Posts Tagged ‘life’

From the time when we were eagerly awaiting dessert after being forced to eat our vegetables, to the time when we’re anxiously waiting for the results of a test… A phrase has been drilled into us. What is that phrase? Well, you already know, but I’ll repeat it for good measure. “Patience is a virtue.”

It is a virtue that I’m not really known for, to be honest. I am not patient. I’m impatient when waiting for a new episode of Psych or Big Bang Theory, and I’m impatient for my Birthday. So, how do I handle waiting for results when submitting my writing to be judged and rejected/accepted?

Fair warning, I’m not sure if this works for all writers. It may just work for me, but let me talk about the times when I had to wait to find out whether or not I was accepted or rejected. The first time I had to do this with my writing was the Fantasy Faction Anthology. There was a short story contest, and if I had won, I would’ve gotten lots of cash. Of course, I also wanted my story to be showcased alongside some bona fide, professional authors. So, in one day, I wrote two different short stories set in my current fantasy universe.

The first was a change for me. It was more insightful and ‘quiet’, I should say, than any of my other works. The second was a safety net, I guess you could say. I specialize in massive fight scenes. I won’t tell you that I am amazing at them, but I’m comfortable writing them. So, the first was the equivalent of a preachy story set in a desert, and the second was the equivalent of a big, dumb action movie. Except it was even worse.

Which did I pick? I picked the preachy story. Except, I rewrote the heck out of it until it wasn’t very preachy anymore. That short story ended up being called Rakhul. So, once everything was edited, I sent it off to be judged.

It was time to be patient. Like I said, I am not patient. So, when the editors kept pushing the release date – understandably so, considering the massive amount of submissions – I was banging my head against the wall. I tried to write away my problems, but the waiting was killing me. So, at the three month mark, I decided to forget about it. Any time I read about the anthology’s results – I ignored it. I was determined to wait until the official results were in. And guess what… I did forget about it. So much so that I forgot about the short story I wrote for it. Eventually, I found out about the results, and I wasn’t accepted. I wasn’t even on the short list. I was, of course, disappointed. But, I had discovered two things. How to deal with disappointment, and how to deal with waiting.

So, maybe a month after that, I submitted to a literary agency. I was in love with the literary agency, because it was the agency that handled one of my favorite authors – Brent Weeks. So, I bookmarked the site, and I’d read all the rules, and I’d read all the books of their clients. (Yeah, he was REALLY in love with it.) I submitted my story, and maybe three weeks later, I see an email in my Junk folder. I open it, and it’s Donald Maass’s rejection letter.

A few minutes later, after telling the news to my family, I make the joke: “My email’s so thoughtful. It sent the rejection letter directly to Junk because it was trying to protect my feelings.”

Thank you, Gmail, but I’m glad I found out about the news. Because, I knew going into this business that there would be a lot of disappointment. And I managed to hone the “waiting” skill even more. I still wasn’t very patient, but I was a master at forgetting about ever having submitted anything. (Wow, so your horrible memory pays off…)

That brings us to todays waiting game. I submitted my story, Radio Silence, to be serialized about a month and a half ago. And, I still haven’t received word about it.

Image

Originally, I captured the cover in that screenshot as well, but I decided to cut that out. HA! I know, I’m quite devious like that. I promise I’ll unveil it soon, but not just yet. Anyways, as you can see the status is Pending. The word ‘pending’ has never looked quite so ominous to me ’till now.

This was even harder to forget about than my submission to the literary agency. Why? Because the odds aren’t so high against my favor this time. This time, I was confident in my story. The cover is awesome, because my sister took a great picture and slapped my name on it. So, the chances of me being accepted are quite high and in my favor.

The simple fact that they haven’t even rejected or accepted me after a month and a half is excruciating. But, everything that’s happened in my past as a writer has paid off. I’m still not patient, but every now and then.. I completely forget about this serialization. I only remember it right before the day ends so I can check if my status is still pending. Then I forget about it and go to sleep.

So, what am I saying? To forget about it? No, that may not suit your tastes. But don’t dwell on it. The trick to the waiting game is cheating and not waiting at all. How can you wait for something if you’re not even thinking about it most of the time?

