Okay, where was I? Oh, right.
Well, that got me to think about endings. If you haven’t seen the movie, you may want to leave for a second, because I’m about to give away the end.
The boat goes down.
What’s worse? Jack dies.
Remember that line, you Titanic lovers out there? (I know you’re out there) “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go….” Here, just watch…
Ah, get’s me every time.
The thing about this movie, though, it represents the exact opposite of the traditional, “And they lived happily ever ending” type of endings we used to get from fairytales. When Cinderella meets Prince Charming, we don’t get to see how Mr. Charming gets on Cinderella’s case for not cleaning enough. Or how about Snow White? I mean, that girl had a following, jealousy alone is bound to get to Prince-y here when he realizes that those seven dwarves are a package deal.
But don’t you remember when that was enough? When it was satisfying to read that final line and not question it any further?
I would say that Titanic represents a “bittersweet” type of ending. It starts out with Rose being an elderly woman of about 100 telling her story of how the ship went down, while also talking about her love affair with a young man named Jack, who changed her course through life forever. Later in the movie, we get to see photos of her and how she became a daring young woman who truly lived every moment to the fullest. So, while we don’t get to see her and Jack riding off into the sunset (and yes, I still watch in hopes that maybe I’ll find that alternate ending where he actually lives), it’s a satisfying ending. At least for me, it was.
It wasn’t perfect. And Rose even talks about how the man she did marry didn’t quite compare to the romance she had with Jack. Her character even changes throughout the course of the movie into being an uptight, rich girl to a girl who takes chances and goes against what her society expects from her. Much like all characters in a book, we want to see how their experience changes them. We don’t see that in those fairy tales. Did Cinderella ever go beyond the expectation of cleaning up after people? Did Sleeping Beauty ever overcome that awful sleeping disorder? We never got to know how they grew.
So, maybe it was Titanic, or hell, maybe it was the popsicles, but I wrote the ending to my story (I’ve told you before…not quite a book yet). And, I realized my story’s ending will be bittersweet. I felt though that my readers would be satisfied. At least, I think so. I found that by writing this ending, that I knew my character would have grown throughout the course of the (potential) novel (no details until it’s really off the ground).
And it was important for me to write this ending. I’ve been pretty open with you all about the fact that I have not finished a complete book yet. I want to finish one and I do feel this book might be “the one” (but let’s not jinx it). It’s one of the few books I have started where I really knew how it would end.
And to me, that’s a good sign.
Especially, because it won’t end with, “And they lived happily ever after…”
Today, I’m inspired to write because I am learning more and more about the writing process as I go along. I’m learning how important it is to grow as a reader, as a writer, and as a character. I’m inspired because I think that I have found the “one.” I’m inspired because I think I am ready for it too.
How about you, my dear readers? How do you tackle endings? Do you accept “happily ever after” or can “bittersweet” be enough? (I’m liking this “ending with a question” thing..how about you?)
29 August 2011
24 August 2011
22 August 2011
In response, my younger self stamped her foot, crossed her arms, and gave me the “are-you-kidding-me” look and said, “No chance. It won’t feel the same! No way! You want that experience of going to New York to meet your publisher and see your name in [metaphorical] lights!” Alright, we better let her stop there, because she can really go on a tangent…and immaturity aside, I still wonder about the experience of self-publishing, and whether or not it would feel the same to me.
While my younger self avoids this blog post entirely –she’s pouting in a corner somewhere—I still can’t help but recognize the slow demise of printed, published books meeting the same fate as the music industry. And with recent news of Border’s Books going under, and the growing popularity of self-publishing sites such as Amazon, Smashwords and Feedbooks, and the ever-growing popularity of eReaders, I question what the future is of publishing through the standard publishing house? Will the published paperback get to be as rare as people buying CD’s and listening to them on a CD Walkman? I mean, I do have friends who still buy CDs, just like I will always buy my books…
And not to mention that I still want to get that letter of approval. I want someone else to tell me my book is damn good and they want it published for millions of people to read (or at least thousands…hell, hundreds would be good for me). I want to do a book signing. I want to look my name up on a library computer and see my name with my books there and hopefully a few people on the waiting list wanting to read them. Is that a childhood dream that needs maturing? What are the real experiences of self-published authors?
With all of this rolling around in my head, I turned to my followers on Twitter, my Google Plus circle, and my peers on the Writer’s Digest community.
