Kindred Spirits

Last weekend was my very first time attending a comic book convention: Wizard World Comic Con. Being here in Reno, Nevada, it was a relatively small convention, but it was an amazing experience.

I’ve wanted to go to a Comic Con for years now, even though I was not entirely sure what to expect. To be honest, the biggest appeal for me was probably the cosplay. I do love having excuses to dress up! I got to pull out my steampunk costume, which is always fun.

But the highlight of the Con, for me, turned out to be a panel on world-building and story-telling. I hadn’t put much thought at all into hearing a panel, but I’m so glad I did.

Panelists
from left to right: David Michael Slater, Genese Davis, Tracy Clark, & Heather Petty

I’d forgotten how much I love being surrounded by other people who share my passion for writing. I learned new things and walked away with some great tips, but mostly I just wanted to soak up the energy of that room filled with creative minds bursting to put their ideas on paper.

Panel

Panel Audience
You can see me in the audience, about halfway back!

There’s something about being with kindred spirits that makes you resist waiting any longer to pursue your dream.

 

 

If this is the feeling I got from a single writing panel at a Comic Con, imagine what a conference focused entirely on writing can do!

It’s been almost four years since the first and only Writers’ Conference I ever attended. The time has definitely come to revisit one. Obviously the TMCC Writers’ Conference is most convenient for me, but I’ll be looking into those of surrounding areas as well. The conference I attended in 2013 was so inspiring – and it got me out of my comfort zone as well as introduced me to some friendly and influential people in the publishing business.

I’m already excited to go again!

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Why

In his first published book, Nicholas Sparks wrote that it’s not the whats and hows and wheres that matter in life, it’s the whys.

While Nicholas Sparks’ writing certainly has its faults (which I won’t go on and on and on and on… and on… about right now), this quote has always stuck with me. Focus on the whys in life, and life will be simpler, happier, and less stressful.

While reading through some old blog posts, I was reminded of why I write, and why I’m trying to get published:

 

There’s one story… on one of the special features of The Little Mermaid DVD that I borrowed from my parents. One of the creators of the movie tells the camera about the various fan mail they received after the movie was released. In one letter, a man told the studio that immediately after seeing The Little Mermaid in theaters, he called his daughter, whom he hadn’t spoken to in years. I get teary even rewriting this story that happened to people I will never meet. Possibly because remembering it instantly brings to mind the image of Ariel hugging King Triton and whispering, “I love you, Daddy.”

I love you, Daddy

This is what I want to give to my readers. This is what I think about when I’m discouraged about my lack of being “discovered.”

Among other things, Finding ‘Ohana is also about a young woman wanting to reconnect with her parents, even though they cut her out of their lives years ago. If I could reach someone who’s in a similar situation, I would consider my book a success.

Just Keep Swimming

Something I’m trying to work on this week is to just keep going. It’s a mantra that’s applicable in various areas of my life right now, writing and trying to get published included. It’s been pretty rough, and I’ve been getting a little discouraged…

So I looked back over a couple of posts I made over a year ago. The first one was exactly what I needed, so I want to reblog it now as a reminder to myself:

 

[To] “Keep Going” is all about perseverance. It reminded me of a Bible scripture, believe it or not. James 1:2&3 “Consider it pure joy, my [sisters], whenever you face trials of any kind, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” I’m not very religious (anymore), but this scripture has always had a nice ring to it for me. Maybe it’s my annoying tendency to be optimistic. It’s like the scripture that says that God works for the good of those who love God. Bad things can’t always be bad. There’s always something good that comes from them. If nothing else, perseverance.

So maybe I’ve gotten some responses from agents saying that my novel isn’t what they’re looking for. But that’s only testing my faith that my novel is worth representation, and as long as I hold firm to that faith with perseverance, it’ll pay off.

I know, ever the optimist. Annoying, right?   : P

Just Keep Swimming

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you, Daddy.”

“[M]arketing should be viewed as a liberating endeavor, not an oppressive burden… If you find [marketing through social networks] tedious and difficult, then you may have forgotten your value or the fact that people deeply need it.” -Rob Eagar

Confession time. When my friend first told me that she was using social networks to get her book published, I didn’t get it. I didn’t see how that could help. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a little technologically challenged, but I just didn’t know how you could get people to start following you or how that would help when trying to get published. 

