too, as writers. Before, I was very long-winded and tried to sound smart, but was more obnoxious than anything else. I have pared down how much I write (though let’s be honest, not that much), and I don’t feel the need to prove I am well-spoken. But we’re getting away from the point of the post, and I think that means it’s a good time to wrap it up.

So, thanks for reading.

-Lissy

I’m an introvert, and I’m happy

Introvert – not synonymous with shyness. An introvert is not characterized by being shy, though that does not mean they aren’t. An introvert is someone who finds people, and interacting with them, to be physically and mentally draining, preferring to be alone to recharge. An introvert is not constantly in a state of depression and should not be characterized as such. An introvert can have excellent social skills and have many friends whom they regularly socialize, but won’t make it a point to seek out interaction. Introverts are often introspective and prefer to be alone with their thoughts.

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The farther I go into my college and writing career, the more I realize who I am and who I may be becoming. The summer has come to a close. My internship has ended, school has begun… and I’m still learning more and more about myself.

Life has whisked me away again.

I have friends, lots of them, but I’m probably one of the most garbage friends in the world. I see texts and calls, and often times I just don’t reply. It’s not because I don’t want to – far from it – but the way my life is going right now, I don’t have much me time. At my age, that seems extremely childish to say. At my age, I think it’s okay to be selfish once in a while. I have my whole life ahead of me. I’m going to meet so many people in this short period we call life, and the one person I’m going to spend every second with is the one sitting at this computer, writing this post:

Me.

I don’t want this post to be me lamenting life and how crowded it can sometimes seem, but when 90% of my time is spent in the presence of people I have little to no interest in associating with, I live for those times I get to be by myself.

I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love my family. None of that has changed, or ever will change…

I love myself, too. I love sitting behind a book, a laptop, or just sitting and simply existing. I love writing because it’s one of the few things in this world that requires only one person and their thoughts, and I actually have fun doing it. I go to work, I go to school, I spend time around campus, then I go home. Not exciting, not magical or something I want to blog about every day.

But I don’t need it to be. My life is considered boring by most of the population, but I love it.

It’s okay guys. I’m happy. I hope you are, too.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Self-Publishers Beware, Some Deals ARE Too Good.

With the rise in self-publishing, traditional publishers are scrambling to keep their side of the market afloat. They’re beginning to approach self-publishers, presenting them deals they may not have received otherwise. Self-publishing has opened doors for creative minds. With the addition of #pitmad and #askanagent on Twitter and G+, self-publishers and aspiring authors are able to pitch directly to the people in the business without forking over loads in travel costs and convention fees.

But writer beware, publishers and agents aren’t the only ones drifting through the waters.

There’s a separate sect of publishing known as:

Vanity Publishing
*cue hisses and dramatic music*

In the past, they’ve masqueraded themselves as traditional publishers, offering their services to every writer they come across. Now, with the increase of self-publishing, they’ve morphed into new and improved self-publishing facilities. They offer you professional-grade covers, editing, and even offer both paperback and eBook to all major retailers, all royalties earned included, but there’s a small catch.

There’s a nominal fee. And when they bring up that fee, you better turn tail and run. A fee is the key in distinguishing a real publisher or publishing house from a vanity publisher. Don’t let your excitement of FINALLY getting published cloud your judgement. And believe me, what they call a “nominal” fee turns out to be a small fortune. And while this may seem common sense, their new platform as “self-publishing service” costs much more than the average self-publishing platform. To put it in perspective, I’ve made a list, detailing the many differences between the three publishing options and how to spot the dreaded vanity publisher.

  • Real publishers get paid when YOU get paid
    Never. Never, never, never, never will a traditional publisher ask you to pay for their services. They take their money from your royalty payments. Same goes for self-publishing services. Use your best judgement. $100 for a cover design is one thing, $5000 for the whole pie before you even get to taste it sounds like a bad deal to me. Don’t confuse actual services with the over-inflated scam artists.
  • Self-Publishing services offer you services, you don’t pay for them immediately
    This goes along with the first point, but I feel it needs its own separate bullet. Createspace offers cover designers, formatters, and bells and whistles ALONGSIDE their free, do-it-yourself services. Never will a self-publishing service only allow you to pay for things you could do yourself. If the self-publishing service is asking you to pay for something and is unwilling to give you the chance to do it yourself, then that isn’t a self-publishing service. You’re being swindled into a vanity publisher.
  • Most vanity publishers will actively seek you out
    Most traditional publishers ask you to send things to them for consideration of publication AFTER you’ve already contacted them. Only special circumstances will dictate a traditional publisher contacting you without former inquiry on your end. If you haven’t been doing the #pitmads and you haven’t been shopping your work around for a while, but end up getting contacted by a “publisher,” a little red flag should go up. It’s not unheard of to be contacted if you have previously published before, but to have never been published, self or traditional, and you’re getting contacted, is something to be wary of.
  • A publisher won’t advertise to you
    If you are contacted and are given a whole list of pros and services if you choose to publish with them, then you’re probably looking at a vanity publisher trying to con you. A traditional publisher would give you the minimum of what they have available, such as:
    eBook publishing,
    Paper/Hardback
    And that’s basically the gist of it. You may also see awards and authors they have published. A traditional publisher will want to advertise their prestige to you, so that you may send your work in. A vanity publisher will tell you that you will get all your royalties and will have all these pretty shiny things given to you if you’ll just send your work to them. They will also guarantee publication to every manuscript sent in. You know why? Because they’re going to take your money first. It doesn’t matter if the book sells. You’ve already sent them $1,000+ to them. What do they care if it sells or not?
  • If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it
    Like I’ve said before, never let your excitement of being published cloud your judgement. If you notice certain things that make you question the integrity of a publisher, whether they’re vanity or not, don’t publish with them. You’ve worked too hard to just sell your work to a crap publisher.