On Twitter, I asked writers to talk about their experiences with self-publishing and if they would ever do it again…and in 150 characters or less…
@RyanLSchneider told me, “I will only self-publish in the future. Decent learning curve. But holding all the cards is priceless.” (You can also check out his blog to find details on his book and experiences as a writer at http://authorryanschneider.blogspot.com/)
@Peter_Smalley told me, “Self-pub is the radical idea readers can buy a great book for $5, of which the author gets $5.” (Check out his newest book Grimme)
And on Google Plus (my latest in Social Media fascination…check out my blog post on inspiring online communities to find out why)…I asked similar questions on the experience of self-publishing…
Michelle Murrain said, “It has been great/frustrating/rewarding/painful and I wouldn’t do it any other way. Happy there is an outlet for quality work that might not get published otherwise.” (Check out her website Casitian Universe to get details on her latest novel)
I also got some great feedback and resources from Elizabeth Flora Ross on a blog post she wrote in 2010 about the pros and cons of self-publishing. Something she wrote on this post struck me the most, “My biggest failing was that I did not realize it takes much more than simply writing a good story to make a book successful. It requires a great deal of time and money, not to mention connections and a reputation.” She even questions the future benefits of self-publishing now that she has begun to query literary agents publish her second book the traditional way (Check out Elizabeth Flora Ross’s book here!)
But, on another completely different note…Elizabeth also gave me so great resources for writer’s on self-publishing and I stumbled across a blog post by Nathan Bransford, a novelist and former literary agent, entitled, Amanda Hocking and the 99-Cent Kindle Millionaires, which immediately caught my attention. He describes the success of Amanda Hocking a self-published author who managed to make a million dollars off of her eBook Switched. In his post, Bransford continues to emphasize that this is not usual success for self-published authors. At the same time, though, he does state, “[There is] more money to the [self-published] author per copy at $2.99 than a traditionally published eBook at $9.99.”
Yet, I still had my reservations about self-publishing and questions still remained. I still wondered whether it felt published to be a self-published author. If I really went this route, would I feel the need to explain myself if I told a friend I was published and had gone through the route of self-publishing? With those thoughts rolling around in my brain, I turned to one of my favorite writing communities, Writer’s Digest Community, and I asked the same question about the experiences of self-publishing. On writer, Tye Holland, talked about his experiences with self-publishing and faced a similar realization of the work with marketing as did Elizabeth.
And then another person responded, author, Thomas Wilson, who gave me an extensive, candid answer (which I am going to post later on as a separate link on my page), talking about his experiences with self-publishing. In response to my question about whether they felt they had reached “success” with self-publishing,Thomas replied, “I am living my dream! My book is published, and selling all on it’s own. I found a much better editor, completely rewrote [my second book] No Rules of Engagement and edited it spending every night from 8 [to] 12…while working a full time job Monday through Friday. It is miles ahead of my [first book] Whisper. I am currently working on the cover art, synopsis, and movie trailer for this book with plans to self-publish it September 11, 2011 on Smashwords and Amazon. I am not writing query letters or getting discouraged, I am writing, getting better, and being successful with heading towards my goal.”
Let me quote that again, “I am not…getting discouraged, I am writing, getting better, and being successful with heading towards my goal.”
Poignantly, he states, “I am even sure over the last couple hundred years some truly talented author’s work never saw the light of day because no agent or publisher gave them a chance. Now everybody at least gets a chance.”
After all the people I spoke with, and the experiences they shared, I realized something very informative about self-publishing. When I started writing this blog post, I came from the place of curiosity and whether or not self-publishing would feel the same to me, and whether I would feel successful if I chose this route. Through my bit of research and talking with self-published authors, it seems as if self-publishing is what you make it. Not only that, self-publishing lets the author get out of the passenger seat, and be the one to drive the car. And somehow, this appeals to me the most, especially since I love being in charge of things (my younger self, currently over her sulk-session, vehemently agrees.)
Today, I am inspired to write because of the possibilities that lie before me. I no longer have to mourn the loss of a book while it sits dusty, and unpublished, in my desk drawer. I can take action and become part of the learning experience of being a writer. I can be read. I am inspired because the publishing industry seems to be turning on its heels and starting to paying attention to the people who have made their own success in this venue. And I am inspired because self-publishing seems to be the new YouTube for writers…and you know what? You just never know…
17 August 2011
This was one of the writing prompts that was a part of the Trust 30 writing prompt. Prompts from inspiring thought leaders to help on your writing journey.