It wasn’t until the conference on Saturday that it made any more sense. Nina Amir did a talk called “Evaluate Your Book for Success” about figuring out what publishers and readers want and determining if your book gives it to them. I’ll be honest, in the past I just thought, “Publishers want something people will read. I’m a reader, so I know what readers want. I would want to read my book, so other readers will too.”

It goes without saying, this is way too simplistic.

Nina gave a detailed (and extremely helpful!) point-by-point list of what publishers want, the hardest part for me being that they want writers who are good business partners. But I’m working on it. I’m starting by doing what I should have done when my friend first mentioned it to me (if I had known how to at the time): social networking!

I’m finding that it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. Turns out, I could talk about my book, and writing in general, forever! It’s like the scripture the WildFire Marketing blog (linked above) refers to — why would I light a lamp and then put it under the bed? I believe in my book. I love my book. So why wouldn’t I try to get the word out to as many people as possible?

So far, marketing has been liberating for me, rather than burdening. (Now I just have to try to hold on to that when I get the inevitable rejections!) It’s like David Stipech said, if I focus on what I want to get out of my writing, I’m going to be disappointed and frustrated. But if I focus on what I want to give to my audience through my writing, I will have more energy and motivation. Not to mention, I imagine it will be more fulfilling once I do get published.

So what do I want to give?

There’s one story that always comes to my mind. It’s on one of the special features of The Little Mermaid DVD that I borrowed from my parents. One of the creators of the movie tells the camera about the various fan mail they received after the movie was released. In one letter, a man told the studio that immediately after seeing The Little Mermaid in theaters, he called his daughter, whom he hadn’t spoken to in years. I get teary even rewriting this story that happened to people I will never meet. Possibly because remembering it instantly brings to mind the image of Ariel hugging King Triton and whispering, “I love you, Daddy.”

This is what I want to give to my readers. This is what I think about when I’m discouraged about my lack of being “discovered.”

Among other things, Finding ‘Ohana is also about a young woman wanting to reconnect with her parents, even though they cut her out of their lives years ago. If I could reach someone who’s in a similar situation, I would consider my book a success. 

Ever the Optimist

I’m going to gush a little more about the TMCC Writers’ Conference yesterday. (Like I said, there was just so much! It might be coming out of my brain and finding its way here a lot in the near future.)

David Stipech opened the conference with “Keep Writing, Keep Working, Keep Going!” I’ll be honest, when I read that title, I thought those three are all the same things. But David differentiated. “Keep Writing” is pretty self-explanatory, but “Keep Working” is more specific to working on getting published.

And “Keep Going” is all about perseverance. It reminded me of a Bible scripture, believe it or not. James 1:2&3 “Consider it pure joy, my [sisters], whenever you face trials of any kind, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” I’m not very religious (anymore), but this scripture has always had a nice ring to it for me. Maybe it’s my annoying tendency to be optimistic. It’s like the scripture that says that God works for the good of those who love God. Bad things can’t always be bad. There’s always something good that comes from them. If nothing else, perseverance.

So maybe I’ve gotten some responses from agents saying that my novel isn’t what they’re looking for. But that’s only testing my faith that my novel is worth representation, and as long as I hold firm to that faith with perseverance, it’ll pay off.

I know, ever the optimist. Annoying, right?   : P

Tears

Hello, fellow bloggers, writers, readers, and everyone in between!

Today I went to a writers’ conference at TMCC and I am pumped! I went to promote my book, Finding ‘Ohana, and now here I am, promoting it further. My brain is about to burst with everything I experienced today, so I’m just going to start this blog with one little tidbit.

“No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.”

Jennifer Lauck brought this up during her talk. (I can’t remember if she was quoting someone… oops…) She was making the point that if a writer isn’t feeling, she isn’t writing.

Well, anyone who was remotely near me last summer knows that Finding ‘Ohana definitely produced some tears! And not just from stress. In any case, I’ve been told it was worth it. Tiffani Thomas (thank God for you!) was the first person to read my completed novel, start to finish, and as badly as I feel for making her cry, I can’t help but be proud too.

So here’s to the future! Finding an agent, getting published, and making tons more people cry!