Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

Confessions Book Giveaway Reminder

If you haven't signed up for the giveaway for Laura Josephsen's new book Confessions from the Realm of the Underworld (Also Known as High School), you only have to comment here (and follow me if you haven't already) and head over to Laura's blog and comment there and follow her to be put in the drawing. I will select the winner at 6 a.m. MDT on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins ARC Tour
hosted by Elana Johnson

I had the opportunity to be part of the Shifting ARC Tour and even be the FIRST reader in Elana's group! Squeeee! It was a fun read and held me on the edge of my seat. The other members of the tour are in a for a real treat. So, what's it about?
After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

Goals & Discouragement

I had a goal to get a lot of books read in July, since I've been working so hard to get my ms ready for my critique group. I just didn't expect to have the three I've read in the last eight days. I'm almost sated with reading. That makes me feel good.

Yet, on the other hand, I read these three really good books, and I begin to doubt myself.
I need to be realistic.

There's no way I can do this. It's impossible

Who am I trying to kid?
I experience this now every time I enter a bookstore. I look at all the wonderful offerings, and all the above thoughts go through my head.

And I think I should just quit.

But I have to remember to take a deep breath and ask myself why I'm doing this. Why am I working a full-time job and then coming home to squeeze a few words out on my stories while trying to make sure my hubby and my house aren't totally neglected? Why do I spend money on books about writing, magazines about writing, conferences about writing? Why do I persist in doing something that frequently feels like physical therapy, that hurts because I'm forcing myself to do things, things that aren't easy and make me feel like I suck?

Is it because I think I'm going to be some great, famous author?

No. I'm very realistic about this. Besides, I would never want to be famous. Be recognized when you go places and have presumptuous people feel they have a right to interrupt you? Puhleeeze! I would so hate that.

Is it because I want to be rich?

No. I wouldn't mind a little extra money, so I could afford to visit my kids and grandkids who live far away as often as I'd like, but that's all. I learned a long time ago that wanting "stuff" is frequently more fun than actually having it. If you don't like you, nothing you surround yourself with will fill that void.

Is it because I think I'm good?

No. I think I can be better, but once again I'm not fooling myself.

So why am I doing this?

I have to remind myself I'm doing this because I love to learn, and I want to learn how to write. I don't ever want to be one of those old people who thinks they know everything and can't be taught anything new. I want to always try and look at the world with fresh eyes and imagine something different, something better.

So, in spite of my writerly flaws, in spite of the strong likelihood I'll never be good enough to get an agent or a publisher, I want to learn to be better. The best I can be at this. Whatever that is.

My battle against myself.

And I'll hang on to the words of Thomas Edison:

I never failed once.
I invented the light bulb.
It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.

So, I let you in on my pep talk. How do you encourage yourself, when you question your sanity to do this writing thing? What motivates you to keep going and not throw in the towel?


  1. *Enters room. Sees Donna arguing with herself, doubting herself.*


    *Whips out bullhorn, climbs up on stump, aims bullhorn at Donna.*


    *Dismounts from stump, holsters bullhorn, and gives Donna one long, stern look before leaving room*

  2. Ah. The old self-doubt routine. I bash myself about the head with it every couple of weeks. Like you, I remind myself why I write - because I love it. Because one day I'd like to earn a modest living writing. Do I want to be rich and famous? Well, more money would be lovely. Famous? Not really.

    Keep on reminding yourself why you are learning to write and that you CAN do it!

    Ellie Garratt

  3. How do I handle the inner voice of negativity? I play the Beatles, Paperback Writer a dozen times or so.

  4. How do I handle Negativity I just pick up one of my self help books or listen to a cd and all negativity is gone.

  5. Like you, I listen to the crap voices in my head tell me all the reasons why I should quit. I believe them for a day or two, and then I start writing again. I toss whatever I've written before in a drawer, never to be seen again, and hope the next project is better.

  6. i heard bryce from my spot in the world!

    chin up, dont you know big butts are back in!


  7. Oh, the voices. Where would we be without them? If they weren't there, we wouldn't have the motivation to work harder and prove them wrong. Good job keeping perspective. Some days are harder than others!

  8. Bryce, wow, that really was loud. Tara heard all the over at her place. You made me smile.

    Ellie - the Little Engine That Could Litany, right? I think I can. I think I can. I can can, you know. Not the French dance, but the fruit canning thingy. ;)

    Shelly - I'm going to have to download that one.

    Welcome - I'll have to place that old 1940s song, "Accent the Positive, Eliminate the Negative, Latch on to the Affirmative, Don't Mess With Mr. Inbetween" =D

    L.G. - "Crap Voices" - I like it!

    Tara - Big butts are in? Woot!

    E.R. - Sometimes it feels like a slow syrup that runs from the top of my head and smothers every positive thought, leaving a choking pain of inadequacy in my stomach. I ponder how fun it would be to just become the little old grandmother, who relaxes in her chair crocheting and watching movies or reading a book. I'm too old for this. Too old to ever get good enough. Then I panic. But after a little wallowing, I take a deep breath, get up off the ground where I fell from Bryce's bullhorn chastisement, and kick my big butt. =D

  9. Keep got to write because it's in you, so just keep doing what you love:)

  10. Thanks for the post on Shifting! As for negativity, all I can say is, don't let it get you down because almost everything in life is trivial. Embrace the things that are worth the most (like family, good health), the things no one can ever take away from you and hold onto them.