That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo EmersonIt wasn't hard to think of my biggest challenge. Finding time to do everything I love. Turning that into...What can I do to find more time to do what I love. You see I love writing, going to events, social media and being with my family, all things that I cram into a day. A day that leaves me completely wiped by the end of the day. I wake up each morning and fight to get my daughter to school in time. Sit in traffic for a job that I didn't sign up for. Come home and have to reply to all my blogging emails, write a few posts and make sure my scheduled is synced with my husband. It was udder craziness.
So this writing prompt did more than prompt me to write about something eye opening, but I took it a step further and decided to reevaluate my whole "plan." The first thing I did was sit down and look at everything I was doing. Making a list helped. I was able to see just how much I was doing. Something has to give in situations like this. I didn't want it to be my marriage or the good I was doing with my new nonprofit. So I took the one thing that was making me unhappy and I kicked it to the curb.
I quit my job.
You see, I happen to be one of those people that has to be working. But I decided to work full time on what I do love. Writing, blogging, and networking. It can be very invigorating. If you haven't heard the radio station personality that decides to quit on the radio. I quit this bitch! I didn't quit like that though. Too chicken. Either way I get to focus on writing from now on. My own business as a social media marketer. It's going to be a great journey.
I'm intending on redoing the entire Trust 30 along with catching up on The Domino Project on my blog. What is your biggest challenge? Turn it into a question and post it in the comments.
Meghan Cooper is a 20 Something blogger that swapped blogs with me as a part of Blog Swap 9. She is a busy (now working from home) Mom to a little girl whom she blogs about on JaMonkey.com. Creator of Atlanta Moms on the Move, a site that offers family friendly events and things to do in Atlanta. You can also catch her on Fox 5 Atlanta contributing to their Moms site My Atlanta Moms.
15 August 2011
Wednesday, at 6 pm, I announced my 48 Hour Social Media Hiatus, as a way to prove to myself that I am not addicted to social networking. So, in case you didn’t notice, I was not on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus for 48 hours. This is a blog post about that experience.
On 5:59 PM, I posted my last comment Google Plus, which read something like, “I have one more minute! What do I do???”
A few sarcastic responses later, I signed off and closed my Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus applications and paid attention to the world around me, instead of the world living inside of my iPhone.
After I got home, instead of spending my usual time with eyes squinting at the latest events on my blog, and social networking accounts, I grabbed the spiral bound notebook I had bought at Office Max just a few weeks ago, and turned to a blank page. And I wrote.
The scene that inspired my bout of writing at that particular moment had come from a weird event on my way home one night. An event that was bizarre and alarming at the same time; something I had been meaning to turn into a story, but hadn’t yet made the time for it.
The next day, after spending several hours job hunting, I returned to my computer. I checked my email, of course, and spotted new comments to my blog. I resisted the urge to comment back, to follow back, to go on my usual online writing or blogging forums and get involved, as I usually do.Instead, I grabbed my phone once again and put it to good use.
I opened up the Pandora app, and I turned to one of my stations I created for a certain writing ambience (The Exorcist station was perfect for the horror element of the scene I was writing) and I wrote.
It was at that moment that I suddenly realized why I have loved handwriting my stories, even with our constantly improving technology.
For one thing, while I’m at my computer, it is very easy for me to become distracted, even when I don’t have internet access (i.e. Sims 3). And for some reason, even when I try to discipline myself, and I open up Microsoft Word, I can’t help but feel disconnected from the writing process. When I open up Word, I just hear the word, “edit” or “academic.” I don’t hear “creative” or “expression” or “character.” I don’t mind typing blog posts, though. It is just something about typing stories – especially new ideas –that I just don’t like.
I don’t even write with the best handwriting when I do use a notebook, so that really doesn’t make a difference to me. Check out my notebook here....
You see? But something about the freedom, about the pen touching the paper, about turning to the next page to continue the story…all of it gives me the feeling that I am connecting to the story in a different way. It’s the same way that I feel about reading paperback books, as opposed to reading an ebook. I need that physical connection to the story in front of me. It probably goes back to when I was really little and I would go to the bookshelves and take out every single book there. Even then, before I could read, I loved books. The feel of the pages. The smell of the ink. The crackling of a brand new book. The familiar smell of an old book. I don’t even like to use bookmarks; I bend the pages of the books while I read them. It’s interactive for me and somewhere along the way, it became that same way for me with writing. I rarely look back on the stories I have started on my computer, but I always go back to the ones I have handwritten.
