Surprise Post! The Waiting Game Rules

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It’s the 1st of September!

Ha! Just kidding…

SURPRISE!!! I decided to pen another post today. In case you were thinking I somehow miraculously acquired the ability to alter time, it’s actually August 5th. Lol

Okay, so for those of you scratching your heads trying to figure out why I’m on my writing tip again…and a new month has not begun, well I’ll tell ya. This was all an elaborate scheme to get you guys to come back to my blog so you can actually hit the “follow WriteAway31” button to your right. Yesterday, a dear sweet friend of mine made me aware of the devastating fact that there was no button of said nature or purpose on my page. Imagine my shock when I learned this news. All along I’ve been thinking nobody wanted to follow me. But the truth is so much more of a relief (as annoying as it may be) because no possible means to do so existed on my page. Welp, it is now readily available for those of you who have a hankering for some good reading. ūüėČ

For your troubles my dear friends and as an apology for luring you back to my page before the established time I’ve got some good news for ya! I whipped up a short post just for you. Let’s call it a consolation prize.

RULES…

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Every established place of order has them. We all follow them, whether expressed or implied. Even my five-year-old daughter has a set of rules she lives by. Just this evening at dinner she boldly informed me of the rules she and our seven-year-old have recently established for their bunk bed. Here is her condensed version:

  1. Don’t kick someone in the face while they’re trying to sleep.
  2. Don’t be mean to another child if they’re trying to go to sleep.
  3. Don’t be mean (I guess this is a major “no-no” in the world of sleeping).
  4. Don’t say, “Hey I didn’t do that!” (I’m assuming this is in reference to #3).
  5. (And my all-time favorite!) Don’t punch someone in the eye because that would really hurt.

So as you can see even kids have a sense of rules, should’s and should not’s. But in the world of writing aspirations, there are many rules I’m only on the precipice¬†of delving into. One category of rules pertains to the area of waiting. Over these last few months, I have been playing the waiting game like nobody’s business. At the top of the year I set a personal goal for myself that entailed submitting my picture book manuscript to one new publisher each month. Proudly, I can say that to date, I have been keeping in step with this goal. The traditional publishing route (the opposite of self-publishing) can be a tricky process. Its almost become comical to me when I explore a potential publisher’s submission guidelines section on their website. Usually, I read something to the effect of, “These are our submission rules. Follow our submission rules or we won’t be giving your manuscript a second thought. And oh, by the way, you may or may not hear from us. But, if you don’t hear from us after three months, that means we don’t want your book.” Well at least that’s what I hear in my head! Lol

Naturally, this has lead to my unsolicited recruitment as a player in a drawn-out¬†round of the all too familiar “Waiting Game”. Everybody knows that no official rules have ever been drawn up for this widely unpopular, yet highly participated in game. But, if these rules existed somewhere, especially in the context of waiting for a publisher, a publishing contract, feedback from a publisher, or any other favorable publisher related correspondence, these would be the rules to play by.

Rule #1: Be hopefully realistic while you wait.

Rule #2:  Believe the publisher when they specify a wait time.

Rule #3: When the specified wait time runs out with no word from a publisher, keep on submitting.

Rule #4: Make the most of your “turn” during the “Waiting Game” by bettering your craft (ie. listen to related podcasts, blog posts, read books from the people who are where you want to be).

Rule #5: Seek feedback and critiques from others on your work. If you can scrape up the money, splurge for a professional critique.

Rule #6: Explore¬†ways to¬†re-write your story or portions of it by using a different voice or from another character’s perspective. Of course you don’t have to keep the results of this exercise as your final work but it can be beneficial in stretching your writing ability.

Rule #7: Attend writer’s conferences.

Rule #8: Seek out and submit your work to relevant writing contests.

Rule #9: Consider submitting your story to be published as a magazine article.

Rule #10: Turn your offense in to offense. When offended by a critique, step back, take a deep breath, and decide if the criticism is valid. If so, channel it into some good writing or if its invalid, let it go.

Rule #11: Join a writer’s group, critique circle, or writer’s forum.

By all means this is in no way an exhaustive list. You see, this “Waiting Game” is not for the faint of heart. In playing to win, the rules are endless. I’m still trying my hand at using these rules on my own turn in this game. I hope you had fun reading my unofficially official rules.

Oh yeah, don’t forget the whole reason why you are still reading (if you are in fact still reading this). Go ahead and hit the “follow WriteAway31” button to your right. Because who are we kidding here…I spent the last hour penning this post just so I could get you to do that! #bossmove ūüėČ Lol

But seriously guys, thanks for lending me your eyes. Now back to your regularly scheduled evening of scrolling, hanging out, or any other characteristic Friday night activities.

I’ll see you in September!

 

 

5 Discoveries of a New Writer

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Hey guys!

Woo whoo! We made it to month two for my¬†blog!! For those whose eyes are returning for the second time around, welcome back! And to those joining us for the first time, I hope this doesn’t disappoint! Lol

Last month’s blog was such a rush! In case you missed it, here’s last month’s post,¬†Seeing Jesus In the Dark,to tickle your fancy and then meet me back here. Quite honestly, I really enjoyed the whole blogging process. I knew I wanted to put something out, but I had NO clue as to what or how it would materialize even leading all the way up to the day it was posted. That’s another long, drawn out, hilariously boring story in and of itself. So I will spare you the extra few minutes of reading and get right to the point of why I’m gracing you with my presence for the second month in a row.