You can’t do anything ’till then, so it’s best to simply… move on. Move on like you’ve already been either accepted or rejected or like you didn’t even submit in the first place. My advice? Cheat the waiting game, and win at the end.

Right now, I’m not sure if my status may be ACCEPTED or REJECTED in a month or so. But, this has taught me something. After going through such pains and measures, I will not let my stories go to waste. Even if Radio Silence isn’t accepted, I will still post the cover on my blog, and I will most likely make any and future chapters available to read.

I am doing the same with Rakhul. So, yeah. Make the best out of it, and you’ll basically be pointing and laughing at the Waiting Game… while it cries and sulks in the corner. Yeah.

Thanks!

P.S: Just to note, if you’ve yet to read my previous post, any time I write about writing in general, I will also write an accompanying review of a book/movie/television series. It’s to make up for the fact that I no longer write blogposts as often as I used to. Please remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. Hopefully, all three. And thanks again!

~J.A. Romano

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It’s been awhile since my last post, and I apologize to all the loyal followers that were distraught over this. (Uh, Jian, the only follower that was remotely bothered was… you.)

Ignore the parenthesis. Anyways, I wanted to talk about the pros and cons about networking. What I mean by networking is social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook, forums, Goodreads, blogs, and all that stuff. They’re all very important for writers. We want people to read our work, but how do we let people know about our work? Say it with me – Networking. So, I thought long and hard about it, and came up with a Pros and Cons.

Let me start with the cons.

1. In Twitter, if you’re new and want a lot of Followers, you simply follow a whole lot of people. What I do (and most likely, what a lot of others do) is look for other writers with about 200 some followers, and if you see they more or less follow the same number of people, that means they will likely follow you back if you were to follow them. That’s how I got to 200 Followers. However, the problem is that your Twitter feed is bombarded with advertisements, blogposts, etc. I’m okay with that, but the thing is… very few actually click the links. Why? Because it’s very easy to get hacked on Twitter, and no one wants to risk getting hacked. In fact, my Twitter account got hacked awhile ago, through a Private Message. In fact, I got hacked more than once. This is really annoying, because it means I had to change my password several times. And several more times after that because I kept forgetting them. (Your memory is awesome, Jian!)

So, odds are, if you’re posting links to your latest blogpost or book, only five out of twenty people actually click it. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.

2. Here’s something I made a mistake of not doing. When I initially started following people at random, I didn’t really look at their Tweets before doing so. What ended up happening was that a week later, I kept seeing Tweets about some really inappropriate stuff… and praises of Fifty Shades of Grey. Which is just as bad as Tweeting inappropriate stuff, if you ask me. So, of course, I unfollowed. But, I became a lot less attentive to tweets because I just didn’t want to end up clicking a link and seeing inappropriate stuff. That’s a mistake that didn’t have to happen, so it’s something to look out for.

3. Character limit. I don’t know about you, but I am really talkative and wordy. (We know already…) And since people aren’t always going to click your links to your book’s excerpts, you’d benefit by including a short summary or a short excerpt from your book. Unfortunately, there is a 160 Character Limit on Twitter which prevents you from doing that. So, people are normally forced to post four different tweets where all they do is continue from where they left off.

4. So far, I’ve only been talking about Twitter, but let’s talk about Facebook, too. The reason why people normally use Twitter for advertising is because Facebook is where all their friends and family are. And they don’t want random people adding them as friends on Facebook due to an advertisement. They could block their photos, and choose only a “select” group of people to see them… but that’s a real bothersome process. You could start a Facebook page, but it works both ways, really. Three out of ten people will not Like because they do not want some random person to suddenly add them. May not seem a lot, but it adds up.

5. Trolls on Twitter. Considering the fact that we literally cannot choose our Followers on Twitter (unless you privatize your account, which defeats the purpose of using it to advertise), the chances of having trolls exponentially increases vis-a-vis Facebook. Whether you’re Tweeting a link to Neil Gaiman’s new book, or Tweeting about the movie you are currently watching, there is always a risk of a troll trying to dampen your spirits. They aren’t as numerous I guess, as they are in Youtube comment sections, but they’re still there, and you should keep an eye out for them.