So, during my social media hiatus, I took out my notebook and I reminded myself the importance of my (somewhat unique) starting point. With that said, though, I do type my stories…but when I type them, I am also rewriting. I am fixing grammar mistakes, enhancing descriptions, improving character dialogue…I couldn’t start out at the very place that I associate with my inner critic. I do know that it’s important to have an inner critic about my writing…that’s how rewriting is done. But I don’t want that from the start. At the start, I want the writing to feel free and creative, without having to critiquing myself along the way. If I do critique myself like that, I end up stalling completely and never going back to the story.
Today, I’m inspired to write, because I have been reminded about what I enjoy the most about the writing process. I enjoy the new notebooks, the feeling of the pen in my hand, the black ink that cakes the side of my left hand after writing too long, the feeling of the pages in my hand…all of it. Today, I’m inspired to write because I have proved to myself that I can take a break from the internet around me and focus on my writing; that all is not lost.
So, take your “social media hiatus.” Take it during a period of time that you use social media the most (taking mine during the middle of the week was a big deal; for some reason I rarely go to social networking sites on the weekend). And when you take your break….write. Pay attention to the world around you. Connect with the people who are actually in front of you. Create. For 48 hours, live without social networking. What will you learn?
09 August 2011
I interrupt this usual programming to bring you this announcement! (I've always wanted to say that.) Crevice of a Crumpet just awarded me "The Versatile Blogger" award! Thank you so much! Oh, I'm so excited! This is so great because her blog is very funny and I really do enjoy reading it. She blogs about her experiences managing her marriage, motherhood and getting her master's degree...goodness talk about an inspiration for the rest of us, right? So go over there and give a shout-out and a follow to Crevice of a Crumpet for me!
Well, here's the thing about receiving this award...there are a few rules to it! The Rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.
Okay...so here's a few things about myself!
1) I have my Bachelor's Degree in Communication
2) I don't know how to swim even though I spent most of my life in California
3) Two weeks after my 21st birthday, when my mom gave me the ring she had since she was 21, I lost it in the car and still can't find it.
4) I have never gotten a manicure or pedicure. (I like doing my own nails).
5) I had a major crush on Leonardo DiCaprio in the 5th grade. And I still do.
6) I'm unemployed at the moment.
7) I hate impressions, yet slapstick humor still can make me laugh.
Okay, here's the part I hate -- I have to chose just 15 blogs to list...and there are so many I enjoy. But here are the ones that I would love to bestow "The Versatile Blogger" Award upon!
1) Red Mojo Mama
2) Are We There Yet?
3) Nancy Jako: A New Ending
4) The Desert Rocks
5) The Sleeping Fascinator
6) Untroubled Kingdom of Laila Knight
7) A Productive Pen
8) Life is Hard, Laugh anyway
9) From Sarah, With Joy
10) The True Book Addict
11) Nancy S. Thompson
12) Michelle Dennis Evans
13) Tonja's Musings
14) Driftwood Ramblings
15) Jean Lauzier's Blog (Under the Troll's Bridge)
Oh, this is inspiring me to write all ready!
Please go check them out:
08 August 2011
You know those nights where you can’t really sleep…and your mind seems to be more awake than you intend it to be….and those aimless unprovoked thoughts come forward…those thoughts you usually let go unnoticed during the waking hours…
Well, that thought…that question…came forward in the middle of the night and stayed with me even after I woke up at 6 o’clock the next morning. It stayed with me long enough for me to wonder why I felt that way and what caused it.
When I started a blog back in June, I had been inspired to create one because of the Google Site I created about my experiences as a mentor during my senior year. I loved the creativity involved and I loved writing about my experiences with something I thoroughly enjoyed. Since this was just a requirement for being a mentor at my college, when I graduated, so did the site and I wanted to continue my good feeling. So, almost immediately after graduating, I created this blog.
Really, I had no idea I would enjoy blogging so much and whether anyone would actually read it. But I have enjoyed every moment of it, and I have even begun to realize that I do have people who enjoy reading it. It’s amazing.
So, when that thought came to me in the middle of the night…I had to think about it. When this thought lingered, a part of me wanted to go online and take down the blog and hide it into safe keeping where no bad or negative feedback can get at it. I wanted to hide it away from people. I suddenly didn’t want to put myself out there like that. I felt vulnerable all of a sudden. I felt unsafe. I felt afraid. And I didn’t want to feel that way…
I didn’t take it down though. I had gone so far already and I didn’t want to go back.