  11. Hi Brenda. You won a copy of my novel. Could you send me your snarl address at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca? Thanks. And congratulations.

  12. Mark - I like that, to write because it's me.

    Bethany - Loved your book! I like your philosophy, embrace the thing that are worth most.

    Joylene - squee! Thanks!

  13. "I love to learn, and I want to learn how to write" -- great attitude. I do it because I love it, and because I have stories to tell, and I want to share them. It's shaping up to be another 2,000-step process, but I'm learning so much along the way.

  14. You have such a great attitude about it!

    You know...the last book I wrote (one I'm still working on editing), I had more doubts than I've ever had writing a book--and this was not my first novel! I think I felt more pressure because I already had a contract on one book, AND because this story was unlike any I'd ever written. I knew going into it that my MC was either going to be a character people liked, or a character people hated and grew to like, or a character they flat out didn't like ever. And I had SO many doubts. "Is this good enough? Does the story suck? Do the characters suck? What if no one ever wants to read it? What if it's not publishable? What if I can't get the plot smoothed out? What if, what if, what if?" And I plugged along, pouring my heart into it, and I finished it at last--but I had to come to grips with myself and realize, again, WHY I write. I had to realize that I liked the story, and the journey the characters went on, and if I hadn't written it, I would have missed out on that journey. It can be hard sometimes to see the worth in my writing because I'm so close to it. I've written it, edited, rewritten, read it a million times, and it's like, "These words! Do they even make sense!?"

    I know the feeling of reading something that I find amazing, and then thinking, man, my writing seems so blah. BUT, the important thing to remember is that it's NOT. Your writing is unique to you. You might be so close that you see what you think are the flaws, or you don't know if your flow or style or voice or anything is good enough--but that's one reason we have other people who can help us out and read our stories and point out the things that are awesome and the things we need to work on. And as we keep growing and learning, it can be easier to see those things for ourselves.

    Don't ever tell yourself you're not good enough for one thing or another. Hold onto the knowledge that you are growing and learning and developing your words and your story--and you never know what will come of that. All we can ever do is take it one step at a time, one word at a time, one story at a time--and then go on to the next one.

  15. Great post! I remind myself to be like a little kid. I focus on the fact that I enjoy it...even all the struggling and brain wrangling and hair pulling that happens from time to time. I tell myself to focus on what I like about it and forget about the rest. What this means is that I have to force myself to write! I struggle a bit and then I get lost in it and forget everything by the enjoyment.

  16. Great post... and comments. I learned a lot.

  17. Reading stuff like this helps motivate me :) Posting excerpts to prompts and joining blogfests where I get honest, constructive feedback keeps me real. And knowing that there are so many people out there in my shoes . .

    You're awesome Donna :)


  18. Milo - knowing that a genius like Edison struggled but didn't give up is such an inspiration to me. He also said, "You only fail, when you quit trying."

    Laura - that's dang beautiful, girl!

    Sheridan - welcome! Isn't it funny that we have to force ourselves to do something we love?

    Jeff - thanks for dropping by.

    Donna - I'm keeping you around. =D And it does help knowing that others are in our shoes.

  19. Wonderful! Insightful!
    A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity;
    an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

  20. This post really hit home for me, especially: "I have to remind myself I'm doing this because I love to learn, and I want to learn how to write."

    Whenever rejections are getting me down, I always remind myself that I'm learning. And that I love to learn. And that, slowly, I'm getting a bit better at it. And that's good enough for now :)

  21. You can't please all the people all the time (cliche) and you might not be able to please all the publishers or agents--but there are millions of people out there who want to hear Donna Weaver's opinion or original story. If not millions, well at least 100. Rome wasn't built in a day is another one of my favorite cliched sayings! Oh and then the famous, never, never, never, give up!

  22. *^_^* - love that!

    Jess - You're brave, Jess. I haven't even faced up to querying, though I think I'll do it if nothing than for the experience. Plus, I'm still dedicated to taking the James Dashner (The Maze Runner) approach to rejections. Go out to eat with every 10.

    Desert - 100 might be stretching it, but it's a nice thought. =D I'll hang on to that.

  23. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    As for you questions.

    I am not a writer. I just chronicle events that in my life that I think are funny.

    Life motivates me. Something will happen that cracks me up and then I sit down and write about it.

    And the sanity part... ... ... I've been a tad nuts all of my life. I love to laugh and make other's laugh. I consider the day a total loss if I don't have at least one belly laugh and a few giggles.........kt

  24. First I need to throw out a "YAY!" for Laura's book release. Also, "Shifting" sounds good.

    When that self-doubt hits, as I'm sure it always will, I give myself a little while to entertain it then ask why it is I'm doubting myself. It usually doesn't really have to do with me, but with being overwhelmed and scared of what's to come. When I face my doubts head on and respond to them, it helps!

  25. 1. I totally hear you on the fame thing. I think fame sounds awful. I always have.

    2. I don't know why I write. Because I like to tell stories and make people laugh, I think. I'm not sure I'd keep it up if I had not been picked up for publication, but I was. So I don't know how good my stick-to-it-iveness is. I really respect that in others.

    But I love that you do it because you want to learn. I think that's amazing.


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