6. This is actually a “spin-off” from the #1. Since you can normally get Followers by first following a lot of people, your Twitter feed is clogged with advertisements. However, the problem is that you may be following friends, family, or authors you love, and it’ll be difficult to see their latest Tweets. Unless you obsessively check their Twitter pages to see their latest Tweet… which I did, but seriously, it’s not for everyone. Unless you’re a big-time actor, celebrity, or writer – you won’t get Followers easy, and that means it’s hard to be selective of which people you follow.

I think that’s about it. I know, it sounds like I really hate Facebook and Twitter. But now, I’ll move unto the Pros.

Pros:

1. Like I said, you can’t be selective about the people you Follow, but in my experience, this has worked out to my benefit at certain times. Because of this, I got to see a Tweet from Bane of Kings about a Guest post, and I was able to send him a Private Message about doing a guest post. And he, surprisingly enough, agreed! Imagine my surprise! I was really ecstatic when this happened. So, you may find a plethora of new opportunities in Twitter.

2. Everyone has a chance of becoming a friend. It’s true. It’s very easy to make friends on Twitter, and I’ve become friends with a lot of writers through Twitter. It’s also a great place to get some writing advice. For example, when I first started using Twitter, Ben Galley, one of the youngest Self-Pubbed authors followed me. And he was nice enough to respond to a few of my writing questions. It was really great.

3. Easy to keep in touch. You can do this both on Facebook and Twitter. My old friend and I, for example, live in completely different timezones. So, if neither of us get to come online on Skype to have a chat about what happened and all, we Tweet to each other. Normally, I just tweet to him: “You’re horrid at keeping your appointments.” And he Tweets back a witty reply. This can be done on Facebook, as well, but considering the fact that I don’t have a character limit there, I spend thirty minutes writing a long letter. The amount of witty jokes I can fit in is immeasurable!

4. Blogs. Oh, they’re tons of fun to read. I’ve followed quite a few people on WordPress, and the majority of them are writers, and I get to read about cool, new interesting stuff. My friend, Caleb Hill, writes reviews on books I’d never even heard of, and that’s always a joy to read. I learn a little something about poetry from Louise. And I learn about realism in writing from my beta readers, T.K. Trian.

5. What blogs can do for you. Up above, I talk about what you can find out. Now, I’ll talk about what you can do with blogs. For example, I can write about Networking as much as I want in a blog, and someone may Like it. As writers, we love to be validated. And if even a single person Likes one of our posts, we are over the moon.

31 Likes

Imagine my surprise and happiness when I saw that 31 people, in all, had Liked my post on the mistakes I made as a writer. If I’m over the moon at just one Like, then I was out of this solar system when 31 people Liked it. It’s really great to see that people think your views are cool, and that your writing was good enough that they weren’t cringing the entire time they read it.

Of course, it takes awhile to get to a point where there’s a reasonable chance of you getting 1 Like per post. In fact, when I first started out, I didn’t get Likes for a few months. So, you need to stick it out, but it will pay off.

6. Support. You can receive the support of your cool Followers just by asking them. For example, awhile ago, I talked about how I was going to submit one of my stories for serialization, and I got a lot of Likes. Some of my good writer friends commented or messaged me and told me that they had my vote. I was incredibly happy when I saw this, and it just made me want to succeed even more. Just so that their faith wasn’t lost. It’s really great.

7. Inspiration. When I get a writer’s block, and can no longer write about my characters… I just write a blog post about my writer’s block. That’s what I do when I can’t write in any of my stories. I write a blogpost. It clears my mind, and I can get back to writing immediately after.

And last, but not least… It is fun. Yeah. I’ve said it so many times, but really. It is fun. It’s fun to Tweet to authors you like, and hope they may respond. It’s fun to see that someone “Favorited” your tweet about how bored you were. It’s fun to see someone commenting on your last blogpost to disagree with you. It’s fun when you get to engage with them about how your point was correct. It’s all so much fun. And that’s why I write, you know.

Because it is fun.

So, network may be a pain.. for a very long time. And  the pain will never disappear, but the fun times, when they do happen, completely wash away the pain of accidentally clicking on a link to a 4 star (out of 4) review of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah…

Thanks for reading. Hope you Like, Comment, and Follow. Hopefully, all three. And that’s all for now. Thanks again!