And it was then that I realized that this blog served another purpose…it served the purpose of overcoming fear.
You would be amazed about how fear can overwhelm you and hold you back. The fear of rejection. The fear of failure. The fear of not meeting up to expectations (yours or someone else’s). The fear of letting people down. Fear of that word “no.” No, you’re not good enough. No, we won’t accept your story. No, I don’t like it. Just…no….
And so far, I have not let my own fears of rejection, failure, or whatever it is that may hold me back…stop me from pursuing my dream. And I haven’t taken down my blog. This blog is my way of helping myself with that fear. Really, it’s my first experience of putting myself out there for a lot of people to see…most of whom I don’t know personally. And in fact if you knew me well enough, you’d probably know that I take great care in sharing the stories I write, so this is a big deal for me.
So today, I’m inspired to write because I have put myself out there. I have overcome my own fears. And you know what? I want you to congratulate yourself too if you have put yourself out there in anyway. Whether it’s through the material you’ve published, the blog you started, the story or poem or article or novel you submitted to a publisher or shared with a friend. Congratulations. Today isn’t about whether it’s right, or successful, or appeals to a mass audience. Today is about congratulating yourself for trying at all. If you haven’t put yourself out there in any way…do it. Start a blog. Ask someone to critique something you have written. Submit that piece you have been meaning to send. Don’t hold yourself back today.
Because one day…you will be able to hear that word you have always wanted to hear and it will mean more than any of those no's you have ever heard….because one day you will hear YES.
02 August 2011
Okay, that may not be the connotation that Missy Elliot intended, but a recent blog post by J Scott Savage's blog "Find Your Magic" got me thinking about the "work" aspect of writing and publishing. In his blog post, he talked about the idea of "deserving" success and what it really means to achieve your dreams. He talked about being willing to work, and to overcome the failures, and the rejections, and having patience. This is when you achieve your dreams; "deserving" has nothing to do with it, he concludes.
Reading this post, really struck a chord with me. Something I have been thinking a lot about lately. You see, I've recently graduated from college, and if my mom were standing behind me while I typed, she would probably say, "My God, Colee. You've just graduated from college with a 3.91 GPA, Summa Cum Laude...not only that you are looking for work and being out of work is one of the most stressful periods of time in anyone's life. Do you ever give yourself a break?"
My simple answer is no. I am the type of person who believes that if it isn't happening or something I am doing or working on then it isn't enough or it won't happen. I know, I know...Just stay with me here.
Let me tell you this, when I was in college....it was work.
The thing that was "work" though wasn't what you would expect. It wasn't the classes. It was the maneuvering I did to fit in my work schedule with my classes, the advisors I saw to bend the rules for me to fit in a class, the financial aid I had to practically beg for, the public transportation (and its people) that I had to deal with, the older brother with a mental disability that I helped my mom with....all of that seemed to serve as a hurdle i had to achieve my dream.
And, despite all of the barriers...I made it to my dream of getting my college degree. I walked across the stage and waved to my family who were sitting in the stands cheering me on.
And you know what?
I was willing to work for it. I gave up all of myself to pursue my degree. I gave up my time. My energy. My distractions. My devotion. I promised to complete my goal. And to stay with it. And to do give it my all.
It was everything to me to achieve my dream.
And I did it.
And yes, it was work. And it was worth it.
Now I face the same type of dedication with writing. The same time. The same devotion. The same promise. Can I do it? Is it worth it? Can I "work it"?
You see, I have wanted to publish since I could remember. I remember at the age of 10 I was getting books from the library about how to write. I remember wanting to be able to find myself one day in the library catalog and see my books checked out with people on the waiting list. It was everything to me then, and it still is today. So...I think the answer to those questions...is yes.
My inspiration to write today comes from the dedication and the promise I make to myself to become a published writer. I am writing today because I know the road to success isn't easy and no matter how hard you work or think you deserve it, it may not happen for you very timely. But it's important to keep that promise. I made that promise to myself in pursuing my degree. I make it today about writing. And I never let people down, most importantly myself. So, readers and writers, make that promise today. Whether its about your writing dream or something else.
Just ask yourself, "Do you feel lucky, punk? Well do ya?"
Okay, no, not what I was going to say...Sorry, I couldn't help it. But seriously...ask yourself, "Is it worth it?" Can you work it?
Yah? Alright, well remember what Missy Elliot says, "Ain't no shame [people] do your thang, just make sure you ahead of the game...."