Be careful with your work. Love what you do, keep trying to publish or publish yourself, but be smart.

Have you ever been in contact with a vanity publisher? Have you published with one? What are your thoughts? Let me know, and comment below.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Writing For Yourself

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As a writer, I find myself writing more and more to appease others. I write for themes I wouldn’t usually write for, for journals I would’ve scoffed at not too many months ago, and for people I have never met and probably will never meet in my entire life.

None of that is necessarily a bad thing, as it is good to push the boundaries of our own skills – to go outside of our comfort zone, if you will.

Yet, if you’ll look at the picture above, you’ll find the title of a piece I have never published. I’ve shown it to a handful of people, and I’ve debated publishing it too many times to count. I’m still debating it today, and probably will for a long time until I finally decide one way or another.

Or perhaps I won’t.

Regardless, I wrote that piece for myself. I wrote it because I had feelings I felt were best kept on paper. I wrote it because it was what I wanted to write.

Everyone wants to write a piece which will change the world, or will mean something to someone else. I believe that is a noble cause, necessary in a world so open and ever-changing. It’s nice to know someone you may never meet has certain feelings and aspirations akin to your own. Though, is it not just as important to write for ourselves? Must we always write just to publish? Must we always write just for the readers?

I believe we should write for ourselves just as much as others. We can fulfill the duty to others while fulfilling a duty to ourselves.

Yet, I often feel myself losing the answer to those questions. What do you think? Let me know, and comment below.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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The Writer’s Curse

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Writing is both a blessing and a curse. A writer must do what he or she must do alone (excluding the editing, cover design, and all the extra hub-bub which follows the actual writing). Writing is therapeutic, and it’s one of the few professions where the writer is the only one able to complete the task.

Yes. You.

You are the only one who can write the words which are dancing around inside your skull. If you don’t, then your book will never be written. Simple as that.

And that is both a blessing and a curse.

Writing is therapeutic, but it can be a lonely task. One which, when done often enough, becomes less therapeutic and more of a chore – a detriment to one’s mental health. It is key to balance your writing life along with a regular social life.

Go out with friends every once in a while. Though many of us write for fun as well as a living, just like any daily job, it begins to weigh on a person. A writer deserves just as much a break as any man or woman in a cubicle. Stop writing for a while, go on a trip, drink a little wine, take a nice bath with some bubbles and other smell goods. Invite your spouse or significant other to join you. Why not?

But don’t forget, just like any job, you have to go back eventually, or risk losing it all together.

What do you do to get out? Any special rituals you follow? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! 
Don’t be shy!

Want to check out some books?
CLICK HERE

 

How to Find the Time to Write

Life can be busy, busy, busy, and finding time between social networking, real life, and possibly a job/school, can make it hard to do the one thing you need to be doing constantly:

WRITING

If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write, but as much as we would like to think that we can just sit and write all day everyday, it’s usually not possible. So, I have made up a detailed list of things you can do to utilize every available second you have free to continue doing what we all love most: writing.

Now, get your spears ready, and onward to the list!

  • CARRY A SMALL NOTEBOOK WITH YOU
    Even if you have a laptop, I have found that I’m less likely to pull it out in public than to just take out a notebook. It’s strange, but it seems like too much work. Regardless, I always have a tiny notebook with me, so when there’s a slow moment or I have to wait on something, then I can just whip that baby out and get to writing. Every second counts, and even if you can’t write anything, but a single sentence, write that sentence down with complete abandon. It will be better than writing nothing at all.
  • GET YOURSELF AN EGG TIMER
    If you have some time at home, but have to divide your time between activities, get yourself an egg timer. My last semester of college, I had reading assignments. So, I would set an egg timer, read for 30 minutes, then write for 30 minutes, and go back and forth until it was time to do something else. BUT. If you don’t have an egg timer, nor do you have college work to do, wash clothes. Pop a load of laundry into the washing machine or dryer, then write until the timers go off. Then, fold and transfer the laundry around. When you’re done, get back to writing. This can also be done with a dish washer and an oven (if you’re cooking). It’s the small parts of life that are the easiest to utilize.
  • LOCK YOURSELF UP
    Sometimes, it’s not that we don’t have enough time to write, it’s that we’re distracted by other things. Find a room, turn off the cell phone, lock the door and get to writing. A quiet room with no distractions is a blessing to any writer, so take advantage of it.

Like I said before, a writer is just someone who writes. These are small everyday tasks and routines that can be easily implemented into most lifestyles, which will help you become a better and more consistent writer. Now, for my favorite part of any blog post, questions! What do you do to keep writing? Do you use these techniques? Do you have any other techniques not on this list? Have a question? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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