~J.A. Romano

You know that  phrase they always spit out in movies? “Failure is not an option!” the typical action hero protagonist shouts to his plucky sidekick. It’s a normal thing, really. But, how many people actually take that phrase seriously? Sure, it depends on the context, but you hear it enough times, and you get to actually start believing it yourself. This is especially harmful for a writer. For writers, we have to deal with a lot of things. I mean, I’ve dealt with very little in comparison to a few writers I know, but I’ve heard of stories where writers give up after a few failures. Why? Because failure isn’t an option, apparently.

But, according to the title of this post, it is not. (And we all know post titles do not lie) I’m going to talk about why it is an option.

A few days ago, I made a movie. It was pretty terrible. When I first watched it, I thought it was awesome. But, as time passed, I grew more and more dissatisfied with what I had created. No one that watched it really liked it, but they didn’t have the heart to tell me that it was… well, terrible. So, of course, I was a bit sad. When you spend the time to create something, you put a lot of yourself in it. And, subconsciously, we think that if people don’t like something that we make… that makes us an unlikeable failure.

Sad, but true. However, I snapped out of that thinking and decided to make a new movie. A better one. Because I realized that while shouting that failure isn’t an option in movies is the coolest thing ever (although it depends on the movie), it is an option in real life. Some may say that you make a mistake on a job, and that’s it. Failure isn’t an option there.

But, because of my little experience in other occupations, I’m talking about life for a writer. Awhile ago, I submitted to a literary agent. In fact, I talked a little about rejection/failure in this post. 

Looking back on it now, I was a bit too flippant about it. Failure is a serious thing, and I’ve matured since then. (That was practically a month ago..) Now, it’s okay to fail in writing. I’ve failed a ridiculous amount of times.

My first book was a failure, but I learned from my failures each time. For example, the movie I made? My failure in that was that it was pretentious and boring. (My worst enemies) So, now I know where the line between brilliance and complete nonsense is. Some may say that you’d have to be blind not to know the difference, but I actually did not know. Now I do. I worked hard on it for an hour, it was horrible, but I learned from it. That’s the point.

Here’s another tale of love and redemption, except without the love and redemption. I submitted a short story, Rakhul, set in the world where my book, the Line of Corruption, currently resides to this fantasy anthology. I didn’t get in. I wasn’t even shortlisted. And the short list was actually pretty big. Now, am I saying I wasn’t bummed out when I found out? Of course not. I was really sad. I had waited so long, and I wasn’t accepted. Acceptance is everything to writers.

But, I still wrote a short story that I was proud of. I wrote a short story where I had fun, managed to explore the past of one of my coolest characters… Yet I was bummed out? Looking back on it now, I realize I should’ve smiled and patted myself on the back. Because I was able to experience what being a true writer felt like. Sanderson wrote the entire Mistborn trilogy before he was published, and that’s how I get inspired from each failure. I think about the failures of my idols, and then I think about my own failure. In comparison, mine is miniscule. Not important. I’m very young, and I can say that I have written a book. The literary agent rejected me? So what!  It’s cool.

All I know is, failure, in the life of a writer, is plentiful. And it is an option that we can take. We aren’t bad writers if we fail, and we aren’t amazing writers even if we get accepted. The point is, writing is hard work. Failing is just another part of it, and that’s what interested me about it. All my life, I’ve heard about how depressing a writer’s life can be.

I think that the challenge that every writer should tackle is to take all that troubles head on and come out smiling. If not for yourself, then do it so you can win. That’s how I get inspired. I imagine that every page I write is another victory. I realize I sound like I’m giving a motivational speech, but… So what if I am? I like motivational speeches. And, I really think that every writer should remember the things I’ve said. I’m quite sure that someone has already said all of this, but if not, then I don’t want to take the chance of an aspiring writer giving up after one failure.

(Wait, Jian, no. That means he or she might be a competitor in your future!)

To which I say: Bring it on.

P.S: I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I was incredibly happy that my last post got to 29 Likes. I hope that this gets as many or more Likes, but if not, I’m just glad that there’s a chance someone might read this. So, if you thought this post was great, remember to Like, Follow, and Comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what other people think. Thanks a lot to the loyal followers of this meagre blog, and goodbye~

EDIT: A writer friend gave me the link to a post that surmises what I feel, most times, after finishing a story. You can check out her blog here.

~Jian