Let’s face it…I’m a new writer guys. Before 2014, I had no daydreams of writing the latest soon to be cinematized trilogy about a dystopic society in which their children are sent to the slaughter as a game (I kid! I kid! Don’t crucify me just yet, I was a HUGE fan of that series too!) At that time in my life, I was just beginning to see the light of day from a five year span in which I was accustomed to being¬†up to my elbows in diapers and my trademark accessory was spit up. A new day had dawned. Refreshingly enough, it was the onset of our homeschool adventure¬†with my first daughter. But I was simultaneously¬†coming to the realization I wanted to make a foray in to the lot of already established African American writers. Consequently¬†one fateful April morning in 2014, while sitting at my dining room table, I launched¬†my writing journey. And I haven’t looked back.

This path has been fraught with many joys and¬†toils. I’m grasping the reality that though its not all sunshine and roses, I can still stop to smell the roses along the way. The learning curve can be steep, but nevertheless, I’ve pressed on and lived to write another day. What’s helpful to me when I’m learning something knew is hearing from the people who have charted those waters before me. I hope this blog post will aid those of you wondering if you too can take the plunge. With that said, here are five¬†things I’m discovering as¬†a¬†new writer.

5 Discoveries of a New Writer 

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# Find out who you are and run with it

I’m silly, outgoing, super talkative, dramatic, smarter than I give myself credit for, selectively shy, contemplative, and a go-getter. I have dreams and I work hard towards making them become reality. But I’m¬†not ignorant of the fact that I have limitations. I can’t be everywhere at the same time nor should I try. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to drop the ball a whole lot more than I care to admit. Plodding along this writing trek has forced me to look Courtney square in the mirror and understand who I am as well as who I am not. And I’m beginning to be okay with that. This, my friends, can be one of your greatest strengths as a writer. I tell corny jokes — and I love it! Why would I water that down for the sake of disinterested readers? I’m certain¬†I’ll eventually find someone willing to chuckle, even if its just a little.

#2 It’s okay to expand your bandwidth while on the ride

I LOVE being a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM)! Whoa, did those words just hit the keys? The truth is, I really do. I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. Still,¬†I’m also discovering its okay to expand my bandwidth while on this ride. For years,¬†my mind was dead set on finishing grad school, becoming a licensed clinician and opening a private practice. Then life happened. I got married while in grad school, had my first daughter as I finished up grad school and was a SAHM¬†before I could blink! Sure, I could have continued pursuing licensure, but to be frank with you, I was running low on enthusiasm. I couldn’t fathom¬†spending one more second in a classroom studying Rorschach tests. My. Brain. Was. Jelly. I loved what I had gleaned as a counseling student. But I was ready for a change. Soon after,¬†I spent¬†half a decade as a full-time mommy while also juggling being a¬†part-time Mobile Therapist, Drug & Alcohol counseling intern, individual, group, and family therapy counselor. By the time that ship sailed, I welcomed this unexpected respite with open arms.¬†I jumped at the chance to take a nose dive into being the crazy AND¬†dorky mom. People may think¬†I probably post way too many kid related incidents. I also drive a van with permanent “artwork”¬†etched into its¬†blue paint, courtesy of¬†my three-year-old son . Yet, what I’m getting at is I haven’t stopped there. For me, my writing exploits have expanded what it means to be a wife and mother. Its a genuine expression that stems from this very sacred mantle I’ve taken on. You too, my fellow writers (and readers), can expand your bandwidth as well. Try it, it feels good!

#3 Use your freak out circle

¬†What in the world is a freak out circle? Haha! Okay, so as I’ve mentioned before, I can be dramatic (see #1). That means, my very near and dear friends who double as sisters get to experience the brunt of all my drama entails. Last week alone, I called three of my closest friends several days in a row. One of those lovely ladies actually received two texts and three phone calls from me, three days straight. My fingers are the one part of my body that got a work out last week! But its okay, they get it. Even better, they get me. I can totally freak out with them and at this point in our friendship, they don’t even bat an eyelash. I’m sure I’m not the first new writer who has doubted themselves. I will not be the last. But what keeps me going are those randomly panicked phone calls in which they talk me off the hyperbolic ledge and I resume my day. You will do well dear writer, to get your own freak out circle because mine is not up for grabs. ūüėČ

#4 Feedback gooood…no feedback, baaaad

This title cracks me up. When I read it, I hear Frankenstein’s low growl of a voice echoing in my ears. But seriously, new writers, let’s stop¬†thinking of feedback as the two-headed monster crouching in our bedroom closet ready to pounce when we go looking for it. Feedback has saved me from many-a terrible flops! And it can save you too! When I write, I’m doing it for me first. But the goal is that others will¬†enjoy it as well. With this in mind, seeking feedback from¬†family, friends and other writers is good for us. We grow from the stretching critiques provide. They push us to see our words from another person’s eyes. Feedback can be a welcome friend or a hostile enemy depending on the way in which you view it. Trust me, we can all benefit from¬†sounding a little more like Frankenstein when it comes to receiving feedback.

And lastly…

#5 Write away, any day

You knew it was coming…of course I would find a way to sneak the name of my blog into one of these early posts! Come on guys, you should know me by now. Okay, so its cute…this title I mean. But why did I chose to name my blog this of all things and why am I using it as my last new writer discovery? Well, because its true. I woke up around 5:30 in the morning the day I began formulating this blog post. Mind you, that was¬†a Saturday morning and the kids were away at grandma’s. I tossed and turned for about a half hour and then I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get to my laptop. Well, I’m discovering that’s what this writing life can be marked by. When I get an idea that’s too hard to shake, I MUST get it out. If not, I will become a crazy person.¬†So when the “spirit leads”, write away…any day. No seriously. Go write and I mean right away! ūüôā

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my list. Feel free to chime in below in the comments section with any discoveries of your own. And, don’t be a blog hog. If you liked this blog, please share it freely! If you want more posts of my life as¬†a wife, mother and aspiring writer, hit the subscribe button to follow me. Ta ta¬†for now and I’ll see ya next month!